<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> RV Park Owners Identify Concerns with RV Guests
NOTE: While this is designated as an ARCHIVE FILE, it is retained despite the date of first publication because it offers information of continuing current interest and/or for its historical perspective. Please be guided accordingly.




[Revised 08/08]

[Ed Note 10/2011] While this survey was done several years ago, there is every reason to believe the concerns identified here are as valid today as when first documented.]

We've done lots of surveys here that test RVer preferences and concerns. When we did some presentations for ARVCa few years ago we decided we'd turn the tables a bit. Having a somewhat captive audience, we passed out a survey form containing a list of 15 "characteristics" of errant behavior by RVers -- and asked the park owners to rate them on a scale of 0-10, with 10 representing the issues of greatest concern.

We thought this exercise would be an interesting balance to surveys we'd done previously that look at such issues as "What do RVers like most and least about RV parks". In the past we've collected information only from the viewpoint of the RVer. This time we were going to test the perceptions not of RVers, but of the RV park owners and staff.

We created our "list" of 15 issues on the basis of conversation with several different park owners. On the basis of those conversations we distilled what appeared to be the items most frequently mentioned by park owners as troublesome issues they had to contend with among their RV guests.

From the survey forms we passed out in our class, we received back nearly 100 survey responses which had been fully completed. A surprising number took the time to add lengthy comments about RV conduct they found the most troubling. While we don't pretend this to be a highly scientific sample, we found the responses enlightening. And we think all RVers should be aware of the degree of concern which park owners typically assign to these various categories.


Here is the list of potential concerns that were included in the survey:

1. Dishonest claim of number of persons (or pets) at check-in.

2. Failure to pick up after pets.

3. Unattended RVs with barking dogs.

4. Improper parking of vehicles (on grass, blocking traffic, etc).

5. RVer "attitudes" towards staff -- tired, demanding, pushy, etc.

6. Big Rig owners -- flaunting expensive rigs, asserting self-importance.

7. Inability to get along with other RV neighbors.

8. Improper treatment of washroom and other common facilities.

9. Staying fewer than the number of reserved days during high season.

10. Failure to show up for guaranteed reservation -- demanding refund.

11. Driving too fast inside park.

12. Unreasonable demands concerning specific site assignments.

13. Loud, late, or obnoxious behavior.

14. Misuse of public phone or modem hookup facility.

15. Failure to vacate site by checkout time.


The following chart shows a tabulation of the average score on each of the survey questions. We've abbreviated the question on the chart to make them fit, but you'll get the idea. Keep in mind the higher the average score, the more concerned park owners are with the issue being rated:



As responsible pet owners, many of us will be dismayed to find that the top two problem areas for park owners both relate to man's best friend. Failure to adhere to reasonable speed limits within the park is right up there too. At other end of the scale, it appears that big rig owners are not singled out by park owners for exhibiting signs of exaggerated self importance. However all RVers as a group do draw a fair degree of complaints for their "attitudes" towards staff ("obnoxious RVers"). It was especially disturbing to see such a high rating assigned to the category of "improper treatment of washroom and other common facilities" ("trashing facilities"), since wonton acts of vandalism seem completely at odds with the many wonderful RVers we meet in our own travels. One can only speculate whether this might be attributable to unsupervised kids. Indeed that surmise is supported by the surprising number of park owners who wrote in comments saying that even worse than failure to monitor pets is the failure to supervise and monitor children -- or leaving children alone in RVs!

Perhaps the most striking finding in our unscientific sampling was the "dispersion" of the scores. One would anticipate that the survey responses would have been fairly uniform among respondents. But just the opposite was true. The responses tended to fall into one of two groups -- each group being of approximately equal size. The first group tended to assign high values to most of the questions. The second group tended to assign very low values to most of the questions. We have no way of correlating whether those who see most of these as very significant problems are from large or small RV parks; or whether they cater to overnighters or long term guests. However it's clear from the pattern of responses that about half the park owners see these issues as being very troublesome; while the other half tends to view them as relatively insignificant. We think the park owners' associations should consider doing some work of their own to find out more about this subject. To our knowledge the survey results reported above are the only data published. And based on these preliminary findings, we think more complete information would be useful.

For purposes of RVers, we think it's important to recognize the types of "problems" we represent -- and take steps not only to ensure that we're doing our part as responsible RVers, but in polite and diplomatic ways help to ensure that other RVers "get the message" as well. Surely the same problems that make the park owners' lives difficult tend to diminish the quality of the RV lifestyle for those who are trying to enjoy it.

We don't believe that the summary information we've presented here suggests that RVers are somehow more troublesome than boaters, or golfers, or hunters, or birders, or bikers, or -- you name it. But we do think it's useful to know just a bit more about the things we can do, and the influences we can have, which will make RVing as enjoyable as it possibly can be for all concerned.