Camper Jay Conner of Billings, Mont., was road weary as he and his wife made their way across Northern California’s U.S. 395. They thought they had a ways to go to find their next campground. Then, they saw that familiar yellow Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) sign.
“It was a great delight to find this new KOA,” Conner wrote KOA in a letter after their stay at the new Coleville/Walker, Calif., KOA. “We didn’t see a listing in the KOA Directory for this park, so we turned around to look, expecting to just see an old, unused sign.”
According to a press release, what they found instead was one of KOA’s new additions behind a brand-new KOA yellow sign. The campground was formerly known as the Meadowcliff Campground. With 34 sites, it’s far from being the largest KOA, but it’s a beautiful jewel in California’s Eastern Sierras Mountains.
The campground is so new to the KOA system that it just missed publication in the 2014 KOA Directory. But it’s listed on KOA.com or via the KOA app (available for download free at the Apple Store or Google Play).
“We were impressed with the overall cleanliness of the park, and the modern facilities,” Conner said in his letter. All sites include cable TV and free Wi-Fi, and there is an on-site restaurant. There are even private, family-style bathrooms and ATV trail access.
The Coleville/Walker KOA is just one of the 14 new locations KOA has added to its North American system so far in 2014.
And stay tuned, the company said: There are many more great new KOA locations to come.
Other new KOA Locations include:
• Pocatello, Idaho: This quiet campground is back in the KOA system under new management. It’s surrounded by the mountains, and just 30 minutes away from world-famous Lava Hot Springs. Pocatello is the home of Idaho State University, and there is a Museum of Natural History on campus. At the KOA, you’ll find extra-long pull through sites and super clean Cabins.
• Alamogordo/White Sands, N.M.: Just off US-54/70, you’ll find this respite in the desert, with open, shady sites. Just down the road is the New Mexico Museum of Space History, detailing the state’s role in the U.S. Space Program. If hiking is your thing, there are plenty of trails at the nearby White Sands National Monument, where the roads lead through the flour-white gypsum sands.
• Decatur/Wheeler Lake, Ala.: This campground sits on Wheeler Reservoir, operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Water activities are the main thing at this KOA, with water skiing, canoeing, sailing, fishing and swimming at the top of the list that also includes photography, hiking, and birdwatching.
• Benbow, Calif.: Visitors to the lost coast of northern California will find this campground along the East Branch of the South Fork Eel River. There are new deluxe cabins where you can sit and admire the mountain views and majestic redwoods. The campground has a nine-hole golf course, putting green and driving cage. You can hike among the giant trees at the nearby Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Rockefeller Forest and Founders Grove.
• Uniontown, Pa.: This KOA, formerly the River’s Edge Campground, is situated between the Youghiogheny River and the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail, so every campsite comes with a view of the trail or the river. You can fish for trout or rent a canoe, or set off on a bike ride of any length along the 150-mile trail. This KOA has themed weekends each summer, with live bands, bonfires and dance parties around the new pool.
• Starkville, Miss.: This new KOA, right on the shores of Oktibbeha County Lake, is just minutes from Mississippi State University. You can swim at the beach, enjoy the waterslides, or cast a fishing line. And its just a few miles to the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and the famed Natchez Trace Parkway.
• Nashville, Tenn., North: This KOA is handy to all Music City attractions, just 13 miles north of the downtown Nashville loop. There’s even a “Little Country Opry,” with music and dinner every Thursday night all summer long. There are 100 sites here, on 8 1/2 acres.
• Hancock/Stevens Point, Wis., South KOA Journey: The newly built KOA in central Wisconsin has a pond, along with a large heated swimming pool. It’s surrounded by vegetable and tree farms, and is near biking trails. It’s just off I-39 in a wooded setting.
• Naples, Maine: This western Maine KOA is a full-service campground in the heart of the Sebago Lakes Region. There’s a huge heated pool, and a kitchen open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rent a canoe for the lake, check out the game room and settle around the campfire at the end of a busy day.
• Sanger/Denton, Texas, North: This is the newest KOA in Texas, nestled just off I-35. It can accommodate any size RV, with 90-foot pull throughs and Wi-Fi. There’s a pavilion for outdoor cookouts, and an Austin stone fireplace to keep away the evening chill.
