RV Park & Campground Business

rv park and campground business

Learn about trends affecting the RV Park and Campground industry and find more information on opening your own RV Parks and Campgrounds business. Don’t forget you can receive free or low-cost training and free professional business advice, from your local Small Business Development Center!

View our related business reports here: Bed and Breakfast Business and Travel & Tourism Industry Research.

Get a free RV Parks and Campgrounds business plan template on our Business Plans page.

RV Parks and Campgrounds Industry COVID-19 Resources

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, shelter-in-place orders and physical distancing measures have affected many businesses. Here is a look at the impact to the campgrounds and RV parks industry.

During the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, campgrounds and RV parks that rely on national park visitors for revenue were at a loss when the National Park Service issued park closures nationwide. However, it is projected that the decrease in outdoor activity will be short-lived as frequent campers and non-campers express interest in camping once restrictions are lifted, according to the 2020 North American Camping Report by KOA. In fact, the pandemic has led many people to participate more in outdoor recreation than before, leading to surge in camping among other outdoor activities. Moreover, RV camping may be considered the safest form of travel compared to other accommodations such as hotels. Indeed, COVID-19 is causing a boom of sorts in the RV industry with RV shipments up 54% in July over 2019.

Here are additional COVID-19 business resources specific to this industry:

RV Parks and Campgrounds Industry Overview & Trends

NAICS Code: 721211; SIC Code: 7033

This RV Parks Industry market research report excerpt is from First Research, which also sells a full version of this report.

  • “Companies in this industry operate facilities to accommodate campers using tents, travel trailers, and recreational vehicles (RVs). Major companies include Kampgrounds of America (KOA) and Thousand Trails (both based in the US), as well as Discovery Holiday Parks (Australia); Siblu (France); and the UK-based Camping and Caravanning Club, Park Resorts, and Parkdean Holiday Parks.
  • Outside the US, RV camping (or caravanning, as it is often called in Europe) is popular in countries such as the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. RVs are growing in popularity in China as consumers spend more on vacations and leisure activities. The US recreational vehicle parks industry includes about 4,400 RV parks and campgrounds with combined annual revenue of about $2.8 billion.
  • COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE: Demand is driven by personal income and tourist travel. The profitability of individual campgrounds depends on site occupancy rate and effective marketing. Large campgrounds have advantages in diversity of site offerings and amenities. Small campgrounds can compete effectively by marketing to their target demographic and by obtaining desirable locations. The US RV parks and campgrounds industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 25% of industry revenue. Most RV park operators are privately held, single-location companies.
  • PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY: Campground rentals and other accommodations account for about 80% of industry revenue; other sources of revenue include membership fees (5%); and sales of food and beverages (4%).”

A variety of additional resources and publications provide additional information on the RV parks and campgrounds industry, including:

RV Parks and Campgrounds Customer Demographics

IBISWorld reports on the major market segments for Campgrounds & RV Parks in the US. The full version of the report is available for purchase.

  • IBISWorld estimates 2020 Industry revenue at $8.7 billion, with major markets for the industry segmented by people aged 34 years and under (41%), 35 to 54 years (36%), and 55 years and over (23%).
  • Making up the largest portion of campgrounds and RV parks industry revenue, people aged 34 and under have increased participation in outdoor activities. Free Wi-Fi and music festivals with campsites have contributed to the segment’s growth over the past five years.
  • People aged 35 to 54 have typically reached their peak earnings material, which contributes to more disposable income and free time to travel.
  • People aged 55 and over currently represent the smallest segment, but IBISWorld projects they will become the fastest growing segment in the industry. Almost 10% of RV owners are over the age of 55, and they typically have more disposable income and leisure time due to retirement.

Additional information about RV parks and campgrounds customers:

RV Park and Campground Startup Costs

Campground Business startup costs from Entrepreneur Magazine:

  • “Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home
  • Franchises Available? Yes
  • Online Operation? No”

Find additional RV parks and campgrounds startup costs information through the following resources:

RV Park and Campground Business Plans

RV Parks and Campgrounds Business Associations

Trade associations often are excellent sources of information on an industry. Here are some relevant RV park and campground associations:

RV Parks and Campgrounds Business Regulations

The section provides a general awareness of RV park and campground regulations to consider when starting a RV park or campground business. Businesses may be subject to state and local rules and regulations, so be sure to check with your state and municipality for rules and regulations that may impact business operations in your area. Although there is no one official agency regulating RV parks and campgrounds, standards exist for accessibility and fire protection:

RV Parks and Campgrounds Publications

RV Park and Campground Employment Trends

The average salary in the campground industry may be around $39,000. However, recent market research within the RV Parks and Campgrounds industry suggests:

  • 2019 payroll per employee: $28,018
  • Management positions comprise 7.5% of employees in the industry
  • Average industry hourly pay for office and administrative jobs: $14.71

RV parks and campgrounds encompass various roles, and lodging managers represent a major role within the industry as they oversee all operations on the property. For overall employment and wage estimates by occupation within this industry, click here. Here is a labor market summary report from the Bureau of Labor statistics focused on Lodging Managers:

RV park and campground employment trends

  • “Pay: The median annual wage for lodging managers was $54,430 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $105,720. Most lodging managers work full time.
  • Work Environment: Lodging managers held about 57,200 jobs in 2019. The pressures of coordinating a wide range of activities, turning a profit for investors, and dealing with dissatisfied guests can be stressful.
  • Job Outlook: Employment of lodging managers is projected to decline 12 percent from 2019 to 2029. Stays in traditional lodging establishments have been declining as short-term rentals have risen and offered competition. Both leisure and business traveler bookings at hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments have declined due to the increase in available options offered by online booking sites, which make it easier for individuals to rent out their space. This is expected to result in decreased demand for lodging managers.”

Additional Small Business Resources

Already in business or thinking about starting your own small business? Check out our various small business resources:

Remember, you can also receive free professional business advice and free or low-cost business training from your local Small Business Development Center!

Photo credit: Photo by Damon on Road on Unsplash

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