Pulling Ahead of the Competition

When looking at parks, the comp set is always part of the equation. However, it is not the end all be all in decision making.

When we developed our first park, people thought we were crazy. We were developing 1/4 mile from a park which offered a full waterpark and theme park FREE with the camping experience. Our park did not include such amenities.

Everyone wondered, “How are they going to make this work?”

Not only did we make it work, we blew past them within a few years. How? By focusing on what we did better. By appealing to people who wanted an outdoor experience, but not inside an amusement park. By focusing on a more adult oriented experience rather than kid centric.

It was an aggressive strategy, and it worked.

More recently, we took on an acquisition property near a national REIT’s signature property. With the right marketing mix, marketing dollars, great owners and staff, we blew past previous numbers to have their best year ever.

Results like this take work. They do not happen overnight, but they are possible when AOS is in charge and owners trust us to do the right thing. Targeted marketing, an increase in the marketing budget, great staff, and reworking some of the amenities proved to be the winning formula.

Competition challenges us to think “Outside the Tent,” and to figure out how to pull ahead and leave them in the dust.

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HOT Trends-School In The Great Outdoors

A few years ago, our AOS parks were starting to see a growing trend, homeschool families staying in our parks over the winter-especially in traditional snowbird states.

One of our Florida parks even went as far as to setup the community room as a mock school house during the day. The families enjoyed the added space where they could educate their children while on the road.

This is also one of the reasons we encouraged “Snowbird” resorts not to label themselves as, “55+,” since the trend was growing as far back as five years ago.

Now one of the latest industry publications, RVIA, has confirmed traditional education is dying.

Here are the stats….

This is not only a stunning socioeconomic trend, this is a stunning statistic for outdoor hospitality.

What does this mean to you and your resort? The implications are numerous and varied:

  • Spaces for schooling should be considered at all newly built resorts
  • Blazing fast WiFi is a must
  • Child friendly spaces should be added to all designs
  • Partnering with Homeschoolers by providing group activities and educational programs should be added

This trend will not go away. Families are fleeing traditional education for many reasons, and have been for decades. However, they are now fleeing traditional education and hitting the road. THIS will have positive ramifications for YOUR resort if you plan ahead now!

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Nerds Ahead of the Herd

Anyone who knows me knows I am a data nerd!

From the moment I took my first accounting class in college, I knew I was in love!! I love numbers, spreadsheets, formulas, and most of all, REVENUE.

Coming out of my former life, I was impressed with the software we used in the hotel world. It gave a data wonk like me hours of enjoyment. Armed with reports, I was able to make solid, data driven decisions with the type of reports these systems were able to compile. I am happy to report, we are moving our clients to such a system between now and 1-1-21!

If you have seen my budgets, you have a sneak peak at where we are headed. All properties will be on or moved to this hospitality based software beginning January 2021. This may not sound exciting to you, but I am like a kid at Christmas.

Our new software will give us the data we need to continually make solid financial decisions. The screenshot below is just the header of one of the new reports. Without having to pull multiple reports from different systems, we will see at a glance the nights sold, occupancy, ADR, REVPAR total revenue and revenue per occupied site-including ancillary and misc income such as extra person fees, pet fees, and booking fees.

Same on the expense side. Now our reporting gives us daily snapshots into how we are comparing against budget as a PER OCCUPIED SITE cost as well as overall revenue. Cost control is a strong focus and reporting on CPOS is a fantastic tool to control costs. Owners can now login and not only see expenses, but an image of each vendor payment made on the AP side. Owners will also have control over the approval process should they desire to have that level of control.

If you are a new property, you will be on the software from day one. If you are a current property, you will be live 1-1. Let us know if you have questions or comments. We will keep you in the loop as we move you forward!

We want to thank all of your for allowing us to partner with you in the ever expanding world of Outdoor Hospitality.

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Worker Bee Parks

When we have parks in our portfolio who cater to workers, we refer to them affectionatly as “Worker Bee Parks.”

This is a disparaging term, rather it defines the target market and how we approach rate and occupancy. There are a few things to remember about AOS Worker Bee Parks:

They are NOT work down trailer parks! We run our worker parks with the same set of guidelines with which we run our transient parks. Clean, comfortable, and NO junky sites allowed!

Secondly, they do not play second fiddle to transient parks. Worker Bee parks can be highly profitable since the teams are often paid generous per diem housing rates and will pay a nice price for nice accommodations.

Rarely are these parks just one industry. They may be wind farm workers, solar farm teams, or oil industry contractors, but throughout there are always sprinklings of traveling nurses, families, those who are building homes in the area and need a short term rental, or just folks on the road traveling through the area.

We love working with these parks and connecting our parks to the jobs happening in the area. We do this through our digital communications, connecting with the industries, and partnering with the local chambers.

We also manage revenue in these parks the same way we manage revenue at transient parks. In fact, it is more important in these parks since the ADR is lower overall and we need to eek out every penny we can.

If you own a worker bee park, it is worth your time to speak to one of our team members about how we can help build your success .

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Driving Traffic

I wanted to share a one day screen shot from two of our parks. During this time of panic and COVID, we are thrilled that our portfolio parks are thriving. These screenshots, sent to me each morning, shows me what is happening across our portfolio. This particular one, shows me how our marketing department is reaching guests.

First thing to note, 166 people were driven directly to our Book Online Button from our “Call To Action,” campaigns.

139 were driven to the same site through our enhanced Google showing, and 60 directly to Madison through our Adwords. Keep in mind, this is ONE DAY. Most importantly, 239 of the 263 were NEW visitors.

Marketing is always important, but marketing during COVID has been a whole different animal. For the states that have allowed us to remain open, the team has absolutely slayed the competition.

If you are not seeing these kinds of results, you are with the wrong team. No one is more aggressive in their thinking than the team at AOS. We beat the data to death and then tweak each day as needed. It is what we do, and we do it well!

This screen shot tells you a couple things.

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