Time To Plan Ahead

It is hard to believe November starts Sunday. Three weeks later is Thanksgiving and then we are in full Christmas mode. If you are like most people, you are ready to say, “So Long,” to 2020.

For us, the end of 2020 is, in a word, BUSY. We have our plate full -and the start of 2021 is looking just as busy.

Between our current clients expanding their portfolios, the Glamping Show success, and the market being hot-we are beyond blessed with work. We never take this for granted.

We encourage anyone who wants to schedule their onboarding to get it scheduled NOW. We are planning for Q1 2021 these last few months of 2020.

If you need to get on our calendar, please schedule an appointment with Jenna at jlombardo@advanced-outdoor.biz and get on our calendar. She manages all calendars and can get you scheduled and off we go. The new year will bring exciting changes to our clients. We will be moving to a hospitality based accounting program for daily reports and occupancy updates. Our software systems are rolling out advanced features to save payroll dollars and enhance the guest experience.

You have made 2020 our most exciting year yet-and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

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Welcome Little Orleans

As a native Marylander, I am thrilled to say, “Welcome,” to Little Orleans Campground in Western MD. We are beyond excited about this newest park in our Portfolio.

Little Orleans has been in existence for at least 40 years and has a stellar reputation. We plan to build on the great foundation laid by the former owners. Watch as we roll out a new website, marketing, online booking, and a host of great new features at the park.

This gem of a park is located right next to the Potomac River and directly on the C&O towpath bike path leading from Cumberland to DC. It is also at the Fifteen Mile Creek lock and is surrounded by a beautiful mountain fed creek full of trout and old fashioned swimming holes.

Green River State Forest surrounds the park and offers hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and some of the most scenic foliage on the east coast.

Finally, we have landed one of our most seasoned GM’s to run this park. Make sure you stop by the office and say, “Hello,” to Andrea and her staff. We look forward to taking this park to new heights.

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Welcome Timberline

We are excited to announce a brand new addition to the AOS portfolio-Timberline Campground in Benzonia MI.

Watch closely as we roll out the new website, online booking, marketing, and SM pages.

Timberline is a great park near Traverse City, Crystal Lake, and Lake Leelanau MI. We witnessed the stunning foliage of this part of the country during our visit last week. We stayed in an EXTRA large, full hookup, pull thru RV site down the path from a spotless bath house.

Fishing, bike trails, wineries, brew tours, and stunning landscape are just a few of the activities you can find around this great park. We are planning to add park wide Wifi, a dog park, laundry, a clubhouse, and secure storage to the park over the off season.

We look forward to working with guests, owners, and staff at this great park.

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Thank You

Just a quick note to say, “Thank you,” to all those who joined me at the Glamping Summit kick off. What an honor to be chosen as the opening speaker. I know you will be blessed by all the others to follow.

Please check back on my blog in the coming days for the promised budget suggestions. Once off the road and on stable Wifi-you will get it hot off the presses here!

Remember my points in the seminar and you will be on track for great success.

B-Buy it Right

U-Utilities Drive Everything

I-IT Matters-even in glamping



Thanks and have a great conference!

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Hitting The Mark In Your Outdoor Resort Marketing

When it comes to your social and digital media, results are what matters. Money spent must be converted into real dollars, good bookings, deposits placed, and guests satisfied.

When AOS manages your marketing, KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are part of the weekly reports you get in your packet.

Why is this important?

Because far too often, resort or park owners spend money on marketing, but never really know if their dollars are converting to bookings. With AOS, not only do you get reports such as the one below, but we give you hard data on how many bookings came through as compared to what was spent.

Our marketing team is equipped with all the certifications and knowledge needed to attack marketing in this day and age. Here are just a few of the skills sets under our roof:

Google Adwords Certification

Facebook Blueprint Certification

Google Analytics Certifications

Adobe Creative Cloud Expert Level

SEO and Keyword Certification

Certified Content Managers

Final Cut Pro and Zillow Real Estate Certificates

FAA Drone Licenses

Make sure you vet your marketing team and demand KPI reports and verification that they are up to date on all things digital. If you need a more experienced leader, check us out and let us show you what we can do.

