Rob Schutter Jr., president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), promised an upbeat message for LSI’s franchisees at their annual Symposium held Nov. 5-8 in Covington, Ky., and he delivered.
Woodall’s Campground Management reported that during his annual LSI Updates presentation on Nov. 6, Schutter reported to a record gathering of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort operators that LSI’s 78 franchisees outperformed the RV park and campground industry in general as well as many American businesses in 2012.
“There wasn’t one down area in occupancy or revenue numbers in our franchise system from last year; every possible scenario we studied was up. Not many people out there in our industry can say that,” he said.
• System revenue totaled $71.4 million, up 12% from 2011 and up 8% for same parks from 2011.
• Camper nights (general sites) rose 9%.
• Rental unit revenue rose 17%.
• Extended stays were up 2%.
• Online reservations rose 13%.
• Deposits increased 15%.
• Store sales were up 9%.
• Ancillary products sales up 12%.
“This is great,” Schutter said, stating that the fine performance was due in large part to franchisees’ perseverance and dedication to improving customer satisfaction.
The revenue performance was well above industry average of flat to up to 4%, he noted, and the rental unit uptick exceeded the industry figure of 15%.
Rental units are a growing phenomenon for not only LSI franchisees but the entire industry as well, Schutter continued. Rental units with full service typically attract “non-campers” who want niceties they can’t find in a tent or a travel trailer and yet want a unique camping experience. Double-digit growth has been recorded the last three years. “Some people (parks) are not really taking advantage of this. This is an area that we can exploit for many years. We have not maxed out.”
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“Rising to the Challenge” is the theme for Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) Symposium scheduled for Nov. 5-8 at the Embassy Suites and Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky.
“Every day our owners and operators rise to meet all sorts of challenges they encounter,” Kelly Jones, director of franchisee development for LSI, told Woodall’s Campground Management. “At this year’s annual symposium, we will be helping our franchisees with tools to address the new ADA challenges, employment challenges, social networking needs and the challenge of reducing costs in today’s market.”
LSI answered the challenge of keeping campground conferences relevant by modifying this year’s symposium for its 78 franchisees. The gathering has been shortened by one day, without reducing the number of educational seminars offered to its franchisees.
This year’s symposium will also feature a trade show and a first-time look at the new Yogi Bear-branded merchandise for the coming season.
On Tuesday morning, President and COO Rob Schutter Jr., will give franchisees an in-depth look at company and franchisee operations. Schutter will have a good story to share. Through August, same-park revenues were up 9% from a year ago with occupancy up around 4%, according to Woodall’s Campground Management.
“In a down economy, people are looking for more affordable, economical locations,” he explained. “Many of the Jellystones have the amenity packages that satisfy the needs of American families. Also, because of our strong development of in-park activities and special events, we have been fortunate in maintaining our customer base and revenue base.”
Rental unit revenues continue to be a driving force behind increased occupancies at LSI camp-resorts with a 12 percent increase through the end of August, he said. Most of these lodges and cabins are park models.
The resorts that offer RV rentals, typically travel trailers, reported an 80% increase over 2011.
“That typically is not the way we encourage our parks to expand their rental fleets, but there is a certain segment of our customer base that enjoys staying in an RV,” Schutter said.
In fact, this segment has shown double-digit growth each of the last three years, he continued.
“We continue to see parks convert sites into their rental pool or building additional sections to accommodate them. We have seen traditional site nights erode a little bit but made up by people deciding to be seasonals. That is one change we have seen and we’re going to take a long, hard look to stem that tide. We would like to see our destination sites stabilize more. Either way you look at it, it’s been a good year.”
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Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) is slightly modifying its traditional symposium to accommodate the changing needs and desires of its nearly 80 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park franchisees.
Woodall’s Campground Management reported that the traditional gathering, set for Nov. 5-8 at the Embassy Suites and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., has been shortened by one day, without reducing the number of educational seminars offered to its franchisees.
An outside keynote speaker also has been dropped.
The modification, we’re told, comes amid an industrywide re-examination of the convention concept, which has lost traction in many locales, notably the state of California where the state association has canceled all conventions until further notice.
Leisure Systems sees the symposium as a type of season-ending thank you to its franchisees and decided to shorten it by a day to help reduce expenses for its franchisees. “Everybody is watching their expenses closely,” said Dean Crawford, executive vice president. “We opted to shorten by one day and will probably stay that way.”
The symposium will start on a Monday and end on Thursday night.
“It’s always a good gathering. Everybody works hard through the summer and I know our franchisees look forward to coming to this convention and talking with other operators. It’s kind of a reward after a busy season,” Crawford said.
Accordingly, this year’s symposium will still feature educational seminars, a trade show, an in-depth look at company and franchisee operations by President Rob Schutter on Tuesday morning and a concluding awards banquet. The symposium is also when franchisees view new Yogi Bear-branded merchandise and order this merchandise for the coming season.
