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> KOA, Good or Bad?
vincee
post Oct 2 2012, 03:08 PM
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QUOTE(Dutch_12078 @ Oct 2 2012, 12:08 PM) *

You might be surprised to learn that a KOA corporate VP (Mike Gast) served on the committee that overturned the no overnight RV parking ordinance in Billings, MT.



Dutch, did not know this, Thanks, good to pass along facts when available
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that lady
post Oct 3 2012, 11:05 AM
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QUOTE(Cheryl Fuller @ Jun 24 2005, 10:17 PM) *

If someone would come up with a nice chain of parks that you could stay at with full hook-ups for around $20, they would probably make a fortune.


Really? 'Make a fortune' at $20.00 per night? You have no idea the local, state and federal regulations a campground has to meet and how much it costs to run a place and meet those regulations so customers don't DIE while visiting the place! When you dump your 20 gallons of black water, it costs money for that campground to process and dispose of it, the electricity and water you use...that is not free. All the trash you leave behind? Yep. dumpsters cost money. Oh, the employees who check you in, patrol the park to ensure you are safe and clean up after you leave, they get paid and the campground matches their payroll taxes, too.

Don't forget the bank and the insurance company they like to get their share.
You want a $20.00 site? Go to Walmart.
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FosterImposters
post Oct 3 2012, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE(that lady @ Oct 3 2012, 10:05 AM) *

...You have no idea...


Well said.
Always figured if anyone WAS doing a 'full hook up' park at this price point, it was a loss leader. Cabelas comes to mind.
Casino's are another set-up that can cover the ACTUAL price to run such an establishment.
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that lady
post Oct 3 2012, 12:12 PM
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QUOTE(FosterImposters @ Oct 3 2012, 11:12 AM) *

Well said.
Always figured if anyone WAS doing a 'full hook up' park at this price point, it was a loss leader. Cabelas comes to mind.
Casino's are another set-up that can cover the ACTUAL price to run such an establishment.
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Thank you.

I have read this thread from beginning to end. I am a campground owner for 4 years. The economy is tough right now. I understand people are having a hard time going on vacation and paying for things. We business owners are getting squeezed from every side. All I can say is, you get what you pay for. I base my site fees on my cost of doing business. If people want a cheaper site,I can send them down the road to a horrible, unsafe place or to a nearby resort or to Walmart. (I hope they travel armed because when you sleep in a deserted parking lot you are a target for crime.)

As the saying goes:
You can get:
1. The lowest price
2. The best quality
3. The best service

Pick two. You can not get all three.

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dalsgal
post Oct 3 2012, 12:30 PM
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I agree with that lady. I manage a campground and it is unbelievable what people want for nothing. Those same people that are very demanding and want free, or almost free, camping, are often the same ones that charge you an arm or a leg for their services.

We recently had a man come in and his slide out wouldn't open. My husband went to see if he could try to help. When it was obvious that the problem was a serious one the RV owner got mad at my husband for not fixing it. We are an RV park, not a repair shop. Hubby spent a good hour trying to see what he could do and all he got for his efforts was a slew of curse words thrown at him.

I don't like paying a lot for a campsite but every campground has expenses they must pay so I don't expect give away prices.

I will say that KOA prices are over the top in my mind.
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jan-n-john
post Nov 8 2012, 11:18 AM
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QUOTE(dalsgal @ Oct 3 2012, 01:30 PM) *



I will say that KOA prices are over the top in my mind.

We recently stopped at a KOA planning to spend the night. Long story short, they wanted over $65, in part because most of the sites they had were "too small for a unit with slides" so that was all they had to accommodate us.

This is 2012 folks, not 1987.

We drove on. And wound up with a fine spot for half that.
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kcmoedoe
post Nov 8 2012, 02:54 PM
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QUOTE(jan-n-john @ Nov 8 2012, 12:18 PM) *

We recently stopped at a KOA planning to spend the night. Long story short, they wanted over $65, in part because most of the sites they had were "too small for a unit with slides" so that was all they had to accommodate us.

This is 2012 folks, not 1987.

We drove on. And wound up with a fine spot for half that.

