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Kerrville RV Park is Only One in Texas with an Onsite Bar

May 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on Kerrville RV Park is Only One in Texas with an Onsite Bar 

Don Temple pours a cold one at the Guadalupe River RV Resort onsite bar.

Ever since Don Temple and a group of investors purchased Guadalupe River RV Resort near Kerrville, Texas, seven years ago, they have constantly worked to improve the park, investing more than $1 million in improvements.

But their efforts are clearly paying off, according to a news release.

Last week, the riverfront resort won the “Park of the Year” award in the large park category from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) for the third year in a row.

Guadalupe River RV Resort has also won top ratings from the nation’s leading campground directories, including 5W ratings from Woodall’s North American Campground Directory and 9.5/9/9 ratings from the Trailer Life Directory.

The park, which borders the Guadalupe River, has 212 RV sites, including pull through sites with 30- and 50-amp service as well as wireless Internet and cable television service. It also has 46 park models, 17 cabins, three swimming pools, including an indoor heated pool during the winter, a hot tub, a dry heat sauna, a steam sauna, exercise room, laundry rooms and two large recreation halls, plus an attractive onsite bar with indoor and outdoor seating.

“We’re still the only RV park in Texas with a liquor license,” Temple said, adding that the onsite bar is a popular amenity for RVers who like to enjoy their drinks without having to worry about getting back on the road. Temple also has barbecues on weekends, which are always well attended.

The bar is popular with Kerrville area residents, who come to the park to enjoy food and drink while mingling with RVers. Temple said Kerrville area residents have developed strong friendships with many of his Winter Texans.

“It’s not just a bar,” Temple said. “It’s ‘Cheers.’ Everybody has a ball here.”

The bar has also become a favored hangout for active and retired law enforcement officers, from Texas Rangers to U.S. Marshals, which helps ensure that Temple never has any problems with his bar patrons. “On any given night, there are at least five badges in the crowd,” he said.

Temple is currently expanding the bar to include a new outdoor stage and dance floor.

But while the improvements and amenities and fine customer service ensure repeat business for his park, Temple said the ratings and awards help put Guadalupe River RV Resort on the map. “People pay attention to ratings,” he said.

For more information on Guadalupe River RV Resort, please contact Don Temple at (830) 367-5676 and visit his website at www.guadaluperiverrvresort.com.

Guadalupe River RV Resort is a member of TACO, which publishes and distributes the Texas RV Travel & Camping Guide each year in addition to organizing awards competitions for its affiliated parks using outside judges. For more information about the 2012 directory or for statistics involving the latest camping trends in Texas, please contact Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or visit www.texascampgrounds.com and www.texascabinrentals.net.

 

TACO Raises Record $48,000 at Annual Auction

May 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on TACO Raises Record $48,000 at Annual Auction 

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) raised a record $48,000 Monday night (May 7) in its annual auction, which provides funding for the association’s government affairs program.

The auctioned items included vacations at a Texas dude ranch, major advertisements on TexasCampgrounds.com and in the 250,000-circulation Texas RV Travel and Camping Guide and an attractive park model cabin donated by Athens Park Homes. Fueled by park operator enthusiasm, the auction was fast paced, which enabled TACO officials to conclude the auction in less than two hours.

The Monday night event at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville capped a full day of activities on day two of TACO’s Spring Convention and Trade Show.

The day began with a membership meeting, during which time TACO officials reported that the association is in strong financial health and the organization is making continued investments to bolster its membership and improve its online marketing efforts through TexasCampgrounds.com and TexasCabinRentals.net.

The association’s trade show was held at the neighboring Inn of the Hills, with 35 vendors in attendance, including TengoInternet, Athens Park Homes and representatives from several front desk management and online reservation systems, including Campground Automation, Leisure Interactive, Mission Management Information Systems, and RMS North America. Electrical product vendors included Eaton Corp., Peak Energy Technology and Utility Supply Group.

