LSI Offers Franchisees Multiple Networking and Education Opportunities
By Marley Behnke
Director of Franchisee Education
Leisure Systems, Inc.
After living through their busiest season ever, one would think Jellystone Park owners and managers would rather take a vacation than attend the system’s annual franchise convention. Not so. As in the past, meetings at November’s Symposium near Cincinnati were full, with the merrymaking going into the late night hours. Happy campers, so to speak, were everywhere.
Ray Aljets, pictured above, was among those who made the trip. His family has owned the Jellystone Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for 29 years. Their camp-resort was recognized as the West Regional Park of the year and received four other awards. Ray says the Symposium, along with other meetings and training programs LSI offers, has a direct impact on his park’s bottom line.
“Every educational opportunity LSI provides is of value to the franchisees,” he said. “One of the greatest parts of these events is talking with other franchisees and learning from them.” Ray explained that he was hesitant to add gem mining as an activity, thinking it would not be worth the investment. “We learned from other franchisees that it is very popular. We put it in, and it has shown a great return.”
Networking and recognizing franchisees’ successes are just two aspects of the Symposium. Updates on marketing strategy, operations, guest satisfaction and other topics are accompanied by workshops on everything from hiring to merchandising.
A massive trade show allows franchisees to see, touch and feel new products, while talking with vendor partners. An entire suite is devoted to showcasing new camp store merchandise. This year, store sales are up 41% over 2020, with the average camp store ringing up more $220,000 in sales.
Franchisees also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the LSI leadership team.
The Symposium is just one of several educational programs LSI provides. In January, the Certification and Management Program (C.A.M.P.) will convene at the Jellystone Park in Kerrville, Texas. It focuses on business operations. At the same time, Caring About Recreation Entertainment (C.A.R.E.) will be held there to help operators improve their recreation programs.
Prior to the start of spring camping season, LSI will update franchisees on brand developments and industry trends at the virtual Winter Symposium.
The family camping industry is changing more and faster than ever before. Our job at LSI is to help both longtime owners and new investors take advantage of the tremendous opportunities in front of them, while managing the daily challenges they face. The education, training, coaching and networking opportunities LSI provides is one of the biggest benefits of being a Jellystone Park franchisee.