Latest News

  • 18 Mar 2016 1:50 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    SEPI MARKETING RELEASES MRV CONNECT, A SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK FOR RV TRAVELERS

    MRV Connect will enable RV Travelers to Share and Catalog Road Life

    Plantation, FL - (March 15, 2016) SEPI Marketing announces the release of MRV Connect in Beta. The Beta site is configured as a form of social media for RV Travelers which enables their users to catalog their journey, share content within their network and view their friends travels and experiences via reviews.

    SEPI Marketing, a promoter of outdoor recreation, owns Southeast Publications, MobileRVing.com and their mobile app,  MobileRVing 2.0. MRV Connect is expected to expand SEPI Marketing’s viewership which will also increase their digital advertising real estate and benefits to RV Resorts and Campgrounds that partner with Southeast Publications. Some of these benefits include enabling their Preferred Properties to be served up to user’s newsfeeds based on their current location.

    MRV Connect will also be serving up local business deals to users based on their current check-in, an added benefit for the over 17,000 advertisers Southeast Publications acquires every year. Brian McGuinn, Director of Business Development states, “Right now our advertisers, and partner resorts, are realizing the power our media brings. We have numerous reports from both existing and new customers that new guests are either finding their resort through our Mobile App or the MobileRVing.com website. Our advertisers are not only buying our print at a record rate, but now they are buying our digital space which is growing in demand.”

    SEPI Marketing intends to receive feedback from their users but MRV Connect is still undergoing rigorous testing internally during the Beta phase. When asked if he feels MRV Connect is ready, CEO of SEPI Marketing Wally Warrick states, “Technology is going to be changing at a much faster clip, our goal as an organization is to remain on top of it, refine our internal processes so that we may harness its full potential. So, if you are asking me if I think its 100%, I would be complacent if I said yes. Our platforms will constantly improve, our projects will never be fully done and new platforms are in fact being developed as we speak.”

    Carlene Morris, Vice President of SEPI Marketing states, “Really our goal is not to force content down people’s throats. We want our platforms to be something that is not only known, but produces value to users and promotes an industry that I’ve loved for over 3 decades.” SEPI Marketing is no stranger to criticisms and according to statements within the company, they are actually very thankful for honest feedback. They make it a point to have a forms within all of their platforms so that their users can have a voice. Carlene further states, “When it came to MobileRVing.com, we had loads of criticisms but it was that type of feedback that made us where we are now.”

    SEPI Marketing plans to continue visiting consumer RV Shows to promote their MobileRVing community and partner publications.  They will be releasing a full campaign to promote MRV Connect once the platform has moved out of its beta phase.

    ABOUT SOUTHEAST PUBLICATIONS

    Since 1986, Southeast Publications, a division of SEPI Marketing, has been the leader in the guest guide industry, servicing approximately 1,491 accounts in 2015 and over 17,000 small businesses. Southeast Publications has the Largest Sales force which traverse throughout the United States and Canada. Beyond providing superior printed materials, Southeast Publications has expanded into comprehensive digital offerings such as www.MobileRVing.com, now with over 90,000 visitors monthly.  Some other products produced by Southeast Publications include Web Design, SEO, Commercial Print, Promotional Products, and Graphic Design work. For more information about Southeast Publications, contact Brian McGuinn, Business Development Director, at Southeast Publications at (800) 832-3292 or via email at Brian@southeastpublications.com.


  • 07 Mar 2016 12:32 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Listen to Your Customers

    by Peter Pelland


    I thought it would be useful to read through random reviews of campgrounds on the TripAdvisor website in order to determine whether there were some common complaints that savvy park operators might need to address. On TripAdvisor, we are generally dealing with that all-important market of first-time campers – precisely the people who are needed to grow the industry’s markets. We all know the old adage about first impressions being lasting impressions, and an experience that fails to live up to expectations could not only ensure that a first-time guest will not return to your park; you could very well sour that first-time camper on the entire camping experience, rather than turning him into the next lifetime camper.

    I randomly chose campgrounds in four regions of the country and read through reviews. In the instance of one park, I found that every recent 5-star review was followed up with a management response, thanking the reviewer for taking the time to write the review; however, there was not a management response for even a single recent review that rated the campground as anything less than outstanding. The management of this campground is totally missing the point in its failure to address legitimate concerns or even to acknowledge those somewhat less-than-happy campers. Ironically, those unaddressed reviews are consistently flagged as “helpful” by fellow TripAdvisor users. In other words, these unaddressed complaints are being read by other potential guests who are thanking the reviewers for saving them from making the mistake of vacationing at the same park.