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Leisure Systems Inc., franchisors of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, and its 77 franchisees registered some healthy numbers in 2011.
According to a report by Woodall’s Campground Management, in his annual presentation to franchisees during the LSI Symposium Nov. 13-17 in Covington, Ky., Chief Operating Officer Rob Schutter Jr. reported that overall revenues grew 7% in 2011 over 2010, while same-park revenues were up 5%. That’s on top of a strong 2010 when overall revenue rose 11% and same-park income was up 6% from the year before.
Occupancies were up 3% in 2011 with rental units and extended stays showing double-digit growth at 13% each. Store expenditures rose 5% and miscellaneous expenditures rose 6%, Schutter reported.
The report showed solid growth in key areas, despite the overall sluggishness of the U.S. economy during the year.
LSI welcomed six new franchise locations in 2011: Gloucester Point, Va., the Gedicke Family; Harrisville, Pa., the Quigley Family; Milford, Del., the Fannin Family; Pittsfield, Ill., Deb and Ted Festa; Madison, Maine, Alan York; and Montrose, Colo., John Bender.
New franchisees are John and Alyssa Harlan, Natural Bridge, Va., and Henk John and Mary Ann Kuipers, Kingston, Nova Scotia.
Several prospective new members attended this year’s Symposium, which drew all but seven of the system’s 77 franchisees. Attendees attended educational seminars, purchased Yogi merchandise for the coming season and enjoyed the industry camaraderie around the theme “Jellystone Park – Always A Winning Hand.”
Marketing Plans Outlined
Schutter outlined marketing initiatives in 2011 and looked ahead to 2012. In the coming year, he said, LSI will:
• Redesign www.campjellystone.com.
• Increase its PR efforts.
• Use QR codes in advertising.
• Develop a new photo archive for member parks’ marketing.
In terms of merchandise, LSI will make more offerings in toddler, youth and adult apparel to respond to park demands and trends; offer several lifestyle groups of products to help parks purchase coordinated items across product lines; and source more domestic manufacturers for its merchandise.
LSI Honors its Franchisees
LSI handed out a number of awards. Major award recipients were:
• Entrepreneur of the Year (revenues over $1 million), Waller, Texas
• Entrepreneur of the Year (revenues over $500,000), Burleson, Texas
• Entrepreneur of the Year (revenues under $500,000), Lake Monroe, Ind.
• Operator of the Year (parks under 200 sites), Phil and Analyn Asztalos, Bremen, Ga.
• Operator of the Year (parks over 200 sites), Mike Work, Ryan Work and Tracy Czambel, Mill Run, Pa.
• Franchise System Inspection Leader, “The Carroll Award,” Woodridge, N.Y.
• Jim Webb Spirit Award, Aljets Family, Sioux Falls, S.D.
• Maple Leaf Award, Woodstock, New Brunswick
• Facility of the Year (parks under 200 sites), Canyon Lake, Texas
• Facility of the Year (parks over 200 sites), Burleson, Texas
• Camp Resort of the Year, North Java, N.Y.
Special Recognition Awards went to:
• Rookie of the Year – Owner, Alan York, Madison, Maine, and Quigley Family, Harrisville, Pa.
• Rookie of the Year – Manager, Nancee Morris
• Most Improved Inspection, Larkspur, Colo.
• Facility Theming, Larkspur, Colo.
• Landscaping, Bryant Management Properties
• Camp Resort Store Design, North Java, N.Y.
• Camp Resort Comfort Station, Missoula, Mont., North Hudson, N.Y., and Frankenmuth, Mich.
• Internet Website, Knightstown, Ind.
• Brochure Design, Indian River, Mich.
Customer Service Awards went to parks in: Swansea, S.C., Harrisville, Pa., Tabor City, N.C., Grayling, Mich., North Java, N.Y., Luray, Va., Lake Monroe, Ind., Fremont, Ind., Bagley, Wis., Mears, Mich., Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada, Nashville, Tenn., Indian River, Mich., Woodridge, N.Y., Mill Run, Pa., Canyon Lake, Texas, Cave City, Ky., Austin, Minn., Natural Bridge, Va., Burleson, Texas, Milton, Pa., Estes Park, Colo., Sioux Falls, S.D., Hagerstown, Md., and Frankenmuth, Mich.
Recreation Awards went to parks in: Woodstock, New Brunswick, Swansea, S.C., Fremont, Ind., Harrisville, Pa., Luray, Va., Bagley, Wis., Natural Bridge, Va., Grayling, Mich., Indian River, Mich., Mill Run, Pa., Mears, Mich., Kingston, Nova Scotia, Canada, North Java, N.Y., Milton, Pa., Cave City, Ky., Sioux Falls, S.D., Lake Monroe, Ind., Canyon Lake, Texas, Burleson, Texas, Frankenmuth, Mich., Tabor City, N.C., Knightstown, Ind., Woodridge, N.Y., Cherokee, N.C., and Austin, Minn.
