Friday, January 23, 2009

My Future Resort (p3) - Sustainability

Go Green!

That is the message for the next three weeks, and there are some simple reason why everyone should:
  1. We have to in order to survive. Seriously, our world is in trouble and we need to fix it before it's too late.
  2. Going green shows other people that you are smart. You're trying your best to fix it and encouraging others to fix it as well.
  3. Profit.
I understand that many people are turned off by the ideas of recycling, paying more for environmentally friendly items, carbon credits, picking up litter, planting trees, and other stuff like that. All that is important too, but I'll instead focus on how to get profit from going green. There are thousands of great ideas out there, but many just aren't worth the time or money. I'll point out the practical and worthwhile ones that will maximize profit.

There are two ways to make profit: Charge more, or spend less. Everyone in America has heard of Wal-Mart, the world's largest public corporation by revenue. How is it that they are so successful? Part of it is that they crunch down their spending, and then reduce their prices to below all their competition while still making profit. They are more efficient than the competition. Nudist resorts can do the same, and can probably undercut traditional textile places in the process if they act soon. If it's cheaper to stay at a nudist resort instead of a motel, I bet more people would try it. We don't have many hostels in the US, so there is certainly potential.

Wal-Mart's goal is to cut spending to a bare minimum, and they have realized that going green is a way to do it. According to their initiatives: "In October 2005, Wal-Mart announced it would implement several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency." Their new stores include plenty of natural lighting, bio-fuel capable boilers, water-cooled refrigerators, xeriscape gardens, wind turbines, solar arrays, and they have acted to reduce packaging and reduce transportation costs. Coca Cola and UPS are deploying fuel-efficient vehicles. Culvers recycles their waste vegetable oil into fuel. Many new buildings are going for LEED certification. The world is going green, and making profit from it, so we need to get with the trend.

Things are rapidly changing in green technology, which makes investment difficult to justify. Why pay $1,000 for something when it'll probably be $500 next year? Another way to look at it is that it's estimated to save you $10,000 over the life of using it, so your ahead either $9,000 or $9,500. If you wait a year before buying it, and keep waiting year after year to maximize the profit, you'll end up without it and without any of the rewards. To get the reward, the loop needs to be broken, and you need to commit to buying the item even though it'll be cheaper (or better) next year.

Technology exists for a wide variety of uses and climates. To evaluate if something is a worthwhile investment, you need to figure out the cost of going without it and the cost of purchasing it and using it. This is difficult, because it relies on a lot of assumptions and estimates. Going without it should produce a cost/time graph with a straight line that rises over time. For example, a light bulb that costs $1 to buy (or $0 if you already have it) plus $1 every month will cost $13 after a year. The alternative is a compact fluorescent, which costs $10 to buy, plus $0.25 per month. The CF is a bigger investment, but the cost line rises much slower over time. After 1 year, both options end up costing $13. This is the point where the CF investment has "paid for itself". The CF will be the cheaper option every month beyond that. After 10 years, you'd save a total of $81 by replacing that one bulb with a CF.

If the light bulb in the above example is hardly ever used, a CF in it's place may take 100 years to be cheaper over-all. If this is the case, buy a bulb. Neither option would last 100 years anyway.

How do you calculate the number of years it'll take to have a green technology "pay for itself"? This is based on the intersection of two lines. Assume that the green technology is more expensive initially, and that it is cheaper per month. Let GI = green investment cost, NI = normal investment cost, GM = green monthly cost, NM = normal monthly cost. Find the length of time (in months) it'll take with: (GI - NI) / (NM - GM)

In the next three parts, I'll focus on water, electric, and heat/AC. The goal of my resort is to come as close as possible to eliminating those utility bills!



Nudiarist said...

The problem is that the only booming segments of the nude recreation industry are upscale venues, and cruises. When people go on vacation they like to be pampered, in surroundings that are superior to home. Look at the success of the Terra Cotta Inn, and the rapid rise of Caliente.

