What can we do to make RVers Stay the best it can be?

Discussion in 'Park Management' started by Creekside RV, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Creekside RV

    Creekside RV
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    We have just purchased a small but beautiful piece of property in central Texas.

    We have been Rving for some time now, and have enjoyed it so much we decided to buy raw land and develop a 40 site park.

    My wife and I enjoy meeting folks and giving the best hospitality available in the business we currently own. I'm looking for people to share what they love most and disliked most about places they stayed.

    What amenities are you looking for? Showers? Toilets? Dog Park, Exercise paths, Outdoor games, WIFI, Satellite, Booking online, RSVP ...etc.

    Beyond amenities what makes your stay the best it can be?

    What things as a park owner can we do to get someone to review us? ie discounted stay days....

    We would love to make our guests stay the best it can be. Please help us to know what it is that we could do to make this the best RV stay in our area.
     
  2. BankShot

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. I'll be the "guinea pig" and take a shot at responding your post. Some basic ideas that no doubt as RVers yourselves are probably already on your list but here goes................

    1. Provide good signage and easy entrance/exit from your park for all sizes of RVs. Within the park have roadways and site entrances easy to navigate and get into, etc.
    2. Have enough space between sites so each RV is able to open slide outs on both sides of their RV. A maintained grassy area alongside each cement patio is nice also
    3. Whatever you choose to have as site pads, concrete, asphalt or gravel, have them LEVEL. Nobody likes to use leveling blocks under their jacks or front tires to get leveled.
    4. Provide a picnic type table and chairs for each site
    5. If you are offering wifi, have it installed with a strong enough signal to reach all sites and not just to a few areas within the park. This is a big thing for a large percentage of RVers
    6. Most RVers have pets, dogs mostly. Have a fenced area set aside for them to be off leash and provide "poopy bags"
    7. Provide clean and "usable" restroom and shower facilities. It's always nice to have individual private shower areas complete with a bench and a place to hang clothes and towels, etc. Heated and cooled facilities are nice also
    8. Power pedestals/Water Spigots/Sewer - Most RVs have their power and water hookups on the driver's side but at varying locations on the RV depending on type and style, etc. We have found that most parks install the hookup pedestal about 2/3rds of the way back from the front of the site. Most RVers carry hookup cords and water hoses that will reach at least 10 t0 15 feet and more so locating them at that approximate spacing should not present a problem for most RVers. Might be a good idea in that you are starting from scratch to install two sewer connections at each site with one towards the rear, the other further forward
    9. Trees - Many RVs have satellite dishes. Trees block signals but also provide shade so you may want to have some sites with larger shade trees and some with shorter shade trees that don't rise up over the RV and block the signals from Dish or Direct providers. Find out where in the sky both companies have their satellites located and don't block them with trees.
    10. Depending on your location a small onsite store with basic necessities, that RVers seem to be out of as soon as they get hooked up, would be appreciated by most. Smaller 5 lb bags of ice is a convenience also to those that don't have onboard ice makers but that don't have freezer space to hold a 20 lb bag.

    I have tried to cover a few of the basic things that are important to us so will end this here and let a few others list their recommendations. Hope you are ready to receive a lot of ideas and suggestions in addition to those I have listed. Good luck on the new adventure. Sounds like you are off to a great start by putting the horse before the cart and asking questions of those who will be staying with you. If we ever get to the Austin area and find that you are open for business we will be sure to make a reservation and shake hands............

    Regards, BankShot..............(aka Terry)
     
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  3. Bama Camper

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    BankShot has a good list, although I don't think #9 would be practical for all sites. Shade is good.

    If you have a good park, you won't have to do anything special. The reviews will come. Concentrate on the park.
     
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  4. NYDutch

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    I agree, Bankshot's list is a good start. Regarding bathrooms, our preference is parks that offer at least some "family" style bathrooms similar to residential bathrooms, but with accommodations for folks needing some assistance like shower seats and either a hand held shower head or dual level selectable shower heads. And no timed or coin showers! ;)
     
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  5. BankShot

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    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks Bama Camper, most are just common sense ideas. Others will no doubt offer up many more that will be even mo betta ones. As for my #9 idea, if you read it again I think you will see that I suggested having a mix of short and tall trees, both of which will provide shade but the shorter ones won't block satellite signals that the taller ones will.............. :D

    Happy travels, BankShot............(aka Terry)
     
  6. newkcmoedoe

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    First and foremost, you must decide what type of park you are building. Is it a park for families? A park for seasonals? A park for overnight guests? A weekend party park? Once you decide, build it to accommodate those customers, period. Trying to please everyone only results in pleasing no one.

