Road Trip Revelations-Autumn Lake RV, Calvert AL

I often comment that I learn as much from my clients as they learn from me. This week’s road trip stayed true to form.

This week I visited Autumn Lake RV- a cute little park in Alabama, built by Robin and Keith McLeod. This park is a gem in rural Alabama, close to numerous job sites which supply them with a steady stream of guests.

What is unusual about this park is that it does not look like a worker park. It looks like a clean, friendly, and spotless overnight park. No clutter anywhere to be found. It has back in, pull through, and cabin sites.

The McLeod’s have a great deal of pride in this park, and a quick tour shows you why. They have spent additional dollars to add some very nice touches to make the entire guest experience a more gratifying one. Though the untrained eye may not notice these touches, I noticed them right away!

The photo below shows an extra and important step they took when building their park. Most people do not know that the New Orleans/Mobile/Birmingham area of the country is one of the rainiest parts of the US. In order to keep folks from having standing water, Autumn Lake RV Park has installed drainage at EVERY site! It could rain 8 inches in an hour and your site will be dry! Every single site has been carefully graded to supply water to the individual drainage grates.

The hookup area is yet another example of small, but thoughtful detail. They went the extra mile (and expense) of pouring a concrete apron for all hookups. Guests need not leave the comfort of the patio in order to connect to any of the utilities on site. It makes for a very clean and uniform appearance to all sites. All pedestals and hookups are straight and stay that way having been set in concrete.

These are just a few of the small niceties that make this park a gem. Of course, Keith and Robin are the most valuable asset-and they would love to welcome anyone to see why!

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Stay Tuned for Valuable Video Content

This week, the AOS video team is back up north and visiting some of our most award winning properties. Awards? What Awards? How about constantly up for Park of the Year, the first 10/10/10 Good Sam ever in the state of Maryland, and oh well….you get it.

We plan to take you behind the scenes to show you just a few of the ways we turned raw land into guest loving, money making venues. Some of the topics we will address are:

Weird corners and odd sites-how to make them profitable

Amenities that produce

Wow factors on a budget

These are just a few of the vlogs we will be posting in the new few weeks.

Also, we will be starting a new series entitled, “Meet Your New Snowbird,” where we will be interviewing some unusual guests who head south for the winter.

Make sure you subscribe to our blog where we give out free, yet invaluable, information each week.

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We want to say, “Congratulations,” to our parks who were just granted “TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence” awards.

These coveted awards are based on overall reviews and outstanding customer service.

AOS greatly accelerates your path to this award by managing your reputation and making it easy for guests to post to TripAdvisor and like kind review sites.

By managing your reputation online, your park climbs in rankings and climbs in revenue. For every 1 jump in reputation, we calculate a 4% jump in revenue.

Reputation management is a very time consuming process. Let AOS take the burden off your park by getting your out there and communicating with your reviewers in a positive and professional manner.

Congrats to all the 2019 Winners!

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The Love/Hate Relationship with OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies)

The entire hospitality world has a Love/Hate Relationship with OTA’s.

At AOS, we love them more than hate them.

Like it or not-they are here to stay. Sites like, Expedia, and Air B&B, take your roofed accommodations to an audience you might never find without them.

With the impending release of the game changing-Book Outdoors, even your RV sites will be available to the public via a real time two way interface.  These sites are as integrated into our travel as much as mobile boarding passes and GPS systems, and it is high time we stop fighting them and embrace the power of their marketing dollars.

The way we see it,  if an OTA brings you a guest, and they take a 15% commission for that guest, you are still 85% to the good. That guest might have never located you had it not been for the OTA. Additionally, if the guest enjoys their stay, they will most likely book direct with your for all future stays. Therefore, each time the guest rebooks a future stay, your overall cost to the OTA diminishes and their ROI increases.

All AOS properties are on OTA’s. We make it easy for our parks by employing PMS systems with connectivity to these channels. Our research shows most of the OTA bookings come in after the work day is over and people are kicked back making vacation plans. Your office is closed, the OTA is booking sites, and the money is coming in…what’s not to LOVE??

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Rolling Out the “You’re Not Welcome” Carpet

As I meet park owners all across the US I continually see a familiar pattern with many of them.  And though they would never intentionally do so, they are turning away guests and quickly killing future business.

