Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - 86

YOGI BEAR'S JELLYSTONE PARK CAMP-RESORTS
www.campjellystone.com / Headquarters: Milford, Ohio / Ron Vitkun, director of
franchise sales and development: "It is important that you listen to your guests."

Stronger
Together

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park
proves it's smarter than the
average campground.
BY TIM O'CONNOR
For decades, Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts were a
destination for families who had their
own RVs. But when franchisees began putting in cabins in the 1990s it
opened the campground chain up to
new customers and accommodations.
When Ron Vitkun began running
his own Jellystone campground in the
mid-1990s he started with four cabins. As he added more, Vitkun saw the
campground's family reunion business take off. The cabins allowed families that didn't have RVs to still enjoy a week outdoors with their more
dedicated camping relatives. "We've
seen exponential growth in revenue
because of cabins," he says. "You're
expanding your market beyond just
people who have an RV."
By the time Vitkun sold his campground in 2014 to become the director
of franchise sales and development
for Jellystone Parks, it had 51 cabins.
Other franchisees have taken the concept further, adding tree houses, tepees, yurts and even old train cabooses to their accommodations.
Regardless of how they camp, the
kind of visitor that comes to Jellystone has stayed consistent after
nearly 50 years. "From day one, our
target has been and always will be the
family who is on a weekend getaway or
is staying there for a week for a family
getaway," Vitkun says.
86

franchising-today.com

WINTER 2017

Jellystone Park franchisees find success
in part by developing a strong recreation
staff and offering fun activities for guests.

All 79 franchise locations must meet
several requirements and standards
designed to uphold that reputation
and ensure guests will return. Aside
from regular appearances by Yogi, his
pal Boo Boo and their friends, each
campground must have modern bathrooms, a registration office, laundry
machines, a swimming pool and a pavilion building for holding events.
Campgrounds also have retail
stores for necessities and merchandise such as beach towels, snacks,
firewood and stuffed toys. The stores
have become an increasingly important revenue generator for franchisees
because they're the first places visitors go when they need something. "If
you have things campers need and you
meet their requirements, you can sell
almost anything," Vitkun says.
Leisure Systems Inc., the parent
company of Jellystone Parks, has
made more retail resources available
to franchisees. The company now offers more than 600 retail items and it
has two staff members - Vice President of Retail Operations Sheila Isaac

and Retail Director Renata Evans -
who can help franchisees lay out their
store and merchandise products.

Support Network
The embrace of retail is just the latest evolution for the family-friendly
campground company. The first Jellystone campground opened in 1969
in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and remains in
operation today. As the company approaches its 50th anniversary, it's planning a blowout event to celebrate the
milestone and give franchise owners
an opportunity to connect. "Networking is so important," Vitkun says. "The
more time we spend as a group together, the stronger that network and information sharing becomes."
Leisure Systems supplements
the franchise network with its own
support systems to maximize sales
and guest satisfaction. The company is testing a cloud-based network
that will provide franchisees with
real-time data such as occupancy to
compare their performance to other Jellystone Park campgrounds and


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Franchising Today - Winter 2017

Contents
Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - Cover1
Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - Cover2
Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - 1
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