Tracking over 230 lost site-nights for cabin rentals prompted Denny Quigley to step up and add two more cabins to his inventory at the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Kozy Rest near Harrisville, Pa.
“Last year, after hearing the reservation staff telling people we are sorry we don’t have a cabin available, I decided to have them start keeping track of the lost sales,” said Quigley, owner of the 164-site park, in a press release. “I was shocked to see the total lost sales from early July through October to be over 230 site-nights.”
The demand for cabin rentals is at an all-time high throughout the outdoor hospitality industry. Quigley stated that his cabin income is up 20% already this year.
That’s when Quigley started to look at cabin manufactures at the Leisure Systems Symposium, ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Convention and the PCOA convention. “We have a 5W park and I was looking for rentals to meet our standards,” Quigley said. “That’s when we went back to Fork Creek Cabins of Paradise, Pa. We had purchased two cabins from them in 2010 and they have been great.”
Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest was recognized as ARVC’s Medium Park of the Year last December, and Quigley says offering quality amenities is very important. “We really try to go after the ‘WOW’ factor in everything we do,” said Quigley. “It means a lot when we escort our customers to the cabins and hear them say ‘WOW’ when they walk through the door. The next thing we hear them say is that they need to show this to their friends or relatives.”
Fork Creek Cabins was Quigley’s choice because “They pay close attention to the details like the cabinetry and trim work. They use quality materials throughout the cabins. Jonathan Allgyer from Fork Creek cabins has been very flexible to work with on the floorplans and details. We wanted Moen faucets and Jonathan worked with his supplier to see that they were installed. From Dan Allgyer, the owner, to Amos the delivery and setup person, they really have our best interest in mind.”
Tenting and RV camping are still by far the most popular ways to enjoy overnight park visits. But increasingly, “campers” young and old are sharing park experiences while roughing it less than overnight visitors did a generation ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
“We have six camper cabins here at Wild River State Park, along with the ‘guest’ cabin,” said park Manager Paul Kurvers. “Two of the cabins have been here 15 years or so, while the other four were added about three years ago.
“The cabins are rented every weekend of the year.”
Wild River’s newer cabins — fee: $50 a night — are part of a building trend. In 2004, When Courtland Nelson became DNR parks and trails division director, Minnesota was late coming to the camper-cabin concept.
South Dakota, for example, had more park cabins than Minnesota.
“South Dakota built their cabins in a correctional facility in Springfield, S.D., and that was the model we initially copied,” Nelson said. “We built our cabins at the (correctional) facility in Red Wing.”
Paid for largely by state bonding, park cabin building in recent years has continued apace. Three year-round cabins with electricity were constructed last year at Lake Shetek State Park. The year previous, three similar cabins were added to Maplewood State Park, while 11 were built in 2008 — four at Sibley, four at Wild River and three at William O’Brien.
In all, 42 camper cabins — each can sleep six people — have been constructed statewide since 2008.
This year, Gov. Mark Dayton’s bonding bill includes $400,000 for more cabins.
“The cabins tend to attract a different kind of visitor than we might otherwise get,” Kurvers said. “These are people who in many cases haven’t previously been to a state park.”
Said Nelson: “The cabins also cater to older people who perhaps don’t want to sleep on the ground anymore. We’ve also found the cabins are popular among people who don’t want to buy camping gear.”
There’s been one rub.
In some parts of the state, resort owners worry that a proliferation of park cabins might hurt their businesses. But Nelson said the cabins don’t compete with the private sector.
“These are very spartan facilities that give Minnesotans a chance to get outdoors,” he said. “We’re strongly in favor of building more cabins in a variety of parks.”