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




Feature Focus
Food and Beverage: Going Local
"Going local" is no longer a trend; it’s a colossal phenomenon that shows no sign of dissipating. There is a near obsession with slow, real, farm-to-table food that is organic, nutritious and locally sourced. In response, hotel chefs are creating menus that are customized to accommodate all the vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, paleo, diabetics and other diet-conscious guests who are demanding healthy alternatives to traditional restaurant fare. In addition, there is a social component to this movement. In some cases, chefs are escorting guests to local markets to select fresh ingredients and then visit a local cooking school to prepare their purchases. Other hotels are getting guests involved in gardening activities, or exploring local farms, bakeries and the shops of other culinary artisans. Part of the appeal is in knowing the story behind the food - being personally aware of the source and integrity of the product, and how it was handled. In addition to this "locavore" movement, there are other food-related developments which are becoming popular with hotel guests. Small plate and tasting-only menus are proliferating around the country. Tasting-only special event menus offer numerous benefits including guaranteed revenue per customer, reservations usually made weeks in advance, and an exciting dining option for guests to experience. Bread and butter are also getting a makeover as chefs are replacing bread baskets with boards, and replacing butter with custom-flavored spreads. One dining establishment offers a veritable smorgasbord of exotic spreads including garlic mostarda, vanilla tapenade, rosemary hummus, salsa butter, porcini oil and tomato jam, to name just a few. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document some current trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what various leading hotels are doing to enhance and expand this area of their business.