By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report
VERONA, Wis. — How can a Wibit, Wedgie, Zulu, Iceberg and Jungle Joe 2 help campgrounds attract more guests and increase sales?
Just ask the experts at Commercial Recreation Specialists (CRS), a company founded by Ron Romens in 1999 to transform the outdoor hospitality industry. At CRS, they’re serious about fun.
Today, whether it’s a massive floating playground, or an attraction like a splashpad, playground or miniature golf course, CRS works with campgrounds and RV parks to best understand their goals and utilize whatever space they have to create experiences that keep families coming back.
“In much of the country, the camping season is relatively short, so we want to help campground and RV park owners make the best of what little time they are open,” said Romens. “For many parks, access to water is the big draw for guests. Water attractions are often cited by guests as the reason a park is ‘recreation friendly.'”
Any campground with access to a pond, lake or river can take advantage of CRS’ water recreation products. Even those without existing water access can create it using “water based family recreation center” concept.
The company will help parks develop an income stream to recover the investment costs and provide ongoing cash flow for the business.
“We work with owners to use whatever existing assets the campground has to enhance the camping experience and offer families a reason to make return visits, whether it is every weekend or once or twice a year,” he added.
“I have five children and I know what it takes to engage them in activities that not only keep their attention, but wear them out,” said Romens. “Campgrounds are faced with the need to develop activities that pull kids away from technology and actually make them want to get outside and play. Once engaged, the kids love it and beg their parents to come back to the campground,” he added.
Creating a business model
The staff at CRS works with campgrounds to help them develop a business model that will support the investment costs and help get the most bang for the money spent. They recommend admission prices and can show campgrounds other ways to enhance their revenue.
Best of all, CRS can work with any budget. So, if a campground only has a small budget to work with, it can develop a plan to add an attraction or two each year until the campground creates a full-fledged recreation area.
Those campgrounds that really want to attract families can develop a “family entertainment center” that not only includes a water park, but mini golf, a splashpad or playground equipment.
“We can show a campground how an investment in some play equipment at their park can increase overall camper nights as well as average revenue per camper by 3 to 15 percent, or more,” said Romens.
“We can even show owners data that demonstrates how selling a recreation pass for a certain dollar amount can increase camper nights percentage,” he added. “So, rather than spending $30,000 to create a park over time, owners may see the advantage of getting a loan to spend $150,000 creating a full-blown recreation center and recouping the cost by the sale of wristbands.”
With a big recreation center, many campgrounds can augment their income by allowing daycare centers and day camps to buy access to the park on weekdays. Some parks have found that weekday birthday parties are a profitable enhancement as well. One Jellystone park in Oklahoma sold 22,000 day passes alone in 2014, he noted.
For more information about Commercial Recreation Specialists, call toll-free 877.896.8442 or visit www.crs4rec.com.
More information will be provided in the next edition of Woodall’s Campground Management.