Pets Mean Profits

For those of you who offer cabins or cottages-there is often a struggle between allowing pets in these units or prohibiting pets from in roofed accommodations.

As with all things AOS, we allow the data to do the speaking.

Below is a graph showing how much more pet friendly units are booked compared to non-pet units. For this particular sites, type Pet Units booked 4 times more often than non pet units. A pretty staggering statistic.

Added to this, a per day pet free of up to about $35 per night can be added to pet friendly units.

The most often cited argument against pet friendly units is, “Pets will damage my cabins.” I can assure you, after 20 years in the industry, inebriated adults and kids have done much more damage than pets. If you build your units with pets in mind, you will have easy cleanup and damage will be minimal. Use LVT Flooring, easy to clean surfaces, and upholstery which easily vacuums, you will have little to no damage and ease of cleaning.

Keep a few pointers in mind. Limit your units to 2 pets. Provide a broom and dustpan, and even a pet blanket for covering furniture. Remember, you cannot charge pet fees for Service Animals. Most of all, embrace this money making trend and count your green.

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Extra Extra Read All About It

If you are already and AOS client, you received an email this week regarding the latest upgrades to our service offerings.

If you are not, let us share what we are rolling out in the Month of April.

#1 Marketing Dashboards

Our new marketing dashboards are a dream come true. Our marketing team -working with our software developers -have created amazing dashboards to give our clients and us real time snapshots of how our marketing efforts are performing. All social and web channels feed to these reports, and even more impressive, with a small upgrade fee, even PMS booking revenue can be tracked. This data allows us to further dictate how dollars are being spent and how those dollars are performing.

#2 Risk Management Courses

Starting in April, all GM’s will be required to participate in our online Risk Mitigation Courses taught by our insurance and legal experts. Topics include: How to Deal with Difficult Guests, Removing Difficult Guests, Safe Propane Pumping, Pool Safety, Dealing with the New Class of RV’ers, and many more. These courses will equip the AOS team, both on and off site, in how to navigate these sensitive topics.

AOS is in serious growth mode, and appreciate all the clients who have entrusted us with their portfolios. Looking forward to a great summer season!

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The Processing of Poo

A few years ago, a children’s book hit the shelves entitled, “Everyone Poops.” Though I have not purchased this particular book for my littles, I am sure it is a fascinating read.

In the RV industry, the processing of waste is a HUGE deal. I write about it often and as we say here at AOS, “Sewer Drives Everything.”

To that end, we are thrilled to have a leading expert in not just waste, but RV waste, as part of our AOS team of experts.

When you partner with us to “Process Your Poo,” our Scope of Work includes:

  • 1.  Provide technical assistance required to select a suitable system for resort. 
  • 2. Assist in obtaining necessary permits environmental permits.
  • 3. Provide objective information regarding type of plant required. 
  • 4. Recommend the most cost efficient and reliable system for the needs of the resort.
  • 5. Review the design plans once engineer has submitted them to the Owner. 

Wastewater plants intimidate the most seasoned developers. RV Wastewater Plants are an entirely different animal. Make sure you do not wade through these waters (no pun intended) without the counsel and direction of an expert in systems FOR RV PARKS!!

A little investment now can save big for you later, both in construction and operational costs.

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Thank You CARVC!

Thanks to all of you who joined me during my seminar yesterday. It was indeed a joy to meet so many new people!

As promised, here is a link to a PDF copy of my presentation. Let us know if you have problems accessing it and we will mail it directly. Our rock star Assistant, Jenna, can be reached at 800-579-9796 and she will make sure she gets it to you,

Please contact us if we can assist you in your park operations. We offer full 3rd party management of parks and many all staffing, hiring, firing, training, technology, and marketing.

We also do full land plans and economic packages for our clients. We would be honored to help you make your outdoor dreams come true!

Thank you again for having me. Hope to see you soon on the road!!

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Amenities That Pay

One of the questions resort developers ask us the most is, “What kind of amenities do I need at my location?” The answer is, “It depends.”

This week we were thrilled to join a seminar where we were able to answer that very question. You may think it is an easy question to answer, but there is much more to it than just deciding what YOU think you may want or need.

