So, you're interested in buying a campground or RV park: Here are a few things to consider first.

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#1 Introduction to Campground Ownership.
So, you're looking to buy a campground or RV park. Congratulations and welcome to the world of outdoor lodging! Campgrounds and RV parks offer one of the most affordable forms of accommodation available in the United States. According to IBIS World, the campground and RV market will generate $7.5 billion in revenue in 2020. That is a huge portion of the US lodging industry. While owning a campground is no easy task (think of it like operating an outdoor hotel), campgrounds do provide an opportunity to generate attractive returns within a highly fragmented industry that continues to exhibit growing demand. For those looking to get better acquainted with the camping industry, below is a very brief industry overview.
61% of American households contain someone who camps
More than six million households have started camping since 2014
On average, RV'ing is 1/4 to 1/2
the cost of traditional travel
"Plug and play" real estate - while the land and amenities are owned by the campground, the RVs are owned by the guests who pay a fee to the campground for use of the property
While the demand for campground spaces continues to increase, the development of new supply remains limited
Campgrounds offer investors higher profit margins than their most comparable alternatives
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#2 Due Diligence: What to know before you buy.
Whether you are an experienced real estate investor or are a first-time buyer, there are certain unique considerations that need to be made when buying a campground or RV park.

Given that relatively few new campgrounds and RV parks have been built over the past thirty years, many campgrounds and RV parks operate with older infrastructure and physical improvements. As such, you need to be acutely aware of these when you're looking to purchase a park of your own. Understanding this can play a big role in the outcome of your business plan and in your investment's success.

Below is a high-level list of items to consider as you work through your campground or RV park's due diligence.
Infrastructure: Most campgrounds offer RV sites with electricity, sewer, and water connections. Yet the quality of each of these infrastructure items can vary widely.

1. How many of the sites offer 20 amp service vs. 30 amp service vs. 50 amp service?
2. Is there an ability to increase the capacity of electricity if needed?
3. If you will be offering spaces to monthly- or seasonal-guests (where billing back the cost of a guest's electricity usage is an industry norm) you'll need meters on those sites. How many of the sites are metered?
4. When was the electric wiring installed, and by who? What type of conduit was used if any? We have seen more than a few campgrounds where non-commercial grade wiring was used to save money.
5. Is the campground on city-sewer? If not, what is the age and condition of the septic system?
Team: If you do not plan to operate the campground or RV park yourself, you will need a team to help you manage the day-to-day operations.

1. Who is currently managing the campground? What are their specific roles and operating responsibilities?
2. What roles are needed to appropriately serve guests? What does the local employment base look like?
3. If you plan to manage the campground yourself, what information do you need from the current team to make the transition as seamless as possible?
4. What is the minimum wage in that state or jurisdiction? Is it scheduled to increase in the near future?
Accommodations: Campgrounds are more than land with parking spots. A considerable portion of revenue comes from the rental of cabins and non-traditional accommodations.

1. What is the "mix" of the cabins (basic studio vs. two-bedroom with a bathroom and kitchen, etc.) and how does that compare to the needs of today's and tomorrow's guests? Like RV sites, not all cabins are equally desirable.
2. If the cabins appear old and worn, what will it cost to replace them, and what will that replacement schedule cost to effectuate?


Buildings, Amenities & Personal Property: In addition to providing accommodations, many campgrounds have a store, swimming pool, playgrounds, activity areas amongst other improvements. Additionally, the acquisition of the campground should include the personal property needed to continue operating the business. Think landscaping equipment, tractors, and hand tools.

1. What is the age of the improvements? What is the condition of the pool? A "simple" pool resurfacing can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
2. Is the store updated or does it need to be remodeled? How old are the computers?
3. Does the seller intend to keep any of the on-site tools? How much will it cost you to replace that equipment?
Topography:

1. If your business plan assumes that you will be able to add sites, what components of the existing topography will make expansion easier or more challenging? Make sure to review flood plane data.
#3 Choose your team: Professional management.
Culture: Is the management company's culture, mission, and values in alignment with your vision for the property? Their culture will directly impact your teams' and guests' experience.
Alignment: How is the management company compensated? Is it based entirely off of the campground's total revenue, or does the compensation structure factor in the campground's profit as well?
Systems & Tools: Is the management company partial to any specific software or vendors? If so, why? How do they handle reservations? Revenue management? Recruiting? Digital marketing?
Track Record: What is the company's track record?
If you plan to work with a professional campground and RV park management company, there are a few key points to consider.
#4 Industry resources.
Maybe you've found the perfect campground and you now need the perfect management team, or perhaps you're commencing your search altogether. At LLA Hospitality, our goal is to make the process of owning and operating a campground a seamless and delightful experience. No matter where you are in your journey into campground ownership, we're here to help.

If you would like an introduction to representatives of any of the franchises, associations, publications, or brokerage groups, send us an email and we would be happy to do so.
Campground and RV Park Franchises
Campground and RV Park Associations & Publications
Campground and RV Park Brokers
We can't wait to work with you.
Interested in hiring our team? Let's talk.
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Contact us.
A campground is only as good as the people who work there. We use a dynamic recruiting process to source, identify and attract the industry's best.
There is no impression like a first impression. Our tried and true on-boarding processes sets clear expectations from the onset.
Easily track team member schedules, minimize over-staffing and reduce time spent calculating payroll. All, of course, seamlessly integrated with your campground's payroll.
We invest in our team and our culture because to be the best, we have to constantly improve.
Campground revenue management starts with your campground's rate structure (how much you charge your guests per night). A responsive pricing strategy offers the flexibility to adjust rates based on the demand for your sites.
Your numbers are only as good as what you make of them. Let us get into the weeds to identify opportunities for growth and improvement.
With over $3B of transaction experience, we know real estate, and we know what it's worth. Let us work with you to identify the value of your campground.
Campground accounting, bill pay & payroll are about as fun as campground accounting, bill pay & payroll. Let us take those off your plate.
Keep your campground relevant to today's guests, and plan for the guests of tomorrow. We identify high-value opportunities for your campground - from specific amenities to the addition of sites to accommodate your excess demand.
Keep your campground relevant to today's guests, and plan for the guests of tomorrow. We identify high-value opportunities for your campground - from specific amenities to the addition of sites to accommodate your excess demand.
From site signage to our interactive guest communication tools, we'll get your guests engaged.
Professionally operated campgrounds are easier to manage and are often worth more to future buyers. Let us professionalize your campground with our industry-leading systems and tools.
Who's a happy camper? No one if they don't know about your campground. Let us help get your campground discovered with targeted, data-based marketing. From paid digital ads (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads), to highly engaging email campaigns and SEO, we've got you covered.
How well do you really know your guests? Where are they coming from? How long do they actually stay with you? We change "I think's" to "I know's".
What do you call a business without a plan? A hobby. Let's define your key objectives and put a plan in place to achieve them. There's no time like the present. Let's get to work.
Yup, those guys. Ensure you are compliant with the requirements of your loan documents.
When you work with us, we are readily available. 7 days a week. 52 weeks a year.
Deciding whether to buy a specific campground? Thinking about building a campground? Let us help you figure out if that makes sense.
Sorry, Uncle Sam. Our services can be paid for in pre-tax dollars.
Thinking about retiring? The beach sure does sound nice. Let's prepare your business to allow for that to happen. Tomorrow is just around the corner.
Want to sell quickly and quietly? Or maybe you're looking for a co-investor for your next acquisition or property expansion? We hear you. Perhaps we can help.