What Do People Expect In A Campground?

Discussion in 'Destinations and RV Parks' started by springhill, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. Butch

    Butch
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    Welcome ready2upgrade,

    I think in the beginning, as a Rv'er, we are critical about everything that pertains to our camping experiences, and overlook the more important items. Glad to have you aboard.
     
  2. Testudo

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    QUOTE
    What Do People Expect In A Campground?, Reading bad reviews of campgrounds I thought were fine.

    I think they are expecting perfection and maybe some sort of euphoric climax... Which they aren't getting any of, ...maybe (...if you know what I mean) [grin!].

    The problem with the format is that everybody is free to take their own approach. Sometimes I think that approach is just to get even with the universe. But, of course, the reviewers that always hand out one or two stars are no more useful than the ones that always hand out 'tens'.

    Now, with the "new feature" just implemented, reviewers can at last be held accountable, ...somewhat. They are still free to gripe ad infinitum but you are now better equipped to realize what they are doing and discount their efforts accordingly.

    What could really be helpful, now, is a grass roots campaign among users to think in terms of writing a standard review framework. Essentially, this framework would give you as a reviewer a means to objectively assign 'stars' based on your experiences. You'd still be free to make observations and comments but the numerical ratings would be based on a consistent criteria. The biggest problem with this that I see is having a way to 'signal' that _your_ review has been undertaken based on the agreed upon framework. It could be as simple as a accronym code: "RF reviewed", for example, but, the 'Webmaster' would have to agree to allow the 'signal' to be expressed in the review (the 'Webmaster' has extraordinary editorial powers).

    Right now, I'm using a standard framework of five criteria that was suggested by issues most commonly brought up by users as well as some other obvious criteria. These criteria are: attitude of campground owners/operators and staff; accessibility for big rigs (to address two issues frequently brought up); and the attractions to be found in the region/neighborhood of the campground; the attractiveness of the campground and immediate locale; and, finally, the completeness and sophistication of the campground facilities. I evaluate these criteria very simply: average, below average, or above average. I give a numerical value (a simple 1, 2, or 3) and average the total results. I don't do any particular weighting.

    Now that the new feature is in place, I'm writing text and starting to submit reviews to the database based on numerical evaluations I've already calculated the last few months. Before the new feature, it just seemed too pointless to get involved.
     
  3. gwbischoff

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    I've also begun to notice trends in a lot of the reviews. (Thanks to the new site upgrades).

    I'm noticing that there are a lot of reviews in which the reviewer gives a lot of latitude to a CG based on the price. Now while price and value are important parts of a good review, if a CG's bathrooms are disgusting I need to know that. Not just that "I only paid $5 to stay here so I could live with disgusting bathrooms".
     
  4. Fixit

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    I started camping about 40 years or so ago in one and 2+ week incriments in every thing from a sleepin bag to a motor home and have never stayed in a "bad" park. Some I didn't care for but no bad one's. The one's I did not care for I just never went back to.
    The best I ever stayed at were in the road side catagory and the very best one was in eastern oregon which appeared to be some one's front yard LOL==it was great. Must admit I dont really are for the "resort " parks, but will stay at one if that is all that is avaliable.
    Be of good cheer and remember ---more flies are caught with honey than vineger :rolleyes:
     
  5. dmsscs

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    I agree, the best way to handle a park that you weren't happy with, is to simply not return. I know that there are parks out there that I didn't like but have friends that think they are great. What makes me happy. may not make the next guy happy and visa versa. When we bring the grand kids, we want a park that will be entertaining to them, when we go it alone, we like it more rustic and peaceful. Different strokes for different folks...and different stages of life! :rolleyes:
     
  6. Testudo

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    QUOTE
    What Do People Expect In A Campground?

    For my money, I basically just want a forceful warm shower ('hot' is optional). The rest is 'gravy'.

