Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), the nation’s largest campground franchisor, anticipates a strong summer camping season with occupancies exceeding last year’s figures in every region of the country, according to a company spokesman.
“We’re looking strong,” said Mike Gast, communications director for the Billings, Mont.-based company. “Our year so far is looking phenomenal. Every one of our regions is above last year.”
Even though gas prices climbed sharply during April and May, the increases apparently were not having a negative impact on summer campground reservations.
“There is a real reluctance to let gas prices ruin everyone’s fun,” Gast said.
KOA also got a major boost from the company’s first ever “Come Camp With Us Day” promotion in May, during which KOA campgrounds gave away more than 10,000 campsites to vacationers across the country. The promotion, which involved 334 of KOA’s approximately 440 campgrounds, was designed to get people camping sooner and to expose people to camping who haven’t been camping before.
Gast said 80% of the campers who took advantage of the campsite giveaway on May 14 went ahead and booked campground reservations for the following day.
“The response from the campground owners was overwhelmingly positive,” Gast said. “We’ll definitely be doing it again next year.”
KOA also used the promotion to solicit donations for KOA Care Camps, the official charity of the KOA Owners Association. Proceeds are forwarded to private organizations to provide summer camping experiences for children with cancer and other ailments.