Watch today’s Featured Video about the Hill Country RV Resort.
When an investment group acquired Hill Country RV Resort in New Braunfels, Texas, a little over two years ago, their primary focus was to renovate and upgrade the 383-site park to make it more attractive to Winter Texans and other Hill Country visitors.
But despite facing the worst recession in six decades, the improvements have proven to be so enticing that the New Braunfels park is purchasing 13 additional park models to accommodate a growing business base of new guests, particularly summer vacationers and Winter Texans, according to a news release.
“We are seeing huge demand,” said partner Bryan Kastleman of Austin-based Kastleman & Associates Inc., which manages the park. “I have turned away well over 100 prospective guests this past fall and winter.”
With the addition of 13 more park models, Hill Country RV Resort will have a total of 33 park models, all of which were added after Hill Country Hillside Ltd. acquired the park in December 2007. The park also contains 283 RV sites, with more to come, plus 80 mobile home sites. Kastleman said the park models have proven to be an extremely worthwhile investment. He has been working closely with Athens Park Homes of Athens, Texas, to design popular floorplans.
Hill Country RV Resort is renting its park models for $85 to $195 per night, depending on the model and time of year. Weekly and monthly rates are offered during the off season. The resort also works as a dealer for Athens-based Athens Park Homes and is selling park models to individuals who would like to own a unit as a weekend getaway cottage or seasonal retreat. Hill Country’s long-term plan is to expand the number of sites by replacing all of the mobile homes in the park with park models.
The park model additions are part of $1.5 million facelift that Hill Country Hillside Ltd. is giving the New Braunfels park. The other improvements underway this year include adding a park store and more activities for kids, including a horseshoe pit, Jumping Pillow, shuffleboard table, bumper pool table and more games. Additionally, one of the sitting areas is being moved to make room for the store and then an adjacent room will be remodeled into the new sitting area and game room / recreation hall.
Complementing its current vacation offerings, RVC Outdoor Destinations has partnered with Athens Park Homes to construct upscale cottages for its locations throughout the Southeastern United Sates, according to a news release.
RVC Outdoor Destinations provides the hospitality and amenities associated within upscale hotels in natural outdoor environments that include mountain, wooded, lake-side and ocean-side locales and offering concierge service, fitness centers, saline swimming pools, free Wi-Fi and cable, coffee and wine bars, boat rentals, barkparks, and nature trails. These new cottages will help further define RVC properties as unique outdoor vacation destinations.
“Through our locations, and breadth of service offerings we have positioned ourselves as the ultimate outdoor destinations,” said Yale Spina, vice president of operations for RVC Outdoor Destinations. “Our partnership with Athens Park Homes allows us to offer the highest quality and most distinct cottage living experience in each of our destinations.
The residential quality cottages are sustainably built and every floorplan has a living room, a bathroom, a kitchen, a loft and an outdoor deck. Features include built-in microwaves and dishwashers, upscale counter tops, recessed lighting, sheetrock walls, wood and laminate flooring, Wi-Fi and flat screen cable television.
“We are excited to partner with RVC Outdoor Destinations because their locations perfectly showcase our cottages,” said Phil Surles, president of Athens Park Homes. “They have insisted on the highest quality and together we have designed multiple floor plans that will provide visitors a wonderful overnight experience.”
The first cottages will be built at Catherine’s Landing in Hot Springs, Ark., but will eventually be available at all RVC Outdoor Destinations including Carrabelle Beach in Carrabelle, Fla., Live Oak Landing in Freeport, Fla., and Pine Mountain in Pine Mountain, Ga.
Nine recreational park trailer manufacturers will be displaying their latest units for the RV park and campground industry in the Park Model Pavilion at the annual InSites Convention & Outdoor Hospitality Expo Nov. 11-12 in Orlando, Fla.
The show is sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and will be held at The Rosen Centre.
The displaying companies are: Airstream Inc., Athens Park Homes, Breckenridge Park Trailers, Cavco Industries Inc., Chariot Eagle Inc., CrossRoads RV, Keystone RV Co., Skyline Corp. and Stone Canyon Lodges & Park Models LLC.
Meanwhile, in a related development, ARVC and Thor Industries Inc. announced in October that they have formed a strategic alliance to provide private park operators with exclusive prices on park models and travel trailer units specifically designed for use as rental accommodations at campgrounds.
“Three of Thor’s companies, Airstream, Breckenridge and Keystone, now offer unique lines of park model cabin and travel trailer units that have been specially designed to meet the durability needs of private park operators who are anxious to expand their offering of rental accommodations,” said Shane Ott, Thor’s director of campground relations.
