28 - January 2019 Woodall’s Campground Management 28 - January 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management Stay abreast of everything happening in the RV and campground arenas! www.rvbusiness.com• www.woodallscm.com RVB&WCM mix. I think an owner can actually have that kind of an atmosphere within the confinesofatraditionalRVpark,regard- less of where they are or what type of park they have. Start with the elements in these unique accommodations and then it sort of presents itself from there. It’s all about paying attention to the details in the installation process and the service that owners create for campers at that unique site. But asToby said, we’re really in a good position to provide that kind of piece or that element. I think it will play well within a certain market segment, so I’m pretty excited about it. WCM: You have talked about how technologyplaysaroleinKOA’ssuccess, can you give us some examples,like the newer K2 platform? O’Rourke: There’s lots of aspects of tech- nology that we utilize, and I think everything combined is what re- ally makes our tech- nology work for our owners. For the first time KOA.com has surpassed a million reservations and we are seeing that num- ber climb more and more every year. Ourmobileapphas1.2milliondown- loads now and so anywhere people are at we’re hoping to be in the palm of their hand or on their computer. Also, tech- nology fuels our digital advertising. We invest a lot of money in search advertis- inganddigitalmarketingtodrivepeople to make those reservations and really work hard to optimize that conversion rate, from looking at the ads to making a reservation at one of our parks. Then, the other part of the technol- ogy bundle, if you will, is how we man- age the online location management of KOA parks. That’s everything from a park’s GPS coordinates, a phone number, addresses and pictures. We push to a multitude of websites, apps and GPS search devices to make sure our campgrounds can be found, no matterhowpeoplearelookingforthem. We are also doing a lot of interaction with campers through technology. Our app now pushes notifications from our campgrounds to the campers onsite, so owners can announce things that are happening at their parks and we can also geofence our locations and push out notifications. All of that’s powered by our operations system, K2. We’ve been in the process of rebuilding that software for a few years and we really have a lot of good momentum heading forwardwithit.It’sintegratingmoreand more new features to make K2 a world- class park-management system. WCM: KOA has seen growth in its brandinginitiativesasyouaimtohave all parks branded either a Holiday, Journey or Resort in the next few years, correct? O’Rourke: We will have 400 parks brandedinthe2019directory.Westarted this program in 2012 and we still feel re- ally good about it.We feel it is important forustodifferentiateourparks,sincewe have a large system, and tell the guests what they can expect.We want to better set those expectations so that our guests are not surprised by something. Butthegreatoutcomeofthisinitiative has been how our campground owners have really invested in their parks and the quality and the level of innovation that’s been happening at the parks. It’sbeenadirectresultofthebrandposi- tioning programs, so all campgrounds will be branded by fall of 2020 and we’re right on track to achieve that. WCM: KOA has also seen a rise in owners managing multiple properties. Do you see that continuing to trend up in the future? O’Rourke: Oh, absolutely. I think we have 27 owners now, across 86 camp- grounds,notcountingcompany-owned properties. As we speak, we’ve got sev- eral contracts in the works with current multi-park owners adding more and new owners that are also adding more. We had sessions at our convention on runningmultipleoperationsandmulti- park reporting, and they were full sessions. It’s definitely of interest to our owners to keep expanding their portfo- lioandit’sagoodwaytoaddmoreparks for us within existing territories and reach more people. People are finding that there’s a lot of synergies of operat- ing multiple businesses. So, we’ve got some owners taking on more and more and I think that’ll continue to grow. It’s been a push of ours and we’re trying to provide more services for multi-park owners and enable more of that. WCM: You have been working with theRVIndustryAssociation(RVIA)ona campgroundofthefuturepresentation attheassociation’snewRVXconfabthis March in Salt Lake City,Utah.Can you give us a picture of what that will look like? O’Rourke: RVIA has been great to col- laborate with.We are going to be doing acoupleofthingsatRVXincludingtalk- ing about some of our preliminary numbers in the 2019 North American Camping Report, which we’re excited about. Then, we’re participating in this ‘Campground of the Future’ display as well.Ourwholecompanywasinvitedto participate in this and we have been looking at trends and technology, consumer trends and how people are going to travel. Obviously, technology plays a key role and how that could impact every aspect of our business.We had sessions at our convention with franchisees, as well, helping advance some of the thinking. Now we’re going to start trying to actually model out what some ideas might be, across maybe a traditional campground and maybe an urban campground. Our exhibit will be a model, but we are also going do a lot of videos to illustrate some of our thinking on concepts. A lot of it’s bringing to life the current modern campground and then how that extends forward and looking at things from other categories that are out there, whether that’s cruise ships or hospitality. Things that are already happening, how does that advance the campground business? It’s been fun, and we are looking forward to displaying our work. — Ben Quiggle & Sherman Goldenberg WCM Park owners took part in classes at the 2018 conventionaboutKOA’snewdigitalplatform,K2.