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Rob Schutter Jr., addressed a record crowd at the LSI Symposium awards banquet on Nov. 8.

Rob Schutter

Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) posted double digit growth in 2015, with a 12.8% increase in same-park revenues compared to the previous year, according to an announcement from the Milford, Ohio, franchisor of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort network.

2015 was the sixth consecutive year of revenue growth of 5% or more for Jellystone Parks, according to LSI President and COO Rob Schutter, who announced the revenue figures during the franchise network’s Spring Conference in Covington, Ky.

Schutter said the 82-unit franchise network expects to add about five to six new parks this year and continue that pace over the next few years, eventually topping 100 parks in the U.S. and Canada.

Parks entering the Jellystone Park network this year include campgrounds in Prince Edward Island; Asheboro, N.C.; Bath, N.Y.; Kerrville, Texas; and Monticello, Iowa.

Altogether, the 82-unit Jellystone Park network has 17,021 sites, including 11,633 RV sites, 2,942 seasonal campsites and 2,446 rental units.

U.S. and Canadian family interest in Jellystone Parks continues to grow, as evidenced by the 12.8% increase revenues.

Traditional RV site revenue was up 14.4% system-wide last year, while seasonal site revenue grew by 4.6%. Rental unit income was largely flat at 0.6% growth.

RV site and rental accommodations income is only part of the equation at Jellystone Parks, Schutter said, noting the strong revenue streams generated by camp stores that sell Yogi Bear-themed merchandise as well as the ancillary revenue derived from unique family activities and amenities that Jellystone Parks provide.

In 2015, RV sites generated 34% of park revenue, while rental units provided 28% and seasonal campsites produced 9%. However, camp store revenue accounted for 11% of park revenue, while 18% came from ancillary revenue streams.

Last year also set an all-time record for park store revenue, which rose 7% over 2014 figures.

Jellystone Park occupancies also increased in 2015, with weekday camper nights eclipsing 2014 figures by 7.5%, while weekend occupancies jumped 10.6%.

YOGi Jim Westover Photo

Jim Westover

While much of Schutter’s presentation focused on an analysis of last year’s business performance, he also introduced Jellystone Park franchisees to Jim Westover, who has filled LSI’s newly created position of vice president of operations.

In addition to assisting with LSI’s day-to-day management, Westover will be charged with developing, managing, organizing and creating programs that advocate the strategic objectives of the franchise system. These objectives include building upon LSI’s sales growth in 2015, and continuing to seek out opportunities that improve profitability at the unit level while LSI works towards achieving its goal of more than 100 locations.

LSI’s marketing efforts are also expanding, Schutter said, noting the hiring of Kelly Pulskamp as a marketing coordinator focusing on social-media outreach through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. He noted that Jellystone Parks’ Facebook page likes were up 65% last year.

A staff addition was also made in the retail department with Renata Evans as retail manager for corporate accounts. Evans assists franchisees in the development of their park stores and merchandise selection to maximize space and increase store profit.

In 2015, LSI moved into a larger headquarters in Milford to accommodate the hiring of additional staff members as the Jellystone Park franchise network continues to grow. The new headquarters also has a 6,600-square-foot warehouse, which LSI uses to store its retail line of more than 600 custom souvenirs.

Schutter’s presentation took place during LSI’s annual spring conference in late February, which included several roundtable discussions as well as classes on campground management topics and LSI’s CARE program, which provides detailed training on how to develop recreation programs as well as new ideas for campground activities.

Other training included a “pool school” taught by Mike Howard, senior vice president of Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati.

Conference attendees also had opportunities to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, which helps park operators and staff members better understand how their personality affects their communication, interaction and conflicts with their peers.