b'KOA officials utilized a 3D environment to share relevant news and trends with franchisees,The convention featured a campground theme, with cabins that acted as gateways to more pages.as well as celebrate award-winning parks. marketing power. Q&A sections. There was also a variety of on-Amid this uncertainty, 51% of all campers demand sessions that were made availablerecognized KOA as the No. 1 name in camp- for attendees to watch at their own leisure. ing. Scott noted that this points to the suc- Almost all of the sessions and content atcessful shift in marketing and the strength of the show was prerecorded to avoid any po-the KOA brand name. tentialtechnicalissues,accordingtoReflecting on KOAs technology, vice pres- Humphrey. ident of information services, Andy Metroka, I think that is honestly why we were ablespokeofupgradestoKOAsproprietary to avoid any major technical glitches, shecampground reservation system, K2. In 2021, said. all KOA campgrounds will be live on this soft- KOA also handed out a variety of awardsware allowing for even more powerful syn- including its coveted Rising Star Awardergy across the KOA system. and Park of the Year Award.The opening session of the KOA Virtual The Pueblo KOA Journey in Colorado,Convention wrapped up with Darin Uselman, owned and operated by Carolynand Michaelvice president of franchise services. Uselman Stowe, was named the Park of the Year. Thespoke of the staggering growth KOA experi- Coloma/St. Joseph KOA Holiday, owned andencedpriortotheCOVIDshutdownsof operated by Markand Karla Lemoinein Ben-March. ton Harbor, Mich., was recognized as theWe were on track for another record 2021 Rising Star Award winner.year. Then came March, Uselman said. The KOA also honored its 10-, 20-, 30-, 40- anduncertainty was something none of us were 50-year partners and presented its Foundersaccustomed to. It was during this time that and Presidents Awards. This year, 466 KOAKOA showed its partnership and refunded campgrounds received either the Presidents$3.1 million in reservation deposits back to or Founders Award. our franchisees. An online auction and special Care CampsUselman also spoke about KOAs first-to- event wrapped up the convention. KOA offi-marketoperationsguidetohelpcamp- cials are now setting their sights on Batongrounds open responsibly amid changing Rouge, La., for its 2021 International Conven-restrictions. From social distancing to clean- tion from Nov. 15-18. ing and staffing this comprehensive guide Humphrey said she expects to have somehelped campgrounds successfully operate sort of hybrid event next year. and create an editable operational plan to We started this hybrid option a couple ofsubmit to local governments. years ago, and I think that weve learnedKOA Franchise Services also worked hard some things this year that were going to beto bring informative, expert-driven content able to improve on, she noted. I expectvirtually to campground owners. These in- record attendance next year. Thats face-to-cluded webinars, virtual KOA Universityand, face; nothing can beat that. Were really ex-most notable, KOAs first Virtual Convention. pecting a huge convention for Baton Rouge,On the education front, the conference of- but well offer some sort of hybrid experiencefered a host of sessions that included live for those that cant attend.WCM3D booths gave vendors more of an opportunity to showcase products and services.WOODALLSCM.com January 2021-25'