Ott, who was previously president and COO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), joined Thor last summer and developed the company’s rental accommodations initiative with ARVC.
“We welcome this exciting Thor program and feel that the favorable pricing and unique designs of these units will be very enticing for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts as they continue to diversify their business base with rental accommodations,” said Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO.
About one-third of the nation’s commercially owned campgrounds, RV parks and RV resorts offer rental units to accommodate families and other travelers who don’t have an RV, but want to enjoy the Great Outdoors – and the numbers are growing.
“Private parks have long seen the merits of investing in park model cabins for use as rental accommodations, and now they have a chance to invest in both park models and travel trailers for on-site rental use at special prices that are exclusive to ARVC members,” Profaizer said. “Many travel trailer owners already leave their units at campgrounds and RV parks and use them as getaway cottages.”
Ott said this strategic partnership, the first of its kind involving ARVC and RV manufacturers, has enabled Thor to develop unique units using the input and experience of campground owners across North America.
The ruggedized features along with a variety of floorplans and cozy design elements offer campground owners durable units built to withstand the rigors of high occupancy usage. The lodging units featured in the promotion include four Breckenridge park models ranging from 22- to 36-feet; two Keystone travel trailers, including one 29- and one 37-foot model; and one 25-foot Airstream travel trailer.
Ott added that while the initial promotion involves Airstream, Breckenridge, and Keystone, additional Thor companies could become involved in the promotion in the future, depending on the level of private park interest.
Dick Grymonprez, center, representing Athens Park Homes, a recreational park trailer manufacturer based in Athens, Texas, displays the Supplier of the Year award presented to APH at this week’s Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) Spring Meeting and Trade Show. He is flanked by Doug Shearer, left, TACO president, and Brian Schaeffer, TACO CEO. More than 150 people attended the event held May 17-19 at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas. The trade show featured 45 vendors. A number of informative seminars were conducted and TACO handed out several other awards. Mill Creek Ranch in Canton received the Large Park of the Year award and Website of the Year award, while Vineyards Campground in Grapewine was named Medium Park of the Year.
Athens Park Homes has introduced a 16-foot-wide recreational park trailer. The Athens, Texas-based manufacturer says the “Rental Cottage” has a large living and sleeping area and no hallway. Standard building features include tape and textured walls and ceiling, tongue and groove OSB floor decking, R-22 ceiling and R-11 sidewall and floor insulation, energy-saving house wrap, 90-inch sidewall height and vaulted ceiling and Texbac vinyl flooring. Other features include a 48- inch walk-in shower, under- counter refrigerator, 20-gallon electric water heater, two-burner electric cooktop range and valance and 2-inch blinds on each window. Model 160 (shown here) includes a 6-foot deck. MSRP: $21,099.
Athens Park Homes, a builder of recreational park trailers and cabins based in Athens, Texas, has just become one of the first builders approved by NTA Inc., Nappanee, Ind., as a certified green builder.
NTA, a consulting engineering firm, has developed national green building standards for recreational vehicles and park models. NTA is a product certification agency accredited by the International Accreditation Service (IAS), a subsidiary of the International Code Council (ICC).
“We are committed to helping manufacturers reduce negative impacts on the environment through all phases of construction,” said Andy Crisp, NTA’s director of energy services.
“We have been working for over a year to make our plant, materials and products more green friendly,” said Dick Grymonprez, Athens Park Homes vice president of marketing. “Now every park model we build will have a green certification label on it. The best part is that one of our customers can go even further by adding other green features that we offer such as solar energy and a tankless hot water system. We will continue to be on the cutting edge of any new green material and applications as they become available.”
Some of the green features that are used in every Athens Park Home park model are: moisture proof house wrap, I-beam manufactured from recycled steel, formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation, water and drain pipes made with recycled materials, water saver toilets, tub and shower diverters, fiberglass heat ducts and fiber-cement siding made by James Hardie.
Crisp said that the standards that NTA has developed are very strict and apply not only to RV and park model products, but to the manufacturing processes and work environments of the companies that produce these products. “We look at VOCs in their materials. We look at their manufacturing environment and their level of recycling. We even look at carpooling policies and whether they provide a smoke-free environment,” Crisp said.
For more information on NTA’s green certification program for park models and recreational vehicles, call Crisp at 574-354-2401 or visit www.ntainc.com.
For more information on Athens Park Homes, call Grymonprez at (800 738-0392 or visit www.athensparkhomes.com.