Randall Henderson, president of Nashville, Tenn.-based Signature
Resorts, says the Feb. 12-13 grand opening of Signature’s second upscale
resort, in Naples, Fla., sends a message to the industry and the
American Class A motorhome enthusiast that good things are still
happening in the high-end resort market.
“We think it’s time to start looking positive again,” Henderson told MotorHome sister site RV Business.com.
“I mean, we’ve all had the same experience of shrinkage. But at some
point, recovery has to start and someone has to recognize it. And we’re
glad to recognize it. We think it’s here, and we’d just as soon lead off
by adding some new facilities to the marketplace.”
Henderson, the founder and former president of upscale Outdoor
Resorts, has been working diligently of late to reestablish Signature
Resorts, previously a unit of Monaco Coach Corp., as a stand-alone brand
under the 50/50 ownership of Morgan RV Resorts, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.,
and Sunland RV Resorts, La Jolla, Calif., respectively. Signature’s new
owners purchased the company’s assets after Monaco’s Chapter 11
Signature currently has two resorts, 125-site Signature Resorts at Bay
Harbor, Bay Harbor, Mich., and the new 184-site Naples Motorcoach
Resort, which opened its doors on Jan. 4 to both purchasing and renting
customers. Twenty-six of those sites are canal frontage, and 32 boat
storage sites are available.
“This is one of the first motorcoach resort openings in a long
while,” says Henderson. “You know, it’s on the water, which is unique
down here — to be on a navigable waterway out to the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ve got three swimming pools with hot tubs; that’s a lot of amenities
for 184 sites, a smaller property. We’ve got a great clubhouse with card
and billiard rooms and a home theater and a full-size health club. If I
do say so, it’s the nicest facility that’s been built east of the Rocky
Mountains in this country. I mean, it’s the Ritz-Carlton of RV resorts
when you take into account the physical plant and the location. The
amenities are simply nicer than anything that’s been built.”
Henderson says a good representation of industry people, from
manufacturers to association execs and area dealers, are expected to
attend the grand opening, which is to include a motorhome display,
including a $2.2 million Liberty custom coach and the formal rollout of
the redesigned high-end Newell coach.
Henderson says the resort will always retain a certain
percentage of short-haul rental sites for overnight travelers in
addition to the sites that are sold to long-term buyers because it’s a
great way to market and remarket the facility’s sites, giving potential
customers a first-hand look at the Florida resort.
So, renters will always be welcome. “That’s a norm,” he added.
“We don’t really ever expect someone to just drive in and buy something.
We expect them to utilize it and determine whether or not they like the
area, whether or not they want to stay for extended periods, whether or
not they like our services. You know, it isn’t just a matter of a good
location or quality amenities any longer. It’s a matter of good
services, which the hotel business has had to deal with for a long time