Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), the official franchisor of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, will hold its annual Symposium for its franchisees Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 at the Embassy Suites and Northern Kentucky Convention Center in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio.
The event annually brings together a large majority of the more than 70 Yogi Bear franchisees from the U.S. and Canada for LSI updates, educational seminars, a look at new Yogi Bear merchandise and an awards banquet, where LSI names its top camp-resorts. All told, the event brings in more than 225 campground representatives, not counting vendors.
“It’s a chance for them to get together as a group, meet up with old friends and make new ones, to get revitalized and a chance to step back and take a break and enjoy some camaraderie,” said Dean Crawford, senior vice president.
The mood at this year’s symposium should be good as most camp-resorts are reporting good years, Crawford said. He also noted that LSI is on track for projected growth, with four to five new member campgrounds expected to join the system in the coming year. “We’re getting quite a few people calling and looking at the franchise. There seems to be a lot of interest out there,” he said.
Tim and Kris O’Shea are the keynote speakers at Tuesday’s opening luncheon. They will be speaking on the topic Change 180 Degrees – Giving You the Last Laugh at Change. Their talk follows the annual Travel Log which features photos of various amenities from each Jellystone Park.
That afternoon, franchisees get their first look at new Yogi Bear merchandise for 2008. Sheila Isaac, vice president of retail operations, will be displaying 200 new merchandise items, including Yogi stencils and pencils, kid’s watches, flashing mugs, puzzles in a pirate bottle and baby items.
On Wednesday, LSI holds a general session to discuss new programs being implemented. Two workshops also are scheduled: Do It Yourself Wi-Fi and Credit Card Processing. Following these workshops will be two cracker barrels: “Rates” and “Snack Shop Revenue Ideas.” Attendees will have the remainder of the day to spend at the trade show, which features more than 70 vendors.
The Yogi Advisory Council starts Thursday off with another general session, followed by the trade show from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. That night is the awards banquet, starting at 6 p.m., followed by the awards presentation.
LSI also presents several System Achievement Awards at the banquet, including the Carroll Award to the camp-resort that achieves the highest inspection rating, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to the camp-resort that posted the strongest growth in business over the past year and the Operator of the Year Award in recognition of excellence in management, inspection ratings and business growth. The Camp-Resort of the Year Award, the highest award given by LSI, goes to the camp-resort that exceeds all Jellystone standards of operation and is viewed as a leader in the campground industry.
Several more workshops are scheduled for Friday, with topics including Ideas for Your Arcade, Recreation Programming – the Right Fee and Non-Fee Activity Mix and Good Ideas from On-site Jellystone Park Visits
After lunch, Street Fighter Marketing’s Marc Slutsky hosts a three-hour marketing workshop covering low-cost advertising and promotions. Opposite the marketing session will be a workshop on Park Expansion Construction followed by Present Your Best Idea, where participants can win cash prizes.
The Symposium ends with an auction, 50/50 raffle, social and live entertainment on Friday night.
Founded in 1969, the Jellystone Park system has grown to become the second largest franchised campground operation in the U.S. with resorts in 24 states and three Canadian provinces. Jellystone Parks are generally larger than the average campground, have premiere amenities and services, and are considered “destination” parks. They serve as vacation resorts for campers with the average length of stay exceeding three days per visit. The Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort system is owned by Park River Corp., a privately held Cincinnati company.