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Old 11-28-2017, 12:53 PM   #1
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Better get your reservation soon.

U.S. boom in RV shipments keeps rolling
Timothy Aeppel
(Reuters) - The boom in U.S. recreational vehicle sales keeps on rolling, thanks to a strong economy and a wave of retiring Baby Boomers and others filled with wanderlust.

Shipments of RVs in 2017 are expected to hit their highest in nearly four decades, according to data from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. That would mark the eighth straight year of growth. More here.

John

Pic of our first "RV" in 1974. I rebuilt the engine in the driveway, bearings, rings, etc. Then I spray painted it nicely and removed the bed and built a wooden camper atop the frame. 15,000 miles later I sold it. It was a good rig and we made lots of memories. That dude on the porch was our landlord in Urbana. Anybody know the year of the truck? I have forgotten.
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:02 PM   #2
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Very sure its a 1963
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:38 PM   #3
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The weird thing is a number of campgrounds here in NH have shut down just in the last year. I'm guessing the property taxes and insurance premiums have driven them out of business.
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:08 PM   #4
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no surprise shut downs....

Shipments plunged by a third in 2008 and then fell more than 30 percent in 2009. But in 2010, as the economy recovered and discretionary spending revived, sales surged more than 46 percent.

for all the "enthusiasm" in that press release...this is what it says...

2007 = 100 units sold/delivered
2008 = 66
2009 = 46
2010 = 67

quite the "surge" eh?....
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:03 PM   #5
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Interesting observation about reservation at campgrounds. In Death Valley there several campgrounds run by the National Park Service. Only one takes reservations. Guess which one is always full and which ones are generally not full.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
Shipments plunged by a third in 2008 and then fell more than 30 percent in 2009. But in 2010, as the economy recovered and discretionary spending revived, sales surged more than 46 percent.

for all the "enthusiasm" in that press release...this is what it says...

2007 = 100 units sold/delivered
2008 = 66
2009 = 46
2010 = 67

quite the "surge" eh?....
Great point! It is amazing how easy it is to fool people by throwing around percentages. It is also disappointing when the source itself, or someone of utmost authority, shows ignorance in the matter.
On our trips this year in New England, Florida, Colorado and in between, we saw every RV dealership along the highway jam packed with trailers. But are they really selling? If they are, there should be many more seen on the highway. Could it be that they are sold as cheap housing and permanently fixed in place?
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:29 PM   #7
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The closing of an RV park can happen for a variety of reasons, death, taxes, boredom, a better job offer, lack of reliable help, illness in the family, redevelopment of the land, etc.

The best indicator of an increase in sales of RVs are the actual sales figures of the units. The purchase of RVs is definitely on the increase.

My workshop partner receives royalty checks for a product he helped design that is exclusively used in the RV industry. The royalties took a hit back in the economic crisis that peaked in 2009. They have slowly but steadily been increasing in size again since. Then this last two years the increase was even better. So yes there are more RVs being purchased. The RVIA organization puts out specifics on the figures from the industry. You can look it up on their website.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:24 AM   #8
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Thor had a great earnings report this month, and stocks of other RV companies like Camping World are also doing well. Sales are strong. Lazy Days is going public soon. What is encouraging is that baby boomers are not the only market, millennials are buying as well. Many units being used as remote housing (e.g. oil field workers.) Tailgaters at sporting events are another "nontraditional" market.
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
Shipments plunged by a third in 2008 and then fell more than 30 percent in 2009. But in 2010, as the economy recovered and discretionary spending revived, sales surged more than 46 percent.

for all the "enthusiasm" in that press release...this is what it says...

2007 = 100 units sold/delivered
2008 = 66
2009 = 46
2010 = 67

quite the "surge" eh?....
Its fine if you stop at 2010. But all of the subsequent years were stronger than 2010.

2011 was 4.1 % higher than 2010 = 70 on your chart

2012 was 13.3% higher than 2011 = 79.

2013 was 12.4% higher than 2012 = 89.

2014 was 11.1% higher than 2013 = 99.

2015 was 4.9% higher than 1014 104.

2016 was 15.1% higher than 2015 = 120.

2017 is not over, but so far is stronger than 2016.

