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KOA’s Larry Brownfield Discusses How Park Owners Can Focus on the Future and Deal with Strategic Inflection Points

As more and more Canadians feel safer traveling in an RV and as more camping households emerge, demand continues to increase, causing the RVing and camping industry to move forward, said Larry Brownfield, the senior director of Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) Franchise Development Services.

Still, there are brutal facts that owners must face; and the path they choose in handling the situation could either lead to exponential growth or catastrophic decline, he said.

In his keynote address titled “Focus on the Future” during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, Brownfield said that although there are uncontrollable things thrown in the way of campground owners and operators during the pandemic, there are still some things they can control as they move forward and focus on the future. An example would be their decisions upon reaching strategic inflection points or tipping points, leading to either growth or decline.

Border closures and business declines during the onslaught of the pandemic deterred owners from moving forward. Now, many are experiencing staff shortages and difficulty getting staff to stay.

One of the things that can help direct owners to the path of growth upon reaching these strategic inflection points is taking responsibility for the change.

“Realizing that it’s there and there is nothing we can do about it except move forward,” said Brownfield.

What follows is to tackle some things going on at their campgrounds. In a play with words, he said that campground owners are CEOs, the Chief Everything Officers of their businesses. Still, campgrounds cannot operate without the right team.

“The key to success remains in your staff,” he said, noting that owners must think of ways to attract and retain staff. In doing so, they become another form of CEOs—the Chief Engagement Officers.

The Franchise Development Services senior director said that owners must also engage with staff by first hiring people that align with their values, slowly but surely building a team. Next, they must get staff involved with their vision for the campground.

In providing hospitality, another inflection point that owners face when it comes to engagement is passion for the guests. He noted that owners are responsible for delivering an experiential experience, creating a pleasant atmosphere, and growing their property for their guests.

“It’s providing the very best guest experience on your campground [as much as] possible within the means, within the context of your market, and within the ability that you have,” he said. “If you don’t challenge that and move forward and take that into growth, [then] by default, your park will decline,” he added.

Furthermore, park owners must also stay engaged and involved in what’s going on in their property. As Chief Evaluating Officers, they must be objective in areas they can improve. They can also hire experts to evaluate their properties with “fresh eyes” so they can fill in some gaps.

Most importantly, Brownfield said that owners must be Chief Envision Officers, focusing on casting a vision for their park and making it happen.

Even as the availability to camp remained low, the interest in camping remained high, leading to pent-up demand. This growth spurred during the pandemic as more people bought RVs and as more sought the great outdoors, leading to the boom of the camping and RV industry.

As the industry moves forward, focusing on the future requires dealing with pent-up demand. Consequently, tipping points will always emerge.

“Move forward.”

That’s what Brownfield said, explaining that when reaching a strategic inflection point, one will either grow or decline.

“We’re either gonna grow, or we’re gonna decline, so move forward. Be proactive, not reactive.” 

“Not ‘whatever happens, we planned it that way’—that’s not focusing—but lift your gaze and look forward,” he added.
The 2022 Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo was organized by the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC). The event kicked off today and will take place until March 10.


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: KOA’s Larry Brownfield Discusses How Park Owners Can Focus on the Future and Deal with Strategic Inflection Points! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/canada/koas-larry-brownfield-discusses-how-park-owners-can-focus-on-the-future-and-deal-with-strategic-inflection-points/