b'on the guest experiences at parks andply chain issues, they are just getting being very accurate in our marketingthere to upgrade the cable, the inter-efforts. This is who we are. This is thenet and all of that stuff. For the ex-experience that you should expect totendedstaycampers,andthat havehere.Thatwayconsumersproperty has some lot owners as well, know what they are coming into.wewentaheadandpurchased WCM: We are hearing a lot aboutmodemssothattheycanhavea Wi-Fi. I imagine that is somethingmodemrightintheirunit.Inour you invest in. What does that lookrental units, we\'ll have modems. Our like at your parks and are you seeingpropertyinNorthTexas,wehave a lot of full-timers, workers and roadmodems in each rental unit. schoolers? It\'sanexpectation,nodifferent Jones: One of the first things that wethan when you\'re traveling anywhere try and do when we acquire a park iselse. Wi-Fi is a huge component. completely overhaul the Wi-Fi and in- Certainly,youseemorepeople ternet situation at the park. It can cer- working at the pool while kids are tainlybechallengingjustbecauseplaying and having some fun. I don\'t some of the more mature parks areknow that I have hard statistics to very heavily wooded, and signals don\'tshow you what that number looks Water recreation is typically a top item that campers search for when camping with their families. like to pass through trees very well. Butlike, but anecdotally, you can see it it is one of the initial things that we doeverywhere you are. as far as infrastructure, no differentWCM: Looking ahead, do you an-andtowhattheywantandthat\'sextra amenities, right? What has al- than looking at the water, electric andticipate just continuing to acquire whatthesurveysaresaying,"Weways been a challenge in our industrysewer. Wi-Fi is right there with that. Itanddevelopparksandgrowthe want more water attractions."is just kind of reframing that conver- used to be very optional and now it\'sGreat Escapes brand? WCM: You have been in the indus- sation.just not. It\'s part of the standard pack- Jones: Absolutely. We\'re always ac-try almost your entire life and youWCM:InthemostrecentNorthage that campers expect.tively looking and certainly, if there travel to conferences and other in- American Camping Report it statedTheJellystoneParkinWarrens,are any brokers out there who have dustry events all the time. What arethat nearly a quarter of new campersWis., is a great example. Due to sup- deals, send them our wayWCMsomeofthethingsyou\'rehearingsaid they might not go camping in from other owners and developers as2022 due to a bad experience. Are you you go around to shows? What areworried about attrition and losing some of the challenges that the in- campers that dont have a good expe-dustry faces right now?rience?Jones: Much like every industry, theJones: Yes and no. It depends on hospitality industry as a whole hasthe experience that they\'re looking been hit hard with staffing shortages.for. One of the things that I love about Just being short-staffed and still try- our industry is that there are so many ingtodelivertheexperiencethatdifferent types of campgrounds that people expect and deserve has beenyoureallycanfindtheexperience very challenging. This year we wereyou\'re looking for, but you may also able to get J1 students in, but for peo- end up at a property that has more or ple who have relied on J1 students,less than you want. For people who they weren\'t able to come for a goodprefer a quiet atmosphere and who portion of the COVID pandemic. Thatended up at a Jellystone Park, that\'s was another pretty hard-hitting im- not going to mesh. People who are pact on staffing issues. A lot of camp- new to the industry, new to camping, groundsareinruralplaceswhereI think automatically you\'re going to there are not a lot of people to sup- have attrition regardless. Not every-port the needs of the park, so I thinkbody who tries something for the first that has been a big issue.time is going to like it. I think the industry is transformingI don\'t know that I\'m concerned somewhataswell.Ithinkthatforaboutit,butI\'mcognizantofit. many long-term campers they\'re ex- That\'s why we have to try and focus periencingsomestickershockat some of the prices that are out there, particularly in higher activity parks where the consumer doesn\'t see the insurance bill, the electric bill, the maintenance bill, the chlorine billetc. Just the inflation and what it\'s costing to maintain a property right now is having a large impact on a lot of parks. WCM:Itappearstheyarefrus-trated with dynamic pricing or rate management to some degree as well, right?Jones: It\'s such a standard in so many other places in our lives that we don\'teventhinkaboutit,butbe-cause it is relatively new to the camp-ing industry, it\'s been challenging for our guests to understand why parks have moved to that type of pricing model, for sure. My husband and I just went to a matinee on Sunday. We each got a small popcorn and a large drink, and it was $50 for the two of us for two hours. I think sometimes con-sumers don\'t realize they\'re willing to pay $50 to go see a movie, but not to spend the night somewhere where you can see a movie, you go to the poolandyouhavealltheseother WOODALLSCM.com September 2022 35'