b'does this rebrand help the company?Philippsen: Were actively promoting Philippsen: Its a rebrand about two- to a newer audience and a more diverse plus years in the making, and we startedgroup of campers who want to experi-out with a lot of research and listeningence the outdoors. Then on the market-to what our guests were saying, anding side, when it comes to content, our then we looked at a lot of our resorts.media needs to be reflective of those What we found is we had a lot of uniqueour guests. Instead of just being a one- own as well.communities that we are in and make offeringswithintheSunRVResortsall, and it wasnt clearly communicated,WCM: What are the key elements yousure that it is diverse because camping portfolio and there wasnt a clear line ofnowwehavesomethingthatallowsare looking at when acquiring a park oris diverse. When you see people who communication of what we offer. Whenguests to pick however they want to ex- when looking at a location to develop alook like you in advertising, youre more we dug in, we found that we have aperience the outdoors in whatever loca- park?inclined to say, Well, let me look at that number of different ways that we couldtion.Philippsen: We are open to looking ator Let me explore more. Its our job on allow our guests to experience the out- WCM:SunOutdoorshasseensoany park at the moment. When we digthe marketing side to make sure that doors. We then started looking at it andmuch growth over the past few years,into what we want out of a park we lookour media and photography reflect that saying, Okay, well, if we created a newwhat does the future hold for the com- attheamenities,thepotentialfordiversity and that all those channels are brand,howwouldwecommunicatepany as you look to develop and ac- growth, special offerings, etc. Mayberepresentative of all cultures and walks that?quire more parks?theres nothing we need to do. Maybeof life. Thatswherethesub-brandswerePhilippsen: Just for perspective, whenthey have a phenomenal resort that theWCM: How do you train park man-designed. We have Sun Outdoors, whichI joined there were 134 parks that theguests love, and we would just love toagers and your workers on the ground includesshort-termvacationresortscompany owned and now, we are atadd that to the portfolio. Sometimesateachparktohavethatpatience and is for travelers looking for expansive175. Beyond that, if we look at 10 yearsyoulookatwhatitsproximityistowhen it comes to working with first-grounds and unique amenities. Thenago the company only owned a handfulwater, proximity to other attractions,time campers? Sun Retreat is focused more on season- of parks.and again, those things that add an ele- Philippsen:Aspartoftherebrand, als and long-term guests. Sun Resorts isWere going to continue to look invated experience to our guests. We takewere also expanding our training at the focused on the 55-plus crowd lookingmarkets and look for resorts that area lot of things into consideration.local level, too. So how do we ensure for active living amenities, and Sun Un- unique and special, that may want toWCM: Do you get a lot of inquiriesthat were bringing the brand to life at a charted is our glamping brand.come to the portfolio, and then on thefrom current park owners, or do you ac- local level? How are we being their guide When we looked at Sun Outdoors, wedevelopment side, too. Well continue totivelysendoutteamstolookforto the outdoors or guide to transforma-were like, We have these unique offer- look for and build resorts as well, maybeprospective parks?tion? When looking at our management ings, and we should package and buildone or two a year or so, just dependingPhilippsen: I would say it is a mix oftraining, things like setting up an RV brands around these so that we canon the opportunity with land. Wed loveboth. People reach out to us, and weand the ability to assist our customers grow and better communicate and offerto continue to grow through additionshave teams that look for parks as well.in those certain unknowns that may specific amenities and experiences toto the portfolio and then building ourWCM: On the new development side,pop up are key. WCM speaks with a lot of developersOur on-the-ground experience and who note that the zoning and planningour operations team, I may be a little bi-process is a headache. What is that likeased here, but is absolutely incredible. for Sun Outdoors? Does the ability toSome of our guest feedback about the show officials what you have done inon-the-ground experience and the in-the past help?teractionstheyhavewithourteam Philippsen: What we try to do is showmembers is just extremely positive. Its officials our process and the types of re- about training new managers to ensure sorts that we are building at the mo- that were available and open to helping ment.Wealsodemonstrateouranyone. Its just instilling that sense of commitmenttopartneringwiththehospitality because were a hospitality community. We dont want to come incompany. and just build something. We are reallyWCM: There is a debate about what focused on highlighting what we areglamping is. Depending on who you adding to the community.talk with, it can mean different things. WCM: Sun Outdoors has highlightedWhat does glamping look like at Sun some of the partnerships it has with or- Outdoors? ganizationsliketheNationalParkPhilippsen: I would say glamping is Foundation and Outdoor Afro. How dowhat our guests want it to be. Thats why those partnerships help Sun Outdoorswe have such a range in offerings. As we appeal to a wider, more diverse popula- continue to build the brand and grow, tion of campers?were going to continue to listen to our guests, and were going to provide them with ways to stay that they want to ex-perience the outdoors in. Along with that, if glamping is staying in a cabin, and its a great, quality stay, and its at one of our outdoor locations, great. If glamping is a vacation rental with a 12-footceiling,achandelierandglass showers, we have that too, and thats glamping for another person. However the customer wants to ex-perience the outdoors I think defines that.Butrightnow,asanindustry, glamping, like you noted, is a very open term. I think the more people get out-doors and learn about it, I think maybe the better itll be defined over time. But we provide a range for guests however they want to experience it. WCM: WCM has been hearing about experiential travel, and a lot of the Mil-lennials and Millennial families are looking for experiences and not just a place to stay. How does Sun Outdoors fulfill that as far as giving these guests access to experiences that maybe they wouldnt find somewhere else? Philippsen: Withthelaunchofthe brand, we launched our new website, which I would say is one of the most ad-vanced websites in hospitality. When you talk about experiences, right at the 28 February 2022Woodalls Campground Magazine'