Kampgrounds of America Inc.'s (KOA) popular Come Kamp &Care With Us Weekend May 11-12 hosted nearly 10 percent more campers this year than in 2011, the company reported.
"A combination of great weather, stabilizing fuel prices and fun event planning by our campground owners really brought out the campers," said Mike Gast, KOA's vice president of communications. "Of course, it's the official kickoff to KOA's 50th birthday, so that didn't hurt, either."
Participating KOAs throughout North America logged nearly 42,000 camper nights between last Wednesday and Sunday, a double-digit increase from Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend 2011.
Nearly 400 of the 480 KOA campgrounds in North America participated in the ninth annual event, where campers received a free night of camping last Saturday if they stayed as paying guests on Friday.
The annual event also serves as the largest single fundraiser for KOA Care Camps for children with cancer, the official charity of KOA and the KOA Owner's Association. KOA Care Camps is a network of 44 specialized summer camps that provide a free summer camp experience for children with cancer and their siblings.
Donations are still being counted from this year's fundraising efforts, but last year, KOA campers helped raise more than $500,000 to benefit the charity.
"Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend isn't just the official start of the summer camping season," said Gast, "It's also a pretty good indicator of how things might look for the rest of the summer."
Advanced reservations for the summer months at KOA are running ahead of last year. The increase in KOA's inventory of Deluxe Cabins, which feature full bathrooms and kitchens, is also fueling increased camping by bringing in new campers who value the comforts Deluxe Cabins offer.
"The public's desire to reconnect to the outdoors is certainly increasing," Gast said. "Camping is the perfect, affordable answer."
Campers from throughout North America are making their reservations for Kampgrounds of America’s 9th Annual Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend event May 11-12.
Campers who stay as paying guests on Friday, May 11, will receive a free night of camping on Saturday, May 12, at any of the 400-plus participating KOA campgrounds throughout the North American KOA system, according to a news release.
The event, which attracted more than 25,000 camping families in 2011, also serves as a fundraiser to support KOA Care Camps for children with cancer. KOA Care Camps is a network of 44 specialized summer campers throughout North America that provide a safe summer camping experience for children undergoing or recovering treatment for cancer.
“Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend has become a mainstay in our efforts to support this very worthy charity,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “It is so great that we have found a wonderful way to invite out campers to begin enjoying their summer camping season and also allow them to help us support camps for children with cancer.”
Last year, more than $500,000 was raised through camper donations by the KOA Care Camps Trust and distributed to the various KOA Care Camps. The funds are used to provide the summer camps to children with cancer at absolutely no charge to their families.
Participating KOAs are already planning fun events to make the weekend of May 11-12 special. For a complete list of participating KOAs, go to http://koa.com/come-camp-with-us/.
Two top executives with Australia’s leading camping company, BIG4 Holiday Parks, were in Billings, Mont., this week to visit the home of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).
New BIG4 Holiday Parks Chairman Gavin Farrell and CEO Ray Schleibs came to Billings just weeks after a large contingent of KOA officials, including KOA President Pat Hittmeier and CEO Jim Rogers, and KOA campground owners from throughout North America visited New Zealand and Australia. While in Christchurch, New Zealand, the KOA group attended the first-ever joint conference of BIG4 and Top 10 Holiday Parks. Top 10 Holiday Parks is the leading campground network in New Zealand, according to a news release.
“We’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship for many years now with our sister camping companies on the other side of the world,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “Those relationships have led to BIG4 purchasing KOA’s KampSight campground operating system, which they call PAM (Park Accommodation Management).”
Rogers said KOA is also benefiting from BIG4’s world-class expertise in campground accommodations management.
“BIG4 Holiday Parks owners are experts when it comes to the management of campground accommodations,” Rogers said. “Their willingness to share their knowledge with us as we rapidly expand our KOA Lodge accommodation offerings has been a huge benefit to the KOA system.”
An earlier idea exchange also led to BIG4 adopting KOA’s premiere camping event, Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend, which is held the second weekend each May. At BIG4, the event is called Come Camp With BIG4 and is scheduled for this Friday (Nov. 5) at BIG4 Holiday Parks throughout Australia.
Farrell, BIG4’s new chairman, will also attend next week’s Kampgrounds of America Annual International Convention in Savannah, Ga. Farrell also owns a BIG4 Holiday Park, BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park, near Perth, Australia.
BIG4 Holiday Parks is the premiere franchise group comprised of more than 180 holiday parks across Australia. The group provides a range of high-quality accommodation options from powered ensuite sites for caravan and motor homes to luxury cabins. BIG4 Holiday Parks’ BIG4 Club has over 170,000 active members. For more information, go to www.big4.com/au.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) resumes it highly successful Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend on Friday (May 8) and Saturday.
Participating KOA campgrounds offer a free night's stay on Saturday night for campers who pay for Friday night.
The program supports KOA Care Camps, the official non-profit charity of the KOA Ownership Association. The charity provides funding for 35 specialized summer camps for children with cancer and their siblings.
The camps allow children to experience the joys of the outdoors and participate in events while ensuring their safety and allowing them to continue receiving treatment.
According to KOA.com, KOA campers donated $250,000 toward the camps last year.