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Good Sam Convenes Park Advisory Council

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine


In an effort to build stronger business relationships with affiliated parks, the Good Sam RV Park and Resort Network hosted the inaugural meeting last month of the Good Sam Park Advisory Council.

Made up of representatives from 12 Good Sam Parks, the council met in Fort Worth, Texas, to share input with Good Sam executives on network programs designed to increase membership and generate revenues for all 1,700 Good Sam Parks.

“The mission of the council is to determine how to be better business partners with parks,” said Bruce Hoster, vice president of the Good Sam RV Park and Resort Network. “We want our programs to be more effective.”

The council’s formation comes as the Good Sam Club undergoes sweeping changes, with membership swelling from 850,000 to 1.3 million members following the club’s merger with Camping World President’s Club last year.

Good Sam management has made significant modifications to the Good Sam Network’s new member program, in which parks sell Good Sam memberships to guests and keep the revenue. A revamped bonus program rewards parks for selling as few as 25 memberships per year and offers $5,000 for parks whose sales exceed 2,000.

On the publishing side, even more changes are in the works. For 2013, the company will debut the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, the product of a merger of the Trailer Life Directory and Woodall’s Campground Directory.

Council Shares Feedback

Hoster said the council’s ongoing feedback should help ensure that Good Sam programs are effective going forward.

“Programs only work well when they involve people on the front lines,” he said. “They have to work at the point of purchase.”

The council reflects the diversity of Good Sam Parks across North America, said Ann Emerson, publisher and vice president of Good Sam’s multi-media division. The geographically varied council membership includes parks of all sizes, from mom-and-pop campgrounds to resorts run by ownership companies. Some of the members are longtime Good Sam Network affiliates, while others joined recently.

“The meeting was a way to get acquainted with what Good Sam is doing,” said Patrick O’Neal, general manager of Florida’s Camping on the Gulf. “It was good to hear that Good Sam wants to listen to the parks.”

One of the insights gleaned from council members was the need to reconsider the description of road and pad surfaces in RV parks.

“A lot of composite surfaces are better than pavement in some ways, such as being greener,” Hoster said. “Because pavement doesn’t allow the ground to absorb water, there are some areas where the government discourages paving in favor of composite surfaces.”

Revenue generation by Good Sam Parks also took up a good portion of the discussion.

“We showed the council the first draft of a webinar they can use to train their staff on selling Good Sam memberships,” Emerson said. The finished webinar is now available for viewing on the Good Sam Network home page.

Also discussed were potential partnerships between Good Sam Parks and Camping World stores, where Good Sam Club members enjoy a member discount.

“We talked about how we can use Camping World as a wholesale outlet for campground stores,” Emerson said.

Good Sam Parks also were eager to forge stronger partnerships with the 1,500 Good Sam Club chapters.

The council plans to meet each April as well as in November during the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo. Good Sam will also maintain open channels of communications with the council throughout the year.

“We’ll reach out via emails and other communications,” Hoster said, “so we can enlist parks’ help with all our initiatives to grow their business and ours.”

For more information, contact Katelyn Smith at [email protected] or call 877-202-2342.

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