Des Watts, one of the founding members of BIG4 Holiday Parks of Australia, is part of a contingent of Australian camping experts on a tour of the United States that will include a stop Nov. 18-20 at Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) annual Convention in Houston, Texas.
There will be more than 10 BIG4 Holiday Parks represented at the KOA Convention this year, according to a news release.
Watts, owner of several BIG4 Holiday Parks in Australia, was one of the original four park owners who, in 1978, decided to combine forces to better market their camping properties and amenities to Australians.
BIG4 Holiday Parks is now the leading chain of holiday parks in Australia, with more than 180 individually owned and operated parks. BIG4’s Holiday Park Club membership stands at more than 176,000 members, and the parks host more than 4 million visitors each year.
BIG4 provides a wide variety of high-quality accommodations throughout Australia, including full-service, luxury cabins
The BIG4 contingent at the KOA Convention will also once again include BIG4 Chairman Rodger Powell. Powell also attended last year’s KOA Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
BIG4 Holiday Parks has had close ties with KOA for the past five years. KOA CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers and his wife, Sandy, recently returned from BIG4’s National Conference in Alice Springs, Australia.
Josh Bell, a member of the Bell family which owns both the San Diego Metro KOA in California and the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA in Arizona, was recently named general manager of park systems for BIG4. Bell has spent the last year in Australia working as a liaison between BIG4 and KOA, primarily working on transitioning BIG4 to KOA’s KampSight campground operating system.
KOA recently signed an exclusive 10-year agreement with BIG4 to share intellectual property.
“The agreement will accelerate the progress of these two world-leading outdoor hospitality organizations,” said Rogers.
As part of the agreement, BIG4 recently purchased the KampSight system from KOA and plans to develop the system to better fit BIG4’s needs. BIG4 will call their system PAM, for Park Accommodation Manager.
“We’re planning to give the operating system a facelift,” Bell said of his new duties. “We’ve got 30 BIG4 Holiday Parks ready to go with PAM right now. It’s going to change the way Holiday Parks in Australia do business, and it all started with KOA. It’s nice having a great partner like that in the states.”
While in the United States, the BIG4 group will also be visiting the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) Convention in underway this week in Orlando, Fla., and a variety of campground locations.