    Be sure you have double and triple checked your construction budget and then add 25%. If you can't easily cash flow the entire project, don't start. A partially constructed park is going to generate reviews and word of mouth reflective of a half done job. You will then be swimming upstream against a mighty current to try and change the park's reputation.

    Bulletproof utilities are paramount. Have utility issues and nothing else will matter. Spend the money to make sure you have adequate water, power and good flowing sewer connections. Wifi is important and so is cable TV, especially if you can't get multiple channels easily with the standard RV over the air antenna.

    Having owned parks, I can tell you that family bathrooms have a lot of negatives. While people tend to not favor the traditional men's and lady's style over family style, it is our experience that people keep the their space considerably cleaner and spend less time in the facilities if that style is used. They also do less things that are considered "unacceptable", like washing their dogs and dirty diapers in the sink etc. What happens behind locked doors is not always pretty. Shower stalls and toilet stalls with locking slides are more than sufficient for privacy and the fact that anyone can walk into the room at any time tends to keep the less desirable activity to a minimum.

    Finally, price your park so you make some money. That is what will keep you engaged and keep your amenities current. If it is always a financial struggle, it will filter down to the facilities and the attitudes of both the guests and the employees. Ignore all the static and noise from individuals who what this or that at a price that is not realistic. It bears repeating, you cannot please everyone, all the time, so do not try.
     
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  7. mdcamping

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    Showers/bathrooms: We travel in a smaller TT so this is more important to us. Keep them CLEAN. large seperate changing stalls, bench to sit on, plenty of shelves and hooks to put your stuff on. a divider curtain that at the very least minimizes water coming in from shower area. On the shower side at least one good shelf. I'm okay with the straight water timers or pressure operated ones. Especially important if you have plumming/drainage issues or teens leavings the showers running. But please don't install those coin operated ones... those are the most annoying, PITA and to me it gives the apperance that the campground is desperate to make money. Did I say keep them CLEAN?

    Dog park: If your going to do one then do a REAL one, not just a 12' X 12' fenced in area... it will just draw negative attention.

    Exercise paths: if the campground is scenic/maintained/looks attractive we will just walk the campground to get our exercise, maybe lower on the priority list

    Outdoor games: if your income is going to be more local probably more important. This said we enjoy shuffleboard so we still will occasionally look at what the campground offers.

    WIFI, Satellite: YES. probably more imortant for the retired folks, not as much for us at this point in our lives but may change.

    Enforce your policies and security, unless you plan on having a party campground and if so good luck with that...

    Mike
     
    #7 mdcamping, Sep 1, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  8. NYDutch

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    Does that mean you'd be ok with me accompanying my wife into the ladies shower area to assist her as I do with the family style facilities? In our experience, primarily with state parks that have at least some family style facilities, they've usually been cleaner and in better condition than the gender based facilities.
     
  9. newkcmoedoe

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    We have been in the park business for over 20 years and somehow people have managed. If family style restrooms are an absolute must, you would have to chose another park. Like I said twice in my post, it is impossible to please everyone, all the time. As for which is cleaner, you have your experience, I have mine. When making decisions when there is no factual data, I go with my personal experiences rather than anecdotal evidence from someone I do not know. I am not always right, but I am not wrong all the time either.
     
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  10. Fitzjohnfan

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    I like all the other lists here, and I believe the other posters have hit my "top 10" important items, so I won't repeat them.

    I have some other minor suggestions:
    Please arrive at a reasonable price for your sites, then do not nickle and dime visitors with extra charges. Set your rental rates to accommodate groups of up to 4 adults and children. Above that, start charging for additional people. If you have amenities on-site, like mini golf or a pool or horseshoe pits, don't charge extra to use these items.

    Also, some of us have older/smaller rigs with 30 amp hookups, so please have your pedistals accommodate both 30 and 50 amp plugs. I know there are adapters, but direct connection is preferable. If you can create some "electric only" sites, that carry a cheaper rental, this would be nice too.

    Thanks,
    Chris.
     
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  11. NYDutch

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    The OP asked our opinion of what makes our stays the best they can be, and that's what my answer included. If you don't want to accommodate my needs in your park, that's fine, there are other parks that do and get both my repeat business and my recommendation to others. I'm sure what you do offer fits the needs of many other people.
     
  12. Texasrvers

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    Please keep it civil, guys. Two of you have expressed your opinion of family type bathrooms. That does not mean that one of you is right and the other is wrong. It just means you have different opinions based on your needs and experience.
     
