Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) recently announced that it has developed an intensive training program for campground managers. What does this mean for aspiring and veteran property owners alike?
As more people enter the outdoor hospitality industry, it is vital for industry key players to get the education they need to be able to compete with the fast-paced market.
‘Higher productivity, less turnover’
In an email interview with Modern Campground, Tyler Munson, KOA’s learning and development specialist, emphasized that continued learning and development are critical to employee engagement in any organization leading to higher productivity and less turnover.
The KOA School of Campground Management aims to help owners identify high-performing staff members and offer the education to help them take the next step as campground managers. It also provides a deeper, hands-on dive into campground topics for employees to develop the skills and confidence necessary to take on more responsibility on a campground.
“We’re focused on taking some of the burden of continued education from our already busy owners by providing direct access to experts across multiple disciplines,” Munson said.
KOA has been providing education to campground owners since the 1970s. One of KOA’s initiatives to provide training and education is a comprehensive orientation called KOA U. The week-long, in-person curriculum helped new owners jumpstart their journey of running a campground.
As per Munson, KOA also offers a wide array of training resources for all levels of campground staff.
The well-attended KOA School of Campground Management’s first session convened in September. Munson stated that the education initiative had seen overwhelmingly positive feedback, with participants noting that they were impressed by the support and number of resources available to them through KOA.
Munson highlighted that they expected at least ten managers or managers in training for the inaugural class, a goal they had exceeded.
Munson explained that the in-person classes are held for four days in Billings, Montana with the intention of utilizing learning principles and providing a holistic campground management learning environment. Topics covered include campground design, staffing, marketing, and campground finance.
When asked why he believes in the importance of campground owners’ up-to-date education to thrive in the industry, Munson said that growth comes with increased competitiveness.
“It’s no secret that camping and outdoor hospitality have seen dramatic growth over the past few years. With this growth comes increased competitiveness across all functions of campground ownership, from employee retention to service,” he told Modern Campground.
“By offering continued training to owners and their staff, we’re giving them the tools to maintain and build on their success. We also need to be cognizant that technology, marketing, and development are evolving more quickly than ever. Through training, we strive to provide the engagement and support to keep our campgrounds at the forefront of the camping industry,” he added.
The continuous pursuit of creating world-class learning opportunities
As KOA’s head of learning and development, Munson underscored one of the most significant challenges in education.
“Imagine your boss sits you down at a computer and says, ‘take these online training courses.’ Is that impactful? Do you want to continue that work? Odds are, you’re disengaged and disconnected,” he said.
“Every day when I sit down at my desk, I am actively working to create the type of educational opportunities for our campgrounds that are new, fresh, and impactful for campground employees and their leadership,” Munson added.
Featured image from Kampgrounds of America, Inc.