Officials of Cruise Inn, a new concept in RV parks benefiting owners and guests, announced today Kathy Palmeri and Linda Profaizer joined the company as directors of business development. According to a press release, they will be responsible for growing the brand across the United States.
“Kathy and Linda bring strong relationships and impressive track records to our team,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Cruise Inn. “We are confident they are the right individuals to grow our brands’ strategy in the outdoor hospitality arena.”
Profaizer has a 40-year track record in the RV camping industry. She is the immediate past president of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), successfully moving the association from the suburban Washington, D.C., area to Colorado and establishing strong working relationships with national industry partners.
As the former president and CEO of Woodall Publishing Company, Profaizer was responsible for the growth of its national camping directories. During her tenure, she created the “Tenting Directory,” established the first agreement with Microsoft to put parks on a nationally sold DVD travel product, and oversaw the consolidation of six RV/camping newspapers and a national RV tour company.
Profaizer oversaw changes to the Woodall’s Rating System and the management of its representative teams. She also held the title of director of RV business development at Flying J Truck Stops, where she doubled the size of their RV consumer club at the end of one year to over 400,000 members.
“Cruise Inn presents a unique opportunity for owners of independent RV parks and campgrounds to be able to expose their parks to the worldwide travel market without the personal hassle of managing multiple distribution outlets,” stated Profaizer. “Cruise Inn offers the power of a national brand with an already existing infrastructure to provide a robust reservation system along with support and training.”
Palmeri was a hands-on park owner/operator for 17 years and participated on local, state and national boards since becoming involved in the RV Park and campground industry in 1994. Of note were the Colorado Tourism Office Board, the ARVC board, where she served as its chairman in 2003 and 2004, and most recently as chairman of the Visit Estes Park Destination Marketing Organization.
During her term at ARVC, she focused on outreach to the parks and state organizations, attending trade shows and meetings in order to communicate directly with the membership.
“I have always believed the RV park and campground industries should be acknowledged as an integral piece of the leisure travel market,” stated Palmeri. “The Cruise Inn concept, along with its founders, brings that possibility to our sector of the hospitality industry with its incredible exposure to a vast segment of the population we have not been able to reach before.”
Cruise Inn, a newly launched national brand of RV parks and campgrounds with a member-based network of owners, announced a partnership with online travel agency Expedia Inc. in a deal the company says will significantly expand its national reach in the outdoor sector.
“We’re the first brand in the outdoor hospitality space to forge a partnership with the Expedia family of brands, and it’s going to fundamentally change the RV industry,” Cruise Inn CEO Scott Anderson told RVBUSINESS.com. “It’s going to expose the outdoor hospitality arena to a whole new set of customers who have never even considered a park model or renting an RV or a tent – or any of these types of camping experiences – as an alternative to traditional accommodations.”
Cruise Inn executives founded the company in late 2013, but with more than 125 years of combined hospitality experience, they came out of the gate saying their long-term goal was to “elevate the entire industry.” According to Anderson, the partnership with Expedia confirms the company’s commitment.
“We are very serious about our goals,” Anderson said. “This partnership is part of our strategic plan, and frankly, we aren’t done yet.”
Cruise Inn (www.cruiseinns.com) is modeling its plan after the hotel industry, specifically the member networks of Lexington and Americas Best Value Inns developed by Vantage Hospitality Group Inc. – a Cruise Inn corporate backer – which has grown to 1,100 hotels worldwide. The Cruise Inn vision is to grow into a member network of at least that size or larger.
For their part, Expedia (www.expedia.com) representatives say they are confident in their new partner’s ability to deliver on that vision.
“We think, in Cruise Inn, we’ve found a really good partner,” said Drew Bowering, director of key accounts at Expedia. “They represent the ideal business model and we’re confident that the end result will be one that’s going to benefit the customer.”
The partnership represents Expedia’s first serious public foray into the outdoor hospitality arena, and Bowering said the company’s leadership is enthusiastic about that prospect as well.
“We truly are excited about the partnership and the new relationship that we’ve set up with Scott and everyone at Cruise Inn,” he said. “We have no current product carve-out for outdoor hospitality in our shopping experience and all eyeballs are on this internally now.”
Initially founded as a division of Microsoft in 1996, Expedia was a pioneer in the online travel industry but has grown to become a global powerhouse with 150 travel booking websites in over 70 countries, 60 million unique visitors to its family of websites each month, and $4.8 billion in revenue in 2013.
“We are constantly trying to innovate and offer unique travel experiences,” said Melissa Maher, senior vice president of Global Partner Group at Expedia. “We’re thrilled that this partnership allows us to expand our offerings into the outdoor hospitality space.”
The new corporate partners believe that this move will benefit owners of Cruise Inn branded facilities, as well as all outdoor hospitality enthusiasts.