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  13. Rollin Ollens

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    You have received some very good advice from our previous posters. My only real addition is to be honest. Advertise what you have. Don't embellish. Exceed your customers expectations. Like others have said don't cheap out on your hardware. Make sure your power is reliable. Research the type of client that you will best be able to service very well and concentrate on that market.. A tenter will not want to pay a premium price for services that cannot be used nor will a user with a 45 foot Class A be very happy with minimal services. Wishing you the best of luck.

    My personal wish list is: Easy access from a main road with good signage. A quick and informative check in. Minimal rules but those rules should be administered. A neat and tidy park. A good recycling program (that shouldn't add much if anything to your overhead). Level sites with good access to services. I like a country setting and I am willing to travel an hour or two to see any attractions that I may wish to visit. And because I'm an old fart.......minimal noise as in screaming and yelling children. I avoid KOAs and kid friendly parks.I don't need bingo or a facility that will show me how to build a birdhouse. A book /video exchange is good and should cost the operator peanuts. Your bathroom will not be used by me. I have my own and I will only look into it to be able to add the info to my review of your park. I don;t mind paying a fair price. but get upset when an advertised service is not available or up to normal standards.

    Darrell
     
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  14. docj

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    This thread, once again, illustrates that there are several different "types" of RVers and a "one-size-fits-all" approach to designing an RV park won't necessarily appeal to all of them.

    My wife and I are typical of retired couples who drive large, self-contained RVs and rarely, if ever, use bathrooms, laundries or any other park amenities. All we want is an easy to get into site, large enough so we can sit outside in the evening without feeling as if we're siting under our neighbor's slide! We don't object to family-friendly parks as long as the children are given a playground or other place to play that doesn't infringe on the "space" of other campers. We don't currently travel with a pet but we don't have any issues with those that do as long as the park provides a place for dogs to do their thing without doing it on my site.

    We just finished a 10 day stay at Yellowstone Grizzly RV park and I would recommend using it as an example of what it takes to appeal to RVers such as ourselves. It isn't a "resort-type" park with activities that we wouldn't want, but it's an attractive, well-maintained park with wider than average sites. It has a playground but that's it's only child-friendly aspect that I noticed. It did have a large and well-trained registration staff that had us on our way to our site in far less time than I anticipated given the crowd at the time we checked in. Throughout our stay work campers continually circled the grounds in golf carts cleaning up sites after campers departed, blowing leaves and other debris,etc. Of course, none of this comes cheap, but I didn't think that $75/night for a premium pull-through only blocks from the entrance to Yellowstone was actually all that bad. On occasion I've paid that much for far less.
     
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  15. Creekside RV

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    Terry

    Thank you for such a detailed list. These 10 items are very important and thorough. Again I appreciate you taking so much time. If your ever in Austin look me up.
     
  16. Creekside RV

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    Thank you for your great post! Very helpful especially since you have owned parks. Good wisdom.
     
  17. Creekside RV

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    Mike great information. I have never used a bathroom at an RV park. We typically just use the one in our RV. Good to know about the water timers on showers. Thanks for your time!
     
  18. Creekside RV

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    Darrell

    Great Info! Thanks for taking your time and level headed thoughts.
     
  19. newkcmoedoe

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    Hope this isn't considered disrespectful, but I am reading between the lines and get the impression you need professional help to avoid making a huge, and I do mean huge, financial mistake. Apparently, your only experience with RV parks is staying at a few. Heck, you never have even used a campground restroom and shower facility. I suggest you spend the money and hire a campground consultant. Two that come highly recommended are Homer Staves and David Goring. Homer might be the best choice since I know he has done work in Texas and is very experienced with novice owners (He used to be a KOA executive. Many new KOA owners are first time park owners. They choose KOA specifically for the guidance and structure KOA offers. ). Professional help will not come cheap, but I was recently reminded of a very true statement from Red Adair, the famous oil rig firefighter. "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. "
    Good Luck on your endeavor.

    If you don't mind me asking, what is your and your wife's background? Do you have the basic handyman skills necessary to keep a park running? The size park you are contemplating (40 sites) isn't going to generate the kind of income necessary to hire professionals every time a pipe breaks, a power pedestal suddenly isn't delivering power, or a sewer line clogs. I really don't want your dream, hobby, next chapter in your life or whatever you call it to become a thousand pound anchor.
     
    #19 newkcmoedoe, Sep 2, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  20. Creekside RV

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    We carry the background to develop this property. You do stand correct as we have not been in too many parks. We do not expect to have a large vacancy, as our market has a two year waiting list on long term RV stays. We have hired a national RV consultant already.

    Our cash flow forecast allows for one maintenance/landscape helper.
     

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