William Wiedemann of Peak Energy Technology also provided a seminar on electricity recycling.

Today’s seminar schedule includes a CPO session on how to develop repeat and referral business and breakout sessions on cost effective marketing strategies, wireless Internet technology trends and a discussion on the merits of using workampers.

 

KOA: Texas Parks Staged the Strongest Business in 2011

May 7, 2012 by · Comments Off on KOA: Texas Parks Staged the Strongest Business in 2011 

Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc.

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) launched its annual Spring Convention and Trade show Sunday (May 6) with a keynote address by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) President and CEO Jim Rogers, who provided park owners with statistics indicating that Texas experienced the strongest campground business in the country last year.

“Texas is doing better than everybody else,” Rogers said in a news release, citing KOA statistics, which showed Texas parks experiencing a 4.7 percent increase in camper nights and a 1.3 percent increase in revenue in 2011, compared to the previous year.

The only other area in the country to experience overall increases in business in the KOA system last year was New England, which saw a 2.7 percent increase in camper nights and a 4.8 percent increase in revenue, Rogers said, noting that KOAs in the rest of the country experienced modest declines.

The convention was held at the Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas, with 130 registered attendees representing about 60 private parks.

With roughly 475 parks across the United States and Canada, KOA statistics provide a powerful indicator of business trends in the campground business and are closely followed by park operators across the country.

But while Texas was clearly in the lead in terms of the overall strength of its campground business last year, Rogers said parks across the Lone Star State also mimic trends that are being observed elsewhere in the country. For example, he said, 59 percent of the business Texas parks receive is generated by Texas residents as opposed to people coming from other states.

That’s a trend that’s happening across the country, Rogers said.

“Our traveler is changing,” Rogers said, noting that people are camping closer to home in response to rising fuel costs and increasing time constraints from work schedules and children’s sports activities.

Texas parks are also seeing rising demand for park models and other rental accommodations, Rogers said, adding that KOAs will continue to add more rental units to the KOA system because they are a great way to introduce people to camping who haven’t camped before. He added that deluxe cabins or park models in the KOA system typically pay for themselves in 3 1/2 years.

Rogers also told Texas park operators that the future is bright for the campground business, not only in Texas but across the country, citing a recent joint study by KOA, The Coleman Co. and The Outdoor Foundation, which estimated that only 15 percent of Americans camp.

That statistic alone means there are tremendous opportunities for growth in the campground business, Rogers said, adding that the opportunities are even greater when one considers America’s changing demographics and the very small numbers of African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics who currently camp.

Awards Presented

Meanwhile, TACO presented its annual awards Sunday to top parks and vendors serving the campground industry. Award winners included:

  • Johnson Creek RV Resort in Ingram: This scenic 50-acre park, located on a pecan orchard overlooking Johnson Creek, was selected as “Small Park of the Year” for its quaint location and superior amenities, which include an onsite Western-style chapel and banquet facilities.
  • The Vineyards Campground & Cabins in Grapevine: This nationally acclaimed campground was selected as “Medium Park of the Year” because of its lake activities and superior park model cabin accommodations.
  • Guadalupe River RV Resort: This park was selected as “Large Park of the Year” for its high-quality facilities, which are frequently used to accommodate TACO’s annual conventions. The park also received a “Host Award” for hosting TACO’s Spring Convention.
  • Texan RV Ranch in Mansfield: This 132-site park received the “Website of the Year” award for its aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate website, www.rvparksdallasfortworth.com, which includes a wealth of information.
  • Coyote Ranch in Medina: This park received the “Brochure of the Year” award for its eloquently worded brochure, which describes the park’s peaceful, scenic and comfortable ambience in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
  • Color Visual Concepts in Granbury: This company was selected as “Vendor of the Year” for its outstanding customer service and quality printing at affordable prices. The company provides most of the printing services for TACO, including the TACO Twister. The company’s founder, Pete Klingenberg, passed away recently after a lengthy battle with cancer, but the business is carrying on as strong as ever through his partner, Amy, and daughter, Jennifer.
  • Jean Strickland received a “Special Achievement Award” for her work the past decade visiting parks and selling advertising for the TACO RV Travel and Camping Guide. Jean retired this year and is focusing her efforts on her own company, which publishes site maps.

