b'INDUSTRY NEWSKOA Sees Jump in Q1 Revenue, Amid Ongoing ExpansionA surge in short-term business in the first quarter of the The continued Canadian border closure and up is really motivating, said ORourke. Develop-year resulted in an increase of total revenue of 20.9% ver- some reluctance by traditional long-term ers are seeing the value and potential camping hassus 2020 and 21.3% over a record 2019, according to campers to make travel plans until vacci- for serious returns on their investment. We also seeKampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) in its recently re- nated had an impact on long-term business that value here at KOA and work closely with theseleased Q1 financial report. over this past winter. new parks to ensure they maximize their poten-The company also acquired four campgrounds and se- Wedofeelthecontinuedimpactof tial.cured five franchise contracts during the same period. COVID-19 when we examine our long-term As an indication of franchisee satisfaction, KOAWith advanced deposits up over 55% from its record- business, ORourke said. Ongoing research also had a100% renewal rate on existing franchisebreaking 2019, KOA has a positive outlook for the rest of we are conducting shows us that 57% of contracts in this time period.the year.campers say the availability of vaccines has Toby ORourke Expansion of the Corporate PortfolioStrong Short-Term Performance a great deal or some impact on their camp- KOA isnt just seeing growth from the franchiseKOA reports a 42.6% increase in short-term, first-quar- ing decisions. The effect is even more pronounced on older business but is also actively expanding its ownedter revenue over 2020 and a 39.6% increase over a record demographics who are more likely to participate in long-term campground portfolio. In the first quarter of the year,2019. This growth follows one of KOAs most successful fall and snowbird RVing. KOA acquired four new campgrounds. Three of themseasons and points to continued momentum for the According to research conducted in April, KOA found that were previously franchised KOA locations, the FortBillings, Mont.-based company. 3-in-10 campers are either waiting to be vaccinated before Collins/Lakeside KOA Holiday in Colorado and theAcross short-term business, which measures vacation camping or waiting for more people to be vaccinated. With a Dayton KOA Resortand Thompson/Grand River Val-and leisure camping, KOA has experienced growth in growing number of Americans receiving vaccinations, the out- ley KOA Holidayin Ohio. The company also added annearly every measure. Occupancy in the first quarter of look for camping in 2021 is strong. independent park to the system through the purchase2021 was 24.3% improved over 2020 and 17.5% over 2019. Franchise Stability and Growth of the Galveston Island RV Resortin Texas.Since 2020 was affected by various challenges related KOAs five franchise contracts in the first quarter resulted A newly formed acquisitions department positionsto COVID-19, weve begun benchmarking our business from three new conversions and two new construction con- the company to continue a high pace of growth goingagainst 2019, said Toby ORourke, president and CEO of tacts. Parks in Detroit/Ann Arbor, Mich.; Three Forks, Mont., forward.KOA.We experienced the best year in our history in 2019 and Lost Hills, Calif., converted to the KOA system. KOA sees value in franchising campgrounds andand it was our 10th straight year of growth following the An additional positive indicator for the health of the fran- owningthemourselves,notedORourke. Thisrecession. Before the onset of COVID-19 disruptions in chise is the two new construction contracts signed with KOA mindset is not only financially driven, as camp-March last year, we were on pace to exceed 2019 by 10%. in the first quarter. These new contracts join 12 KOA camp- grounds are an increasingly lucrative business, butSeeing KOA perform even stronger in the first quarter of grounds already in the planning or construction stages. Eight it also makes us better franchisors because we live,this year is incredibly encouraging. new construction KOAs have opened since 2017. This level of breathe and understand camping from top to bot-Long-Term Affected by COVID-19 new construction campgrounds is the most since the early tom. ThecampingindustryisgrowingandourKOAs long-term business was 0.9% ahead of 2020 and days of KOA when new campgrounds were built at an impres- brandiswell-positionedtobeattheforefrontdown -9.8% to 2019. Similarly, revenue related to long- sive rate as the brand expanded. through both the owned and franchised sides of ourterm business was down -6.2% to 2020 and -2.8% to 2019. The interest in building campgrounds from the ground business. WCMMotley Named Director Of Education & EventsThe National Association of RV Parks engaging educational op- pulled their RV into more than 25 ARVCand Campgrounds (ARVC) has announced portunitiesandcreate member-parks across the country.that Susan Motley has joined the ARVC new ones, for our mem- Shesaysitwasfatethatshefoundteam