British Columbia Lodging and Campgrounds Association
INDUSTRY:Hospitality and Lodging
HEADQUARTERS:Port Moody, BC
The British Columbia Lodging and Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) represents the interests of independently owned and operated lodging, campground and RV park businesses.
The hospitality industry is rife with business ups and downs. The properties in the BCLCA running on propane experience these fluctuations more acutely than most when you factor in the cost of heating each property on different propane price plans.
The BCLCA represents 400 separate accommodations spread out across the province and into the Yukon. Occupancy can be unpredictable, which can make forecasting and budgeting a challenge. Add in typical price fluctuations for properties on propane and you’ve got the recipe for some unwelcome surprises at billing time.
Historically, each BCLCA Buying Group member set up on different propane price plans, which was determined based on volume of each individual property. A rebate program was set up to reward loyalty and BCLCA members could claim an annual rebate of up to $275 based on volume. However, this approach didn’t offer consistency as a whole to the entire buying group. As more and more properties came on board, the disparity between heating costs became more noticeable.
“Once the polar vortex hit in 2014, there were huge differences in price” said J.J. Belanger, Vice President Lodging, BCLCA and operator of the Crystal Cove Beach Resort, Tofino. “I needed a way to put the cost of propane into my budget and not have any surprises. Especially when we have periods of erratic use, I need to know exactly how much I’m spending per litre.”
BCLCA had always appreciated Superior Propane’s service commitment and secure supply. They knew they could count on having the volume and deliveries member properties needed. But when price became a challenge, the Association considered sitting down with a competitor. Group Purchasing lead, J.J. Belanger investigated the options, however “Once you averaged it out, especially considering the high prices all suppliers were facing, the difference wasn’t there to switch to a competitor” said J.J.
That’s when Superior Propane introduced the BCLCA Buying Group to budget pricing options, including their Fixed Price Plan. The plan was piloted in 2015 with more than 25 BCLCA members, with a combined volume of over 300,000 litres.
Rob Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground, Nanaimo signed up and stated “This plan meant that we could forecast our costs based on occupancy. If we were off in forecasting our volume, our propane spend would simply go up or down based on how full we were. That pays for itself as opposed to cost being driven by the fluctuations of the market and occupancy rates.”
The properties within the BCLCA Buying Group are able to maintain the same level of quality and service their clientele have come to expect without the unexpected operating costs.
Superior Propane has always been a reliable supplier to the members in the BCLCA Buying Group, but with the implementation of the Fixed Price Plan that pools the volume of those enrolled, the partnership has strengthened even more.
A true understanding of the unique needs of the BCLCA Buying Group helps Superior provide the kind of customized service members’ enrolled need. Superior understands how critical it is for a business to have the ability to forecast accurately and find efficiencies wherever possible. With a shared commitment to providing stellar customer service, this is a partnership that will continue to evolve.
“Once the polar vortex hit in 2014, there were huge differences in price. I needed a way to put the cost of propane into my budget and not have any surprises. Especially when we have periods of erratic use, I need to know exactly how much I’m spending per litre.”
“[The Fixed Price Plan] meant that we could forecast our costs based on occupancy. If we were off in forecasting our volume, our propane spend would simply go up or down based on how full we were. That pays for itself [...]”
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