LSI '08 Revenues Up 10% over Last Year
High gas prices and a poor economy have driven families to stay close to home for their vacations, and Jellystone Parks have adapted their marketing strategies to tap into local markets.
“With folks watching their bottom lines, family camping vacations remain a popular and economic option,” Rob Schutter president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park system, said in a news release. While some locations are lagging due to rainy weather and high gas prices, the franchise system remains strong with a revenue increase of 10% over last year. Some locations, like the Jellystone Park in North Java, N.Y., are thriving. The North Java Camp-Resort is reporting a 20% revenue increase over 2007. “We have been growing over the past few years due to our investments, strong customer satisfaction and repeat/referral business,” comments owner Scott Crompton.
To adapt to the changing landscape, Jellystone Parks have shifted their advertising dollars to local media and created special promotions, such as letting campers store their RVs on park properties between visits. “Customers are looking for value, so sales of our Unlimited Play wristband – which gives full access to boats, pedal carts and mini-golf – have increased nearly 100 %,” reports Crompton.
In addition, the extensive recreation programs at Jellystone Parks continue to be a big draw. “Our themed weekends and packed activity schedules are very popular, and we expect a busy month as families enjoy their final getaways before the kids are back in school,” Schutter continued. In fact, many Jellystone Parks extend their seasons through October and hold Halloween special event weekends that feature costume contests, hayrides, pumpkin carving and site decorating competitions. What began as a way to increase business in the shoulder season, the Halloween events have become a huge hit with campers – and a revenue boost for owners.
The Jellystone Park in Cave City, Ky., holds three Halloween weekends – complete with a Haunted Forest – and one additional Fall Festival weekend. “We added a fourth weekend in 2005, a non-scary Fall Festival targeting families with children 12 and under, and it has been a tremendous success,” said owner Bill Pott. The weekends are so popular, most campers book a year in advance. “Last year when the cabin guests were leaving, we had all but three of our 140 cabin weekends renewed for 2008.”
Sale of Jellystone Park in Wisconsin
The company recently learned that the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Warrens, Wis., is on the market and searching for buyers. The Jellystone Park is owned by Van Der Molen Recreational Properties – which also owns the adjacent Three Bears Hotel & Lodge. “The Warrens Camp-Resort expanded beyond the traditional camping business,” Schutter said, noting that the hotel and lodge were separate businesses from the campground. “For the sake of campers and visitors who enjoyed the campground as well as the other amenities at the site, we hope for the best possible outcome for both operations.”
Schutter stressed that all Jellystone Park properties are independently owned, and it is the franchisees who determine operating decisions. “The situation in Warrens does not affect the other 72 locations in the Jellystone Park franchise system.”
That said, no matter what the ultimate outcome is for the Warrens resort, other campgrounds in the area are ready for late-summer action.
“We are thriving under the good reputation of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park franchise,” states Brent Gasser, owner of Yogi Bear’s Camp-Resort & Water Playground in Wisconsin Dells. “We’re reaching out to our park patrons to assure them that we’re still here and ready to entertain their families.”