Vintage and unique camping experiences are popular among many, with major players such as KOA and some national parks getting in on the action. The city of Lake Elsinore doesn’t intend to miss out on the potential revenue that this all-the-rage camping experience brings to the table.
In a recent city council meeting, City Manager Grant Yates was authorized to execute purchase orders for vintage RVs such as Airstreams – a popular camper sometimes referred to as “toasters on wheels” or “Silver Bullets” due to their unique elongated shape and rounded corners and silver outer shell.
Council required Yates to keep the total amount spent under $350,000, though the city expects a return on its investment within one to three years, dependent on the occupancy rate of the four to five vintage trailers it will purchase.
Campers who rent Airstreams typically spent $100 to $200 per night depending on the size, age of the trailers and other factors, industry reports say. The city expects to purchase trailers from model years between 1950 to 1980. Once the trailers are purchased, they will be placed on a standard RV hook-up site (30/50 Amp/ Sewer and Water), centrally located at the south end of the park near the lake.
According to a report presented to council by Yates, city staff researched several mobile camping opportunities to capitalize on vintage and unique camping experiences and incorporating them into the design and construction of the RV Resort Rehabilitation Project.
“For example, the Vintage Airstream Trailer market is a popular and hot camping niche for the recreational vehicle and camping world. The concept of a vintage Airstream trailer village within the RV Resort Rehabilitation Project is divergent, exciting and will distance the RV Resort from other campgrounds,” the report states.
There is high demand for specialty type camping in not so rugged settings, according to industry professionals. Suggestions included making the retro-camping an amenity of La Laguna which would work “within the strict Fish and Wildlife Department requirements while creating a site as a destination.”
The move also helps to address concerns about the rehabilitation project keeping within current strict Fish and Wildlife Department requirements regarding immovable construction for temporary housing such as cabins and require “costly mitigation offsets. An alternative to developing site improvements below the 1,265-foot level is the placement of mobile camping units.”
Staff will research the fair market price of each trailer before purchase but the anticipated price for each vintage trailer will range between $20,000 and $80,000 and shop for the best deals on each unit, according to the staff report.
The staff report states that, “It is probable these Vintage Trailer rentals will be very popular and in high demand. It can be anticipated that additional units may be needed to stratify the demand and optimize the revenue opportunities of camping rentals. Once this is fully realized staff shall return to Council for additional authorization and subsequent purchases.”
The units will be purchased as soon as possible and be available for rent once La Laguna has progressed through site development. Funding for the purchases and other improvements at the resort is included in the fiscal year 16/17 – 2021/22 Capital Improvement Plan budget.
Other improvements to La Laguna RV Resort include the addition of yurts – a circular tent on a collapsible frame – a new RV storage area and one day a new office.