Schaeffer said the awards were given at the beginning instead of the end of the association’s trade show in order to provide attendees with a chance to visit with the award winners and learn first hand what they did to receive the association’s top honors.

The convention concludes on Tuesday.

 

 

TACO Announces May 6-8 Conference Agenda

May 1, 2012 by · Comments Off on TACO Announces May 6-8 Conference Agenda 

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) will host its annual spring conference and trade show May 6-8 at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville.

“We’ve got a great lineup of speakers and seminars and our trade show will be the best yet,” Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director and CEO, stated in a news release.

The organization’s conference and trade show is the largest of its kind in the Southwest with pre-show registrations at an all-time high.

Sunday’s events include a keynote address and question and answer session with Kampgrounds of America CEO Jim Rogers; a TACO legislative update including the latest info on ADA pool lifts; a special guest appearance by Texas State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and an awards program, during which time awards will be given for Park of the Year, Website of the Year, as well as Brochure and Rack Card of the Year along with Outstanding Supplier.

Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America

Rep. Harvey Hilderbran

Sunday’s activities will conclude with a dinner with a live band and casino-style entertainment.

TACO’s annual auction to raise funds for the association’s government affairs program will take place after dinner Monday night. The featured item will be a brand new park model generously donated by Athens Park Homes – TACO’s preferred park model provider. The association is including a $2,000 accommodations marketing package – a $30,000 value in total.

The three-day conference will also feature five educational sessions, including:

  • A CPO class with William Wiedemann of Peak Energy Technology regarding recycling energy to save money.
  • A CPO class with Roger Kemper of Sandler Training titled, “Loving the one you’re with” that will focus on building repeat and referral business
  • A breakout session titled, “Technology. It’s changing. Are you?” Are you presently offering Wi-Fi? Has bandwidth demand changed? What other technologies are you embracing?
  • A breakout session on “Cost-Effective Marketing Techniques.” What works? What doesn’t? Print versus online. What’s right for you? Setting budgets, tracking results and innovative ideas.
  • A breakout session on “Workampers.” Do you prefer workcampers or employees? How do you attract them? We’ll discuss ideas on contacts, incentives and parting company.

TACO’s trade show will take place at Kerrville’s Inn of the Hills River Resort on Monday and will feature more than 40 vendors, who will display their products and services at the Inn’s 15,000-square-foot conference hall.

New vendors showcasing their products and services this year include Industry E-News, Go USA Camping, Mission Management Information Systems, which markets the Campground Manager front desk management system; and RMS North America, which markets a cloud-based reservation system.

The three-day event will conclude with a social mixer.

For more information or to register, please visit www.tacomembers.com or call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0219.

 

 

Agency Celebrates Advent of Clients’ Online Guest Guides

March 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on Agency Celebrates Advent of Clients’ Online Guest Guides 

AGS, a 26-year old division of Texas Advertising, began putting their guest service guides online approximately one year ago this spring. They use a service that not only makes links to advertisers websites hot but also makes the entire guide “flippable,” making it feel like you’re flipping through a book, according to a news release.

“Some of our competitors put a PDF of their client’s site map online but it’s just not the same,” said Michael Moore, general manager of AGS. “You can’t click through to the park or any advertisers’ websites and it takes forever to load. What’s the point?”

Texas Advertising was the first to begin supplying online guest guides to their clients and brought the practice to AGS when Texas Advertising purchased them. Links are then sent to each AGS client to put their online guest guide on their standalone website. Furthermore, every online guest guide is put on the national website AccessCamping.com for even more exposure.

