Scrape the bugs off your windshield and check your radiator coolant because the next few months are stacking up to be one of the top summers for road trips in years.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, with consumer confidence up, fuel prices down and frustration over airline fees growing, Americans are expected to hit the road in big numbers over the next few months, rolling to such hot spots as Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
Travel experts and surveys conducted in the last few weeks point to a season of busy freeways and crowded roadside attractions.
Three in four summer travelers said they would be taking a trip by car, up from 70% who said they planned to drive last summer, according to a survey of more than 1,200 Americans taken by the travel website TripAdvisor.
A survey by the travel website Expedia found that 14% of travelers said they were more likely to take a summer road trip this year than last year because of an improving economy.
“I think we are going to see a little more of those longer trips,” said Jim Rogers, chief executive of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), a Montana-based franchise with more than 400 campgrounds throughout North America. “It’s not going to be just the weekend trips.”
Summer reservations at KOA campgrounds across the country are up 14% compared with the same period last year, and Rogers attributes the rise to declining fuel prices and rising confidence in the economy.
“It’s not going to be a tsunami or a tidal wave, but it will be a definite wave,” he said of the road-trip trend.
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Fathers and their families throughout North America went camping at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) locations in increased numbers last weekend, according to figures released by KOA today (June 18).
KOA said camper nights across the 485-campground KOA system in North America were up 4.1% this Father’s Day Weekend, compared to Father’s Day Weekend in 2012, the company announced in a press release.
“Our offer that kids stay free at participating KOAs during Father’s Day Weekend resonated with campers,” said KOA Vice President of Marketing Toby Hedges. “Campers know that there are few things that compare to camping when it comes to spending quality time with your children.”
The 2013 Father’s Day Weekend results continued the trend of strong holiday camping numbers at KOAs this year. Advanced reservations for the Fourth of July holiday are up 13.2%, and total peak season reservations (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are up 9.2% over the same period in 2012.
CBS has decided not to immediately re-air the KOA “Undercover Boss” episode featuring Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), which was scheduled to air tonight (June 7).
Programmers at CBS decided at the last minute to air an episode of American Baking Competition instead, KOA stated in a news release.
The producer of “Undercover Boss” said that the KOA episode will still air at a later date, yet to be determined.
The Billings, Mont., KOA Campground will become the Billings KOA Holiday Campground tomorrow (June 7), according to a press release.
The change is the beginning of a new brand structure for the 51-year-old iconic North American camping company. KOA said that three new brand segments will better identify the specific offerings of its 485 campgrounds for the millions of North American camping families that use KOA each year.
Over the next few years, KOA campgrounds across North America will be rebranded as either a KOA Journey, KOA Holiday or KOA Resort campground.
“Segmenting our famous KOA brand in this way will help our campers select just the KOA they need for their next trip,” said KOA’s Vice President of Marketing Toby Hedges. “Each KOA is unique, but each Journey, Holiday and Resort KOA will have amenities and services in common that will make it easier for campers to find just the right campground. KOA began 51 years ago right here in Billings, so it’s only right that we should begin this new chapter for KOA at the Billings KOA Holiday.”
The three brands designate:
• KOA Journey Campgrounds are identified as being convenient to major highways, include long pull-through sites and provide a relaxing overnight oasis for travelers.
• KOA Holiday Campgrounds, such as the Billings KOA Holiday, are great base camps to explore the area and include family activities and additional amenities to make these facilities great getaways for short vacations. They will also all feature KOA Deluxe Cabins, which include full bathrooms and kitchens.
• KOA Resorts will offer campers a true resort-style vacation with luxurious pools, patio RV sites, Deluxe Cabin linen service and a specially trained activities and recreation staff.
The CBS episode for “Undercover Boss” featuring Kampgrounds of America (KOA) CEO Jim Rogers will re-air on June 7 at 7 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones, and 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.
According to a press release, the initial showing of the KOA “Undercover Boss” episode on Jan. 11 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 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.”
Summer camping at the 485 Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) locations around North America is off to a fast start, according to numbers released this week by KOA, the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds.