as senior director of education and bers to take advantage of ARVC at this time. It was on a recent RV tripevents, and executive director of the ARVC year-round,saidPaul to the Georgia coast to celebrate ChristmasFoundation. Bambei, president and when she decided she wanted to marry herMotley joined the ARVC team in mid-May CEO of ARVC. love of RVing with her roots in hospitality. The pool at Pidgeon Forge Landing.after serving most recently as deputy director Motley is no stranger My husband and I were taking a much-of the Association for the Advancement of tohospitality,having needed break, enjoying the warmer weather,PhysicianandProviderRecruitment started her career in hotel gorgeous sunsets and inspiring sunrises. I RVC Opens Resort in(AAPPR) in Richmond, Va., where, among sales and marketing with Susan Motley also noticed that all around me familiesother accomplishments, she was responsi- major hotel brands such were using the opportunity that outdoor Pigeon Forge, Tenn.ble for aligning education across all plat- as Sheraton, Marriott and Omni, and then hospitality provided to visit with and con-forms,includingAAPPRsannual as director of tourism for the Metro Rich- nect to family members to celebrate the The Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resortconference,webinars,certificationpro- mond Convention and Visitors Bureau and season. It hit me that I wanted to be part of in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is now open, ac-grams, publications and micro-learning op- director of membership for the Baltimore making these important memories happen, cording to officials at RVC Outdoor Des-portunities. Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. she said. tinations, which owns the resort.Susan brings a wealth of knowledge An avid RVer, Motley will bring her pas- Motley has a bachelors degree from The With views of Mount LeConte and aandexperienceinbotheducationand sion for camping with her to ARVC. In the College of William and Mary in Virginia and mile of riverfront along the Little Pigeonevents that will continue to advance ARVCs past few years, she and her husband have is a Certified Association Executive.WCM River in the heart of the Smoky Moun-tains, the 37-acre property is located at455 Lonesome Valley Road, just off Pi-Ariz. ARVC Welcomes New Director VerdeRanchRVResortNamed geon Forge Parkway.Ariz. ARVCs Large Park ofYearPigeon Forge Landing now featuresMembers of the Arizona Association of management of Ari- At the Arizona Association of RV Parks 149 RV sites and 10 camping sites over-RV Parks and Campgrounds(Arizona ARVC) zona ARVC on Jan. and Campgrounds (Arizona ARVC) Confer- looking the river. All RV sites includegot to meet their future executive director dur- 1, following Mickel- level concrete pads, fire rings and grills,ing the associations convention in April. son and Schencks ence in April, Verde Ranch RV Resort re- picnic tables, full hookups with 30/50-SusanBrenton,atradeassociation retirement at the end ceived the honor of being named the states amp service and Wi-Fi. The secludedmanagement professional who has repre- of the year. Large Park of the Year. rustic camping sites also include levelsented the Manufactured Housing Commu- Roughly 75 park This award reflects Verde Ranchs com- pads, fire rings, grills and picnic tablesnitiesofArizonasince2003,hasbeen operators,vendors mitment to creating an exceptional, clean and with riverfront views.selected by Arizona ARVCs board of direc- and industry officials Susan Brenton exciting experience for its campers, accord- Planning is currently underway fortors to become the associations next ex- attendedArizona ing to a press release. phase two of the property which will in-ecutive director. ARVCs annual convention, which took place Arizona ARVC recognized Verde Ranch RV clude luxury glamping tents, a pickle-Brenton will replace Jo Anne Mickelson April 21 at Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino in Resort for its consistently high park ratings ball court and an additional 90 RV sites.and David Schenck, who have jointly held Laveen. on services such as Good Sam and Camp- The family and pet-friendly propertythe position since 2018, while Mickelson While Arizona ARVC was unable to hold a endium, as well as previous awards and hon- includesapoolandhottub,play-has managed the association for the past convention last year because of the COVID- ors.Theparkwasalsorewardedforits ground, a dog park and golf cart rentals.decade. 19 pandemic, Mickelson said attendance at ThelodgehousesonsiteconciergeBrentons contract will be signed during this years convention was strong and that facilities, landscaping and overall amenities.services,aretailstore,aconferencethe Arizona ARVC boards annual planning the association has continued to grow its This is the first year Verde Ranchhas won room, as well as a fitness room andretreat in August. She will officially take over membership base. WCM the award. The park opened in 2019. WCM laundry facilities.WCMWOODALLSCM.com June 2021 3'