Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Future Resort (Recap)

Instead of a conclusion, I'll post an end-of-the-bulk-of-it recap. Remember that I'll probably add posts in the future with other ideas, or improved ideas. So far though, these are some of the general concepts that I've presented.
  • Part 1: Intro
    • Resorts evolve, and disruptive ideas help speed up the process.
    • Social frameworks can be more important than physical frameworks, despite the fact that they are often ignored.
  • Part 2: Land
    • Castle-type structures are best in urban areas.
    • A big chunk of land is best in a rural area, with hill-tops being better than valleys because of wind and insects. (Natural predators and bat houses can help control the insect population.)
    • The idea of a floating resort could catch on.
  • Part 3: Sustainability
    • Go green for profit -- green investments can save money in the long-run.
    • Bring utility bills as close as you can to zero. Many examples are listed. Less money going to bills means more profit and more improvements.
  • Part 4: Diversification
    • There's no good answer for how to diversify, except...
    • Diversify through a crowdsourced evolutionary model.
    • Do iterative development.
    • Specialize in something, preferably an event.
    • Consider different markets if possible and target those you want.
    • Compete with the daily lives of people.
    • Listen to people, since they offer a creative spark.
  • Part 5: Economics of Crowdsourcing
    • Crowdsourcing works when implemented correctly.
    • Offer the choice of working for a discount.
    • Implement the crowdsourced evolutionary model for improvements.
    • People can donate towards an improvement themselves, or organize fundraisers.
    • This new model would mean less work for the owner, more younger/poorer guests with everyone being happy, optimal improvements, more meals and fun events, quicker maintenance, and a better sense of community.
  • Part 6: Resource Sharing
    • The lack of privacy can drive away people.
    • Offer a privacy resource to bring them in, without compromising the family-friendly atmosphere. Tents and RV's aren't that private.
    • Sometimes other scarce resources can be optimized to get more profit or to better utilize the resource.
  • Part 7: Community Involvement
    • Your venue cannot be an introvert.
    • Give money to the community and be an active part of it.
There you have it -- my collection of ideas that will eventually work their way into venues of the future. As far as I've found, this is the most condensed collection of ideas on what nudist venues need to do in order to succeed. This series was 1.5 years in the making, and 6 months in writing. It's also probably my highlight of the year, so hopefully you didn't skip through it.

Addendum 1: This month I read an article in Nude & Natural Magazine (27.3) on the OLT. (Yeah, I'm still catching up with back-issues... this is from Spring 2008.) The second paragraph starts with "Colorado's Orient Land Trust (OLT) is so far ahead of the naked pack..." Mark Storey is correct, and I seem to be on the right track as well. OLT is making use of quite a few ideas that I've presented here: They have a big chunk of land, keep lots of bats, are completely off-the-grid because of the hot springs, have huge diversification, offer work for volunteers, and are an active part of the community. I've never been there, but I would absolutely love to check them out. Just like the best resorts, they stay booked pretty solid (with a prioritized queue). This is proof that they are doing something right!

Addendum 2: This adds to the ideas of my Economics of Crowdsourcing post. I didn't have a word for it at the time, when I talked about having people pitch in small amounts to buy something for the venue. The word is Crowdfunding, which is so new that it's not officially in the wikipedia yet [UPDATE: It's been added since 2009]. It's been around, however, in publications like TIME Magazine, BusinessWeek, and the Wall Street Journal. It's been used to fund movies, fund bands, fund t-shirts, and may just save the journalism business. It's an idea that's catching on, so it must be working.

Addendum 3: My girlfriend is a sale-hunter. When she points out a 50% off sale or a buy 1 get 1 free sale, I just shrug it off. The stores probably have a 100% markup, at least, so they aren't losing any money. A typical shopper will buy the sale item, and maybe a few other things, and the store either breaks even or makes money. If we apply this idea to a naturist resort, the resort loses profit because people only show up for the sale price and don't buy anything extra. If a resort advertises 50% off the first night's stay, many would go for the night and wait for the next sale. This gets business, but doesn't always get profits.

My suggestion was to allow people to work for a cheaper stay. This has the same amount of profit as normal by reducing the cost of maintenance and passing that savings directly to the guest. Since writing about that idea, I've found some middle ground that would do the same thing but also encourage people to visit again in the future.

Some good friends of mine pointed me to a different kind of sale: Menards Rebates. In most of their weekly ad's, they list items that are "free after rebate" (FAR). There isn't any trickery like with Black Friday, where they only stock a few of the items and sell out instantly. Menards keeps these items stocked for the duration of the sale. The only limitations with the sales are: You must also spend $10 to enable the rebates for FAR items. You get the rebates in up to 6 weeks and only as in-store credit. Lastly, there are limits on the number of items that you can buy. On a good week, you can get $25 in true FAR sales. This is the ONLY sale that I've seen where the store can lose money. Here's an example, assuming a 100% price markup, and without diving into too much math:
  • $10 cash + $25 for FAR stuff, I get $35 in stuff, Menards pays $17.50.
  • Rebated $10+$15 for more FAR stuff, I get $25 in stuff, Menards pays $12.50.
  • Rebated $10+$5 for more FAR stuff, I get $15 in stuff, Menards pays $7.50.
  • Rebated $5, I get $5 in stuff, Menards pays $2.50.
  • Totals: I paid $10 out of pocket and got $80 in stuff, and Menards had to pay $40.
So how is it that they even stay in business? The secret is that people aren't perfect enough to execute that example. It's easy to hit the $12 or so mark for the non-FAR items during each visit. I've been trying to profit from these Menards sales for a few months now, but the $30 bird feeder and $40 table probably put Menards in the lead.

What's the lesson? With a gift certificate in hand, most people (including myself) will go there just to use it up, and probably spend some extra in the process. The FAR items aren't free until a future trip, and a future trip will likely include more FAR items. The rebates are strong temptation to keep people coming back.

This same concept can be applied to my credit-for-work idea. Instead of giving guests cash back at the end of their stay for any work they've done, give them the same amount in a gift certificate. Their next stay will be the one with the discount. It may also be of benefit to give half cash-back and half gift certificate to encourage them to start the cycle, similar to the other non-FAR sale items at Menards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to say 'well done'!

It would have been nice if you could have put a little research and effort into it, but not bad for off the cuff...

Ha! Gotcha! You know I'm kidding, great job.

You're young, enthused, smart and I'll bet that you'll become an important part of the nudist community if you keep at it. We need that.

Now, for your next project, why don't you two spend the summer visiting the various nudist places in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois and write revues about them? First time visitor's impression sort of things.

It would be very useful to folks in our area plus we could link to them on Nude Wisconsin and All Nudist.

There's my 10 cents worth, and worth every penny! Steve