    The most common complaints fell into 6 categories:

    1. Extra fees. People who have customarily stayed in hotels or conventional resorts are not accustomed to paying excessive add-on fees or for paying to take a shower. I frequently encountered the term “nickeled and dimed”, and that is not good. Reviewers complained about excessive fees for everything from arts and crafts sessions to the rental of recreational equipment, but the single biggest complaint was with any park that used metered showers. One reviewer wrote, “You have to pay for your shower, and the first three minutes are cold.”
    2. Indifference on the part of staff or management. Some of the specific complaints a bad attitude when staff members visited campsites, or security staff members who turned a blind eye away from issues that needed to be addressed. There were many complaints about rude employees (bad enough), but the people who referenced rude owners are really raising red flags. One reviewer documented about requesting a credit (not a refund) due to a medical emergency, and how the park owner insultingly demanded a note from her doctor! Another wrote, “The gate guards are not that friendly – actually they are aggressive and rude – and are easily annoyed.” That surly gate guard is the first person encountered upon arrival and can set the tone for the entire camping experience.
    3. Small sites that are not big rig friendly. Unless camping in a group, campers generally do not want to feel like they are on top of the adjoining sites. If they are camping in a big rig, they want to be able to get into and out of their site easily and without risk of damage to their investment. In the short term, this may mean carefully assigning sites to the camping equipment; in the long term, this may mean re-engineering smaller adjoining sites into larger single sites.
    4. Dirty, inadequately or infrequently cleaned restrooms. There are simply no excuses here. If it is a busy weekend, your cleaning staff may need to be cleaning your restrooms on a continuous rotation throughout the day. If you are short-staffed, hire people. The photo that I am showing below is one of eight that was included in an actual review, documenting a lack of bathroom cleaning – both short-term and long-term – at one particular park. Additional photos attached to the review show fecal matter in front of toilets, dirty floors, empty paper towel dispensers, and stained shower stalls.
    5. Lack of maintenance in rentals. Be careful about overselling you’re amenities. It is probably a mistake to market aging park models as “luxury cottages”, particularly if their amenities are inconsistent with what you advertise. If a furnished park model is designed to sleep 6 people, the kitchen utensils should not be limited to 3 forks, 2 glasses and 4 chipped plates (as mentioned in one actual review). There should be a printed inventory of furnishings (that are checked and replenished by housekeeping between rentals) that will allow guests to know exactly what they should expect to find in the unit.
    6. Lax enforcement of rules. Yes, we all know that rules are a double-edged sword where some people are always going to be unhappy; however, the guests who really count are the ones who expect quiet, not those who are creating a nuisance. Within this category of complaints, the biggest issues involved unattended dogs being allowed to bark, and quiet hours that were not consistently and politely enforced.

    All in all, the people who are addressing these concerns are far from being unreasonable. If you were on a vacation – perhaps a cruise or a trip to a vacation resort – would you find these shortcomings acceptable? Of course not! Treat your guests with respect, meet their expectations, and your business will grow and prosper.


  • 09 Feb 2016 11:02 AM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    RV Essentials


    KOA Owners: help your customer keep their RV stocked with basic supplies, nonperishable foods, linens and clothes, so they will be ready to go anytime, anywhere. Let them know:  'RVs give you the freedom to be spontaneous!'

    Everyone has favorites and must-haves they can't survive without, but here's a list of some stock items RVers should keep on board at all times:

       Adapters for 30 amp and 50 amp outlets

       Batteries

       Binoculars

       Bottle/can opener

       Camera and memory cards

       Dishes/cooking utensils

       Firewood

       First-aid supplies

       Flashlights, lanterns

       Folding chairs

       Games

       Grill and fuel

       Heavy-duty extension cords

       Insect repellent

       Jacket/raincoat

       Maps and GPS

       RV toilet paper

       Matches/lighter

       Nature field guides

       Pillows, blankets, sheets

       Picnic basket

       Plastic bags (large and small)

       Pots and pans

       Road flares

       Rope and bungee cords

       Shovel (small folding type)

       Soap and toiletries

       Sports equipment

       Sunscreen

       Tool kit

       Towels

       Trash bags

       Umbrellas

       Water hose (white potable water type)

    Also remind RVers to consult the weight label on their RV for more information.