Unfortunately, a site stretcher tool has not been invented. To make sites bigger probably requires total reconfiguration of the park, something that can cost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the park can make money catering mostly to smaller rigs it may not be a good business decision to make that reconfiguration. Making good business decisions is just as relevant in 2012 as it was in 1987.

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Rob'nFamily
post Nov 8 2012, 11:22 PM
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QUOTE(jan-n-john @ Nov 8 2012, 11:18 AM) *


This is 2012 folks, not 1987.




This is 2012, but the campground doesn't expand through some magical process each year. I doubt that the CG in your post was built this year. I have a friend who owns a private CG, and I know that he spent over 120K a few years ago, just to widen 2 rows of sites. All sites had to be torn out, then completely re-built and the piping redone.

You can't have it both ways. Either he leaves the sites too small and gets slammed for that, or he works to change his park to fit the newer units and gets slammed for being expensive due to the cost of it all.
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jan-n-john
post Nov 13 2012, 12:15 PM
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QUOTE(Rob'nFamily @ Nov 9 2012, 12:22 AM) *

This is 2012, but the campground doesn't expand through some magical process each year. I doubt that the CG in your post was built this year. I have a friend who owns a private CG, and I know that he spent over 120K a few years ago, just to widen 2 rows of sites. All sites had to be torn out, then completely re-built and the piping redone.

You can't have it both ways. Either he leaves the sites too small and gets slammed for that, or he works to change his park to fit the newer units and gets slammed for being expensive due to the cost of it all.

Unfortunately, if you re-read my post, that particular campground was charging as if it had converted to being larger when it hadn't -- the smaller sites were way expensive as well.

I take issue with the concept that not converting is a "good" decision for the CG owner. Goes back to my "2012/1987" remark. Slides have been with us now for what, 15 years or so? There are fewer and fewer RVs left out there that don't have slides, and I would hazard a guess that the ones that don't are owned by folks that are not able/willing to pay sufficiently to generate good revenue for the park anyway. To be and remain successful, any business has to move with the times, and has to upgrade and modernize its plant from time to time. That's why we have the accounting concept of depreciation.

Any park that is so old it still has sites that won't accommodate slides is very old, and is likely overdue for a refurb in any case. Of course there are owners out there who don't see it that way, and that's fine, and maybe they can continue like that for a while. But in the end they will likely fail. And meanwhile, I and I believe many or most others will go elsewhere. There are plenty of new and refurbished parks that can accommodate today's fleet of RV's at rates that generate a profit while remaining reasonable.
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vincee
post Nov 13 2012, 12:39 PM
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jan-n-john, I agree with you 100%! If a business doesn't want to because of expense or can't because they have not reserved funds to upgrade and improve over time, then I most definitely will take my resources (aka money!) elsewhere. That of course also will depend on the old what are you paying for what you receive concept.
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joez
post Nov 13 2012, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE
I take issue with the concept that not converting is a "good" decision for the CG owner.


There is no way anyone could know what was a good decision for the CG owner. Maybe their revenues are sustainable at high enough levels without expansion to satisfy their business plan. Maybe zoning/epa permits cannot be obtained (maybe they are grandfathered). Maybe the cost of money is too expensive to justify the expense of expansion or maybe they just do not want to expand. Maybe the owners just want to milk what is left until the cost of land goes up and they can sell to a developer. All of those could make it a "good" decision for the owner.

Years ago I owned a video game arcade. Everyone kept saying I should upgrade to keep up with the latest games the kids wanted, yet my revenues stayed high enough to satisfy all our expectations. Besides, I could see changes coming (home game consoles) that would change the market considerably. It was a "good" decision for me, personally, to not keep up, no matter how many well meaning armchair quarterbacks told me I should. Noone else knew what my plans or expectations were, however, so they could not possibly know what was a "good" decision.

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Fitzjohnfan
post Nov 13 2012, 02:37 PM
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Joez, I agree, there could be a multitude of reasons a park owner decides not to convert their sites to accomodate larger rigs. If you tear out a row of 10 sites to make 7 larger ones, you not only incur the cost of re-building, but you then lose the revenue of the lost sites (but possibly gain more business from larger rigs). Also, what about things you cannot measure, like lost privacy from having to remove landscaping. Some customers may come to your park for this added bonus, but if all they see is another RV next to them, they may chose another park.

