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Old 02-11-2010, 10:04 AM   #43
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I made an inquiry with Cindy Reed to get the official numbers. Cindy was stuck in the snow for a couple of days but she got back to me this morning.

RE: Number of current paid up memberships in WBCCIThursday, February 11, 2010 9:17 AM
From: "Cindy Reed"
To: "'Dwight or Carol Dixon'" <dwightdixon@yahoo.com>

The memberships in the 2010 directory were 5,942. And the answer to your question about late payers is..Yes, we do receive a lot after the directory is published. We do not count dual memberships. The current membership count is 6,235 as indicated by Tom.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:28 AM   #44
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Thanks mike, the numbers do not lie.Sadly the Wbcci is on a downward spiral as your membership stats have shown.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:07 PM   #45
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Streamer23:
Can you run us the Region 7 numbers?
Thanks,
-Tim
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:55 PM   #46
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Could there be more to the shrinking club membership other than an overall disatisfaction?

What is the average age of membership? What is the average age of the trailers? How many trailers are still on the road?

Even though an Airstream has always been at the upper end of the price scale for travel trailers, I think it is well above the norm in more recent times. What is the average cost of an airstream vs the average household income? Has this increased year over year? This increase would lead to fewer new Airstreams on the road.

So as poeple age and drop from the club either due to death or inabilities to be active, those members would then be replaced by a younger membership.

It may be that there are fewer new Airstream onwers to replace the leaving members. This can be due to price but can also be national travel norms.

What is the ratio of club members to Airstreams still on the road? Hard numbers to measure, but this is more of a telling sign as to the club's health.

(ala wiki, numbers are needed for these statement, I could not find these numbers on the web)
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:59 PM   #47
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Region 7

Quote:
Originally Posted by ts8501 View Post
Streamer23:
Can you run us the Region 7 numbers?
Thanks,
-Tim
Here are the numbers for Region 7.There are 2 fewer units this year.

Unit # 055- Minnesota
2009-65 members 2010-59 members

Unit # 094-South Dakota (gone)
2009- 9 members 2010-0 members

Unit # 116-Wisconsin
2009-68 members 2010-76 members

Unit # 123-Manitoba (gone)
2009-12 members 2010-0 members

Unit # 145-North Dakota Peace Garden
2009-14 members 2010-26 members


Total
2009-168 members 2010-161 members
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:10 PM   #48
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Good questions FC7039. There has to be other factors besides club dissatisfaction.
One would think the WBCCI Membership Chairman, Teressa Taylor-TenBerge, might have collected that data and performed some analysis. They are always asking members for help.
I assume you can contact her through HQ. Let us know what results you might get.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:05 PM   #49
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Stanley WBCCI 8425, Since you are a member, you should most likely be the one to contact Cindy Reed at Jackson Center for the answers. Teressa has not been in that job very long. Cindy conducts a yearly survey of the non-renewers and reports the results. They do not track the age of the members or salary. Airstream Company did conduct a 12,000 potential customer survey three years ago. As a result, Airstream changed its target market and now positions its product line to younger couples, some with children, using them to vacation in national and regional parks for up to two weeks. The trailers are now intended to be pulled by non-dedicated multi-use vehicles that are used separately at other times. They stopped producing the larger 30 foot and larger trailers with heavy solid wood cabinetry and overstuffed furniture two years ago. The only exception is the 34 foot toy hauler. I can tell you that most of the WBCCI members are retired. The WBCCI, at the International level, has not changed its mission or benefits to target this younger, working demographic. Those younger, working, family needs are left to the local Units to fulfill.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:58 AM   #50
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I'm a believer that a part of the downward trend is simply the change in demographics (I'm not completely ruling out poor leadership & infighting...).

If you look at the peak years for the WBCCI, it would have been made up of pre-baby boomers and I think many were retired war veterans, or at least could relate to the WWII war years. Those that went through this era seemed to have a spirit of adventure and a desire to socialize that has lessened with the next generation over the years. As this older generation ages, those coming in behind are more solitary, working all the time, paying big debt and don't seem to place the same value on what the WBBCI provided.

This demographic shift is apparent in other areas as well. In Canada, visitation to National Parks has been steadily dropping. People seem to be visiting "online" through the internet without leaving their houses, more Canadians are immigrants who don't seem to have the same connection to National Parks and people's values have simply changed. RV'ing is common, but much less so than 20-30 years ago and most RV's being bought today are stick & tin or stick & fiberglass with lots of electronics and are pretty with their stick on graphics - but they lack character and are cheaper than AS. People don't seem to care that they will be junk after 15 years...

And sadly, look at kids today - more interested in video games, TV, and electronics than riding a bike in a campground.

