Today’s video comes from Chuck Woodbury, editor of RVtravel.com. He interviews Kampground of America Inc.’s (KOA) CEO Jim Rogers who describes KOA's three new brand designations.
Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), addressed the opening session at a recent rally of Route 66 RV Network dealers and partners in San Antonio, Texas.
In highlighting KOA’s partnership with Route 66, Rogers said, “We couldn’t be more excited about our growing relationship with the Route 66 RV Network. As local Route 66 dealerships and KOA campgrounds begin working together, campers will quickly experience the benefits of these two brands aligned.”
RVBUSINESS.COM reported that the Route 66 RV Network drew 235 dealers and partners to its Sept. 4-6 rally. With nearly 155 locations in the United States and Canada, Route 66 has “grown well beyond the founding partners expectations,” according to a press release.
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Editor's Note: The following map was provided by data-rich Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and shows KOA system performance over the Labor Day weekend. Mike Gast, vice president of communications, reported, "It was a very successful weekend for us, despite rough weather in New England (the only region with a negative number). But, since that region accounts for only 4-5 % of our total Labor Day traffic, it didn't impact the total too much."
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) continued its Summer 2013 string of holiday successes over the Labor Day Weekend, posting a 4.5% increase in short-term camper nights compared to Labor Day Weekend last year, according to a news release.
The big Labor Day camper turnout brought KOA’s overall 2013 camping numbers to 3% over year-to-date performance in 2012.
“Camping numbers have been positive throughout the summer,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “We’ve seen positive growth in every section of the country. Fuel prices have been stable, and the weather really cooperated this year to give our campers the maximum amount of enjoyment from their KOA camping lifestyles.”
The positive trend doesn’t show any signs of abating. Advanced reservations for the final week of KOA’s summer “peak season” (which runs through Sept. 8) remain strong at 8.6% over last year. Reservations for KOA’s Value Kard Rewards Appreciation Weekend Sept. 13-14 are running 18.8% ahead of the same period in 2012. Members of KOAs Value Kard Rewards Program receive a free night of camping on Saturday, Sept. 14 when they stay as paying guests on Friday, Sept. 13.
Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), will share with dealers the first comprehensive look at actual 2013 North American RV camping results and offer insights KOA has for future RV camping trends when he presents “A Campground Outlook” during the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Annual Meeting on Oct. 3 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
According to a press release, the annual meeting is held in conjunction with the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Sept. 30-Oct. 4.
Armed with KOA’s exclusive real-time data from 500 campgrounds across the U.S and Canada, Rogers will provide attendees with perspectives on the evolving needs and habits of America’s campers as well as explain how dealers can benefit from the emerging destination camping market.
“Jim is a dynamic industry leader who has championed a proactive feedback and knowledge-driven outdoor hospitality approach to meeting the wants and needs of camper guests,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “He has a passion for RV travel and the outdoors, and we are delighted he will be sharing his knowledge with us at the annual meeting.”
KOA and Rogers will also be involved in a new initiative at this year’s convention, sponsoring RVDA’s programs for young RV executives. KOA will host a young executives networking reception on Oct. 2, and Rogers will deliver a special workshop on Oct. 3, titled “Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity.” There will be track workshops designated for young RV executives in all time slots on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rogers, who was featured earlier this year in the CBS reality series “Undercover Boss,” has been at the helm of KOA – the world’s largest system of family friendly campgrounds – for the past 12 years. The company, born in Billings, Mont., in 1962, is still headquartered near that first campground location and now has 489 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
In 2006, a year before they both retired from the Ohio public school system, Chuck and Joyce Fagan moved out of their Springfield home and into a 36-foot trailer parked at a local campground. It was a test, Forbes magazine reported.
“We thought that if we could make it through that winter in Ohio, we could work anywhere during retirement,” recalls Joyce, now 66. “It was 25 below!” The couple, then in their late 50s, got through the big freeze, sold their house and a year later joined the nomadic tribe of boomers known as “work campers.” Chuck, who’s 62, says, “We’ve never regretted our decision.”
The Fagans travel around the country in their RV, working at Kampgrounds of America (KOA) locations a few months at a time, earning roughly the minimum wage at the comfortable, family campgrounds. “For us,” Chuck says, “it’s a great supplemental income that allows us to see as much of this beautiful country as we can.”
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"The economy is driving people to camping or to RVing, because you can RV anywhere for about 500 bucks a month," said Corey Huetter, who is staying at the Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) campground in Bowling Green, Ky.
The campground manager told WBKO-TV, Bowling Green, she's got a lot more reservations this year than last.
"Friday I've got about 45 reservations already coming in. Plus, we can have a lot of walk-ins too. And then Saturday, we've got about 30 coming in for Saturday for the holiday weekend," said Rhonda Lawrimore.
That's proof of a TripAdvisor survey that reported 33% of Americans plan to travel this Labor Day — 6% more than last year — and 63% of them are driving.
Lawrimore said she thinks it's because gas prices are lower this year.
