As Kampgrounds of America (KOA) continues to grow alongside the campground industry, the KOA Convention and Expo is going bigger this year in Orlando, Florida. On the night of the event’s kickoff, the company is heading to Universal Studios in Florida to celebrate.
More than just the learning and networking opportunities, attendees are looking forward to some vacation time in Orlando at the KOA Convention and Expo in November, Kama Humphrey, director of training and events of KOA System, told Modern Campground.
She said the KOA franchisees have been working hard all year, and the annual event is the perfect opportunity to get away from the campground and relax.
“There’s just so much to do in Orlando, and it’s been ten years since we’ve been there, so we’ve had a lot of feedback from people wanting to go back to Orlando,” Humphrey said.
On November 14, registration begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Orange County Convention Center followed by a series of meetings. At 4:00 p.m., a first-timer’s event will be held for KOA Convention newbies at the Coconut Club.
And because the company is going bigger for its 60th anniversary, attendees will head to Universal Orlando in the evening—KOA is closing down the Universal CityWalk area for its convention reception from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Four restaurants and bars around the area will be specifically open to only KOA during the hours of the KOA convention welcome event, Humphrey said.
Soon after, the group will head to Marvel Super Hero Island for KOA-exclusive after-hours park access from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday (November 15) will see the beginning of workshops which will continue until the next day. As the event progresses, the Wednesday (November 16) schedule includes the giving of several awards as well as the happening of an expo sneak-a-peek night.
In addition to the new things for this year’s event is the KOA hot air balloon, which organizers are working on displaying at the convention. The balloon has been soaring high during various festivals this year, recently at the 50th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Next on the list of new things at the KOA event this year are expo vendor presentations which will happen on Thursday (November 17), KOA System’s director of training and events said.
Registered vendors will lead informative sessions for attendees, and the organizers will prepare a stage in the expo hall for the sessions.
Vendor presentations include:
- Managing Risk Through Technology and Best Practices in Commercial Pools & Spas
- Wi-Fi Confidential: What Traditional ISPs Don’t Want You to Know
- Kampstore Product, Presentation, and Profit
- Learn How to Raise Funds for Care Camps… the Easy Way!
- Be Prepared for a Health Emergency on Your Campground
- Your Guests Can Camp Twice as Long with Lithium & Solar
Last month, KOA Vendor Relations Manager Sandra Nash told MC that while “oldie but goodie” vendors will be present, companies offering interesting products like grass flip-flops are joining the fun this year.
Staying true to the “bigger and better” approach, about 150 vendors will showcase their products and services. Booths this year are also about 25% bigger, Nash said.
Still, while the convention has been happening annually for decades now, Kama Humphrey believes that the educational sessions remain the biggest aspect of the event.
“[I]t’s really that peer-to-peer idea, sharing and learning from each other that is super important for our attendees,” she said.
KOA has prepared 30 workshops this year, featuring sessions on handling seasonal guests, increasing Kampstore sales and profit, revenue management, building a dream team, planning and budgeting, campground valuations, setting rates, EV chargers, and more.
For Humphrey, the event is important to the campground industry as education helps propel the industry forward, which the company has been doing for decades now and decades more to come.
“I really think it goes with our theme this year that KOA is just getting started, and KOA is the most recognized brand in camping, so our vision is advancing and modernizing the business of outdoor hospitality,” she said.
“So part of doing that is making sure our campground owners are educated and they have the support from the KOA System to be able to bring that forward to the industry as a whole,” she added.
The 2022 KOA Convention and Expo is scheduled to take place on November 14 through 17 at the Orlando County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Featured image from 2021 KOA Convention & Expo in Baton Rouge. Photo courtesy of Kampgrounds of America (KOA).