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April 1st, 2016

Memo From Frank & Dave

Roughly 9% of households aged 35 to 54 own an RV and roughly 10% of those 55 and over own an RV. In a country of 300,000,000 people, that’s a huge number of RVs. Many people are unaware of this statistic. But it explains why the RV industry is around a $40 billion business. There are few products that are so embraced by the U.S. population. Rates of boat ownership are only about half that figure. So why do so many Americans own RVs? There are many reasons, ranging from ease of travel to family bonding. But what’s even more important to RV park owners is where they are parking all those RVs. There are plenty of RVs out there – but it’s up to you to get them to park on your property.

Drawing Attention With 3-D Objects

Airplane
Train
Giant Statue

There is probably nothing that garners more attention than seeing a giant three-dimensional object in a setting in which you’d never expect it. Route 66 was full of such items, like a giant dinosaur or a 50’ diameter donut. But can you bring such an item successfully to your RV park to attract attention and garner customers?

Real surplus items

Items such as airplanes, train engines, cabooses, British double-decker buses and the like are one great attention-getter. While these items are very expensive if in running condition, the value falls off a cliff if they are non-running and unworthy of renovation. A salvaged caboose, for example, costs around $15,000. The biggest issue with these object is the cost of transporting them. Obviously, the worst choice would be a train engine, due to its enormous weight. But you can transport a salvaged plane for a reasonable amount. And perhaps the best buy is a 1920’s automobile, or a 1950’s hot rod. In non-running condition, these can cost as little as $2,000 and be towed yourself with a U-haul car carrier. Sometimes you can generate even more interest by placing these items on top of a pole, so they can be seen more clearly from the road.

Giant fantasy items

An alternative to scrapped real objects are fantasy items built of steel, fiberglass or concrete. These giant additions to your RV park frontage can be even tied to the theme of your business. For example, the Yogi Bear RV park at 6-Flags in St. Louis features a giant Yogi Bear statue. Some of these are made from scratch, and others are purchased on the used market. A quick search on Google found a 20’ tall Paul Bunyan for sale for $20,000.

Although seemingly costly, this can be a great investment

Because of the difficulty and expense of putting together the purchase, transport and installation of a giant 3-D object, you don’t see many of them. And that makes them extra valuable in garnering attention. In fact, you can probably remember most of these that you’ve driven past in the past five years. So when you look at that $20,000 price tag, you need to think of what that could do to your RV park occupancy. Over a five-year window, $20,000 works out to $13 per day. If that object could bring in just one extra customer every other day, it would pay itself off in 60 months.

Conclusion

Big objects can sometimes yield big results. Sometimes you need to go big or go home.

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American Pickers Buys A 1948 Airstream

1948 Airstream RV Front
1948 Airstream RV Living Room
1948 Airstream RV Towing

The popular show American Pickers recently focused on the negotiation and purchase of a 1948 Airstream RV. They found this item inside a warehouse, in original condition. Frank and Mike (the stars of the show) revealed that they had been trying to buy a classic Airstream for years, but the price was always way too high. In this case, the seller agreed to $8,000, which seemed a bargain. Since they needed to have the Airstream appraised, we won’t know the actual value until a future show.

New Park Model From The Tunica Show

New RV Park Model Design

On a recent trip to the Tunica Show, I came across this new design park model. It’s a great looking take on the whole concept of RV park model. Imagine what this would rent for per night in your RV park, not to mention how much nicer it would make your RV park look. They keep consistently improving these designs, and they have become virtual works of art, almost like expensive sports cars.

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