Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) set a new record for revenue in 2012, and enjoyed its second-best year ever in camper night growth since the company began tracking all of its locations on a centralized reservation system in 2005.
According to a press release, short-term camper nights in 2012 at the nearly 490 KOA campgrounds in North America increased by 3.3% over 2011 final figures. Campground registration revenues were up nearly 6% over 2011.
“It was a good year for camping,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “We added 18 great new camping locations in some wonderful spots, and our campers proved, once again, that they love the camping lifestyle and they love KOA.”
The Billings, Mont.-based company reported that results were strong in nearly all areas. KOA’s Value Kard Rewards program, which now has 351,000 members, experienced a 7.5% increase in card sales in 2012.
KOA’s deluxe cabin program also continued to grow in 2012 as camper nights were up nearly 21%. A portion of that growth was driven by the addition of nearly 250 new deluxe cabins at KOA campgrounds. In total, the KOA system now has more than 2,100 Deluxe Cabins at more than 300 KOAs in North America.
Even use of the traditional log KOA cabin, first introduced into the KOA system in 1980, saw growth in 2012. Basic KOA cabins have electricity, but no kitchens or bathrooms.
“We saw a 2.5% growth in the use of our basic KOA cabins in 2012,” Hittmeier said. “That’s particularly interesting, in that we really haven’t added more units to our 4,500-unit inventory of those cabins. That growth was driven strictly by increased use by campers.”
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) recognized members for longevity during last weekend’s International Convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Fla., which marked KOA’s 50th year of operation.
According to a press release, Duane Spader, owner/operator of the Sioux Falls, S.D., KOA Campground, was honored for 40 years of service with KOA.
“Duane got involved in our industry because he moved his recreational vehicle dealership from Brookings, S.D., to Sioux Falls to a location that had a campground next to it,” recalled KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “At the time, the campground belonged to a franchise called Teepee Town Inc., but Duane soon converted the park to be a KOA.”
Hittmeier said Spader was instrumental in leading the KOA system to adopt a “20-group” system that encouraged franchisees to share operational best practices and advanced many programs quickly throughout the KOA system.
“Today, Spader 20 Groups are involved in 10 different industries,” Hittmeier said. “Duane was also a leader in making improvements. He basically worked with KOA in the 1970s to modify more than two-thirds of the park, bringing in more than 30,000 cubic feet of dirt to get it right.”
KOA also recognized the Scialdo Family, owners of the Herkimer Diamond KOA in N.Y., for 30 years of service.
“Our 30-year partnership award to the Scialdo family is a long overdue recognition for a wonderful family and a great KOA partner,” said Hittmeier. “Many years ago my family and I were invited to spend a number of days on the Herkimer KOA, and I can tell you that it is still one of the highlights from when my kids were young and I still remember the warm welcome and hospitality, the great connection this family has with each other and with their guest, the enthusiasm they have for their many businesses the fun exciting way they approach their lives each day.
On hand to receive the award were Rudy and Rena Scialdo, as well as Dr. Renee Scialdo Shevat and husband Sam Shevat, current owners and operators of the campground and Herkimer Diamond Mine.
Eight KOA franchisees were honored for 20 years of service, including:
• Jay and Carol Coates, Durango, Colo., KOA
• Paul and Cam Friesen, Watkins Glen, N.Y., KOA
• The Bruice and Gilkeyson Families, Asheville East, N.C., KOA
• Ken and Kathryn Harris, Medford/Gold Hill, Ore., KOA
• Recreation Adventures Company, Astoria/Warrenton/Seaside, Ore., KOA
• The Bergeron Family, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pa., KOA
• Lynne Joannette and Christian Renaud, Montreal West, Quebec KOA
John and Cindy Simoneau, Placerville, Calif., KOA
KOA also recognized 20 franchises for 10 years of service, including:
• Bruce and Andrea Bryant, Milton/Gulf Pines, Fla., KOA
• David and Linda Waszak, LaSalle/Peru, Ill., KOA
• John and Carole Downing, Rock Island/Quad City, Ill., KOA
• Hope Perkins and Nick Harrison, Elkhart Co./Middlebury, Ind., KOA
• Larry and Nancy Babyak, Saco/Old Orchard Beach, Maine KOA
• Frank and Melinda Christianson, Jackson, Minn., KOA
• Leigh Ashley and Frances Prior, Niagara Falls N/Lewiston, N.Y., KOA
• Victor and Kathleen Arsenault, Canandaigua/Rochester, N.Y. KOA
• Garry and Vicki Cole, Shelby/Mansfield, Ohio KOA
• Jerry and Barbara Dale, Manchester, Tenn., KOA
• The Moldenhauer Family, Bear Lake/Garden City, Utah, KOA
• John and Brenda Kelley, Holbrook/Petrified Forest, Ariz., KOA
• Thomas and Sarah Martin, Buena Vista, Colo., KOA
• Gene and Michelle Rowland, Renfro Valley, Ky., KOA
• Donald Cloutier and Elizabeth McCann, Skowhegan/Canaan, Maine KOA
• Denzil and Deborah Matthews, Las Vegas N.M., KOA
• David and Valencia Fetterolf,, Elk City/Clinton, Okla., KOA
• Martin and Ellen Henion, Mercer/Grove City, Pa., KOA
• Thomas and Kevin Lumsden, Dallas NE/Caddo Mills, Texas KOA
• Kevin and Kathy Wright, Brigham City/Perry South, Utah KOA
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) has again made the list of Top 50 franchises in North America, according to Franchise Business Review’s 2012 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards.
Each year, Franchise Business Review surveys more than 22,000 franchisees representing more than 300 franchise brands in a wide variety of industries. This year, KOA ranked 30th among the top 50 franchises in the Large Systems category, according to a KOA news release.
This is the fourth year in a row that KOA has ranked in the Top 50 franchises on Franchise Business Review’s annual list.
“For the past 50 years, we’ve dedicated our efforts to building trust and confidence among our franchisees,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “Our campers are very faithful to the KOA brand, and we find the same is true among our franchisees. We have continually added support systems and mechanisms for our franchisees that allow them to spend more time with their guests, and they recognize that spending time working directly with guests to meet their needs is the secret to success.”
Franchise Business Review President Michelle Rowan agrees with Rogers.
“We’re seeing more of a focus from franchisors on unit profitability,” Rowan said. “Franchisees are rating support from franchisors better than they were a few years ago. Everyone is more optimistic going into 2012.”
Franchise Business Review annually recognizes franchisors with the highest overall franchisee satisfaction based on its survey of franchisees. The survey includes 33 benchmark questions, relating to the franchisee’s experience and satisfaction as well as market area, training, support, system quality issues, business lifestyle and overall satisfaction. Franchise Business Review contacts each franchisee individually with an average franchisee participation rate of 70 percent.
KOA also uses its own additional mechanisms to track how franchisees feel about the company and their individual businesses. KOA conducts its own internal Franchisee Satisfaction Survey each year, and holds an annual convention where franchisees are encouraged to voice their successes and concerns. Additionally, KOA has franchisee advisory groups that meet regularly with KOA leadership to help shape future strategies.