Going green should be everybody's goal, I agree, but at this point in time you can't get much greener than most nudist resorts, which are pretty primitive. About the most luxurious accomodation you can find is a cabin, and most visitors come for the day, or if they spend the night, do so in a tent or trailer.

By far the most energy I have used participating in nudist events is the gasoline required to get there and back.

Generally it's already a lot cheaper to stay at a nudist resort than at a Holiday Inn.

As for Walmart, don't forget that millions and millions of people shop there for just about everything. You will not likely ever see a Walmart model work with nudism and naturism because there simply aren't enough people in the lifestyle. I believe AANR's membership is only about 40,000, and TNS has to be far behind.

That's less than half the people who fill Ohio Stadium for a single football game.

Everything you say is valid, and it's becoming smart for industries to go green, but upfront capital is needed to get things going. As far as I can see, there is a serious lack of capital in the nudist industry, except perhaps in Pasco County, and in the hands of people who run cruises. Most of these resorts rely on membership to make improvements, which can be very slow in coming.

One example I can think of is Cedar Trails in Ohio, where one member took it upon himself to clear 5 miles of hiking trails, all voluntarily for the better good of all.

The Buckeye Naturists in Columbus can barely afford to rent a pool for winter swims. Last I heard they only had about $500 in their coffers, and will be cutting out summer outings to local venues.

Nudists and naturists are already some of the greenest people in the world. The challenge is to get more people worldwide to embrace the lifestyle, so there will be fewer resources wasted on the manufacturing and laundering of clothing, less use of air conditioning in hot weather, and more respect for the natural world.

Academic Naturist said...

Yes, the upscale resorts are making the big bucks from the people that have the big bucks. But, people with big bucks can go anywhere they want. To get more people into nudism, I think we need to put forth effort in all areas grass-roots style.

I disagree with your Holiday Inn example. Most rooms that I've ever booked have been in the $50 to $65 range and often include a pool and other stuff. The nudist campgrounds often show nightly rates for rooms in the $30 to $50 range, but also charge a "grounds fee" that is at least $25, and more for non-members. They are roughly the same price, so there is no incentive for a textile to consider shedding their clothes to save money. The grounds fees make tent camping and RV camping more expensive than at a park.

For the luxury resorts, I just priced two of them in Jamaica that sounded popular: If my girlfriend and I had a 7 day vacation at the end of May, we'd pay $3,136 at Grand Lido Negril Resort (nude), or $2,805 at Sandles Montego Bay (textile). I have yet to find an instance where going nude would truly save us money.

The Walmart model doesn't apply to just naturists -- it applies to everyone who is looking for accomodation. If nudist accomodation ends up being the cheapest (and most efficient), and the nudist resorts make that fact known, I think a lot more people would try it.

I thought it was brilliant when the Pine Trees Associated Nudist Resort advertised to the media that they still had rooms available for the inauguration.

I agree that nudist campgrounds are already somewhat efficient, but they can always do better. They can't advertise as being eco-friendly because they encourage people to bring their own houses-on-wheels, have decades-old appliances that they can't afford to replace, use lots of water, and use lots of heat/electric to keep the pool/hot-tub going. Are there any resorts or campgrounds with a LEED certification? The "green" wave is here, and no resorts are surfing it yet.

In order to bring more people into the lifestyle, they need to get on the "green" wave and become the cheapest option in the area. There needs to be an advantage to going there. If they're the same or worse than their textile competition, they lose.

I understand that capital is a big issue, and I'll get to that in parts 4, 5, and 7. You hit the nail on the head when you said "Most of these resorts rely on membership to make improvements, which can be very slow in coming." The later parts of this series present a new social framework which doesn't suffer the same problems as the traditional way of thinking.

Funding is certainly an issue with the traditional model, but should work much more smoothly in the new model. Other benefits of the new model include a better quality resort, and more younger people getting involved. Stay tuned for details. :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with both of you, except where I dont...

Upscale venues are not part of the equation related to budget or greeness. Successful ones don't care about either. Of course they charge more, they cater to a smaller, more exclusive clientele. Going by your vacation example, I'd be thrilled to pay only $30 a day extra to be at a nudist resort!

