By Tom Bailey Jr.
via (The Commercial Appeal)
A young, Memphis-based company has expanded out West as it works to scale up its upscale camping facilities. RVC Outdoor Destinations has acquired a campground in Colorado Springs, with plans to renovate and rebrand it under the RVC "flag," the company announced Tuesday.
The 200-acre grounds, now called Garden of the Gods Campground, is just west of Colorado Springs and has views of the popular Pikes Peak. RVC Outdoor Destinations provides outdoor resort destinations with upscale amenities, particularly for travelers in recreational vehicles. But RVC also provides yurts, cabins and cottages.
Last year, RVC opened its sixth site -- and the nearest one to Memphis -- called Catherine's Landing in Hot Springs, Ark. It also has locations at Pine Mountain, Ga., Live Oak Landing near Destin, Fla., Mountain Springs near Asheville, N.C., and two at Carrabelle Beach, Fla.
The company experienced a "great" first quarter, is receiving "extraordinarily good" guest-survey scores, and has seen "a lot of growth" in visitors to its website, rvcoutdoors.com, president Andy Cates said Tuesday.
"We're excited and enthused, but still careful," he said.
Garden of the Gods had been a top RV and outdoor lodging destination in the Colorado Springs area, but had been bank-owned since 2010, according to a company news release. RVC will immediately start renovating the property, including improving tent sites, resurfacing pools, improving existing RV sites and adding eight new ones. The facility's name will be changed to Garden of the Gods RV Resort.
"The Garden of the Gods acquisition is a terrific addition to our portfolio of upscale outdoor vacation properties," Cates said in a release.
"The upgraded camping experience we offer is resonating with guests. It fits with what a lot of people are looking for in a vacation these days because it is unique, affordable and allows guests to enjoy some of America's most beautiful natural landscapes with amenities that truly make it a destination experience."
The upscale amenities include concierge service, dog parks, modern swimming pools, boating and fishing rentals, beer and wine bars, and free Wi-Fi and cable. RVC is investing a lot of money per unit, so it must scale up to a network of dozens of facilities around the nation to make its business model work, Cates said last year.
"We're looking at a couple of properties for joint ventures," he responded Tuesday when asked about future expansion.
"... We are focused West and refocused, too, on Florida now. We've got the Gulf Coast and are looking to get further central and south" in Florida, Cates said. The company's strategy includes working to segment the industry, much like the categories of hotels from lower cost, lower service (Motel 6) to higher cost, higher service (Hilton).
"It's inevitable that it happens," Cates said of the segmentation. "I think we're helping agitate to accelerate that evolution. ... We want to be the leader in the Hilton niche that now doesn't exist."