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.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) continued its summer string of holiday successes over the Labor Day Weekend, posting a 4.5% increase in short-term camper nights compared to Labor Day Weekend last year.
According to a press release, the big Labor Day camper turnout brought KOA’s overall 2013 camping numbers to 3% over year-to-date performance in 2012.
“Camping numbers have been positive throughout the summer,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “We’ve seen positive growth in every section of the country. Fuel prices have been stable, and the weather really cooperated this year to give our campers the maximum amount of enjoyment from their KOA camping lifestyles.”
The positive trend doesn’t show any signs of abating. Advanced reservations for the final week of KOA’s summer “peak season,” which runs through Sept. 8, remain strong at 8.6% over last year. Reservations for KOA’s Value Kard Rewards Appreciation Weekend Sept. 13-14 are running 18.8% ahead of the same period in 2012.
Members of KOAs Value Kard Rewards Program receive a free night of camping on Sept. 14 when they stay as paying guests on Sept. 13.
Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), will share with dealers the first comprehensive look at actual 2013 North American RV camping results and offer insights KOA has for future RV camping trends when he presents “A Campground Outlook” during the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Annual Meeting on Oct. 3 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. According to a press release, the annual meeting is held in conjunction with the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Sept. 30-Oct. 4.
Armed with KOA’s exclusive real-time data from 500 campgrounds across the U.S and Canada, Rogers will provide attendees with perspectives on the evolving needs and habits of America’s campers as well as explain how dealers can benefit from the emerging destination camping market.
“Jim is a dynamic industry leader who has championed a proactive feedback and knowledge-driven outdoor hospitality approach to meeting the wants and needs of camper guests,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “He has a passion for RV travel and the outdoors, and we are delighted he will be sharing his knowledge with us at the annual meeting.”
KOA and Rogers will also be involved in a new initiative at this year’s convention, sponsoring RVDA’s programs for young RV executives. KOA will host a young executives networking reception on Oct. 2, and Rogers will deliver a special workshop on Oct. 3, titled “Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity.” There will be track workshops designated for young RV executives in all time slots on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rogers, who was featured earlier this year in the CBS reality series “Undercover Boss,” has been at the helm of KOA – the world’s largest system of family friendly campgrounds – for the past 12 years. The company, born in Billings, Mont., in 1962, is still headquartered near that first campground location and now has 489 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
The convention is sponsored by RVDA, RVDA of Canada, and the RV Learning Center.
The 2013 convention will also feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s top suppliers offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability. RVDA’s Partners in Progress Brand Committees will also meet to work on important dealer/manufacturer issues.
Companies interested in partnership or sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130 or send an e-mail to Julie Newhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register and find more information on the Convention/Expo, visit www.rvda.org.
Campers now have a new online “home base” for everything they need to know to enhance their outdoor lifestyle.
Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) new blog, “The Greater Outdoors,” brings together multiple tools, the very latest information on everything happening outdoors, easy-to-prepare recipes, new product reviews and news of the latest additions to the KOA family of campgrounds, according to a news release.
“We’ve always tried to provide our campers with the best camping information possible via our KOA Kompass website and monthly email newsletters, but we feel The Greater Outdoors blog takes things to a different level,” said Toby Hedges, KOA’s vice president of marketing. “The new blog will be much more dynamic, with fresh content pouring in continuously, instead of just once a month. We think campers will want to check back often to keep up with the latest in RV tips and tricks from our experts, fun and easy camping recipes and also interact with us and each other.”
The Greater Outdoors blog is designed to serve as an “online community” for campers to comment on articles and share their own ideas with other campers.
There will also be multiple entertaining contests and giveaways to enhance campers’ experience on the blog.
Another new feature on KOA’s The Greater Outdoors blog is “Campstagram,” a photo sharing feature linked to the popular online application Instagram. Campers simply “hashtag” their KOA camping photos with #koa or #kamping and the photos will automatically be fed to a rolling display on The Greater Outdoors blog.
“It’s another fun way for KOA to interact with campers, and for campers to share the fun with each other,” Hedges said.
To access KOA’s The Greater Outdoors blog, visit www.koa.blog.com.
When Randy Martin, wife Heidi and kids Kristi and Kyle decided they needed a break from their lives in West Palm Beach, Fla,, they decided to not just go halfway.
The Martin Family, sponsored along the way by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), recently completed a 13-month, 67,000-mile trip through all 50 states, according to a news release.
