The 486 Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) locations in North America are expecting about 100,000 campers to arrive this Friday for the start of the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend.
The company reported in a written announcement that advanced reservations for the 2014 Memorial Day Weekend holiday are equal to reservations for the holiday weekend in 2013, and are running about 3% ahead of advanced reservations received a week before the holiday weekend in 2012.
Early in the 2014 camping season, KOA’s overall total for short-term camping nights is about 5% higher than during the same period in 2013.
“Our numbers early in 2014 were very strong, and it looks like our early momentum will carry through into the summer camping season,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “Our campground owners have been working hard on new improvements and enhancements to their facilities that are sure to be noticed by campers.”
The Memorial Day Weekend numbers nearly mirror the results of the annual “KOA Care Camps Big Weekend” results on May 9-10, which finished with about 6.3% more camper nights than the same event weekend in 2013.
While camper interest in KOA continues to grow, there are still plenty of good campsites and cabins available for the Memorial Day Weekend and throughout the summer, the company noted.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers talked to a gathering of hundreds of the top leaders in the North American RV industry today (May 8) at the RV Industry Power Breakfast in Elkhart, Ind.
Rogers offered his list of “10 reasons you should buy RV stock or marry the son or daughter of an RV executive:"
1. He started with, “70% of existing RVers intend to buy again. That is amazing.”
2. “Baby boomers are the prime target for you. It’s going to be huge. It’s 26% of the population.”
3. “Fifteen million American campers camped last year without an RV. Wow.”
4. “You may think about the deluxe cabin and say ‘Oh my goodness Jim, those guys are never going to buy an RV.’ We watch those people tour the campground … those people are first-timers to a good extent. They are potential buyers for the RV industry.”
5. “Mom was right. Go outdoors. From a health standpoint, take a hike and call me in the morning. Kids that are in this experience outdoors, it’s powerful. You are putting them there.”
6. “Long-term petroleum industry forecast is for abundant gasoline supply and stable pricing. That will have a major impact on the RV vacation.”
7. “Outdoor enthusiasts want “soft rugged.” An RV is perfect for soft rugged. I hook my bike on the back, I get in the unit, I don’t have to unpack.”
8. Lorne Armer, KOA’s VP of brand development, detailed KOA’s new branding, and said, “ Camping is a lifestyle choice.”
9. Rogers jumped back in, saying in today’s society, “We don’t take the moment and make the most of it. We call it genuine engagement at KOA. We actually talk to somebody. That is what we need more of in this society.”
10. "We are creating a better tomorrow by delivering superb RVs, outstanding outdoor hospitality and the campfires for s’more genuine engagement.”
Sandy Rogers, wife of Jim Rogers, the CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), perfectly summed up the unique quality of the Cape Hatteras KOA Resort as she pushed a button on the ground floor of the large clubhouse: “How many campgrounds have elevators?”
Answer: About as many as have a floor of suites upstairs from the front desk and camp store.
Welcome to Cape Hatteras KOA Resort, the newest KOA property to adopt the KOA Resort brand, and the first company-owned property to do so.
The campground was nearly wiped off the map in 2011 when Hurricane Irene flooded Hatteras Island. KOA put $6.5 million into rebuilding the campground to the criteria of the KOA Resort brand.
The campground had a formal grand reopening celebration over the weekend, ending yesterday (May 4).
During that time KOA people from all over the country joined guests to show off all the amenities of the resort: An expanded pool, improved sites, deluxe cabins elevated enough to park a car beneath them, and, of course, the eight hotel-like suites — all in addition to hundreds of RV sites, tent sites and basic cabin sites.
“We are redefining it. What is camping? Camping is not about the buildings or the pools, it’s about people and the way we act,” said Jim Rogers, standing near the pool with a steel drum playing in the background.
“What we’re doing is attracting a mix of people who have never been to a campground,” Rogers told Woodall’s Campground Management.
“We call it genuine engagement. At it’s fundamental, it’s providing something that’s missing every day. We block ourselves up, we’ve hooked ourselves up to a phone or an iPad or whatever, we don’t have that genuine engagement. Campgrounds do,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the best and brightest minds in the campground industry put the effort into the rebuilding of the Cape Hatteras KOA Resort. Eric Kelch, KOA’s facilities director for the company-owned properties, led the work. Kelch grew up on a KOA campground in Tennessee and has camping in his DNA, as Rogers put it.
The campground has features designed to block future waves, the main building’s water is heated entirely by the sun, Kelch described. “Everything sparks something else,” he said.
Rogers said, “It’s never one thing, it’s thousands of little things. It’s the best that can be done in our industry.”
So far, Cape Hatteras joins one KOA Resort in Michigan and one in Ohio, but KOA spokesman Mike Gast said more are coming soon.
Many more have adopted the KOA Journey and KOA Holiday brands, with about 110 of the roughly 500 KOAs across North America already using the brands, said Pat Hittmeier, president of KOA. Hittmeier said he expects that number to keep growing.
Forest River Inc. of Elkhart, Ind., is the newest approved provider for KOA Deluxe Cabins, according to Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Senior Business Development Consultant and Cabin Program Manager Mike Atkinson.
"Adding Forest River to our line of approved cabin suppliers adds healthy competition and increases the purchasing options for our campground owners, while maintaining the quality of deluxe cabins being added to the KOA system," Atkinson said in a written announcement from KOA.
Other approved deluxe cabin suppliers include Cavco Industries and General Coach of Canada.
Kampgrounds of America now has 2,200 KOA Deluxe Cabins — which include full bathrooms and some kitchens — located at more than 334 KOAs in North America.
A million copies of the new 2014 edition of the industry-leading Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Directory have rolled off the presses and are now available to campers throughout North America, according to an announcement from KOA.
This year’s directory has a few enhancements. Each of the 486 KOA campground listings is one-third of a page and may include a full-color photograph supplied by the campground.
Also new this year, the traditional state-grid listing of campground features and amenities has been replaced by colorful icons that will give campers instant information on a campground’s offerings without the need to leave the campground’s listing. And as always, the directory contains detailed state and provincial maps, as well as "last-mile" locator maps, that make the directory a true North American road atlas.
Copies of the new directory have already been shipped directly to the homes of hundreds of thousands of members of the KOA Value Kard Rewards Program. Directories are also available free of charge at all open KOA Campgrounds in North America.
The 2014 directory is also the first consumer marketing piece that speaks to KOA’s three new brand positions: KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort. More than 110 KOA owners have already adopted one of the new brands for their campgrounds. The new brand positions are designed to better identify campground services and amenities for campers, aiding them in making their camping-trip plans.
“The directory is one of our main communication devices to reach campers,” said Toby Hedges, KOA vice president of marketing. “Our goal this year is to tell the story of ‘What’s Behind The Yellow Sign?’ while putting the directory into the hands of KOA campers as quickly as possible.”
The 2014 KOA Directory is also available in digital format. Campers can view or download the digital directory here. The directory can also be ordered by mail through the KOA.com website.
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.
Click here to read the entire story.
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.