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Ocean Canyon Properties’ $1 Million Upgrade

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

For several months Ocean Canyon Properties has been working on $1 million in renovations to improve members’ camping experiences at six of their resorts. Among their improvements are the following:

Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort, located in the forests of Ashdown, Ark., has had their 18-hole golf course freshly groomed with new tee markers and greens. In addition, the resort added new 50-amp sites to accommodate more member campers this season. New roads have been added, electricity has been updated, and all cabins have been refurbished, including new beds. The Greenside Grill, a gourmet restaurant located at Millwood, created a new menu and an outdoor dining patio was added for patrons.

Texoma Shores RV Resort, located on Lake Texoma in Madill, Okla., has added seven brand new two-room water view suites at the resorts. Many of the RV sites are being leveled and upgraded. A new laundry facility was added for member use.

Tres Rios RV Resort in Glen Rose, Texas, added new flooring and new comfortable mattresses to all cabins. The lodge has refurbished floors and a new shingled roof. Comprehensive electrical upgrades were completed throughout the resort, and a new park model was added for member usage.

• On the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Styx River RV Resort in Robertsdale, Ala., has a new entry configuration for easier access for large RVs. A major roof renovation has been completed with the addition of a metal roof. Refurbished cabins are available for guests, and a new handicap unit has been added to the cabin inventory. Access to the lake adjoining Water World property has been developed and stocked with bass and catfish. New showers in the cabana are being completed.

• Located near New Orleans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Abita Springs RV Resort in Abita Springs, La., has also been busy with upgrades and renovations. The laundry room has been refurbished, and a new comfort station has been built to replace the old one. Campsite pads have been built up, a new park model added, and a new lift station added to the septic system. New paddleboats have arrived just in time for summer recreation on the lake.

Mountain Lakes RV Resort, located on the eastern shore of Lake Guntersville in Langston, Ala., added a new bunkhouse on the property that sleeps 18 people. Also four new park models were added, bringing the total to 12 units. All rental units, including bunkhouses, have been completely refurbished. The mini golf course has had a new carpet installed. There have been 38 new 50-amp sites added to the park, to allow even more campers to enjoy the park during the RV season. Eleven new seasonal waterfront lease sites have been opened, increasing the ways that members can to enjoy the beauty of the resort. The resort is in the process of expanding the Internet bandwidth with fiber optic service for faster and more reliable service.

 

Insiders: Membership Camping on a Rebound

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.”

 

Ocean Canyon Properties Hires Veteran CFO

March 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP), a privately owned membership camping resort company, announced the appointment of Bryan Reed as chief financial officer.

Reed, 55, has 19 years of experience in the membership camping resort industry, including nine as CFO of Thousand Trails, the nation’s largest membership campground resort operator, according to a news release.

During his tenure as CFO, the company experienced revenue growth of almost 100% and expanded the number of operating locations by more than 50%. Through acquisitions, the company increased the number of members under management by more than 40,000. He originally joined Thousand Trails in 1994 as assistant controller, and served as controller from 1995 to 1999 before being named CFO. During Reed’s tenure as CFO, Thousand Trails was a publicly traded company and in 2003 was taken private through a merger with an affiliate of Kohlberg & Co.

“In five short years OCP has become one of the fastest growing companies in the membership camping industry,” said Reed. “Their state-of-the-art technology infrastructure has enabled them to grow rapidly, while maintaining the operational and financial controls necessary to effectively manage that growth. I am very excited to join Ocean Canyon Properties as CFO and become part of this dynamic company and management team.”

Reed most recently served as vice president of accounting for Equity Lifestyle Properties ELS, which acquired the operations of Thousand Trails in 2008. ELS is a large Chicago-based real estate investment trust and is the leading operator of manufactured home communities, RV resorts and campgrounds in North America.

“Bryan Reed’s professional background and experience is unparalleled in our industry,” said peter Graffman, executive vice president and chief development officer at Ocean Canon Properties. “He was instrumental in managing and controlling the tremendous growth of Thousand Trails as CFO, had responsibility for their financial and regulatory public reporting, and was an integral part of the team that merged the company with Kohlberg & Co., taking the company private. We look forward to Bryan’s financial and organizational leadership as we continue to grow our company.”

