Myrtle Beach, SC – Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, is proud to announce it was awarded the title of 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” in the Mega Park category by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) at the national convention in Nashville, Tennessee on November 15, 2008. “It is an honor to receive this award for a fourth time,” said Ocean Lakes’ Vice President and General Manager Lance Thompson. “There are so many wonderful campground operations in such beautiful destinations throughout the country, we are proud and honored to be recognized in this fashion. We are fortunate to have absolutely the best team of individuals anywhere, each of whom is dedicated to providing the most enjoyable vacation destination possible and helping to create family memories that last a lifetime.”
In 1997, Ocean Lakes was the first campground in the state to bring ARVC’s national recognition to South Carolina’s tourism and camping industry. It received the award again in 1999 and 2002-2003. With more than 3,900 members, ARVC is the only national association exclusively representing the interests of all commercial RV Parks and Campgrounds in the United States. Membership includes RV parks and campgrounds, cabin and lodge resorts, membership campgrounds and resorts, industry suppliers and park developers.
RV Park Judging Criteria –
ARVC’s Awards Committee’s decision was based on several criteria:
- Ocean Lakes’ National Directory Ratings in several of the major campground directories such as Trailer Life (9/9/9 out of 10/10/10), Wheelers (5 Stars), and Woodall’s (5 W’s for Facilities/ 5 W’s for Recreation – less than 2% of the parks listed in Woodall’s share this rating).
- Operations Excellence, which included such things as Ocean Lakes’ StarFish Values encouraging customer service, customer feedback, diversity in camping facilities, park security, park maintenance and appearance, safety, future planning, guest services, recreation and amenities.
- Ocean Lakes’ commitment to Community Service, demonstrated in this case both by the company and its teammates’ community involvement.
- Association Involvement, demonstrated through Ocean Lakes involvement on the local, state and national level.
- Ocean Lakes’ Park Promotions such as printed and advertising materials, web and electronic, special events and partnerships.
- The Management Skills & Education of the Ocean Lakes’ management team, comprised of more than 20 managers and an executive team.
- Employee Training Techniques
A secret on site visit is completed before the final decision is made.
Campground History –
Ocean Lakes Family Campground was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson, and their five daughters, starting in 1970. On July 2, 1971, Ocean Lakes opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse. Nelson Jackson was 50 years old at the time. “People were lined up outside the gate by the hundreds and we were clearing spots for their campers as fast as they could park ‘em,” he explains with a smile.
Today, Ocean Lakes features 3,447 sites on 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront, six bathhouses, and more than 350 employees in the height of the camping season. It is the largest campground on the east coast and one of the largest in the United States. On an average seasonal day Ocean Lakes has 25,000 – 30,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination. “We could do a lot of things with 310 oceanfront acres in Myrtle Beach, and we’ve had many lucrative offers, but we believe that everyone – the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker – should have the privilege of enjoying God’s beautiful ocean,” explains Nelson Jackson, now 88. “It is our guests and teammates that have helped to make us the success we are today, and Mary Emily and I are honored.”
Why “RV Park of the Year” –
Ocean Lakes has helped to revolutionize the campground industry. A combination of Jackson’s foresight and ingenuity, along with the comprehensive planning of those managing the park today, position Ocean Lakes as an industry leader. The amenities, guest services and continuous improvements command attention. “We are continuously searching for ways to improve our facilities and amenities,” explains Thompson, “and customer service has always been our absolute number one priority. We receive constant feedback from our guests, and try to take all input into consideration when making decisions that shape the direction of our operations for generations to come.” Guest feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “We continue to reinvest and look for ways to improve our business,” shares Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies. “Our guests look forward to seeing the changes and additions we make every year although they tell us it’s our friendly teammates and excellent customer service that makes them return.”
By design, Ocean Lakes is very user-friendly. All 893 campsites are large and pull-through, accommodating today’s increasingly larger RVs. Each site includes water, sewer, 20-30-50 amp electric, 70 channel cable TV hookup, a modem friendly phone jack with free local calls, a picnic table and daily curbside trash pickup.
Ocean Lakes has so many amenities. Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center with a game center, an indoor/outdoor café, an Olympic-sized pool, Splash Zone for kids and an all seasons pool. The Camptown Center includes Sandy Mart with groceries, hardware and gifts, Sandy’s Meet n’ Eat, Center Stage, the Wireless Zone, Sandy’s Soapy Suds and a drop-off laundry service. Amenities include nearly one mile of oceanfront, a huge recreation center with year round planned activities, three snack bars, bike rentals, a marine life Nature Center, golf car rentals, sales and service, eight freshwater lakes for fishing, on-site church service and 24-hour security patrol. Ocean Lakes offers RV storage for a quarterly fee and has a fulltime staff and trucks to pull the stored RVs on and off site upon the owners’ request at no additional charge. Storage occupancy increased from 1800 campers in 2007, to nearly 2200 storage RVs in 2008, mostly due to fuel prices and convenience. Ocean Lakes RV Center, another subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, is the RV dealership adjacent to Ocean Lakes’ entrance. It has several trained technicians that will go to the campsite to service the guests’ RVs.
The Jackson family built a campground that campers liked so much – guests began staying there all year long. So, the Jacksons began building longer term sites referred to as “annual lease sites”. Today, Ocean Lakes has 2,554 annual lease sites with the most diverse structures and accommodations offered in the campground industry. These sites, leased annually, permit the lease holder to have a variety of structures including a trailer, a mobile home, a park model or a two-story stick built house with up to 1600 square feet of living space. Ocean Lakes Properties also handles the rental of more than 300 sites for the annual lease holders – making Ocean Lakes Family Campground very appealing to even the non-camper.
Members of the Jackson family received the 2008-2009 RV Park of the Year Award from ARVC on behalf of Ocean Lakes Family Campground. Left to right: Jeanne Mize (daughter), Johnny and Kaki Williamson (Chairman and daughter), Salley Williamson (granddaughter), Thomas Hoy (grandson), Laura Hoy (daughter), and Mark Anderson (Board Chairman of ARVC).
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Ocean Lakes Contact: Barb Krumm, Director of Marketing & Public Relations (843) 828-4829, cell (843) 457-0601.
ARVC Contact: Kera Tomlin, Director of Marketing & Communications (303) 681-0401 ext. 14