While fairy tale wolves have been known to blow flimsy houses away, it seems a wolf can also take the market's breath away. Great Wolf Resorts
The operator of the upscale family resorts with lavish indoor water parks saw its occupancy levels, room rates, and additional revenue per room all inch higher, leading to a welcome 7.8% spike in revenues per available room at its four original properties. Over the past year the company has opened two more resorts, the latest making a March debut in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Cash flow and adjusted earnings came in higher than expected as the company recorded $27 million in revenue on the strength of Easter and the spring break school holidays falling mostly in the month of March. While that may play into the June quarter, they are both ultimately seasonal slackers as the company's bread and butter is still the September period.
The company's potent third quarter will be made even stronger with the delivery of 77 new condo units that it sold at its flagship property in the Wisconsin Dells. With $4.8 million in after-tax profits resulting from $25 million in condo sales -- which translates into juicy 19% net margins -- it's no wonder the company is exploring the addition of condos to its existing resorts and expects to announce the presale on one of the properties this summer for new condos to be delivered in 2006.
Clearly the concept is resonating with the public. Repeat business grows every quarter and now stands at 53% of all the March quarter stays. Growing the empire has also grown the brand to the point where Web reservations have grown from 12% to 20% of all bookings over the past year.
With an undisclosed location in the Pacific Northwest (nudge, nudge, wink, wink... bet on Seattle) expected to break ground this summer, the company should have 10 locations -- nine of them company-owned -- by the end of next year.
The Paramount deal is compelling. Viacom will receive a roughly 15% minority interest in exchange for coughing up the land adjacent to the amusement park. Just as Cedar Fair
The fact that Kings Island enhanced its outdoor water park last year and still sought out Great Wolf to provide a year-round destination is about as concept-affirming as you are likely to get.
Soaring gas prices may encourage young families to consider nearby drive-to destinations like Great Wolf over more distant attractions. While I've got nothing against traditional hoteliers like Marriott
Checking in? Why not check out these other related reads:
- The company had a decent December quarter too.
- I was happy to see the stock go public five months ago.
- Yes water parks have come a long way.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if he's better off betting on Bellamy Road than Seattle for the next Great Wolf announcement. Then again, an analyst did mention Seattle by name as the Pacific Northwest property during yesterday's conference call and the executives didn't contest it. His portfolio fancies thrills as he owns shares in Great Wolf as well as units in Cedar Fair. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.