Top

Another Look at Good Sam’s Marcus Lemonis

August 27, 2013 by · Comments Off on Another Look at Good Sam’s Marcus Lemonis 

Marcus Lemonis. Photo courtesy of ABC

Editor’s Note: The following story about Marcus Lemonis appeared in the Chicago Tribune travel section.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Marcus Lemonis was adopted as a baby by a Greek family living in Florida. His parents were friends with former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who advised Lemonis to get into the camping and RV business.
After making guest appearances on NBC’s

Lee Iacocca encouraged Lemonis to enter the camping and RV business.

“Celebrity Apprentice” and ABC’s “Secret Millionaire,” Lemonis — who’s also the chairman and chief executive of Camping World — caught the attention of CNBC. On his reality series “The Profit,” the 39-year-old entrepreneur invests cash into failing businesses, teaches the owners how to better their businesses and, hopefully, earn a profit. Fans may follow him on Twitter (at)marcuslemonis.

Click here to read the entire story.

Lemonis Looks Ahead to Season 2 Prospects

August 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on Lemonis Looks Ahead to Season 2 Prospects 

Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Good Sam Enterprises LLC, stars in “The Profit.” Photo courtesy of CNBC.

Editor’s Note: The following story about Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Good Sam Enterprises LLC, is from The Mother Nature Network. Visit www.mnn.com to read this and other stories about the environment.

Like a one-man “Shark Tank,” multi-mbillionaire Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis has made it his mission to invest in and save struggling small businesses and make them profitable, something he’s done for over 100 companies in the past 10 years. Now he’s taking that mission to TV, putting $2 million of his own money on the line in his CNBC show “The Profit.” This week’s episode featured a green cleaning products company called Eco-Me that’s in debt, poorly marketed, and inefficient.

While Lemonis “found a void in the marketplace for all natural cleaning products” and believed in the company’s founder, Robin Levine, “what needed to change was their broken sales and distribution process, and the supply side of the business—manufacturing and distribution. I changed the packaging and branding, creating an identifiable brand. And I cleaned up the balance sheet, which ultimately changed the way they operate.”

The environmentally friendly aspects of Eco-Me appealed to Lemonis, who believes, “Green products work for everyone whether you are truly green or not. Who wants chemicals in their products? These products aren’t as niche as the original packaging made it out to be,” he says, noting that he uses them at home. “Sales are up tremendously since the episode taped,” adds the satisfied investor, “but I do see small tweaks that could make it even better.”

Not all of his “Profit” deals work out as well. “I don’t invest in every company featured, but I wish all the companies well whether I invested in them or not,” Lemonis says. “My biggest success actually with this series is meeting new people and helping them change their process and business for the better.”

Looking ahead beyond the two remaining “Profit” episodes this season, he adds, “While I am not specifically looking for green companies, if a company meets my criteria, then I would definitely consider for season two.” He has already invested in natural manufacturers like organic snacks and gluten-free products.

Armed with a “business mantra” he calls the “Three Ps: People, Process and Product,” Lemonis is always searching for new investment opportunities. Those interested in applying to be on “The Profit” can do so at www.theprofitcasting.com.

Lemonis’ ‘The Profit’ Lost Viewers by 2nd Show

August 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on Lemonis’ ‘The Profit’ Lost Viewers by 2nd Show 

“The Profit” loses market share between premier and Week 2.

After a decent premiere a week ago, CNBC’s new weekly primetime business-makeover reality show “The Profit” took a tumble in the ratings Tuesday (Aug. 6).

Variety reported that Nielsen estimates that “The Profit,” in which entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis pumps his own cash into a struggling business in a bid to turn it around, averaged 56,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demo in its second episode — down a steep 64% from the 157,000 it pulled for its premiere. It held up better in total viewers, but the show’s overall audience of 173,000 still represented a 32% decline from the premiere’s 254,000.

By comparison, in the month of July, stripped weeknight series “American Greed” averaged 112,000 adults 25-54 and 252,000 viewers overall in the same 10 o’clock hour for CNBC. And in the 11 p.m. hour during July, “Mad Money” averaged 41,000 adults 25-54 and 103,000 viewers overall.