KOA’s advanced registrations for the Memorial Day Weekend are up more than 4% over the same period in 2012. Advanced reservations for the entire summer peak season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) are even stronger, showing an increase of 8% for that period compared to 2012.
“The 12-day period surrounding the Fourth of July holiday is actually up more than 14% over that same period in 2012,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “All indicators show a strong summer camping season on the way.”
According to a recent survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), an estimated 14 million Americans will enjoy the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend in an RV. The survey also said 71% of RV owners intend to use their recreational vehicles more this summer than they did last year, and an additional 21% intend to use their RVs at least as much as they did in 2012. Only 5% reported that they intend to decrease their camping.
Kampgrounds of America officially launched its summer camping season with its 10th Annual KOA Care Camps Big Weekend May 10-11. More than 12,000 KOA camping families stayed more than 25,000 camping nights during the event. Campers who stayed as paying guests on Friday, May 10 received a free night of camping on Saturday, May 11. The event also serves as a major fundraiser for KOA Care Camps for children with cancer, a network of 55 specialized summer camps for children with cancer located throughout North America.
Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), continues his visit to Northern Indiana today (May 10) and through the weekend with appearances at the KOA campground in Middlebury.
Woodall’s Campground Management reported that Rogers, who was the keynote speaker Thursday at the inaugural “RV Power Breakfast” held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, will be speaking tonight at the Middlebury KOA, owned by Hope Perkins.
Perkins was in the audience of 400 people who attended the Power Breakfast, sponsored by RVBusiness magazine, sister publication to Woodall’s Campground Management.
At the breakfast, Rogers touted KOA’s Care Camps Big Weekend which starts today and runs through Sunday, Mother’s Day. The program raises funds to pay for camping experiences for children with cancer.
The Middlebury KOA has a full agenda this weekend:
Friday, May 10
• All mothers will receive a free carnation when they arrive, to honor them for Mother’s Day Weekend.
• Friday evening, there will be an ice cream social hosted by Rogers. Campers will hear about the work at KOA Care Camps, and then have a chance to view the KOA episode of “Undercover Boss” and get “the scoop” about the show from Rogers.
Saturday, May 11
• From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a vendor and craft fair, with everything from baked goods to temporary tattoos, local craft and “buzz cuts.” All vendor booth fees and auction items will be donated to KOA Care Camps.
• At 10 a.m., there will be crafts for the kids, including tie-dying T-shirts.
• From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a live radio broadcast.
• At 11 a.m., there will be a fishing tournament.
• At 4 p.m., campers can sign up for their bid paddles for the silent auction.
• At 4:30 p.m., there will be a Haystack Supper.
• At 6 p.m., there will be a Silent Auction and Live Auction, complete with ice cream and popcorn.
Sunday, May 12
• Church services at 8:30 a.m.
• Pancake breakfast from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), took his effervescent, pro-camping message to an audience of 400 people from the RV industry today (May 9) in Elkhart, Ind.
As reported by Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM), Rogers was the keynote speaker at the inaugural “Power Breakfast” sponsored by RVBusiness magazine, sister publication to WCM.
Speaking on the theme “Let’s Uncover the RV Camping Future Together,” Rogers identified several camping trends within the KOA system. Among them:
• After a slight downturn in 2011, annual camper nights rose 2.7% systemwide in 2012, led by 6.8% growth in the South Central region and 5.6% growth in New England.
• Camper nights for deluxe cabins soared 23.1% in May to October 2012 over the same period in 2011. This may be creating a big upturn in prospective RV buyers who become interested in camping.
• 58% of campers spent the previous night at home, meaning people are taking shorter trips.
• Social media has become an integral part of a campground’s operation, putting the operator in contact with the public every day.
• Campgrounds have become a “valued oasis” for Americans who live in a “high tech, low touch world.”
Rogers addressed what he termed a “disconnect” between the RV and campground industries, proposing that campgrounds – KOAs in particular – should become showrooms for RV dealers. Current campers are the best RV sales prospects, Rogers maintains, and would be interested in weekend shows over the summer. Or, he suggested, RV dealers could work in tandem with campgrounds to offer a night’s camping at a nearby campground for a prospective RV buyer to test their new unit. Cabin guests also comprise the next wave of new RV buyers, he added.
