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What Not To Do Wednesday

June 19, 2019
A road sign with light reading "WRONG WAY".

Learning from Mistakes in Outdoor Hospitality

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.