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 April Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining – all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. It’s leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. It’s the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.