“The Profit” is CNBC’s latest attempt at finding an unscripted hit, having yanked “Crowd Rules” in May after just two low-rated outings. “Crowd Rules” premiered to a mere 47,000 viewers, though, so by that low bar, “The Profit” is still looking OK.

 

Lemonis’ Gift Benefits Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet

August 7, 2013 by · Comments Off on Lemonis’ Gift Benefits Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet 

Photo courtesy of Broadway World

The Joffrey Ballet, led by Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron, is pleased to announce that local philanthropist, Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” has made a substantial leadership gift to support and enhance the ongoing work of the Joffrey’s Bridge Program, a dance education residency in Chicago Public Schools, Broadway World has reported.

In recognition of this gift, the program will now be known as The Joffrey Ballet Lemonis Bridge Program.

The Bridge Program provides Chicago Public School students in grades 1 and 2 with a highly structured dance experience where they develop life skills such as listening, following directions and respect; where they engage in creative expression; and where they practice physical awareness and healthy lifestyle choices. This program serves primarily African American and Latino children with more than 90% of the young students coming from low income households. It is designed to introduce children, who normally would not have any opportunity to explore classical dance, to the basic elements of classical ballet and may ultimately identify and train the next generation of dancers.

Lemonis’ gift will guarantee that the Bridge Program – which currently reaches over 400 students each year – will continue to engage Chicago’s children for the next decade while at the same time expanding the number of teaching artists, schools and students served annually.

“In light of the recent school closings and budget cuts in the Chicago Public School system, so much of the basic structure that the children need in their lives has been altered. Giving our youths a solid beginning can make a huge impact in his or her life and it has been proven that the arts positively impact our young people’s physical health, discipline, focus and social skills,” said Lemonis. “As a child, I was given an opportunity that enabled me to pursue my passions and I am honored to offer assistance to the Joffrey’s Bridge Program as it is undeniable how valuable – how crucial – programs like this are to maintaining a balanced education and having a long-lasting positive impact for the children, who are truly our future. I encourage the community members and businesses to embrace and support this program.”

 

 

 

Lemonis’ Secret to Success: ‘Go Get It Yourself’

August 6, 2013 by · Comments Off on Lemonis’ Secret to Success: ‘Go Get It Yourself’ 

Marcus Lemonis in a promo for CNC’s ‘The Profit,’ which appears Tuesday nights on CNBC.

Editor’s Note: Most small businesses start with a dream, but getting rich off an idea isn’t easy. As CEO of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC, Marcus Lemonis, the host of CNBC Prime’s “The Profit,” shares how he made millions by taking the phrase “go get it yourself” to heart. The following store is courtesy of CNBC.com. Click here to watch a video.

As the CEO of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC, Marcus Lemonis became a multimillionaire and a trailblazer in the recreational vehicle (RV) industry.

Born in Beirut and adopted by a family that owned two car dealerships in Florida,Lemonis, who hosts CNBC Prime’s new reality series “The Profit,” says he definitely did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth.

“I would say that my parents, they’re very generous,” he said. “They gave me an education. They took me on vacations. But they were very matter-of-fact that if you want something, don’t come asking us for it, go get it yourself.”

And so he did. Lemonis always knew he wanted to be in business because he likes cash, and after graduating from college, he began working at a car dealership. But it was a conversation with family friend Lee Iacocca that set him on his current path.

Lemonis recalls Iacocca telling him, “Look, you can be in the car business forever; you’re just going to be a number.”

Then Iacocca pointed Lemonis toward the RV industry.

Find a great opportunity and seize it

When Lemonis dove into the RV business in the early 2000s, it was ripe for the picking.

“At the time, the RV business was very fragmented. And … the actual brand Camping World [was] started in 1966 by somebody else. And it started as a catalog business with very few stores,” Lemonis said.

With few barriers for entry, and operating with the thought that people will always want to enjoy the outdoors and camping, Lemonis began buying private RV dealerships, eventually rolling them into the Camping World brand, which had only 30 stores at the time.

