b'ORourke: Wi-Fi is a big deal and KOA is serious about improving that area. Icountry. Were not remote locations. see campgrounds just checking a boxMostofourcampgroundsarenear to say they have Wi-Fi, but what is thecities and towns. Wi-Fi is expected. You quality of that Wi-Fi? We did speedmust think about it as a utility and tests at our parks to understand howmake the proper investment. I know in manyofourparksfitintotheFCCtheinfrastructurebillthatwasjust standardsforreliable Wi-Fiandwesigned, theres a substantial amount of definitely found some areas of oppor- money in there for broadband expan-tunity. Weve got some great providerssion in rural areas. I think that could in the industry right now that wevealso help campgrounds and we are in-been working with that are having suc- terested to see how that helps the in-cessgettingqualityWi-Fitoparks.dustry as well, but Wi-Fi is huge. Were encouraging owners to invest inWCM: We have seen quite a few de-it as a utility. Water, sewer, electric andvelopers come in from different indus-Wi-Fi its not an amenity. tries. Is there a concern that theres a I think a lot of people fall back onburnoutfactor?Theyrecomingin, the idea that campers shouldnt expectthey take over these parks, obviously a Wi-Fi, but thats not the reality of thelot of them dont have experience in privatecampgroundindustry. Werethe industry. Are we going to get two,KOA unveiled a new look for its iconic A-frame building that includes several energy-saving front country camping. Were not backthree, five years down the road, andmeasures, something ORourke noted KOA is focusing on through its Kamp Green initiative. suddenlysomeofthesepeopleare looking to exit the market or sell?for quite a while.Probablythebiggestexperiencewe ORourke: I think thats definitely aWCM: You had mentioned a little bithave deals with one of our corporate-possibility.Ithinkasyouseehowabout zoning, about how the industrysowned parks that is working on an ex-money flows between different indus- coming together to help communitiespansion which has been held up for tries thats probably a valid assump- understand what campgrounds are.two to three years. We just reopened tionthatcanbemade,iswellseeTheres a lot of misconceptions aboutthe Sugarloaf Key KOA that was de-some. Therell be something else theycampgrounds and it depends on thestroyed four years ago in a hurricane, want to invest their money in and thencommunity.Somedevelopmentsgoand the only reason it took us four maybetheyllshiftgearsatsomethrough easily. Some are just tooth andyears is because we were caught up in point. Were not projecting the busi- nail and they can never get their devel- that process of approvals.ness to slow down anytime soon.opmentthrough.HowdoyouguysYou have to immerse yourself in the I think theyre going to still be seeing work with developers in getting themlocal market and you have to make the good returns on their investments. Ito the building stage or current parkright connections. Its a lot of knocking think that well continue to see a lot ofowners to get them the ability to ex- on doors, a lot of going to meetings, a people still coming in and still stayingpand? Whats that been like for KOA?lot of bringing the data and its very in. But I think there will be some attri- ORourke: We have a franchisee thattough. Theres just no way around it. ORourke took part in an RV Industry Asso- tion and well be here to pick up thehasopenedapark,butittookfiveIts very challenging. Its very much all ciation-ledmeetinginSeptemberwithpieces and keep the industry movingyears to get through the permittingdone at a grassroots level.campground and RV industry leaders to dis- forward.Therearealotofpeopleprocess. We renewed his five-year fran- See WCMs video of this interview to cuss how the industry can work together tobuilding campgrounds, but the realitychiseagreementbeforeheevendive into even more topics. Watch at help better define outdoor hospitality. is theres just a ton of interest here. Iopened the park. It took that long forwww.facebook.com/woodallscm/ think that the industrys going to thrivehim to get everything that he needed.videosWCMWOODALLSCM.comJanuary 2022 17'