Reed began his career as a tax accountant with Deloitte, then served in a number of roles, including controller, with Ben Hogan Co., a golf equipment manufacturer, before joining Thousand Trails.

Reed is a Certified Public Accountant and has a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas-Arlington.

About Ocean Canyon Properties

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of eight privately owned membership resorts that offer spacious RV campsites, comfortable vacation cabins, cottages, and condos, along with a wide variety of private resort amenities. With beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP resorts provide the safe, secure and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek.

Its eight resorts are: Mountain Lakes Resort on Lake Guntersville in Northern Alabama, near Huntsville; Styx River Resort and RV Park in Robertsdale, Ala.; Bear’s Den Resort in Grove, Okla.; Tres Rios Resort in Glen Rose, Texas; Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Ark.; Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, La.; North Shore Resort in Greensboro, Ga.; and Texoma Shores Resort in Madill, Okla.

The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management team has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years. This experience, combined with the rigorous standards of operation at both the resort and corporate levels, ensure that the company operates securely and responsibly, while providing the highest levels of service to its members, their guests and employees. Ocean Canyon is active in supporting community organizations that help children and families in the Southeast. For more information visit at www.oceancanyon.com.

 

OCP Acquires Styx River Resort and RV Park

January 16, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP), a privately owned membership camping resort company, announced the acquisition of Gemini Funding Co. Inc., the owner of Styx River Resort and RV Park in Robertsdale, Ala.

Ocean Canyon Properties has been participating in the management of Styx River Resort since 2009. The acquisition was completed on Dec. 31, 2012, according to a news release.

Styx River Resort is a members-only resort located near the Gulf of Mexico, between Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla, on the 41-mile long Styx River. The resort is open year round and features contemporary amenities with activity programs for its members. Amenities include a river front beach, an outdoor and indoor pool, restaurant, a large clubhouse and activity center with an adjoining outdoor patio, nature trails and a children’s playground. The resort also features 30 cabins and cottages available for member rental and 150 RV sites.

From its initial involvement in the management of Styx River, Ocean Canyon focused on the improvement of the resort, including the leveling of RV sites, cabin renovation, road repair, general repairs and cosmetic enhancement. The company plans aggressive improvements to the resort now that it has assumed ownership.

“We’ve been working on this acquisition since 2009 and we are very excited about taking ownership,” said Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties. “It is a great resort, and although it has been a part of the Ocean Canyon resort system for some time now, full ownership and control will allow us to bring the development and improvement of Styx to the next level.”

Styx River Resort is Ocean Canyon Properties’ flagship property in Southern Alabama and  complements Ocean Canyon’s Mountain Lakes Resort on Lake Guntersville in Northern Alabama, near Huntsville. It is one of eight resorts in the Ocean Canyon private membership resort system, which also includes Bear’s Den Resort in Grove, Okla., Tres Rios Resort in Glen Rose, Texas, Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Ark., Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, La., North Shore Resort in Greensboro, Ga., Mountain Lakes Resort in Langston, Ala. and Texoma Shores Resort in Madill, Okla.

About Ocean Canyon Properties

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of eight privately owned, membership resorts that offer spacious RV campsites, comfortable vacation cabins, cottages and condos along with a wide variety of private resort amenities. With beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP resorts provide the safe, secure and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek.

The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years. This experience, combined with the rigorous standards of operation at both the resort and corporate levels ensure that the company operates securely, responsibly and continually provides the highest levels of service to its members, their guests and employees. Ocean Canyon is active in supporting community organizations that help children and families in the Southeast. You can find out more at their website at www.oceancanyon.com.

 

The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

TEXAS

From the Amarillo Globe-News:

Keith Lindmark, 83, owner of the Sundown Resort RV Park in Dalhart, died Oct. 19 in Carrollton after a brief illness. He was 83.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Memorial Park Cemetery. Arrangements are by Horizon Funeral Home of Dalhart.

