Industry Offers Plenty of Opportunities to Learn from Experts and Other Park Owners

For many glamping park developers this is their first foray into the outdoor hospitality industry.

That is what makes the outdoor hospitality industry so interesting. It has this ability to attract people from different career paths and readjust their future. Bringing into the industry a variety of new ideas, perspectives and attitudes that have really worked to push innovation.

However, most new entrants to the outdoor hospitality industry have a tremendous learning curve when it comes to understanding the business and all that developing and operating a park entails.

I have heard from many park developers that building an RV park, campground or glamping park is like constructing a city. Parks need water, utilities, roads and more to ensure that they are comfortable and provide what campers are looking for.

For most glamping park developers there may be less of a focus on providing utility hookups but for many they are taking a more intense approach to developing amenities — including unique dining experiences and excursions.

Whatever you plan to provide at your park — it is important to engage with others who have been down a similar road. They can offer experience that might help you avoid costly mistakes or customer pinch points that lead to negative reviews.

But how do you engage with fellow glamping park developers and owners? Below are some groups and organizations that can help you engage and potentially avoid costly mistakes.

The Glamping Show USA

Started two years ago as a way to connect glamping park operators and developers with the information they need to operate successful businesses, The Glamping Show USA hosts an annual conference that features seminars, workshops and an expo, with industry vendors from around the world.

This year the show is being held at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds Event Center in Aurora, Colo., from Oct. 5-6. Last year’s show was held virtually due to the COVID-19 crisis. The inaugural in-person show in 2019 attracted more than 500 attendees.

The Glamping Show USA also recently launched a B2B magazine for the glamping industry, Glamping Business Americas, which is published on a quarterly basis.

American Glamping Association

The American Glamping Association was founded with a mission to help connect glamping park developers and operators with each other and with other industry experts.

They have a new podcast series, online marketing opportunities for individual businesses, a robust industry network, business plan review and member access to industry resources and news. The association is also working on an accreditation process for individual glamping parks.

National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC)

ARVC has been supporting RV parks, campgrounds and glamping parks for decades, and advocates for issues that impact parks at the local, state and federal levels. It also operates GoCampingAmerica.com, which serves as a marketing and booking site for parks across North America.

Besides its annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference — being held this year from Nov. 8-11 in in Raleigh, N.C. — which features seminars, workshops, owner networking events, an expo and more, ARVC also hosts prospective owners’ workshops and the National School of RV Park & Campground Management.

ARVC offers access to experts in park ownership that can help glamping park developers navigate getting permits to build, local and state rules, understanding NFPA 1194 and more.

Facebook Groups

There are numerous private Facebook Groups that are designed to allow park developers and owners to bounce ideas and share challenges with each other. Below are a few of the key groups that I know of, although there are probably more that you could join. \

Woodall’s Campground Magazine (WCM)

Time for a little self-promotion. As editor of WCM I know firsthand how WCM offers park owners access to the news, trends and information they need to help develop and operate their businesses.

WCM’s print magazine publishes monthly and its website at WOODALLSCM.com is updated five-days-a-week with news. WCM also offers a daily eblasts that sends industry news right to your inbox.

The best part? WCM offers all of this for free.

What is the Point of all This?

The outdoor hospitality industry is a unique one. Park owners and developers love to share information and help newbies out.

That means prospective glamping park owners have a wealth of information at their fingertips that can help them better prepare to build and operate their parks.

A park is a large investment, it is best to heed the advice of experts and learn from people who have been in your shoes before.

Other contributors