In 2010, he combined Camping World with the travel club Good Sam Enterprises. The consolidated company is expected to earn $3 billion in 2013. Under his leadership as chairman and CEO, Camping World is set to expand to 115 locations.

“Today, what we have is the single-largest RV and camping company that the world has ever known. Bigger than any manufacturer, bigger than anything,” Lemonis said.

Remaining successful by being accessible

Lemonis intentionally makes himself accessible to his customers and employees, including his email on posters in stores and in catalogs and magazines.

“It’s been a secret recipe of ours. If the customer feels they can access you, they feel closer to you, and they have an affinity to do business with you,” he said.

Congruently, if employees know customers can easily reach the boss, the associates perform better because they’re being held accountable, he said.

“It’s a very dangerous marketing plan, but it’s one that I’ve had for years and I’ll never get away from it,” Lemonis said. “It’s just the secret.”

 

Good Sam Releasing 2Q Financials on Aug. 14

August 2, 2013 by · Comments Off on Good Sam Releasing 2Q Financials on Aug. 14 

Good Sam Enterprises LLC announced that it will file its financial report for the second quarter, ended June 30, on Aug. 14. The report will be available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov .

The Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company has scheduled a conference call to discuss its second-quarter financial results at 11 a.m. EDT on Aug. 16. Marcus Lemonis, president and CEO, and Thomas Wolfe, CFO, will host the conference call.

To access the conference call by telephone dial (866) 283-8243 in the U.S. and Canada. Please allow time for the operator to obtain a name, phone number and company name. The company intends to make a replay of the conference call available beginning four hours after the end of the live call.

The replay may be accessed by dialing (888) 266-2081 in the U.S. and Canada. The listener will be asked to enter a conference code, which is 1619954.

Camping World’s Lemonis Stars in ‘The Profit’

July 31, 2013 by · Comments Off on Camping World’s Lemonis Stars in ‘The Profit’ 

“The Profit” debuts on CNBC.

RV industry executive Marcus Lemonis Tuesday night (July 30) offered a primer on how to run a business in CNBC’s new business-based reality show “The Profit.”

Lemonis, the engaging 39-year-old chairman and CEO of Camping World Inc. and sister division Good Sam Enterprises LLC, wasted little time in the show’s season premier in throwing his weight – and money – around in helping to fix a struggling Manhattan used car buyer called Car Cash.

Run by brothers Jon and Andrew Baron, whose father, Bruce, founded the business in 1977, Car Cash was near bankruptcy when Lemonis entered the picture with bold new ideas for how to turn it around. The brothers grossed $13 million in sales in 2012 but posted a loss of $200,000 and are $200,000 in debt.

“I’m here to fix this business,” says Lemonis, who’s shown driving his red Jaguar at one point in the episode along a picturesque stretch of oceanfront. “If you want people to listen, you put money on the table.”

And that he did, writing a check for $200,000 and providing a line of credit for up to $300,000 at 7.5% interest – a rate that represents a compromise between the 5% offer from overbearing brother Jon Baron and the 10% Lemonis initially requested.

Lemonis, a well known personality in the recreational vehicle business, noted early on in “The Profit” that he was selling cars by the time he was a teenager, and he takes an instant liking to the concept of buying used cars at the West 55th Street location and then turning around and selling them to car dealers. But the brothers’ policy of selling them through car wholesalers doesn’t sit well with Lemonis who wants to eliminate the middleman and improve on the average margin of $500 per sale.

When Jon Baron ignores Lemonis’ directive to change the company’s traditional way of doing business and get rid of the wholesalers, Lemonis, who has now taken over the company, declares, “You’ve got to the end of the day: they go or I go!”

Much to Jon’s chagrin, Jon reluctantly ends his relationship with the wholesalers. Lemonis also coaches Jon on his people skills. Lemonis, who oversees the $2.5 billion CW/GS operations from his Lincolnshire, Ill., headquarters, then instructs him on how to make the customer feel satisfied with his offer for their car by remaining with the customer and talking him through the deal during the appraisal process.

Lemonis spends another $350,000 for 40 contractors to gut and refurbish the tired old building and bring it up to modern-day standards. To underscore his determination to clean house, Lemonis in one scene throws a chair Bobby-Knight-style across the showroom floor. He’s also seen cleaning a toilet.

