As you firm up your park’s marketing plans, amenities and activities for 2022, be sure to check out the trends identified in two recent research studies: the 2021 Generational Camping Report sponsored by ARVC and RMS and the 2021 North American Camping Report sponsored by Kampgounds of America, Inc. (KOA). Both reports offer excellent insights into the mindset and motivation of today’s campers.
Key Findings of ARVC’s 2021 Generational Camping Report
The survey is based on the responses of more than 500 people, aged 18 and older and living in the U.S., who have been camping, RVing or glamping in the last 12 months. Here are a few key findings:
- Many people plan to spend even more nights camping this year.
Roughly half of the survey’s respondents (56%) anticipate spending more nights camping in the next 12 months. An additional 40% plan on camping about the same amount. Only 3% plan on spending fewer nights camping.
- The top three reasons given for camping are: a general love of the outdoors, to get away from crowds and noise and to explore a new destination.
The survey found that Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than Boomers and the Silent Generation to go camping to explore new destinations.
- Over half of those surveyed prefer to camp at privately-owned campgrounds.
An important trend to note is that Millennials were more likely than Gen Xers or the Boomer/Silent generations to prefer privately-owned campgrounds.
- The typical respondent travels 98 miles to go camping.
The Boomer/Silent Generation respondents are willing to travel slightly farther (121 miles). Gen Xers are typically willing to travel 106 miles and Millennials, 91 miles.
- The top three amenities respondents considered when choosing a campground were restroom/shower facilities, a scenic view and full-hookup RV sites.
These were followed, in order of preference, by the availability of a picnic area, a swimming pool/splash pad/waterfront and a variety of accommodation options such as cabins, safari tents, tree houses or teepees.
- Three in four respondents report using an online search to find the right campground.
Millennials are the most likely to use this tool (80%), followed by Gen Xers (73%) and the Boomer/Silent Generations (63%). About half of the respondents (46%) typically prefer to book their campground completely online without assistance from the park staff.
- More than half of the respondents reported that the ability to connect directly with staff upon check-in is the most important factor relating to their onsite experience.
This was followed, in order of importance, by entertainment options, contactless/mobile check-in, text reminders/communication with the park staff, scheduled activity options and a personal escort to the site/assistance with setting up their RV.
- When asked which type of accommodations they would be most likely to use in 2022 that they had not used in the last year, a full-service cabin with a bathroom was the top pick.
Rounding out the top ten choices, in order of preference, are camper van, glamping/safari tent, pop-up or pickup camper, RV/motorhome, fifth-wheel trailer, rustic cabin with no bathroom, teepee, yurt and tent.
- Millennials are most likely to own an electric vehicle or plan to purchase one in the next 12 months, followed by Gen Xers and the Baby Boomer/Silent Generations.
Four in five respondents who own or plan to purchase an electric vehicle in the next 12 months reported that a charging station is an important consideration when choosing a camping destination.
A Few Key Findings of KOA’s 2021 North American Camping Report
The results are based on more than 3,900 surveys completed among a random sample of U.S. and Canadian households. The report found that:
- Campers are more diverse than ever.
Noting a continuing trend, the report found that campers are becoming more representative of many diverse populations and communities of people. In 2020, a full 60% of first-time campers were from non-white groups, the highest rate in the report’s seven-year history.
- More people are camping and they’re camping more often.
Just as ARVC’s 2021 Generational Camping Report found, campers are reporting an increase in camping nights compared to past years.
- Couples with children are driving the enthusiasm and interest in camping.
According to the KOA survey, “couples with children are camping’s best advocates. In fact, 63% indicate they would recommend camping to others as a way to travel and explore. Couples with children are also fueling interest in RV experiences.”
- With few travel options, the interest in trying new camping experiences increases.
Campers of all experience levels are craving unique ways to get outdoors, whether it’s a new camper interested in RVing or a veteran camper wanting to try a glamping experience.
- Interest in RVs and the RV lifestyle is at an all-time high.
The use of RVs as a primary way to camp has grown steadily since the inception of the report in 2014 and now reflects an all-time high of approximately 13 million households. RV owners also have an increased interest in upgrading their RV in the coming year, especially those who are new to the lifestyle. This is especially true as campers take more trips and find their rig may not meet their current camping style.
- The growth of remote work and virtual schooling due to COVID-19 makes access to technology while camping more important than ever.
This is particularly true among first-time campers whose decision to camp is likely a direct result of the pandemic. On average, access to cellular and Wi-Fi service generates six additional camper nights.
These are just a few of the key findings of these research studies. To review the complete results of each survey, log in to your membership account at arvc.org, and go to the Resource Library in the Benefits section.