Archive for October, 2011
Monday, October 31st, 2011
Hypothesis: If a trout elected to forgo life in a small pond for the pursuit of competing with the Great Whites in a big ocean, he would die. The trout, in its present form, is just not equipped to pursue life in the ocean. Just in case you’re keeping up with us, the same reality goes for the Great White should he give pond operations a go.
Conclusion: We are all (already) in the same pond. The trout is equipped to chart the familiar freshwater waters of his home pond. However, the trout may indeed evolve to garner presence and subsequent dominance on an oceanic scale. And, so to may the Great White learn how to scale back and operate in a comparative puddle.
We strongly believe that every business in the world is in the same pond. The Internet, among other technologies, is a great equalizer. Stores, hotels, professional consultants, manufacturers and anyone else who provides a good or service to a consumer must not define his or her market by geography. Instead, the business person should define their boundaries only by the demand their supply satiates.
Think Hershey’s Chocolates, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and even Wal Mart. Each of these companies continue to evolve until they completey satisfy the demand of their pond.
Lucky for you, almost everyone in America is in our glamping or luxury camping market almost five times a year. Though staggering, data indicates that generations X, Y and the baby boomers average between 3.5 and 4.1 leisure vacations annually while families enjoy 4.5 annual leisure trips as a unit. That’s a big pond. Fish or be fished.
Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
The number of companies setting a new standard are really impressive these days. Groundbreaking innovators are purportedly raising the bar and changing the game left and right. This sort of trajectory in service and quality begs the question – why were they holding back?
Four Seasons was the first hotel company to offer overnight guests bath amenities, robes, exercise facilities and a variety of other rather standard by (today’s standards) *amenities.* Yesterday’s bottle of shampoo is today’s complimentary wireless internet. Though extreme, these are shining examples of businesses holding out on their guests for the sake of being good. Any business person knows that *good* is the enemy of *great.*
The guest is our boss. Plain and simple. We listen to what guests want in an exceptional outdoor camping experience and we provide it – flawlessly. C’mon, raise the bar with us.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
This world might never see another Richard Proenneke. A man who willingly trades what he knows and has for that which he might have. His name may sound familiar, as Mr. Proenneke is the pioneer the book One Man’s Wilderness is written about and the only human character in the film often seen on public television, Alone in the Wilderness.
For those of you not familiar with this life architect, Richard Proenneke designed his existence in the Alaskan wilderness of Twin Lakes with not more than he could carry in. He fell the trees, honed the logs, fashioned the hinges, laid the roof, chopped the firewood, grew the vegetables and hunted the game. All to live in a self-sufficient and self-reliant way not many ever would or could.
While those who catch the movie will be blown away by his superhero physical abilities, we remain impressed by his internal conditioning – a prerequisite for this odyssey. Picture yourself and the vast wilderness. That’s it – there is no more. The immense mountain ranges, wild elk, Bull Moose, wolves, untouched fresh water lakes and perhaps some snow and a canoe are all you’ve got. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Internet, no smartphone, no radio, no television, no friends, no family.
While conditions like this appear as a death sentence to some, others celebrate these absences. Embracing the outdoors certainly does not need to be this dramatic. In fact, we encourage you to bring your friends and your family when venturing out into the wilderness. However, we simultaneously and strongly encourage you to think about what else you really need.
Mr. Proenneke required patience and practicality. We’ll take care of each of those under one condition – you keep an open mind. If you need connected separation, comfortable survival and adventure with comfy beds, you need us.
Saturday, October 15th, 2011
Just in case any copyright attorneys are monitoring our extensive blogging library, Richard Louv is the exclusive owner of the title of this blog, not us. In fact, most everything posted here is explored better than we could ever explain in his book Last Child in the Woods; saving our children from nature deficit disorder. Fascinating – a nature deficit disorder. At least there is a simple and readily available cure.
We (those cleverly disguised responsible adults) should be absolutely mortified that our kids like playing inside better because that’s where the electrical outlets are. In this sort of a Levitt and Dubner-esque Freakonomicsstyle approach, Louv connects the absence of nature in a child’s life to debilitating concerns like obesity, attention disorders and depression. Powerful stuff.
Louv idetifies how exposure to nature is essential to a youngster’s development including but not limited to the physical and emotional sort. With all of those “pharmaceutical” “ask your doctor about” commercials on television, seems there should be one shouting at the couch potato to turn of the magic box and find a river, a tree, or a blade of grass as soon as humanly possible.
