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Old 09-07-2009, 11:37 AM   #281
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This thread has bothered me as well

Originally Posted by Skater View Post
Okay folks. I've been thinking about this thread a lot since my parents recently took over managing a KOA campground.

First, there are far too many KOAs out there to make a general statement. Have you seen the book that has the list of KOA campgrounds? It's 8.5 by 11 and probably 50 pages. The map they have at the front desk showing KOAs in the US is even more convincing - there are a LOT of them throughout the country.

KOA does come through every so often and verifies that the campground meets some minimum level of clean. As an example, my mom was telling me that they pull the top of the washer off and verify it's clean under there, and if it isn't, it's a demerit against the campground. KOA also specifies the colors used on the buildings and the like, and wants employees/work campers to wear the bright yellow shirts while working (an idea I like - you know who you can ask if you need help).

Mom and dad love the online reservation system - they said that when they open the office in the morning, the reservations are on the computer and they don't have to do anything. Having used that system on a number of occasions I have to say it's pretty nice for the end-user, too.

KOAs aren't allowed to give other discounts (AAA, Good Sam, etc.) - the KOA card only. There is an option for managers to give discounts for groups or whatever, though.

KOAs might be slightly more expensive than other campgrounds, because KOA takes part of their revenue. On the other hand, I don't think the prices at my parents' campground are out of line.

I'm not advocating for or against KOAs in general. I'm just pointing out that there are too many factors to answer the original question of this thread, and trying to give some info on both sides of the issue.

On a more personal experience note, I can't think of a KOA that I've hated, but I can think of several non-KOAs that I hated. I may not have loved the KOAs; they might not have been the best campground ever, but I've never had a "I'm never coming back here" complaint about one either.
I have no connection to KOA Campground and have never stayed at one so I cannot vouch for them one way or another but it seems to me that this thread can damage the reputations of the good KOA's by being painted with a broad brush of the not so good ones......The original title of this thread was not good either-and the mods changed that. I guess it is a good thing for KOA that there are other campers out there that don't read this thread.

As for being by a noisy interstate highway....isn't that the point of the KOA's to be located near major trafficways for easy access.....I wouldn't expect them to be destination resorts necessarily......anyway I feel sorry for the nice parks that may get a bum rap here. pj

Paula & Ed
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Old 09-07-2009, 02:15 PM   #282
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i've never stayed at a KoA. i do feel that this thread tells me that some are good and some are not-so-good. now i know to research any site i intend to go to and the information here helps with that..

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Old 09-07-2009, 02:44 PM   #283
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We're bailing east and then south for the winter in a few weeks; will check a few more KOA on the way. Always look forward to our uncle Jack's KOA in Flagstaff!
"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:04 PM   #284
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Has anyone put all the info in this thread together? I just don't have time to read through 21 pages to find a particular KOA, but it sure would be nice to have the info. consolidated for reference.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:11 PM   #285
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The owners/operators of any RV park make ALL the difference, KOA or not...KOA just has a huge chain, thus more exposure...If we have had a bad experience at a particular park, then Wallyworld is just fine with areas will also do in a pinch...have met some really nice folks at rest areas, and have brushed up against some real uglies, too.
State parks are generally nice, but some are a bit inconvenient to get to(not a BAD thing), but if you're traveling to somewhere else...Arizona has great state parks, and the volunteer staff are mostly very happy, and the parks reflect that...m
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:10 PM   #286
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Angry Never stay at KOA

We were charged $38 for not showing up at the Montgomery, Texas KOA (at Lake Conroe west of Conroe, Texas) We made and cancelled the reservation on the same day, having the reservation for only 6 HOURS! When we made the reservation, we were not informed of their "charge you even if you don't show up policy" and were told by the office that if we had cancelled with a 48 hour notice, it would only be $10. Little hard to do when you only have the reservation for 6 hours. We were so mad that we wrote to the President of KOA. No response. We will NEVER stay at another KOA, encourage others to do the same, and prefer Wal-Mart parking lots over KOA!
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:02 PM   #287
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most are over priced dumps anymore.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:29 PM   #288
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Whenever I want to ensure a no-prob stay, I'll stay at a KOA. I've stayed at lots of them as we tour across the continent - at the moment we are at the Seal Island/Cabot Trail KOA on Cape Breton. Reasonable price, million-dollar view. The last we visited was the Niagara Falls KOA on Grand Island. A world apart from the Good Sam park nearby.

I could name a dozen parks that met or exceeded my expectations and I believe they are getting better as time passes rather than worse, as some folks say.

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Old 09-09-2009, 08:29 AM   #289
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Billings, MT - Nice

Very Nice actually...

Large sites, great staff, well manicured green space, very very clean and well maintained.

This is only our third KOA experience and the count is now 2 nice, 1 neglected.

It's always difficult to offer opinions without offending someone and we figure that's simply human nature. As we travel we definitely need roadside convenience from time to time - KOA marketing efforts fill a gap among all RV park owners with networked messaging and obviously it's worked for better than 55 years. But a thread like this one from actual patrons helps discern, at least for us, where we might stay when conveniences are required.

Being in marketing ourselves we appreciate all commentary - the good, the bad, and the beautiful...

All the very best -
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:49 AM   #290
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We have stayed at many KOA's over the years. I find they are certainly a mixed bag, which surprises me since I believe that they are a franchise operation, you'd think that they would be more uniform in quality.

Some have been nice, but most we have stayed at have been run of the mill
at best IMHO.

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Old 09-09-2009, 08:59 AM   #291
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I think it's clear there are substantial differences between KOA's. The franchiser appears not to be watching the franchisees closely enough to ensure they are keeping up to the high standards KOA claims to follow. This hurts the brand and those unlucky enough to hit a bad one will, as some have posted, never stay at a KOA again. KOA's charge more generally and have more amenities, some of which we don't care about. Some charge extra fees for a variety of things. If you're going to charge more, you'd better deliver.

The idea of having a franchise is that is provides potential customers will a belief they will receive the same treatment wherever they go. If that is not true, the franchise is cheapened and all franchisees suffer, especially the good ones.

Those KOA's or any lodging who impose penalties for not showing up should be careful about that because they make people angry and hurt themselves in the long run. I know people don't show up and tying up a space is money lost, but penalties can bite back too. There is no good solution to the problem, but penalties should be used only in the worst of situations.

So my approach to KOA's is this: all things being equal, stay somewhere else because somewhere else usually costs less for what we want. "Family" things like pools and playgrounds are unimportant to us, but a frequent KOA amenity and pools are expensive to maintain, so we don't need that. Things are rarely equal, so prioritize between what we need, what we want and what the cost is—sounds logical, but often the decision is subjective. Who has wifi? Wifi is important. If we can check the night before and have wifi and know where we will stop, check RV campground reviews online—this can be much more helpful than the campground books.

But there are a lot of KOA's and sometimes they are by far the best thing around. We will be in Pueblo, Colo., in a few weeks and will stay at the KOA just north of town because it passes the "by far the best thing around" test.

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Old 09-09-2009, 07:29 PM   #292
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Actually, for the cost of staying in a park for 7-10 days, you can buy a router and provide your own wifi...cell charges will apply(usually monthly), but if you are on the road for any length of time, it pays for itself, and affords a greater freedom to go where you want...mike
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:49 PM   #293
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I occasionally use this site for reviews. As with anything that is opinion based, accuracy varies.

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