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KOA honors its top, milestone campgrounds

KOA honors its top, milestone campgrounds
KOA President and CEO Pat Hittmeier, center, in yellow, presents KOA's Campground of the Year for 2017 award to Greg McClure, left, and the staff of the West Glacier, Montana KOA Holiday campground. KOA's top annual award was presented Wednesday, November 16 at the KOA International Convention in Chattanooga, Tenn.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Kampgrounds of America today recognized several campgrounds for operational excellence or for achieving milestone anniversaries during it annual convention taking place at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The company presented its Campground of the Year Award to the West Glacier KOA Holiday in Montana, which is owned by Greg and Theresa McClure.

“There were a lot of deserving businesses this year, but one campground stood out from crowd by hitting on all cylinders,” said KOA President and CEO Pat Hittmeier. “Over last five years, it has grown by 15 percent each year. Yet, this year, it has produced 40 percent more revenue. Add to that a 92 percent net promoter score score and system ranking of five, and it is evident this campground adds value to the KOA brand.”

In addition to an artistic sculpture depicting a KOA worker meeting a family, the winning campground is allowed to display a “traveling trophy” at their business which consists of a plaque bearing the actual hammer used by KOA Founder Dave Drum.

When Charles and Norma McClure purchased the park in 1976, it didn’t look anything like it does today, but it’s location just outside the west gate entrance to world famous Glacier National Park set it apart, Hittmeier explained.

The campground has been owned for the past several years by the McClure’s son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Theresa McClure. The McClures and their team have completely overhauled the campground in the past five years. All existing RV sites were remodeled with new landscaping, patios, roadways and upgraded electrical services. In fact, 100 percent of the park’s sites now have 50-amp electrical service.

The original campground was constructed in the 1960s, yet the McClures added a large section of 61 new RV sites.

The McClures were early adopters in the KOA Deluxe Cabin program, adding dozens of units to their inventory and providing Glacier National Park visitors with an luxury camping experience.

“They have also taken the lead in developing new, cross-functional camping areas that combine deluxe cabins with RV sites, as well as RV sites with tent sites in order to better serve groups traveling together who still want to camp near each other,” said Hittmeier.

KOA President and CEO Pat Hittmeier, center, in yellow, presents KOA’s Campground of the Year for 2017 award to Greg McClure, left, and the staff of the West Glacier, Montana KOA Holiday campground. KOA’s top annual award was presented Wednesday, November 16 at the KOA International Convention in Chattanooga, Tenn.

After presenting a Franchisee of the Year Award for more than 40 years, KOA adopted a slightly modified version that is now focused on the campground, rather an individual. Yet, the criteria for evaluating winners is still based on effort to modernize of facilities and services to meet needs of tomorrow’s guests, adoption of KOA key programs, innovation, execution and details that are so important to running a successful business, Hittmeier explained.

“All owners need to reinvest in their campgrounds. This award honors those who diligently work toward or have already achieved aggressive modernization of their facility,” he added.

Rising Star Award

The company presented its annual Rising Star Award to Ken and Iris Shupe, owners of Bay Center/Willapa KOA Journey in Washington.

KOA’s Esteemed Rising Star award goes to owners who embody KOA spirit, enthusiastically embrace the lifestyle and effectively initiates sound business management practices to develop services and facilities that enhance guest experiences. It is awarded to a campground owner with less than five years experience in the KOA system.

Ken and Iris Shupe, owners of the Bay Center/Willapa Bay, Washington KOA Journey Campground were named Kampgrounds of America’s Rising Star Campground for 2017 at KOA’s annual International Convention in Chattanooga, TN. Pictured at right in KOA President and CEO Pat Hittmeier.

“If you know anything about these individuals and their properties, you know how hard they work,” said Toby O’Rourke, KOA chief franchise operations officer.

“They incorporate a variety of recreational opportunities, including a remote control car track, and achieved an impressive guest score of 81,” she added. “They are full of energy, smiles and KOA yellow pride. They are already among the leaders in our KOA system. They play an active role in the KOA Owners Association, our KOA Western 20 Group,’ and the steering committee for our KOA Journey campgrounds.”

