Western Horizon Resorts, one of the nation’s fastest growing campground membership resort companies, has an aggressive growth plan with the goal of acquiring as many as 25 more RV resorts during the next five years, according to the company’s chief executive.
“We’re trying to create a real diverse resort chain,” said Jim Loken, president and CEO of the Gunnison, Colo.-based firm, which currently provides more than 21,000 members with access to over 4,600 RV sites in 24 resorts, most of which the company acquired during the past five years.
“We expect to add around 25 resorts during the next five years, all of which would be at the top end in terms of the perceived quality of the resort,” Loken said. “I see more consolidation in the campground membership industry. I see it as an opportunity, if you’re on the ball. It’s not the quick money that it used to be. It takes a long-term commitment to have a good operation and run it efficiently.”
While Western Horizon has RV resorts as far east as North Carolina, most of the company’s facilities are scattered across nine western states, from the 324-site Blue Mesa Recreation Ranch in Gunnison, to the 170-site Tall Chief Resort near Seattle, to the 360-site Casa Grande RV Resort, between Phoenix and Tucson.
Western Horizon also recently added Kino Bay Retreat, a 100-acre beachfront resort near Hermosillo, Mexico, to its mix of RV resorts, each of which includes full hookups, clubhouses, pools, planned activities and entertainment that at some locations features live bands and comedy shows. Some resorts also rent out park models and Spanish style casitas resembling adobe structures.
“Our plan is to go east,” said Pam Frenette, Western Horizon’s director of marketing. “Our plan is to connect the dots so people can travel all over the U.S. and have a Western Horizon 5 Star resort to stay in.”
Western Horizon Resorts also plans to build some of its own resorts. One example is a 200-site RV resort that the company plans to begin developing in 2003 next to a winery in Pahrump, Nev.
“I believe the Baby Boomers’ expectations are so much higher, they’re not going to be satisfied with rough camping,” Loken said.
In addition to its own facilities, Western Horizon Resorts owns and operates two reciprocal camping networks including nearly 500 RV resorts. The networks are Sunbelt USA and American Outdoor Resorts.
Sunbelt USA was formed in 1996 and it includes 23 campgrounds in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. “The goal for the Sunbelt is to get 40 resorts,” Frenette said. “They have to be 5 Star to get in. It’s designed for the discriminating RVer who wants to travel the southern part of the United States.”
American Outdoor Resorts was acquired by Western Horizon Resorts in 2000 and it includes 450 campgrounds across North America.