Kampgrounds of America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Koa logo.png

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) is the world's largest system of privately held campgrounds with almost 500 locations across US and Canada. It was founded in 1962 and is based in Billings, Montana, USA. The current President/CEO of KOA is Pat Hittmeier.[1]

History[edit]

KOA kampground, Petersburg, Michigan

KOA was founded in 1962 in Billings, Montana by businessmen Dave Drum, John Wallace and 2 other partners. Drum got the idea to start the campgrounds while walking his property along the Yellowstone River and seeing travelers heading to the Seattle World's Fair. The first campsites, known as Billings Campground, were located on Drum's property north of the Yellowstone River. For $1.75 per night, campers could pitch their tent on a campsite that included a picnic table and fire ring. This first campground also provided hot showers, restrooms, and a small store. [2]

The campground was quickly successful and by the summer of 1963, Drum, Wallace and their partners decided to create a system of campgrounds throughout North America. They named the company Kampgrounds of America and began selling franchises.[2]

By the end of the 1969 camping season, KOA had 262 campgrounds in operation across the U.S. By 1972, 10 years after KOA's creation, KOA had 600 franchise campgrounds.

The Arab oil embargoes of 1973 and 1978 caused the collapse of many travel-oriented businesses, but by 1982, the KOA franchises had increased to nearly 900.[3]

Today, KOA annually inspects each campground with a 600-point inspection, which it claims is the most stringent in the business. In 2010, KOA campgrounds number over 470, according to their corporate website, with around 450 in the US.

In 2015, Jim Rogers stepped down as CEO after 15 years and was replaced by the president of the company, Pat Hittmeier.[4]

Media references[edit]

In the 1978 movie Every Which Way But Loose, Philo, Orville, Echo, and Clyde stay at a KOA Campground in one scene.

In Bob Wood's 1988 best selling Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks, he wrote of often staying at KOAs during his travels to every Major League Baseball stadium in one summer.

In 2011, in a commercial for Progressive Auto Insurance, a boy wears a KOA shirt (KOA and Progressive have entered into a marketing partnership whereby KOA recommends Progressive for RV insurance).[5]

An episode of Undercover Boss first aired on January 11, 2013 featured KOA CEO Jim Rogers working undercover as Tim, a prospective buyer of a KOA franchise.[6]

The Kacey Musgraves song, My House, includes the lyrics "Any KOA is A-OK as long as I'm with you".[7]

In 2013, in "Doctor Sleep", by Stephen King: "The True Knot, which had been wintering at a KOA campground in Arizona”.

References[edit]

KOA Corporate Offices

External links[edit]