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Hi to all,
Recently I've noticed, across many forums, a lot of negativity about caravan parks raising fees dramatically, frequently coupled with "resort" style facilities being added.
Hands up all you who've had a "dummy spit" about this issue and the fact you would prefer basic but clean facilities and the extra cash in your pocket, over say putt putt and waterslides?
Well a few weeks ago, as an assistant manager of Touring Oz forum, I decided to "test the waters" so to speak, by seeking comment from those members, to an idea that may be a worthwhile resolution to this issue. Here's what I wrote then.................
I made a point about us caravan park users getting together as a consortium to buy parks to protect our lifestyle under the thread "Today Tonight-Caravan Park Resorts". I also suggested there was (IMHO) no chance of such an idea making it into the starting blocks (let alone out of them) and since then I've rolled a few figures around in my head and have decided to ask a hypothetical question - Who'd be in it?
One of our members made the point that we as CP users are being hearded like sheep into parks that may not necessarily suit our wants nor needs at the whim of the park owners (typically investors looking to maximise their profits) so the answer to me seems to be simple - we need to be the landlord and not the tenant!
A figure (and I'm not sure how accurate it is), is approx 300 000 RVers on the roads. Let's assume everyone put $100 into the investment. That's a slush fund of $30 million to start a buy up of parks to create our own chain. Let's face it, most of us have many thousands of dollars tied up in our rigs, so what's $100 to protect our lifestyle? Let's also say a typical "no frills" park sells for about $3 million, thats a start with 10 parks in the chain. Lets go further and say we managed to get everyone to contribute $1000. Still not much considering what could be achieved. Now we're talking 100 parks in the chain! Not only is this now becoming a larger number but it would give us a formidable voice in the Gov't lobbying stakes.
The benefits - Let's start with park fees. Maybe a 100 van park with 25% occupancy charging on average $15 per night (of coarse scaled so singles pay less than families) gives over $2600 per week to pay overheads and still have the park available to non-investors at full market rates. At these lower rates (a couple for instance may pay $8 - $10 /night) it wouldn't take long to return your initial investment as well as still retaining a share of the ever increasing land value! Peak periods of high occupancy is just the cream on top!
I realise my senario is very simple and requires a far more accurate and researched business model but even if I'm only close to right the figures does seem to make some sense! And of course the amount invested could be varied depending upon the personal circumstances of the investor. The investment could even be willed on to our respective families for their use in maybe 50 years time!!!!!!
Ok as said earlier - who'd be interested?
To my amazement, almost 15% of the membership replied to the post (which made the thread the second most popular in Touring Oz history). More amazing than this though, is the fact not one respondant replied negatively! In fact the vast majority was along the lines of "count me in" and "I'll have 5 shares" etc.
So why then am I telling you all this..............well the response has taken me a little by surprise. If the same positive percentage revealed by the initial survey is replicated across the wider caravanning/camping/motorhoming/treking communities (in fact anyone who uses caravan parks including cabins and sales reps etc), then the idea shows significant promise!
Of course for it to become anything like reality, many more interested persons are required then would be found on any one forum, or in fact on all the forums combined. With this in mind, I'm taking the idea to as many forums as I can, to further gauge reaction. If a resounding positive result is forthcoming from the forums polled, then perhaps another step can be taken to making this a reality.
Please bear in mind this is, as I've said, purely "testing the water". I realise much more work is needed and in fact the thought may not even make "first base". There would be many variations of this very simplistic model needed to be canvassed and debated, but a start has to be somewhere! Also be aware that I am not collecting any money! If the idea was to reach that point (sometime in the future) that would be handled by a reputable firm of solicitors with appropriate trust account facilities in place, not me.
Many of you will see this thread pop up on other forums. This is so I can reach as many travellers as possible. If you know of a forum that I've missed please let me know.
Well as said previously - WHO'D BE INTERESTED? Over to you.........................................
Count me in. May be some way of getting back at developers who keep buying up prime site caravan parks and turning them into elitest accommodation. Could just be a win for Mr & Mrs average caravanner!!!!
Well, plenty of spirited interest so far!