    I know what you mean, though. Half the art of reading the reviews is filtering out all the reviewers that are harboring some petty peeve or ulterior motive. But with the new feature (instituted in October 2007), you can go and look at some of their other reviews to get a better handle on their mindset. Of course, a lot of venomous reviews come from one-post-wonders so they never wrote another review after getting that one diatribe off their chest.

    I've been using the reviews for about two years but I only recently started to put together reviews of my own (we'll see what's left of them after they get posted). I'm using an objective criteria based on the regional attractions, local atmosphere of the campground, sophistication of the facilities, staff courtesy, and accessibility for big rigs. Because of my simple scoring system, most of my ratings are 6's, 7's, 8's, but it is not like I try to go to bad campgrounds in the first place. While I think my rating numbers are fair and reasonable, any rating might only be ultimately comparable on a local basis (ie. between a number of nearby campgrounds). But I think the text of the review is just as important and can explain mitigating factors - - both positive and negative. I'm leaving the petty slights out of _my_ ratings, though.

    The downside, from the point of view of my sensibilities, is that I'm going to give a few great campgrounds low numbers - - because maybe they fall down in a couple of areas. Most of these are probably going to be government run campgrounds that are primitive and inaccessible to big rigs but easy for me to get to in my 4x4 truck camper. But I think the lower numbers are reasonable when you consider the profiles of most of the people using these reviews.

    The reason that I picked the criteria that I use is that the biggest preoccupation in the reviews, here, seems to be the issue of staff courtesy and big rig accessibility. My staff courtesy ratings are overwelmingly 'average'. I just don't run into difficult campground personell but then, I don't complain about 'tree branches' or that I was expecting a different 'phase of the moon' than that which is currently being displayed. To a great extent, the American people feel inclined to blame whoever is most visibly 'in-charge' because they don't like the direction that the 'tide is heading'. When I read a campground review that heads in this sort of direction, I pretty much just discount the whole review.

    As for area attractions, local atmosphere, and facilities, these were common sense choices on my part that reflect my own values. 'Local atmosphere' means the appearance, look, and feel of the immediate campground as well as the immediate neighborhood (to the degree that it may intrude). With facilities, again, most of my scorings are distinctly 'average'. I might comment on the look and feel of the facilities in the text but if everything is basically there and usable, it's 'average'. At a primitive campground (with say, only a pit toilet) I might use my outside shower (maybe with my shower tent and maybe without [grin!]) and be really ecstatic about my camping experience. Of course, because the facilities are 'primitive', that is going to be reflected in my rating so the overall number is going to be lower.

    One of _my_ favorite excuses for excoriating a campground with _one_ star was....

    QUOTE
    ...we got a rather irate email, upon returning home, that we have left some
    [filled, dog-] poop bags in a convenient bar-b-que grill.


    Why would the campground management think putting feces on a common area barbeque grill is a bad thing ??? (...I just hope that those of you who use those grills also carry a container of bleach with you). But then, I guess I would be hurt, too, if I 'soiled' the table, the grill, or the hookups and the management didn't treasure my 'little presents'.
     
  7. leftyf

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    One of my favorite parks has a sign up stating that it doen't have a storm shelter and that residents are expected to make their own arrangements. I must be missing something here...I'm in town, I don't know a soul, a big storm comes up and tornados are all over...and I'm supposed to make my own arrangements. I've spoken to the owner about this...and he says he will get one in sooner or later. But, have I seen any tornadoes there?

    My response was to tell him that my mere presence would increase the possibilty of a class 5 going right up the main road of the park. I got faith.

    When I stay in a park, I'm not concerned about their baths and toilets. I have a perfectly good one in my RV. Too easy to catch something that alcohold won't cure. I'd like cable...but, I got satellite. I'd like wireless...but, I got a cellcard.

    I've seen a guy in a 300K motorhome complain about black bars on his cable tv at an RV park 100 miles from the closest city with a population more than 50. And, others where the guy goes to the office and tells the owner that he knows what the problem with the cable is...and he can fix it. About 20% of the camps with wifi have problems that the cannot get fixed. If I want wireless that much, I'll get the owners ok and see if I can fix it. I've only had one that I could not. Usually, I get my $$$ on the rent...and a free night of wireless. I get bored easily and like being made to feel useful.
     
