Lodging doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning for everyone. While some people enjoy a bustling urban, chic scene, others are taken in by the outdoors. That’s the thinking behind a new lodging concept developed by Outdoor Traveler Destinations, a collection of lodging establishment tailored for outdoor enthusiasts.
The concept is to create a collection of genuine outdoor lodging experiences, one that offers outdoor enthusiasts a vacation based around the types of activities and amenities that fit their wants and needs.
Scott Boone, president of Outdoor Traveler Destinations, says the idea wasn’t born on a whim. “Through research we identified that one of the fastest growing segments in the hospitality industry is outdoor and adventure travel,” he says. In fact, the fast-growing segment of the travel industry represents $243 billion and 80 million outdoor enthusiasts, according to Boone.
He also points out that there is no national brand in the market to serve this emerging customer segment. So, identifying an opening, Outdoor Traveler Destinations seized on the chance to put together a collection of properties that it hopes will establish a national brand.
Through these properties the company wants to offer unique vacations throughout North America with a variety of property types. The properties are marketed to couples and families who love the outdoors and enjoy everything from hiking and hunting to horseback riding.
Bringing On Affiliates
The first step in creating outdoor experiences was finding affiliate members to join the collection. While the collection seeks to create a common bond among properties, it remains a collection of distinct properties, and hoteliers are given the opportunity to become members, while keeping those distinct identities. The properties include hotels, resorts, lodges, camps, and dude ranches.
Boone says there are three levels of enrollment in the collection. The level depends on a property’s interest in marketing activities or if they simply would require support in distribution.
For its part, Outdoor Traveler Destinations offers sales, marketing, and distribution to its members through a database of 24 million pre-qualified consumers, 170 million pieces of direct mail per year, a website, targeted promotions, television and radio ads, and special events that more than five million people have attended. Outdoor Traveler Destinations has also teamed up with Bass Pro, a retailer of outdoor gear, to build a brand that is supported by specialized strategic marketing alliances.
Members have access to a full service of Internet platform designed to strengthen and further brand awareness through an booking engine, an aggressive search engine optimization strategy, web design and development, customized tools, and e-commerce solutions. Boone says the company hopes to heighten the value of properties and successfully reach the target consumers.
Ready for Launch
Currently, Outdoor Traveler Destinations is in its launch period. “Between now and the end of the year we will be signing up our initial members,” Boone says. “There are more than 10 properties on board in nine different states.”
He says the members include a mix of hotels, lodges, and fishing and hunting camps in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Even before launching the company is expanding into New England with a property in New Hampshire, which is the ninth state for the collection. Boone says, “We are delighted to welcome this New England property to the Outdoor Traveler Destinations family during our pre-launch phase.”
Comfort and Adventure
Although these properties are being designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind, Boone says a guest does not need to sacrifice being comfortable while enjoying the great outdoors. Outdoor Traveler Destinations offers a luxury segment, and many of the properties have just as many amenities as your typical hotel and resort. For example, if you want to explore the Arizona Dessert, you can stay in a beautiful hotel with a fitness center and a stunning pool, while still having the option to hike, horseback ride, fish, cycle, or perhaps play a round of golf, all with a gorgeous dessert scenery.
In January, Outdoor Traveler Destination’s launch will begin, and the company has its sights set on all of North America. Boone says he hopes to have 250 to 300 properties open in the next three to five years. The areas the company are targeting include traditional outdoor areas, national, parks, state parks, and outdoor activities such as waterskiing and fishing.