Editor’s note: This Q&A originally appeared on the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds‘ blog. Jeff Hoffman is president of the MHD Corporation which owns the Sandusky/Bayshore KOA Holiday in Sandusky, Ohio, and president of the Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA).
How did you get involved in the campground industry?
I started with our family business in 1968. We built an original campground that consisted of 34 sites with 20-amp electric. That campground has grown into the Sandusky/Bayshore KOA, which now has 340 sites, almost all with water and sewer. The campground is owned by a corporation, and over the years, I purchased the corporation. I still see it as a family business and take a great deal of pride in that. I still pitch in to help wherever I’m needed and never walk past a piece of litter without picking it up. Campgrounds are part of my family’s legacy. Over my lifetime we’ve owned about six different campgrounds.
What do you enjoy most about the industry?
I enjoy giving people a vacation. We strive to make sure our guests enjoy their time here. That goal drives not only our customer service training but also our infrastructure. Your staff can be pleasant as you want them to be, but if the site’s broken, that affects the guest’s experience.
How long have you been involved with the Ohio Campground Owners Association?
I started with the OCOA around 1985, but then I had a few gap years because I was busy traveling the country taking care of our properties. I came back to the organization around the year 2000. About 10 years ago I was elected to the board and then I got elected president at the Spring 2020 meeting. My new position took effect just as COVID began to hit.
What were some of the first challenges you faced as president of OCOA?
The first one was trying to get our parks open through the governor’s different committees, which we did before Memorial Day weekend — a major win for us. Then the state’s operating guide for campgrounds came up for updating this year, so I now know way more about campground rules than I ever have in my life. There were all kinds of little details in there that I never knew about. For example, we had to fight to get one word changed so our campground owners wouldn’t be required to renumber all of their sites each time they added a new site in the middle of their park. Then they had a rule that you could have two mobile homes in a campground for the use of the general manager and one other person, but if you took them out, you couldn’t replace them. We got that changed, too.