More than 200 people are expected to attend the annual Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) Symposium Nov. 14-17 at the Embassy Suites in Covington, Ky.
The event is open to all franchisees of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts and their families in the U.S. and Canada.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “Jellystone Parks: Always A Winning Hand” and will revolve around a Monte Carlo night theme, according to Kelly Jones, LSI’s director of franchisee development.
The “Winning Hand” theme will be apparent throughout the week’s events. “We’re doing quite a bit of our classes focusing on the marketing end of the business, to build a better hand at the table,” she explained.
Keynote speaker, Mike Rayburn, a world-class guitarist and stand-up comedian, will focus on simple but powerful tools in urging his audience to view old things in a new way and to leap beyond their perceived limitations.
Rob Schutter Jr., LSI’s COO, will update franchisees on the year’s performance during his System Update on Monday.
This year’s symposium will feature some new wrinkles. For the first time, LSI will offer what it’s calling “The Next Generation,” a four-hour seminar for the children of franchisees who are 18 years old or younger. “We will focus on topics like ‘Growing Up in a Campground,’ ‘Working With Your Parents,’ ‘Supervising People Who Are Older Than You’ and ‘Guest Relations,’” said Jones.
The seminar instructors have all grown up in the campground business, she noted.
At the closing banquet, LSI will hand out the following awards: Camp Resort of the Year, Operator of the Year, Facility of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, The Carroll Award (for the highest inspection score), the Pinnacle Award (for a 95% or higher inspection score), the Excellence Award (for a 90% or higher inspection score), the Customer Service Award, the Recreation Award, the Jim Webb Spirit Award and the Maple Leaf Award (for Canadian parks).
Here’s a brief review of the agenda for the week:
• Sunday: Yogi Advisory Council meeting, followed by opening reception.
• Monday: System Update by Rob Schutter Jr., educational classes, elections of officers for CARE (Caring About Recreation and Entertainment) and Yogi Advisory Council.
• Tuesday: More educational classes and preview of 2012 Yogi Bear merchandise.
• Wednesday: 4-hour ‘The Next Generation” seminar for franchisees who are 18 years or younger; Trade Show.
• Thursday: Trade Show and closing banquet.
LSI franchisees may register for the symposium by contacting the office at (800) 626-3729.
Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are among the highest rated campgrounds in the country, with 20% of Jellystone Parks receiving 5W / 5W ratings in the 2011 edition of the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory.
“We’re obviously pleased that Woodall’s finds many our parks worthy of their highest ratings,” Rob Schutter, COO of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., said in a press release.
While Jellystone Parks are noted for offering their guests unique family activities and special themed weekends, the Woodall’s rankings focus on the park’s recreational and physical facilities, including its physical grounds, roads, campsites, hookups, and restrooms. Woodall’s rates park by assigning them 1W to 5W ratings for both park facilities and recreation.
According to the Woodall’s 2011 directory, top rated parks in the Jellystone Park system are located in the following cities: Amboy, Ill.; Fremont, Ind.; Lawrence, Kan.; Hagerstown, Md.; Frankenmuth, Mich.; Austin, Minn.; Pelahatchie, Miss.; North Hudson, N.Y.; Gardiner, N.Y.; Woodridge, N.Y.; Harrisville, Pa.; Mill Run, Pa.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Caledonia, Wisc.; Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 75 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 28 states and Canada. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio.
Gloucester Point Family Campground has become the fifth campground in Virginia to join the Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts chain.
“We’re in the conversion process right now,” Eileen Gedicke, park owner, stated in a news release, adding that Jellystone’s name recognition, marketing and reputation for fun family activities will help increase revenues and occupancies at the 230-site park, which is located less than a half-hour from Williamsburg.
“We’re putting in a splashpark for the 2011 season,” Gedicke said. “It’s going to have two slides that come off of a 12-foot high platform as well as six water features and a zero-entry swimming pool.”
The park, which is located on the Severn River, a tributary to Chesapeake Bay, is also a popular destination for kayaking and boating enthusiasts. “From our docks they can get out into open water,” Gedicke said.
The campground is also upgrading some its rental accommodations, replacing several travel trailers with new park model cabins that include full size bathrooms and kitchens.
Jellystone Parks are widely known for having unique activities and special themed weekends, which is something Gloucester Point Family Campground has offered for years. This year’s events will include a carnival, numerous competitive games, parades, Karaoke and game nights and a “Chocolate Extravaganza” as well as Halloween themed events. Of course, all these activities will have an extra element of fun with Yogi Bear participating. Yogi will be on site daily to greet campers, pose for photo ops and take part in events.
