Bear Cove Village has become the third campground in the Tennessee market to join the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort network and will be rebranded the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg
“I signed the papers last week,” said park owner Heather Blankenship, who spent five days attending Leisure Systems Inc.’s (LSI) Certification and Management Program (C.A.M.P.), a specialized training session for new and existing Jellystone Park operators.
LSI franchises more than 80 Jellystone parks in North America and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Blankenship said she joined the Jellystone Park network because doing so will give her the ability to significantly increase her park’s revenue potential.
“I talked to some friends of mine who own Jellystone Parks and they told me that within a couple of years (of joining the franchise) they had doubled their income,” Blankenship said, adding that she also spent time with representatives from LSI, who analyzed her revenue potential.
Blankenship said the typical Jellystone Park operator generates $10 to $15 in Jellystone Park themed merchandise sales per campsite, plus the same amount or more each day on food and activities.
In the seven years she has owned Bear Cove Village, Blankenship has fixed up half of her 100 campsites and doubled her RV site revenue, while generating additional income from her investments in park model RV rentals.
“My per site revenue is really good compared to other parks in the area,” Blankenship said.
But while she is planning to fix up the rest of her RV sites and add 15 glamping tents this summer, she said she will have maxed out her earnings potential once these improvements are made.
That’s because she doesn’t have a park store with themed merchandise or revenue producing activities. Her park, in short, has focused exclusively on providing campsites and rental accommodations to travelers bound for Dollywood and other nearby attractions, such as the tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Sevierville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
By joining the Jellystone Park network; however, Blankenship will be able to develop revenue generating activities, the first of which are planned for the weekend of March 9, when she plans to have a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“We plan to do a Yogi and friends birthday party for the opening weekend activity,” she said.
A full activities schedule will be posted online in the coming weeks. Blankenship also plans to hire four people to help with activities.
“I realized I could potentially make a lot more money by being able to sell those experiences I don’t sell now,” she said, adding that her guests will likely stay longer since they will budget time not only for Dollywood and other attractions, but activities at her Jellystone Park.
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