Friday, February 20, 2009

My Future Resort (p4) - Diversification

Diversification is important for nudist venues because there aren't a huge number of nudists. For a store, they might be able to sell one thing and be successful because of the huge number of people that might want that one thing. Nudist venues rely on making a select few people happy, and we all know that their tastes vary widely.

The global maximum that I talked about in the intro post is probably impossible, because the environment and the people within it are always shifting. The goal is to satisfy everyone all at once. That means that the ideal venue must diversify, such as offering time-shares, luxury hotel rooms, motels, RV camping, tent camping, seclusion and privacy, public gathering grounds, trails, every reasonable recreation or sport, dining, shared kitchen, and everything else that people might want and the resort can possibly provide. How can a resort pull this off?

It's not easy, but they need to do it anyway. Because interest might fluctuate in any single investment, it's ideal to invest in a lot of different things. The RV lots might be the most popular accommodation today, but as gas prices rise people will be looking to rent a motel room instead. Be sure to have a place for them to plug in their electric vehicle too.

It's my opinion that the campgrounds who are beefing up their RV lots are moving in the wrong direction. They should be building cabins and motel rooms. Better yet, they should be bringing in some recycled green prefabs to use as housing. From what I've read, a decent green prefab is fairly cheap when compared to building something new on the site and is already full of green ideas. However, RV lots are a whole lot cheaper to build! RV's also don't increase the taxes.

My opinion here shouldn't count at all for deciding what to invest in. Typically, this decision is left to the owner of the campground or resort. The owner might make some good decisions and make profit, or they might make some bad ones and go bankrupt. How can they predict the future?

It's my hypothesis that optimal diversification would happen through a crowdsourced evolutionary model. Don't worry if you have no idea what that means -- details are in the next part of the series, and are specific to deciding what to invest in.

Let's first focus on some ideas.

1. Cover as much as you can through iterative development. Start small with something that works. As All Nudist once described: "We went to one [party] where they had a galvanized stock tank (for you city folks, that’s a big metal tub) propped up with a propane burner under it in the garage in the middle of the winter!" (I suggest a Rubbermaid 300 gallon tank for just over $200. Build a simple passive solar heater and you're set!) Luxury will evolve as the items get investment: Sell the tank and get a bigger one. Buy another heater. Sell the whole thing and buy a real hot tub. Get the idea? If it's almost never used, and nobody wants to use it, it's good enough. A more common scenario is that people want to use it but it isn't good enough. This is addressed in the next part of the series.

2. Specialize in something. Places that don't are seen as average, but specializing in something will bring in a unique crowd and be known everywhere. VVRC does a beautiful job of this -- their annual car show brings in enough profits to pay the yearly land taxes, and to pay for lots of entertainment and other stuff for the event. The rest of the summer, the campground is somewhat average and doesn't get a high attendance. Everyone knows of the event, and they make it a point to be there. Other unique nudist things include the Bare Hare Duathlon, Bungee Jumping, and Parasailing. Specializing in a specific nude activity isn't as profitable as specializing in an event. Events draw big crowds all at once, instead of drawing a niche market like those nudist parasailers. Remember my nudist ship idea from part 2 (Land)? That would be a special event at every port it visits. Nudists in the area would want to check it out because of how rarely it would stop by.

3. Consider different markets. There's no reason to turn away those nudist parasailers just because your resort has no water. If there's interest, consider an event where people bring their own equipment and use some nearby water. If there's no water close, consider a conference. I've attended a tech conference in the middle of corn country, so it's possible to create something out of nothing. A later post in this series focuses on how to successfully bring in groups with conflicting views.

4. Target the people you want. Sun Ray Hills features a tavern, small pool, and room for a few games. Tent camping is discouraged, because there isn't much for food there and no place to make your own. There are no rooms or cabins to rent, further discouraging the younger and poorer crowd. And there's nothing for kids, which discourages families. If they are targeting the middle- to upper-aged, they are doing a great job! With only rooms to rent, food available, a spa, and a no kids policy, the Terra Cotta Inn is targeting couples of any adult age. If your resort has a problem with bringing in younger couples, women, or kids, take a close look at what you offer. If a few happen to stay at your resort, ask them why others might be discouraged. Nude & Natural magazine has discussed this a few times. See "Give the Young What They Want", issue 23.4, "Age Gap", issue 25.4, and "Tallahassee Naturally Comes of Age", issue 27.1. Tallahassee Naturally is doing a great job of recruiting the groups they want.

5. Compete with life. I talked about this before (part 1, part 2). If there is a job to do, someone can make a living at a nudist venue. Otherwise, your nudist venue needs to compete for that guest with the other (often textile) venues in the area. Nudism is seen as a novelty that people pay extra for. They are willing to drive a long way to your venue just to skinny-dip. This is changing, however. People with money are buying big houses with pools, exercise equipment, home theaters, hot tubs, and everything else they want. People without money are going to free beaches, and going with the cheap (textile) options for recreation. Somehow, your resort needs to win over these people. You need to compete by offering better facilities and/or cheaper facilities that most people use in their daily life, or events that are unique enough to get them out of their houses.

6. Listen. Diversifying is a process that is both practical and creative. The creative ideas need to be worked down to a practical level in order to implement them successfully. The practical side is made up of the owners and the regulars to the venue. The creative side is made up of kids and newbies to the venue. Make it a point to ask for their creative ideas, then run them through a "practicality filter". 99% of the ideas might be too far out there, but that 1% could be just what the venue needs and could bring in more people and more profit.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, can we assume that when those folks with their RV's (including trilors?) get to your campground, you'll provide a place for them to park while they're taking up even more space in a cabin? And will power be available to run their regrigerators, furnaces, etc., while they're not using them?

I hate to keep going back to this one thing, but RV'rs have money and don't want to stay in a cabin when they brought their home with them.

If you exclude RV's, you lose a large part of the market. Namely, those who can afford to travel to your resort in the first place.

Providing with a pad and a plugin is far cheaper than building any kind of accomodation.

Now, to change subjects, if you get a chance you should spend a weekend at Pride of America Resort near Pardeeville, Wi. Not nudist, very fmily and kids, but probably the best camping resort in Wisconsin.

Not really green, but they have gotten it down pat as far as pleasing all of the people all of the time. Delightful place, especially with kids.

If it was nudist, we'd move there.