  8. ddbradley952

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    QUOTE(Bud in Florida @ Aug 14 2007, 10:36 AM) [snapback]7962[/snapback]

    I think the key is for people to say exactly what they don't like. If you want a paved site and have a space like your driveway and get one that has trees and you don't like that-- say so in the review. I hate reviews that just say the place was terrible and don't say why. I will not give a 10 to parks that do not have sewer, but I have given a lot of 9's to parks w/o sewers, but I always say this is why the park did not get a 10. There was one review of Disney's Fort Wilderness-- they review gave them a 2! Why, because he/she did not read that in order to get cable you had to have a premium site. It is clear on the web site. But he was mad at Disney because he booked a full hook-up site and did not have cable. Hey read the website. I agree with John-- you have a different standard when you are booking an overnight stop rather than long term. In an overnight stop, I look for nice people and a clean campground. It is nice if they have clean showers, but ytou can even pass that for one night. Sometimes I think posters expect the world for $20/night



    That's what portable dish network is for.
     
  9. ddbradley952

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    QUOTE(DXSMac @ Sep 16 2007, 12:50 PM) [snapback]8343[/snapback]

    I expect the minimum: Sewer, water, electricity, and it's clean. Anything else is a "plus."

    You can't blame the owners for noisy neighbors, but as one poster said, you can comment on how the campground deals with it. Also, you can't blame the park for "road noise," but knowing that some people don't like it, I usually comment whether or not it's there. And if you don't follow the rules, you can't blame the park. However, I will claim "false advertising" if the RV Park says "We have wireless" only to find out that you have to sign up with a third party at some outrageous cost do get it.......

    I expect "free wireless" because it's norm in hotels, but if the park charges $1 or even $2, I'm ok with that. I know one park that does charge, I think, $2 a day, but it's THEIR wireless (not a third party) and I think they are just trying to recover the infrastructure costs.

    I do expect cable, if they have it, to be free/included. I have been to one RV park that charges to have it. (The same one that charges for their wireless....)

    And, I have been to a KOA that gave you the choice of either free wireless or free cable. In that case, on a review, I will "comment" but not say "bad park" because of it.....

    JJ



    Everyone who wants Wi-Fi in their camper obviously has a laptop. A wireless Aircard from SprintPCS that seems to work everwhere was the way to go for me. cost $59.00 month, got equipment for $50.00, droped my internet at home and leave the laptop in the camper but carry the Air card home when not camping and plug it in to my home pc. If you have multiple users at home (network) sprint (and only sprint) has a modem/adaptor you stick the air card into so everyone in the house can acess the (wireless) network.
     
  10. Joe-n-Doe

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    We generally do some CG research when either planning a trip or while on the road. The Internet and membership campground books are useful in that regard. As are word of mouth reviews. Our expectations are variable and relative to our needs; i.e. are we just over nighting or staying for a few days.

    Like most people, we want the biggest bang for our buck and get a bit testy if we think we are being nickeled and dimmed. But then what constitutes being nickeled and dimmed? Campers with self contained units who actually use their on-board showers and toilets don’t mind not paying a surcharge to use a park’s bathhouse facilities. Ditto Rvers who have their own satellite-Direct TV system and uses it. It creates a kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for park owners who have to pay for installation and maintenance of a park’s infrastructure and find a structured fee system to be unrealistic and an accounting nightmare. Regardless of how an owner passes on his cost, it is reasonable for consumers to expect not to be gouged and if a park’s infrastructure is not up to speed, isn’t properly maintained, facilities are dirty, etc then arguably the consumer is being gouged.

    Further, good business planning should recognize the need to upgrade facilities and include a plan to set aside some proceeds for this purpose. Just like everything else on the market, RV parks need to keep pace with changes in the industry; e.g. longer rigs, RVs with slides and awnings (read wider units), cable TV, WiFi, etc. RV parks built to accommodate the Air Stream pulled by your grandfather’s Pontiac are as out of date as the old stand alone roadside picnic tables that have long since evolved to modern and clean Interstate Rest Stops.

