RV News

KOA Reveals Campground of the Year, ‘Rising Star’ Winner

KOA logo

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) announced its 2024 Campground of the Year award, its highest honor, was given to Denver West/Central City KOA Holiday in Colorado.

Chosen from more than 500 KOA campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada, the Denver West/Central City KOA Holiday is owned and operated by Chuck and Leza Spencer. The award was announced Wednesday, Nov. 16, during KOA’s annual International Convention in Las Vegas.

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado location sits at an elevation of 8,490 feet and provides stunning views of the Colorado landscape. After operating a KOA location in South Dakota for seven years, the Spencers purchased and began welcoming guests to Denver West/Central City KOA Holiday in April 2010. Opening the new campground was not without challenges.

“When we bought the campground, we had a lot of cleaning up to do,” Leza Spencer said. “It had been broken into and vandalized. As far as you could see, there were just weeds and no campsites.”

What was once an overrun location has been updated and renovated into a popular Colorado camping destination. The Spencer’s improvements include the addition of 14 Pull-Thru Sites, each with a KOA Patio, four new KOA Patio Deluxe Cabins and 22 RV site upgrades. A focus on delivering pet amenities includes a revamped KampK9 dog park and two Paw Pen Sites that provide guests with private, fenced pet areas right at their site.

The Spencer family is also looking to the future of camping and their campground. Four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations have been added to the campground to service the growing interest in EVs among campers. The additional purchase of an adjoining property will allow the campground to open 30 additional sites.

Ranking 45 among more than 500 KOA locations, the campground boasts a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 89, reflecting the “superior quality of amenities and service” available at the Denver West/Central City KOA Holiday. The campground has also received Kampgrounds of America’s Founder’s and President’s Awards five times.

“The Spencer family’s success is not a coincidence,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of KOA. “Their focus on delivering the very best outdoor hospitality has allowed them to continually exceed guest expectations at not one campground, but two. It’s an honor to recognize their dedication to their work and valued partnership with KOA.”

In addition, KOA named Tennessee’s Paris Landing/Kentucky Lake KOA Holiday as its 2024 Rising Star, owned and operated by Marc and Starr Peterson. The Rising Star award is given to an exemplary campground that has been a part of the KOA campground system for less than five years.

Owning a picturesque campground near a lake in Tennessee was not part of the Peterson’s plans, KOA said. Living in the suburbs of Chicago, Marc was busy working in corporate America while wife Starr was beginning a new teaching job. It was when Marc was laid off that the plan changed.

“When I got laid off, I decided I needed to do something different,” shared Marc Peterson. “I thought, I thought, I’m getting old or too worn out, and I said, ‘What do I love to do?’ I love to go camping, and we go to many KOAs, and I love the brand. I saw a link that said, ‘Own a KOA’ and clicked on it.”

Eventually, that one click led the Petersons to a quiet Tennessee campground built in 1974 near Kentucky Lake. When the couple bought the campground in 2018, they immediately began adding more sites and creating a five-year plan. Three years later, they not only met but exceeded their goal.

“We quadrupled our revenue within the first few years. Now, COVID helped, but a lot of that held sweat equity,” Peterson said. “It is all blood, sweat and tears in this place. I mean all three.”

The Petersons have made significant changes and improvements to the campground, including the recent addition of two Deluxe Cabins and five new RV Sites with KOA Patios, in addition to upgrading 23 existing sites with KOA Patios. Wi-Fi upgrades keep campers connected on all their devices.

Campers themselves, the Petersons still take a lot of inspiration from their fellow KOA owners.

“In the off-season, we camp and stop in and meet people,” Peterson said. “We love meeting new people and other owners. We have got to be getting close to 90 or maybe even 100 different KOAs that we have visited or stayed at, and I’m proud of that.”

The family’s upgrades and focus on customer service have not gone unnoticed. The campground ranks 17 in the KOA campground system with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 92. Paris Landing/Kentucky Lake KOA Holiday has also won the prestigious KOA Founder’s Award all five years of its operation.

“Marc and Starr have taken on the challenge of campground ownership and truly flourished,” said O’Rourke. “To achieve such a high level of success in such a short timeframe is a true testament to the Petersons’ entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to every camper they serve.”

Related Articles

Back to top button