After busy 2013, RVC Outdoor Destinations already rolling in 2014
After acquiring, renovating and rebranding properties in Tennessee, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania in 2013, Memphis-based RVC Outdoor Destinations is looking to grow even more in 2014, either through continued acquisitions or by continuing to upgrade the 10 properties the company owns.
Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations spoke to MBJ about the company’s upcoming plans, including possibly more zip lines, and the launch of a new website.
MBJ: How do you determine what amenities will go into a property?
Cates: The zip line at Hot Springs is an example that we’re serious when we ask the guest to tell us what they want. It hits our key demographic of young families and active adults, and takes that 474 acre property and opens it up to additional hiking, but it has to make sense and we’ve got to feel there’s a demand to support and sustain it.
MBJ: Do you have a target for more properties this year?
Cates: We have a specific amount of capital we’re wanting to place, so I can see us adding anywhere between zero to 10, depending on the specific markets. We see this as the Hilton or Marriott niche of this industry. We’re all focused on growth and acquisitions, but we need to have an even tighter focus on specific markets we know we’ve got to crack in the southeast.
MBJ: How do you reach customers to market what the properties have to offer?
Cates: We spent eight to nine months attacking what we saw as major deficits with our website. Now it’s very responsive, with better graphics and provides them with a better overall experience. So much of our customer base consists of young families and active adults who are well-wired. And a huge segment of our customers were on tablets and handhelds. They were telling us it was good, but not great, but we needed it to be great.
MBJ: Are there any properties you won’t work with?
Cates: Now we’ve got people coming to us, but we can tell in five minutes if it’s something that makes sense for us. Our biggest due diligence item is asking “is this someplace we’d want to take our families?”. If it’s not some place we’d rationally want to go, then that’s your answer.
But like in any real estate company, we may like the property and get along with the owner, but sometimes we just can’t make the numbers work. This is not an easy business, but we’re very encouraged or we wouldn’t keep growing it. People are going to the properties and they get that it’s not an RV park. It’s an outdoor hospitality experience. If you build something of great quality and provide phenomenal service behind that great quality, you’ll be rewarded.