Summer is in full swing. This is one of the peak times of the year for occupancy in many markets. So the question is: are you marketing your RV park at peak effectiveness? A great looking sign out front is a good start, but there’s so much more to be doing. In the internet age, it’s essential to show up immediately on any search of Google for your market, and to have a terrific website. You should definitely have information flyers in the literature racks at any tourist information center. It’s also time for creative promotions that can be seen from the highway, such as inflatable slides. And let’s mount some additional banners out on that frontage, as well, to let everyone know that you’re the best place to park their RV. Unless your RV park is 100% full, you should be marketing like crazy. Summer is when you store up revenue for winter, like a squirrel stores nuts.
Memo From Frank & Dave
Would You Stay In That RV Park? The Importance Of A True Destination
The best RV parks are those that are “destinations” – places where Americans want to go and stay for days or weeks. If your property does not have this attribute, then it’s an “overnighter” location, and that means that people just stay for one night on the way to their ultimate destination. The occupancy, revenue and value of a “destination” is significantly higher than an “overnighter” location. So how can you tell one from the other?
How compelling is your destination?
There are minor destinations, and then there are major ones. Yosemite is a major one. The Grand Canyon is a major one. You can’t fake the quality and demand of your destination. It draws the traffic, and you are just along for the ride. The strength of the destination will make or break your ability to hit your budget. Before you buy an RV park, you should become an expert on that market and know every stat from number of visitors to any future development plans.
Is it seasonal or year round?
Sure, your destination may be terrific in May, but what about November? Is your destination something of interest regardless of the season, such as Brandon, Missouri? Or is it strong for six months and abandoned for the other months, such as the Crazy Horse Memorial in Black Hills, South Dakota? Any due diligence on a destination should include understanding the seasonality of the demand, and the temperatures throughout the year.
Would you stay there?
The best way to judge a destination’s appeal is simply to honestly ask yourself “would I stay there and for how long?” Entertainment is a big business in America, and it’s a very competitive business. There are thousands of great destinations, and they all cost about the same in travel cost. So, to succeed, you have to have a strong position that is highly compelling. If your opinion of your destination is only lukewarm, then don’t fantasize that it will be more attractive to others.
The success of your RV park has a lot to do with the location and its draw with tourists. As a result, it is imperative that you understand how strong your destination is, as much as you understand the financials and infrastructure of the RV park itself. The best built RV park in the world will still fail if nobody shows up. Don’t invest your money unless you are 100% convinced that you’ve got a winner.
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If You Don’t Feel Fireworks About Buying That RV Park Then Don’t Do It: The Power Of “Gut Instinct”
We have always been huge advocates of that evaluation tool known as “gut instinct”. Webster’s defines “gut instinct” as “an instinctive feeling, as opposed to an opinion or idea based on facts”. To us, it’s a very valuable force in sorting the millions of bits of data in that RV park “deal”.
A tour of a modern aircraft carrier suggests the importance of the human mind
Have you ever seen a PBS special on how a modern aircraft carrier functions? In the control center, there are computer monitors all around the room with naval personnel shouting out facts such as “incoming missiles 500 miles” and “7 planes on deck” and “30 knots southwest”. In the center of all this anarchy is the captain, who stands there with a glass wall and a wax pencil and says things like “send off those 7 planes and get 7 more on the deck” and “turn north at 40 knots”. Why don’t they have all those computers just connect to each other, instead of having a human sort the information? The answer is that the human mind is still considered superior to the computer is making complicated decisions.
Having confidence in your mental ability to compile millions of data bytes
Since the mind is superior in making decisions, then you should give a high level of trust in your subconscious, and not second-guess it. We have learned never to go against our gut instinct when it comes to buying an RV park. Every time we doubted ourselves and bought deals that we did not have a good gut instinct about, they were lousy performers, and we regretted every one.
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed forward by others
If you do not feel good about an RV park closing – even up to the final seconds of signing the documents – then hold off. It’s a whole lot better to lose a little earnest money and third party reports than to be stuck with a deal that is not a strong performer. If you are on the way to closing and see on the news that interest rates are suddenly rising higher, then your gut instinct may say “I need a price reduction because I will have less money to pay the mortgage when the interest rate on the debt goes higher”. And you’d be 100% correct. So why would you go forward? Because, in any deal, there are people who get paid to make you close the deal. Brokers, title companies, sellers – they are all working only in their selfish interests and not yours. After they get paid, they could care less what happens to you. You have to look out for yourself. And your best friend in such situations is your gut instinct; it always tells you the truth.
You need to feel good about every deal from beginning to end. No exception. If your gut instinct is not in alignment with what everyone is telling you, believe in yourself above all others.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Individuality
Most people spend their life worrying about “conforming”. They want to fit in with everyone else. Remember the trauma of not blending in when you were in high school? Individuality is a scary thing for many people. But it can also be a great trait if you want to be successful in buying an RV park.
People respond well to the “purple cow”
There was a popular business book years ago titled “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”. It discussed the power of individuality in business. Apple is an example of a “purple cow” that created customer excitement because it stood out from the pack. The best RV parks all share this same characteristic. They are different and unique. And that defines their success.
Nobody has a monopoly on creative thought
Creativity is completely custom. Everyone has the ability to think in a unique way. Don’t ever think that you have to follow what everyone else is doing, because the only way to succeed is to follow the pack. The truth is that the most successful individuals do the exact opposite: they trail blaze their own path.
Examples of this are all around you
It’s not just Apple that sets the standard. There’s also Tesla, and Google and thousands more. Every one of these companies is unique and sets the standard. And that’s how you should approach your RV park. If you think your park should have a pirate’s ship at the entrance, and every person who walks in should be given a pirate’s hat and eye patch, then give it a try. Don’t feel like such thought is dangerous. Because that’s the kind of unique thinking that can make you a success.
Being a “purple cow” can lead to nothing but “green”. Don’t be afraid of individuality, embrace it as your best asset in making your RV park a success.