Registrations at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) properties will be up 8% this year over 2001, but the head of the Billings, Mont.-based firm intends to strengthen its brand name in 2003 by enforcing stricter operating and marketing standards.
That was among the primary messages delivered by KOA President and CEO Jim Rogers during the 2002 KOA Convention/Expo Nov. 17-21 at the Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, Tenn.
“Researchers tell us that we do a good job, but we have to get to great,” Rogers said in a speech that opened the convention. “We’ve got the potential and we’ve got the know-how.”
Nearly 450 people representing 193 of KOA’s 453 franchised and 14 company-owned campgrounds attended the convention/expo, which marked KOA’s 40th anniversary. The day-and-a-half event attracted 95 vendors.
The 40th anniversary also drew New York financier Oscar Tang, KOA’s low-profile board chairman and principal owner, to his first convention since he buying the company in 1980.
“I’ve been very warmly welcomed,” Tang said. “The 40th anniversary was a good time for me to come.”
In his address, Rogers told franchise holders that a survey of 10,000 KOA campers found the system has strong loyalty among its customers – 94% of campers had visited a KOA previously – but also has a long way to go to increase campers’ satisfaction to the desired level.
On an A-to-F scale, only 50% of those surveyed gave KOA an “A” for quality and service, he said. “If you are a world-class service provider, your customers give you 70% A’s.”
Franchisees’ desire for consistency in operation and marketing was apparent from a companion survey of franchise holders, Rogers said. “You are screaming at us to get tougher,” he said. “And you know what? We are. We heard you. And we are going to start by saying, ‘You want to be a player? You’d better live by the rules.’ That’s what brands are all about. Discipline is essential in going from good to great.”