Peridot Corp. Positions for Further Growth
While other companies position themselves as higher volume providers of wireless Internet – or Wi-Fi service – in the private park sector, smaller companies are also continuing to find growth opportunities among the nation’s campgrounds and RV resorts. One case in point is Grand Junction, Colo.-based Peridot Corp., which markets Wi-Fi services under the PeriStar brand name.
“We’re positioning ourselves for continued growth,” explains Peridot President Jim Jeltema, whose company has built up a client base of 30 campgrounds and RV resorts from Arizona to Pennsylvania over the past three years. Small by any standards, Peridot is comprised of Jeltema and his daughter, Pamela, vice president, while the company contracts out sales, service and maintenance support to a clientele that is exclusively focused.
“Too much diversity I don’t feel is good,” said Pamela Jeltema. “We’re not interested in hotels or coffee shops. We do RV parks and serve RVers.”
And while some companies manufacture and maintain their own equipment, Peridot works more like a service provider, selecting, installing and maintaining the best equipment it can find.
Peridot introduced itself to the private park sector during 2004’s annual InSites Convention & Expo in Savannah, Ga., and, since then, the company has worked to build a following among private parks nationwide. And while Wi-Fi remains in high demand among RVers, the Jeltemas agree with observations made by other Wi-Fi providers in recent months that the campground sector has been slow to embrace this state-of-the-art technology.
Indeed, according to industry estimates, fewer than one in 10 private parks offer wireless Internet service to their guests, even though studies commissioned by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and others have found that more than 80% of RVers use the Internet and frequently need to check their e-mail, pay bills and do other research online.
“Most parks know they need it,” Jim Jeltema said, but many remain “on the fence” about moving ahead with Wi-Fi installations. There is a reason for this, he said, aside from the cost of installing Wi-Fi systems. “Every park owner has a cousin who says he could do a better job (installing Wi-Fi than existing providers),” he said. “But the cousin can’t provide them the services they need. So they end up sitting on the fence. I still see a lot of fear, a lack of information, and that’s the stuff that’s keeping people from getting Wi-Fi.”
Jeltema said many private park operators have the mistaken assumption that they can manage Wi-Fi systems on their own. “No one would think of putting in blacktop pavement through their park on their own,” he said. “But you talk about Wi-Fi and suddenly everybody’s a professional. So they end up with bad scenarios, bad situations and it keeps a lot of people from doing it.”
Nevertheless, Jeltema expects Wi-Fi to continue growing in popularity. “Wi-Fi is definitely not going to disappear,” he said.