Sep 19, 2023
The Business of Meetings – Episode 184 – How Do 58+ Million American Households Spend their Holidays?
Today, we are delighted to speak with David Basler, Chief Strategy Officer of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
In an industry boasting a trillion-dollar economic footprint, with 12 to 13,000 sites across America, and serving the vacation ambitions of over 58 million households, the ARVC plays a pivotal role in shaping and supporting the thriving world of RV parks and campgrounds.
David joins us to share his expertise, insights, and perspective on the current state and future potential of the dynamic RV and campground industry.
A champion of whatever community he's a member of, David Basler is an entrepreneurial spirit, business leader, and philanthropist.
After working in publishing on the East Coast, David moved to historic Creede, Colorado in 2002 and started Creede Magazine Publishing, which he owned and operated until 2008. During this time, he also founded Keep Creede Beautiful, a nonprofit to maintain the beauty of Creede, and the John David Lentz Memorial Fund, which provides annual funding to the Creede Repertory Theatre.
After a 6-year stint with Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in Dallas, David, along with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs, moved to Denver in 2014. He is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, an organization representing more than 3,000 privately owned RV parks and campgrounds across North America.
He and his wife, Amanda, are avid collectors of fine art and they remain extremely active philanthropically in the arts and education. Working alongside their oldest daughter, they lead both the John David Lentz Memorial Fund and the Genny Basler Memorial Fund. David also sits on the board of the Creede Center for the Arts and the advisory board of the Creede Repertory Theatre.
When it's playtime, David enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, running, and travel, having visited all 50 states and more than 25 countries on three continents.
David's journey began in high school when he discovered his passion for writing and communications through the guidance of a dedicated teacher and joined a remarkable high school magazine project. That publication, unlike most other school newspapers, was a full-color glossy magazine that earned numerous awards. Joining the magazine staff led to lasting friendships, and the impact of that formative experience left an indelible mark on his career trajectory, underscoring the profound impact of mentorship and community engagement. After college, he worked as an editor on the East Coast before realizing his dream of starting his own publication in Colorado. That venture expanded into a successful publishing company, producing calendars and visitor guides, and becoming a vital part of the local community. Subsequently, David moved to Dallas and began working for MPI after selling his business.
During his time with MPI, David played a pivotal role in its publishing, marketing, and communications sectors. His efforts included overseeing the launch of One Plus, a rebrand of a magazine previously called Meeting Professional, aimed to educate and inform meeting professionals worldwide. The rebranding initiative persisted for about four years before the strategic decision was made to revert to the original Meeting Professional brand to align the publication more effectively with the identity of the organization and its members.
An RV Trip Planning Session
Eric and David had a serendipitous encounter that led to a memorable RV trip planning session. David drew on his expertise in the RV and campground industry to assist Eric in crafting an unforgettable journey that served as a testament to the industry's collaborative spirit and its emphasis on fostering a sense of community.
The Flourishing RV and Campground Landscape
The RV and campground industry in the United States is economically significant, constituting approximately 2% of the GDP. The industry's consistent growth was underscored by an influx of new enthusiasts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. David attributes the industry's appeal to its diverse accommodation options and the unique experiences offered within campgrounds.
Championing the Industry
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is tireless in its efforts to advocate for the RV and campground industry in Washington, D.C. Its endeavors mostly revolve around showcasing the considerable financial impact of the industry and the sway wielded by campground owners as influential voters. These advocacy undertakings focus on emphasizing the industry's significance to legislators and stakeholders.
A Kaleidoscope of Campgrounds
The vast spectrum of campgrounds ranges from intimate, cozy sites to sprawling mega parks with thousands of slots. David highlights the pivotal role of diversity in catering to the varied preferences of campers. The ethos of campgrounds is centered on inclusivity, ensuring that every individual, regardless of background or preferences, can find a campground that resonates with their desires.
Creating Lasting Memories
The transformative power of camping experiences is unparalleled! Campgrounds play a significant role in crafting enduring memories and fostering a profound sense of community among campers.
The Industry's Forward Trajectory
David envisions a future where the RV and campground industry continue flourishing over the next decade. Despite potential hurdles, such as fluctuations in interest rates, the innate strength and resilience of the RV and campground industry are anticipated to weather any storm.
Connect with Eric
Connect with David Basler