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Ocean Canyon Properties Names Reed as CFO

March 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP), a privately owned membership camping resort company, announced the appointment of Bryan Reed as CFO.

Reed, 55, has 19 years of experience in the membership camping resort industry, including nine as CFO for Thousand Trails, the nation’s largest membership campground resort operator, according to a news release.

During his tenure as CFO, the company experienced revenue growth of almost 100% and expanded the number of operating locations by more than 50%. Through acquisitions, the company increased the number of members under management by more than 40,000. He originally joined Thousand Trails in 1994 as assistant controller, and served as controller from 1995 to 1999 before being named CFO. During Reed’s tenure as CFO, Thousand Trails was a publicly traded company and in 2003 was taken private through a merger with an affiliate of Kohlberg & Co.

“In five short years OCP has become one of the fastest growing companies in the membership camping industry,” said Reed. “Their state-of-the-art technology infrastructure has enabled them to grow rapidly, while maintaining the operational and financial controls necessary to effectively manage that growth. I am very excited to join Ocean Canyon Properties as CFO and become part of this dynamic company and management team.”

Reed most recently served as vice president of accounting for Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS), which acquired the operations of Thousand Trails in 2008. ELS is a large Chicago-based real estate investment trust and is the leading operator of manufactured home communities, RV resorts and campgrounds in North America.

“Bryan Reed’s professional background and experience is unparalleled in our industry,” said Peter Graffman, executive vice president and chief development officer at Ocean Canon Properties. “He was instrumental in managing and controlling the tremendous growth of Thousand Trails as CFO, had responsibility for their financial and regulatory public reporting, and was an integral part of the team that merged the company with Kohlberg & Co., taking the company private. We look forward to Bryan’s financial and organizational leadership as we continue to grow our company.”

Reed began his career as a tax accountant with Deloitte, then served in a number of roles, including controller, with Ben Hogan Co., a golf equipment manufacturer, before joining Thousand Trails. Reed is a Certified Public Accountant and has a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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Coast’s First Membership Camping Conference

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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Participants at the recent Coast to Coast membership camping conference held in Las Vegas, Nev., include (from left) Joe Daquino, senior vice president and group publisher, Affinity Media; Mike Siemens, vice president of membership services for Camping World; Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts; and Michelle DuChamp, vice president of sales and business development for sponsor Interval International.

Market conditions are ripe for a resurgence of the North American membership camping industry. That was the message broadcast by speakers at the 2010 Coast to Coast Conference Feb. 16-18 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev.

”We feel there are a lot of factors in favor of growth in (the membership camping) industry,” said Bruce Hoster, president of Denver-based Coast to Coast Resorts, an affiliate of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), who spoke to about 90 park developers and others during the opening session of the first-of-its kind conference.

Coast to Coast, an affiliate of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), Ventura, Calif., is committed to growing the membership campground industry, not only to the benefit of Coast to Coast but to the industry in general, Hoster said.

”We need more (resort) developers selling in this industry and we need more sales from our current developers, and mostly, we need more awareness and promotion of membership camping,” Hoster said. ”We are very serious about this mission and it’s a mission that we definitely can accomplish.”

Helping to boost that awareness is retailer Camping World, another AGI unit, which has begun promoting Coast’s membership camping parks by allowing local resort owners to set up kiosks in Camping World stores and promoting the industry in its publications.

”We are trying to help educate the Camping World customer base on the concept of membership camping, the value it brings to our customers and hopefully drive customers to the membership camping developers,” Mike Siemens, Camping World vice president of membership services, told RVBusiness. ”It’s always been a good program for customers like ours who want an opportunity to camp around their home, but also when they are on the road.”

Generally, membership campgrounds are privately owned with all or a portion of their sites set aside for use by RVers who pay an initial membership fee and annual maintenance fee to cover operating expenses. Members, in return, receive varying levels of access to the resort they join and reciprocal access to other parks in the network.

The average cost of an initial consumer membership is about $5,000, Hoster reported, adding that while Coast to Coast has 250 member resorts, only about 20% are selling new memberships to consumers.

”If people leave this conference and they are more excited about the opportunities and learned a few things they can take home, it can translate into better business,” Hoster told the assembled attendees. ”The measurement will be more over the long term.”

Membership resort organization such as Coast to Coast serve two different audiences. ”One, obviously, is our members, but secondly, our developers as well,” Hoster said.