It's a business decision some may make and some may not. Only the owner and their bank will know if it was the right one or not.


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1989 32' Southwind MH
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Rob'nFamily
post Nov 13 2012, 08:16 PM
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QUOTE(Fitzjohnfan @ Nov 13 2012, 02:37 PM) *

Joez, I agree, there could be a multitude of reasons a park owner decides not to convert their sites to accomodate larger rigs. If you tear out a row of 10 sites to make 7 larger ones, you not only incur the cost of re-building, but you then lose the revenue of the lost sites (but possibly gain more business from larger rigs). Also, what about things you cannot measure, like lost privacy from having to remove landscaping. Some customers may come to your park for this added bonus, but if all they see is another RV next to them, they may chose another park.

It's a business decision some may make and some may not. Only the owner and their bank will know if it was the right one or not.


And that's the main point. It is all well and good for one of us to say "You're due for a refurb." After all, we don't have to pay for it, fight about zoning and/or planning commission requirements, upgrade the infrastructure, and re-do the entire landscape. My friend would love to refurb the entire CG to make spaces wider, eliminate any tight corners, make the entryway easier to use, and have exactly the right amount of tree cover. However, it would mean losing 25% of the sites (and their revenue forever), removing and replanting trees, and re-routing the electric, water, and sewer lines. Not possible. We all want it perfect, but this is the real world. He works with what he has, to give you what you have.

He must not be too far in the outdated hole. The place is full every weekend throughout the season, and about half full on weekdays. It's a family atmosphere, and people enjoy being out there.
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jan-n-john
post Nov 14 2012, 08:46 PM
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QUOTE(joez @ Nov 13 2012, 02:31 PM) *

There is no way anyone could know what was a good decision for the CG owner. Maybe their revenues are sustainable at high enough levels without expansion to satisfy their business plan. Maybe zoning/epa permits cannot be obtained (maybe they are grandfathered). Maybe the cost of money is too expensive to justify the expense of expansion or maybe they just do not want to expand. Maybe the owners just want to milk what is left until the cost of land goes up and they can sell to a developer. All of those could make it a "good" decision for the owner.




Lets keep in mind that what I was told by the KOA park in my original post was that the sites they had available were too narrow to accommodate a rig with slides and therefore my only choice was to pay $65 for a site that was wide enough. I am not talking about park expansions nor outdated features like the absence of 50W power nor sites that have a "tight fit" -- I'm talking about sites that can no longer be sold at all to most potential customers.

There are few if any rv's being built any longer that don't have slides. It is an absolute certainty that as time goes on sites that cannot accommodate rigs with slides will not have customers and will not generate any revenue. Given those facts, how it could be that a campground not revamping such sites can be a "good" business decision escapes my power of comprehension, assuming of course that the place intends to remain in business.

The cost of money has never been lower than it is now, so that "reason" won't fly.

As I said before, older parks with outdated facilities (that cannot be used by the types of rigs that are becoming universal) can continue for a while, but they will eventually fail. Busniess decisions, or failure to make decisions, that will inevitably lead to failure don't meet the test of "good business decision" in my book. But to each his own.


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vincee
post Nov 15 2012, 09:53 AM
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When you really think about it, this entire conversation is moot point. We as consumers will take our resources to what ever business gives us the best value, based on what we are looking for. I do believe this includes campgrounds and what facilities and amenities a particular camper is looking for in relation to there rig, equipment and personal preferences. Having worked in the retail industry at one time I have a habit of taking in the "business enviroment" of various places I may patronize, whether it is a restaurant, retail store or camp ground. Look closely, and at least to me, it becomes readily apparent a business that survives and one that is in bad decline. An example, Borders book stores, before filing for bankruptcy, started to look dirty, un-tidy and declining inventory. I think the same will hold true with campgrounds wishing to stay in business, and if not grow, at least maintain their level of business needed to survive.
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