That said, shut off your computer or mobile device and go out and play – NOW. Get outside and live it up. Most important, when booking your next family vacation, forget the app and instead bridge the nature gap.
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Recall the great explorers for a moment; Columbus, Ponce De Leon, Henry Hudson, Lewis and Clark and the rest of their admirable colleagues. Despite doubt and consequence, these fearless fellows (there were likely plenty of ladies too) charted uncharted waters and explored unknown lands. Why?
There are likely many more reasons than we might know. Even before the examples above, explorers explored for riches, to expand their empire, or to expand their religion. They also explored because they simply had to. Nothing else would satiate their need for adventure and whatever might come as its result.
To clear, we’re not implying that our ideas and endeavors even hint at the greatness of those who discovered the previously undiscoverable. Rather, we’re tipping our hats to them and thanking them for making what we do simple and straightforward. Sure, we’d love to expand our empire and our wealth – but that’s not our passion.
Our passion is providing those who might not otherwise have the opportunity a chance to indulge in the outdoors. We love it when others soak up the sun, paddle a river, pedal a byway and climb a mountain. Mostly because we’re right there with ‘em.
Posted in Uncategorized
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Starting in 2007, financial concerns and the exponentially rising costs of RV ownership detoured potential owners from purchasing an RV while current owners struggled to maintain the rig they owned. The chart below demonstrates the trend of RV shipments beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2012 projections.
*Projected by the University of Michigan, Dr. Richard Curtin.
While the financial crisis and otherwise coined Great Recession clearly impacted RV sales and shipments, other factors negatively impacted the rest of the travel industry. Ironically, however, travellers yearned to be outside more than ever once they re-acclimated to the new economy. On March 1, 2010, USA Today reported that “ten million more people visited national parks last year than in 2008…”
Increased attraction of outdoor hospitality venues happened as well-known hotel brands reported occupancy reductions approaching 50% and revenue decreases as much as 38%.
Americans love their outdoors now more than ever, so how do they get around? And were do they stay? With us.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
Less environmental impact ≠ more money.
The United States Travel Association is a great resource for identifying travel trends and factors that impact the travel industry domestically and internationally. According to them, the environment (protecting it that is) plays a huge part in domestic travellers’ plans. Here’s a bit more:
“With over 79% of U.S. adults considering themselves environmentally-conscious and increasingly aware of terms such as carbon footprint and global warming, travelers are beginning to make decisions based on sustainability criteria. However, while environmental responsibility is one of the prime factors influencing the selection of travel companies, American travelers continue to lack the willingness to pay extra to support environmentally-friendly travel providers.”
Further research conducted by The Association of Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds shows that 82% of respondents would stay at an eco-friendly venue if that venue were close to the same price and provided the same amenities as the non-green alternative.
Thus, travelers get it. They get the importance of environmental stewardship every day, even when they are on vacation from the everyday. They also get that acclimating to a new set of activities might use a bit more time and money than they might otherwise if they stay with the status quo. They aren’t quite willing to give either up – yet.
These statistics shout one more thing to the hospitality industry – we have more work to do. We, the lodging providers, must strive to ensure that green practices translate to value for both our venues and our guests. Green must resonate and be that compelling addition to a great guest experience.
We’re happy to explain how less environmental impact might not have to cost more. Find out how.
Sunday, October 2nd, 2011
Though geography, location and typical climate certainly play a role in an outdoor experience, the wild outdoors are an unequivocally uncontrolled environment. G rated camping jaunts may quickly turn into an R rated adventure if Mother Nature decides to shake things up. While we are not able (yet) to control all of the atmospheric elements surrounding an outdoor experience, we do all that we are able to merge just the right amount of nature and nurture™.
We don’t toss around the term glamping as generically as most and take our lodging solutions seriously. In fact, our criteria for what we consider to be a luxury camping experience would likely impress the most notable hotel brands. So what makes what we do different than what you might do?
Standards built on experience. We understand guest expectation surrounding this style of experience and have evolved standards that will exceed these same expectations. Sense of entry is huge, way finding is critical, site layout is a game breaker and service level standards and amenity programing are the binding agent.
If you are considering a leap into the outdoor hospitality world, be sure to use the buddy system.