PARK COMPARISONS: How’d we do?
Each year the Silveridge management team takes the time to assess how Silveridge and sister park, The Resort, stack up against similar parks in the East Valley. The summary of this year’s findings was handed out at the meeting to discuss changes to cable and internet, but if you missed it, you can download a copy at the end of this article.
Why go to all the trouble to do annual park comparisons? As park owner Al LaCanne put it, “We’re determined to have happy residents and one way you do that is by offering the best value. So we get out and compare all the relevant options and we put it in a form where our residents can double-check our numbers.”
HOW IT’S DONE
The assembling of the findings is undertaken by Aileen Gunning, who works with Al as Office Manager for the management company. I asked her to detail for us how the process works: “Al keeps a database of all the parks,” she explained, “and he selects the ones that have a similar purpose and base of residents, like having a sizable proportion of seasonal residents. We then take that list and make personal visits to assess the amenities, as well as confirming their current space rent and what it includes.”
Asked to describe the visits, Aileen recounted what sounded like the “secret shopper” visits that retailers routinely use. I wondered if such role playing ever got uncomfortable and she said, “Oh no, for one thing, everybody does it – we get people from other parks ‘shopping’ us all the time.” Then, with a smile, she added, “And I get to choose who to be. My favorite is being a relocating divorcee from Casa Grande.” (Given that Aileen is married and raising a granddaughter, I can see that where she might enjoy that bit of mental vacationing.)
Besides Aileen, visits are divvied up among Al, Park GM Rhonda Ciacco and George Igualt. All their results are put into a database and from there, Aileen can assemble the summary document available to all residents and prospects.
WHAT WE LEARNED
One of the questions each year is whether the park offers utilities – water, sewer and trash – included in the rent. This year, given our upcoming changes in internet and cable television, the analysis added in the 21st century utilities: cable and internet.
As you’ll see in the report, of the 12 parks covered, only three offer all five services at no extra cost to residents. The Resort and Silveridge are two of the three.
Analyzing the report, the closest competition to The Resort and Silveridge looks to be Mesa Spirit, which is other park offering all five services at no cost, and at similar rents (the Base Lots a bit less, the Premium Lots a bit more). The big difference comes when taking a look at lot size, using “lots per acre.” Both The Resort and Silveridge average fewer than 10 lots per acre, while Mesa Spirit has nearly 30 per acre. I asked Aileen how it’s possible to fit 30 lots per acre and she replied, “When I visit there I take my Hyundai instead of the full-size truck because it’s difficult to navigate the narrow streets in most of the parks with a full-size vehicle.”
Most other competitor parks have 15-20 lots per acre. Aileen told me, “The first time I made these visits, after being in other parks all day, I came back to ours and it felt so open I thought, ‘I can’t believe the size of the lots in our parks.’”
Take a look at the attached analysis, with current pricing for all 12 parks, and see if you agree with Al LaCanne: “We strive to give our residents a Mercedes-quality product at a Chevy price.”
CLICK GRAPH FOR RV PARK COMPARISONS
MARCH AT SILVERIDGE