KOA re-brands itself according to facilities and amenities

Written by on November 25, 2012 in People & Places

One of the biggest surprises we had last year in our travels was with KOA – Kampgrounds of America. On our trip west and then on other meanderings over the season, we had the opportunity of staying at about a dozen KOA campgrounds across the U.S.

They were all good experiences, to be sure, but we couldn’t help but notice some big differences between the properties.

And so today, when we see that KOA has re-branded itself by deciding to classify each of their more than 400 properties according to the level of service, the amenities and the facilities itself, we have to nod in agreement. Good idea, KOA!

KOA Chairman Jim Rogers made the announcement in a news release to rvdailyreport and said re-branding will direct the right marketing messaging to the right guests.

Here’s how the re-branding works.

  • KOA Journey campgrounds are for on-the-move campers, those looking mostly for an overnight stop, located close to major interstates and highways. As much as 20 percent of all KOA branded campgrounds will be in this category.
  • KOA Holiday campgrounds fir in as more of a base camp experience, a place to stay for several days, a weekend or as a local base at the end of the day as the guests explore local attractions. These will comprise maybe 75%. of all KOA campgrounds.
  • KOA Resorts are the top of the line facility, making up around 5% of all campgrounds. These offer lots of amenities and top-rate facilities, a five star camping experience and a place where guests can hang out all day, relaxing and engaging in recreational activities.

“This is not a good, better, best way of looking at our campgrounds,” said KOA President Hittmeier in the rvdailyreport news release.”It is designed to help guests better understand what they can expect from the facilities at which they chose to stay.”

This makes a lot of sense to me. In our travels this past season, we experienced all three. My favorite KOA by far was the Badlands/White River KOA in Interior, SD, which we used as a base camp for two days while we explored the Badlands National Park just down the road. It had trees, which in the Badlands is a very big deal. They had great breakfasts and barbeque dinners and there were all sorts of dirt roads nearby that let me do some fun mountainbiking in full view of the breathtaking tabletop buttes and craggy bluffs. A large swimming pool was particularly welcome after hot, dusty days spent tramping in the Badlands

We also really enjoyed staying at the flagship KOA in Billings, MT, located right on the banks of the Yellowstone River. This was the site of the very first KOA and it offered all sorts of games and activities and some very deluxe, oversized patio campsites.There was a basketball course, min0 golf, two large playgrounds and, of course, an outdoor heated pool and hot tub.

But in all the KOAs we visited, there was a consistency of service that we really appreciated, especially after a long day on the road. We were always escorted to our spot and offered help in backing in or setting up. The restrooms and showers at every KOA we stayed at were sparking clean, no matter what time of the day or night we used them. There was usually a store or facilities where we could restock on supplies or find food and refreshment.

That reliability of excellence won us over. Knowing what to expect when you book a campground, and never being disappointed, is a great incentive to keep me coming back. The re-branding initiative will make booking a KOA campsite even more reliable.



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About the Author

About the Author: Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, and Norweigian Elkhound, Tai, travels North America in a Type B motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and frustrations of RV life on the road. He is the official on-the-road reporter for the Family Motor Coach Association. a columnist with Family Motor Coaching Magazine and his Roadtreking reports appear in numerous newspapers and publications. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, video editing and all things dealing with technology. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations. .

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28 Reader Comments

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  1. Larry T says:

    KOA campgrounds are okay but expensive. When on the move we usually Walmart as it doesn’t make sense to spend so much for just a few hours.

  2. Rick and Kelly says:

    We like KOAs. Consistency of service is why. We know what to expect. We don;t usually make reservations but start seeing what’s ahead about mid afternoon. KOAs are always good choices. They are managed very well and rowdyism is not tolerated. The facilities are always clean and neat. This new system they have will give campers even more knowledge of what to expect at their designation. Bravo!

  3. Leon Eaves says:

    What is going on with the e-trek? Big splash, promises, then nothing.

  4. Mike Wendland says:

    What do you mean? I just got one. Look for my video review this weekend right here.

  5. Mike's Road Trip says:

    Hey Mike…first time visiting your site…nicely done! I agree with you (and KOA). I too have stayed at a number of KOA’s along the way and some are much nicer than others. One thing that does perplex me is why many are so close to towns rather than being a bit more in the outskirts (more of a camping experience).

    Earlier this year I stayed at the San Diego KOA and did a video in case you and/or your audience is interested: http://www.MikesRoadTrip.com/san-diego-koa Cheers!

  6. Gina Gibson says:

    good article…i don’t own an rv and still found it interesting

  7. Koa is too expensive,

  8. David Herrmann says:

    Our shakedown cruise was to the KOA in Townsend, TN. The staff was great. The facilities were spotless. Since it is practically on the border of the Great Smoky Mountain NP I would guess it is the mid-level classification. Good basecamp plus some amenities…

  9. We use KOA only when nothing else is available, way too expensive

  10. Charlie Vickers says:

    KOA already too expensive for most of their facilities. I hate to see where these prices are going.

  11. Shirley Pocock says:

    When we are traveling and we stop late at night and leave early the next morning we don’t like paying their prices! They need an over night price so we have a safe place at a reasonable price if they want our business. We don’t use anything unless it is a little electricity.

  12. Bud Roberts says:

    We have enjoyed our stay at every KOA, great people have worked at each one

  13. Sharon Marks says:

    I have stayed at several and they have been clean, friendly and safe. As a female traveling alone, those are important features.

  14. Jan Long Jan Long says:

    They are just getting too expensive. We never use all the amenities.

  15. Too expensive for our taste!!!

  16. Mina Wells Greenlee says:

    There are different prices in different states. We read rvparkreviews and watch the prices posted there and the ALLSTAYS app. So some are very nice for a good price ($23) and some are $55+. Usually the others around the expensive ones are expensive also. Then we make the effort to find Passport America.

  17. Mina Wells Greenlee says:

    There are different prices in different states. We read rvparkreviews and watch the prices posted there and the ALLSTAYS app. So some are very nice for a good price ($23) and some are $55+. Usually the others around the expensive ones are expensive also. Then we make the effort to find Passport America.

  18. We also have stayed at many KOA’S and are now members. We like the service cleanliness and all they have to offer, just wish they had more in Canada. :)

  19. We also have stayed at many KOA’S and are now members. We like the service cleanliness and all they have to offer, just wish they had more in Canada. :)

  20. We use to enjoy staying at KOA’s but they are too expensive now. We use them only if nothing else is around.

  21. Jean Acey Draper says:

    We usually stay at KOA for overnight while traveling to a bigger destination. The larger one’s we have stayed at have you packed in like sardines. I’d rather pay a little more for overnight and feel safe and secure, than a lower price campground or Walmart parking lot.

  22. Teresa Carr says:

    Love KOA in 2013 we took 2 trips from Mi to SD with our grandkids. Stayed at Mt. Rushmore Koa had trail riding pancake tent pools ice cream a kids dream come true place to stay. Stayed at Sioux Falls Mitchell and also in Wi. They were all clean well managed and escorted us to our spots. When traveling with kids they love being able to swim after a long day on the road plus I like the security. We’ve stayed at was marts and I always felt uncomfortable wi th h the kids there.

  23. Teresa Carr says:

    Also the out banks koa is very nice but arrive during hours and daylight they do have you in there like sardines but it’s worth it the beach I s amazing…..

  24. Teresa Carr says:

    Do not stay at Coal Mine Expedition in WV!!!!!

  25. John Butschli says:

    If in Wisconsin stay at Captains Cove !! Awesome place !!!

  26. Glen Smith says:

    I want this lifestyle !

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