In the ever-changing landscape of campground management, there’s a growing shift toward integrating cabins into traditional camping sites. This isn’t just about upgrading facilities; it’s about crafting experiences. Jim Franck from Lancaster Log Cabins and Bill and Marsha Cable from Austin Lake RV Park and Cabins recently sat down with us to share their experience, painting a picture that blends financial savvy with campground community building.
Jim Franck, Sales Manager at Lancaster Log Cabins, shares the journey of the company.
“Our current owner, Dan Smucker, grew up in the cabin industry,” Jim said. “His father owned a cabin company where they made cabin kits by hand. They’d ship the kit and the crew to a site to assemble the cabin.”
In 2016, Dan purchased the company from his father and changed directions just a bit. He realized it would be much easier to ship completed cabins wherever they needed to go, so he switched production over to making park models for campgrounds.
This shift heralded a new era for Lancaster, culminating in their move to a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant.
“We were building four cabins a week,” Jim remembered. “Fast-forward three years. Now we are completing 15 cabins a week. We’ve increased our production capabilities, not by moving faster, but by multiplying how many assembly lines we have.”
Jim and his team are aware that many campgrounds order cabins in the fall, expecting them to be ready for the busy season in the spring. Their goal was to get to a production level to accommodate that.
“Right now, our lead time is two to three months,” Jim said. “We’re loving that we can get cabins out to customers within a couple of months.”
For park owners who might be mulling over the addition of cabins, Jim offers some food for thought.
“Ask yourself, ‘What kind of experience do you want to give your customer?” Jim advised. “That’s first and foremost. Secondly, what kind of customer are you looking to draw in: seasonal customers, small families, big families, or do they want 55+ only communities?”
Lancaster Log Cabins can accommodate various customer needs, but campground owners should also weigh the financial aspect—specifically the return on investment (ROI).
“A part of continuing the campground is making sure you’re making a good financial investment,” Jim stated. “If a park owner is considering purchasing a cabin, or any park model, the profitability is there. You still want to offer different amenities like camping sites and RV sites, but generally speaking, the ROI with park models has been greater than anything else.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Bill and Marsha Cable of Austin Lake RV Park and Cabins have firsthand experience with the impact of adding cabins to a campground. Their journey with Lancaster Cabins exemplifies the practical and communal advantages of this investment.
“I went to the factory and met Jim Franck,” Bill recalled. “We picked up 3 cabins and later added 3 more. We’ve established a good relationship with Jim. The friendship, the quality, the support—it's key for us because we’re small. We’re not corporate. It’s the personal relationship for us that’s so important.”
Beyond their relationship with Jim and the crew at Lancaster, Bill and Marsha’s decision to incorporate cabins into their campground was both a strategic and aesthetic choice.
“Price point wise, with these cabins, you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck,” Bill said. “I call them eye candy. They elevate the look of your campground. There’s definitely a wow factor. They’re almost bullet proof, and the maintenance is minimal.”
Marsha adds a unique perspective on how cabins have not only garnered attention but also enriched the campground’s community feel.
“Having cabins opened up the campground to new families who wouldn’t have come to visit otherwise,” Marsha shared. “They like the experience. They like the setting. Many of them say, ‘I’ll be back next year.’ There is a lot of repeat business on the cabins.”
Another significant aspect Marsha highlights is the role of cabins in bringing families together. “We get a lot of families who want to make this their vacation spot, but maybe grandma and grandpa don’t have a camper while the kids do. They get a cabin so grandma and grandpa can come along and still have their own space. A lot of people do that so they can be together.”
Jim, Bill, and Marsha’s message converge on a single point: the addition of cabins to a campground is more than just a profitable venture; it’s a gateway to building a more diverse camping community. Whether it’s the ROI, the aesthetic appeal, or the ability to cater to a broader range of guests, cabins represent a significant evolution in the campground industry.
Jim’s parting advice to campground owners sums it up: “If you’re considering purchasing a cabin, or any park model, definitely do it. It’s going to be an investment worth your while because no matter what you get, there’s going to be ROI.”
From the practical know-how of Lancaster Log Cabins to the real-life experiences of Bill and Marsha at Austin Lake, it’s clear that cabins are more than just a trend. They’re a viable addition to any campground, offering both financial rewards and opportunities to bring more people to your park.
Interested in discovering how cabins can transform your park? Reach out to the crew at Lancaster Log Cabins. With their expertise and your vision you can create something truly memorable for your guests.
If the thought of managing additional cabin reservations seems daunting, consider CampLife. As Marsha shared, “With CampLife, it’s as easy to rent a cabin as it is a campsite.”
This simplicity and efficiency are imperative for campground owners as they expand their offerings. So reach out today and explore how CampLife can make handling reservations a breeze for you and your guests.