Improvements at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in Santa Claus, Ind., continue as the park, owned by Southfield, Mich.-based Sun Communities Inc., prepares for its opening day on May 1.
The resort is putting the finishing touches on 20 new “holiday” cottages and 20 new deluxe RV pull-through sites that will feature concrete pads and patios.
David Lovell, divisional marketing manager for Sun Communities, told Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM), that Sun Communities has been placing 20 new holiday cabins per year in the resort over the last three years.
“We were hoping to have the RV sites ready for our opening day, but the weather has not been the best for construction, so hopefully they are ready sometime in June,” Lovell explained. “At the latest sometime in July.”
Lake Rudolph also is adding 40 new electric golf carts for rent and introducing new buses to its shuttle line, which transports guests to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, an amusement park located next door to the resort.
Lake Rudolph currently offers 534 sites, including 289 cabins, cottages and rental RVs, as well as 205 full-hookup RV sites and 40 tent sites. Sun Communities, which is a publicly traded entity that owns or has an interest in 346 manufactured housing and RV communities throughout North America, is investing $1.8 million in Lake Rudolph in 2018.
Lovell noted that the “holiday” cottages come with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, air conditioning, a screened-in porch, a table and TV.
“What we’re doing with the holiday cottages is that we’re replacing some of our older vacation rentals with these new cottages,” he explained. “It is just making the overall experience for our guests that much better with new facilities and new places to stay.”
Lovell told WCM that investing in new cottages made sense because there are not very many hotels in the area for guests going to the amusement park next door.
“With a theme park literally on our property line that attracts approximately one million guests over a three- to four-month period, the demand is there for places to stay,” Lovell noted. “What we’ve done is that, probably since 1999, we’ve been adding rentals. At one time, we had over 200 RVs that we were renting. Some stationary RVs, some park models, that we were renting. We still have about 100 of those, but we’re slowly going more into the cottages.”
He said that for any park owner who is looking to expand their cabin rentals, ensuring the right infrastructure is in place is the first step.
“Do you have enough electricity or gas or whatever you need to power those things?” Lovell explained. “Plus, do you have the service system capable of handling that? You got to look at it, depending on your property. We’re fortunate enough to have a really good sewer system, we’re on city sewer and water here. We’re fortunate that we’re able to work with the local town to accommodate that. We spent a lot of money on infrastructure.
“Then you’ve got to look at the cost of maintenance and look at the cost of housekeeping, because we’re essentially a big outdoor hotel when you start thinking about it,” he continued. “We employ probably around 40 housekeepers every summer. There’s always demand for that. It stays busy. Each one of our housekeepers probably has anywhere between seven and 10 units to clean every day, in a four-hour period, between checkout and check-in. You got to take that into account.”
Lovell said that the park caters to transient campers.
“Our average stay is two to three nights on either an RV site or a rental,” he explained. “From a business standpoint, it’s more lucrative for us to do that. It’s all about the experience. We are not only providing a place to stay, but also providing things for our guests to do.
Amenities at Lake Rudolph include Santa’s SplashDown WaterPark, a Dasher Splasher splash pad, Blitzen Bay pool and Baby Blitzen kiddie pool, mini golf, a fishing lake, paddleboats and kayaks, playgrounds and a gem mining sluice, just to name a few.
“It’s not just coming to go to the theme park next door,” Lovell pointed out. “We have tons of amenities. We’re always improving those, too, by adding new things and activities.”
To learn more about the park visit LakeRudolph.com.