I've just done an interim tally of responses. Here's the result to date;
FORUM REPLIES I'M IN! I'M OUT NOT SURE
Touring Oz 34 34 (100%) 0 0 ExploreOz 31 27 (87%) 4 (13%) 0
Caravanners 20 14 (70%) 4 (20%) 2(10%)
Jayco 8 7 (88%) 0 1(12%)
The Others 9 8 (89%) 0 1(11%)
TOTALS 102 90 (88.3%) 8 (7.8%) 4(3.9%)
"The Others" consist of JUGA, RV Supertramp, No Boundaries, Aussie Off Road, Australian Caravanning, Australian Camping and Go See Australia. I have also just today posted the question on ATCM&CC.
We're not finished yet! Any other forums please let me know.
The response speaks volumes, in my opinion, but there are some very good points being raised. Please keep the thoughts (negative and positive) coming in. If you want to make this work, tell us your ideas. I'm also correlating the ideas and criticisms.
Figures you quote must be seperated into high and low season-obviously the income is less during the low but expenses could be nearly the same, ie managers wages, maintenance and council rates. However, most caravanners can do a better job than some of the current managers.
My wife and I use free camping a lot now because of the high cost of staying in resorts/caravan parks.
I love the idea and would be happy to buy 10 x $100 shares or 1 x $1000 share. I'm sure the doubters will come on board when they see how successful it is.
I hope I'm not to late with this message as I've only just found the "No Boundries" site.
Is this still going?
I've sent Ian an email letting him know your enquiry.
Hi Kym, Tony and everyone,
An idea is always still going, however that was all this was......an idea.
I firmly believe this idea could work......but probably won't as there is generally too much apathy and suspicion amongst the caravanning community. Many far prefer to argue why something won't work then attempt to try to make it work.
On the bright side, this idea was posed on a number of forums and an overwhelming number of respondants supported the concept. Whether this could be converted into enough financial investors is doubtful I'm afraid.
I would be very interested in this, count me in. Better than throwing money into super, $2000.00
I'm embarrassed now! Sorry I've taken so long to reply.........Christmas deadlines and work are a pain....we should all be out extending our boundaries
Reality with my plan is that although I, and just about everyone I've spoken to, thinks it is a good idea.....to try and organize such a thing would be more stress than I'd be want to carry. To keep everyone happy would be impossible, to keep most people happy would be difficult and to keep a few people happy would be a failure, so I decided not to persue this plan.
Someone may, but I honestly doubt it.
I did however, start looking at the possibility of many caravan parks, and I'm firmly convinced that the figures add up!
Great idea. Count us in. Maybe management of parks could be a shared responsibility if investers were interested in taking a turn season about. This would give everyone a chance to move around the country and still work occassionally to help investment grow. thanks Ian great idea
No Problems Bill and Liz,
Hopefully some enterprising person may pick it up and run with it!
Merry Christmas everyone,
Drive safely and enjoy!
I had just finished reading Ian's initial post on this subject to my husband, who sat there with a look of increasing interest on his face, and then I scrolled down to the bottom of the page only to see the idea had been canned due to a review of the amount of work involved. What a tragedy! I still think the idea has great merit and we'd be happy to invest. (Coming from a Scot you'd better believe it would work otherwise we wouldn't be giving up our hard-earned!!)
I fully appreciate the stress it would place on the shoulders of one person having to administer the project on his/her own, but if the financial side was being overseen by an independent body, would it not be possible for investors to form a committee to make the decisions on which parks to purchase and what ground rules should apply?
Of course there will always be differences of opinion even amongst committee members, but as always a majority decision has to be accepted even by the dissenters. After all, we've all got the same basic aim in mind and it's to everybody's advantage to see that the project continues in a harmonious way.
I sincerely hope somebody does take up the idea. Maybe some like-minded forum members with experience in business management could be persuaded to offer their services free of charge to do a feasibility study. The problem I see with a private company or individual taking up the idea and running with it is that it would almost certainly become a "what's in it for me" situation, then we're back where we started with paid staff or an owner whose rules we have to live by.
Let's hope the caravanners can get it off the ground themselves.
Count me in as well. Sounds like a good investment to me, particularly as this situation will probably only get worse