• Shreveport/Bossier City, La.: This award-winning campground is now back in the KOA system. You can sleep under the tall pines. Enjoy a variety of Louisiana foods at the many nearby restaurants, or try your luck at the casinos down the road. This KOA has two Kamp K9 dog parks, as well as new deluxe cabins.
• Fort McCoy/Lake Oklawaha, Fla.: This new Florida KOA is located on a bluff overlooking the 13,000-acre Lake Oklawaha Rodman Reservoir. It’s also surrounded by the 400,000-acre Ocala National Forest. It has 3,700 feet of privately owned lake frontage.
• Nashville East/Lebanon, Tenn.: This is the newest KOA added to the system. It’s in the countryside of middle Tennessee, only 20 minutes from Nashville. There are both open and shaded sites, a swimming pool, tent sites and a well-stocked camp store. It’s a base camp for the Grand Ole Opry, the Hermitage and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.
“What’s Behind Your Yellow Sign” is the focus of this year’s Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) convention and exposition, keying on the KOA “What’s Behind The Yellow Sign” marketing campaign.
The event moves to Charleston, S.C., for 2014 and will run Nov. 12-15.
The theme, according to Jenny McCullough, director of training and events for KOA, is a focus on “really honing in on what makes each individual KOA unique to their campers.” With nearly 500 sites across North America, there’s a significant variety of KOA options out there.
Here’s the schedule of events:
Wednesday, Nov. 12
Registration desk open
Kamp green event at the Mount Pleasant/Charleston KOA
Welcome reception at Boone Hall Plantation
Thursday, Nov. 13
Welcome to KOA general session
Owners association area meetings
Friday, Nov. 14
President’s and Founder’s awards breakfast
Keynote – Waldo Waldman
Franchisee of the Year and Rising Star Luncheon
Jim Rogers’ fireside chat
KOA expo opening reception
Saturday, Nov. 15
Final night celebration & KOA Care Camps auction
The New York Times featured Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) in an in-depth profile of the company’s new “What’s Behind the Yellow Sign” national marketing campaign on June 17.
According to a press release, the article, titled “Kampgrounds of America Sets First National TV Campaign,” discusses the strategy behind the campaign, which is designed to showcase the key differentiators of KOA, and highlights the brand’s first national TV commercial.
KOA Vice President of Marketing Toby Hedges and Eric Kiker, chief strategy officer at LRXD, KOA’s creative agency partner that produced the campaign, discussed the research and development process, as well as the various campaign components. The article describes the various scenes used throughout the 30-second commercial, including a family driving in an RV, enjoying fun campground activities such as swimming and rock wall climbing, and spending time together in the outdoors during their summer camping trip. The campaign’s online components are also mentioned, including the new BehindTheYellowSign.com microsite, online videos and online advertising.
“Our 2014 campaign is built upon the insight that we need to reintroduce KOA to North America to attract new campers to KOA,” said Hedges. “We know that many people have seen the KOA sign over the past 52 years, but many don’t really understand the amenities, recreation, quality and fun to be had our 485 campgrounds across North America. This year’s integrated campaign is designed to make the emotional connection between family, travel and camping, while showing people What’s Behind the Yellow Sign.”
In the New York Times piece, Hedges also explains how the What’s Behind the Yellow Sign campaign supports KOA’s overarching marketing strategy and programs, including the introduction of brand positions and focus on Deluxe Cabins. KOA’s three new brand positions designate properties as a Journey, Holiday or Resort campground to help visitors choose the type of camping accommodations and experience best suites their travel needs, while knowing they’ll always receive the consistent high-level of service and quality associated with KOA.
The recreational vehicle industry was riding high in 2006, with the number of motorhomes and towable trailers shipped to dealers reaching a 30-year high of 390,500, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Then came the blow of the economic downturn and rising gas prices, with units plummeting 58% over the next three years, to 165,700 in 2009.
As reported by the New York Times, the industry has been bouncing back, however, with steady year-over-year growth in the last four years, and it shipped 321,127 units in 2013, with shipments climbing 11% more in the first four months of 2014 compared with the same period a year ago.
Now Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) is hoping to book some of the growing ranks of RV enthusiasts, with what the company says is a first in its 52-year history: a national television commercial. To access the ad click here.
The spot introduces the slogan, “What’s Behind the Yellow Sign?” According to market research by the company, as many as 95% of respondents recall seeing its red and yellow logo — a tepee with the letters KOA — on signs alongside highways, but many do not know what the letters stand for.
