Cruise-Inn-Logo1-150x150Cruise Inn RV Parks celebrated the network’s first 13 months with its inaugural conference in Las Vegas, Nev., Dec. 5-7.

The conference at the Hard Rock Hotel comes on the heels of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) conference which wrapped up earlier in the day at the Rio All-Suites Hotel.

The event marks a year that Cruise Inn CEO Scott Anderson summed up as: “Fascinating, productive, educational and very rewarding.”

From a concept announced last year at the ARVC convention, Cruise Inn has grown from an idea to a network of 15 RV parks in Colorado, Utah, Texas, California, Oregon and Washington. Another seven RV parks are in the process of branding themselves as Cruise Inn parks — plus, Anderson said, another nine very solid prospects came out of ARVC, many of them in the eastern U.S.

That growth hasn’t been without its ups and downs, Anderson said. “It’s been like the stock market, highs and lows. When I came into the business a year ago when we launched, there was a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t know, and I’ve learned a lot.” While Anderson has a strong pedigree in the indoor-hospitality market, he’s found the people in outdoor hospitality to be “an interesting, interesting group. I’m incredibly impressed with the work ethic and the values of the average RV park owner,” Anderson said.

Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson

“It’s been really fun. Different in a lot of ways from the indoor hospitality sector, but in many ways similar. I think I’ve brought as much to the outdoor industry as it has brought to me,” he told Woodall’s Campground Management, sister publication to RVBusiness.

“We now have credibility. Linda Profaizer and Kathy Palmieri have added incredible credibility. Ian Steyn added credibility,” he said, and Cruise Inn is growing. The pace “is not disappointing at all. We’d always be happy if it was a little bit better, but not disappointing by any stretch.”

There have been hiccups along the way, but as Anderson said, “as long as we deliver, that’s the key. We’ve had a tough year in some ways. We didn’t launch our site as soon as we could have, but what I’ve told the members is, don’t rank me on the problems, rank me on how I respond to them. If I solve them, stick with me — and they’re all here,” he said, gesturing to the group gathered in the outdoor venue, complete with fire pits.

The conference addressed Cruise Inn’s growth as well as challenges the network faces — including the looming U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development change in how it figures park model RV limits.

There also were education sessions to supplement what was available at ARVC. One of the things Anderson focused on is marketing. “I’m a big believer that marketing is 80% math and 20% creativity. I’m teaching them how to use the data that’s sitting in their reservation system that is just gold, but they don’t really use it.”

The conference included sponsorship and participation by Utility Supply Group, RMS North America (Cruise Inn’s reservation software provider) Checkbox Systems, Bank of America Merchant Services, Technology and Travel Corp. and HD Supply Hospitality Solutions.

Anderson said Cruise Inn’s members will decide whether future Cruise Inn conferences continue to dovetail with ARVC.