The depth of the recent economic recession has caused consumers to change the way they spending their leisure time, Hoster noted.

”While RV manufacturers and dealers struggled, campgrounds were full,” Hoster said. ”That’s because a lot of people looked at campgrounds as a more economical way to take a vacation. They might not have been able to fly somewhere and stay for a week in a condo or go to Disney world, but they were able to go camp.”

Participants at the recent Coast to Coast membership camping conference include (from left) Joe Daquino, senior vice president and group publisher, Affinity Media; Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties; Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts; and Michelle DuChamp, vice president of sales and business development for Interval International.

So-called ”staycations” also have changed the travel landscape, and should play into the membership campground sector’s hands, he maintained.

‘They are the perfect solution — being able to pick up Friday for a long weekend,” Hoster said. ”We hear from a lot of our developers that people aren’t taking the traditional vacations — the one-week or two-week vacation. ”It’s more the three- and four-day getaways. Having a membership in a resort nearby certainly takes advantage of that trend.”

Those trends, coupled with a decreasing number of high-end campgrounds, makes membership camping more attractive, he added. ”There really is a shrinking supply of quality campsites vs. growing demand,” he added. And there are more and more Baby Boomers that are entering our industry and buying RVs.”

Bruce Hoster (left), president of Coast to Coast Resorts, goes over confernence materials with Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, Texarkana, Texas.

Bruce Hoster (left), president of Coast to Coast Resorts, goes over confernence materials with Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, Texarkana, Texas.

Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, Texarkana, Texas, with resorts in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, spoke during the opening session on ”Unlocking the Value of Your Resort.”

”It all revolves around getting back to the basics’ Pournoury said. ”Everybody’s going to know everything that I bring up here. The only twist to it is the simplicity of it. Sometimes we take a good program and complicate it for ourselves.”

Pournoury said that key to Ocean Canyon’s success is its relationship with RV dealers who refer new owners to Ocean Canyon properties, which, in return promote the dealership when it comes time for the consumer to buy a new RV.

”Then you become one team,” Pournoury said. ”He sends a good customer to the resort where you sell a membership … and three or four years later, (the member) goes back and buys another RV from the same dealer.”

Consequently, he said, park owners should attend RV shows to show dealers that they want to be actively involved.

By the same token, he noted, membership parks should establish referral programs that reward current members for promoting the park. Ocean Canyon gives $500 to members for referrals resulting in sales.

”The referral program is the lowest-cost marketing and the most profitable program that we’ve got in our organization,” he said.

Upgrade programs for existing members also add to the bottom line, he said. They are easier to market because the customer already has bought into the resort and adding a few extra days or access to more amenities doesn’t cost a lot.

”Last year was hard, but one of the areas where we really excelled was our upgrade program,” Pournoury reported.

”When times are hard, you can’t leave any stone unturned.”

Seminars during the conference included:

  • ”Successful Marketing” by Annette Bruzewski, marketing manager for Outdoor Adventures, and Pam Nelson, director of marketing and resort operations for Midwest Outdoor Resorts.
  • ”Tour and Sales Presentation” by Greg Penrod, COO of Durango Riverside Resort, Durango, Texas, and Charles Youngren, director of sales for Midwest Outdoor Resorts.
  • ”Gaining Efficiencies with New Technologies” with Pournoury and Peter Graffman, Ocean Canyon executive vice president and CFO.
  • “‘How to Market to Non-RVers” by Penrod, Gene Addink, general manager of Midwest Outdoor Resorts, and Greg King, president, Outdoor Adventures.
  • ”Hiring and Developing Successful Salespeople by Robert Topci, sales manager, Travel Resort of America-Gettysburg Battlefield Resort and Youngren.

Subjects of half-hour breakout sessions during the three days included ”Project Renaissance: Restarting Sales at Non-Selling Resorts,” ”Partnering With Camping World,” “Other Revenue Sources,” “‘Creating Positive Members Satisfaction,” “Financing and Closing the Sale” and ”Off-site Selling.”

Bruce Hoster (left), president of Coast to Coast Resorts, goes over confernence materials with Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, Texarkana, Texas.

Participants at the recent Coast to Coast membership camping conference include (from left) Joe Daquino, senior vice president and group publisher, Affinity Media; Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties; Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts; and Michelle DuChamp, vice president of sales and business development for Interval International.

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