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Sneak Peak-Glamping Show USA

This week was a BUSY one. We held our annual “Thinking Outside The Tent,” training seminar with our entire staff in our SW Florida offices. We held regular work sessions and six intense work sessions focusing on Client Expectations, Marketing for Success, SWOT Analysis, Work Flow Procedures, and many Q&A sessions. We wrapped up with a BBQ and Dance Party with our very own Papi Roisterous at the helm. Photos are forthcoming…

This week I also taped two promos for the upcoming Glamping Show USA. This year, COVID has us virtual, but they have over 900 participants signed up to attend this online event.

I am honored to be a Keynote and my topic is, “Turning Dreams into Destinations.” Here is a sneak peak at what will be discussed during my event.

You do not want to miss attending this informative and cutting edge industry training and virtual show. You can sign up here to attend and learn from leaders in our industry. The virtual show will connect you to vendors uniquely situated to help you succeed in the space.

Last years event was BUSY..we had a two day booth and we had lines or both days. We are super excited to once again be virtual and look forward to seeing and hearing everyone who will be in attendance.

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Rate Yielding By Location

When I speak across the US about managing and yielding rate, I am still shocked at how most people in this industry are reluctant to even consider the possibility.

I have shown park owners over and over again how just manipulating rate a few dollars here or there can result in thousands of additional dollars to the bottom line.

After having led seminars across the US on this very subject, even I was surprised where I found rate yielding this week…..based not on supply and demand, but demographic and having to do with medication.

I was in Bethany Beach DE spending time with family when I realized I had run out of my asthma inhaler. Through my insurance, I have an app showing me the cost at the different local pharmacies (see below.) My inhaler was almost $10 more at my location than a location 10 miles inland and in a less prosperous area. You see, Bethany Beach is a bedroom community for wealthy Washingtonians, and the pharmacies in the area know this..so if you are in Bethany and you need medication, you are going to pay more than if you were a local living inland.

Some might consider this an unfair practice, but the market considers it the simple rule of supply and demand. If this product is demanded in the wealthy vacation spot, then the consumer will pay the price. It all goes back to this very basic principle of business:

Key points

  • The law of demand states that a higher price leads to a lower quantity demanded and that a lower price leads to a higher quantity demanded.
  • Demand curves and demand schedules are tools used to summarize the relationship between quantity demanded and price (Khan University)

The price locals are charged inland has been determined to be the price they will pay-the same rule applies to Bethany Beach.

When considering your perishable inventory item, “Site Nights Sold,” consider the rule of supply and demand and what the market is-at any given time- willing to pay for your inventory. This will help your rate, occupancy, and overall revenue stream by matching market price and demand with your guests willingness to pay.

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Go Away-Ye Who Wish To Spend Money With Me

“What Not To Do Wednesday” is back with a vengeance. After traveling for the past month, I have a whole new arsenal of hospitality, “No No’s.”

Today, police state signage. Below is an actual sign at a “Welcome Center,” check in station:

I am middle aged, married and and by no means a “Party Animal,” but if I rolled up on this, I would be out. No talking after 11 PM?? I cannot sit by my fire and have a glass of wine and converse?? Really!!

The best part is the bottom line, “If this is not your style, please leave now and save us both the hassle.” Just when I think I have seen it all, I see this.

I met the folks who run this park, they are nice people, but you would not know it from the sign. Instead of a welcoming entrance, this is what you are greeted with at the check in area.

Don’t get me wrong, we have rules in all our parks, but we never lead with the negative. Instead, we have clear rules on our websites, make sure everyone agrees to them at booking or checkin, and then we address the very few incidents as needed.

Here is how AOS would have worded this sign:

“Welcome to our park! We are so glad you have chosen to stay with us.” Then we would have had a separate rules sign stating:

“We know you are here on vacation and we want you to enjoy your stay, for everyone’s safety and pleasure, please keep in mind:

Others are trying to sleep after 11 PM, so please use inside voices when outside on your site. Refrain from playing music or outdoor TV after 11.