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 75 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 28 states and Canada. Its Camp-Resorts are among the best campgrounds in the industry with a quality reputation for being fun, friendly, clean and service-oriented parks. Additionally, each Jellystone Park is themed with Yogi Bear elements providing instant recognition and consumer appeal. It is truly a place “Where You Camp With Friends.”
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit www.campjellystone.com.
With cartoon character Yogi Bear serving as a very recognizable “host,” Leisure Systems Inc.’s Jellystone Park network has grown to include more than 15,000 campsites in 29 states and three Canadian provinces since it was launched in 1969. On April 15, the network will add Delaware to its expanding roster of states with franchise parks as the former Cedar Creek Landing Campground reopens as Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Delaware Beaches.
“We think this is the right move for us,” said park owner Brent Fannin. “Jellystone Parks are known nationally as being fun family oriented parks, and with our close proximity to the beach and all the activities offered in and around our campground, we thought the Jellystone Park model was the perfect fit.”
Founded two years ago, the resort is one of Delaware’s most modern campgrounds with amenities that include a large swimming pool, playground, volleyball, game room, camp store, laundry facility and 277 spacious big rig-friendly RV sites, all with full hookups including free cable television and wireless Internet service.
The rechristened Jellystone Park at Delaware Beaches also will offer organized activities every weekend beginning April 15th, with daily activities and themed weekends beginning Memorial Day weekend running through Labor Day weekend. Upcoming themed weekend events include Memorial Day Weekend — the official kick off to summer with Yogi and Friends — a Father’s Day superhero contest June 19th and 20th, a Mardi Gras weekend June 24th to 26th, a family Olympics weekend July 8th to 10th, a Christmas in July weekend with a campsite decorating contest on July 22nd to 24th and a Death by Chocolate Weekend Aug. 5th to 7th. Halloween weekend events, with trick or treating and campsite decorating contests, are also scheduled for the last two weekends in October.
The tiny community of Harrisville, Penn., is about to increase its population by one — sort of — as TV and cartoon character Yogi Bear becomes the official host of newly converted Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest, the latest franchisee of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI).
“We are eagerly looking forward to being affiliated with Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks,” park owner Denny Quigley said. “The nationwide system of full-service Jellystone campgrounds stands for clean, safe, family fun and convenience and that is exactly what we have strived to provide our guests for the past 11 years. That’s what made us feel Jellystone Park was a good fit for us.”
The Quigley family has owned the resort, formerly known as Kozy Rest Kampground, since 2000.
Located 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, the 34-acre park offers RV and tent camping along with yurts and full-service cabin rentals, a swimming pool, miniature golf course, children’s playgrounds and planned activities. For the kids, Yogi Bear will make regular appearances. Opening date for the newly converted facility, which has 170 campsites, is April 15th.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks experienced significant revenue growth in 2010 as a result of increased occupancies, successful cross marketing promotions with Warner Bros.’ “Yogi Bear” movie, and the addition of seven new campgrounds to the Jellystone Park chain, according to a news release.
Same park revenue was up 6% in 2010, compared to a year earlier, while the addition of seven new campgrounds increased overall revenue by 11%, said Rob Schutter, COO of Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts.
Jellystone Park business levels should continue to increase this year, Schutter said, citing the continuing promotional benefits of the Yogi Bear movie, which will be available on DVD March 22, as well as new camper incentives for the Club Yogi Rewards program and an expanded merchandise line that now boasts nearly 400 items. Leisure Systems also plans to continue to grow the Jellystone Park chain this year, Schutter said, noting that four additional parks have joined the chain since January.
Schutter presented the business update during Leisure Systems’ Spring Conference, which took place March 8-10 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Covington, Ky. The three-day event included roundtable discussions on new park management and marketing ideas as well as instructive sessions on ways to motivate teen workers as well as the CARE recreation training program.
John Ellison, Leisure Systems’ vice president of operations, provided two days of training for managers of aquatic facilities as part of the National Recreation and Park Association’s Aquatic Facility Operator Certification Program. The AFO program is fast becoming the leading training program for pool operators and aquatic facility managers in the United States.
Guest speakers included representatives of Leave No Trace, the Boulder, Colo.-based non-profit organization that develops educational programs designed to help children and adults take better care of the environment, as well as Gregg Cantalano, the “physician of phun,” who talked about new ideas on recreation for children, teens and families.
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system now boasts 75 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 30 states and three Canadian provinces. Its Camp-Resorts are among the best campgrounds in the industry with a quality reputation for being fun, friendly, clean and customer service-oriented parks. Additionally, each Jellystone Park is themed with Yogi Bear elements providing instant recognition and consumer appeal. It is truly a place “Where You Camp With Friends.”
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through LSI, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corp, Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit www.campjellystone.com.