Leisure Systems Inc. representatives plan to attend Franchise Expo West as they work to expand the Jellystone Park franchise network
“We are experiencing phenomenal growth and expect it to continue as we expand our franchise network and see growing numbers of millennials embrace Jellystone Parks as the glamping venue of choice,” said Jim Westover, vice president of operations for Leisure Systems, whose representatives plan to attend the Franchise Expo West Thursday through Saturday at the Denver Convention Center.
The Milford, Ohio-based company franchises 84 Jellystone Park campgrounds with more than 17,000 campsites and vacation rentals across the U.S. and Canada and plans to expand to more than 100 parks in the next five years.
“We are especially interested in expanding the Jellystone Park presence in the Western U.S.,” Westover said, adding, “Jellystone Parks provide one of the most lucrative investment opportunities in the campground business because of our name recognition, our CampJellystone.com website, which generates over 2.5 million visits per year, and because of the ancillary income our franchisees generate with sales of Yogi Bear themed merchandise.”
Leisure Systems also enables its franchisees to maximize their revenue potential and camper loyalty through its 200,000-member Club Yogi Rewards program and other unique incentive and partnership programs.
Two months ago, Leisure Systems became the first campground network to join Great Lakes Scrip, a national program that makes it easy for businesses to provide fundraising support for schools, churches and other non-profit organizations.
“Scrip programs resonate well with families and this is a great way for us to show our support for the non-profit organizations that our campers care about. It also helps us further raise brand awareness of Jellystone Parks,” Westover said.
Leisure Systems also developed a targeted text message program with Tatango this past summer, which it makes available to Jellystone Park franchisees. The program is used to alert guests to Yogi Bear sightings and signup opportunities for different activities and to promote sales of certain merchandise and food items. Leisure Systems is also testing a new online reservation system, which it plans to roll out to its franchisees later this year.
While the youngest Baby Boomers grew up watching Yogi Bear cartoons, Leisure Systems surveys have found that most Jellystone Park campers are between the ages of 30 and 39 with two or more kids and a household income of $70,000 plus. This demographic taps into the older millennial base, and as more millennials age and have children, Leisure Systems will continue to capture the market.
“They love Jellystone Parks because we offer organized family activities and themed weekends with Yogi Bear, Ranger Smith and the other Jellystone Park characters, which help them create wonderful memories they can’t get anywhere else,” Westover said. “We also offer upscale amenities, including fully furnished cabin accommodations. We were offering luxury vacation rentals in family campgrounds before it was even called glamping.”
Growing numbers of Jellystone Parks also provide extensive water play parks with lengthy water slides and interactive water features as well as high quality food service items, such as Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and Hunt Bros Pizza.
Westover said most Jellystone Parks will continue to stay busy through the autumn shoulder season because of their increasingly popular fall festival and Halloween themed weekends, which include costume and campsite decorating contests, haunted trail or wagon rides and trick or treating activities.
In addition to attending Franchise Expo West, Leisure Systems representatives plan to meet with park operators and investors interested in learning more about Jellystone Parks at ARVC’s Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, Nov. 8 – 11 in Fort Worth, Texas, and at Leisure Systems’ annual Symposium, Nov. 7 – 10 in Covington, Ky.