In what is likely the first of many 2021 campground success stories across the industry, Kampgrounds of America says it broke all its existing records last year to set a new high mark in registrations and revenues in the company’s 60-year history.
KOA reported a 33.2% revenue increase over 2020 and a 33% increase in revenue over 2019, the company’s previous highest-grossing year, in their Q4 Business Report. Advanced deposits on future business are up 51% over the previous year, indicating this record growth will continue into 2022. Additionally, KOA continues its expansion in franchise contracts and its company-owned portfolio, adding thirteen new campgrounds, thirteen new construction contracts and fifteen owned locations in 2021.
KOA reported a 41.8% increase in short-term revenue in 2021. Compared to a record 2019, 2021’s short-term revenue is up over 38%. Short-term occupancy for 2021 increased 31.4% and 21.7% over 2020 and 2019, respectively.
KOA’s occupancy finishes 2021 5.6% up over 2020 and 12.7% over 2019.
“We are excited to close 2021 and go into our 60th year in business with our strongest financial performance ever, and even more pleased with the indicators of future growth,” said KOA President & CEO Toby O’Rourke. “The pandemic served as a catalyst for many people to try camping for the first time, and with a 51.1% increase in advanced deposits, that isn’t slowing down. People are choosing to camp over other travel options and they are choosing to camp at KOAs.”
KOA grows franchise system
The company’s system of franchised campgrounds continued its growth in 2021. End-of-year totals show 26 new franchise locations across the KOA system. Thirteen of the locations added in 2021 are new construction contracts, indicating demand for more camping inventory.
In the fourth quarter of 2021 alone, KOA added five new conversion campgrounds as well as a new construction contract. These contracts add KOA campgrounds in Emporia, Virginia; Burney Falls, California; Montgomery, Alabama; Ogallala, Nebraska; and Sutherlin, Oregon.
KOA also reported a 99% renewal rate on existing franchise contracts in 2021.
Corporate ownership of parks also grows
In addition to growth in its franchise business, KOA continues to expand its owned campground portfolio. In 2021 KOA added 15 new campground locations or land for future development. In addition, KOA reports four dispositions.
In the fourth quarter of the year, KOA acquired three new campgrounds and purchased land in Florida, California and New York for future development. The three campgrounds added to the company-owned portfolio were Covert/South Haven KOA Holiday in Michigan, Sunbury/Columbus North KOA Holiday in Ohio and North Pole Resorts in New York.
“KOA has a continued interest in adding additional owned properties to the KOA brand,” said Darin Uselman, Chief Operating Officer of owned and operated assets of KOA (OAK). “There is a financial component to building our owned portfolio, but it also improves our work as franchisors as we intimately understand camping operations and campground ownership.”
We avoid KOAs on principle. They are overpriced and great purveyors of demand pricing. It wasn’t long ago that their business model was to drastically reduce RV spots in favor of glamping cabins (how did that work for you during covid?). It was RVers that provided the income stream during covid. Their idea of appreciation is rate increases and predatorial pricing. Shame on them!