2015 ILLINOIS KOA OWNERS SPRING MEETING MINUTES

07 Apr 2015 11:49 AM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

ILLINOIS KOA OWNERS MEETING
March 30 & 31, 2015 
Springfield KOA
Hosts: Linda & Stan 


March 31st

• Arrive, chat, coffee and food. 8:00AM. Thank you Linda for the great breakfast and finding a restaurant on Monday night.
• Represented at the meeting were the following parks. Springfield, Casey, Benton, Chicago NW, Lena, Granite City, and Rock Island. It was especially nice to see Cathy and Linda who normally cannot attend.
• Financial Report was provided by John showing we have a few hundred dollars in the treasury.
• Minutes of October meeting accepted.
• In old business we discussed:
o Joint marketing efforts that included:
• The newly designed Tri-fold brochures redesign and printing with Sylvia taking the lead with support from Joe. We printed 10,000 most of which went to the RV camping shows and the remainder to be used at the member parks and the tourist information centers. There are about 3,000 left and it is anticipated that a new printing will need to be done for next season’s shows. All members will be asked to update their information at the fall meeting and Sylvia has agreed to again contact the printer and secure another batch of tri-folds.
• Tri-fold distribution was discussed and so far our informal allocation of forms has worked. The Chicago show went thru the majority of those used. Rock Island, Peoria, and Bellville used about 3,000 totals. The Springfield show was less productive.
• Discussion was held on the KOA special weekends for 2015 and who would participate and reasons that a park might not.
o For the Big Weekend it appears all parks are on board and very pleased with the new plan to collect from the campers the non-refundable $10 fee to go to Care Camps. It has been clear that many guests just took the free night and never responded with any support for Care Camps this change assures a level of support.
o For Father’s Day it appears that most parks are participating. The free child thing is a nice bonus for a family event and attendance is good.
o For the VKR weekend several parks are not involved because they have other promotions, one park has combined his past promotion to run in conjunction with the VKR weekend. One park raised the issue of timing wondering why September when it is October that would best benefit their park.
o The discussion on social media revolved around the use of Brian to provide an all-around social media presence. In general the parks felt that they were receiving good service and would continue to have him handle their social media. One park had a concern that his video had not been completed but the remaining parks assured him that the videos were schedule in Illinois for late spring. One park present has chosen to not use the services at this time but rather observe the value received if any by the other parks.

• With the RV Camping shows just ending a discussion was held concerning the effectiveness of each show:
• Stan and Glen reported that the Springfield show was not good and has been going downhill because of the move to the downtown location and because there are shows north and south that are more popular. They recommend that we drop this show especially if there is a better show as a replacement.
o Rob was not able to attend so Joe provided a report on Rosemont. Rob told Joe that attendance was around 24,000 for the 5 days. As always supplies are an issue but the use of unused materials from the prior year helped the Rosemont show, first each season, meet demands of the visitors. Michigan park participation was again used so our total of working parks at the show was adequate resulting in no one park having to work long hours. Rosemont again is a most for 2016.
o John reported on the Quad Cities & Peoria shows that he and Carole cover for the group. John reported that Quad Cities was up again this time by 8%. This makes 5 years in a row of growth. As for the Peoria show the growth was even better at 20% getting the numbers back to pre-2008 numbers. Contributing to that growth is the fact that Caterpillar Corporation announced it would stay in Peoria, and the fact that the Illinois High School cheerleader completion is no longer in Peoria. That completion literally dominated the use of parking and interior space to the point that visitors to the RV show would not chose to fight the crowds to attend. John is very optimistic that the show will continue to do good numbers.
o Walter reported on the Belville as a new sponsored show. He stated that even though the show is across from St. Louis it is a low cost well attended show that attracts many potential campers from the southern part of Illinois. He recommended that we continue doing the show. Next year, Benton, Springfield and Casey will allocate resources to work the show.

• In 2014 and 2015 the Rockford RV was attended by Chicago NW at their expense. Sylvia said this show has a great attendance late in March in spite of the fact that Rockford is only about an hour’s drive from Rosemont. This show attracts potential guest from Wisconsin and Illinois. The show moved from its downtown location a few years ago and that seems to have rejuvenated attendance. It was recommended that this show replace Springfield as our 5th state show. Sylvia will contact Louie Mann and let her know of the change.

o John addressed the issue of the ICA directory in which currently 7 parks participate. The directory is produced by the Illinois Campground Association. AGS of Texas this year took over the production and sales of ads. The Illinois owners have had a full page ad across from eh yogi ad for the last several years. Discussion of our ad lead to Sylvia volunteering to have the designer she uses for the Tri-fold to give us an ad that looks more professional. All attending parks except Casey agreed to participate again in 2016 with Granite City our number of parks should be 8, provided LaSalle and Kankakee renew. John also explained that the ICA web site had been redone making it more attractive but that the real value in the ICA web site was the number or referrals that came from that site to his independent site. Fact is the ICA site is the number one referral site. Others including Thomas concurred that ICA was their number one referral site. John also noted that the coupon in the directory has been very much used for several years, indicating to him the value of the directory.

o Joe gave the owners and update on the happenings from the OA.

• After a great lunch, Linda and Stan gave everyone a tour of the park. Over the last 12 years they have made a number of improvements on this least property park. Stan talked about future improvements or even purchasing new land and leaving the leased property.
o A discussion was held concerning branding and as Benton is the only Illinois park that was branded in 2014 questions were asked about results or other issues that our guests have raised. He noted that many guests are confused by the change. He had one guest think that journey was the last name of the owner of the park. He also said the local chamber of commerce and many guests have asked if he is still a campground as campground does not appear anywhere on the new signs, something the group thought very odd and wondered if Inc. had any idea about this confusion. Walt could not say that he has anyone of noticing a change in business because of his branding. At least one other park will be branded this year while others sit and watch looking for the positive or negatives from this marketing effort.
• General discussion items by owners included the gift card program with few of the parks seeming to sell or redeem many of the cards. Everyone did seem pleased with the program and expect that more customers in the future will partake.
• A short discussion was held concerning Kampsight 2.0 with most taking a very positive wait and see. Walt encouraged everyone to visit the forum to provide comments and read comments by fellow owners and the developers.
• Reserve America was discussed with John presenting the ekamp notice. It appears to be a consensus that the past Reserve America effort produced few if any reservations and that to invest $500 for a very limited number of reservations did not make sense. It was also noted that the Reserve America fee comes off the top and the KOA royalty fee is based on the gross reservation thus increasing the cost related to the Reserve America system of reservation. No park indicated they were going to participate in the program as structured.
• John also brought up the issue of analog to digital TV conversion. He noted that on ekamp it would appear that KOA, Inc. is telling park owners that they must change their cable system to comply with FCC rules. John did some checking and could not find and FCC rule that required this change. John called Olivia and KOA who explained that the ekamp article was not quite right, that cable providers to our parks were required to provide digital service by September 1 of this year. The change could cause the park to invest in new equipment and the owners needed to know it was coming. Parks using satellite service such as Dish or DIRECTV were not required to make any change. John did say that he was looking into changing his DirecTV system from analog to digital just to give his guest a better viewing experience, however, the change would not come cheap, his current best proposal is about $10K.

• Next Meeting location and date
o Granite City KOA, October 26th and 27th, 2015
• Adjourn 3:00pm


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