BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Local Utah businesses got a boost from RV drivers in March

Apr 9, 2024, 5:05 PM | Updated: Apr 11, 2024, 2:07 pm

sports fans cheer at delta center during slc ncaa tournament...

Gonzaga Bulldogs fans cheer during the second round of the NCAA Tournament against the Kansas Jayhawks at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

(Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of RVers visited Salt Lake last month during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. RV, or recreational vehicle, drivers stayed with and supported local small businesses across the state through an RV hosting company.

Visitors used the membership program Harvest Hosts, which allows travelers to park their RVs at local businesses inside cities rather than at campsites which are sometimes outside city limits.

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The company’s COO, Wes Clark, said there were plenty of visitors supporting local businesses in Salt Lake last month.

“Record number of stays in March. Some of that is people starting to travel for the eclipse and making their way across the country. Some of it is March Madness. And some of it is kind of normal travel. But no, we’ve seen tremendous activity in what’s traditionally a less active time of the RV calendar,” Clark said.

Instead of paying a campsite fee, members purchase goods from the local businesses where they are staying. 

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Clark said their whole platform is to help benefit local businesses. 

“We simply ask that they patronize the local business. So if you’re staying at a brewery, get a beer and a burger. If you go to a winery, go and do a tasting, get a bottle of wine. If you go to a farm, pick up some fresh eggs or produce,” Clark explained.

Clark said the company was on pace to generate $50 million this year for small businesses. Since the company’s founding, in 2011, it’s generated over $150 million total.

Clark said Harvest Hosts charges users a $99 annual fee for access to the network of small businesses rather than taking a portion of the sales generated.

There are over 5,000 small businesses that partner with Harvest Hosts to provide RV camping. Popular places in Utah are located from Santaquin to South Salt Lake.

“I truly think that we’re a small business that loves helping small business,” Clark said.

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Local Utah businesses got a boost from RV drivers in March