“Contentment” In Glamping and Outdoor Hospitality

Sometimes, things are just meant to be. This is how we feel about this project, “Contentment at Beaver Lake.” It is another stellar project between Advanced Outdoor, their partner Clockwork, and the Nicholas Family.

A serendipitous meeting led to this project. AOS was speaking at the Glamping Conference in Denver. While having breakfast in the hotel lobby, Kathleen was approached by a lady in desperate need of a Claritin. Kathleen apparently looked like someone who would travel with such, and the lady approached her asking is she had one and could spare one. That led to conversations about why we were all attending the conference. Later in the day, this couple stopped by the AOS booth and “Contentment” was birthed.

Once AOS and the team sat down with the Nicholas team, we knew their land, passion and skills would marry exceedingly well with our design, counsel, and industry knowledge. The results speak for themselves.

This one of a kind Glamping Resort is set on Beaver Lake in Arkansas. It will be the premier Glamping venue in Arkansas and will fulfill the dream of this family and how their land can serve generations of guests. Built with the environment in mind, guests will enjoy the bucolic setting while the design preserved the natural beauty.

We are beyond exciting to be a part of this project and working hand in hand with this family. Apart from being a stunning design, the clients are wonderful people who let us do our thing, while keeping with their budget and vision. We look forward to the doors opening and the guests who will build memories that will last a lifetime.

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Data Nerds Rejoice

If you love data, you will LOVE our new dashboard reports.

We have been promising our clients these reports and we finally have them- released this week.

Now with the click of a button, clients can view their financial data every day of the month in real time.

Here are just a few of the graphs included in our dashboards. Parks identity are hidden and both are new to AOS in 2021:

We are thrilled to be the first to offer these deep data dives to our clients. One click on any graph leads to the details behind the data.

Next up, our new pacing reports built between our PMS systems and Zoho Analytics. These will contain detailed comparison data week over week and year over year. We are in the final BETA of the new pacing and all should be released by November 1.

Happy Data Parsing to all AOS clients!!

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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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What Not To Do Wednesday-Trust and Not Verify

Ronald Regan had a wonderful saying, “Trust but Verify.” This is the motto he lived by when dealing with Cold War Russia. It was a motto that led to the eventual fall of communism across the globe.

This is a motto we live by when dealing with the finances at our AOS managed parks. We trust our park’s staff, but we verify they are doing things correctly.

This week we are helping a client who is buying two parks. At both parks, the owners suffered at the hands of staff embezzlement.

Since we watch our clients numbers daily, we catch “odd” behaviors-sadly, many parks do not catch nefarious activity until is it way too late.

When we came upon our second park in one week with this issue, I said to my team, “How does this happen?”

One of my staff quickly replied, “They do not run their parks like a business, but rather as some sort of social club.” She could not have been more correct.

The owners of both parks mentioned above looked upon their staff as, “Family,” and never reviewed the books each day. This is where AOS takes a different approach. We immediately catch things like ongoing refunds, management credits, and excessive number of cancellations. When we notice oddities, we dig deep to discover the details and verify the legitimacy of the action. This is paramount to running a well oiled machine.

Most owners do not have time to look over the staff’s shoulders. They are too busy running their business to run their business. 3rd party mangement companies have the time to dig deep, and pay for themselves by catching such errors or ommissions.

Whether you run your park, or hire 3rd party management-make sure you look at your number daily!

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What Not To Do Wednesday-Focusing on Occupancy ALONE

As most of you know, almost our entire AOS management team came out of the hotel world. We were primarily associated with the Marriott Brand of hotels. It is here that our team and our revenue managers perfected their skills.

When revenue management is done properly, the balance between rate and occupancy results in maximum revenue generation for the owners. This is the goal of revenue management-NOT increased occupancy alone.

Case in point-a resort in our AOS portfolio. When looking at their November numbers, their occupancy is down 5% over last month, but revenue is up over $8000. In addition, this park does not pass electric on to their long term guests, thus they are what I call, “Double Dipping.” They are up in revenue, down in electric expense, and all this at a lower occupancy.

Most often in this industry, owners do not understand this principle out of the gate. They panic when they see empty accommodations, but with a little education, they learn the rate occupancy balance is really what is ideal.

With AOS on your revenue, the overall picture is a balance that results in year over year growth in REVENUE-even if occupancy is down.

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Discount Double Take

This really should have been a, “What Not To Do Wednesday,” blog post, but since I was traveling Wednesday, I decided to blog about this major, “No No,” today.

In the world of outdoor hospitality, discounts are handed out like candy. You would never find hotels, restaurants, or airlines handing out discounts the way many in our industry feel compelled to offer. Just this week, I spoke to an owner (NOT an AOS park) and pointed out how much money he lost by offering discounts during a highly coveted football weekend. Not hundreds, but thousands of dollars. This is bad business!

The very first park I ever ran as GM, we offered no discounts. However, we trained the staff how to handle this in a very savvy way. When someone would ask, “Do you take (fill in the blank) discount, we would say, “The best discount we offer is on a stay seven nights or more. May we extend your booking to seven nights or more in order to offer you this discount?”

Not only did this stop the conversation over discounts, but it often turned a 4 or 5 night booking into a week long booking. It also prevented the staff from having to say, “No,” to the “Do you offer discounts,” question.

The other way we avoided giving discounts during peak season is by setting aside special weeks for firefighters, military, and policemen. We would offer special rates to them at a time when they could enjoy the park and we needed the occupancy. We would create special events just for them-free of charge.

Offering flat discounts regardless of time period is a bad practice. When demand is high and supply is low, discounts can cut deeply into revenue. Offer your guests a fantastic guest experience and great accommodations and you will not get pushback when you do not cut your rates with discounts during peak periods.

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