He said the campground industry also has to do a better job of reaching out to the nation’s minorities – African-American, Hispanic and Asian. These three ethnic groups represent 33% of the U.S. population but just 12% of the camping public.
Rogers also noted that camping is the “perfect answer” to Americans’ quest for “soft rugged” – the demand for an experience with hospitality and comfort.
In conclusion, Rogers said there are sunny days ahead for both the RV and campground industries. Some 70% of current RVers will make a replacement purchase and 25% want a new unit and only 15% of Americans camp – most of those in tents. “The potential upside for RV – and camping – growth is immense,” he said.
When Jim Rogers comes to Indiana’s Elkhart County next month for the RV Power Breakfast, the Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) chairman plans to stick around through Mother’s Day weekend and stay at the local KOA, according to a press release and a report by the Elkhart Truth.
The weekend, according to current plans, will give local campers two chances to get to know Rogers: They’ll get to screen Rogers’ “Undercover Boss” episode and hear about his experience taping the show, and they’ll also get to help out the KOA charity effort to help children with cancer.
Rogers will speak May 9 at the inaugural RV Industry Power Breakfast at the RV/MH Hall of Fame east of Elkhart, a first-ever event for which some 300 industry-related diners are already signed up. Rogers will bring his camping industry experience to the RV manufacturers and dealer groups in attendance at the breakfast for which tickets are still available at RVBUSINESS.com and at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
Then, he’ll stick around to help promote the major fund-raising weekend for KOA Care Camps, a network of 52 specialized summer camps across North America for children with cancer. The 10th-annual event raises money to give the children a free week of summer camp.
“KOA Care Camps are very dear to my heart, and I’m so proud that my campers are able to help out these special children at a time when they really need the relief that at Care Camp brings,” said Elkhart County/Middlebury KOA owner Hope Perkins in a written announcement about the event. “For thousands of children each summer, KOA Care Camps are an important part of their cure.”
Rogers said, “I can’t wait to come to the Elkhart County/Middlebury KOA to help our campers get a great start on their summer camping season. We’re going to have a ton of fun, and I know owner Hope Perkins has a full weekend of great activities planned that will certainly make it a weekend to remember.”
Rogers went undercover for an episode of the CBS series “Undercover Boss” in January, and after an ice cream social May 10, campers at the Elkhart County KOA will get to watch the episode and hear Rogers’ insider perspective.
Campers who pay to stay Friday night get the next night free, and get to enjoy a vendor and craft fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including children’s crafts and a fishing tournament. There’s also a haystack supper followed by a silent auction and a live auction benefitting the charity along with the vendor booth fees.
Sunday morning will feature church services, followed by a pancake breakfast.
Campers can make reservations by phone at (800) 562-5892 or online at at http://e2.ma/click/xiq6d/19pjue/9blfs.
When Jim Rogers speaks at the inaugural RV Industry Power Breakfast next month at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., he plans to share good news for the Elkhart-based RV industry.
As reported by The Elkhart Truth, the CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) sees a huge potential for growth in the RV market.
“What’s important for us all to realize is we have just scratched the surface. When you go through a capacity reduction that’s happened in the last five years, when you have to let people go … I think we’re stronger together than apart, and by bringing the three sectors of the manufacturer, the dealer and the campground together we can optimize the potential that exists within the north American marketplace,” said Rogers in a phone interview.
“It’s bigger than the assembly line. You have a community there that needs to see some hope and some opportunity for the future,” and Rogers believes Elkhart County has that hope and opportunity in the RV industry.
Rogers is chairman and chief executive officer of KOA, which owns 26 campgrounds and works with franchisees who run another 461 campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada.
When he got the invitation to speak at the power breakfast, he jumped at the opportunity, and he credits Sherman Goldenberg, publisher of industry publication RVBusiness magazine, with a great idea.“It’s quite the accomplishment because Sherman to me kind of represents the United Nations of the RV world. He brings all the different components together, which I think is one of the things exciting to us,” said Rogers. “The campground sector hasn’t had a lot of engagement with the manufacturers or the dealers,” even though the campgrounds end up as the proving ground for many of the RVs made in the Elkhart County area.
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