As far as reservation campsites being full first, sure. Consider some travelers plan well in advance, and travel a far distance. So rather than take a chance, they will book up the reservable sites. Meanwhile, there can be openings in the first come, first serve area. In my own case, I like to camp at Zion National Park. The reservable sites are the only one with electricity. They open up six months in advance, and are booked up within a day or two. Looking today, not a single site is available (six months from now).

As far as sales volumes, just look at the factory backlogs at all of the molded trailer companies right now. Escape did a major expansion of their production in 2017, yet they still have an 8 to 9 month wait for a new unit.
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Old 11-29-2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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backlog....

I would much rather be a factory owner with a backlog than an owner with "acres" of product in the process of getting shipped/displayed/sold. The "discretionary" nature of the product makes it subject to violent swings in demand. This cycle is getting REALLY old....it will turn sometime.

Escape's formula of direct sales to customers is the best IF it's possible/doable. It must take a certain amount of discipline to stay the course and not fall victim to the lure of "more trailers, more money". Staying small must be "hard" when everyone is clamoring for your product.

In a downturn large enough all the trailers on lots "come back"....that's what killed BF in 2008.

Reservations? no thanks...I'll never say never but...

I come from 20 odd years in boats. You learn pretty quick that trying to keep to a schedule is a very bad idea. I got used to NOT traveling to/with a schedule and enjoyed that particular aspect immensely. When I made the switch to a "land yacht" I wasn't about to change my traveling habits...especially the most fun ones.

If I have no option but to make a reservation it just tells me that there are too many people in that particular place to begin with...having the luxury of time, I'll go at a different time of year...Everybody has a slow season.

(pic shows what the dot.com bubble and the "financial crisis" did to the numbers...and how old this present cycle is)
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
Shipments plunged by a third in 2008 and then fell more than 30 percent in 2009. But in 2010, as the economy recovered and discretionary spending revived, sales surged more than 46 percent.

for all the "enthusiasm" in that press release...this is what it says...

2007 = 100 units sold/delivered
2008 = 66
2009 = 46
2010 = 67

quite the "surge" eh?....
My Algebra teacher told me once... He said "Ya know son, liars may figger, but figgers don't lie!"
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Old 11-30-2017, 05:02 AM   #12
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This seems to be the trend.

Sycamore Grove Campground In Red Bluff Recreation Area Is Now Reservations Only

A number of state park systems and a few ACE campgrounds have gone this way. Government facilities refusing to take government money??? When they are all that way I will sell my trailer.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:32 AM   #13
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Some interesting ownership trends, from RVIA (link here

Fast facts about RVers from the Profile:
- The typical RVer was 48 years old in 2011, one year younger than the 49 years recorded in 2005 and 2001.
- Median income of RVers: $62,000
- 39% of RVers had children under 18 living at home.
- RV owners aged 35-to-54 posted the largest gains in ownership rates, rising to 11.2% in 2011 from 9.0% in 2005.
- Ownership also edged higher among those aged 55 or older, rising to 9.3% from 8.6% in 2005.
- Among those under age 35, ownership rates were flat - 4.9% in 2011 vs. 5.0% in 2005.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:06 AM   #14
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State parks requiring reservations be made online. Yes that does seem to be the current trend. But the motivation for that is primarily due to mandated financial cutbacks at the State government level.

If you can replace a half dozen or more people with a computerized reservation system then that makes a great place to cut the budget. If you can hire a sub contractor to manage your reservation system for less money than doing it yourself --- even better for the budget. No budget to hire replacements for employees equals more park closures.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:26 AM   #15
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State parks requiring reservations be made online. Yes that does seem to be the current trend. But the motivation for that is primarily due to mandated financial cutbacks at the State government level.

If you can replace a half dozen or more people with a computerized reservation system then that makes a great place to cut the budget. If you can hire a sub contractor to manage your reservation system for less money than doing it yourself --- even better for the budget. No budget to hire replacements for employees equals more park closures.
Reservations allow people to buy their way to the head of the line. The expense is passed on to all, not just to the folks who use the system. There is no savings here, just cost shifting. When the cost gets too high the campgrounds will be empty and the Walmart lots will be full.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:48 AM   #16
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Reservations allow people to buy their way to the head of the line. The expense is passed on to all, not just to the folks who use the system. There is no savings here, just cost shifting. When the cost gets too high the campgrounds will be empty and the Walmart lots will be full.
Not to worry about full Walmarts Raz. There will be plenty of space. Just sleep during the day since overnights will soon be illegal. When the private campground owners see vacancies they will press (bribe) their local councils and state legislatures to outlaw free camping[/URL]. Its has happened in many cities already.

