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KOA’s Rogers’ Undercover Boss Show to Reair

June 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.”

 

 

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‘Undercover Boss’ Gives a Boost to KOA Brand

January 30, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The recent appearance by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) CEO Jim Roger on “Undercover Boss” garnered unprecedented attention for the KOA brand, its campgrounds and KOA owners and staffs, according to a news release.

KOA was featured in the Jan. 11 episode of the award-winning “Undercover Boss” show, now in its fourth season on CBS.

“We were absolutely blown away from the reaction across North America,” said Rogers, who took on the persona of Tim Bickford, a mild-mannered, out-of-work accountant from San Francisco.

“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, 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 KOA episode of “Undercover Boss” was the seventh episode of the show’s fourth season, and grabbed the second highest ratings of any show since the season premiere last November.

The KOA episode also “won the night” for CBS, 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. The ratings were up 20% over the “Undercover Boss” episode from the previous week.

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 web traffic on Jan. 11 nearly matched the traffic we would normally see during the weekend before the Fourth of July weekend,” Rogers said. “That is traditionally our busiest weekend of the year for web traffic.”

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KOA’s Rogers Learns From Undercover Mission

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) CEO Jim Rogers learned some invaluable lessons about campground operations – good and bad – during his stealth appearance at four KOA parks in California and Arizona last summer as part of the CBS hit “Undercover Boss,” which appeared nationally Friday night (Jan. 11).

The four-year-old Emmy Award-winning series, in which business executives leave the comfort of their corner offices for undercover missions within their own companies, gave Rogers and viewers a rare look inside KOA’s $200 million-a-year franchise campground business based in Billings, Mont. — a system consisting of 488 parks, 26 of them company owned.

When it was all over, Rogers revealed his true identify and spread some of his wealth – $165,000 – to the campground owners and staff he had innocently deceived over the course of the filming.

For those who missed the hour-long episode, Rogers, the head of the world’s largest campground chain, assumes his alter ego and stars as Tim Bickford, an unemployed accountant from San Francisco in the popular series filmed over 10 days last June. A frumpish fellow with his polo shift all buttoned and shorts hitched up, “Tim” allegedly is a contestant touring those four campgrounds for the launch of a pilot TV show.

He was assigned as a “front line” employee at each of the parks.

“My front line assignments on ‘Undercover Boss’ affirmed the importance of creating KOA systems that maximize the time that campground staff members can spend with guests,” Rogers told Woodall’s Campground Management, a sister publication of RVBusiness, prior to the episode’s airing. “I learned that the great people we have on the front lines can always use more time to better know and serve our guests. Our campground owners and their staffs are the real heroes of KOA. Being undercover gave me an unobstructed view of where our business gets done.”

As for his alter ego in the episode, “I’m more like Forest Gump than Jim Rogers,” says the affable Rogers, describing his disguise that included a dyed mustache and a pair of white socks. Rogers, who shaved his signature beard for the show, succeeds in coming off nerdy, once prompting Paul, the guest services manager at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA in California, to remark, “If I was picking teams for a pickup football team, I would not pick Tim.”

Paul, efficient and engaging, opens up to Rogers and shares his life philosophy, the essence of which is that family and friends come before money. Paul also notes that showing appreciation to employees is important, noting that he was disappointed when KOA upper management failed to show any interest in the park’s regular staff workers like him when they gathered at the campground a year earlier.

Rogers says he realizes that he needs to find more time to listen to other people as a result in part of Paul, who subsequently earned a standing ovation at the KOA convention in November when Rogers announced that he made a $50,000 donation to KOA’s Care Camps in Paul’s name.

Since Rogers spends part of each summer working at KOA campgrounds, taking on the variety of tasks given him – ripping out a tree with a backhoe, paving and doing routine maintenance – came easily to him. What he didn’t like, however, was some of the poor customer service he witnessed first hand, questionable or spotty business procedures and the lack of perceived appreciation from the home office.

Sadie, the overworked office manager at the Tower Park Resort in Stockton, Calif., loses her patience with a potential guest who is kept waiting on the phone for five minutes while she helps campers in her store and blames a system she calls “archaic, not user friendly.” Rogers, who stood by nonchalantly and witnessed the chaos, confesses later, “It was ripping me apart inside.”

At the Ventura Ranch KOA near Los Angeles, Rogers (who is afraid of heights) gets his now well-chronicled ride on an 800-foot-long zipline and helps to adjust some housekeeping practices. “We need to whip this program into shape up here. It’s clear we have work to do.”

Rogers seems most pleased by the KOA in Williams, Ariz., near the Grand Canyon where owners Bruce and Lori are expanding their cabin inventory and want to install a golf course and go-cart track for their guests. When Tim mentions that his typical work week is 40 to 50 hours, Bruce replies that is “half a week here.” Rogers endorses their enthusiasm in striving to make their park the best KOA in the system.