The family is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Today Show” Thursday morning (Aug. 22) between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. EST. The special segment was taped last week at the West Palm Beach/Lion Country Safari KOA Campground in Florida.
“I wanted to visit all 50 states so that my children had the opportunity to experience what’s best about the U.S.,” said Randy, the CFO for The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach. “Our trip across America allowed us to bond as a family and meet many new friends while learning about American history and culture.”
The Martins said the trip likely wouldn’t have been possible without the support of sponsors like KOA.
“Thanks to Kampgrounds of America for supporting ‘thatTripUSA’ and for many comfortable nights and friendly, smiling faces at, by far, the best campgrounds in America,” Martin said.
The family blogged about their adventures and managed to maintain a complete website about the trip during their travels. yo learn about the Martin’s adventure visit www.thattripUSA.com.
For more information on Kampgrounds of America, or to plan your next KOA adventure, go to www.KOA.com.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has announced that Kampgrounds of America (KOA) will sponsor the mock campground entrance at the 61st Annual California RV Show and that KOA CEO Jim Rogers will be a featured speaker at the event.
According to a press release, the mock campground was very popular with attendees and guests after being unveiled as the main entry point at last year’s show. Show attendees walk through the exhibit to see RVs in a campground setting before moving on to the main exhibition areas.
This year’s mock campground will cover 15,000 square feet of exhibit space and feature 10 RV products, including two Fleetwood Class A motorhomes, two Tiffin Class A motorhomes, a Winnebago Class A motorhome, a Thor type A motorhome, two Columbia Northwest folding camping trailers, and a Pleasure-Way Class B motorhome.
KOA will also have one of its Deluxe Cabins on display for attendees to visit. The 40-foot unit built by Cavco features an upstairs sleeping loft, flat screen TVs, queen bed suite, full bath and full kitchen. KOA staff will be on hand to answer questions and help make reservations.
“We are delighted to be part of the California RV Show,” said Scott Corey, owner of the Ventura Ranch KOA. “Our cabins and teepees have been a huge hit with campers at our campground. The Deluxe Cabin that will be on display is a great example of ‘glamping.’ Attendees will see that they can enjoy a great outdoor vacation even if they don’t own an RV and be introduced to the RV and camping lifestyle.”
KOA CEO Jim Rogers will be at the show on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. in the Seminar Tent to review the exciting things KOA is doing nationwide, discuss his appearance on the popular CBS program Undercover Boss, and meet and greet show attendees.
The 61st Annual California RV Show will take place at The Fairplex in Pomona, CA from Oct. 11 – 20, 2013. For more information visit www.TheBestRVShow.com or contact Tom Gaither, RVIA’s western whow director at (818) 248-6600 or email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: The following news release comes from Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).
Purchasing a campground is a huge decision. Each year, dozens of families throughout North America “make the leap” and purchase their very own KOA campground.
At the other end of that purchase is another family – the current KOA owners – who have owned and nurtured the campground for years, even decades, before deciding it was time to sell.
Kampgrounds of America does everything it can to make the transition as easy as possible for both of those families.
“Our sales department works very hard to find new owners for existing KOAs and make sure they are ready to take over when a current owner decides it’s time to sell,” said Chris Fairlee, vice president of sales and conversions for Kampgrounds of America Inc.
“We hold Buyer’s Workshops at various locations around the country each year that answer prospective owner’s questions, and give them a clear view of what it takes to own and operate a KOA campground,” Fairlee said. “The workshops start new potential owners down the road to ownership. It’s our goal to make both the buyer and the seller happy with their decision.”
Fairlee said there are several similar workshops held each year by independent campground brokers, but none can match the level of detail provided to buyers thinking about a KOA purchase.
“We don’t have to guess at how the season is going for our campgrounds on the local, state or regional level,” Fairlee said. “We have that data at our fingertips.”
So far in 2013, the efforts of Fairlee and his team are working.
“We have closings set for five KOA campgrounds for this summer alone,” Fairlee said. “By the end of August, we will have re-sold as many KOAs as we did in all of 2012.”
He said the recent KOA Buyer’s Workshop in Nashville, Tenn., was one of the most successful in KOA’s 51-year history.
“Buyers are usually pretty serious about it by the time they come to our workshop,” he said. “One participant was a college professor who is currently working overseas. He flew in from Abu Dhabi specifically for our workshop and is now purchasing his first KOA.”
