What Not To Do Wednesday-Poor Signage

Actual Sign From Actual Location

The old saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” is as true today as ever. Bad signage is one of worst offenders when it comes to a negative first impression.

Confusing signage-such as the example above-leave guests scratching their heads and wondering what type of management is running the place. Are you open? Are you closed? Do you care? What are your hours?

Just as bad is signage printed off a desktop computer or worse, hand written. In this day and age of online shopping, professionally printed signage is cheaper than ever and should always be ordered when signage is needed. Our go to provider for RV Park signage is rvparkssigns.com or hotelsigns.com. These vendors provides signage at an affordable price with fast and/or free shipping.

Finally, ask your vendors for signage. If you have a store, or sell propane, your vendors will often have all the signage you need and are ready to give it to you free of charge for selling their product. Store signage (and racks) should almost always be available from a commercial vendor.

Make a good first impression by spending a few dollars on signage that informs and impresses.

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What do YOU need in a Reservation System?

People often ask me about reservation systems and what they should look for when purchasing one. Our list of “Must Haves,” include:

  • Online Booking Capabilities
  • Revenue Management Tools for Price Yielding
  • Ease of Use
  • OTA Connectivity (Air BB, Booking.com, BookOutdoors, etc.)
  • Ability to use a credit card processor of your choice
  • Cost of Online, OTA, and In house bookings

At AOS, we have tested, demoed, vetted and met with the leading PMS systems in the industry. When it comes down to it, we recommend and sell/support only three-Mosaic, RezExpert, and Newbook.

Each park and different needs, and the three above meet the need of every client in our portfolio. They all have specific features to meet the needs of our clients, and we support all three.

When making your purchase, consider calling us for a demo and allowing us to provide your software and support. We offer 24/7/365 support that is the best in the industry.

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Alabama ARVC Presentation

As promised, the Alabama ARVC presentation can be found by clicking here.

We appreciate everyone who joined us and participated in the lively discussion. We LOVE coming to Alabama and working with all the great parks in this great state.

We will be coming back soon. Let us know if you would like us to stop by for a consultation.

War Eagle or Roll Tide…God Bless all!!

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One of the services we provide is “RV Park Rescue.” It is one of the most difficult, but also one of the most rewarding, services we offer.

However, many owners do not realize their park is burning to the ground. It may not be a literal fire, but it is just as damaging. Most often, the causes are many and varied.

The number one spark we find lies with some or all of the staff. Workers at these burning parks have little to no passion for the job, and this rubbed off on the guests a long time ago. They have allowed the guests to join in the downward spiral and any newcomers quickly fall into the same lethargic trap. There is little to no training on customer service, park rules are ignored, and accountability to anyone is non-existent.

Financial mis-management is also a hallmark of these parks. It may or may not be outright theft, but it is often an inability to capture the rate they should be capturing because they have allowed the product to suffer. The park is cluttered, the guests are not the highest caliber, and the amenities have been left without needed routine maintenance. This results in the park suffering financially and failing to bring in the funds necessary to turn it around.

Finally, ownership must take responsibility-and this is often the most difficult part. It takes admitting that a blind eye has been turned and they have been involved in their own downfall. As Dr. Phil often states, “You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.” Once an owner realizes the park is on fire, they can start putting out the blaze one at a time. This is where the AOS team comes in, and starts the hard work of righting the ship and putting it on the path to a bright future.

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Welcome to Canopy Oaks

We are excited to announce the newest addition to the AOS Portfolio-Canopy Oaks RV Resort.

The beautiful park in central Florida is the first in the line of many parks to be developed by Rocklyn Homes of Atlanta. We are excited to be partnering with them in this project.

Amenities galore will greet guests at Canopy Oaks:


are just a few of the accommodations planned for this site. When Rocklyn Homes does something, they do it right, making them the perfect partner for AOS. Our commitment to excellence is one in the same, and we look forward to celebrating with them this Thursday at their ribbon cutting.

Keep an eye on the progress by following them on social media. Welcome Canopy Oaks!

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What Not to Do Wednesday-Resist the Urge to Manage your own Social Media Sites

Ok, let’s be honest, we all engage with Social Media. Whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or the brand new Tic Tok, Social Media is here to stay.

This familiarity with Social Media causes many park owners to think this is an area of their marketing they can tackle on their own. Sadly, we get called in when they realize it was not as easy as they thought.

The below graphic shows results from a month of AOS led marketing compared to a month when they property tried to do it on their own.

As you can see, there is simply NO comparison. With just a budget of $150 for ad spends, we took a park with a less than glowing social media presence and turned it around. We increased the engagement AND did not receive a single negative comment in the process. This type of success can only be done by a social media expert who knows to engage the right audience with the right content.

Social Media may be fun a fun way to chit chat with friends and family on a personal level, but when it comes to running your business, it should always be left to the experts.