“The online guest guide is great because it gives a chance for visitors to my website to not only see the park layout and possibly request a specific site but also to see what businesses are in the area,” said Don Temple, managing partner of Guadalupe River RV Resort. “It’s been a real benefit and didn’t cost me a dime.”

The online guest guide for Guadalupe River can be found on their website, www.GuadalupeRiverRVResort.com, in addition to AccessCamping.com.

Since AGS began providing online guest guides, they have been viewed close to 25,000 times by RVers all across the U.S. and Canada. “It’s a real winner,” added Moore.

For more information on online guest guides or other marketing services that AGS provides its parks, please contact General Manager Michael Moore at michael@texasadvertising.net or call (817) 426-9395. For samples or other questions, you can also visit their website at www.AGSPub.com.

 

Guadalupe River RV Resort Earns Top Ratings

May 18, 2011 by · Comments Off on Guadalupe River RV Resort Earns Top Ratings 

Ratings and awards do make a difference in the minds of consumers.

Just ask Don Temple, who co-owns and operates Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas.

Last year, the resort earned two 5W ratings from the famed Woodall’s North American Campground Directory, plus a “Large Park of the Year” award from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), according to a news release.

The result?

An increase in business, with more than 30% of Temple’s guests saying high ratings were a factor in their decision to stay at his park. “People pay attention to ratings,” he said.

Consumers have also been paying attention to Temple’s rental accommodations, which include site-built and park model cabins. They’ve been so much in demand that he plans to add 40 more park models this year.

“These will be first class park model cabins with covered decks and gas grills,” he said. “We’re going through the engineering process right now and then will be working with the city to get everything approved,” he said, adding that the new units will be placed on a 15-acre property next to the RV resort that will have its own access gate, clubhouse, pool, Jacuzzi and laundry.

But while Temple and his team are keeping busy with a park expansion, they haven’t lost their focus on customer service or maintaining high quality amenities.

Earlier this month, Guadalupe River RV Resort received the 2011 “Park of the Year” Award from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which recognized the park’s excellence in operations, customer service reviews, park promotions, directory ratings, management skills, employee training and community service.

The park also received two 5W ratings from the famed Woodall’s North American Campground Directory for having top quality RV and recreational facilities. The 5W rating is the highest rating given by the Woodall’s directory.

Temple said the park’s riverfront amphitheatre and concert stage are popular with its guests and Kerrville residents alike because the park brings in live entertainment. Several rock and rock and country bands will perform there over Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July weekend and Labor Day weekend.

Guadalupe River RV Resort is also involved in the local community, having adopted the K Star Emergency Shelter. “During the winter months, we have a toy drive for all the kids and we collect food and money for the shelter,” Temple said. “Last winter, we collected over $6,000 in donations just from our winter visitors. We also brought all of the staff and kids for a Christmas dinner at the park.”

For more information on Guadalupe River RV Resort, please contact Don Temple at (830) 367-5676 and visit his website at www.guadaluperiverrvresort.com.

Park Owner Don Temple Remembers His Roots

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off on Park Owner Don Temple Remembers His Roots 

Many Texas Hill Country residents know Don Temple as a businessman who helped  transform Guadalupe River RV Resort from a relatively unknown campground into a  thriving resort that has become of one of the most highly rated parks in Texas, according to a news release.

What many don’t know, however, is that Temple grew up as an orphan and lived in poverty for most of his youth.

“My Dad died when I was 6, and there were eight of us kids. My Mom couldn’t afford to raise us. So we were all put into an orphanage in Dallas,” Temple said. “It wasn’t a whole lot of fun. There was no family life. Money was always short. If we ever got new shoes, they were donated by the Salvation Army.”

Through hard work, Temple has left poverty behind. But he hasn’t forgotten what life is like for orphans and other children in difficult circumstances. For the past 10 years, in fact, he has organized fundraising efforts and other special activities to bring love, home cooked meals, gifts and cheer into the lives of orphans during the holidays.