Viewers do see a warmer side of Lemonis, who takes an instant liking to brother Andrew Baron. Andrew has allowed his controlling older brother to walk over him on numerous day-to-day decisions and is brought to tears when explaining to Lemonis the brothers’ less-than-ideal relationship. As part of the turnaround, Lemonis urges Andrew to write his own TV commercials, and he arranges with a recording studio to tape them. Andrew surprises Jon with a slick 15-second spot that depicts a bolder version of Andrew trumpeting the merits of Car Cash.

Lemonis’ intervention seems to spark a genuine turnaround in the brothers’ relationship with each other.

Viewers soon see Lemonis coaching Jon on negotiating the sale of their newly purchased cars to car dealers and stands by, beaming, when Jon successfully flips a BMW he bought from a couple for $14,000 to a dealer for $17,200. The profit of  $3,200 far exceeds the $500 average that Jon had been accustomed to.

In the show’s finale, filmed three months after Lemonis entered the fray, the brothers’ reconciliation is complete with sales up 30% and the business profitable – complete with a new mobile site and a fledgling nationwide franchise operation based out of the same West 55th Street location.

The franchise was Lemonis’ idea, and while the brothers realize a return on each new franchise sold, the inference is there that Lemonis’ upfront investment will be recouped several times over through the franchise initiative.

So, while there’s a happy ending for this — the first of the season’s six episodes – various promotional trailers for subsequent episodes suggest their endings may be less copacetic.

Next week, Lemonis, who offers business advice in a staged studio setting throughout the segments and invites businesses that are in over their heads to visit www.theprofitcasting.com, enters the flower shop business.

“I hope anyone who has a small business will learn things from this show,” says Lemonis. “So many small businesses fail when they don’t have to.”

 

Camping World Touts Aggressive Expansions

July 29, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Camping World and Good Sam today (July 29) announced their forecast for expansion and future development to meet customer needs for product and service in new markets.

The new markets raise the total number of SuperCenters, just shy of 115 nationwide. Additionally, the company is in discussions with land owners and existing dealerships actively pursuing new markets and acquisitions that will be announced over the next six months, according to a news release.

Plans are underway to expand the company footprint with additional locations in high traffic, outdoorcentric markets within the following timeframe and markets:

  • August 2013 – Panama City, Fla.
  • September 2013 – Ocala, Fla. (relocation).
  • September 2013 – Tucson, Ariz., (relocation)
  • September 2013 – Cedar Falls, Iowa.
  • November 2013 – Berkeley (Boston area), Mass.
  • January 2014 – Coburg (Junction City area), Ore.
  • January 2014 – Fresno, Calif.
  • January 2014 – Harrisburg, Pa., (retail store expansion).
  • January 2014 – Lake Park, Ga.
  • February 2014 – Saukville (Milwaukee area), Wis.
  • February 2014 – Olive Branch (Memphis area), Miss.
  • April 2014 – Rossford (Toledo area), Ohio
  • April 2014 – Rapid City, S.D.
  • April 2014 – Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • April 2014 – Jackson, Miss.

“We are proud to continue our commitment to the U.S. market with the opening of these new SuperCenters and look forward to having customers in these regions visit their new one-stop location for everything outdoor and RV,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “As part of Camping World and Good Sam’s growth strategy, the brand is making major investments in the quality of its dealer network. From facility upgrades to new store openings, the company’s network will continue to expand and evolve while serving our customers’ outdoor, RV and camping needs.”

All new locations will offer a wide array of RV sales, service, collision, parts and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast. It will feature motorhomes and towables from the finest manufacturers and brands including Winnebago Industries, Fleetwood, Thor Motor Coach, Itasca, Coleman, Heartland, Keystone, Forest River, Crossroads, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, Starcraft, Coachmen and many more.