Over the years, Lindmark explored various business interests, including farming, ranching, outdoor advertising, thoroughbred and quarter horse breeding/racing and commercial real estate. Most recently, he owned and enjoyed running Sundown Resort RV Park.

ARKANSAS

From a news release:

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP), a privately owned membership resort and RV camping company, and CASA of Northeast Texas, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing services to abused and neglected children, today announced the results of the 4th Annual Ted Capeheart Invitational golf tournament, hosted by OCP’s Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort Sept. 22 in Ashdown, Ark.

Fourteen teams in total competed in the tournament.

Vice President of Operations for Ocean Canyon Properties Mike Beckelhymer said, “Millwood and its staff went beyond expectations in accommodating CASA. The course was in great shape, although tough enough that no one won the hole-in-one and the prized 2012 Chevrolet Silverado Truck. Thanks to all participants and those companies that provided support.”

Ocean Canyon Properties and CASA Texarkana Board and Staff thanked all participants for coming out to Millwood Landing and supporting CASA for children.

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of eight privately owned, membership resorts that offer spacious RV campsites, comfortable vacation cabins, cottages and condos along with a wide variety of private resort amenities. With beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP resorts provide the safe, secure and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek, said Beckelhymer.

Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort is located in Ashdown, 25 miles north of Texarkana on Millwood Lake. It features an 18-hole golf course with tree-lined fairways, pro shop, driving range, putting green, pool, clubhouse and bar.

CALIFORNIA

From the Lake Ellsinore-Wildomar Patch:

A 56-year-old Corona man who allegedly took pictures and video of young girls in bikinis at an RV park pool was arrested, made $5,000 bail, then re-arrested when investigators got a look at his computer’s contents.

Charles Russell Long was arrested at the Glen Ivy RV Resort in the 24000 block of Glen Ivy Road, in Corona, on Tuesday (Oct. 23), according to a sergeant with the county sheriff’s Lake Elsinore station.

Though Long had been staying at Glen Ivy for several weeks, investigators believe he may have stayed at campgrounds and RV parks as far north as Davis, Calif., according to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Pauling.

Detectives who raided the suspect’s motorhome found computers and cameras with images of downloaded and homemade pornography, Pauling said in a news release.

Long was originally booked on suspicion of an attempted lewd act on a child under 14, possession of child pornography, possession of methamphetamine and showing pornographic material to a child under 14.

Following his arrest and release, investigators who had confiscated his computer took a look at its contents and determined there was enough for the District Attorney to file additional charges, Pauling said.

He was arrested again and this time, bail was set at $1 million, the sergeant said.

 

Ocean Canyon Properties Earns Sales Awards

July 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP), a privately owned membership camping resort company, was honored by Coast to Coast RV Resorts Network with seven awards highlighting their achievements in membership sales and resort operations in the West Region.

Eileen McKee, director of resort relationships for Coast to Coast, presented the awards in a ceremony that was held at Millwood Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Ark.

Ben Carr, Ocean Canyon Properties vice president of operations, received the Resort Operations Manager of the Year Award. Gary Zehender earned the Resort Salesperson of the Year for the West Region. Ocean Canyon Properties received the Multi Park Sales winner and also earned the Highest Percentage Increase in Sales Award. Individual awards were given to this year’s Century Club honorees, Kimberly Skipper, Kellen Pournoury and Gary Zehender, for achieving at least 100 new membership sales each in 2011.

“Coast to Coast congratulates Ocean Canyon Properties on the numerous awards they received from us,” said Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast. “They are the fastest growing membership camping company in the nation, and these rewards recognize their achievements in the areas of membership sales and customer service. Ocean Canyon Properties is an industry leader with a dedication to excellence that starts at the top of their organization and runs through all their employees. Coast to Coast is proud to have them as a business partner.”

