Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) is redirecting its focus under the leadership of new President and CEO Jim Rogers by curtailing international development, leaving the RV storage business and setting plans in motion to increase the number of its affiliated campgrounds by more than 10% within the next four years.
The changes, according Rogers, KOA’s new president and CEO, should result in a closer relationship with franchise holders and, ultimately, an increase in the number of nights campers stay in KOA campgrounds.
“We are evolving,” Rogers said. “We are going to retrench on the segment of the business that we want to focus on and grow. We have an opportunity to expand with company-owned campgrounds and franchises. We have some major markets where we would like to establish campgrounds.”
Rogers, promoted in December by KOA owner Oscar Tang, most recently served as vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Reno, a hotel and casino in Nevada. He succeeds veteran executive Art Peterson, who retired after leading KOA for 20 years.
Rogers said his initial focus will be on new marketing strategies for the company. “We are in the franchise business,” Rogers said. “Much of our marketing is done at the front desk of the campground, whether it’s the way you answer the phone or how you sell the campground. We’ve had some of that going on, but we need to better facilitate that with our franchisees. They are eager, but they need to have some help to get them there.”
Rogers said KOA recently completed marketing surveys in Detroit, Houston and Seattle that “tell us we are very trusted, recognized for our family-oriented reputation.
“Our thinking is about going forward, being more aggressive to take advantage of our reputation,” he said. “Our research has created some focus that will allow us to be more effective in our marketing.”
About 70% of KOA’s 508 campgrounds are owner-operated. The rest are owned by absentee investors who employ managers to operate the facilities. Eleven of the total are company-owned. Eighty percent of KOA’s are located within 100 miles of a major metropolitan area, and many are near popular tourist attractions.