Charlies Bark Park 3

Case Study: PAWineers of the RV park industry

Founded in 1966 by the late Vic King and his wife Jessica, Lake George RV Park is an award-winning RV camping resort in New York and has been a model in the industry for more than 45 years. For many years they have been creating new park offerings that go beyond guests' expectations. They have even received the highest rating from the campground inspectors at Good Sam Travel Guide (previously known as Woodall's and TrailerLife). Lake George RV Park is one of few campgrounds in the United States to have met the newest rating criteria: 10/10*/10, the highest rating possible in the categories of facilities, restrooms, and shower cleanliness and environmental and visual appearance. In addition, the park was one of only 42 campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts across the country to earn an all- around "A" grade in the seventh annual GuestReviews™ satisfaction survey of independent parks.

The RV Park, currently managed by President/CEO Dave King, Suzanne Hunsicker, and their families, sits on 120+ acres and offers 400 RV campsites, fully equipped with 30 and 50 amp hookups, water, sanitary, cable TV, and Wi-Fi at each campsite. The park also offers an extensive list of onsite amenities, including an indoor heated pool, 3 miles of paved trails that connect to the Warren Country Bike Trail system, 4 playgrounds, movie theaters, live entertainment theater, horseshoe pits, fitness center, private ponds for fishing and bumper boats, and trolley service to the surrounding area.

The tradition of designing new amenities to meet the needs of their clients and going beyond expectations continues today. After 8 years of extensive research, implementing a customer survey that showed guests were requesting a space for their dogs, and studying the market trends, Charlie's Bark Park was developed.

The onsite off-leash dog park, recreation area, and pavilion is a "must-see" destination at Lake George RV Park. Reserved for registered guests only, the 2 acre off-leash dog park offers walking paths, a 10,000 sq. ft. synthetic turf play area, a spray fountain, agility equipment, and other elements that are sure to get tails wagging. The fully enclosed park has areas designated for both large and small dogs. In addition, the pavilion located at the dog park's entrance houses a dog wash station, pet treats vending machine, and accessible restroom.

Charlie's Bark Park was designed with dog lovers in mind. According to CEO David King, " An estimated 60% of guests bring their dogs with them to the RV park. As dog lovers, we understand that dogs are like children, and there's nothing worse than having to leave your 'child' behind when you go RVing."

Lake George RV Park has always welcomed dogs but the idea was to "create a whole park specifically for them. We feel this will be a game changer, and will increase our solid base of loyal and returning campers every season," King said. The dog park was built in an underused area but centrally located within the RV Park. The already existing natural buffer zone to other surrounding spaces made it the perfect location, providing a barrier to unwanted noise for adjacent guests.

Even when the cost of Charlie's Bark Park exceeded what most would invest in a dog park, the "over the top" dog park, which King says is an industry first, has exceeded the expectations of management, dog owners, and non-dog owners alike.

Maintenance is minimal thanks to highly responsible pet owners that clean up after their dog companions and police others to do the same. The RV Park maintenance staff picks up the trash regularly and cleans the restrooms daily. Other maintenance practices include irrigation at the entrance of the dog park once or twice a week for upkeep.

Lake George RV Park offers an array of programming for guests; in the future, they hope to be able to offer programming for guests' dogs by scheduling yoga classes (Doga) or agility 101 training classes. Also coming soon, they have invited mobile groomers in the area to bring their trucks to the park. This will be an opportunity to test new programming at Charlie's Bark Park.

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