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KOA’s Rogers Relishes ‘Undercover Boss’ Role

January 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) CEO Jim Rogers helps put the RV park and campground sector on center stage next week by going undercover at four KOA parks in California and Arizona during the Jan. 11 episode of CBS TV’s “Undercover Boss,” the 4-year-old Emmy Award-winning series in which business executives leave the comfort of their corner offices for undercover missions within their own companies.

Rogers, the head of the world’s largest campground chain, assumes his alter-ego and stars as Tim Bickford, an unemployed accountant from San Francisco in the popular series filmed over 10 days in 2012. Rogers assumes the role of a contestant touring those four campgrounds, allegedly for the launch of a pilot TV show.

He was assigned as a “front line” employee at each of the parks.

“My front line assignments on ‘Undercover Boss’ affirmed the importance of creating KOA systems that maximize the time that campground staff members can spend with guests,” Rogers told RVBUSINESS.com. “I learned that the great people we have on the front lines can always use more time to better know and serve our guests. Our campground owners and their staffs are the real heroes of KOA. Being undercover gave me an unobstructed view of where our business gets done.”

In the episode, “I’m more like Forest Gump than Jim Rogers,” says the affable CEO, describing his disguise that includes a dyed mustache, shirt buttoned at the top and white socks. Rogers shaved his beard for the show.

Rogers spends part of each summer working at KOA campgrounds, so taking on the variety of tasks given him – ripping out a tree with a backhoe, paving and doing routine maintenance – came easily to him.

His biggest challenge was when he was asked to ride the zip line at one of the parks. “I’ve always been afraid of heights, so this was difficult,” he said. “I had to put it into my head that Jim is afraid of heights but Tim isn’t. At the end of the day, I am glad I did it. It was a surprise and a thrill. I have ridden many zip lines since.”

And despite his celebrity status among the Billings, Mont.-based franchise network’s personnel – KOA operates nearly 500 franchise and company-owned parks — no one ultimately recognized Rogers. In fact, when he reveals his true identity at the climax of the episode, his colleagues were “flabbergasted,” he reports.

“The CBS crew complimented me on my acting and said I was one of the few bosses who pulled off a character completely,” he said.

Though he had not yet seen the edited version, Rogers said the show provides good PR not just for KOA, but also for the campground and RV business, thanks in part to a Class C motorhome used liberally by the film crew throughout the taping.

“’Undercover Boss’ is great entertainment, but it also does a great service by taking the general public behind the scenes of popular companies,” Rogers said. “Every episode is a case study in business management.”

In particular, Rogers said he got a first-hand look at the cabin and lodging business at the four KOAs and came away with a better understanding of how to fine-tune the ever-growing “covered shelter” business at RV parks.

“One thing that is true for the entire campground sector, not just KOA, is housekeeping. We are moving as aggressively as we can into deluxe cabins but with that comes a housekeeping requirement,” he explained. “There are ways to do that well. We have spent a year finding the right suppliers, but we have work to be more consistent in the delivery of standards.

“I spent 18 years in the casino business,” Rogers added. “I know it can be done. There is a process that is required. We have to deliver on this new service, and I know many owners are saying, ‘We’re not going to do it.’ In our case, we have a certain standard we have to live up to. We have a ways to get there.”

“It’s a great opportunity, a great story, a great show. I hope it does really well for the sector and outdoor hospitality and for KOA,” he said.’s

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KOA’s Rogers to Appear on ‘Undercover Boss’

December 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jim Rogers, the gregarious CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc., will transform into mild-mannered Tim Bickford, an out-of-work accountant from San Francisco on CBS’s hit series “Undercover Boss,” Friday, Jan. 11 (8-9 p.m., ET/PT).

Rogers 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 and still headquartered near that first campground location, now has 489 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

The Emmy Award-winning Undercover Boss show is now in its fourth season.

“My front line assignments on ‘Undercover Boss’ affirmed the importance of creating KOA systems that maximize the time that campground staff members can spend with guests,” Rogers stated in a news release. “I learned that the great people we have on the front lines can always use more time to better know and serve our campers. Genuine engagement, ultimately, is what it’s all about. KOA campground owners and their staffs are the real heroes of KOA.”

Rogers said he welcomed the chance to go undercover, taking on the persona of a “front line” KOA employee.

“’Undercover Boss’ is great entertainment, but it also does a great service by taking the general public behind the scenes of popular companies,” Rogers said. “Every episode is a case study in business management.”

“My experience on ‘Undercover Boss’ once again confirmed to me the importance of ‘sweating the small things,’” Rogers said. “Being undercover gave me an unobstructed view of where our business gets done. Being there were no special advanced preparations for me, and that led to a lot of surprises – some good and some not so good.”

Rogers said he was heartened by KOA frontline staff’s understanding of the “Golden Rule” when serving campers, always doing their jobs in a manner that would exceed a guest’s expectations.

“It was also great to see our franchisees and our staff’s commitment to our charity effort for KOA Care Camps for children with cancer,” he said. “Their support for Care Camps really makes a difference.”

Each week, the Emmy Award-winning show, which is in its fourth season, follows a different executive as they leave the comfort of their corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies. While working alongside their employees, they see the effects their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organizations and get an up-close look at bot

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