b"QUESTION & ANSWER nBY BEN QUIGGLEKOAs CEO & President Toby ORourke Discusses Health of System, New Headquarters, EVs and More Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) has taken advantage of the surge in inter-est in the outdoor hospitality industry to continue to grow its brandand the number of locations it offers across North America.As a sign of how well the company has been performing, Bloomberg recently wrote a piece noting that KOAs profits have helped push its longtime owner, Oscar Tang, into the billionaire crowd.A recent third-quarter business report highlighted that KOAs advanced book-ings are up 4.5%, while revenue was up 2.1%. Occupancy numbers moved down slightly, but the company noted that some normalization is expected after two years of record-breaking numbers. Terramor, KOAs glamping brand, has also found success with its first location in Maine and more on the horizon.Amidst all of this, Toby ORourke, KOAs CEO and president, recently chatted with WCMs Park Update, a weekly show produced by Woodalls Campground Magazine (WCM), to give viewers an update on the company, what its main focus is as the calendar turns to 2023, and to talk about the health of the industry in general.Heresaneditedtranscriptofthatshow.Watchthefullshowat www.facebook.com/woodallscm or listen to it as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Toby ORourke Spotify and Google Podcasts. WCM: How did Hurricane Ian im-pact KOA parks? Toby ORourke: The hurricane recovery is going well in some respects but there aredefinitelycommunitiesthatare going to be dealing with issues for a while. We have a couple KOAs that are closed indefinitely for the moment so we can figure out a strategy. Itll be a while. But most of them came through well. What I always like to see in the campgroundcommunityishowwe welcomepeoplewhoneedshelter, right? A lot of our parks in other parts of the state that werent as affected were welcomingcampersandemergencyKampground of America Inc.s new headquarters in Billings, Mont., is expected to be completed later this year. personnel. I think that's a great way that we can contribute as an industry to the recovery efforts. WCM: Of course, KOA has dealt with parksthatwereimpactedbyhurri-canesinthepast.TheSugarloaf Key/Key WestKOAHolidaycomesto mind. ORourke: We completely had to redo that park after a hurricane around six years ago. We redesigned and reimag-ined it. Not much had survived the hur-ricane. It was a difficult project, but also a great one. There were a lot of insur-ance claims and KOA had to be patient throughthegovernmentpermitting process, along with other things that go intorebuildingapark.Butwewere open and operational this last season.People love that property, and we are also set to open hotel units at the park, which is new for us in that location. We are going to have two hotel units, with 22 roomseach.Thesearenotstandard hotel rooms; these are more like vacation suites. The first one should open proba-bly near the end of December, followed shorty thereafter by the second one.WCM: What has really excited you about some of the things that KOA has been working on over the past year?ORourke:Imecstaticaboutwhats been happening at KOA over the past10 or 11 years. I just looked at our num-bers the other day. The growth in our Q & A ORourkecontinued on page 39WOODALLSCM.comFebruary 2023 37"