Buckeye Lake/Columbus East KOA owners Mike and Shirley Groseclose have always used every tool at their disposal to better understand their guests. That effort has led to four consecutive KOA Founder’s Awards, along with impressive customer service scores from their campers, according to a news release.
That deep understanding of their guests led the Grosecloses to make the decision to transform their campground in central Ohio into a KOA Holiday park, according to a news release.
“We’ve used all of KOA’s camper feedback tools to learn about and implement the amenities our campers want. We have always been pro-KOA and one of the first ones to implement any of the programs. We’ve tried to adopt whatever KOA moves forward with,” said Mike Groseclose.
The Grosecloses have kept their campground modern, updated, and loads of fun, making their qualification as a new KOA Holiday – which focuses on providing great family camping experiences for all ages – an easy transition. “We’ve put in state-of-the-art restrooms and RV patio sites, as well as a jumping pillow, shuffleboard, and golf,” says Mike.
Although the facilities and amenities are impeccable, Mike credits the campground’s staff members as the biggest reason campers return to the KOA, “We are so proud of our employees. They are some of the best people we could hope for. Our guests love them and it shows in their comments.”
Bill and Barbara Olendorf, owners of the Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) in Point South, S.C., are examples of a rare breed of business owner. They were recognized this year by KOA as a 30-year owner, yet they retain a competitive spirit to stay at the top of the field. They continually upgrade and update their facilities, yet they attribute much of their success to the truly personal connections their staff makes with their campers, according to a news release.
The Olendorfs recently demonstrated that “cutting-edge” attitude by adding the new KOA Journey brand to their campground. KOA Journey is one of three new brand categories being added to KOA’s 485-campground system in North America
KOA Journey campgrounds offer campers a convenient, clean and restful stop during their travels, helping them enjoy the rest of their journey.
“The staff continually receives rave reviews from our campers for being friendly, helpful and engaged. Our product has to stay excellent – but our service, even better,” says Bill. “We have added a nightly tasting of wine from four local wineries. The feedback from the guests has been wonderful. They love the connections they make with the staff, as well as other campers. It is a great way to unwind, relax and learn more about the area, the campground, and each other.”
The Olendorfs believe that the addition of two KOA Deluxe Cabins has had a remarkable impact on the campground, “The Deluxe Cabins have opened the campground up to a new market that provides us with tremendous camper feedback and participation. They have brought in new campers, and repeat guests who have a fantastic and impressive stay. They have created a "Wow" factor,” said Olendorf.
“The decision to move forward with KOA’s brand positioning effort comes from our desire to keep our business cutting-edge,” said Olendorf. “Progress and evolution is vital in meeting our guests’ expectations and needs. We expedited the transition because it gives us focus, so we can serve our campers’ specific desires and create memorable stays. We are striving to make our great campground even greater.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has announced that Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) will sponsor the mock campground entrance at the 61st Annual California RV Show and that KOA CEO Jim Rogers will be a featured speaker at the event.
The mock campground was very popular with attendees and guests after being unveiled as the main entry point at last year’s show. Show attendees walk through the exhibit to see RVs in a campground setting before moving on to the main exhibition areas, according to a news release.
This year’s mock campground will cover 15,000 square feet of exhibit space and feature 10 RV products, including two Fleetwood Class A motorhomes, two Tiffin Class A motorhomes, a Winnebago Class A motorhome, a Thor Class A motorhome, two Columbia Northwest folding camping trailers, and a Pleasure-Way Class B motorhome.
KOA will also have one of its Deluxe Cabins on display for attendees to visit. The 40-foot unit built by Cavco Industries Inc. features an upstairs sleeping loft, flat screen TVs, queen bed suite, full bath and full kitchen. KOA staff will be on hand to answer questions and help make reservations.
“We are delighted to be part of the California RV Show,” said Scott Corey, owner of the Ventura Ranch KOA. “Our cabins and teepees have been a huge hit with campers at our campground. The Deluxe Cabin that will be on display is a great example of ‘glamping.’ Attendees will see that they can enjoy a great outdoor vacation even if they don’t own an RV and be introduced to the RV and camping lifestyle.”