  • 29 Jan 2016 1:51 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    Free Yourself from Technology

    January 20th, 2016
    by Peter Pelland

    Yes, you read it right. Am I speaking blasphemy? Maybe not. I am currently reading an excellent book titled “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” by Sherry Turkle, and it is about how smartphones, texting, and social media like Twitter and Facebook have destroyed our ability to carry on emotional and intellectual conversations. In the words of the author, “Technology gives us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” An entire generation of us, dominated by those under the age of 30, is uncomfortable with the unfamiliar concept of carrying on a direct conversation that involves eye contact, inflection, body language, and emotion.

    We have grown accustomed to substituting ALL CAPS for subtle inflections, acronyms like LOL for a smile or a laugh, avatars for our faces, and emoticons for our emotions. Facebook encourages us to only post comments that will be broadly “liked”, discouraging any sort of intelligent discourse or exchange of opinions with anyone who is not like-minded. The fact is that we all have much to learn, in a respectful way, from people with beliefs and opinions that differ from our own.


    In the camping experience – built upon the concept of providing people with an opportunity to get away from their routines and to commune with a more natural environment – one of the single most highly demanded amenities is high-speed Internet access. The lion’s share of my own business is the development of mobile-friendly campground websites, ensuring that campers can learn everything possible about a park using nothing but their smartphones or tablets. Camping tends to mirror society itself, and somewhere along the line society has gone astray.

    As school systems nationwide have been in a mad rush to see which of whom can install more computer classrooms faster than their peers, it may surprise some readers to learn about the growth of technology-free schools in America’s computer capital, Silicon Valley. That’s right. Back in 2011, the New York Times reported how educational alternatives like the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, in Silicon Valley, had a student body that consisted of the children of executives from eBay, Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard. It has also been widely reported how Steve Jobs limited his children’s access to technology at home, and how many of the other icons of technology follow the same course.

    In fact, one of the latest trends in summer camps (those second cousins of family campgrounds) is the development of technology-free camping, sometimes referred to as “tech detox” camps. Mind you, these summer camps are available not only for kids but for adults, hundreds of whom are willing to pay dearly for the opportunity to put aside their cell phones for a week. There is clearly a demand for device-free vacations. In fact, one of my childhood friends (with whom I am connected on Facebook, of course) just posted last week, “I wonder if there is a place on earth where there is no cell phone service, no Facebook, no TV, no computers … I would go to that place for one week and do nothing but read, write, rest, and get away (just for a while) from this maddening crowd we live within.” Is there a campground ready to step up to the plate?

    There was a recent discussion on the Campground Success LinkedIn Group that I moderate, initiated by a campground owner who wondered whether or not there might be a viable market for a pet-free campground. The general consensus was that there might be risks in suddenly implementing a pet-free policy, particularly when so many of us treat our pets like our own children; however, there is likely a demand for such an alternative. (I would consider it a far lesser risk if I was running a campground that was surrounded by 20 other parks in the immediate area, rather than a park where my nearest competitor was 50 miles away.) I believe that the time has also come for a few brave souls to experiment with running a technology-free campground, maybe testing the waters with a technology-free weekend. (Imagine the free publicity that you could garner in the press!)

    This would have to be planned well in advance, before accepting reservations from any campers with conventional expectations. Campers would agree to leave their cell phones at home or locked away and to put away their satellite dishes. The park would shut down its wi-fi routers, pull the cable on TV service, and plan an entire weekend of activities and events that will allow campers to get to know one another – and to get to know themselves – like they used to do in the “good old days”. Let’s face it: Camping is the perfect setting and environment for tech-free activities and non-activities alike! You could offer things like a book exchange, an acoustic music jam session, nightly group campfires, nature walks, parent and child activities, and a Sunday morning service with a tech-free homily.

    Sure, there are issues that would need to be addressed. What do you do about seasonal campers who do not want to participate? What do you do about people who do not easily withdraw from their technology addiction? Those are minor challenges that can be easily overcome. Think of the first restaurants years ago that toyed with the idea of going smoke-free. Today it is almost unheard of to find a restaurant in the United States that allows smoking, and we are all better off for the change.

    Who will be the first to step up to the challenge? Without explorers who risked sailing into uncharted waters, we might still believe that the world was flat. Just think of what you might accomplish. If the lessons learned at your tech-free weekend lead to just one family that returns to having dinner together each evening without the distractions of cell phones and TV, you will have just accomplished far more than you had ever intended.

