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 May Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Hotel Sustainable Development: Responsible Decision-Making for the Near and Long-term
The subject of sustainability has gained considerable momentum in recent years. There has been an increasing awareness among hotel owners and investors regarding the environmental impacts of hotel development and operations, such that sustainability issues have now permeated nearly every aspect of the industry. Despite the lack of clear metrics which makes the issue difficult to quantify, there is a growing consensus about the definition of what sustainability is, and its essential importance in the everyday, decision-making process. Simply put, sustainability seeks to balance financial, social and environmental factors to facilitate responsible business decision-making over the near and long term. How those factors are balanced may differ from company to company, but there are several fundamental issues about which there is little dispute. First, sustainability has become an important factor when customers make a hotel selection. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, 71% of travelers reported that they planned to choose hotels based on sustainability over the next year. Thus, hotels that are managed and operating sustainably have a considerable advantage over their competitors. Secondly, sustainability can be a profit center. The main emission sources of carbon footprint in the hotel industry are energy, heating and water. Thus, the reduction in consumption of those elements means that both the size of their carbon footprint and their costs go down, so it is a true win-win for both businesses and the environment. These are just some of the issues that will be examined in the May issue of the Hotel Business Review, which will report on how some hotels are integrating sustainability practices into their operations, and how their businesses are benefiting from them.