Rogers will be at the show on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. in the Seminar Tent to review the exciting things KOA is doing nationwide, discuss his appearance on the popular CBS program Undercover Boss, and meet and greet show attendees.
The 61st Annual California RV Show will take place at The Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., from Oct. 11 – 20. For more information visit www.TheBestRVShow.com or contact Tom Gaither, RVIA’s western whow director at (818) 248-6600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) owns and operates two campgrounds on Mount Desert Island – the land mass that juts off the coast of Maine and is home to the world famous Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
One man – Jeff Goins – runs both campgrounds: the 214-site Oceanside Campgrounds that rests on Western Bay and the 135-site Woodlands Campground that sits just 1 1/2 miles down the road.
KOA acquired Oceanside in 2002 and Woodlands in 2005 when they came on the market. They are among 26 company-owned KOA campgrounds.
The challenge of running two campgrounds in a very competitive market (there are 17 campgrounds on the island) keeps Goins, who is in his first season there, hopping between the two properties from early May until two weeks after Columbus Day. Likewise, new campground hires are told they will work at either campground whenever they are needed.
Oceanside, because of its popularity, opens first and closes last.
The Oceanside campground, established in 1961, is considered one of the jewels in KOA’s system because of its location. “We think it’s one of the prettiest campgrounds in our system because of the setting,” notes Pat Hittmeier, KOA president. “It’s quite striking.”
It has 3,500 feet of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and offers 17 deluxe cabins and six Airstream traveler rentals among its 214 sites. Salt water laps at the rocky beach that borders one side of the park. Some campers contend that because they can’t see the open seas from their site, it’s technically not on the ocean.
That’s a moot point for visitors who enjoy the smell of salt air (it’s omnipresent), a fresh lobster dinner (an independent entrepreneur cooks lobsters right on the campground every night) and accessibility to one of the prime tourist areas on the East Coast.
Goins, 62, relishes the task, as he has all the assignments he’s taken since entering the RV lifestyle in 2001 when he retired after a lengthy career in the auto design business. He became a workamper with KOA that summer and loved it.
“I wish I had found out 30-some years ago you could do these kinds of jobs at campgrounds and make a living,” he recalled of his workamper career.
He joined the management ranks in 2010 when he took over at the KOA in Albuquerque, N.M. The park earned KOA’s Founders’ Award in 2011, and Goins earned Manager of the Year honors for company-owned properties in 2012.
“I poured everything I had into that park,” Goins recalled.
He’s doing the same at the Bar Harbor KOAs, where the pace was already frantic by Memorial Day. The season so far has been strong with solid bookings into July.
Quoting his region manager, Goins summarized, “The first year the campground manages you; the second year you manage the campground.”
Still, Goins is able to put himself in the shoes of his guests and anticipate their needs.
“I’m a camper from the beginning,” said Goins, a Michigan native. “The things that impressed me through the years at the campgrounds I recall best are things we tend to offer. KOA’s attention to detail is outstanding.”
For example, this attention to detail is evident at The Woodlands when late arrivals need firewood but discover the camp store is closed. How many campers don’t think of firewood until the last minute? Many, says Goins, so the campground provides a phone number late arrivals can call for late-night deliveries right to their campsite.
In training for management, Goins said, KOA asks the question of its managers, “Who do you work for?”
Some will say they work for KOA.
“The correct answer is,” Goins explained, “We work for our guests.”
Goins tends to look at the two campgrounds as one. Oceanside gives campers the ocean feel, while Woodlands resembles a more traditional park. In fact, he calls Woodlands “out of this world. It’s like another planet.” Heavily wooded, the grounds are peppered with little cabins and primitive tent sites spread throughout, although some tent sites have been upgraded.
“For the true tenter, this park will satisfy them,” Goins said. “You can get out of the rat race really fast.”
The campground also has a new bathhouse.
“We’re as proud of our parks as we can be,” he said.
Goins is part of a family team that works at the campgrounds. Gloria, his wife, is the office and store manager, while their daughter, Rachel Plaga, is the activities director.
Branding and Demographics
Revenue at Oceanside was up 14.7% in 2012, making it one of KOA’s top performers, noted Hittmeier, while revenue at Woodlands, which lacks some of the glamor of its sister park down the road, was flat.