Fairlee said a recent increase in sales activity is being driven by the availability of credit by banks and SBA loans, and increased public exposure for camping, such as KOA’s recent episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS.
“Traffic to our Own A KOA website (www.ownakoa.com) went up 930% in the week that the ‘Undercover Boss’ episode aired in January,” he said. “We’ve had more than 500 inquiries for more information from potential new owners so far in 2013.”
Fairlee said new KOA owners often tell him the effort KOA makes to find new owners is a big reason they purchased a KOA franchise.
“They like to know that we are going to do everything we can to help them when the time comes to sell their KOA,” he said. “They view it as if it’s an insurance policy for their new business.”
Along with the www.ownakoa.com website, KOA supports new franchisees with its huge www.KOA.comwebsite (the most popular camping website in North America), and consumer-based marketing such as its KOA Kompass e-newsletter and nearly a million distributed copies of the annual KOA Directory.
At the forefront of KOA’s sales efforts is Cecil Pegram, who has more than 20 years experience matching existing KOA campgrounds with new owners.
Pegram often works with potential new owners for five years or more before they are ready to purchase a property.
“Cecil takes the long view,” Fairlee said. “We have a vested interest in getting just the right owner into just the right KOA. We don’t disappear after we’ve sold you the property. You will continue your partnership all down the line with KOA.”
“The KOA system only wants great, quality owners taking over at our campgrounds,” he said. “That’s because we know that they are going to be a part of the KOA family for the long haul.”
More than 3 million total entries have been received thus far for the “2013 Great KOA Giveaway Contest.” According to a press release, the contest is sponsored by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Keystone RV Co.
One lucky entrant will win a new Keystone Cougar RV and a decade of free KOA camping when the grand prizewinner is selected in October. The contest, which began in March, also includes weekly prizes of free weekends of KOA camping, portable grills from Weber Grills, and Cabela’s gift certificates.
“We designed this summer’s contest to entice campers to keep coming back and registering to win each week,” said Mike Gast, KOA’s vice president of communications. “We’ve already seen 105,000 unique e-mail entries, and 3.1 million overall entries, and we still have four more months to go.”
The grand prize – a $40,000 Keystone Cougar RV provided by Keystone RV Co., and a decade of free KOA camping – will be awarded by KOA CEO Jim Rogers during the California RV Show in Pomona on Oct. 12.
“The huge number of entries in our Great KOA Giveaway contest reflects the public’s increasing interest in camping and RVing,” Gast said. “RV manufacturers, including our partners at Keystone RV Co., are reporting a strong increase in the sales of new recreational vehicles, and advanced reservations for the summer at KOAs across North America are more than 13% higher than the same period last year.”
If you missed the escapades of Kampgrounds of America CEO Jim Rogers on a CBS airing of “Undercover Boss” last January, you’ll have another chance to see him in action when the episode reairs on June 21 at 7 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones, and at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.
According to a press release, the rebroadcast was initially scheduled for June 7, but was removed from the schedule for that date by CBS on June 6.
The original showing of the KOA “Undercover Boss” episode in January easily “won the night,” ranking first in households watching; first in actual viewers; and first among both adults in the 25-54 age group and the 18-49 age group.
Ratings for the episode were up 20% over the “Undercover Boss” episode that aired the previous week. The KOA episode was the third-most-watched episode of the 12 shows in the award-winning reality show’s recently concluded fourth season.
“Undercover Boss was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to both receive totally unfiltered feedback from employees and our franchisee partners, as well as promote KOAs new Deluxe Cabins, destination attractions, KOA Care Camps, and outstanding guest service to over 9 million viewers,” Rogers said. “We showed North America the great diversity of KOA’s outdoor hospitality.”
The show also provided a bump for KOA.
Reservations across the 485-campground KOA system were up 17% for the weekend of Jan. 11-13, compared to the same weekend last year, and reserved nights at the four KOA properties featured in the episode were up 169% over last year.
KOA’s popular KOA.com website also benefited, with a 128% increase in visits versus the same weekend last year. The initial showing of the “Undercover Boss” episode also set records on KOA’s mobile website, which saw an increase in site visits of 391% over the same weekend in 2012, and an increase in total visitors of 1,218%.
“The effects of our participation in the show will be felt by KOA and our industry for a long, long time,” said Rogers. “You just can’t buy that kind of exposure for your brand.”