The 2011 Coast to Coast Conference, Feb. 21-23, in New Orleans, will educate registrants about that right camping-related product. And, according to Bruce Hoster, president of Denver-based Coast to Coast Resorts, an affiliate of Affinity Group Inc., the time is now and that product is membership camping.
“It’s a product whose time is right and is due for a renaissance because so many people are putting a high value on leisure time,” he says.
Building on 2010’s conference in February in Las Vegas – a first-time event that generated a good crowd and a flurry of activity – planners for the upcoming 2011 conference were challenged to add new ways to share best practices in sales and marketing.
Now, they think they’ve come up with the right solution. “We thought it would be great to take a virtual sales tour of some of our successful membership parks,” says Hoster.
Consequently, attendees — without leaving the comfort of their conference seats — will see first-hand what happens at check in, during a park tour, in the sales process. Four of Coast to Coast’s leading resorts will be featured: Outdoor Adventure Resorts in Michigan, Travel Resorts of America in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, East Coast Resorts in New York and Midwest Outdoor Resorts in South Dakota.
“That’s going to be worth the price of admission,” says Hoster.
Abe Libitz of Liberty County, Texas, got his money’s worth when he attended the 2010 Coast to Coast Conference. He and partner Judy Miller were pondering how to best utilize a campground property they’d purchased. “It was probably the No. 1 reason we went to the conference,” he says. “It was an eye opener of what it would take from a business standpoint for us to convert to a membership campground.”
“At a conference like this, you also get to talk to other developers and get a pretty good idea about what you’re about to bite and chew,” he adds. “If you understand that on every element, it helps you decide how to run your business better, plus you have the backing of Coast to Coast.”
Since the 2010 conference, their property, the Liberty Lakes Resort, is now a Coast to Coast Resort and the partners are already reaping the financial benefits.
“We have people coming to us who want to convert to a membership park, so we started Project Renaissance,” says Hoster. “Fabian Russell from East Coast Resorts put together a six-step process to take them from where they are today and walk them through the steps.”
For more information about creating a renaissance at one’s own park, Hoster suggests attending a session called “Resurrecting the Resort and Project Renaissance.”
Conference attendees, who are likely to draw inspiration from the can-do attitude of the people in the New Orleans region, will also rub shoulders with park owners and developers who are already working successfully within the Coast to Coast network.
“Pooling our individual efforts is a powerful force, which can be fun and informative,” says Hoster. “In another session, we’ll break into teams with a set of questions about how we can work together nationwide to promote awareness of and grow the membership camping industry.”
To register and get more information about the various sessions, visit www.coastconference.com.
Thousand Trails is now offering unlimited access to many of its camping preserves through an annual Zone Park Pass launched in honor of Thousand Trails’ 40th anniversary. Starting at $499, pass holders can access between 18 and 81 properties a year, depending on which specific zone or zones they choose, the RV News Service reported.
“We listened to our customers and potential customers,” said Joe McAdams, president of Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc., the parent company of Thousand Trails. “They have told us they want to stay with us, they want to experience the freedom to visit multiple Thousand Trails locations and to use the wide array of amenities we offer. Many RVers and campers want the increased flexibility that comes with an annual pass type program.”
Each Zone Park Pass covers a zone, or region, of Thousand Trails’ campgrounds in the United States: Northeast, Southeast, Northwest and Southwest/California.
Traditional memberships to Thousand Trails with expanded usage rights and benefits are also still offered.
Thousand Trails is known for its beautiful facilities, most in scenic locations with spacious campsites, abundant social activities including barbecues, ice cream socials, pancake breakfasts, wine tastings, family games and countless other special events. Preserve amenities include large swimming pools, spas, hiking trails, lodges, lakes, miniature golf, fishing and boating. Campsites offer electrical, water, and sewer connections for RVs, barbecue pits, restroom and shower facilities. Resorts are located in secure gated environments with park rangers who watch out for members’ safety.
More information about the new zone program is available at the Thousand Trails’ website, www.ThousandTrails.com.