“Our owner members are extremely excited,” Anderson said. “This is another big way for us to bring them customers that they wouldn’t be able to get on their own. And from the consumer side, they previously had very limited options when it came to booking an entire camping vacation online. That’s about to change.”
Anderson said that it will likely be two weeks before Cruise Inn parks begin showing up on Expedia, and he expects more nuts and bolts details to emerge then as well.
– Submitted by freelancer Ty Adams exclusive to RVBUSINESS.com
Cruise Inn announced today (June 19) the official launch of its national RV park brand as four Colorado-based facilities were named as “founding parks.”
According to a press release, the parks now bearing the Cruise Inn brand include Gunnison Lakeside RV Park & Cabins, Gunnison; Cutty’s Hayden Creek Resort, Coaldale; Junction West RV Park, Grand Junction: and Riverview RV Park, Loveland.
In addition, RV enthusiasts and campers can now visit www.CruiseInnRVParks.com to:
• Learn more about their RV parks and make reservations.
• Sign up for the monthly Cruise Inn e-newsletter that includes park deals and special promotions.
• Join the free, instant rewards Cruise InnCentives loyalty program that offers members a 10% discount on stays at any participating Cruise Inn RV Park and access to thousands of discounts and special offers for dining, travel, shopping and events.
Cruise Inn said it will be adding new RV parks and campgrounds across the country on a continuous basis.
Cruise Inn is backed by 125-plus years of overall hospitality expertise. Its network offers guests “reliable, comfortable and welcoming facilities, as well as a quality, consistent experience at a reasonable price,” according to the release. Cruise Inn was also recognized as one of the most innovative and new concepts in the hospitality industry during the American Lodging Investment Summit in January.
“Whether parking an RV, pitching a tent or renting a cabin, Cruise Inn guests will really enjoy staying at our parks, which will offer great settings, facilities and amenities for vacationing and unwinding. Visitors will also enjoy our Cruise InnCentives loyalty program that provides immediate benefits instead of requiring you to wait until enough points are accumulated for a reward,” said Cruise Inn President & CEO Scott Anderson.
“As an independent RV park owner, my business has been mostly word of mouth. With the technology and resources Cruise Inn will now provide us, we can reach so many more people throughout the country, and even the world, and share the joy of RVing and camping with them,” said Rick Stauter, owner of Cutty’s Hayden Creek Resort.
“An attractive part of Cruise Inn’s innovative membership model is its preferred vendor program,” said Cruise Inn Brand Manager Kristen Fandrey in a press release. “Park owners get to enjoy the resources of dozens of companies to help with everything they need at the park level, while receiving preferred pricing and substantial discounts.”
The release stated that HD Supply Maintenance is a leading supplier of maintenance, repair and operations products to owners and managers of multifamily, hospitality, educational and commercial properties, healthcare providers and municipal and government facilities. The company operates 43 distribution centers, a fleet of more than 700 delivery vehicles and 27,000 items in stock.
“HD Supply Facilities Maintenance welcomes the opportunity to serve as a preferred supplier of hospitality, maintenance and repair products and services for Cruise Inn members. We are looking forward to being involved at the onset of the new brand launch and working with Cruise Inn to support its growth in the future,” said BryLynn Garton, national account Manager, hospitality solutions.
Cruise Inn, launched in November, announced that the majority of the board members for the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners’ Association (CCLOA) have partnered with the company. According to a press release, Cruise Inn provides membership opportunities and benefits to independent RV park and campground owners.
Recently agreeing to convert their RV Parks to Cruise Inn are:
• CCLOA President Rick Stauter, Cutty’s Hayden Creek Resort, Coaldale.
• CCLOA Vice Presidents Mari and Tom Garland, Junction West RV Park, Grand Junction.
• CCLOA Regional Directors Stan and Pat Stehwien, Gunnison Lakeside Resort, Gunnison.
• CCLOA Regional Directors Lars & Tamara Karlsson, Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park, Nathrop.
The parks will start operating as a Cruise Inn as early as April 1. In addition, CCLOA Vice President and Cruise Inn board member Ian Steyn is currently finalizing plans to build a Cruise Inn RV Park this year.
“We’re very excited about the direction Cruise Inn is taking in the industry, as evidenced by the buy-in of our board members,” said CCLOA Executive Director Josh Keltner. “Cruise Inn’s founders have come up with an innovative concept for the RV community, and we’re thrilled to be involved.”
“It is great to have this validation from such a reputable organization as the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners’ Association,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Cruise Inn. “We’re confident our members will enjoy the increased resources, reservation channels and park exposure, which equals increased revenue, profitability and property value.”
Cruise Inn said it is focused on providing key benefits to its members, including low fees, a simple contract, no penalties, a voice and vote in all brand initiatives, member-directed standards and brand policies, innovative technology, PRS training, distribution marketing, worldwide sales and marketing, comprehensive support and a brand powered by trusted industry resources.