The commercial opens The commercial opens with an RV driving down a tree-lined road on a summer day. Inside a mother plays a game at a table with her daughter, and a boy sits cross-legged on a sofa beside a golden retriever.
“You’ve driven past it a thousand times, that bright yellow KOA sign,” says a voice-over, as the R.V. passes the campground and the father, who is driving, looks in the rearview mirror. “But what if you’d stopped, what unforgettable moments were waiting, where everything is taken care of, freeing you to connect with the people you love in places where distractions just melt away?”
For the full story click here.
There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony with officials from the City of Sanger and various chamber of commerce members in attendance.
The location, owned by McClain’s RV SuperStores, had been operated as McClain’s Campsite before the opening of the new dealership — McClain’s fifth outlet — and the campground becoming a KOA franchise operation.
As part of the celebration, McClain’s Longhorn RV gave KOA Value Kard Rewards members a $500 fuel for purchasing a motorhome or a $250 parts certificate for purchasing a travel trailer. RV purchasers also got a free two-night stay at the Sanger/Denton North KOA.
For many, vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a peaceful respite. The beautiful coastline unfolds hundreds of miles of natural beaches and sand dunes covered with sea oats dancing in the coastal breeze.
Cape Hatteras Kampgrounds of America (KOA), located on Hatteras Island, offers premier camping in the midst of such paradise. To the east, the Atlantic Ocean laps the sandy beaches, holding a treasure trove of sea shells and offering bountiful fishing. To the west, the vast shallow bay of the Pamlico Sound courts water sports enthusiasts from around the continent for some of the best kite boarding and wind surfing around, according to a written announcement from KOA.
One of only a handful of resorts in the KOA system, Cape Hatteras KOA was nearly destroyed in August 2011 when Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc across much of the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States. Following an extensive rebuilding process, the campground reopened as an inclusive vacation destination with a variety of accommodations unique to the KOA system.
Elevated Deluxe Cabins offer ocean views and come furnished with linens and kitchen supplies, and a new main building houses a store, café, and, on the third floor, Vacation Suites that rival resort hotel accommodations. These suites overlook the pool, with views of the ocean, or the sound, where sunsets are legendary.
Where once the wreckage of a modest pool sat, an Olympic-sized pool has been constructed, featuring a zero entry area, lap lanes, two water slides, and hot tub. Campground guests have full access to all the campground’s amenities, including the pool, hot tub, on-site recreation, mini golf, jumping pillow, Wi-Fi, cable TV, meeting space, and more.
To unveil this resort facility, Cape Hatteras KOA is hosting a grand reopening for the public on May 1–4. Open house tours begin at noon Thursday and continue through the weekend.
The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m., followed by a pig roast. Friday, May 2. Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers, who was featured on the hit CBS series “Undercover Boss,” will be present for the ribbon cutting, and guests will receive a free kite to fly during the ceremony.
The public is invited to tour the facility and take part in activities and entertainment. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and proceeds from pancake breakfasts and poolside BBQ go toward KOA Care Camps. This charitable organization sends children with cancer to specialized summer camps throughout North America.
Ongoing campground activities provided by KOA’s recreation specialists, the Summershiners, include fun train tours, tie-dye, games, theater, pirate parades, and more held throughout the weekend.
KOA is proud to take part in the revitalization of the Outer Banks following the relentless weather of the past several years. The property was under construction the entire year of 2012, delayed numerous times by weather including two hurricanes and a large nor’easter that blocked entrance to the island and washed away the ocean’s dunes. The bulk of construction wrapped Memorial Day 2013, but improvements continue to be made to the property.
During a recent meeting of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, Chairman Warren Judge thanked KOA for making this investment in Hatteras Island and for moving quickly after Hurricane Irene.
“This project is a good sign of life coming back to the area,” Judge said, noting that campgrounds are well-used on Hatteras Island because people can camp at a reasonable price.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) has partnered with AGS Publishing on a new program for KOA Value Card holders.
According to a press release, AGS will look to introduce KOA customers/Value Kard holders to special offers available to them through merchants that support KOA guest guide publications facilitated by AGS.
“I was thrilled that KOA would seek our partnership on this program, which is very similar to an innovative program we rolled out a couple of years ago called GoodDealsHere.com,” said Brian Schaeffer, president of AGS. “We have been hooking up consumers to supporting park merchants all over the U.S. and Canada through our online app – Good Deals Here – for the last couple of years so physically adding the KOA Value Card to what we are already doing will be an easy transition at the KOA parks we service.”