Their small campground on Washington’s Pacific Coast has quickly become a highly desired stop for campers traveling coastal highways.

“They are never afraid to try something new,” O’Rourke said. “They invest in their property, listen to their guest’s feedback and react quickly.”

The Shupes recently converted four seldom-used tent sites to accommodate two yurts, and upgraded four other tent sites into 50-amp RV sites, more than doubling their nights of use. They also made big changes to their KOA camp store, and have seen revenues quadruple in five years.

50-Year Partner Award

KOA presented it’s first-ever 50-Year Partner Award to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Holiday in Tennessee, which is owned by the Kelch family.

“It is my pleasure to present KOA’s first ever 50-year service award. This campground played a big role in KOA history,” said Hittmeier. “Entrepreneurial spirit, expertise, business acumen and a bit of luck has combined to build an award-winning campground in the Smokey Mountains.”

“When you love seeing your guests enjoy your property and they become members of your family, it makes 50 years a wonderful experience,” said owner Ann Kelch. “God put it together. It just happened. I have been very blessed in life and felt I had angels surround me.”

KOA bestowed honors on other campgrounds celebrating milestone anniversaries, including:

40-Year Partner Award

  • West Glacier KOA Holiday, Mont. — Greg and Theresa McClure
  • Spokane KOA Journey, Wash. — Bill and Cathy Chapman
  • Titusville/Kennedy Space Center KOA, Fla. — Dean Madison
  • Fredericksburg/Washington, D.C. South KOA Holiday, Va. — Susan and Ron Hart
  • Myrtle Beach KOA, S.C. — Bayliss Spivey

30-Year Partner Award

  • Barrie KOA Holiday, Ontario — Amy and Tony Raposo
    Rapid City KOA, S.D. — Recreational Adventures Company, Rich Cutler and family

20-Year Partner Award

  • Seattle/Tacoma KOA, Wash. — Recreational Adventures Company, Rich Cutler and family
  • Harpers Ferry/Civil War Battlefield OA, W.V. — Recreational Adventures Company, Rich Cutler and family
  • Buckey Lake/Columbus East KOA Holiday, Ohio — Mike and Shirley Groseclose
  • St. Mary/ East Glacier KOA Holiday, Mont. — Will and Susan Brooke
  • Mount Pleasant/Charleston KOA Holiday, S.C. — The Gregorie family
  • Forsyth KOA, Ga. — Ken and Mary Ann Bowman

10-Year Partner Award

  • Erie KOA Holiday, Pa — Erwin and Jaye Keller
  • Mt. Lassen/Shingletown KOA Holiday, Calif. — Charles and Rosemary Butzine
  • Albuquerque North/Bernalillo KOA, N.M. — Craig, Karen and Rachel Blatt
  • Cardinal/Ottawa South KOA Holiday, Ontario – Daniel Parent and Karen McAndrew
  • Salina KOA, Kansas — Daryle and Terri Schwerdt
  • Ashland/Huntington West KOA, Ky. — Charles and Thelma Dameron
  • Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA Holiday, Colo. — The Kippschull and Sisco families
  • Lena KOA, Ill. — Joe and Diane Long
  • Green River KOA, Utah — Joe West
  • Brookeland/Lake Sam Rayburn KOA, Texas — Gary Willis
  • Williamsport South/Nittany Mountain KOA Holiday, Pa. — Dan and Michele Socola

Presidents and Founders Awards

Earlier today, KOA campground owners from throughout North America were recognized when a record amount of awards were bestowed at parks this year.

KOA owners and managers at 238 KOA locations received the KOA Founder’s Award, and 384 KOA President’s Awards were also distributed.

The awards are presented based on a campground’s quality assurance scores, as well as direct feedback from each campground’s customers.

RV Daily Report previously published the list of KOA Founders and Presidents Award winners.

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report and can be reached at greg@rvdailyreport.com.

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