Newly launched Cruise Inn RV Parks was recently recognized as one of the most innovative and new concepts in the hospitality industry during the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), held Jan. 27-29 in Los Angeles. According to a press release, with over 2,500 attendees, ALIS is one of the leading hotel investment conferences in the world.
“Of all the new products, brands and concepts announced in 2013, Cruise Inn RV Park is the one that I’m most excited about,” said Glenn Haussman, editor in chief of Hotel Interactive. “The Cruise Inn team is very smart and they’re perfectly positioned to take their member-friendly philosophy to this new arena. RV owners who join this brand will have the tools and technology that will allow them to find levels of success they never knew possible.”
Cruise Inn, introduced in November 2013 and led by President/CEO Scott Anderson, provides membership opportunities and benefits to RV park and campground owners and developers. Cruise Inn supports its members with a team of sales support and assurance program directors to ensure consistent implementation of standards, logos, policies and procedures. Members will also benefit from delivered training programs and annual visits to ensure standards are maintained.
“What sets Cruise Inn apart from the others is it provides consistent, high-quality facilities at a reasonable price for travelers,” said Roger Bloss, founder, president and CEO of Vantage Hospitality Group and a Cruise Inn board member. “We also are dedicated to ensuring our members increase their revenue and overall profitability, thus increasing the value of their facility. We work directly with each owner/manager to set and manage the expectations to grow the business.”
In addition to Anderson, Cruise Inn founders and board members include hotel industry veterans Bloss, Bernie Moyle, Alan Benjamin and Alan Tallis; RV park executive Ian Steyn; and financier Adam Frisch.
A group led primarily by hospitality industry veterans is establishing the Cruise Inn campground network, a membership organization the goal of which is to sign up 120 campgrounds within the next three years in an effort to become ”the largest brand in the outdoor facility space.”
”We are being very conservative,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Cruise Inn RV Parks LLC. ”If we do all the things we expect to do, we think we will grow faster than that. Where the outdoor hospitality industry is today is where hotels were in the 1970s.”
Cruise Inn will roll out at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) 2013 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo Nov. 4-8 in Knoxville, Tenn., where the company has a booth and will sponsor a cracker barrel session.
Anderson, named Cruise Inn CEO in September, formerly was president of Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, and Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga., and served as managing director of games services for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and as general chairman of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistler Straights in Kohler, Wisc.
”I’m brand new to the industry,” Anderson said. ”I don’t want people to think that we think we have all the answers. I’m going to ARVC to learn more than I am going there to talk.”
Corporate logistics — accounting, technology, marketing, purchasing and group sales — will be handled by Vantage Hospitality, Coral Springs, Fla., which already has about 1,000 independent hotels as members operating under the Americas Best Value Inn and Lexington brands.
”I couldn’t have possibly gotten this thing launched as quickly without having that support and infrastructure,” said Anderson. ”The basic premise is simple; the implementation is not.”
The company is privately owned by seven investors, including Anderson; Ian Steyn, owner of Jellystone Camp-Resort in Larkspur, Colo.; Vantage Hospitality CEO Roger Bloss and COO Bernie Moyle; Alan Benjamin, CEO of Benjamin West, a furniture and equipment supplier to the hotel industry; Alan Tallis, a 30-year hotel veteran formerly with La Quinta hotels; and Adam Frisch, a retired Wall Street foreign currency specialist.
Campgrounds will bear the Cruise Inn name and be members of the organization, not franchisees, and they will be asked to pay a flat fee based on the number of their sites. ”As they grow, our fees won’t increase,” Anderson said, noting that fees will be based on a sliding scale.
Vantage also will establish a reservation system for Cruise Inn that is included in the fee.
As of late October, criteria to become a Cruise Inn member had not been finalized, but Anderson listed several general guidelines. ”Maintenance is absolutely critical,” he said. ”While a facility can be rustic in nature, it must be well maintained. And there must be some sort of water element — a pool, lake, river or ocean. Also, there must be good signage and graphics so that people will be able to find their sites at night.
”One of the things we found in talking to RV park users is they really don’t know what they are going to get when they arrive at a campground. It’s like opening a Christmas present — sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re disappointed. Our goal is to have the same level of consistency among our members without requiring a park to be a cookie cutter. They can have their own attributes and amenities, but they must have certain standards to be a Cruise Inn member.”
Requiring parks to be renamed Cruise Inn is critical to the success of the organization, Anderson said. ”That’s the best way to communicate to a consumer that those standards are there,” he said. ”One of the things I love about the campground industry is the independence of the parks. Changing the name will be the easy part. The concept of their being part of a group will be the most difficult. If we can prove the business proposition, I don’t think changing their name will be a hindrance.”