Just my thoughts...
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:17 AM   #51
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Kevin, it would be interesting to consider a change in demographics as a cause of the decrease in WBCCI membership. The problem is that I really don't understand demographics enough to evaluate it. Certain parts of it just don't seem to stand up to logical consideration, even in advance of some statistical analysis.

However, a factor that might also be investigated is simply Airstream market share or number of Airstream units sold. The club can't grow if the number of Airstreams sold is increasingly marginal. These numbers ought to be available someplace, and if they are, it ought to be pretty straightforward to compare change in membership numbers to change in units sold.

That said, I'm positive that leadership decisions have caused a number of folks to quit, or not to join. We don't have to look far to locate that evidence. The question is whether that undeniable effect is the main factor in decrease in membership numbers, or whether some other factor is behind the story more principally.


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Old 02-14-2010, 10:41 AM   #52
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Hi Lynn,

Which demographic influences are not logical to you?

Looking at the annual number of units sold is not a great way to predict membership since even marginal increases are just that - increases. If you look at how many Airstreams were on the road in, say, 1970, and compare that with 2010, there are WAY more out there today since 2/3 of all AS built are estimated to still be on the road. The 1972 Sovereign 31' bought new by a retired couple who joined the WBBCI is likely still out there, but now is owned and used by a younger family who are not WBBCI members.

Increasing membership is possible IF a.) New trailers are bought by people who want to join WBBCI and b.) OLD trailers are bought by people who want to join WBBCI. I suspect membership is down by all owner types.

I fit into the demographics. I'm mid-40's, love camping, have a pre-owned AS, but don't see the personal or economic value of joining a club like WBBCI. My grandfather would have though...

If the WBBCI was serious about increasing membership they need to look hard at the demographics and figure out what they need to do to become relevant to the younger RV generation as well. They also need to look at their current membership demographics - if the average age (of the members and decision makers) is 55 or 60+, retired with money, it will likely not be an attractive club to my generation or younger....
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:56 AM   #53
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I agree that there will be significant lag effects in the data, no question about it. Part of the lag is due to the fact that Airstreams tend to stay on the road longer, but there's also a lag that results frorm folks joining the club a long time ago and staying with it.

Even with the double lags, if the number of units sold goes up over a few decades while membership goes down over a few decades, that would be clear evidence that Airstream owners are shying away from club membership (for whatever reason, including displeasure with leadership). On the other hand, if membership goes down, and so does number of units sold, then things are harder.

Of course, if it is true that membership and number of units sold are both going down, then it's important to realize that the club would need to increase its ratio of membership to ownership just in order to maintain at current level: A (fully hypothetical) 30% membership/ownership ratio would have to increase drastically.

But, again, this is all completely hypothetical because I don't have the faintest idea what the units sold figures are.


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Old 02-14-2010, 11:22 AM   #54
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Hi Lynn, a very good discussion. LOTS of ifs, ands or buts. You and I can offer theories, but it's the WBBCI that really has to figure this out in the long run if it is to survive.

It's likely a combination of many factors that is causing this downward trend. I would be interested in the actual 2010 WBBCI numbers as to average member age, trailer age, years with WBBCI, etc., and compare this to 2000, 1990, 1980, etc. to see the trends. That would show the "what", then they could try to determine the "why".

A survey of past members would likely help to determine if it's dissatisfaction with WBBCI, attrition due to aging or some other reason. I do know that the answer is seldom simple.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:51 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin242 View Post
Hi Lynn, a very good discussion. LOTS of ifs, ands or buts. You and I can offer theories, but it's the WBBCI that really has to figure this out in the long run if it is to survive.

It's likely a combination of many factors that is causing this downward trend. I would be interested in the actual 2010 WBBCI numbers as to average member age, trailer age, years with WBBCI, etc., and compare this to 2000, 1990, 1980, etc. to see the trends. That would show the "what", then they could try to determine the "why".

A survey of past members would likely help to determine if it's dissatisfaction with WBBCI, attrition due to aging or some other reason. I do know that the answer is seldom simple.
Kevin,

That type of statistical information would be very helpful, unfortunately it is not available. The club could not even give a consistent number of motorhome members when they were trying to pass the motorhome motion a few years ago. There was a survey which went out to all members in 2003 or so and very few were returned and most of those were past officers, but then when we attended the Hobo Rally this year, the MC asked all past officers to stand and over 1/2 of the room of over 150 stood.

Bill.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:54 PM   #56
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Bill, it seems to me that we've got quite a store of info on WBCCI membership from Mike (the OP of this thread). What's still needed is numbers on units sold, and WBCCI is not likely to have that info; Airstream Inc. would (and so, probably, would various company/investment-watching organizations).

Lynn
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