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Campgrounds May Be Seasonal – Risk Management Is Not

This coming weekend we will celebrate Labor Day. For most Americans this holiday marks the end of the summer season. And, as such, many seasonal businesses which operate chiefly in the spring and summer months will prepare to close. These types of businesses vary by geographical location, but can include pool maintenance, children’s summer camps, lawn and yard maintenance, water raft excursions, and both public and private campgrounds. And while private campgrounds may be seasonal – risk management is not!

Just how popular are campgrounds?

Over the years, we have published a number of articles dealing with camping, as well as risk management; however, sometimes we forget to focus on the sheer number of particular business types. If you want to get a quick idea of how many campgrounds exist in the United States, you can visit Camping USA’s website, where they list by state links to RV parks, private campgrounds, Forest Service/ BLM camps, miscellaneous campgrounds, State Parks, and National Parks. For example, in our own state of Tennessee there is a variety of 196 campgrounds! Additionally, Allstays provides an interactive map of the Tennessee Independent Campgrounds.

The Outdoor Industry Association publishes a yearly American Camper Report. Here are a few interesting statistics:

    • 40.5 million American went camping at least once in 2016
    • Tents were the most popular type of shelter
    • 43% of campsite reservations were made the day of arrival to the camping destination
    • 88% of campers participated in multiple outdoor activities
    • 74% of adult participants used a Smartphone while camping

Finally, in October 2017, industry statistics reported by IBISWorld indicated 52,658 people were employed in 14,776 campgrounds which produced $7 billion in revenue.

Now let’s address campground ownership and risk management

For sure, many risks cannot be controlled by the owners. Consider weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding. Then there are wildfires, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Numerous news headlines speak to these issues.

  1. Cohutta Wilderness, nearby campground closed after high winds, flash flood damage – July 25, 2018
  2. Campground continuously floods after 416 fire – August 8, 2018
  3. California Wildfires Force Evacuations Amid Hot, Dry Conditions; Cranston Fire Started by Arson, Officials Say – July 26, 2018
  4. State to help pave Stinking Creek Road in Campbell County – August 21, 2018
  5. Bristol officials say Saturday storms brought ‘a once in ten years flood’ – August 20, 2018

But risk management evolves, as risk is dynamic. And one needs to anticipate risk by being aware. Your campground is an asset that changes with age. Infrastructure needs to be inventoried on a regular basis. For example, do you have a water well that is your main source of water for showers, toilets, stores or restaurants? Do you have a septic system? If so, when was it last serviced? What is the condition of your roads and pathways? Do you offer electricity service? When was it last inspected? Do you have a foliage? When were the trees last examined for disease or dangerous branches or roots? Do you have a swimming pool or hot tub? Have they been winterized?

Risk management can also include having a marketing plan, creating and maintaining your website. Monitor your website traffic and check your website daily for any problems. Don’t forget to walk your grounds…often. Pretend you are a guest…see the property the way a new guest might view your property. Take photos or videos to share with your team or contractors. When and if you are away from your campground, have a property manager even in the off-season. This will allow you to respond to risks appropriately and efficiently. Finally, manage and review your company’s financials frequently by tracking your cash flow (maybe daily) – if you need to delegate this responsibility, make sure you choose the right person.

Risk management should include reviewing your RV and campground insurance

John Bailey Insurance Agency is proud to invite you to learn about our RV and Campground Insurance. We position our clients in the care of an RV Park insurance carrier that has a stable “A” rated AM Best rating, accessible claims help, underwriting campground expertise, 15+ years’ experience, and value-based premium amounts.

Remember, an RV Park owner must oversee every aspect of their operation, our team services that relationship with integrity and superior customer service.

We are here to help you insure a great life!

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