Please keep your kids safe on site after dark for their protection.

The responsible use of alcohol is permitted at your site. Please keep all alcohol in cozies or plain cups and do not walk with open containers.

Respect your neighbors-they may not have the same agenda as your group, so please abide by all guidelines.

If we receive complaints, you may be asked to leave without a refund..and that would just be a bummer!

Let us know if you have questions and PLEASE enjoy your stay!

What a difference, and yet the same message. Remember, your guests keep you in business and many of them are on vacation. Running your park like a police state is not the way to create lasting memories for those who want to relax and enjoy their time at your park. Make sure you are not saying, “Go Away,” before they every get in the door.

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Cha Cha Cha Changes

Let’s face it, most people do not like change. However, sometimes change is in our best interest, particularly when it comes to our parks.

We visit a lot of parks in a year-and I mean A LOT! Most of the time, the trips are in conjunction with a client due diligence trip. We are looking, investigating, and recommending for or against the purchase.

What is most interesting to me are the parks that are being run one way, but should be running in a completely different manner. I am always astounded at the mismatch.

Consider a recent park we visited, we shall call it Campers Delight. Campers Delight is a 378 site park and is full….of seasonal guests. Campers Delight should NEVER have been set up as a long term site. It is near rivers, streams, parks, horseback riding, bike trails, river rafting, hiking, and boating areas. Campers Delight should be teeming with daily and weekly guests paying a high average daily rate of around $75 per night. However, Campers Delight is full of long term guests paying an average daily rate of $15 per day. WHY DO YOU ASK??

I asked, and I was told, “Well, even though we know we could make more, we did not want the headache of transient guests.” What!! First of all, if you consider guests a headache, you should not be in hospitality. Secondly, the staff you need for short term stays is well worth the additional revenue generated. Campers Delight should have been alive with families, and campfires, and fun…but rather it is full of guests who live like squatters, trash their sites, and pay rock bottom prices.

The audit report we prepare for this park will show the vast amount of money that is being lost by putting a square peg in a round hole.

When you are purchasing or running a park-KNOW YOUR MARKET. Missing the mark by having the wrong guests, the wrong pricing, and the wrong targets mean sub par operations and sub par revenue. Neither makes a Campers or a Campground Owners Delight.

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Missing the Mark

As I stated in my last blog, I have been traveling the US looking at parks and preparing audit reports for clients. It has been an interesting trip.

Recently, I toured a spectacular property. The roads were wide and paved, sites were level with concrete or pavers, it had a pool and a hot tub, the grounds were immaculate, and the price was right. All sites were full hookup, the sewer and electric were new, and the exterior elevations of the buildings were stunning. The husband and wife that owned it clearly took pride in what they had built, and they were sinking.

This park was the perfect example of missing the mark. I was there in Mid-July. This was peak season in this area of the country and the lack of energy was palpable. No kids, very few adults, no one in the pool or the grand clubhouse.

The owners were well intended, but totally mis-calculated the amenties needed, and the market. This is a family friendly area, and the park had no playground or summer activities program. There was nothing to attract a family with youngsters to the location. Money spent on some luxuries could have been spent on a splash pad, a jump pillow, mini golf or something to attract the type of visitors who come to that area.

It was also in an area that a bit too far off the beaten path-just far enough away from the attractions that it was a difficult drive. There was a competitive set that was closer to the resorts and catered more to the type of market that visits the area. It lacked guests, an identity, and as funds ran out, some of the last touches were left underwhelming.

The bathhouses for example, looked like they belonged at a YMCA. After the, “Wow,” of the entrance and grounds, one would have expected tiled floors and walls, upgraded countertops, and nice roomy showers. None of this materialized once you entered the bath house. The pool furniture was subpar, and a clubhouse that looked like it belonged in a five star resort, was filled with plastic furniture.

I left there very sad for the owners. Their intentions were good, and their park beautiful, but it is going to take a large investment to put in the amenities needed to draw the right people to that park. Missing the mark and not building to the market can cause even a well capitalized park to come to a screeching halt, or worse yet, fail to launch in the first place.

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