KOA, Aussies Agree on Licensing Pact
On May 15 in Sidney, Australia, Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and BIG4, Australia's leading holiday park group, signed a long-term, first-of-its-kind, master licensing agreement.
"This extraordinary partnership brings together the world's two leading brands in camping," said KOA CEO Jim Rogers in a news release. "We're going to have the opportunity to share each other's best operational practices and investigate new crossover employment and marketing opportunities. The sharing of campground management technology alone will accelerate the growth of both companies in that area."
Rogers recently led a three-member KOA team on a two-week tour of BIG4 operations.
Rogers said the partnership will lead to great benefits for both companies and their franchisee partners.
"KOA will draw from its 46 years in the camping hospitality business to share with BIG4 our expertise in business practices, reservation systems and loyalty program and campground operating system (KampSight) development," Rogers said. "BIG4 – an expert in the cabin and cottage business – will aid us in our accelerated expansion into, and success from, full-service accommodations."
Both companies have also made great strides in the use of "work kamper" programs in recent years, and will share what they have learned in that area. There will also be opportunities to share technology development costs for programs that offer mutual benefits.
"We've had a business relationship with BIG4 since 1985, when we each agreed to honor the other's membership card savings programs," Rogers said. "As we've grown to know each other better, we've been amazed by the number of similarities between KOA and BIG4. This exchange of expertise between our two organizations will undoubtedly make us both much better at what we are both already very good at – serving our camping guests. We lead the industry in customer service on both sides of the globe."
"This new partnership will deliver state-of-the-art technology and advanced business and customer management solutions to parks within the BIG4 Holiday Parks group," said BIG4 CEO Terry Goodall. "BIG4 has led the caravan and camping industry in Australia for the past 30 years, and this latest initiative further enhances our standing and leadership of this industry and as a key player in the wider Australian Tourism Industry."
KOA Vice President of Information Services Jef Sutherland, Las Vegas at Circus Circus KOA Manager Richard Allen and Rogers recently returned from an exploratory orientation BIG4 trip that included visits to nine BIG4 Holiday Parks, attendance at a 20 Group-type benchmarking BIG4 owners meeting, participation in BIG4's May board meeting, a meeting with Australia's largest multi-unit holiday park owners and operators, and discussions with a variety of potential technology partners.
Rogers said Australians are known worldwide for their extraordinary hospitality and service, and BIG4 will help KOA to continue to raise the standards of outdoor hospitality excellence and service in North America.
As an integral part of the business exchange with BIG4, KOA's Richard Allen will be returning to Australia in the next few weeks to serve as KOA's first "shared consultant." He will remain in Australia for the next two years.
Allen has operated parks in England, Canada and the U.S. for the past 15 years. He's spent the past three years running KOA's largest and busiest campground at the Circus Circus in Las Vegas, Nevada. Allen will act as a technology facilitator and trainer, working with all 176 BIG4 Holiday Parks in Australia.
Allen's duties will also include sharing what he learns from BIG4 with KOA franchisees.