Meet Your OHCE Takeaway Tour Host: Jolly Roger RV Resort
As one of the host sites of this year’s Takeaway Tours at ARVC’s annual OHCE, Jolly Roger RV Resort will offer a virtual tour
Located on the beach in the Florida Keys, Jolly Roger RV Resort is the perfect example of the old real estate adage about the three most important things: “Location, location, location.” The ownership and staff at Jolly Roger know the park is fortunate to have such a dream destination for its park, but location alone doesn’t guarantee 40 years of success, especially for a family-owned park.
As one of the host sites of this year’s Takeaway Tours at ARVC’s annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE), ARVC member-park Jolly Roger RV Resort will offer a virtual tour, with Managing Partner Andrew Jackson sharing insights and behind-the-scenes looks at the nuts and bolts of the 130-site park. He will focus on how he and his family manage the park, the challenges and obstacles that they encounter and how he makes sure his staff goes the extra mile to provide service and accommodations that match the beauty of the park’s oceanfront setting.
The sight of RVs and campers nestled along brilliant aqua-colored waters next to white sand beaches dotted with palm trees is picture perfect, and Jolly Roger is easily able to market this fantasy escape for its park year-round.
“We are fortunate to have two seasons. First, we get the snowbirds and northerners who come down to escape the winter. Then, we have the summertime crowd that comes from a 1,500-mile radius to enjoy the beach, diving, fishing and other water activities,” says Jackson.
The park was founded in August 1980, and has been a family business the entire time, though it didn’t initially seem like it would pass on to the second generation, until Mother Nature intervened and forced the family to change plans.
“My initial career is TV production out in Los Angeles, but my family had owned the park for more than 40 years, and I grew up with it,” says Jackson. “When I went off to school and started my career, I kept tabs on the park, but 15 years ago, Hurricane Wilma hit and changed our world. My dad needed some fresh horses to help out, so I did both jobs while we recovered.”
The Jacksons were then faced with the transition that so many family-run campgrounds face, passing ownership on from one generation to the next or being forced to sell.
“My father was ready to transition out of running the park, but we didn’t want to sell after 25-30 years, so we transferred the park into a family LLC, and with his hand-holding eventually I transitioned to running the park,” he says.
It hasn’t been easy, as Andrew splits his time between coasts, working both his TV production job and as the managing partner at Jolly Roger. But he’s found a way to balance both roles, traveling back and forth while maintaining the great atmosphere and customer service that makes guests flock to the park. His advice for campground owners and operators is one of commitment and attitude, which is sure to be a theme of this tour.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Jackson says. “It’s not for the light of heart. It’s not easy every day and there are plenty of challenges, but it’s worth it. You just want to try to do a good job. Keeping a happy staff and guests can be a fragile balance, and sometimes you fall short, but if you strive to make everyone a happy camper then wonderful things can happen.”
The tours of the parks will be filmed and edited before the conference, allowing the park owners to show off their park and provide insight into how they operate. OHCE attendees can view the tours on-demand beginning November 2, the first day of the conference. Takeaway Tour attendees will encounter an abundance of lessons from the staff at Jolly Roger along with real-life problem-solving strategies, providing new and improved best practices they can “takeaway” and use at their own parks.
A live question and answer session, hosted by OHCE speaker and industry expert Gary Quigley, OHE owner of ARVC member-park Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Penn. This will allow owners to receive live answers to follow-up questions and spark deeper discussions that can be continued in small group meeting rooms or private chats throughout OHCE.
Two other ARVC-member parks were selected to host Takeaway Tours along with Jolly Roger (130 sites) are Nature’s Resort (304 sites) in Homosassa, Fla. and Cross Creek RV Resort (612 sites) in Arcadia, Fla. For more details about the parks featured on the Takeaway Tours, visit www.arvc.org/ohce-takeaway.
The Takeaway Tours are always one of the most popular experiences offered at OHCE—the outdoor hospitality industry’s premier event, and this year will be included in the cost of registration. In past years, Takeaway Tours were an extra $299 add-on cost for attendees to visit parks for a full day, but due to the virtual nature of this year’s event, ARVC is including this valuable learning experience as part of every registration.