RVC Outdoor Destinations, a leading provider of high-quality outdoor resort properties, announced today (May 2) that it has acquired Koyote Ranch Resort located in Medina, Texas, within the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
The property will be renamed and reflagged as an RVC Outdoor Destination later this year, according to a news release.
The 95-acre Texas Hill Country property sits at one of the highest points in the region and provides guests with spectacular views, two lakes, an infinity pool, a restaurant, a retail store, a fueling station, a meeting pavilion and hiking trails. Existing lodging options include 33 cottages, 46 RV sites, and four luxury suites in the Ranch Estate. RVC will add 11 cottages within the next two months.
The property was developed as an outdoor destination and opened in 2003. The original ranch house was converted into a spectacular luxury ranch estate surrounded by mature pecan trees and a modern pool area. Its location near Kerrville, between Austin and San Antonio, provides access to a large population of travelers seeking a first-class outdoor retreat.
“We are excited about adding such a fine property to our collection. It is already an outdoor destination that meets our leading quality standards and we are looking forward to expanding and re-flagging it,” said Andy Cates, RVC’s president. “RVC is continuing to expand by adding properties that fit our high quality standards. After a few years of continuously looking for the right Hill Country property to add to our network, we are pleased we’ve found it.”
In addition to Koyote Ranch Resort, RVC currently operates Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
RVC Outdoor Destinations, a leading provider of U.S. outdoor resort properties, announced today (April 17) that it has completed the renovation of Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs.
Now operating as Garden of the Gods RV Resort, the facility offers 173 RV sites, including six new executive pull-through sites, and 29 upgraded lodging units. In addition to renovating all of the buildings, various improvements and amenity additions include a new lobby, the Midland Trail gateway, a bark park and a fully remodeled Garden Studios & Suites. Other upgrades are a new pool deck, new fencing, road and landscape upgrades, upgraded Wi-Fi, a new business center and new picnic tables. Also, a new base camp area has been created that includes upgraded bunkhouses and family suites that surround a community campfire and grill.
After purchasing the property in 2012 and investing over $800,000 in improvements over the last year, Garden of the Gods RV Resort is one of the “most attractive outdoor hospitality properties in the region,” said RVC. The property’s logo, website, social media presence and signage have also been updated to better reflect the improvements.
“There is a lot of excitement about this renovation and I’m looking forward to all of the smiles the improvements will bring to our guests,” said Ian Horgan, General Manager of Garden of the Gods. RVC President Andy Cates added that “Garden of the Gods RV Resort is one of the strongest properties in the western United States. RVC is upgrading it from an already attractive and well located campground to an RV Resort by adding the right amenities and improvements.”
In addition to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, RVC currently operates outdoor destinations and RV resorts in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The following is a Q&A conducted by Woodall’s Campground Management with Memphis, Tenn.-based RVC Outdoor Destinations (RVC) CEO Andy Cates. RVC is an emerging provider of “high-quality U.S., outdoor vacation properties,” that was founded in 2006 with an eye toward redefining North America’s camping experience through an outdoor destination concept involving upgraded RV and marine resort properties offering travelers the benefit of camping “on their own terms” in RVs, tents, yurts, cottages or cabins.
RVC, offering affordable lodging options as well as upscale accommodations and hotel-like amenities like concierge services, is intent on developing, owning and operating vacation properties in naturally attractive environments in close proximity to local attractions and activities. Those amenities run the gamut from community lodges to coffee and wine bars, convenience stores, free cable and Wi-Fi, game rooms, fitness centers, modern swimming pools and pet facilities plus scooter, bike and golf cart rentals.
Driven by outspoken Cates, RVC is focused on expansion throughout the U.S. beyond its current seven resorts, including 400-acre, 120-site Catherine’s Landing in Hot Springs, Ark.; Carrabelle Beach and Carrabelle Boat Club, both in Carrabelle, Fla.; Live Oak Landing, Freeport, Fla.; Pine Mountain, Pine Mountain, Ga.; Mountain Springs Cabins, Ashville, N.C.; and recently acquired 200-site Garden of the Gods, a facility located within sight of Pikes Peak and walking distance of Manitou Springs now being renovated in Colorado Springs. Colo.