The Ocean Canyon Properties and Coast to Coast relationship has blossomed to benefit not only the companies, but their members since its inception in 2008. Members enjoy the privilege of visiting over 1,100 Coast to Coast affiliated properties nationwide. The Ocean Canyon family of resorts hosts thousands of Coast to Coast affiliates annually. Ocean Canyon Properties boasts relaxing RV sites, cabins and cottages at private campsites that include Bear’s Den Resort in Grove, Okla., Tres Rios Resort in Glen Rose, Texas, Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Ark., Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, La., North Shore Resort in Greensboro, Ga., Styx River Resort in Robertsdale, Ala., Mountain Lakes in Langston, Ala., and Texoma Shores in Madill, Okla.

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of privately owned, membership resorts that offer spacious RV sites, comfortable cabins, cottages and condos along with a wide variety of private resort amenities. With beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP’s resorts provide the safe, secure and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek.

The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years. This experience combined with the rigorous standards of operation at both the resort and corporate level ensure that the company operates securely, responsibly and continues to provide the highest levels of service to its members, their guests and employees.

Ocean Canyon Properties Announces New Upgrades

June 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

With the summer camping season getting into full swing, Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP) is both ready and proud to show off the results of its hard winter work.

Over the course of the past six months, OCP has been hard at work at each of its eight resorts developing and upgrading areas of the parks for members to enjoy, according to a news release.

The first big change was at its largest park, Mountain Lakes Resort in Langston, Ala. Newly paved roads, the addition of 36 more full-service campsites, a larger RV and boat storage area and new laundry equipment were all added over the past winter.

Member Jackie Weeks shared, “The country store is a great addition to the resort and a very well done job.” These are just a few of the improvements that will continue to be added to Mountain Lakes.

Another major OCP project was at Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Ark. The bar and restaurant underwent a complete renovation. New floors were laid as well as full wood paneling on all of the walls. Weekly poker nights are held at the resort, and with the large amount of people that continue to play, a separate poker room was added into the bar. There is now a fully separate non-smoking area that separates the restaurant from the bar, and arcade games were placed in the bar area as well.

“It looks great!” said Lori Turnage on Millwood’s Facebook page, “What a big change.” If you feel like checking this out and enjoying good home-cooked daily dinner specials, look for it under its new name: the Coyote Bar and Grill.

Millwood was not the only resort to have an updated restaurant. Styx River Resort in Robertsdale, Ala., also had a facelift in its restaurant. “From the top to the bottom we went through and updated the colors, the menu and the service,” said Alan Patton, OCP Styx River resort manager. A new roof, new lighting, tables and paint were all added.

Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, La., has always been a popular resort within OCP for its large, spacious pool deck. This winter the deck area was made even larger. Completely new wood decking was laid out, a Tiki Bar area was built for folks to enjoy, more pool furniture was added and more palm trees and scenery areas were planted as well. Plus…. a covered deck was added.

“Everything looks great! We could hardly wait to come see it,” said member Carole Nicolle. Members are now able to sit outside and enjoy a meal while they relax and enjoy the sun.

All of the resorts have had an upgrade in some form or another. Newly paved roads were placed at Tres Rios; North Shore Resort had several new sites put in with 50-amp service; Texoma Shores remodeled its cabins and added more RV sites; and Bears Den Resort had several small projects such as the remodeling of its guard shack, painting of the outside buildings, family building, and cabins.

OCP continues to work year round making sure that the resorts stay up-to-date with all areas of the park. “We just wanted to tell you how much we appreciate that you are maintaining our parks and making them enjoyable to stay at,” sent a member through e-mail. Whether it’s remodeling a sales office or something as simple as adding a new flower bed, OCP makes sure its resorts are clean and taken care of for all of its members and guests to enjoy.

Based in Texarkana, Texas, Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of privately owned, membership resorts that offer spacious RV sites, comfortable cabins, cottages and condos along with a wide variety of private resort amenities. With beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP’s resorts provide the safe, secure and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek.

The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years. This experience combined with the rigorous standards of operation at both the resort and corporate levels ensure that the company operates securely, responsibly and continually provides the highest levels of service to its members, their guests and employees.

