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Study finds Virginia's state and private campgrounds don't compete on price
The Virginia Tech report was done by Vincent Magnini, a professor in the school's hospitality and tourism management department.
Magnini's report says that the public prefers a variety of camping options, and that people's decisions about where to camp may change depending on what they want from the camping experience.
"Because campers possess varying motivations in their camping experiences, particular customer segments are prone to be attracted to certain types of campgrounds that best match their motivations," the report said. "In other words, a campground cannot be all things to all people."
Price, the report said, is just one of many criteria--people also consider shade, proximity to water for fishing, isolation from other campsites and other factors.
If the price is too low, the report said, people may consider that an indication of poor quality and avoid that campground, anyway. It advised campground operators to think less about price and more about what motivates people to camp at their facility.
The report also countered the idea that camping facilities shouldn't be located near each other.
Instead, the report said, a principle called "cumulative attraction" applies--the idea that the more opportunities there are in one place to do something, like camping, the more people will come to that place to do it.
"A well-developed campground network in a given state appealing to numerous camper segments will stimulate word-of-mouth and recognition, ultimately drawing additional campers to the state," the report said. "In other words, according to the principle of cumulative attraction, the quality and quantity of campground offerings in a state is positively correlated with the number of campers attracted to the state."
The report cited a 2011 Virginia Outdoors Demand Survey, done through the University of Virginia, that indicated Virginians would like more camping options at state parks, although about half of those surveyed didn't indicate a preference between camping in public parks or private campgrounds, while almost 40 percent said they preferred public parks.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028