KOA: 'Undercover Boss' Yields Major Results
Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) one-of-a-kind invitation into the world of reality television this month 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 Jim Rogers, KOA’s CEO, 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 Friday, 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.”
KOA’s Internet provider, Tempest Technologies of Helena, Mont., reported that the web activity set a new record for KOA internet traffic at Tempest’s data center.
The 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 traffic to our mobile site on Jan. 11 was the highest on record for visits and visitors since we launched the site in March 2011,” said KOA's head of Marketing Toby Hedges.
Internet page views for the four featured KOA campgrounds (Stockton Delta, Calif. KOA; Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay, Calif. KOA; Ventura Ranch, Calif. KOA; and Williams/Circle Pines, Ariz. KOA) were up from 1,000% to 3,000% over a year ago.
Even KOA’s Facebook site benefited from the "Undercover Boss" exposure, including 1,000 new Facebook fans and more than 13,100 unique page views the day the episode aired.
“We were also able to generate a lot of media attention in some very unusual areas,” Rogers said. “One great example is that we were able to promote the KOA "Undercover Boss" episode on huge electronic billboards right on the Strip in Las Vegas and on Times Square in New York.”
A press release regarding the show was picked up and distributed by more than 2,200 media outlets around the world.
“The effects of our participation in the show will be felt for a long, long time,” said Rogers. “The traffic on our Own A KOA website (www.ownakoa.com) was up more than 935% on Jan. 11, and nearly 90% of those visitors were new to the site. You just can’t buy that kind of exposure for your brand.”
Even KOA’s program for Work Kampers, www.workatkoa.com, benefited, with a 146% increase in visitors.
The KOA Undercover Boss episode is still available for viewing online at the CBS website at www.cbs.com/shows/undercover_boss/.