For the past five years, Temple has been inviting orphan children from K’Star children’s shelter to join visiting Winter Texans at his RV resort for free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Temple’s winter visitors typically purchase enough food to supply K-Star for four to six weeks in addition to buying gifts for the children and visiting with them.

“Our winter guests are really generous people and they’ve all got a good heart,” Temple said. “Most of them are elderly. They’re grandparents. And they’re not around the kids during the winter. But the time they spend with the children and gifts they bring really mean something to these kids. Many of them don’t have any family.”

Temple also raises donations to contribute to K-Star’s operating funds. He said he hopes to encourage other Hill Country businesses to provide similar services to help the less fortunate children in the area.

“I resolved that when I became an adult, I would help as many kids as I could,” Temple said.

For more information on Guadalupe River RV Resort, please contact Don Temple at (830) 367-5676 and visit his website at www.guadaluperiverrvresort.com.

TACO Stands by Texas Campground Owners

October 26, 2010 by · Comments Off on TACO Stands by Texas Campground Owners 

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has developed a packed legislative affairs agenda for 2011 and is planning initiatives to protect private park owners from everything from higher taxes to cutbacks in tourism funding and efforts to extend the school year, according to a news release.

TACO attorney Casey Erick briefed association members on details of several laws previously put on the books that are RV park-specific, including Theft of Service and Trespass codes. TACO legislative consultant Ron Hinkle reviewed the 2011 legislative affairs agenda during the “Texas Parks on Tour” meeting at La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin.

Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO, said the state of Texas is facing close to a $25 billion deficit and is going to be looking for ways to raise taxes and cut programs. “We don’t want them coming to us for fees such as occupancy taxes,” Schaeffer said, although the association may support minor broad-based tax increases that are applied to everyone and every industry, such as minor increases in gasoline or sales taxes.

But TACO does not want to see any cutbacks in state funding to promote Texas tourism to out-of-state residents. TACO is also gearing up for a fight to prevent school districts from extending the length of the school year.

“We obtained legislation a couple of years ago that prevents school districts in Texas from starting the school year before the last Monday of August. But now we’re seeing some creep on school ending dates,” Schaeffer said, adding that TACO would support legislation to govern school ending dates as well.

TACO is also working with the Texas Rural Water Districts Association and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to develop standard billing rates for rural water districts, which have increasingly tried to charge Texas parks residential billing rates.

In other business, TACO members elected several board members for its 2011 term, including Robert Crockett of Spring Branch RV Resort in Spring Branch; Allan Hughes of Traders Village in Grand Prairie; Joe Moore of The Vineyards Campground in Grapevine; Don Temple of Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville; Doug Shearer of Parkview Riverside RV Park in Rio Frio; Ed Welliver of Oleander Acres RV Resort in Mission. Officers for 2011 will be selected in January.

The meeting also included a tour of La Hacienda RV Resort by park owners Ken and Lydia Butschek. This resort recently expanded from 60 RV sites and a handful of cabins on five acres to 240 sites with 15 cabins on 35 acres with majestic amenities and meeting facilities. Fall tour sponsors included Wilcor International, Parkview Riverside RV Park, TengoInternet and Texas Advertising.

High-End Park Models Planned for Texas Resort

May 25, 2010 by · Comments Off on High-End Park Models Planned for Texas Resort 

Guadalupe River RV Resort plans to purchase a 15-acre tract of land in Kerrville, Texas, as part of its campground expansion effort.

The $3.2 million expansion could take place either later this year or early 2011, according to the San Antonio Business Journal.

“The expansion will be nothing but high-end park model cabins,” says Bob Temple, who is the managing partner of the investor group that owns the park. “It will be a gated community and will have its own clubhouse and pool.”

Five years ago, Temple and his partners bought RV resort property in Kerrville and invested in $450,000 worth of improvements.