Caliente is not thriving, it's struggling and doing anything it can to stay afloat, including swinger parties. My feeling is that they invested too much up front, are too pricy in an area saturated with nudist destinations, and the owners expected a better profit margin.

Lake Como, a much more modest resort, seems to be doing just fine. Expanding, in fact.

$50 Holiday Inn? You're kidding, right?. Motel 6, maybe. And no comparison to that which even a primitive nudist place offers, namely, nudity among other like-minded folks.

Valley View (Wis) is about $55 for a cottage and grounds fees for a couple or family. That kind of money in Madison would get you a scary motel room with a crack whore on one side and a dealer on the other.

Sunray Hills, the most elaborate nudist venue in Wisconsin costs about $130 per month for a fully serviced site, park your trailor. Build a deck. Overnight rates plus grounds fee are high for the area but cheaper than a decent hotel, sans nudity, campfires, dances, parties, fireworks, walks in the woods, friends, etc.

And finally, even if you offered free admission, people who now don't run around nude still wouldn't do it. Cheap rates will not create a new crowd of "naked perverts" like all of us are.

OK, so really finally, people driving $300,000.00 motor homes don't give a hoot about grounds fees. And folks who drag their trailers around from one nudist place to another do it because they like to, it works for them.

You're doing good work here, but there are realities to remember.

Build a cheap, green resort in the South and people still have to be able to afford to get there. After that expense, ten or twenty dollars difference per day is no big deal.

Build it up North and expect nobody to be there most of the time. People work during the week and don't get out to play. That gives you about 32 days to cover the year's expenses. There goes the cheap rate.

Most of this country is temperaturely hostile (like that? Just invented the phrase) to nudists, meaning a very short income season.

Green-wise, that's good. Being closed is VERY green!

Landed clubs with heavy volunteer effort, requiring a smaller profit margin, appear to have the best chance to thrive.

So there you go, for what it's worth. -Steve

Nudiarist said...

We can debate back and forth about creating the perfect nudist venue, but Steve gets to the bottom line when he states, "And finally, even if you offered free admission, people who now don't run around nude still wouldn't do it."

Academic Naturist said...

That's true: There are textilers, and there are nudists. But, there is a pretty big grey area that are home nudists, or that occasionally go to a free beach.

Steve would probably agree that any time we walk to Mazo Beach, we look around and think "wow, I've never seen most of these people!" FOMB did an exit poll one day in 2007 and found that 28% of the Mazo Beach people were either new or had been there once before. All-in-all, there's a surprisingly huge turnout to free places. There's also a lot of closet nudists!

If a campground or resort could bring in a bigger chunk of that crowd, a number of positive things would happen. First is that we'd be able to count them more accurately, and prove that there are a lot more nudists than previously thought. Second is that it would increase participation at the venue, making it more fun for all and eventually more profitable.

Let's get back to the cost issue after part 5 of the series.

For now, the focus is to drive down cost in the long-run and be more efficient than the competition. The hope is that supply/demand economics will take over, bringing more people in. It works for Walmart, so it's worth a shot at least.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Walmart. That company shamessly exploits it's employees and, by virtue of it's buying power, undersells it's competitors.

It may be a good business role model, without morals, but it doesn't represent that which most businesses can do.

Any nudist venue has limited clientelle; season, location and travel are involved.

For instance, Valley View is a self-sustaining landed club. Visitors are just a premium. And still, they charge about $25 to visit for the day.

This is not unreasonable and more than covers their costs of extra pool maintenance, etc, but is a bit much for a lot of folks to pay for a day in the sun.

We love going there but, a weekend adds up to $200 for a month of weekend days. This does not fit our budget. Camping over is pretty cheap, but costs more.

I'm just sure that it's possible to make a decent nudist venue available to the masses.

Everything costs. Money is all. I'm afraid that the future of nudust places is going to become more and more exclusive, for the monied set.

Another good reason for us to do what we can to protect our beaches.

Sup time, bye! -Steve

Anonymous said...

That was supposed to be "I'm just NOT sure that..."

Maybe you can edit that...