Risk Vs. Reward With RV Parks And How To Fool The Pack

RV parks, like all real estate, offers higher yields in situations of higher risk. But this can also serve as a buying opportunity if you can find methods to lower the risk while keeping the higher yield. So how can you have the best of both worlds with an RV park?

Make your property more attractive for longer stays

There is a discount given for properties that are not perceived as being “destination” in nature. The average RV owner spends 23 nights on the road per year, and the distance they travel has reduced. So you are battling for those 23 nights along with the other RV parks out there. How can you get more of them? By offering better amenities. Even if your property is lacking a National Park next door, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make staying there more enjoyable and worthy of a lengthier stay. Here are some of the best amenities you can create at any RV park:

  • More extensive outdoor cooking facilities (on site and communal). Outdoor cooking is rate as the #1 priority of RV owners – so make it a bigger deal. Offering food items that are needed in your office/store also is a big help here.

  • Mini-golf. Fun for all ages and everyone can participate. Studies have shown it to be another customer favorite.

  • Splash pad. Less expensive than a pool and with far less maintenance. In addition, anyone can participate and there is not risk of drowning so no stress.

Better marketing is an immediate score

Many properties get sold at a discount because they have had historically lower occupancy. However, often this is not the property’s fault but rather the owners. It’s shocking how many RV park owners have still not embraced on-line marketing basics, such as SEO visibility and even a decent website. This is a huge opportunity for the buyer who, through simple application of these efforts, can immediately increase the occupancy by a huge margin. Don’t know what great on-line marketing looks like? Just find the website of a well-established RV park and make that your template.

Find ways to create longer-term tenancy with park models, tiny homes and embracing retirees

While the average RV owner spends 23 nights in an RV park per year, others spend 365. Just one of those customers is worth more than ten times a normal one. And there are others who spend months at a time, especially during the pandemic and the endless quarantines. So how can you attract these longer tenancies? In the case of those escaping the pandemic or just wanting to spend time in the outdoors (maybe for the summer) and don’t have an RV, the answer is having park models that can be rented by the night. For those who want to retire into the outdoors and don’t have an RV, the answer is to have tiny homes available for rent or sale (or at least to allow them to be placed in your RV park by the owner). And to attract those who are wanting to retire in your property with their personal RV, it’s all about having a positive attitude regarding this concept. With 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring per day in the U.S., this is a huge market and yet far too many RV park owners are missing out.

A new attitude

If you have enthusiasm about your property, it’s contagious. And if you make it fun to stay there, then customers will stay longer. It’s a worn-out cliché that you need to greet the customer with a smile, but it’s actually true. And it also helps if you think long-term on their arrival, by offering typed lists of things to do locally as well as a literature rack of local offerings. If you are brimming with optimism and confidence, your customers will share in that mojo and not want to leave.


RV parks offer the opportunity to create a great deal by allowing smart buyers to buy at discounts and then fix the problem fairly quickly. When you can buy at a lower price and higher cap rate – and then take that even higher with good stewardship – that’s how you make big money with an RV park.

Frank Rolfe has been an active investor in RV parks for nearly two decades. As a result of his large collection of RV and mobile home parks, he has amassed a virtual reference book of knowledge on what makes for a successful RV park investment, as well as the potential pitfalls that destroy many investors.