At the time of publication, KOA had decided to brand Oceanside as a “holiday” park under its new branding system but had yet to decide on Woodlands’ brand.
“Both are sort of destination parks, but have different amenity packages,” Hittmeier noted. The Bar Harbor competition doesn’t do much with tenting, so KOA decided to develop that at Woodlands and stresses tenting on its website and elsewhere.
“We improved our tenting spots and added more options for covered areas, like camping cabins,” he continued.
The average length of stay at Oceanside is 3.3 nights, a little higher than the system average, which is indicative of a destination park, Hittmeier said. Some 70% of the Oceanside guests come from over 250 miles away and 30% come from as far away as 700 miles, according to KOA demographic research.
Woodlands campers come from shorter distances (60% come from over 250 miles) and stay shorter periods of time (2.7 nights) than Oceanside. Almost half of the Woodlands’ revenue comes from tenting, compared to just 15% at Oceanside. Because of the heavy tenting emphasis, the average age of campers at Woodlands also is much younger, Hittmeier added.
Campers at Oceanside can experience the nostalgia and romance of camping in an Airstream travel trailer. The campground has six fully equipped Airstreams that sleep up to four people, and include a queen bed and two twin beds.
“From the campers who use them, I’ve heard more than 10 times campers call this ‘a camping experience.’ The Airstreams seem to tickle them more,” explained Goins.
Oceanside is also the only campground on the west side of the island so campers can “watch the sky melt into sunset pastels from their waterfront site,” the website notes. Whale watching and fishing boat hires are available to campers. Oceanside offers 50-amp service at many sites, Wi-Fi, fishing , plus kayak and bike rentals.
Acadia National Park attracts 2 million visitors annually and 55,000 unique visitors come to the island every week during the summer. There is no noticeable drop in traffic on the island between weekend and weekdays during the tourist season.
This steady influx of tourists could prove disruptive to many campers driving bulky RVs up and down the winding roads of Mount Desert Island but thanks to the Down East Transportation Co., which runs a daily shuttle service on the island, campers can hop on the Island Explorer that runs to Bar Harbor and the national park every half hour.
The Island Explorer features eight bus routes linking hotels, inns, and campgrounds with destinations on the island and operates June 23 through Columbus Day.
Riders can even bring their bikes and their dog. KOA advises that, “If someone already seated on the bus has an allergy to dogs, you may be asked to wait for the next bus!”
Businesses pay a fee on a sliding scale to underwrite the service.
Goins loves the service but wishes it could start earlier in the season. “I believe our business would be a lot bigger if there were more shuttles available sooner,” he said. He understands that public school bus drivers pick up the shuttle routes in summer and can’t start until schools dismiss for the summer. He’s hoping a compromise can be reached to lengthen the shuttle’s period of service starting in 2014.
Until this year, there was a big difference in TV reception between the two campgrounds: Woodlands had cable service but Oceanside did not. This was a key point for many campers and a burr under the saddle for KOA. In early June, DirecTV began burying cable service to about two-thirds of the RV sites and all the cabins and Airstreams at Oceanside, Goins said.
“Nobody is more excited about this than I am,” he said. “Campers my age are looking for cable. I understand it.”
Goins hopes to market the KOAs more to the millions of campers in the Canadian market, which is located less than a half-day’s drive away, and especially to Quebec. But he understands he will need to market his website in French to attract the potential in Quebec.
He also hopes to beef up the cabin inventory at Woodlands, which already has 17 cabins, and is looking for ways to boost the campgrounds’ shoulder seasons.
“Woolands is listed in the KOA Directory to close on Sept. 21. However, I will keep the campground open as long as we have guests showing up. I plan on growing the business for next year to cause opening earlier and closing later,” he said.
KOA Oceanside Campground
Season: May 6 to Oct. 20
Layout: Fronts on the Western Bay of the Atlantic Ocean, 3,500-foot oceanfront.
Facilities: 214 sites (152 RV sites, 35 tents sites, 17 cabins, 10 “other” (no road access but available for bikers and motorcycle campers)
Good Sam Directory Rating: 8/8.5/8
Contact: (207) 288-3520
KOA Woodlands Campground
Season: May 23 to Sept. 21
Layout: Located in heavily wooded area.
