- Margaritaville's first Camp Margaritaville RV resort opened in spring 2019 to "surprising" success.
- Now, Margaritaville wants to expand its new RV resorts arm across the country.
- The brand is targeting 30 to 50 more locations in the next five years, its president of development told Insider.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville empire is bringing its sponge cake and sun bake on the road with plans to expand its budding RV and glamping resorts across the US. Margaritaville's brand might not immediately evoke RVing. But so far, Camp Margaritaville has seen massive success at its first two locations in Lake Lanier, Georgia and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, it said. The first Camp Margaritaville RV Resort and Lodge opened in Lake Lanier - about an hour north of Atlanta - following a "happy accident," Jim Wiseman, the president of development at Camp Margaritaville, told Insider. When Margaritaville had plans to sublease part of Lake Lanier, there was already a defunct RV park sitting unused on the land. Instead of scrapping the camp, Margaritaville decided to revive and rebrand the resort as "Camp Margaritaville." The revamped camp reopened in spring 2019. In retrospect, this timing was fortuitous: Shortly after, the US underwent a pandemic-induced camping and RV boom.
Source: InsiderThis road travel trend then helped boost Camp Margaritaville's business, which has since seen "off the charts" reception and reviews, according to Wiseman.
Source: InsiderThe Lake Lanier location is now performing better than what the company initially predicted and budgeted for, "which is why [Margaritaville] is trying to get in the business so fast," Wiseman said. "What surprised us at Lake Lanier was the average daily rate we could generate with an upscale camping experience," Wiseman said. "That drove our interest to move [the expansion of Camp Margaritaville] along quicker." Now, Margaritaville is targeting the rollout of 30 to 50 more nationwide locations in the next five years, Wiseman said. And in the short term, the brand has plans to launch five additional locations in 2022, including one in Auburndale, Florida early next year. But for now, Margaritaville won't be building any RV camps from the ground up. Instead, to expedite the expansion of its RV resorts arm, the company will rebrand existing RV resorts to fit the Margaritaville "lifestyle." This means updating existing RV resorts with stronger programmatic, food, and beverage offerings, for example. So far, this Margaritaville charm of a "casual luxury camping experience" has resulted in an average demographic of younger families and guests in their low-30s age range, according to Wiseman. Like any RV resort, every RV at Camp Margaritaville will have access to water, power, and sewage hookups. The resorts also have glamping and non-RV lodging options for guests who don't have a tiny home on wheels but are still interested in a Camp Margaritaville vacation. Both the Georgia and Tennessee locations have services like shared bathhouses with showers and restrooms, complimentary WiF, and laundry facilities, as well as some family friend amenities like swimming pools or shuffle board.
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