Idaho Park is First KOA Journey Campground
Kathy and Stuart Marshall had big plans for the Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) campground in Montpelier Creek, Idaho, when they purchased the small campground in the fall of 2006.
They rolled up their sleeves and dug right in, moving cabins to sit alongside the beautiful Montpelier Creek, and adding creekside pull through RV sites that practically rent themselves. Next came tepees, a huge fenced-in dog run, a log footbridge over the creek, two Deluxe Cabins along with many other new amenities, according to a news release.
The KOA home office in Billings, Mont., took notice, and in 2012 named the Marshalls’ KOA a Rising Star campground. They simply added that honor to their stack of annual KOA President’s and Founder’s Awards.
Now, the Montpelier Creek KOA has one more distinction. It’s the first KOA to become a KOA Journey campground, one of three new brand categories being added to the 485-campground KOA system in North America.
“We’re very excited to become the first KOA Journey,” said Kathy Marshall. “If we didn’t believe in it, we wouldn’t be doing it.”
The new giant, yellow KOA Journey sign at the entrance to the park caught campers’ attention the very first day.
“The morning after it went up, there was an RVer from Utah out there taking a picture of the sign,” Stuart said. “There was interest right away.”
While the Marshalls had three new KOA “brand positions” to pick from, they decided the Journey brand (geared to appeal to overnight campers looking for a relaxing stop before the next leg of their journey) was their best fit. Kampgrounds of America is also adding KOA Holidays for longer, base-camp-like stays and KOA Resorts for a more luxury camping experience.
“The strength of the KOA brand speaks for itself,” she said. “But we think KOA Journey is going to entice campers to make us part of their journey’s planning process. It will help better define what they can expect when they get here.”
In the case of Montpelier Creek, those KOA Journey expectations will surely be exceeded.
“We joked that maybe we should call ourselves a KOA ‘Joliday’ campground, since we also have so many things that a KOA Holiday campground will have,” Marshall said. But in the end, both Kathy and Stuart said the KOA Journey brand best fit their largely overnight clientele.
“We had 15 rental RVs here last night,” Kathy said. “Many show up without reservations as they are on their way to or from Yellowstone National Park. We think the KOA Journey name will lead to less confusion about what we have here. Plus, we know that we can still impress them when they get here with all of our extras.”
Although the campground is small (50 sites), the Marshalls and their staff of four KOA Work Kampers concentrate on quality over size.
“The creek itself is one of our best assets,” Kathy said. “We moved our five Camping Cabins to face the creek, and added two Deluxe Cabins along with adding very popular pull through sites along the creek. You can fish for rainbow, brown and brook trout right from your site.”
While becoming the first KOA Journey has been exciting, making the decision wasn’t easy.
“But we know it’s the right decision for us,” Kathy said. “We are truly excited about all of the new branding. We think it will make more new campers comfortable with their decision to visit us.”