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Hidden Valley Rebounding from May 25 Flood

July 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on Hidden Valley Rebounding from May 25 Flood 

Hidden Valley RV Park in Van Ormy, Texas, has been owned by the Coleman family and operated by family members Teri and Mark Blaschke for 40 years.

But the family business was almost completely destroyed May 25 when a flood swelled the Medio Creek into a raging river that buried the 25-site park under 12 feet of water, according to a news release.

“The flood waters completely uprooted the electrical utilities, including the poles that were set in the ground four feet deep,” Teri Blaschke said. “It filled the sewer lines and septic tanks with silt from the creek and gravel from the roads. Our water faucets were all cut off at the ground. Even our camping pads with gravel and other types of materials were destroyed.”

To make matters worse, the Blaschkes’ insurance was of no benefit.

“When you have a body of water on your property, getting flood insurance is close to impossible to obtain,” Blaschke said.

“I thought we might at least have insurance coverage on the RVs we rent out, but our insurance company wouldn’t even cover that because of the flood,” she said.

But despite the obvious financial hardship, the Blaschkes are rebuilding and hope to have Hidden Valley RV Park back in operation by the time the Winter Texans return to Hill Country in the fall.

“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Blaschke said, adding that construction will be underway as soon as they obtain the necessary building permits.

Despite the obvious hardship, Blaschke said the flood may have been a blessing in disguise for the park, which was founded by her father, Jack Coleman, in 1973.

The Medio Creek when not in flood stage.

“When he built the park, RVs were a lot smaller. Now, they are much larger and we need bigger campsites.”

And when the park reopens, it will have larger sites that are big enough for today’s RVs, an improvement that will make the park more competitive and better able to accommodate RVers with vehicles of any size.

Help is also on the way from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which is donating the company’s Silver marketing package to help them step up their marketing efforts as they rebuild.

The package, valued at nearly $3,500, includes 3,000 rack cards; 3,000 cooperative promotional placements in RV shows and other venues; a free link to their website at www.hiddenvalleyrv.net from www.TexasCampground.com; a free month on blogging on their behalf; plus 1,000 custom coupons and 1,000 car tags. Peter Pelland of Haydenville, Mass.-based Pelland Advertising (http://pelland.com  has also offered to print the rack cards, which will be designed by Crowley-based Texas Advertising.

 

TACO: Winter Texan Market Already Booming

November 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on TACO: Winter Texan Market Already Booming 

Campgrounds and RV parks that cater to Winter Texans in South-Central Texas anticipate a stronger winter season than last year, thanks in part to the Eagle Ford shale oil pipeline project, which has brought scores of construction workers into the area, according to a news release from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

“Last winter was about the best we’ve ever had and we’re going to be about 20% ahead of that this winter, so we’re looking really good,” said Doug Shearer of Parkview Riverside RV Park in Rio Frio.

In addition to seeing the return of their Winter Texan visitors, campgrounds in the Texas Hill Country and other areas of South-Central Texas are filling up with construction workers involved in the Eagle Ford shale oil project, which is boosting campground occupancies during the fall shoulder season, Shearer said.

Other Hill Country campgrounds and RV parks also anticipate a strong winter season, including Hill Country RV Park & Cottage Rentals in New Braunfels. “We have a waiting list for both RV sites and park model rentals,” said Bryan Kastleman, the park’s manager.

Other parks are similarly upbeat.

“We did well last winter, but we’re doing better this winter,” said Teri Blaschke of Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy. “People are making reservations further in advance, so we’re being able to tell sooner what our vacancies will be. I do have spots here and there for travelers, but our long-term sites are already booked.”

Blaschke added that she is putting in eight new campsites for the winter season and they are already reserved.

Further to the north, La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin is already booked solid for the winter season. “We’ve got a waiting list and we’re turning people away for the 2012-2013 winter market,” said park owner Ken Butschek, who added that his year-to-date revenue is up about 15 percent over last year’s figures.

La Hacienda RV Resort has a mix of sites that are owned by RVers as well as elegant park model cottages that are available for rent. The park also has about 30 sites that are available for overnight use.

“We have a loyal group of repeat Winter Texans. But we’re also seeing a lot of people who are trying out our park models,” Butschek said.

Further east, Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring and Timber Ridge RV Village in Tomball are already booked for the winter season, said Gwen Craig, who co-owns both parks. She said she has waiting lists for her seasonal sites, although she has kept a few overnight sites available for travelers.

“Every year we’ve outperformed the prior year in occupancy and revenue,” she said, adding that this year is again shaping up to be stronger than last year.

Thousand Trails RV Resort at Lake Conroe is also seeing a strong winter season, fueled both by Winter Texans as well as families from Texas that come to the park on weekends to take part in organized activities and special events.

“We’re seeing younger crowds,” said Terry Munoz, resort manager of the 360-site park. “Even during the winter the locals come out on weekends, so long as we have mild weather. We do a lot of themed weekends and activities.”

