WOODALLSCM.com May 2018 - 33 example, when guests check in, front desk staff members encourage them to immediately report any problem or concern so that staff can address it. The resort also pays close attention to guest surveys. “Our park pass has a comment form,” Jamison said, adding that the park monitors reviews from a variety of rating services, including GuestRe- views.com, RVParkReviews.com, TripAdvisor and Yelp, and responds to guest criticisms and suggestions. Feedback from guests has prompted Pismo Coast Village to make improve- ments over the years, such as installing more outdoor lighting in certain areas of the park, adding new turf to its miniature golf course, improving the resort’s Wi-Fi system, adding TV channels to the cable TV service and installing a pickleball court. PismoCoastVillagealsousespositive guest feedback in surveys to recognize staff members who provide exemplary service. Jamison also noted his employees play critical roles that affect guest expe- riences in the park — much like he and his family did when they ran their horseback riding camp at Rancho Oso many years ago. “At the ranch growing up,” he said, “we had people coming from as far away as Germany looking for that ranch, outdoor, cowboy experience. They’d buy cowboy boots and hats in Santa Barbara. They wanted to interact with staff.” But even though Pismo CoastVillage offers an entirely different kind of camping experience, Jamison said it’s critical for his staff to have the same kind of mindset to ensure that people enjoy their vacations. “You want to make an impact, help Taking guest’s comments to heart has led to a wide array of park upgrades throughout the 2000s. Jay Jamison, general manager at Pismo Coast, said that employees focus on creating an “experience” for guests. Campground Overview Name: Pismo CoastVillage RV Resort Address: 165 S. Dolliver Street, Pismo Beach, CA 93449 Physical Description: Built in 1972, Pismo CoastVillage RV Resort has 400 RV sites. Located a short walk from Pismo Beach, the park is also conveniently located for guests who want to take advantage of the full range of activities San Luis Obispo County has to offer, including zip lining and wine tasting tours.The park hosts numerous rallies through- out the year, including a popular VintageTrailer Rally that takes place on the third Saturday of May. Guest services include a general store with propane and RV storage facilities for travel trailers and fifth wheels. Website: www.pismocoastvillage.com Contact: (888) 782-3224 WCM them make memories,” he acknowl- edged. Of course, Jamison’s work at Pismo Coast Village during the past two decades has involved much more than staff training. “From the early 2000s to 2015 we pretty much rebuilt the whole park,” he said, adding that the park invested more than $4.5 million in property improvements during that time. “We upgraded the park to 50-amp service and replaced the direct burial aluminum wire with copper and con- duit. We added new restroom facilities and rebuilt all of the others,” he noted, adding that more recent improvements includedredesigningandupgradingthe park’sWi-Fi service. “We brought in a fiber optic line in 2014, initially with 250 megabits per second. Last year we upgraded it to 400 megabits per second,” he said. Jamison and his management team has also learned other valuable lessons in RV resort management. • Focus on guest priorities, not your own. Sometimes park operators focus on things that are important to them, Jamison pointed out. That’s not neces- sarily a good strategy. “Just focus on what the visitor wants,” he said. •Beagoodneighbor.“Youwantyour neighborstoknowwhereyouareandto say good things about you,” Jamison said. This can involve everything from properly maintaining not only your park, but your RV storage areas so that they do not generate complaints from neighbors. • Get involved in your community. This involves not only attending city council meetings — where they discuss new or proposed ordinances that could affect your business — but being in- volved with your local chamber of com- merce and convention and visitors bureau, which offer opportunities to plan special events and marketing activities that could bring more guests to your park. Jamison chaired the Pismo Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau for 10 years, which put him in constant communication with members of the Pismo Beach City Council. Pismo Coast Village itself got in- volved in the community in a big way last December by offering 705 free nights of camping to people in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties who fled the Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in modern California history. Two RV rental companies — Menifee, Calif.- based Luv 2 Camp and Pismo Beach- based Beach Bound Trailer Rentals — also brought in units to accommodate evacuees who did not have an RV. “Even Walmart chipped in,” Jamison said. “They were giving away toys, diapers and clothes (to evacuees).” In addition to being a humanitarian gesture, Pismo Coast Village’s support for Thomas wildfire evacuees raised public awareness of the resort in news reports across the country, according to Jamison. But Jamison said Pismo CoastVillage also supports lots of silent auctions, schools and sports teams — not only locally but in communities as far away as the San Joaquin Valley, where many of the park’s guests reside. Since 1978, Pismo Coast Village has also hosted an annual Christmas celebration for mentally and physically challenged children from San Luis ObispoCountyelementaryschools.The children are treated to crafts, lunch, presents, tons of love and visits from Santa and Smokey the Bear. • Get involved in campground industry associations. Several mem- bers of Pismo Coast Village’s manage- ment team have been actively involved with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and the California Association of RV Parks andCampgrounds(CalARVC)formany years, during which time they have attended numerous workshops and networked with other park operators and industry officials. Jamison served on the ARVC board for six years, including three as treas- urer. Darrell Sisk, Pismo Coast Village’s reservations supervisor, recently com- pleted a term as president of CalARVC. Sisk, who redesigned Pismo Coast Vil- lage’s Wi-Fi system, has also led several industry seminars onWi-Fi technology. Meanwhile, Charles Amian, Pismo Coast Village’s operations manager, is currently serving on the ARVC board. “You can’t put a price tag on those kinds of relationships,” Jamison said. All of these efforts have paid off for Pismo Coast Village. In addition to securing top ratings from ratings com- panies — including all around “A” rat- ings in GuestReviews.com surveys, a “Certificate of Excellence” from Trip- Advisor and ratings of 9.9-8.5 from the Good Sam Club — Pismo Coast Village has seen its occupancies increase from about 62% in 1997, when Jamison became general manager of the resort, to 83% last year, which was an all-time recordfortheparkwith121,760camper nights. Occupancies so far this year, Jamison added, were running even stronger. “We’re up 6.5% right now, year to date,” he said. “This year, we could do even better.”Pismo Coast Village is also planning to make more improvements, the latest of which will be a five-bay RV repair facility that will be located on propertytheparkownsaboutfourmiles from the resort. “We expect to break ground on the project in early summer,” Jamison said. “We won’t do work on drivetrains, but we will do repairs on the living quarters, appliances and the exteriors of the RVs andprovideaftermarketproducts.We’re filling a niche that is not addressed sufficiently in town.’ —JeffCrider WCM Basketball courts and other amenities ensure campers have plenty to do.