Business & Finance

KOA Campground Staff to Receive Service Training

BILLINGS, MT / HORSHAM, PA, August 24, 2006. For decades, experts in the hospitality business thought all it took to bring customers back to their doors again and again was a nice facility in a good location.

That mindset changed at Kampgrounds of America two years ago, when camper research found that the vast majority of campers returned to their favorite KOAs primarily due to the great service they received from the staff and owners at each KOA campground.

"It became very clear to us that the best way for us to create loyal KOA campers was to ensure that the staff at the campground was trained to provide a great experience for the camper, each and every time," said Jim Rogers, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc.

To make that happen, KOA partnered with LRA Worldwide, Inc., of Horsham, Pennsylvania, to create KOA's new "Making It G R E A T" Program.

"KOA had already established its 'Great People. Great Camping.' branding message with its franchise owners and campers, so developing a program that franchise owners could use to train their staffs was a natural next step," said Constance Bille, M.Ed., Director of LRA's Organizational Development and Training practice. "KOA has embraced the opportunity to create a service culture to support the KOA brand and really stand out from the crowd within the camping industry."

KOA and LRA designed the new training program in response to guest surveys that indicated that a positive, engaging experience with a campground's staff led campers to seek out other KOA campgrounds during their travels. The new training includes specialized training materials, guides, videos and workbooks written to ensure all staff members at the more than 450 KOA locations in North America receive the same high-quality customer service training.

"This is really the first time this level of training has been attempted in the campground industry," Rogers said. "And it dovetails nicely with our effort of the past two years to raise our brand awareness among campers by having all staff members wear our bright yellow KOA shirts while working on the campground and interacting with guests. As the training becomes an ingrained part of the KOA service culture and brand, its impact will grow exponentially each year."

"KOA's research, coupled with the "Making It G R E A T" program, will give KOA franchise owners the opportunity to better understand how to drive the great guest experience that KOA campers expect from the folks in the yellow shirts," Rogers said.

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review


{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Food & Beverage: Going Casual
According to industry tracker PKF Hospitality Research, food and beverage sales represent the second- largest source of revenue for full-service hotels behind rooms. Given its financial importance, hotel operators are constantly adapting and evolving their F&B operations in order to remain current with industry trends and to meet (and exceed) guest expectations. Recent food developments which continue to proliferate include the farm-to-table movement; customized menus for those who are vegan, vegetarian, paleo or gluten-free; the appearance of smaller dishes on tasting menus; and creatively- prepared comfort foods served in more casual settings. In fact, there is a growing emphasis in the entire industry on more casual food operations. Customers are eschewing the typical breakfast-lunch- dinner/appetizer-entrée-dessert model in favor of "fast-casual" menus and service (think Panera, Chipotle or Cosi as examples). Even better if these menus are also available throughout the property, especially in social-gathering areas like the lobby, pool or bar. Some hotels are also experimenting with "pop-up" restaurants - a temporary dining option with edgy menus and design served in unexpected locations (like rooftops or lobbies) - as a way to keep things energetic and fresh. Another trend which applies to both food and wine is the option to purchase food and beverages in multiple sizes. Some operations are giving their customers the opportunity to choose - a three ounce pour of wine or a nine-ounce pour; a six-ounce filet or a twelve-ounce - the customers decide their portion size and pay accordingly. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document all these trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.