Facilities: 135 sites (45 RV sites, 73 tent sites and 17 cabins)
Good Sam Directory Rating: 8.5/8/8.5
Contact: (207) 288-3520
Summer camping numbers at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) locations continued to grow, bolstered by a more than 16% growth in camping over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
KOA reported Monday that short-term camper nights for the Fourth of July holiday increased 16.3% over the same period in 2012. Year-to-date, Kampgrounds of America’s 485 locations in North America are reporting a 2.5% growth in camper nights, compared to the same period last year, according to a news release.
“Camping numbers have been very strong all year,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “Despite some weather challenges in certain areas, we are looking at significant growth in 2013.”
Advanced reservations for Labor Day Weekend are running nearly 12% over the same period last year, and overall camper nights for the remainder of the summer peak season (now through Sept. 8) are running about 4.6% over the same period in 2012.
Like many high school and college students in the United States, Morgan Bradley, a junior at Tioga Central High School, is spending her summer break from school working at a camp. Unlike many of those student camp workers, Morgan's opportunity to work at the Watkins Glen, N.Y. KOA as a "Summershiner" came about in a unique way, the Daily Review, Towanda, Pa., reported.
The Summershine Resort Staffing Ministry, www.summershine.us, is an opportunity for young people to work at resort family campgrounds throughout the United States.
Based out of North Carolina, the Summershine program staffs and manages recreation programs and activities, and is at the Watkins Glen KOA this summer for a fourth straight season. Not only do Summershiners coordinate campground activities for guests, they also help with maintenance around the campground and assist in the front office.
Morgan's chance to work with the Summershine program initiated from a discussion with family friends Paul and Shawn Barrouk. The Barrouks, who work at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA in Watsonville, Calif., came back east several months ago to visit their children and grandchildren in Pennsylvania. While visiting the area, the Barrouks stayed with Morgan's family in Nichols. Feeling she possessed the qualities that would be a good match, Paul and Shawn encouraged Morgan to apply for the Summershine program.
The Barrouks knew of the program since their KOA in California uses its services, and they highly recommended it to Morgan. Morgan was ultimately accepted into the program, flew to North Carolina in April for training and subsequently started working at the Watkins Glen KOA on June 22.
The Barrouks both grew up in Owego and northeast Pennsylvania. After their children graduated from high school, and also following the loss of Paul's mother to cancer, the Barrouks were searching for a new kind of opportunity. Their journey led them to Watsonville, Calif. where they both began working for KOA.
'Undercover Boss' Connection
At the campground last year, they were asked to become involved in a special project for Kampground of America's corporate offices. What they didn't know was that they were really being filmed for the CBS television show, "Undercover Boss."
During a phone interview, Shawn commented that neither Paul nor she had any clue that they were being filmed for the television show and it was indeed a surprise when they found out. The KOA "Undercover Boss" episode aired Jan. 11, and recently aired again on June 21. It is available to view on-line at CBS.com.
In the "Undercover Boss" episode, Paul shared his story with Kampground of America CEO Jim Rogers. In appreciation of the Barrouks' consistent work ethic and giving KOA top priority every day, including their part in helping the Watsonville, Calif., KOA gain the "Founders Award" accreditation (which only 10% of campgrounds receive), Rogers gave Paul and Shawn three gifts. One gift was a $50,000 donation in Paul's mother's memory to the KOA Care Camps, a trust that helps children who have cancer enjoy fun and activities while they deal with their illness.
During the television episode, a guest gives Paul a tip for delivering ice. Paul thanked the guest and explained that all such tips go toward KOA Care Camps. A second gift from Rogers was money toward home improvement and the third gift was money to travel back to Pennsylvania to visit family and friends.
Had Paul not mentioned on the television show that he and Shawn desired to go back to Pennsylvania to visit their children and grandchildren, whom they had not seen in a long time, Morgan's summer would have turned out entirely different.