Snowbird parks can be particularly guilty of this bad business practice. Many owners, having relied on the tried and true retired snowbird of yesteryear, are effectively placing a large stop sign in front of the most engaged buyer in the market-young travelers. Watch this short clip to meet John, your new Snowbird.

Your New Snowbird

John is a restaurant manager in a busy resort town in Maryland. He makes good money and cannot travel during their peak season up north. When the resort closes for the winter, John heads south, with his RV and a pocket full of cash. He is ready to relax, kick back, and spend money. Guess where John does not stay?

You guessed right-55 plus parks that tell him and his peer group they are not welcome.

A quick peak at any current industry data shows the market is trending younger. Homeschool families, minimalist lifestyle advocates, and traveling young professionals are just a few of the markets you miss when you fail to roll out the welcome mat..

It is time to rethink your strategy and allow AOS to reach this trending market on your behalf. Instagram, youtube video, influencer contacts and blogging are just some of the strategies we employ to get your park occupied-if you plan to stay viable in the future.

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A Winter of Winning

Our new parks are just wrapping up their 2019 first quarters, and we could not be more excited about their performance.

The following case studies are year one AOS parks. They are spread throughout the United States and range from 40 to 300 sites.

Clearly, they benefited from the work our team put into their properties. Our marketing team, revenue management staff, and our regional managers can all give themselves a big high five over these results!

Quarter One 2018 versus 2019…Boom!

                                                      2018 Prior to AOS                        2019 Post AOS                                        Overall Increase  

Property A                                    $175,952                                         $244,100                                        $68,148

Property B                                    $110,772                                          $228,422                                      $117,650

Property C                                    $126,363                                         $190,444                                      $64,081

Property D                                    $138,038                                         $177,977                                      $39,939

Property E                                    $31,703                                            $70,692                                       $38,989

Property F                                    $16,645                                            $74,958                                       $58,313

Property G                                    $90,774                                           $113,048                                      $22,273

Property H                                    $93,076                                           $110,408                                     $17,332

AOS Value To These Clients           -Quarter One                                                                                          $426,725  

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Long Term Rentals Made Easy-New Year-Newbook

Long term rentals can be a bit of a challenge in property management systems. Guests paying at different times and in different intervals, remembering to charge and collect, all of these can be a challenge in a standard PMS system.

Newbook has taken the challenge and the guess work out of long term rentals. Take a quick look at this video to see how you can automatically charge your long term rentals and get them all paying on the same day if you so choose.

Newbook also allows them to pay via secure link in the mobile friendly guest app. Watch and enjoy!

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Coming Soon-Florida ARVC Keynote

It will not be long until our team hits the road for the 2019 FARVC Convention. We will be live at our booth and our CEO Kathleen Walsh will be the keynote speaker at the opening day breakfast.

Kathleen’s presentation will be, “Turn $3 into $10,000” and will highlight how modern technology and revenue management can drastically increase the return on your investment in your park. Kathleen will also be highlighting the “New” Snowbird and how to make sure you do not leave them out of your target market.

Our land planner and architect, Ron Beard, will be with us as well as team members demonstrating our marketing and technology solutions.

Click here to reserve your spot at this must attend event and trade show. We look forward to seeing you on the road!

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Missed Opportunities Means Lost Revenue

A few weeks ago when traveling, we called a major resort chain and their auto attendant told us to hold on, we were the 298th caller in line. NO LIE!

When asked if we wanted to continue to hold, guess what we replied?

Missed calls or closed doors often means lost revenue. If a guest wishes to speak with someone before booking, or no one is available, they will try the next park in line, and your park will suffer.

This is why one of our newest services offered at AOS is our call center and staffing option. Our call center does not just take messages, rather they are trained on your park and your software and they take bookings for you. On average, the cost is recovered five fold. Our staff is on 24/7 and makes sure to book your sites and process your deposits.

We also proudly offer temporary staff for those times when you are short on help, or just need a fill in while someone is on vacation. Our team members are RV’ers who are trained and fully capable of filling in while needed. No long term payroll dollars required!

We listen to our clients and strive to meet their needs. Our call center and staffing services are closing two major gaps in their business practices and they are raking in the revenue.

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