On the accessory side the new locations will feature new and innovative products including interactive displays and customer experiences from the top vendors such as Dometic, Honda, Thetford, Goodyear, Winegard, ADCO, Camco, Roadmaster, Husky, Reese, Cequent, Exide, Ultra-Fab, Coleman, Valterra, Dicor, Champion, Rand McNally, Max-Air, BAL, Furrion, Select Comfort, ASA Electronics, Cummins, Onan, WFCO, Weber, HWH, Presto-Fit, Stromberg-Carlson, Atwood, RDK Products, Magellan, King Controls, Charbroil, Amerigas, Exxon Mobil products, Norcold and many more. Camping World also carries and creates its own private label lines of exclusive products for the RV, outdoor and home markets.

“These recent acquisitions increase our presence in existing markets and new territories and are in alignment with the strategic growth plans we have for the company,” continued Lemonis. “We are constantly reviewing our footprint and evaluating where we can strengthen our position within each of our markets.”

 

Insiders: Membership Camping on a Rebound

July 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Insiders: Membership Camping on a Rebound 

Rushmore Shadows, a Midwest Outdoor Resorts campground in South Dakota. 

After a prolonged downturn that began well before the Great Recession, membership camping seems to be on the rebound.

Major players in this oftentimes misunderstood segment of the outdoor hospitality business tell Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) that they are upbeat about the recent past and more so about the immediate future as regular campers as well as newcomers discover the appeal of membership camping.

That appeal revolves around the individual beauty of the member parks, the security that they afford every camper and the relative affordability in an era of ever-rising camping costs elsewhere in the public and private sector.

Under membership camping, members pay an upfront membership fee that is good for, say five to 10 years, or perhaps a lifetime, which allows members to access one or more resorts, if the resort is part of a network.

“We have seen the last five years, even with the economy upside down, we have had our best year, year after year. When life gets hard, people go camping,” said Mike Pournoury, CEO and majority owner of Texarkana, Texas-based Ocean Canyon Properties, a growing system of eight privately owned, membership resorts in the Southeast that offer spacious RV campsites, comfortable vacation cabins, cottages and condos along with a wide variety of private resort amenities. “The industry as a whole has been weak due to the fact that it is so fragmented, but if you talk to each company like ours, business is great, seriously. Several companies our size are just thriving in this industry. I have a real positive expectancy for the future of the membership industry.”

Bruce Hoster (left) of Coast to Coast Resorts and Mike Pournoury of Ocean Canyon Properties

Gene Addink, general manager and CEO of Midwest Outdoor Resorts, which owns and operates three resorts in South Dakota and Minnesota, agrees with Pournoury’s take on the business.

“Even in bad times, we were successful,” said Addink, who has been in the membership camping business since 1984 and led the team that founded Midwest Outdoor Resorts in 2000. “There was a little bit of a downturn in 2008-2009 but when the economy was at its worst, even then we were successful.”

Addink, whose company operates resorts near Rapid City, S.D., and two in the greater Minneapolis area, is looking to add a fourth resort this year, either in northern Minnesota or northern Wisconsin.

Pournoury and Addink say their companies are typical of the more than 50 membership camping systems that operate in the U.S. and Canada. Both maintain systems of upscale campgrounds that appeal to seasoned campers as well as newbies and also employ expert sales staffs that can walk prospects through the intricate concept of membership camping.

“It’s not like going to a KOA,” said Addink. “If you’re going to a KOA, you know what you’re getting. With membership camping, the concept has to be explained to people one on one. It is usually not a product people shop for. They have to be shown how it fits in their lifestyle. It’s a very misunderstood concept in the public’s eye.”

Gene Addink, CEO of Midwest Outdoor Resorts

Each membership camping system has its own set of rules, pricing and reciprocal agreements. The concept requires a full explanation before purchase.

“It takes a proactive marketing group that can find people who fit your demographic and then convince them to come to a presentation to learn about the program,” Addink said. In his 30 years in the business, he doubts whether more than five clients ever literally walked in off the street and purchased a membership without first undergoing a formal sales presentation.

Thousand Trails Zone Pass

The industry’s leading player, Thousand Trails, affiliated with Chicago-based real estate giant Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS), has enlisted the ranks of the RV industry to help it sell memberships for its far-flung system of 80 RV resorts in 22 states and British Columbia. Today, more than 100,000 member families and guests enjoy its parks. Formerly only open to lifetime members, Thousand Trails has introduced the Zone Camping Pass, which provides a low-investment way to enjoy the benefits of resort-style camping on an annual basis.

