LSI President Rob Schutter

One of the largest private campground chains in the country is getting bigger, thanks in part to an increased craving for wholesome, face-to-face, family oriented activities, according to a press release.

“The dramatically increased use of hand-held electronic devices has left many families craving more face time with one another,” said Rob Schutter, chief operating officer of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts across the country.

Schutter said consumer demand for the wholesome activities that Jellystone parks provide is on the rise. Revenues and occupancies are also growing at Jellystone Parks across the country, and more independently owned and operated campgrounds are joining the Jellystone Park network.

Leisure Systems achieved an annualized revenue growth rate of about 8% in 2013, while its vacation rental occupancies increased by 8.5% and traditional sites by 3.4%, when comparing same park to same park data.

In the past three years, 14 campgrounds in 11 states have become Jellystone Parks, including campgrounds in Elberta, Ala; Gloucester Point, Va.; Harrisville, Pa.; Madison, Maine; Milford, Del.; Montrose, Colo.; Pittsfield, Ill.; Bloomington, Ind.; South Haven, Mich.; Tyler, Texas; Fredericksburg, Texas; Uniontown, Ohio; and recently added Mount Gilead and Big Prairie, also both in Ohio.

And while most Jellystone Parks are owned and operated by husband and wife teams, Jellystone Parks are also increasingly being acquired by other campground networks, which see them as valuable investments.

Several Jellystone Parks have been acquired by Chicago-based Equity Lifestyle Properties, a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT); Texas-based Legacy RV Resorts, a private company that owns 14 campgrounds across the country; and Grandville, Mich.-based Northgate Holdings LLC, which owns and operates four campgrounds across the U.S.

“In our due diligence of numerous parks across the country, we’ve discovered that the Jellystone Parks are some of the best operated, highest grossing and most profitable RV parks,” said Northgate Holdings CEO Zachary Bossenbrock. “Furthermore, the Jellystone Park brand and franchise standards have a tremendously loyal following.  Not only are Jellystone Park guests loyal to a specific Jellystone Park, which often times experiences 50% or better repeat business, but to the Jellystone system in general.  We see great value in having a customer base that is loyal to the Jellystone brand.”

There are currently over 17,000 campsites in the Jellystone Park network, including 12,000 traditional campsites, 3,000 seasonal campsites and over 2,000 rental units.

Looking to the future, Schutter said he anticipates continued growth in revenues and occupancies at Jellystone Parks this year, as well as continued growth in Jellystone network as more independently owned and operated campgrounds become Jellystone Parks.