    We understand the subjective nature of reviews and take accompanying written explanations in conjunction with the park’s advertised features into consideration when making a decision about where, or where not, to stay. Those same factors in conjunction with our own personal experience help mold our review.
     
  11. igor2brvn

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    What I expect in a campground is usually what I get. Most campground disappointments result from pi-- poor prior planning. Decide what you want then research, ask, seek, find what you expect to maximize your camping pleasure.

    My expectations usually include: Value - service and quality vs. what I have to pay. Minimum service may include water and electric hookups, helpful staff with some level of security and safety, restrooms and showers that are clean and in good repair unless I'm boondocking. Pluses include sewer hookup, cable TV and WIFI if I'm in the MH or TT - as long as no fee added.

    Minimum family entertainment amenities include biking and hiking trails and a nearby swim facility of some sort. Expectations vary based on whose camping with us - just the DW and DH or including family, relatives, friends.

    Campground and sites must be accessible and big enough for my camping unit whether I'm in our 36 ft MH or using sons' TTs, one is 21 fter and one is 28 fter.

    I lean towards COE campgrounds, state parks, mom and pop campgrounds. I'm sure I'd love the nice, plush RV resorts but can't afford them. :D
     
  12. FosterImposters

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    QUOTE(rodeo1 @ Oct 7 2007, 03:04 PM) [snapback]8574[/snapback]

    I'm so glad to see this thread. I have thought for years that some of these people have lost their minds when it comes to rating a park.

    "lousy wi fi, give it a 2, Sites too small for my 90 foot motor home towing my 25 foot enclosed tool shed with nine slide outs" give it a 2.

    Damn folks, some of these parks are a lot older that your modular home you are driving down the road. some of you would complain that wal marts parking lot is too small.

    A lot of these parks were built back when everyone towed an airstream with a pontiac. then you want them to charge $10..00 a night and be able to enlarge the parks spots on that. get real !

    If you want all the whistles and bells, go pay $60.00 a night on the west coast at some r.v. resort. better yet, stay a night at lost hills in caly, then you will have something to complain about. or at morro strand r.v. in morro bay where they built a brand new park with spaces so small you can't hardly fit your trailer in the spot, then they want you to park next to it. what a riot!

    Why compain over not enough t.v. stations, get you a dish. most really bad posts i see are written by people driving huge rigs, hardly ever by someone pulling a little pop up, or even a fiver. the bigger the rig, the bigger the bitcher. (look at me, i'm important ! get out of my way, i can afford a million dollar rig)



    OMG you've a mind reader! Great rant! Couldn't have said this better...
     
  13. FosterImposters

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    ---------------------------
    GWBISCHOFF: Likewise, a "10" would be equally difficult. If a site was at the 50 yard line at Lambeau Field, included a Heineken hookup and Emeril Lagasse cooking your food served by Playboy Bunnies. That might get it.

    Hmmmm...Ok, nobody take my idea. I 'm going to work on a business plan.
    -------------------------------------

    Say...Need anyone to MANAGE this RV 'resort' ? ;)
     
  14. leftyf

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    One of the best laid out parks I ever stayed at was on the southern Indiana border. Beautiful camp. Everything you could want..if you paid for it.

    They charged for wifi, cable $2 per night, electricity $3 per night if you had 50 amps, and they even charged for sewer $7 per night. They are located less than 5 minutes from three of he biggest dealers I've ever seen..and one of those was camping world. And, they charged for morning coffee...and it wasn't even decent coffee. You could easily spend in a couple of days what some parks charge for entire week.

    Nice people running the park...but, I wont stay there again..and I really liked the place. But they just cost too much. Maybe trying to make just a little too much profit.
     