Ocean Canyon Properties Announces ‘Green’ Guidelines

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP), a privately owned membership camping and RV resort company based in Texarkana, Texas, announced a resort-wide environmental initiative which implements green guidelines to manage private campsites.

The stewardship of these resources will enhance the company’s growth by continuing to provide beautiful destinations for members and their families to enjoy, according to a news release. Further, OCP recognizes the benefit of helping to maintain the communities in which they work along with participating in other initiatives that allow OCP’s commitment to the earth and earth’s citizens to be felt far beyond the front gate of the resorts.

OCP operates resorts in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma.

“Ensuring sustained environmental protection has always been important at Ocean Canyon Properties,” said Ben Carr, vice president of operations. “Our approach emphasizes environmental excellence through recycling, waste management, electrical and water utilities upgrades and Green Construction Standards as defined by the National Association of Home Builders. Environmental stewardship has always been a fundamental philosophy at Ocean Canyon Properties.”

Ocean Canyon Properties’ green initiative establishes guidelines that are intended to conservatively manage resources, develop and construct resorts in ways that are protective of natural habitats, and manage buildings in ways that reduce electrical consumption and minimize carbon footprint. OCP will also implement recycling practices to productively help manage waste generated at the resorts and partner with suppliers that practice Green Initiatives and provide earth-friendly products to maintain the resorts and service the campground members and guests.

OCP believes that recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Each resort will institute a recycling program for plastic, glass and metal. Resorts will partner with a local recycler and place collection containers on the resort. Large recyclable items (old mowers, tractors, batteries, etc.) will be removed and taken to an appropriate recycling center. Recyclable liquids (vehicle oil, kitchen fryer oils) will be properly disposed of in containers and collected for recycling.

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of privately owned, membership resorts that offer spacious RV sites, comfortable cabins, cottages and condos along with a wide variety of private resort amenities.

The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years. This experience combined with the rigorous standards of operation at both the resort and corporate levels ensure that the company operates securely, responsibly and continually provides the highest levels of service to its members, their guests and employees.

Coast’s First Membership Camping Conference

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Bruce Hoster (left), president of Coast to Coast Resorts, goes over confernence materials with Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, Texarkana, Texas.

Market conditions are ripe for a resurgence of the North American membership camping industry. That was the message broadcast by speakers at the 2010 Coast to Coast Conference Feb. 16-18 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev.

”We feel there are a lot of factors in favor of growth in (the membership camping) industry,” said Bruce Hoster, president of Denver-based Coast to Coast Resorts, an affiliate of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), who spoke to about 90 park developers and others during the opening session of the first-of-its kind conference.

Coast to Coast, an affiliate of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), Ventura, Calif., is committed to growing the membership campground industry, not only to the benefit of Coast to Coast but to the industry in general, Hoster said.

”We need more (resort) developers selling in this industry and we need more sales from our current developers, and mostly, we need more awareness and promotion of membership camping,” Hoster said. ”We are very serious about this mission and it’s a mission that we definitely can accomplish.”

Helping to boost that awareness is retailer Camping World, another AGI unit, which has begun promoting Coast’s membership camping parks by allowing local resort owners to set up kiosks in Camping World stores and promoting the industry in its publications.

”We are trying to help educate the Camping World customer base on the concept of membership camping, the value it brings to our customers and hopefully drive customers to the membership camping developers,” Mike Siemens, Camping World vice president of membership services, told RVBusiness. ”It’s always been a good program for customers like ours who want an opportunity to camp around their home, but also when they are on the road.”

Generally, membership campgrounds are privately owned with all or a portion of their sites set aside for use by RVers who pay an initial membership fee and annual maintenance fee to cover operating expenses. Members, in return, receive varying levels of access to the resort they join and reciprocal access to other parks in the network.

The average cost of an initial consumer membership is about $5,000, Hoster reported, adding that while Coast to Coast has 250 member resorts, only about 20% are selling new memberships to consumers.

