32 - May 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management “By 1963, we had a full-fledged RV park,” Jamison recalled. “I have three sisters and all of us worked at the ranch, leading trail rides or doing whatever needed to be done. We had up to 75 horses available for riders. Each kid in summer camp had a horse they were assigned.We offered four levels of experience in riding. My younger sister and I were more horse-oriented, so we would lead backcountry trips, too.” “It was a way of life until I was 30,” Jamison said, until he decided to leave the family business to work as a preserve manager for the Thousand Trails network. After spending 12 years CAMPGROUNDPROFILE Pismo Coast Village RV Resort Focuses on Improving the Customer’s Experience—and the Effort is Paying Dividends at Thousand Trails, Jamison burnished his resume by working for a manufac- tured housing company and a marina —bothinNorthernCalifornia—before coming south again to accept the managementjobatPismoCoastVillage, a publicly-owned RV resort with just more than 1,525 shareholders on the south end of Pismo Beach. But even though Jamison was now stepping into a corporate management role, he still remembered the words of wisdom his parents had posted on a bulletin board near their manager’s office at Rancho Oso in the early 1960s: “The complaint we fear the most,” the sign said,“is the one we never hear.” “Even with my parents, way back then, they wanted to hear feedback fromtheirguestsandactonit,”Jamison said during a recent interview with Woodall’s Campground Management. Those words of wisdom are even morerelevanttoday,Jamisonsaid,given guests’ ability to post online comments and reviews that can be read by hundreds or thousands of people. “If somebody gets off your property without having something resolved, they’re going to share it online all over the place and you can’t fix it,” he noted. The importance of being attentive to guestsandrespondingtotheirconcerns was also a lesson further instilled in Jamison’s thinking while working for Thousand Trails. As a result, Jamison explained, even from his earliest days at Pismo Coast Village, he focused his efforts on staff training and customer service. He added that the park did have a need, initially, for improvements in customer service involving everything from the friendliness of staff to the effectiveness with which they handled guest suggestions and complaints. Jamison and his management team have addressed these concerns by conducting frequent staff training sessions throughout the year. “Werevisitourpriorities,ourmission statement. We focus on developing teamwork, customer service, diversity, human resources and safety,” he said. The 10-to-12 people who comprise Pismo Coast Village’s current manage- ment team also meet once a week to discuss any issues that have come up that need the attention of park staff, which ranges from 58-to-72 full- and part-timeemployees,dependingonthe time of year. “Everyone has an opportunity to talk about things in their own department,” Jamison pointed out, adding, “The minutes from those meetings are copied to our board of directors and we put it on our bulletin boards.” Pismo Coast Village also provides frequent training for its management team,includingtopicsinvolvinghuman resources. Jamison also said he makes it a prior- itytohavehisstaffaddressanyproblems or concerns as soon as possible. For A focus on improving not only the facilities, but also customer service has lead Pismo Coast Village RV Resort to see occupancy rates move up over the last 20 years. Jay Jamison already had decades of experienceinthecampgroundbusiness when he accepted a job 21 years ago as generalmanagerofPismoCoastVillage RV Resort in Pismo Beach, Calif. Jamison grew up on Rancho Oso Guest Ranch, a horseback-riding camp thathisparentsestablishedon310acres of rugged oak and pine-covered land in the Santa Ynez Mountains, north of Santa Barbara, Calif. Jamison’s parents, Bob and Barbara, bought the property in 1952 when RanchoOsowasacattleranch.Butthey subsequently decided to convert the property into a campground. Left to right: Charles Amian, Jay Jamison and Darrell Sisk In addition to securing top assessments from campground ratings companies, Pismo Coast Village has seen its occupancies increase from about 62% in 1997 to 83% last year — an all-time record for the park with 121,760 camper nights.