b'SMART OPERATIONSIs Now the Time to Consider the All-Inclusive Approachbe shrinking to a 52 ounce half-gallon housekeeping standards and the lack of avoiding add-on fees. The all-inclusivecontainer. The same thing happened room maintenance, I was told that as concept originated with Club Med waywith ice cream, where the half-gallon compensation, the resort fee would be back in 1950. It is the rule rather than thePetercontainersomehowevolvedintoa waived for each of the four nights of my exceptioninsomevacationdestina-quart and a half. stay. In other words, this zero-cost hid- tions, and the concept has been em-Pelland den fee would be used as a bargaining braced by many resort operators, cruiseRespect Your Guests Intelligence chip with a dissatisfied guest. Neverthe- lines, travel agencies and online bookingPeople who feel that they have been less, at the time of checkout, only one of companies, major airlines, hotel chainssomehow deceived into making a buy- those $22 credits had been voluntarily and wholesale buying clubs like Costco.Two years ago I encouraged camp- ing decision are almost never going to applied to my receipt. Withall-inclusivepricing,astheground owners to consider the all-in- be return customers. When it comes to This practice grew so deceptive that name implies, guests willingly pay a pre-clusive approach to guest fees, and that the outdoor hospitality industry, one of it generated lawsuits filed on behalf of mium fee for the privilege of vacationingargumentmakesevenmoresense the biggest complaints is when guests consumers by 47 state attorneys gen- without having to pull out their walletstoday than it did at the time. I men- feel like they are being nickeled and eral, who had negotiated an agreement throughout the course of their stay. All-tioned how I had recently opened a box dimed during their stay. Although it is withtheFederalTradeCommission inclusive pricing is most popular withof breakfast cereal, only to find that the far preferable to avoid the imposition of (FTC), until the Trump administration destination resorts and highly competi-inner bag of contents reached about add-on fees for incidentals like showers, ordered the FTC to back off, siding with tive, saturated tourism markets. Proba-half the height of the packaging. Wi-Fi, or your planned activities, it is the hotel industry rather than the inter- bly the best known and most broadlyIt was a classic example of the dis- very important that any such fees be ests of consumers. Nonetheless, guests marketed of these practitioners is San-claimer that warns us, contents are sold fully disclosed at the time of reservation. have little or no tolerance for deceptive dals Resorts International, which nowby weight, not volume. If the packaging Just as offensive is the imposition of so- rate embellishments.promotes the tagline of more quality in-properly matched the size of its contents, called convenience fees when making More recently, in the fall of 2019, bi- clusions than any other resorts on theit would have been half the size, have far an online reservation. partisan legislation was introduced in planet. Their all-inclusive stays includeless visibility on the supermarket shelf, My best advice is to bundle as much Congress that would make the charging accommodations,dining,wineandand I probably would have passed on a as possible into your basic fees, pro- of resort fees illegal. The Hotel Advertis- spirits, golf, water sports, scuba diving,purchase that did not appear to repre- mote that value within your rate struc- ing Transparency Act of 2019 has been landsportsandentertainment.Evensent a very good value. You might say ture, and stop presuming that people long supported by the Travelers United here, there are fee-based options such asthat I was deceived into making the pur- arecomparisonshoppingforprice consumer advocacy group. According to spa treatments, premium wines, andchase. Even though I liked the cereal, I withoutreadingthefineprint.One this bill, advertising that does not reflect scuba certification, as well as some re-am unlikely to purchase it again. trend that I continue to hope does not the true mandatory cost of a stay at a strictions on golf that vary from one re-There are so many instances where make inroads with the outdoor hospi- place of short-term lodging is decep- sortorlevelofaccommodationstocorporate marketing decision-makers tality industry is the growing practice of tive.Campgroundsquiteclearlyare another. The bottom line is that guestsseem to underestimate the ability of hotels tacking on so-called resort fees providing places of short-term lodging. feel that they are being offered far moretheir customers to make informed buy- to their room rates. Across the hotel in- Whether or not this legislations passage than they would otherwise expect.ing decisions and to choose more com- dustry, even low-end properties have will ever see the light of day, it is a strong Unfortunately,whenIperformapetitive alternate products. Then there started imposing mandatory added fees indication of consumer distaste for the Google search for the terms all-inclu-are instances that border on collusion, for everything from poolside towels to deceptivepracticesinvolved.Infact, sivecampgroundsorall-inclusivewhere companies follow the lead of a room safes to fitness centers to on-site there are currently two class-action law- camping resorts, the results are prettycompetitor who trail-blazes a reduction parkingeven if a guest uses none of suits pending against Marriott Bonvoy limited. I am more likely to find dudein product size without a corresponding those services. and a similar action taken by the attor- ranches, cabin resorts, and family re-reduction in price. For example, it only During a recent stay at a Hilton prop- ney general of Nebraska against Hilton. sorts that do not fit the definition of atook one processed orange juice com- erty in South Carolina, I was unaware traditional campground. Nonetheless, itpany to shrink its half-gallon container that I was being charged a $22 per day Consider the All-Inclusive Approach seems that there is a small but growingdown to 59 ounces before every other resort fee surcharge. When I had a list of A far better approach is the all-inclu- list of campgrounds, ownership groups,companyquicklyfollowedsuit.Now legitimatecomplaintsregardingthe sive concept, where guests are willing to and franchises that are discovering andthat follow the leader size appears to cleanlinessofmyroom,thelackof payapremiumfortheprivilegeof beginning to capitalize upon the all-in-clusive buzz words. With parks trying tocompete with more traditional room-based lodging, and with the growingpopularity of the glamping concept, itis time to ditch extra fees for activitiesandrecreationalamenitiessuchasmini-golf, jumping pillows, canoes andkayaks, splash pads, showers, Wi-Fi, andonline reservations. I would suggest thatdynamic pricing presents a much betteropportunity to maximize income ratherthan the imposition of added and some-times unexpected fees upon your guests.The key to growth in the family camp-ing industry has always been to draw ina new wave of guests who do not cur-rently consider themselves campers. Toreach them, offer them the unexpectedandcreatetheperceptionofover-whelming value that they have come toappreciate elsewhere. An all-inclusiveapproach to pricing may prove to be anidea whose time has come.PeterPellandistheCEOof Pelland Advertising, a company thathe founded in 1980 that has beenserving the family camping industryfor nearly 40 years. His company spe-cializes in building fully responsivewebsites, along with producing a fullrange of four-color process print ad-vertising,forclients.LearnmoreaboutPellandAdvertisingathttps://pelland.com/ or see its ad inthis issue. WCM8 -April 2020Woodalls Campground Management'