She also said more people are choosing RV and campground life over hotels.
"I think they like the outdoors. Plus, they can go in and out better than being at other places," she said.
One Nebraska man said he's traveled all over the country in an RV for five years for his business, and overall, RVs are easy to get around in.
"It depends what part of the country, it's much harder to go through mountains and up hills, but it's relatively flat down here so it's not too bad," said Huetter.
He said it's easy to stop at places like Walmart if you need a rest while on the road.
He said he enjoys the atmosphere the most.
"It's kind of like boating. Have you ever boated before? You pull up on the sandbar and within five minutes you're best buddies with the guy next to you. And RVing is pretty much the same way."
And he's had "neighbors" from all around the world.
"It's real safe. I've never had one thing stolen, and I never lock anything up."
Lawrimore said that no matter where visitors are from, everyone loves Kentucky, and the Corvette Museum and area events are probably why they're choosing Bowling Green for their Labor Day.
Campers now have a new online “home base” for everything they need to know to enhance their outdoor lifestyle.
Kampgrounds of America’s new blog, “The Greater Outdoors,” brings together multiple tools, the very latest information on everything happening outdoors, easy-to-prepare recipes, new product reviews and news of the latest additions to the KOA family of campgrounds.
“We’ve always tried to provide our campers with the best camping information possible via our KOA Kompass website and monthly email newsletters, but we feel The Greater Outdoors blog takes things to a different level,” said Toby Hedges, KOA’s Vice President of Marketing.
“The new blog will be much more dynamic, with fresh content pouring in continuously, instead of just once a month,” Hedges said. “We think campers will want to check back often to keep up with the latest in RV tips and tricks from our experts, fun and easy camping recipes and also interact with us and each other.”
The Greater Outdoors blog is designed to serve as an “online community” for campers to comment on articles and share their own ideas with other campers.
There will also be multiple entertaining contests and giveaways to enhance campers’ experience on the blog.
Another exciting new feature on KOA’s The Greater Outdoors blog is “Campstagram,” a photo sharing feature linked to the popular online application Instagram. Campers simply “hashtag” their KOA camping photos with #koa or #kamping and the photos will automatically be fed to a rolling display on The Greater Outdoors blog.
“It’s another fun way for KOA to interact with campers, and for campers to share the fun with each other,” Hedges said.
To access KOA’s The Greater Outdoors blog, simply go to koa.blog.com.
Click here to watch a brief telecast courtesy of WPTV-TV, West Palm Beach, Fla.
When Randy Martin, wife Heidi and kids Kristi and Kyle decided they needed a break from their lives in West Palm Beach, Fla,, they decided to not just go halfway.
The Martin Family, sponsored along the way by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), recently completed a 13-month, 67,000-mile trip through all 50 states, according to a news release.
The family is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Today Show” Thursday morning (Aug. 22) between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. EST
The special segment was taped last week at the West Palm Beach/Lion Country Safari KOA Campground in Florida.
"I wanted to visit all 50 states so that my children had the opportunity to experience what's best about the USA,” said Randy, the CFO for The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach. “Our trip across America allowed us to bond as a family and meet many new friends while learning about American history and culture."
The Martins said the trip likely wouldn’t have been possible without the support of sponsors like KOA.
“Thanks to Kampgrounds of America for supporting ‘thatTripUSA’ and for many comfortable nights and friendly, smiling faces at, by far, the best campgrounds in America,” Martin said.
The family blogged about their adventures and managed to maintain a complete website about the trip during their travels. You can learn all about the Martin’s adventure by visiting www.thattripUSA.com.
For more information on Kampgrounds of America, or to plan your next KOA adventure, go to www.KOA.com.
The Bell family, selected as KOA Franchisees of the Year for 2013 for their campground in San Diego, Calif., is again leading the KOA system by adopting the new KOA Journey brand at their second KOA campground at Grand Canyon/Williams, Ariz.
“We wanted to be the first campground in the area to feature the select services of the KOA Journey brand position,” Clint Bell stated in a news release. “We think it gives our campground a unique marketing opportunity in the area and allows us to differentiate ourselves from other campgrounds.”
The Bell family has made improvements to the campground throughout their seven-year ownership of the park including expanding and adding more shade to the RV and tent sites and improving the roads.
KOA Journey campgrounds offer campers a convenient, clean and restful stop during their travels, helping them enjoy the rest of their journey.
Recently, the Bells have concentrated on making the improvements that make sense for the way their campers use their property. Because the KOA is used as a base camp for exploring the area, they’ve added more lighting to the pool area, so it can stay open for guests who come back later; a night registration kiosk, and 24-hour laundry facilities.
The camping experience they’ve created is rounded out by their emphasis on friendly, helpful service. “Our staff members go out of their way to make our guests’ once-in-a-lifetime journey to the Grand Canyon a memorable one," said Bell. "Whether the guest needs help with their rig, directions to sightseeing in the area, or just want to make some friends along the way, we go the extra mile for them."