And Cates, a Memphis native, University of Texas grad and real estate developer by trade, says he and his associates are just getting started as “capital partners,” operators and, more often than not, active participants in the facilities they choose to acquire across the U.S. “You will see us grow in three ways,” says Cates. “We will purchase properties where we can buy them intelligently. We will joint venture existing properties that we reflag as RVC properties and then, in extraordinarily select opportunities, you’ll see us buy land and build new properties.” Here are some edited highlights of a conversation between Cates and Woodall’s Campground Management Publisher Sherman Goldenberg.
WCM: What, in your words, is the central mission of RVC – the thing that sets it apart from all the other park operations that claim a high level of amenities and great locations?
Cates: We are trying to redefine camping and lead a specific niche in outdoor hospitality. To put it simply, we want to be the Hilton of the campground world and believe we are leading that market. We think that the outdoor hospitality world and especially, the RV world hasn’t seen significant change in five decades. But we think that change is inevitable and that it’s happening now. We are extraordinarily motivated to help accelerate that inevitable evolution in segmentation where there is an understanding of the different quality products among these outdoor hospitality properties.
At RVC, we don’t do RV parks. We do RV resorts and outdoor destinations. We are not saying that to criticize or diminish other properties or other property owners. We are saying that just like you would whether you are going to stay at a Best Western or Hilton Hotel. There’s nothing wrong with a Best Western, but you might prefer better lodging. And right now, in our opinion – and we’re putting our money where our mouth is – that has never been clear in the RV world.
WCM: What is it that hasn’t been clear in the RV arena?
Cates: The quality and segment differential is extraordinarily uncertain to the guests. We talk a lot about rating systems, which we find often inconsistent. But in reality, the average guest, and especially the new guest who is either a new RVer or who rented an RV or is looking for a cottage experience, to me those folks don’t even know what the existing rating systems are.
It’s very difficult for that guest to go to a single property portfolio company and get any true consistency of experience. Our goal, on the other hand, is to provide that on a national basis, and we’re doing that. Now, granted we are starting small and we’re focused on quality and consistency in getting our brand right, versus just growing for the sake of growth. But we think this is happening and that we will accelerate what will inevitably happen nationally.
WCM: How did all this come about?
Cates: We did a lot of research, spent a lot of time traveling and RVing, before we started up six years ago. We’ve got over 100 years of RVing experience in our company, collectively. We don’t do this lightly or arrogantly. But we’re excited and enthused because we are seeing our guests confirm our thesis. Again, we are putting our money where our mouths are. We spent a lot of time and money building this foundation, and we are excited about where we’re going. This is the least passive investment on the planet.
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Live Oak Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination vacation property near Freeport, Fla., today (June 20) announced the completion of numerous improvements to the resort. The property added more than three dozen modern RV sites and several new amenities designed to “enhance each guest’s stay,” according to a news release.
A screen-enclosed saline swimming pool with connected observation deck and lounge area, large playground area and air conditioning in the resort’s pavilion are among the new additions to RVC’s Live Oak Landing.
Handicap-accessible boat tours are another new feature highlighted at the outdoor destination. These charters – called “Pondtoon” boats – allow individuals with disabilities to navigate the water on vessels specially manufactured to accommodate wheelchairs. Additionally, RVC increased the number of RV sites on the property, nearly tripling the number of space available for RV travelers.
“When we opened the property in November 2010, it was important to us to first define our core audience and add amenities as our guests requested them,” said Neil Sorrell, general manager at Live Oak Landing. “So, after talking to our guests, we pinpointed additions that will give them exactly what they’re looking for in a memorable outdoor travel experience.”
At Live Oak Landing, guests have access to Florida’s Emerald Coast beaches and a wide range of onsite activities, including fishing charters, scooter, bicycle and boat rentals, and activities pavilion with a flat screen TV. The outdoor vacation property also features unique amenities in line with other RVC Outdoor Destination properties such as concierge service, coffee, beer and wine bars, a dog park and a variety of lodging options from RV sites to cottages.