”If people leave this conference and they are more excited about the opportunities and learned a few things they can take home, it can translate into better business,” Hoster told the assembled attendees. ”The measurement will be more over the long term.”

Membership resort organization such as Coast to Coast serve two different audiences. ”One, obviously, is our members, but secondly, our developers as well,” Hoster said.

The depth of the recent economic recession has caused consumers to change the way they spending their leisure time, Hoster noted.

”While RV manufacturers and dealers struggled, campgrounds were full,” Hoster said. ”That’s because a lot of people looked at campgrounds as a more economical way to take a vacation. They might not have been able to fly somewhere and stay for a week in a condo or go to Disney world, but they were able to go camp.”

Participants at the recent Coast to Coast membership camping conference include (from left) Joe Daquino, senior vice president and group publisher, Affinity Media; Mike Siemens, vice president of membership services for Camping World; Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts; and Michelle DuChamp, vice president of sales and business development for Interval International.

So-called ”staycations” also have changed the travel landscape, and should play into the membership campground sector’s hands, he maintained.

”They are the perfect solution — being able to pick up Friday for a long weekend,” Hoster said. ”We hear from a lot of our developers that people aren’t taking the traditional vacations — the one-week or two-week vacation. ”It’s more the three- and four-day getaways. Having a membership in a resort nearby certainly takes advantage of that trend.”

Those trends, coupled with a decreasing number of high-end campgrounds, makes membership camping more attractive, he added. ”There really is a shrinking supply of quality campsites vs. growing demand,” he added. And there are more and more Baby Boomers that are entering our industry and buying RVs.”

Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, Texarkana, Texas, with resorts in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, spoke during the opening session on ”Unlocking the Value of Your Resort.”

”It all revolves around getting back to the basics’ Pournoury said. ”Everybody’s going to know everything that I bring up here. The only twist to it is the simplicity of it. Sometimes we take a good program and complicate it for ourselves.”

Pournoury said that key to Ocean Canyon’s success is its relationship with RV dealers who refer new owners to Ocean Canyon properties, which, in return promote the dealership when it comes time for the consumer to buy a new RV.

”Then you become one team,” Pournoury said. ”He sends a good customer to the resort where you sell a membership … and three or four years later, (the member) goes back and buys another RV from the same dealer.”

Consequently, he said, park owners should attend RV shows to show dealers that they want to be actively involved.

By the same token, he noted, membership parks should establish referral programs that reward current members for promoting the park. Ocean Canyon gives $500 to members for referrals resulting in sales.

”The referral program is the lowest-cost marketing and the most profitable program that we’ve got in our organization,” he said.

Upgrade programs for existing members also add to the bottom line, he said. They are easier to market because the customer already has bought into the resort and adding a few extra days or access to more amenities doesn’t cost a lot.

”Last year was hard, but one of the areas where we really excelled was our upgrade program,” Pournoury reported.

”When times are hard, you can’t leave any stone unturned.”

Seminars during the conference included:

  • ”Successful Marketing” by Annette Bruzewski, marketing manager for Outdoor Adventures, and Pam Nelson, director of marketing and resort operations for Midwest Outdoor Resorts.
  • ”Tour and Sales Presentation” by Greg Penrod, COO of Durango Riverside Resort, Durango, Texas, and Charles Youngren, director of sales for Midwest Outdoor Resorts.
  • ”Gaining Efficiencies with New Technologies” with Pournoury and Peter Graffman, Ocean Canyon executive vice president and CFO.
  • “‘How to Market to Non-RVers” by Penrod, Gene Addink, general manager of Midwest Outdoor Resorts, and Greg King, president, Outdoor Adventures.
  • ”Hiring and Developing Successful Salespeople by Robert Topci, sales manager, Travel Resort of America-Gettysburg Battlefield Resort and Youngren.

Subjects of half-hour breakout sessions during the three days included ”Project Renaissance: Restarting Sales at Non-Selling Resorts,” ”Partnering With Camping World,” “Other Revenue Sources,” “‘Creating Positive Members Satisfaction,” “Financing and Closing the Sale” and ”Off-site Selling.”

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