Jellystone Park franchisees shatter sales records

Camping boom expected to continue into 2021
December 28, 2020

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, North America’s leading family camping and glamping franchise, reported the largest single-month sales increase in its 51-year history in October. Locally, there is a Jellystone Park in Lincoln.

Same-park sales were up 64.1 percent over 2019 as families left the confines of their homes for the great outdoors.

Same-park reservations for the fourth quarter are trending up nearly 52 percent over last year, suggesting this year’s camping explosion will continue through the winter and into next year.

There are more than 75 franchised Jellystone Park locations throughout North America, offering families a unique combination of attractions, activities including Yogi Bear character interactions, and accommodations. Despite most location openings being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand is on track for a 13th straight year of system sales growth.

The demand for cabins drove much of the October increase, with rentals up almost 108 percent. Store and ancillary sales, such as golf cart rentals, were up more than 68 percent. Half of Jellystone Park guests this year have been first-time visitors.

According to Rob Schutter, chief executive of Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Jellystone Park, all signs point to another very strong year for the brand and the family camping industry.

“Even with a vaccine available, parents’ apprehension over flying and staying in hotels will continue, so camping will remain very popular,” Schutter said. He noted that 2020’s RV sales boom also is contributing to the rosy outlook for next year. “Families that bought RVs will be eager to use them,” he said.

Schutter added that camping historically has been very resilient during economic downturns. “If the economy softens, camping will be even more appealing as it is more affordable than other types of family vacations.” He noted that this year’s reservations surge came despite an unemployment rate that peaked at nearly 15 percent.

Locations that are open year-round are reporting an increase in fall and winter bookings, especially those that offer holiday-themed activities.

Kids and grown-ups alike can get into the spirit by decorating their cabins and RVs. Some parks also have scheduled New Year’s Eve activities.

Of the more than 75 Jellystone Park locations in North America, 25 are open all year. Activities, attractions and services vary. 

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