How to Attract More Business by Making Your Park Green-Friendly
Doing what’s right to protect the environment is increasing in importance for many travelers. In fact, according to the 2021 Sustainable Travel Report sponsored by Booking.com, 53% of U.S. travelers believe that people have to act now to save the planet for future generations. 43% of those surveyed believe that there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available and nearly half of them admit they get annoyed if the place they are staying at stops from them being sustainable, for example, by not providing recycling facilities.
So what can a park like yours do to address these concerns? One way is to become a National ARVC Plan-It Green Friendly Park. To earn this designation, your park must meet at least nine of 16 eco-friendly criteria that relate to conservation and recycling. Once you earn this designation, you can use the National ARVC Plan-It Green Friendly logo on your website and in your marketing materials to let prospective campers know that you employ the kinds of sustainable practices that are important to them.
Each year, as part of its annual Awards of Excellence, National ARVC also names two parks as the Plan-It Green Friendly Parks of the Year, one in the Small/Medium Park category and another in the Large/Mega Park category. In 2021, the award in the Small/Medium category went to member-park Guadalupe River RV Park & Nature Trails in Spring Branch, Texas. Here are some of the sustainable efforts that helped them earn this honor:
- Recycling – The park’s management has found that about 60% of all trash can be recycled in some form, leading to reduced costs for refuse removal and the prevention of a good deal of refuse from going into the landfill. The park requests that guests recycle and encourages them to do so at every opportunity by keeping recycling bins available.
- Water Use and Heating – The park has implemented instant-on tankless propane water heaters which they estimate save at least 40% in heating and reheating expenses. The tankless units also save space. The park’s showers are equipped with motion detection devices so as soon as a guest is finished showering, the shower automatically shuts off to reduce the cost of water and water heating.
- Roads and Site Pads – The park installs and maintains local earth for its road bases and road tops, adding to it as necessary to reduce erosion and dust. This also eliminates the need for asphalt or concrete on the driveways. The park’s site pads are hardpacked with the same material and natural native grasses are allowed to grow to reduce heat accumulation and allow rainwater to soak back into the ground to keep the area cooler.
- Paper Products – One challenge the park previously had was the wasteful use of toilet paper. Once COVID-19 came into play, management looked for a way to eliminate this waste and keep its bathhouse and bathrooms cleaner and disinfected, so they began advising guests to bring their own toilet paper or allow them to purchase a roll from the campground. This policy has been in place now for well over a year, and the waste of paper has been virtually eliminated.
- HVAC – Looking for other ways to cut costs, the park began switching from blown-air HVAC technology to smaller split systems that allow for the use of heat pump technology. In the first few months, they noticed a 10%-20% reduction in electric costs, so they put all of the park’s systems on the fast track to add additional split units to reduce energy usage. Park management estimates that the program will pay for itself within two years of the program’s initial start date.
Congratulations to Guadalupe River RV Park & Nature Trails for implementing conservation and recycling programs that earned it the honor of being named Plan-It Green Park of the Year.
Guy Anderson, managing member of Guadalupe River Recreation Enterprises, LLC, noted another advantage of the park’s dedication to employing sustainable practices.
“For years, we have been recognized by the local Water Oriented Recreation District as one of their number one recyclers with the ‘cleanest’ recycling in that we do not allow trash that cannot be recycled to go into the system. For this, the District pays for our recycling, including the bins and the weekly trucking to pick up the materials. This saves us virtually all costs except labor on recycling.”
Learn more about how your park can qualify to become an ARVC Plan-It Green Friendly Park. Participation is FREE, and you’ll discover the positive impact that implementing and promoting green practices can have on your park.