Actually, Morgan also had a television moment of her own. Camp counselors were recently treated to a New York City trip. The group decided to stop by NBC's "Today Show" plaza one morning, and while there, Al Roker recognized Morgan's group on live television, the Watkins Glen KOA Summershiners.
KOA, Kampgrounds of America is the largest chain in North America, with some 450 campgrounds and staffing more than 5,000 employees. The Watkins Glen KOA Camping Resort specializes in family vacations and reunions. Their website is www.watkinsglenkoa.com. The website for the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA, where the Barrouks work, is www.koa.com/campgrounds/santa-cruz.
From a news release:
RV Trader.com, a division of Dominion Enterprises, announced today the launch of a Facebook promotion that will give RV Trader followers the opportunity to win a $25 Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) camping gift card and KOA Value Kard Reward one-year membership. Each winner’s personal RV photo will become the cover picture on the RV Trader Facebook page for one week.
The “Where in the World is Your RV?” promotion will run for four weeks beginning on July 1 and conclude on Aug. 4. RV followers can submit a photo of their RV “in action” on vacations or other outings anywhere in the world. The following week, all RV Trader Facebook fans will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite photo submitted the previous week, using the “Where in the World is Your RV?” Facebook voting app. The week’s winning photo will be determined by the highest number of votes and will be announced every Monday, when it will be featured as the cover picture for RV Trader’s Facebook page.
“We are excited to launch this social promotion as a unique way to promote and encourage engagement among outdoor camping and RV enthusiasts, introduce the products and services offered by KOA, and provide the opportunity for RVers to share their photos and experiences online with others in the Facebook community,” said Christine Platz, marketing manager for RV Trader.
From the Winona Daily News, Winona, Minn.
The south, group and island campgrounds were closed Monday at Merrick State Park due to high Mississippi River water levels.
The north campground remains open and is not affected by high water, park officials said.
The river is expected to remain at high levels for at least a week before beginning to recede, meaning that park staff plan to reopen the campgrounds in mid-July.
Park staff have contacted all campers with reservations in the coming weeks.
From KATC-TV, Lafayette:
The Iberia Parish Council awarded the Cajun RVera project, a Iberia parish-owned RV park, more than $300,000 in loans Wednesday for a pool house and fencing, among other things, says chairman of the Acadiana Fairgrounds Commission Karl Vincent.
Cajun RVera broke ground in 2012 and was originally slated to open in March. Unexpected delays have pushed back the opening to August, Vincent said.
The Acadiana Fairgrounds Commission oversees the project, which is next door to the SugArena. It originally was funded by $5 million in bonds and a $250,000 bond from BP. The $300,000 is above the original budget, but Vincent said costs have been inflated by road construction and estimated costs.
"We didn't know how much to bid for the pool house. We didn't know how much fencing would cost until we got to this phase," Vincent said.
When the RV park is completed, it will have a pool, splash pad and lazy river. In its first year, it is projected to bring in $800,000 for the parish, Vincent said.
From the Albuquerque Journal:
Authorities have trapped and killed a black bear after it tore open a tent with two women campers inside at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton.
New Mexico Game and Fish officers say the women were able to escape Sunday (June 30) and set off their car alarm, which scared the bear away.
Authorities say the bear apparently was attracted to the Lake Alice Campground by birdfeeders hung by campers. It went from campsite to campsite, knocking over birdfeeders and grills before raiding the women’s tent, which didn’t have any food inside.
Most of the other campers were sleeping in trailers.
Authorities say the bear was killed because it posed a safety risk.
They say Canyon State Park has seen fewer bear encounters since bear-proof trash containers were installed in campgrounds.
“We can’t emphasize this enough: When you are camping, don’t put up birdfeeders or leave any other food sources out that may attract bears or other wildlife,” Conservation Officer Clint Henson said in a news release. “In this case, putting out birdfeeders put everyone in that campground at risk and resulted in the bear’s death.”
Editor's Note: The following news release comes from Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).
Purchasing a campground is a huge decision. Each year, dozens of families throughout North America “make the leap” and purchase their very own KOA campground.
At the other end of that purchase is another family – the current KOA owners – who have owned and nurtured the campground for years, even decades, before deciding it was time to sell.
Kampgrounds of America does everything it can to make the transition as easy as possible for both of those families.