    This post was written by Peter Pelland


  • 29 Jan 2016 1:39 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)


    Killer Bacon-Cheese Dogs

    Ingredients

    • 8 all-beef hot dogs
    • 8 hot dog buns
    • 8 slices Swiss cheese
    • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce, or amount to taste
    • 1 small red onion, diced

    Directions

    • Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Lightly oil grate and set 4 inches from the heat.
    • Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels.
    • Place hot dogs on grill; cook until browned, 5 to 8 minutes, turning once, or until done to suit your taste. Lightly grill hot dog buns.
    To assemble sandwiches, place a slice of cheese and bacon on each roll. Add a hot dog, top each with 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce, or desired amount, and red onion.


  • 29 Jan 2016 1:30 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    November RV Shipments Hit Ten-Year High

    RV wholesale shipments tracked by RVIA continued to perform strongly in the final quarter of 2015 with November monthly totals hitting their highest level in 10 years at 27,329 units, an increase of 3.9% above November 2014.

    Year to date, total RV shipments grew to 346,221 units through November, an increase 4.9% over the same 11-month period in 2014.    Shipments of all towable RVs grew 4.8% to 302,672 units while motorhome shipments improved by six percent to 43,539 units.

    Seasonally adjusted shipments climbed to an annualized rate of more than 405,000 units in November, the second highest month in 2015.


  • 21 Jan 2016 12:59 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)


    Congratulations to Kyle and Tammy Boltz of Jonestown KOA for winning the 2015 We Are Family Award! 

    Criteria for the We Are Family Award includes KOA Owners Association family member(s) who help other family members beyond the call of duty as well as/or to those who consistently show special qualities that contribute to the whole KOA system.



    Diane King, Secretary-OA Board of Directors, presenting the 2015 We Are Family Award to Tammy and Kyle Boltz of Jonestown KOA, Jonestown, Pennsylvania

    Other nominees included:

    Dave and Sue Barton, 1000 Islands/Ivy Lea KOA nominated by Mike and Kristi Kuper, Thunder Bay KOA
    Diane King, Springfield/Route 66 KOA nominated by Karen McAndrew, Cardinal/Ottawa S KOA
    Donna Fout, Great American Direct nominated by Vicki Cole, Shelby/Mansfield KOA

    Congratulations to all for outstanding work!


  • 07 Dec 2015 4:57 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    2015 WINNERS & NOMINATIONS FOR WORKKAMPER OF THE YEAR AWARD

    The Awards Committee for the WorkKamper of the Year Award for 2015 received 10 nominations this year; making it very difficult to choose one winner.  Congratulations to winners Gene & Gale Fletcher pictured below with Weatherford/Fort Worth West KOA owner Gary Tatem who nominated them.  Gene and Gale were recognized at the KOA Owners Association Annual Meeting in Daytona Beach. Other nominees are listed below the picture.


    From left to right: Gary Tatem, Gene Fletcher, Gale Fletcher

    Other nominees:

    Bill & Pam Thorne by Carol & John McMullen, Daniel & Trish McMullen, Burkburnett/Wichita Falls KOA

    Bill & Linda Ward by Bill & Anita Perry, Chautauqua Lake KOA

    Christine Trafelet-Jones by Erika Zipser, Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA

    Bill & Judy Thonii by Steve & Sara Jewell, Spartanburg/Gaffney KOA

    Laurie Amundson & Don Packer by Patti & Henry Grover, Augusta/Gardiner KOA

    Mike & Marilyn LaFrenz by Deborah & David Brunovsky, Ouray KOA

    John & Susan Burch by Kevin & Jeanette Oster, Miles City KOA

    Joyce & Chuck Fagan by Barb Kuder, Salem/Lisbon KOA

    Larry & Mischa Good by Johnny Knight, Jacksonville N/St. Mary's KOA

    Congratulations to all of the nominees for doing such an outstanding job as WorkKampers!


  • 30 Oct 2015 12:47 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)

    ILLINOIS KOA OWNERS MEETING

    October 26 & 27, 2015

    Granite City KOA

    Hosts: John & Schelly


    ·         Arrive, chat, coffee and food. 8:00AM thank you Schelly, John and Amanda for hosting.

    ·         Represented at the meeting were all the Illinois parks to include Springfield, Casey, Benton, Chicago NW, Lena, LaSalle, Kankakee, Granite City and Rock Island.

    ·         Financial Report was provided by John and shows the association continues to carry a small balance of $300+  with all bills paid.

    ·         Minutes of March meeting approved.

