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On Outdoors: Lodging venture to target outdoor travelers

July 28, 2010

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Aiming to serve an increasingly popular niche—outdoor travel—a new travel company is expanding its business to include several fee-based services, including hotels and other lodging.

Outdoor Traveler Destinations, a branch of Bluegreen Corp., is a new venture consisting of several outdoor lodgings, aimed to accommodate outdoor travelers and help the company and its partners enjoy a share of a $240 billion industry.

According to Scott Boone, president of Outdoor Traveler Destinations, outdoor recreation is one of the fastest-growing travel sectors in the country. A growing number of travelers, Boone said, enjoy birdwatching, fishing, camping, mountain climbing and hunting.

To fill a gap left wide open by the the traditional hospitality business, Outdoor Traveler Destinations is in the process of aligning with ranches, hotels, resorts and camps—all set in scenic North American landscapes.

Boone, who has 25 years of hospitality experience, said the first phase will see a soft launch this fall, with a full marketing and ad campaign to follow by the end of the year.

Outdoor Traveler Destinations will offer three levels of membership, each offering its own set of benefits for participating properties to offer their guests.

“Fees will vary by the level of membership, but will include a one-time set-up fee, annual membership fee, annual technology fee and transaction fees,” Boone said. “Currently, we are offering a founders’ program with special rates and features during phase one of our launch.”

As for lodging, Boone said the company is seeking unique opportunities for travelers.

“We will be welcoming a diverse mix of properties with a variety of accommodation styles,” he said. “In addition to the traditional leisure hotel or resort, we foresee a unique OTD collection—lodging with not only guest rooms, but with cabins, yurts, treehouses, bunkhouses and so on.”

Outdoor Traveler Destinations is targeting properties near popular North American destinations such as hunting grounds, fishing and camping hot spots and national parks.

Boone said the venture will also help participating hotels increase operations.

Outdoor Traveler Destinations has partnered with Sabre Hospitality Solutions, a marketing and distribution company specializing in refining reservation systems and online capabilities.

Members, Boone added, also will be offered a comprehensive revenue management system that will include a centralized commission payment tool.

Outdoors news and photos can be sent directly to Jim Hagerty at jim.hagerty@rockrivertimes.com. Glossies and hard-copy press kits can be mailed or delivered to The Rock River Times’ office at 128 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61101. Jim can be reached at (815) 964-9767.

From the July 28-Aug 3, 2010 issue

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