“Our sales department works very hard to find new owners for existing KOAs and make sure they are ready to take over when a current owner decides it’s time to sell,” said Chris Fairlee, vice president of sales and conversions for Kampgrounds of America Inc.
“We hold Buyer’s Workshops at various locations around the country each year that answer prospective owner’s questions, and give them a clear view of what it takes to own and operate a KOA campground,” Fairlee said. “The workshops start new potential owners down the road to ownership. It’s our goal to make both the buyer and the seller happy with their decision.”
Fairlee said there are several similar workshops held each year by independent campground brokers, but none can match the level of detail provided to buyers thinking about a KOA purchase.
“We don’t have to guess at how the season is going for our campgrounds on the local, state or regional level,” Fairlee said. “We have that data at our fingertips.”
So far in 2013, the efforts of Fairlee and his team are working.
“We have closings set for five KOA campgrounds for this summer alone,” Fairlee said. “By the end of August, we will have re-sold as many KOAs as we did in all of 2012.”
He said the recent KOA Buyer’s Workshop in Nashville, Tenn., was one of the most successful in KOA’s 51-year history.
“Buyers are usually pretty serious about it by the time they come to our workshop,” he said. “One participant was a college professor who is currently working overseas. He flew in from Abu Dhabi specifically for our workshop and is now purchasing his first KOA.”
Fairlee said a recent increase in sales activity is being driven by the availability of credit by banks and SBA loans, and increased public exposure for camping, such as KOA’s recent episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS.
“Traffic to our Own A KOA website (www.ownakoa.com) went up 930% in the week that the 'Undercover Boss' episode aired in January,” he said. “We’ve had more than 500 inquiries for more information from potential new owners so far in 2013.”
Fairlee said new KOA owners often tell him the effort KOA makes to find new owners is a big reason they purchased a KOA franchise.
“They like to know that we are going to do everything we can to help them when the time comes to sell their KOA,” he said. “They view it as if it’s an insurance policy for their new business.”
Along with the www.ownakoa.com website, KOA supports new franchisees with its huge www.KOA.com website (the most popular camping website in North America), and consumer-based marketing such as its KOA Kompass e-newsletter and nearly a million distributed copies of the annual KOA Directory.
At the forefront of KOA’s sales efforts is Cecil Pegram, who has more than 20 years experience matching existing KOA campgrounds with new owners.
Pegram often works with potential new owners for five years or more before they are ready to purchase a property.
“Cecil takes the long view,” Fairlee said. “We have a vested interest in getting just the right owner into just the right KOA. We don’t disappear after we’ve sold you the property. You will continue your partnership all down the line with KOA.”
“The KOA system only wants great, quality owners taking over at our campgrounds,” he said. “That’s because we know that they are going to be a part of the KOA family for the long haul.”
More than 3 million total entries have been received thus far for the "2013 Great KOA Giveaway Contest."
The contest is sponsored by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Keystone RV Co.
One lucky entrant will win a new Keystone Cougar RV and a decade of free KOA camping when the grand prizewinner is selected in October, according to a news release.
The contest, which began in March, also includes weekly prizes of free weekends of KOA camping, portable grills from Weber Grills, and Cabela’s gift certificates.
“We designed this summer’s contest to entice campers to keep coming back and registering to win each week,” said Mike Gast, KOA’s vice president of Communications. “We’ve already seen 105,000 unique e-mail entries, and 3.1 million overall entries, and we still have four more months to go.”
The grand prize – a $40,000 Keystone Cougar RV provided by Keystone RV Co., and a decade of free KOA camping – will be awarded by KOA CEO Jim Rogers during the California RV Show in Pomona, California on Oct. 12.
“The huge number of entries in our Great KOA Giveaway contest reflects the public’s increasing interest in camping and RVing,” Gast said. “RV manufacturers, including our partners at Keystone RV Co., are reporting a strong increase in the sales of new recreational vehicles, and advanced reservations for the summer at KOAs across North America are more than 13% higher than the same period last year.”
To enter the 2013 Great KOA Giveaway, go to www.KOA.com or http://bit.ly/GreatKOAGiveaway.