Private campgrounds and Chambers of Commerce want fancy new rigs in resort campgrounds, not frugal folks in FGRVs. They are all about freedom unless there is money to be made.

Notice that almost no public parks are expanding campground capacity in response to increased demand, while private facilities expand just outside park borders. Now many campers have to drive in daily making roads impassible all Summer. The way politics works these days we will probably see more private campgrounds inside public parks too. Oh Joy! Fifty Amps and Water Slides. Teddy Roosevelt will roll even faster in his grave.

john

Pic of me enjoying a "water slide" at Presque Isle, Porcupine Mountains State Park in Michigan's U P
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
State parks requiring reservations be made online. Yes that does seem to be the current trend. But the motivation for that is primarily due to mandated financial cutbacks at the State government level.

If you can replace a half dozen or more people with a computerized reservation system then that makes a great place to cut the budget. If you can hire a sub contractor to manage your reservation system for less money than doing it yourself --- even better for the budget. No budget to hire replacements for employees equals more park closures.

Agree with a slight spin. It may well allow states to keep parks and campgrounds open. When you have bankrupt or near bankrupt states like Illinois, the pressure on park budgets must be intense. Reducing costs keeps them open. Other posters have mentioned that state parks in their state have gone to a self funded model. So either raise fees, reduce costs, or do a mix of both.

Even better for many states (but not so great for campers), the reserve system typically has a user fee, which more than likely covers the entire cost.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:30 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
Reservations allow people to buy their way to the head of the line. The expense is passed on to all, not just to the folks who use the system. There is no savings here, just cost shifting. When the cost gets too high the campgrounds will be empty and the Walmart lots will be full.
If it weren't for reservations, I would sell my Scamp tomorrow. Vacation time is very limited and scheduled far in advance. Some of the places we like to visit are a full day's drive away. If we got there and there were no sites left (almost certain), there are no real alternatives besides a very expensive motel. Walmart parking?... Banned by local ordinance. In any case it's not my idea of camping or a vacation, especially with kids.

First-come-first-served, given the vast under-supply of public campgrounds during peak travel season, is inherently unfair. It favors those with unlimited time and flexible schedules- mainly retirees and full-timers. At one place we frequent, camping wannabes start lining up at 6am to wait for the gate station to open at 8am. The reservation system is only unfair to those without internet access and/or credit cards- a fairly small percentage of the camping population.

I know there is abuse of the system- people who book many, sometimes overlapping, sites on a "just in case" basis. There are lots of ways to address abuse to make sure the most people have the fairest access to limited publicly owned, developed campsites. Increase cancellation penalties. Suspend reservation privileges for people with multiple cancellations or no-shows. Open no-shows for last-minute campers at 6pm (unless held for late arrival). I do see a lot of sites that go unused all night with reservation markers on them. Some states are already adopting these kinds of policies.

I also support maintaining some non-reservable sites with a more limited stay limit (2-3 days) for spontaneous travelers. I support shorter stay limits in general during peak seasons. Long-term camping is best left to private RV parks. For the most popular places I would support a lottery system, rather than the silliness of thousands of people all trying to snag a site at one time. There's lots of room for creative thinking when it comes to public campgrounds, reservations, and fair access.

Costs have been rising, and the debate about how much of that cost should be borne by taxes and how much by users is legitimate. Thankfully, fees at state and local parks in Arizona are still fairly reasonable compared to other places. What if it were $50/night or more? Depends on where it is. Depends on the cost of other forms of travel & recreation. Hotels and motels are going up, too.

I do have my reservation set for our next Scamp outing. At $20/night for 3 nights in prime spring training and desert bloom season plus the $8 reservation fee, I consider Arizona state parks a great vacation bargain. This particular park has a large non-reservable section as well as a paved overflow lot with communal picnic tables, so there may be a site or two available midweek if you arrive early.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:48 PM   #19
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Jon, did you read my post #12? It will put things in context.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:16 PM   #20
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When boondocking is no longer allowed on any public lands, that is when I will stop camping.
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