An ELS spokesman was unavailable to speak with WCM. However, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the end of 2012, ELS had these comments on its membership camping business.

“In the spring of 2010, Thousand Trails introduced low-cost membership products that focus on the installed base of almost 8 million RV owners. The company began offering a Zone Park Pass, which can be purchased for one to four zones of the United States and required annual payments in 2012 of $499. Beginning on Feb. 1, 2012, the required annual payments increased to $525.

“The Zone Pass replaced high cost products that were typically entered into at properties after tours and lengthy sales presentations. The company historically incurred significant costs to generate leads, conduct tours and make the sales presentations. A single zone ZPP requires no upfront (additional) payment while passes for additional zones require modest upfront payments.

“Since inception, ELS has entered into approximately 22,000 Zone Pass agreements. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, the company entered into approximately 10,100 Zone Pass agreements, or a 36.5% increase from approximately 7,400 for 2011.

“In 2012, the company initiated a program with RV dealers to feature the Zone Passes as part of the dealers’ sales and marketing efforts. In return, the company provides the dealer with a Zone Pass membership to give to the dealers’ customers in connection with the purchase of an RV.

Since the inception of the program with the RV dealers, the company has activated 1,289 Zone Passes and recorded approximately $140,000 of revenue through the end of 2012, ELS reported.

Travel Resorts of America

One of the cabins at the Travel Resorts of America campground in Gettysburg, Pa.

Another major membership camping player is Travel Resorts of America, based in Southern Pines, N.C., which operates six resorts in the eastern half of the U.S. Sycamore Lodge near Pinehurst, N.C., was its original resort, followed by Gettysburg Battlefield Resort “which with the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address is our busiest this year,” noted David Petsolt, director of marketing. “We have three resorts in Ohio, Wally World Riverside Resort, Rocky Fork Ranch Resort and Pymatuning Adventure Resort, each providing a different experience. Finally, there is Twin Lakes Resort in Florida.”

The company’s expansion has been driven by two factors.

“First, although most are within an RVer’s drive time of each other, each is in a diverse geographic areas and easily accessible from major metropolitan areas,” Petsolt said. “Secondly, we seek properties where we know we can create a top-tier experience for our visitors – the resorts have to have the right ‘bones.’ Our goal is to ‘Wow’ our visitors with something unexpected and provide the backdrop for them to create unforgetable memories. The Mohican Riverbanks at Wally World, the History of Gettysburg, the rich outdoor activities at Rocky Fork Ranch, the waterslides at lake at Pymatuning Adventure, the great fishing at Twin Lakes, and the world-class golf surrounding Sycamore Lodge (Pinehurst #2 is home to the 2014 Men’s and Women’s Opens) – each of our resorts has something unique to offer our visitors, all with a focus of fun.”

While the firm does not have any immediate plans for further expansion, it is always on the lookout for the next opportunity – “but it has to be something special,” he stressed.

Coast to Coast

Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts

The turnaround has been very noticeable at Coast to Coast Resorts, an affiliate of Good Sam Enterprises LLC. Coast to Coast does not own any of its own parks, however, it maintains reciprocal agreements with 208 member parks which allow people who buy memberships through Coast to Coast to visit any of the affiliates’ resorts.

“People see the value in this. That’s why the business has come back,” explained Bruce Hoster, president.

Of the 208 resort firms, approximately 50 are active sellers of memberships, Hoster estimates. “A lot are older resorts now owned by homeowner associations or they just don’t sell new memberships,” he said.

Besides Ocean Canyon Properties, Midwest Outdoor Resorts and Travel Resorts of America, Hoster identified Outdoor Adventures, based in Bay City, Mich., and Colorado River Adventures, a network of eight resorts on the West Coast and based in Earp, Calif., as active and growing in the membership camping market. Indeed, Outdoor Adventures with its five resorts in Michigan has been the top seller of Coast to Coast memberships for many years, he said.

