Marketing partnerships with an array of allied organizations have become a real focus of the Kampground of America’s (KOA) overall marketing gameplan under the direction of Loren Armer, vice president of brand development.

As such, KOA has developed more mutually beneficial relationships designed to introduce recreational vehicle enthusiasts as well as those outside the RV mainstream with the KOA brand while a series of marketing partners looks to the home office in Billings, Mont., for a way to incentivize their customers and members.

“In the last year, KOA has really shifted their direction in terms of focus and value that we’ve placed on partnerships from a multi-tiered approach,” Armer said at the company’s 50th anniversary convention earlier this month in Orlando, Fla. “So, if it’s a benefit for our franchise system, our KOA guest, our Value Kard Reward holders, other guests or KOA as a whole, the initiative is to try to grow incremental opportunities and provide value to our partners.

“The greatest benefit comes from those folks (partners) who can introduce people to KOA who are not camping with KOA today,” he added. “For instance, our great new partner, FMCA, the Family Motor Coach Association, has a portfolio of folks that we’re inviting to come and spend time with us at KOA.”

While KOA is providing the Cincinnati-based FMCA club’s members with promotional Value Kard Rewards opportunities to come and visit KOA, it’s operating an RV giveaway sweepstakes again in 2013 with Keystone RV Co., the Goshen, Ind.-based RV manufacturing division of Thor Industries Inc. “The Keystone partnership allows us to engage even further with our Value Kard Reward members,” said Armer. “So, anybody is able to enter the sweepstakes to win this RV, and for those Value Kard Reward members who enter the contest, for every night they camp, they get an additional entry in the sweepstakes.”

Also participating in 2013 KOA partnerships is TomTom, the Netherlands-based manufacturer of GPS equipment which is embedding the KOA logo on its maps linked to a million TomTom devices by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Weber-Stephen Products LLC, Palatine, Ill., is currently launching with KOA a proprietary program providing substantial discounts on Weber grills for its franchisees.

Making considerable waves in the RV sector, meanwhile, is a groundbreaking new relationship announced in September between KOA and the ROUTE 66 RV Network. Under terms of the new partnership, KOA’s 350,000 Value Kard Rewards Program members receive 10% discounts on parts and accessories at all 140 of Overland Park, Kan.-based Route 66 dealer locations while more than 150,000 campers carrying Route 66 RV Club membership cards get 10% discounts on camping at any KOA location.

KOA Value Kard Rewards members can access special monthly product offerings at Parts66.com, the online store for ROUTE 66 RV Network, as well as camping content and tips from the ScenicROUTEOnline.com website. KOA campgrounds will also be listed on ROUTE 66 RV Network websites and online applications.

Each ROUTE 66 RV Network dealer, while taking an active role in KOA’s Care Camps charity for kids with cancer, receives a KOA dealer kit that includes the KOA directory as well as other materials to distribute to members plus free listings on KOA.com, the world’s busiest camping-related website.

This new industry alignment, Armer agrees, amounts to an unusual new bridge between the industry’s manufacturing and accommodations sectors.

“We look at it as a bridge,” says Armer. “KOA has been working for many years to become more engaged with the dealers. It makes complete sense to have the manufacturers, the dealers and KOA talking so we know how to engage our customer from purchase through experience.”

“ROUTE 66 was built on a promise that ‘wherever the road takes you, you can count on us,’” says ROUTE 66 partner Rob Merrill. “Well, the road takes people to campgrounds, and the fact that we can partner with KOA to serve consumers with their parts and service work and our new 24-hour tech line is a way for us to reach out no matter where they are.”