Live Oak Landing is the only provider of overnight accommodations in the city of Freeport and is one of seven RVC Outdoor Destination locations in the United States.
“What we’re providing at RVC Outdoor Destinations is an upgraded version of what generally comes to mind when people think of camping,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “We’re redefining the outdoor vacation experience by combining guests’ favorite hotel amenities with their favorite outdoor activities, and it’s really gaining popularity with both avid and novice campers alike.”
For more information, visit www.liveoaklanding.rvcoutdoors.com.
Long before Andy Cates established RVC Outdoor Destinations in 2007, he solidified his commercial real estate background at Trammel Crow Co.
The experience has helped Cates grow his Memphis-based operation of upscale, resort-like campgrounds for the last five years. For Cates, outdoor hospitality and commercial real estate have plenty of business parallels, The Daily News, Memphis, reported.
“Ultimately, the land valuations, land development and property management absolutely directly carries over,” he said. “That commercial real estate skill set is clearly helpful and required in this.”
RVC claims to have created the “outdoor destination” hospitality model – providing a variety of lodging options such as RV sites, cottages and yurts, all set within unique natural environments.
“We really weren’t and haven’t been banging the drums on telling our story until really the last year,” Cates said. “We’ve spent that timeframe building our culture and our operating platform, and obviously developing properties. Now, we are aggressively spreading the word about what we’re doing and seeking to expand as we redefine an industry that really hasn’t changed significantly in decades.”
For example, RVC recently announced its acquisition of the Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs, Colo., marking the company’s seventh location. The 200-site property has been the top RV and outdoor lodging destination in the region – with views of Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in North America – but has been under bank ownership since 2010.
RVC paid all cash, closed quickly and is investing a significant amount of money into the property – an initial $200,000, as well as that much more and then some during the “reflagging process.”
“It was as much of a renovation analysis as understanding what that property already does in the market,” Cates said. “The fact that it had a large database and a strong, very loyal customer base, was both attractive and also a challenge in that we need to communicate quickly with that group of customers that the property is being revitalized.”
That process also entails bringing Garden of the Gods up to RVC standards. RVC currently operates six properties in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. Amenities offered in those communities include concierge service, a “bark park” off-leash area for dogs, modern swimming pools, boating and fishing rentals, coffee, beer and wine bars, free Wi-Fi and cable, and a gift shop.
In many ways, Cates said, RVC is attempting to create another product class within commercial real estate. His goal is similar to what was done with self-storage some 20 years ago, when the concept itself grew dramatically and scaled, or when Kemmons Wilson launched Holiday Inn in Memphis in the early 1950s.
“It effectively created full-service hotels as a specific segment of the commercial real estate world,” Cates said. “You had the Holiday Inns and the Hiltons and the Marriotts and those brands take what had been a mom-and-pop lodging business and create consistency and high standards and strong marketing to drive traffic. And that’s not happened in outdoor hospitality.”
Cates said RVC would like to eventually have an outdoor destination property in Memphis, but as with commercial real estate, the economics and the timing have to make sense.
“I think that it’s our backyard and our home and I think there’s a high likelihood that we’ll have a presence here, but it’s got to be the right fit for everybody,” Cates said. “We’re hopeful we’ll have something to talk about here in the next year or so.”
Because with fluctuating fuel prices, RVC doesn’t see as much reduction in travel or planned vacations as it does with the scope of vacations and the distance to that location.
“A lot folks are focused on what’s within three to four hours of the specific vacation market,” Cates said. “And there’s absolutely a more demanding value proposition by the consumer – everybody in the United States is demanding more for their dollar than they ever have. We welcome that because we feel passionately that we can provide a phenomenally good experience for a very reasonable amount of money.”
RVC Outdoor Destinations announced today (May 1) its expansion west with the acquisition of the Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs, Colo.
According to a news release, the roughly 200-site property is located near the entrance of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, with views of Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in North America. The property has been the top RV and outdoor lodging destination in the region but has been under bank ownership since 2010.
RVC has begun stabilizing operations and will start renovating the property immediately. Renovations will include an overall upgrade of the property and its amenities, including enhancing tent sites and incorporating them into current on-property cabins for a unique camping experience, resurfacing pools, improving existing RV sites and adding eight new concrete RV sites.
