Presidential Musings – August 2018

Accounting. The very word can strike fear in our hearts; many of us may do our own accounting or outsource it. Let’s face it – We as owners or managers are focused on day to day operations, marketing, making sure our guests are taken care of and enjoying a great camping experience, and rightly so. But at the end of the day, knowing and understanding the math is critical in making important decisions regarding your property. At our upcoming CalARVC 2018 Fall RV Park Day, Wednesday, September 26 at Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles, Lindsey Foos, Founder of Fireside Accounting, will be presenting a session on “Tips and Tricks for Tracking What’s Important. ” Among the topics to be discussed:

• Why accurate and detailed accounting is critical
• What elements are important to track
• How to track your property’s performance
• Using financial data to make decisions

In a little more detail, further topics:

• Why accurate and detailed accounting is critical: Not only for your own tax preparation, but also if you intend to sell. Buyers will need accurate P&L’s with extensive line item detail. Don’t just lump your revenue from all site types into ‘Rental revenue’, break it out by site type.

• Track your revenue by site type for Y/Y comparisons: Tracking revenue by site type allows you to make adjustments as needed. For example if you note that Y/Y your Premium sites are dropping and Standard site revenue is increasing, are your premium sites overpriced? Do you need to do an email blast with a special price for the Premium sites to generate interest so they might see the value and book that site again in the future when they return? Conversely, if your Premium sites show an increase in occupancy and revenue, should you upgrade your standard sites to Premium? If you have extra land and allow tent camping and you see your tent camping occupancy and revenue increasing, should you raise your price? Or augment the existing tent sites to include bordered, graveled sites and charge a higher fee? These are just a few examples of why it is critical to track revenue by site type at a granular level and track trends, because your customer (and that data) is telling you what is important to them.

• Cap Ex vs. R&M: If you do some of the improvements like upgrading tent sites or upgrading Standard sites to Premium, track those dollars carefully. If you go to sell and you’ve classified those expenses to R&M, that’s an ‘addback’ and will increase your NOI, resulting in a higher sales price but also when you report those improvements and can substantiate them, because you did those improvements to increase the value of your park, those are deductions that will reduce the capital gains tax you’ll be subject to.

• Track your P&L weekly, if not Daily: If you just look at your P&L at the end of the month, it’s too late to make adjustments. Evaluating it weekly allows you to observe trends and make corrections, run specials if need be, and keeps your finger on the pulse of the trends that affect your park.

• The importance of visual data: If you’re going to track revenue and occupancy by site type, it can be tedious running reports Y/Y and go line item by line item comparing to determine trends. But if you utilize a system like Fireside, you can log in and visually see trend lines and graphs that are constantly updated and get the information instantly. This helps you determine trends and allows you to make the adjustments noted above, and take corrective action to maximize profitability and desirability of the inventory you have in your park.

We look forward to seeing you at Wine Country RV Resort, where you can see Lindsey’s presentation, along with Eric Stumberg’s presentation of the current status of the importance of WiFi in your park, covering these topics:

• Consumer expectations of WiFi
• The WiFi service problem – fewer than 1 in 5 parks met guest expectations in 2017
• 3 keys to successful WiFi – Bandwidth, network and management
• Bandwidth – the biggest gap
• Why WiFi network design matters
• The rise of premium WiFi
• Honest communication – How to communicate to your guests about WiFi

It’s going to be a great experience and an opportunity to network with friends and colleagues, and we look forward to seeing you in Paso Robles!  Click here to register>

Randy Hendrickson
CalARVC President
Horizon RV Resorts