Editor’s note: Kampgrounds of America Inc. named its Park of the Year and Rising Star Award winners during its Convention and Expo which runs through today (Nov. 18).
Park of the Year:
The Indianapolis KOA Holiday, owned and operated by David and Lori Vaughan, has been named the KOA Park of the Year for 2022.
The award was announced Wednesday (Nov. 17) during KOA’s annual International Convention in Baton Rouge, La.
The campground, located just 20 miles from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has been owned by the Vaughan family for the past 17 years. During that time, the Vaughans have continuously improved the park with the single-minded purpose of providing the best possible outdoor experience for their camping guests.
The campground now has 150 full hookup RV sites, as well as Deluxe Cabins and premium tent sites designed to take advantage of the park’s oak, maple and sycamore trees. There’s even a horse stable on the campground.
The centerpiece of the park is an innovative hybrid pool/water park feature that allows families to enjoy both the relaxation of a shallow pool along with the fun of a water park.
The Vaughans have been early adopters of nearly all KOA initiatives to improve the camping experience. They were among the first to invest in KOA Patio Sites, which provide campers with a 250-square-foot, hard-surface patio, along with upgraded patio furniture and grills.
But they didn’t stop there. The Vaughans have added attractive pergolas with swings at several KOA Patio Sites, as well as freestanding masonry fireplaces.
“Our mantra in Indianapolis has always been to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade,” said owner David Vaughan. Their efforts have grown camper nights by 6% and increased registration revenues by more than 57%.
The remodeled KOA Camp Store, managed by the Vaughan’s daughter Rachel, has been transformed into a popular boutique shopping location.
“The Vaughans and the Indianapolis KOA Holiday are perfect examples of what can happen when a great camping location is paired with a family driven to provide the very best for their guests,” said KOA President & CEO Toby O’Rourke. “They are representative of the drive and determination among all KOA owners to give campers the very best outdoor experiences possible.”
For more information on the Indianapolis KOA Holiday, visit koa.com/camp/Indianapolis.
Rising Star Award:
The Willcox/Cochise KOA Holiday, owned and operated by Dennis and Penny Crull, has been named the KOA Rising Star Campground for 2022.
The park – located in the southeast corner of Arizona just 80 miles east of Tucson – has undergone a metamorphosis in the four years the Crulls have owned the campground.
The Willcox KOA was originally constructed as a KOA location in 1972, during the height of KOA’s early expansion phase. It was taken out of the KOA system in 1996 and operated independently until the Crulls purchased it in 2017.
Dennis and Penny Crull, along with business partners Joe Ben and Violet Stone, went right to work, investing more than $300,000 in electrical upgrades, a new heated swimming pool and spa, a new advanced WiFi system and a full-service restaurant that operates seven days a week.
In just four short years, the campground has seen camper nights increase by 25%, and revenues skyrocket by 73%. The campground sits in the shadow of 10,720-foot Graham Peak and is surrounded by landmarks and historic sites like Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Cochise Stronghold, Chiricahua National Monument and the wild west towns of Tombstone and Bisbee.
Dennis Crull said the secret to success at the Willcox/Cochise KOA Holiday has been careful attention to customer feedback, and a relentless drive to be the best at campground hospitality. The park has received a perfect score on KOA Quality Assurance Reviews for several years running.
The Crulls came to Willcox with a wealth of campground experience. They had previously owned and operated the Kansas City East KOA Holiday for four years before purchasing their Willcox, Ariz., campground.
“The first thing I did when I got the Willcox campground under contract was to call KOA,” Crull said. “There is no way I would do this without KOA.”
“The Willcox/Cochise KOA Holiday shows what can be done when campground owners focus on their guests and are driven to be the best campground in their market,” said KOA President & CEO Toby O’Rourke. “There are so many new owners in the KOA system deserving on recognition for their efforts. I think the Crulls and the Willcox/Cochise KOA Holiday are great representatives of the quality we see every day in the KOA system.”
For more information on the Willcox/Cochise KOA Holiday, visit koa.com/campgrounds/willcox.