“Coast is showing some nice growth the past two years and is setting some records this year with our new Premier product,” explained Hoster. “Membership camping (finally) seems to be making a comeback, and it’s (finally) fun working on Coast to Coast. It’s always nice when the numbers are good.”

Hoster, who has headed the Coast to Coast network since 2007, attributes the rebound to RVers seeing the value in memberships compared to other ownership positions.

Coast to Coast offers three types of memberships, classic (entry level), deluxe and premier. The latter, filled with benefits and relaunched in summer 2012, has been key to Coast to Coast’s rebound, Hoster maintains.

Member parks have made considerable investments in recent years to either upgrade their parks or add new ones, thus giving campers more camping options.

For example, Ocean Canyon Properties announced in April extensive renovations totaling $1 million have been taking place to improve members’ camping experiences at six of their resorts.

This map shows locations of Coast to Coast Resorts in U.S.

Not Just for RVers

And membership camping is not just for RVers.

“We look for people who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, probably age 35-plus and can afford the product. But you don’t need a camper to buy our product,” he noted.

Addink estimates that more than 50% of Midwest Outdoor Resorts members do not own their own RV. Instead, they rent RVs or covered shelter such as cabins and lodges at the resorts.

The love of the outdoors may be the crucial requirement for prospective membership campers. Minneapolis has a high percentage of RV owners, but even more so, it has a high percentage of people who enjoy the outdoors, Addink said. That’s why his company has a sales office in Minneapolis and operates two of its three resorts within an hour’s drive of there. It also makes for an easy trip to show prospects.

Pournoury’s Ocean Canyon Properties are strung out across the Southeast, making the sales presentation more problematic.

“There is no national ad campaign, no media advertising for membership camping,” Pournoury noted. “I’m sure if there was, there would be a lot more people coming to membership camping. Since the industry is so fragmented, the news does not get out.”

Still, he adds, “There are a lot of good operators in the industry that know how to market and how to cultivate their memberships. There is not much growth as far as new resorts joining membership camping because of that. It is a very tough field to master the marketing, the sales effort, the administration and the operations end.”

“It’s not just like opening an RV park and waiting for customers to come in. You have to go after them and grab the right kind for your product. If it is done the right way, it has a lot of rewards. Every company that is in the business and selling upward of 300 or 400 memberships a year is profitable and has been so for many years.”

 

‘Rally’ Sought Wedding Vow Renewal Record

June 18, 2013 by · Comments Off on ‘Rally’ Sought Wedding Vow Renewal Record 

Hundreds of couples lined up early at the New York State Fairgrounds last week to get hitched, again.

The Post-Standard, Syracuse, reported that the people who crowded into Chevy Court with the goal of setting a new world record for largest wedding vow renewal were camped out at the fairgrounds for the Camping World/Good Sam Rally, which bills itself as the biggest and best RV event in North America.

As couples filed through turnstiles and volunteers collected signatures from each couple renewing their vows, video cameras on stage recorded every moment of the event.

The cameras, turnstiles and signatures were necessary for Guinness World Records, Mark Boggess, an event organizer said. The current record for most couples renewing their vows at once is 1,087, he said.

While it won’t be known for some time if a new record was set, that fact hardly seemed to weigh on the minds of the thousands of people drove and towed nearly 3,000 RVs and campers to the fairgrounds for the four-day event.

“It’s just about having fun,” Boggess said. “They came here to have a good time.”

RVs and campers of all shapes and sizes packed into every corner of the fairgrounds, ranging from small popups and tow-behind campers, to travel trailers and monster RVs.

Punishing rainfall over the last few weeks made several RV parking areas into little more than ponds, forcing organizers to send about 400 RVs to a parking lot nearby at Destiny USA.

“But it hasn’t stopped people from having a good time,” Boggess said.

The weather didn’t stop salesmen from hawking their wares: RVs, campers and accessories.

Accessories for RVs and campers run the gamut from practical to novel. Lawn furniture, satellite dishes, and fireplaces are options, as are flagpoles, on-board generators and built-in exterior grills.

To read the entire article click here.

Next Page »

Bottom