In the coming weeks, RVC will rebrand the property from Garden of the Gods Campground to Garden of the Gods RV Resort, and will reflag it as an RVC Outdoor Destination by the start of 2013.
“The Garden of the Gods acquisition is a terrific addition to our portfolio of upscale outdoor vacation properties,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “The upgraded camping experience we offer is resonating with guests. It fits with what a lot of people are looking for in a vacation these days because it is unique, affordable and allows guests to enjoy some of America’s most beautiful natural landscapes with amenities that truly make it a destination experience.”
In addition to its newly acquired Colorado property, RVC currently operates Outdoor Destinations and RV resorts in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.
RVC Outdoor Destinations and Horizon RV Resorts have formed a joint venture to facilitate RVC’s ongoing expansion efforts and to improve both RVC’s and Horizon’s broader operating platforms.
Horizon will immediately begin assisting RVC in searching for property acquisition and joint venture opportunities, focusing especially on properties in the Western United States, according to a news release.
“We have respected Horizon for many years and are excited to formalize a deeper relationship with them. RVC has grown exponentially since the company was created five years ago, and we are now moving beyond our initial regional footprint,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations.
“RVC Outdoor Destinations is uniquely positioned, fully funded and actively expanding within this segment of the outdoor hospitality industry. We are excited to play a significant role in their expansion and are looking forward to working more closely in improving our collective operations. Moreover, RVC’s professionalism and commitment to the industry make them a formidable partner, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with them,” said Randy Hendrickson, president of Horizon RV Resorts.
In addition to working together in expanding RVC’s network of properties, RVC and Horizon will share industry information, research and best practices. Also, both companies will work together to improve purchasing power and increase marketing impact. Horizon RV Resorts will also provide RVC with additional operational capacity in its expansion, including properties sourced through the joint venture.
“The world is changing, and has changed, dramatically over the last 10 years,” Cates said. “For the outdoor hospitality industry to move forward and improve, owners and operators of high-quality properties need to work together to encourage clearer segmentation and identification. We believe like-minded property owners want to work within a collaborative system that provides capital, marketing expertise, operating capacity, and best practice sharing. Randy and I have discussed this for years and are ready to move ahead with this logical next step.”
Best Parks in America has announced a partnership with RVC Outdoor Destinations, a Memphis, Tenn.-based based company that has developed a unique brand of upscale RV and cottage resort properties in the Southeastern United States.
Four of RVC’s properties will carry the Best Parks in America brand designation and will be part of a national family of superior resorts that now numbers 76 and growing, according to a news release.
The four RVC Outdoor Destinations are:
- Pine Mountain, near Atlanta, Ga.
- Catherine’s Landing, which is opening April 1 and is located in Hot Springs, Ark.
- Carrabelle Beach, located on the Gulf of Mexico in Carrabelle, Fla.
- Live Oak Landing, which is located on Choctawhatchee Bay near Destin, Fla.
“We are excited about this new partnership with RVC,” said David Gorin, president of Best Parks of America. “RVC’s outdoor destinations embody the objectives of Best Parks by offering RVers and cottage vacation guests a high quality, unique vacation experience in superb surroundings. The company is staking out a new and different business model, featuring appealing natural environments, hotel-like services and upscale amenities, and all are located within minutes of great recreational activities and attractions that are unique to each location and the community.”
Best Parks in America is a leading national brand for highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. Through the partnership, the company will provide RVC with a wide range of marketing, branding, training, research, and business intelligence and information.
“We are proud to be affiliated with Best Parks in America, as we share the same values and goals of delivering a great experience to our guests. Partnerships such as this, with an established and admirable brand, allow our company to grow and become better known,” said Yale Spina, vice president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “We have motivated teams in place and great properties that include excellent amenities that will now be recognized with Best Parks in America. I can’t wait to get the word out.”
RVC Outdoor Destinations has been actively seeking to develop or acquire RV properties in highly desirable vacation areas. The company anticipates that the new “Outdoor Destination” concept will have great appeal across a wide range of RVers, as well as the offering of the increasingly popular RVC Resort Cottages, yurts, and cabins to not exclude those who may not own an RV.
