Two upscale RV resorts developed by Monaco Coach Corp.’s Signature Resorts subsidiary were slated to open this fall in Michigan and Florida, according to Randall Henderson, Signature’s president.
The properties include the 125-site Motorcoach Resort at Bay Harbor, Mich., and the 184-site Naples Motorcoach Resort in Florida. RV sites at the Bay Harbor resort were being marketed at prices ranging from $129,000 to $219,000, while sites at the Naples park were listed at $200,000 to $350,000.
Henderson, who earns a salary and commissions as president of Signature Resorts, readily concedes that he’s concerned about selling high-end RV sites given the country’s current economic malaise and faltering consumer confidence levels. But he’s also quick to point out that there continues to be a shortage of upscale RV resorts across the country and he said Monaco Chairman and CEO President Kay Toolson should be given some credit for trying to provide better accommodations for buyers of today’s highline RVs.
“For every site we’re building right now, 10 are being taken off the market,” Henderson said. He cited the Florida market in particular, where developers have recently purchased more than 40 campgrounds with the idea of converting the properties to other uses. He also cited Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties, which he said has been buying up RV resorts and converting some of its parks’ transient RV sites into park model sites.
Henderson also noted that many of today’s RVers continue to demand higher quality parks, regardless of what’s happening with the economy. “The new owners are far more discerning, more demanding,” he said. “They want better accommodations, better amenities, better service, all of which we realize we’d better be prepared to provide.”
And given continuing shortage of upscale RV resorts and RVers’ continuing demand for better parks, Henderson said, “I think the demand from the existing marketplace will carry someone doing what we’re doing for the next five years.”
Lots Available for Sale or Lease
What Henderson is doing differently, however, is making a greater effort to let the RVing public know that sites at Signature Resorts are available both for rent and for sale.
Henderson is well known in the RV resort business for having developed more than 20 upscale RV resorts across the country with the Outdoor Resorts name. He started developing RV resorts in 1969.
Monaco initially purchased licensing rights to Outdoor Resorts properties in Indio, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., but ended the relationship with Outdoor Resorts earlier this year when it formed Signature Resorts. Outdoor Resorts, he said, had such a reputation for exclusivity that people often didn’t realize they could rent sites owned by other RVers at Outdoor Resorts properties.
“I think Outdoor Resorts was never completely understood in terms of rentals,” Henderson said. “The focus on quality, in some people’s minds, kind of severed us from a lot of the rental market. So we’re going to have to be more user friendly and pay a lot more attention to the services that we do, including reservations.”
Henderson also plans to continue to be involved with the management of Signature Resorts properties even after RV sites are sold. This is another break from the past Outdoor Resorts practice, which was often to turn over management of the parks to other companies after RV sites were sold. Henderson said the Signature Resorts properties will continue to be managed by Signature Resorts.
“We don’t want to be perceived as a hit and run,” Henderson said. “We want to be perceived as someone who is there to stay.”
Monaco Coach Corp. formed Nashville, Tenn.-based Signature Resorts earlier this year to oversee development of upscale RV resorts across the country that both sell and rent RV sites. Signature’s other properties include the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort and the Motorcoach Country Club in Indio, both of which were previously doing business using the Outdoor Resorts name.