Schaeffer concluded, “It is a joy to work with KOA and Lorne Armer (vice president of marketing for KOA) as their marketing efforts are very forward looking and align nicely with our outside-of-the-box thinking. These types of programs have resulted in dozens of parks in just the last year switching their guest guide/site map marketing to AGS.”
For more information, call Michael Moore at (877) 518-1989.
Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) recent purchase of the Lazydays campground in Tucson, Ariz., for $4.35 million is proving to be a beneficial partnership, according to a report by the Arizona Daily Star.
Lazydays RV will continue to operate its Tucson dealership and service center while the two companies will work together to promote both businesses.
“It’s a marriage that works well for both of us,” said Randy Lay, CFO for Lazydays. “KOA has a broad network of campgrounds, and our customer bases are very similar.”
Lay said Lazydays thought the campground should be run by the “best of the best” so it could focus on the dealership and service center.
“It’s two separate companies working side by side,” said Jeff Gooch, general manager of KOA Tucson. “Our goal is to improve the park. KOA is about kids, so we’ll probably get a playground with a swing set and stuff for the kids to do.”
The campground has about 400 spaces on more than 43 acres. Citrus trees — more than 400 of them — cover the property. The fruit is free for the taking by campers. “They get to pick all the fruit they can possibly eat,” Gooch said.
The property includes a convention center, workout room, laundry facility, RV storage facility, two swimming pools, putting green, games such as horseshoes, on-site restaurant and bar, and a store with sundries. For campers with dogs, there is a dog park for large and small dogs.
“It’s a great park,” Gooch said. “We have a little bit of everything here.”
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) honored nine campgrounds during its Austin, Texas International Convention Friday (Nov. 22) for receiving top service scores from campers in 2013.
The nine campgrounds received a “Net Promoter Score” (NPS) of at least 90 from campers. Each year, KOA surveys more than 200,000 camping guests shortly after their stays, asking each if they would recommend that particular KOA to others.
Campgrounds honored for the top scores were:
• Filmore, Utah, KOA, David and Corinne Lewis, owners.
• Montpelier Creek, Idaho, KOA, Stuart and Kathleen Marshall, owners.
• Ozark/Fort Rucker, Ala., KOA, William and Lori Hemmis, owners.
• Durant/Choctaw Casino, Okla., KOA, Charlie Tyree, manager.
• Greybull, Wyo., KOA, Cornelis and MaRia Bijvank, owners.
• Pueblo South/Colorado City, Colo., KOA, Tim and Elena Johnson, owners.
• Oroville/Feather Falls Casino, Calif., KOA, Eric Smith, manager.
• Mt. Lassen/Shingletown, Calif., KOA, Charles and Rosemary Butzine, owners.
• Wapakoneta, Ohio, KOA, John and Debbie Schuettler, owners.
With two ziplines, a climbing wall, many deluxe cabins and a soon-to-be-opened resort swimming pool, the Ventura Ranch, California KOA was a natural selection as Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) 2014 Rising Star Award winner, according to KOA.
The KOA Rising Star Award is presented to a campground owner who has been in the KOA North American system for less than five years, and in that short time has exhibited all of the traits of a seasoned campground professional.
The Ventura Ranch KOA, owned by business partners Scott Cory and Steven Bitter, has quickly become a jewel of the 486-campground KOA system. It was one of the featured campgrounds in the KOA episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS in January, 2013.
Cory has been referred to as the “Walt Disney of Camping” for his vision when it comes to planning and executing new campground features.
The 75-acre campground is surrounded by fragrant lemon orchards, and also features a jumping pillow, a creek with “Bigfoot’s Watering Hole,” a pedal car racetrack and miles of nature trails. There’s even a flock of wild peacocks that call the campground home.
“It’s so important that we listen to our guests,” Cory said in explaining Ventura Ranch KOA’s success. “They will tell us what they like and don’t like, and we’ll build upon those comments.” Cory said KOA’s system of gathering camper feedback is crucial to his success as an owner.
“This award is so well deserved by Scott and Steve,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “They are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to what campers will see next. They’ve taken what was a campground in disrepair and turned it into a thriving business.”
KOA is celebrating its 51st Anniversary in 2013. KOA, the world’s largest network of family-friendly campgrounds with 486 locations in North America, was born on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962.