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What No To Do Wednesday-DYI Design

We were in Tennessee last week, visiting parks in and around the Smoky Mountains. While driving, we turned a corner and saw a picturesque valley surrounded by the grandeur of the mountain range.

We also saw what was an RV park under construction. There we no amenity buildings, but many of the sites were laid out on a waterfront area near a babbling brook and under highly coveted shade trees.

As soon as we stepped out, I asked my travel companions, “Do you see what’s wrong?” After several guesses, no one was right.

To the untrained eye, the sites looked fine, but I knew they were going to have issues.

The first problem was the placement of the picnic table pad. Most well designed sites have the pad located in the area where the RV awning will create shade over the picnic table area. This particular park laid it out so they are at the back corner of the site-far from where the awning will unfurl and in direct sunlight. No one will use the pad in this location. It was a waste of money and will cause a poor guest experience.

Secondly, the utilities were placed so close to the pad that anyone with a slide on that side is not going to be unable to open it. They will hit the pedestal or have to orient their RV in a way that will make other utilities hard to reach. Again, poorly designed, expensive to fix, and hard to use.

I am always amazed at those who build parks without a trained RV Park land planner. Our team, in the past month, have rescued no less than three major parks with bad design. One was fully permitted and ready to break ground-when thankfully-he had someone look at it and tell him it was all wrong. He called us, and we are now redesigning his park.

DO NOT CUT CORNERS when it comes to planning and building your park. If you do not pay now-you WILL PAY LATER. The AOS team has designed award winning and guest friendly parks all across the US-we know what we are doing and will not waste your time with bad design.

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Small But Mighty

Every Monday we prepare for our Tuesday team meeting and our weekly client calls. We start looking at the reports from our Revenue Management department and plotting the trends we see across the US.

One of our parks this week is a lesson in the art of revenue management.

This small park (111 sites) has seen amazing growth under the AOS banner. The signed on in February of 2019. This June, they are going to hit the highest occupancy AND revenue they have ever experienced in a one month period.

It has been done by targeting their marketing, and hitting the right price points for their market. They were overpriced and not hitting the guests who would tend to stay with them. This led to a double disaster. By honing in on the right client, and setting their rate to what the market would bear, we have more than doubled their revenue and increased occupancy by 43%.

The cost to them for our services? A mere fraction of this…making all the rest icing on the cake! Take a look and see what the AOS touch brings.

DateSites AvailableSites SoldAverage Daily RateTotal Revenue
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Listen to the Market

I had an interesting conversation with a client this week. He has been a client for a long time, and his park has tripled its revenue since coming on board with AOS.

We were wrapping up a call when he said, “I always thought our park would be headed in another direction. Not sure of what he meant, I dug further.

He said he always thought his park would be families-kids running around and enjoying all the amenities. However, we found his market trended toward single adults who wanted a serene environment, off the beaten path, with adult oriented recreation and amenities.

Once we honed in on his target market, we found we could increase his price and occupancy substantially by fitting the round peg in the round hole-and not trying to force the park to trend in another direction. It completely turned away from what he thought it would be-but it headed exactly where the market demanded it go.

If you have heard me speak, you have heard me repeat this time and time again. The market is going to tell you everything you need to know. Sometimes you are confirmed and sometimes you are confronted-but the market is never wrong.

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What Not To Do Wednesday

My sisters and I loved the show, “What Not To Wear.” We watched it every week and texted back and forth the whole time it was on. The funniest episodes were when they confronted the people who thought they were fashion icons, but were on the annual worst dressed list.

Sadly, we have way too many, “What Not To Do” bullet points when it comes to building, owning, or operating an RV Park or Campground. Therefore, we are starting a series entitled “What Not To Do Wednesdays.”

This past week, I was able to visit one of the most beautifully designed parks in the nation. It was just beautiful! I will NEVER name names during this series, but I will point out the errors I see when visiting these parks.

As stated, this park was nothing short of 5 star when it came to sites, layout, utilities, and VIEW. The curb appeal at the entrance, for the most part, did not disappoint when it came to the RV sites. However, the check in and amenity buildings were underwhelming and did not match the grandness of the entrance. After seeing the entrance, you were a bit let down with the just OK welcome center, bath house, and clubhouse. A few touches could have made the buildings just as much of a statement as the entrance.

Most problematic, the rates were low, unchanging, and made little to no sense. This park should have and could have been getting a good 50% more on base rate, and they should have been yielding up from there. In my conservative estimate, this park is losing $500,000 to a million dollars in revenue each year with this costly mistake. It was shocking that what should have been a base rate $90 site was going for a stagnant $49.

Finally, though they had an online booking engine, it was VERY hard to use and even harder to understand once you actually got to recognize your request. Worse, they allowed you to choose a specific site, allowing the guest to control your grid and reducing the occupancy you could get if the guest were only allowed to book Site Type rather than Site Specific.

These sorts of mistakes are replicated time and time again all over the country. A high end hotel or resort would never make such mistakes, and it is our goal at AOS to keep our clients from falling into these same traps.

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