These improvements included building an amphitheater and concert stage by the river. The upgrades also included installing new plumbing and electrical services for more than half of the campsites. The investors also obtained a license to sell beer, wine and liquor at the campground and set up the camp to host rock and country concerts. The park has concerts planned this year for Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July Weekend and Labor Day Weekend.

“The previous owner is a nice guy, but he had not employed sufficient staff to maintain the property or bring out its natural beauty,” Temple says. “The grass was 5feet high all the way to the river.”

The current expansion plan comes on the heels of the RV resort earning two top ratings from prominent campground industry organizations.

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) named the Guadalupe River RV Resort its “Park of the Year.” The Kerrville resort also earned two 5W ratings from Woodall’s North American Campground Directory.

The park has been recognized for excellence in operations, customer service reviews, park promotions, management skills, employee training and community service. The park has also been recognized for having quality RV and recreational facilities.

“This tells me that people are noticing that we’re actually doing our job,” says Temple.

TACO Concludes Successful Spring Meeting

May 18, 2010 by · Comments Off on TACO Concludes Successful Spring Meeting 

A Monday night auction sponsored by the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) raised more than $35,000 for the association’s government relations fund, the highest in TACO history.

“We are very pleased with the level of park operator participation and support for our government relations activities,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director and CEO, adding that park operators say that TACO’s government relations work is the association’s No. 1 benefit.

The auction took place on the second day of TACO’s annual spring meeting and trade show, which started Sunday and concludes today at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville.

The auction followed TACO’s trade show, which attracted roughly 40 vendors from Texas and across the country, including Coba Systems, a McAllen, Texas-based company that provides professional grade Wi-Fi and cable television systems as well as security camera and website design services, and Peak Energy Technology, an Arlington, Texas, company that markets electricity recycling systems that can help parks reduce their energy consumption.

Several vendors said they were pleased with the level of park operator interest they encountered during the tradeshow.

“The leads we’ve gotten have been very good, very firm,” said David Petry, senior vice president of sales for West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Payment Alliance International, which provides credit and debit card scanners.

“It has exceeded our expectations and is well worth the investment in coming here,” said Mark Lucas, president of CrossRoads RV, a Topeka, Ind.-based company that brought a park model and a travel trailer to show, which it hoped to sell to parks seeking rental accommodations.

Athens Park Homes of Athens, Texas, and Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco Industries Inc., which has a plant in Sequin, Texas, also had park models on display at the show.

Gerald Barker, a Tyler, Texas-based insurance agent representing Hibbs-Hallmark & Co., said he, too, was impressed with the trade show. “This is the first time we’ve exhibited at TACO and the response has been excellent,” he said.

Monday’s trade show also included a luncheon briefing by Texas House of Representatives Member Harvey Hilderbran , who has been a longtime advocate for Texas park operators.

Tuesday’s activities included a keynote address by Bob Ash, a former school superintendent and professional baseball player who talked the factors that influence change, perception and growth in business and in people’s personal lives. Ash also led a seminar on providing world class customer service.

Other seminar topics included “Working ‘on’ your business versus ‘in’ your business,” by Robert Bouse of KOA; “Improving your park ratings,” by Cindy Halley of Trailer Life; “Using the Internet to fulfill your marketing needs,” by Michael Moore and Matt Taylor of Texas Advertising; and two sessions by Pamela Wright of Focused Words, one on “Selecting new front office software,” and another on “Attracting group and rally business.”

Tuesday’s luncheon meeting also included an awards luncheon, with winners announced in the following categories:

  • Medium Size Park of the Year: Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring.
  • Large Park of the Year: Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville.
  • Website of the Year: Hill Country RV Resort in New Braunfels (www.hillcountryrvresortnb.com).
  • Brochure of the Year: Mill Creek RV Resort in Canton.
  • Rack Card of the Year: Coffee Creek RV Resort & Cabins in Santo.
  • Best Accommodations, a new category: Burleson / South Fort Worth Jellystone Park Camp-Resort (formerly Rustic Creek Ranch).

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