 

 

 

Dog-Owning RVers Welcome at Many Parks

February 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on Dog-Owning RVers Welcome at Many Parks 

Dog owners will find a growing list of public places in Texas where they may take their pets.

Many pet owners enjoy traveling with their pets because it is less expensive and there is no concern over leaving them at a kennel.

And, with options ranging from budget-friendly state parks and RV campgrounds to five-star hotels, there are plenty of dog-friendly travel choices, according to a story in the Abilene Reporter-News.

One option is Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy, southwest of San Antonio.

Park operator Teri Blaschke said her guests and their dogs can enjoy walking trails and fishing at private Medio Creek on the property.

Blaschke, who is a dog lover herself, said traveling in an RV is a great way for many of her guests to enjoy traveling, many of whom are snowbirds who come south to escape the winter months up north.

“I would say that 90 percent of the travelers in RVs travel with their pets,” Blaschke said. “That seems to be a main reason to choose an RV lifestyle.

“I don’t often travel anywhere, but when I do, I have an RV and I do bring my dogs (because) it would be like leaving your kid, and I can’t imagine doing it,” said Blaschke of her dogs Louie and Dottie.

Click here to read the entire story.

Texas RV Parks Spending Money on Upgrades

May 12, 2010 by · Comments Off on Texas RV Parks Spending Money on Upgrades 

When times are tough, the tough get packing for budget vacations. Family trips to Texas’ many rivers or parks have led to a surprisingly recession-proof niche: RV parks, according to the San Antonio Express.

To capitalize on what has remained a profitable venture in tough times, area campground and recreational vehicle park owners are spending money to hang onto and grow their share of the hospitality market.

Tom Cannon, who teaches marketing and tourism at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was not surprised that many campgrounds and RV parks are on a spending binge.

With more people looking for low-cost travel alternatives, providers with the best facilities and most features will prosper, he said.

Teri Blaschke, who operates Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy with her husband, agrees.

For two years, the couple has poured about 75% of their profits into improvements such as new campsites, increased power capacities for selected sites and upgraded wireless Internet features.

Blaschke believes those improvements helped the park stay full almost all winter.

“Private campgrounds and RV parks know they are the most affordable vacation option, and they want to retain their competitive edge against other travel and tourism venues, so many of them are investing in improvement and expansion projects,” said Brian Schaeffer, the executive director of the Texas Association of Campground Owners.

Campgrounds and RV parks have an advantage when people are trying to be economical and take shorter trips in response to the recession, he said. But travelers also want amenities comparable to what they can find at hotels, such as Wi-Fi coverage, pools and other recreational activities.

“It’s a matter of keeping up with the times, of being competitive with the other venues out there,” Schaeffer said.

“I think we’re going to see substantial gains over last year,” said Kevin McRae, marketing chief for Koyote Ranch, a bed-and-breakfast and RV park in the hills near Kerrville.

Koyote Ranch has spent close to $200,000 on improvements since July, when new owners took over, and the public has responded.

Ranch revenues this spring have doubled over last year, and McRae said inquiries are strong this month.

“People are rediscovering it,” McRae said. “We’ve been really pleased with the numbers.”

Koyote Ranch, which erected an entrance sign and added a cell tower and air conditioning to its special events facility as part of its upgrade, was highlighted by the association in a summary of campgrounds and RV parks that had spent heavily on their properties despite the recession.

The Vineyards in Grapevine is undergoing a $1.4 million expansion that includes 17 additional RV sites and seven cabins, while new freestanding rent houses — called park models — and an outdoor kitchen and Frisbee golf course were among the additions at other locations.

A Wi-Fi system was one of the additions at Hill Country RV Resort & Cottage Rentals in New Braunfels over the past two years, but so was the acquisition of 13 park model units. That will give the park 33 park models to rent.

“We can’t get them fast enough,” said Bryan Kastleman, president of the management company for Hill Country RV. “I probably turned away over 100 prospective guests in the fall and the winter because I was full.”

He said owners have invested more than $1 million in the park over two years. Kastleman is optimistic about the coming year, even though the addition of hundreds of hotel rooms in the New Braunfels market will make it more competitive.

Texas RV Parks Weather Drought, Recession

September 30, 2009 by · Comments Off on Texas RV Parks Weather Drought, Recession 

Texas campgrounds and RV parks overall are experiencing strong occupancies and revenues, according to a report by the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

Some parks in Central Texas lost some of their summer business due to unusually hot weather and a persistent drought that lowered lake and river levels. However, other parks across the state experienced significant gains in both occupancy and revenue, according to bizjournals.com.

“The private park industry in Texas has fared quite well this year, despite the challenges posed by the recession and the drought,” says Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director and CEO.

Still, 2009 was a mixed bag for individual owners.

Guy Anderson, general partner for the Guadalupe River RV Park Campground in Spring Branch, says his park was hit with reductions in park visitors and revenue this year because of the drought.

“When the river flows dwindle, summer visitors can’t tube, canoe or kayak, so they seek other places to do that,” he says.

However, Teri and Mark Blaschke, owners of the Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy, experienced a 13% increase in visitors during the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year.

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