CONCAN, Texas — The shale and oil boom in south Texas led to a record amount of site nights booked at Parkview Riverside RV Park for the 2012 Winter season. When many workers left, owner Doug Shearer expected a hit in bookings for the 2013 season. What he didn’t expect was a 35 percent increase in revenue, despite a 20 percent% decrease in camper nights.
Parkview Riverside is nestled in the southwestern part of the Texas Hill Country, a serene retreat near the Frio River and Garner State Park. Campers stay there because the area is so peaceful and remote, but they also experience inconveniences due to the lack of stores and services nearby.
Shearer made two key decisions in response to demand that led to the counterintuitive trend of decreased customers and increased revenue. He began selling 100-gallon propane tanks, having them delivered right to customers’ sites. With traditional 30-gallon tanks, campers ran out of propane quickly and were forced to leave the park to exchange their tank. The 100-gallon tanks offered a convenient and cost-effective solution.
“People were eating a lot of electricity and saw it as a rate increase, so in order to ease the pain, we offered this option for extended stay folks,” Shearer says. “If they bought an extended stay kit and propane, we’d furnish the tank and deliver to their site so they didn’t have to unhook and leave the park.”
The second decision Shearer made was to pay for a staff member to take a week long RV Tech class for A/C and fridge systems. Before, the nearest service available to campers was more than 50 miles away and cost $75 per visit plus an $80/hour fee. Now campers who aren’t even staying at his park come in for RV repairs, and local mechanics are no longer overloaded with work.
Shearer has profited from these two decisions, which seemed like common sense when he made them. He’s received many new customers from word of mouth rather than through advertising these new services. He says he’s always looking for new services to improve the customer service and the revenue trend at his campground.