    ·         Old Business

    o   John reminded the group that Rustic Cedar provides a discount for larger orders and at the spring meeting the group agreed that we should consider placing one order to be delivered to our spring 2016 meeting location (LaSalle/Peru KOA). John will coordinate the requests for the order in conjunction with, Dave and Linda so that the items can be shipped and available for pickup during the spring meeting. All parks interested in placing a combined order need to identify the items they would like to order. John will take the requests anytime between now and February 29, 2016 to allow enough time for a timely shipment. Payment can be made at the meeting once final costs are determined.

    o   Marketing Efforts

    ·         Sylvia stated that our inventory of Tri-fold brochures is depleted and the group agreed that a new order needs to be placed so that we have a sufficient quantity on hand for the winter shows. Sylvia is asking for park updates and some parks were able to confirm changes at the meeting. Sylvia will work with the designer and get a proof out soon so that we can go to print and ship by early January. The cost of the printing will be prorated for the nine parks. There will also be a proration of the $90 fee for the ICA directory design. Sylvia will coordinate the process.

    ·         Once we have the new brochures we will need to find a way to get a supply to all show coordinators.

    §  A discussion was held concerning the participation of KOA parks in the Illinois winter camping shows. Based on feedback from the prior year the group determined that Springfield should be dropped and Rockford should be added to the list of shows. For 2016 the show coordinators and show dates are as follows:

    ·         Shows for 2016

    o   Rosemont – Rob February 17-21, 2016

    o   Quad Cities-John  February 26-28, 2016

    o   Peoria – John March 4-6, 2016

    o   Bellville – Walter February 27-March 1, 2016

    o   Rockford, Sylvia March 18-20, 2016

    o   All Illinois parks will help work shows but not all shows will have all parks participating. The Rosemont show will also have the help of one Michigan Park. Any excess supplies from the prior camping year such as directories will be used at the shows to avoid waste. Any park wishing to have their park rack card distributed at a show will need to get their materials to the correct show coordinator.

    ·         John briefed everyone on the joint marketing in the ICA directory. This year 8 parks participated in the full page ad. This ad not only gives us a presence in the directory but also a place on the ICA web site. John and Sylvia both made a point that the ICA web site is the number one source of referrals to their independent web sites, sorry referrals to KOA.com cannot be determine. John also made the point that the Good Sam directory web site is the number two source of referrals. No other joint marketing efforts were discussed.

    o   Joe Long, our OA board representative, gave us a report on OA issues and topics. He said that there will be an open seat for area three and if anyone was interested they should let Bill Ranieri know so their name could be placed on the ballot. Joe said he has one more year on the board but most likely would not stay after the year. Joe also talked about the coordination of training seminars, at convention, between the OA and KOA and hoped the sessions prove to be more beneficial to all attending.

    ·        Because of the rain from hurricane Patricia the park tour could not be conducted.

    ·         At the suggestion of Walter an invitation was made to John Adams at KOA to give our group a presentation on, Kampsight 2.0. At 2pm John made his presentation in a webinar and the park owners were able to ask questions concerning, equipment, change over, date and training. The session was very informative and John Adams encouraged owners to attend training sessions at convention to get hands on with the new system. The feedback from the owners was very positive as we all seem to be looking forward to the new WEB based system.

     ·         The next meeting was scheduled for March 21 and 22 and the LaSalle/Peru KOA. Remember this will also be our pickup date for any items ordered from Rustic Cedar.

    ·         Meeting adjourned at 3:00pm


  • 28 Oct 2015 1:01 PM | KOA Owners Association (Administrator)



    KOA Owners Association Annual Meeting Schedule

    Daytona Beach, Florida

    Sunday, November 15

    9:00am - 4:00pm - OA Board Meeting – Ocean Room

    Monday, November 16

    8:00am - 3:00pm - OA Meeting Information Handouts – East Entrance

    Tuesday, November 17

    8:00am - 3:00pm - KOA Convention Registration Open

    8:00am - 3:00pm - OA Meeting Information Handouts – East Entrance

    4:15pm - 5:15pm - OA Area Meetings

              Area 1 Meeting – 102A

              Area 2 Meeting – 102B

              Area 3 Meeting – 102C

              Area 4 Meeting – 103A

              Area 5 Meeting – 103BC

              Area 6 Meeting – 201AB

              Area 7 & 8 Meeting – Ocean Room

    Wednesday, November 18

    4:45pm - 6:00pm - OA Annual Meeting – 103BC

    6:00pm - 8:00pm - KOA Expo Opening Reception

    Thursday, November 19

    1:00pm - 2:00pm - OA New/Old Board Meeting – Ocean Room

    6:00pm - 10:00pm - Final Night Celebration

     



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