“I’m sure RVers, campers and others who’ve visited Best Parks in America resorts across the U.S. will applaud the partnership with RVC Outdoor Destinations,” said Gorin. “For Best Parks, the partnership marks a new opportunity for us to work with multiple park companies in providing a national brand presence that identifies superior resorts to vacationers,” he added.
For more information on Best Parks of America, visit http://www.bestparksinamerica.com.
For more information on RVC Outdoor Destinations, visit www.rvcoutdoors.com. Also visit them on Facebook and Twitter: @RVCoutdoors.
Coming Feb. 1, Catherine’s Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination, will be open for business.
The resort is located in Hot Springs, Ark., on one mile of water frontage on Lake Catherine and is the only outdoor property of its kind in the state and region, according to a news release. After a year of planning and construction, the anticipated Catherine’s Landing will be “your ideal natural environment mixed with your favorite hotel experience,” setting it apart from anything of its kind, the release continued.
“This is possibly the most extensive destination that we have built,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “It was a blank canvas when we started, but we’ve been continually enhancing and adding to it to give people the ultimate outdoor vacation experience,” he added.
The resort offers several options:
- An RV site with full hook-ups, 50-amp service and cable.
- One of the furnished RVC Resort Cottages, all of which include a loft, washer/dryer, dishwasher, and flat screen TV.
- A yurt – a modern, round, tent-like structure with wooden floors, windows, skylights, beds with fresh linens, and heating and air conditioning.
- Rates start at $40 for RV sites, $120 for resort cottages and $36 for yurts per night.
Amenities at Catherine’s Landing include a community lodge with coffee, beer and wine bar, convenience store, fitness center, concierge service, hiking and nature trails, game room, water access and boat rentals.
Catherine’s Landing is located on the Humphreys Dairy property and is the first hospitality development that Hot Springs has seen for many years. There will be a boat ramp and dock at Catherine’s Landing as well as available pontoon boats. In addition, the location to surrounding attractions such as Garvan Gardens, the Bath House Row in the historic district of Hot Springs and the horse races at Oaklawn were other reasons for choosing this location.
In the springtime, the resort will host an “open for celebration” event. More details will come later.
For more information on Catherine’s Landing, an RVC Outdoor Destination, visit http://www.catherineslanding.rvcoutdoors.com/. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook too: @CatherinesLand; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catherines-Landing/222505657563.
RVC Outdoor Destinations owns and operates a unique collection of properties that combines natural environment with favorite hotel experience. RVC Outdoor Destinations has locations in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. For more information, visit www.rvcoutdoors.com.
A new website dedicated to both golfers and RVers has been launched at GolfandRV.com.
The website – which focuses on golf RV resorts – reflects the growing trend for short local excursions and “staycations” in preference to extravagant vacations in exotic destinations, according to examiner.com. This has led to traditional campgrounds offering much more than just camping. From swimming and hiking to fishing and boating, RV resorts are adapting their amenities to accommodate a much larger variety of customer interests.
“We are hearing three things from our guests: they have taken all the fun out of flying, so I am using my RV more, I want to take my pet, and I want a nicer place to enjoy the outdoors without really roughing it,” said Yale Spina, vice president of operations of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “We see that our guests are finding great satisfaction in our amenities such as concierge service, free Wi-Fi, cable and pet friendly bark-parks,” he added.
The golf and RV website enables vacationers and campers to browse an online directory and plan a vacation at some of the best resorts in the U.S. and Canada. GolfandRV.com was created in response to an increase in demand for golf courses with RV facilities on-site or close by. More resorts than ever before now have golf courses right on the premises and campers can even bring a golf cart back to their camper.
“We’ve seen that most RV and cabin oriented properties have been unable or unwilling to keep up with customer demands, current technology or even basic maintenance,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “We’ve made sure to stay on top of all of this at every one of our destinations, so travelers can make the most of their RV vacation.”
This week, GolfandRV.com is offering free directory listings for golf and RV resorts on its website. If you own a golf course or RV park you don’t want to miss this opportunity! Free listing week runs from through Friday (Dec. 17).