  15. gwbischoff

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    QUOTE(leftyf @ Dec 10 2007, 03:39 PM) [snapback]9420[/snapback]

    One of the best laid out parks I ever stayed at was on the southern Indiana border. Beautiful camp. Everything you could want..if you paid for it.

    They charged for wifi, cable $2 per night, electricity $3 per night if you had 50 amps, and they even charged for sewer $7 per night. They are located less than 5 minutes from three of he biggest dealers I've ever seen..and one of those was camping world. And, they charged for morning coffee...and it wasn't even decent coffee. You could easily spend in a couple of days what some parks charge for entire week.

    Nice people running the park...but, I wont stay there again..and I really liked the place. But they just cost too much. Maybe trying to make just a little too much profit.




    Believe it or not, I'm sure that there are plenty of folks out there that appreciate the "a la carte" menu.

    I'm not one of them. If I go to a hotel, I don't expect a different price if I don't use the pool.
    Just tell me what you got and what you charge and I'll choose whether I want to stay there or not.
     
  16. Texasrvers

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    leftyf,

    What was the base price of a site before all the "extras" were added on?
     
  17. Jerry S

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    A couple weeks ago I read a review that I thought fit this topic. Unfortunately I have not been able to relocate it even though I have wasted too much time looking the past few days. So some of my "facts" may be a bit off but you will get the idea of what this person expects in a campground. The reviewer complained that when he arrived very late to the park, there was no one to check him in, show him to his site, and not enough light to find a site and set up. Thanks to the new "read all reviews by this reviewer" option, I was able to check his other reviews. There were two other reviews where he had the same complaint. If I remember correctly, his "late" arrivals were 8PM, 10PM, and 2AM in Sep, Oct, and Nov. For some reason this person "expects" the park personel to be available 24/7 and for the park to lit like a parking lot (not concerned that other customers might not enjoy that kind of brightness in a park). This person apparently makes a habit of arriving late and expects to be accomodated. If that is not a "the world revolves arround me attitude", I don't know what is.
     
  18. kenmullins

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    I take into account the rate charged. I don't expect much for $10.00 a night, but I do expect a lot for $40.00 a night (or more).

    If a park is close to the Interstate with easy access, I expect some road noise, if it is in Barksdale Texas, I expect quiet.

    What is harder to judge is when something (like the pool or hot tub) is down for repairs. Did it just break the day before I arrive and the repairman is coming tomorrow, or has it been broken for months?

    My motto is "It all depends..."
     
  19. mastercraft

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    After rereading through this thread I thought I would add another 2 cents. I have only given 1 poor review and that was based on Customer NO SERVICE by a campground that would not take ownership to a problem caused by THEIR campground. Otherwise, I am not hard to please. Most of my reviews are based on the expectations presented by the campgrounds information such as web pages and brochures. They should live up to the standards they are advertising. IMHO, you get what you pay for in most cases. You just have to do your homework before you stay at a campground. Most poor reviews that I have read have to do with other campers or people not camping in a campground not approapriate for their RV lifestyle or RV. A campground cannot control those two factors unless they have mislead through their information. As far as a noisy camper, most campground owners have dealt with the problem if it is brought to their attention.
     
  20. DXSMac

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    This new feature of "see this person's other reviews" helps in another way. You can see all of your own reviews. I just took a look at "all my other reviews" and I notice that I tend to give out a lot of "8's." I gave an "8" to a park that had "just the basics and no frills (but at least they had wireless!!)" and I gave an "8" to a park that had fancy frills!

    It appears I'm swayed by whether or not they have wireless! Well, I also gave an " 8" to a park that didn't have wireless, but they had "instant phone hookups" for $1 a day.

    Also, the "just the basics" park that I gave an "8" to was located within a short walk of restaurants. Now, I normally cook my own food and don't do the restaurants, but I figure that information might be important to others......

    Ok, I guess if I give a "just the basics" park an "8", it has to be within walking distance of some stuff people might like...... for it to rate the "8" to me....... And the owners have to be extremely helpful!

    JJ
     

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