b'Seasonalfrom page 31Change is hard on park operators,sonalsitesinotherThe Jellystone Park in Harrisville, Pa., has been able to hand-pick its seasonal campers.too, because they can develop closeareas of the park that bonds with their seasonal campers.may remain seasonal. These folks are there week in andWhen doing this, if it weekout,Quigleysaid.Youseeapplies to several sea-them every day. We genuinely lovesonals,doitwitha these people. A lot of them would dolongest-tenuredorder anything for you. You also have fami- ofwhogetsthefirst lies that are at retirement age on fixedchoice. But you must incomes. You know their financial po- giveeachpersona sition, and you know (the move to an- couple of days dead-other site) makes it hard for them. Butline to decide so that it you are running a business and youdoesntdragontoo have to balance that out.long, Quigley said. The Quigleys have focused on relo- RandyHendrick-cating their seasonals away from tran- son, founder and CEO sient camping areas and to areas ofofUnitedParkBro-their park that are specifically desig- kersinWestlakeVil-nated for seasonal camping becauselage,Calif.,said theydontlikemixingseasonalcompaniesacquiring campers with overnight campers. Butparks with lots of sea-seasonal campers often get so upsetsonal campers need to at being told at the end of summer thatuse care in how they they will have to move to another areatransition the park. to continue having a seasonal site theThefirstthought following year that they leave the parkwhenbuyingapark altogether.with a lot of seasonals is to make rad-Some of these campers may alsoical changes from day one. Thats the become so upset at being told to relo- spreadsheet reaction. But the most cate that they retaliate and trash theconsidered reaction is to acquire the park on social media. It has happenedpark and let the data and the cus-to the Quigleys.tomers speak to them, Hendrickson People were making us out to besaid.horrible people. It was heartbreakingInotherwords,makechanges because we didnt operate like that,gradually, so as not to risk alienating Quigley said.the parks entire customer base all at Seasonal campers are also proneonce. to have some feelings of entitlement.Foos, for his part, has additional Theyll say, Weve been here 12recommendations for park operators years. Weve paid you X amount overwho may be apprehensive about elim-all those years. What they dont real- inating their seasonal campsites. ize is that we would have made tripleConsider a phased approach to the money if their site was transient.reducingseasonalrates,byin-Thiscamperhasactuallycostmecreasing the seasonal rate sub-$40,000, Quigley said, adding, Its astantiallywhiledecreasingthe very weird thing when you realize hownumberofseasonalsitesavail-much theyve cost you.able. A good rule of thumb, Foos Having tough experiences with sea- said, is to decrease the inventory sonalcampershaspromptedthebytheamountyouincreasethe Quigleys to run their park in a morerate, such as a 25% increase in rate businesslike way and with less emo- anda25%decreaseinseasonal tion. But we still maintain that balancesites in the first year. that these are human beings with fam- If youre feeling bold and your ilies, he said.market position allows you to do so, Still,havinggraduallyreducedconsider eliminating the seasonal the number of seasonal campsitesrate altogether but still offering a over 15 years, Quigley says he hascompetitive monthly rate for a set a few words of wisdom to share withnumber of sites for the first year. If otherparkoperatorsneedingtoyou allow your guests to leave their convert their seasonal sites to tran- RVs on your site through your closed sient sites.season, consider a low monthly stor-Be up front and honest about whyage rate. An example may be a 6/6 you need to reduce the number ofprogram where you pay a monthly seasonal campsites. One point israte for six months and earn free or re-simply that its more expensive to runduced rate storage in the off-season or a business now, Quigley said. Wepay for six months and receive a resort typically always write them a letter fullycredit to be used onsite that year, explaining what were doing.Foos said. Expect from the start that newsAlways over-communicate what aboutyouconvertingaseasonalyouredoingandwhy.Seasonal site to an overnight site is not goingguests consider your property their to be received well. Know that theresecond home and have a strong emo-will be a percentage of campers whotional attachment to their site, Foos will turn on you that you would neversaid. Explain that demand for daily have expected. business continues to grow, but you Do not do a town hall session ex- respectandhonortheirlong-term plaining your decision to convertcommitment to your location will offer seasonal sites to overnight sites.them some sort of incentive or dis-This will open up very unpleasant dis- count as a result. No matter the ap-cussions that are better handled in pri- proach,windingdownaseasonal vate, Quigley said.program is usually good business that You can offer folks being asked tocan often more than double your rev-relocate first choice at opening sea- enue per site for the season.WCM WOODALLSCM.com April 2022 35'