The senior management of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) has tapped a rich source of detailed information regarding the habits and preferences of North American campers thanks to a comprehensive 2015 North American Camping Report the Billings, Mont.-based campground franchisor released in March.
KOA provided Woodall’s Campground Management a glimpse into the responses it received from more than 5,800 in-depth surveys of campers and potential campers — not limited to KOA — that shed a decidedly positive light on the general population’s view of camping in general and, in particular, on the rest of this year for the campground sector.
Looking at the 2015 camping season, a majority of campers plan to spend more nights camping, and almost half plan to take more trips.
“The business forecast for KOA has to be the same that everyone has in our industry,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier, whose company has enjoyed a three-year surge in registrations. “It’s going to be a positive, accelerated growth kind of year. We’ve been experiencing same-store growth for three years and this would be our fourth. I don’t think I can go back over the last 30 years and find that same level of sustained year-after-year growth that continues to ratchet up our business. We ended 2014 with a same-store revenue gain of about 8% in registrations.”
Against this upbeat backdrop, the 2015 North American Camping Report, completed online from a random sample of U.S. and Canadian residents in July 2014 and January 2015, was conducted by Cairn Consulting Group LLC under the direction of founder Scott Bahr, a Maine resident who’s worked with KOA since 2006.
Jim Rogers, KOA chairman and CEO, said, “By sharing this with the entire camping and RVing sector, it’s like what they say about the rising tides lifting all ships. We may have tools that we use to dive down and get deeper for our strategic needs, but we’re trying to give the entire business sector a much stronger orientation to the people that we host.
“It’s putting a face to the camper and the character behind it,” he continued. “We’d sure like to create more campers and see that grow. At the end of the day, though, we think it’s good for our economy and we think it’s good for our society.”
One of the report’s most significant findings was the extent to which North Americans enjoy their campground stays. “Camping has a really deep reach in this country,” said Bahr, whose research focused on vehicle-owning households versus individuals. “Six in 10 households are sending people camping or have camped in the past, and 25% camp every year. That reach is much deeper than I think a lot of people may have anticipated. We almost have a culture of camping. A lot of industries would love to say that 60% of American households participate in what they have.”
To read the full story on Woodall’s Campground Management by Ty Adams click here.