When looking at adding amenities to your park, the first thing you should consider is ROI, or Return on Investment. What is ROI, here is the official definition,

Here is the example we used in our presentation and how to take a very simple look at ROI.

Questions to ask:

What is the cost?

How will occupancy, rate, and overall revenue increase with this amenity?

Other things to consider:

What specially trained staff will I need to add this amenity?

Are there any special code issues when it comes to adding the desired amenity?

A pool will require special equipment, may require lifeguards, and there may be code issues to consider such as, “Where can I legally backwash my pool?”

All in all, adding amenities are a good way to increase rate and occupancy, but knowing the ROI will lead you to making the right investments at your resort.

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What Activities Fit Into A COVID World?

Recently we were asked on a blog, “What activities are safe during COVID?” They were specifically asking about Mothers Day and Fathers Day.

This is a very good question and we have a few thoughts.

One of our most popular Mothers Day events has been a fashion show, especially around properties with pools or beaches. We get a local swimsuit shop to come out and display their goods and bring extra for purchase. It gives the small business shop exposure and is a great way for them to get some pre-season sales.

Another option would be to have a local stylist come out and do a makeover on a model. It can be hair care, skin care, or makeup. Local direct sales persons from Avon or Mary Kay are more than happy to serve the audience and bring items for sale.

For the guys, we have done things like teaching them how to tie lures, photography lessons, or bring a local golf pro out to give some demonstrations. We have also done some grilling lessons by a local bbq master.

All the above activities can be done with wide open spaces between parties. All can be done outdoors in the fresh air and socially distanced.

Don’t let COVID take over in 2021. There are some very unique ways to have a good time and stay safe.

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Thanks to our Northern Neighbor

I want to say, “Thank you,” to all those who joined us today for our Seminar, “The Art of Revenue Management.” It is my hope you learned something valuable to take into your RV parks and Glamping Resorts.

If you were unable to download the handout, please find it here.

We are always happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction. If you have questions or comments regarding todays discussion, please let us know.

Thank you again for joining us during our presentation. We hope to see you soon somewhere down the road.

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

One of the things we thrive on here at AOS is data. I suppose my apples do not fall far from the tree. I am a data nerd-it is why I went into accounting in the first place. Thus, as a company, we thrive on numbers and analytics.

Recently, we spoke to a client who commented that more sites seemed to be empty versus this time last year. He drove through his park and assumed his revenue was down and attributed it to what he perceived to be lower occupancy.

What he did not do is look at the data. The data showed he was up over $8000 in revenue and his expenses were lower as well-resulting in a much higher NOI versus the same month last year.

At AOS we always strive for the rate and occupancy balance. We want the best rate at the best occupancy. This means we do not strive for sold out, but rather we strive for maximum revenue.

Looks can be deceiving. Make sure you take things like ADR, booking window, and overall revenue before making final judgements.

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Sewer Drives Everything

If you have heard me speak, you will often hear me say, “Sewer drives everything.” Why? Because it is true!

When it comes to planning and building your outdoor resort, wastewater matters! There are only a few ways to deal with it, and each comes with its own unique set of challenges.

One solution is on site septic. On site systems alleviate the expense of package plants and impact fees, but they are not without their challenges. Valuable land must be set aside for drain fields, eco requirements must be met, and if gravity feed does not work, lift stations must be part of the design.

Secondly, private package plants are an option for many larger parks. These entail engineering, state approvals, and can be costly to build. Once built, they require maintenance and licensed operators to keep up with testing and state regulations.

Finally, connecting to an established municipal system is an option. This may seem like the least amount of headache, but impact fees can be in the millions for a large park. Add to this the monthly costs, and this may be the best way to go, but it is often not the most economical.

For glamping, you may also wish to use the option of composting toilets or incineration toilets. These are certainly viable solutions, but operationally there may be some challenges and ADR may suffer if guests consider this primitive and not an ideal scenario.

All in all, black water is an issue all outdoor resorts must take into consideration. Costs, ecology, smell, and convenience are all things that must be thrown into the equation. We at AOS work with specialty consultants in the field of RV and Outdoor resort wastewater. Residential systems are not equipped to handle the thinly diluted waste in this industry. You MUST consult with an expert. Spending a few dollars now could result in saving millions on your next project.

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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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