KOA Expands Popular Value Kard Rewards Program With SaveAround®

By Mike Gast, Vice President of Communications, Kampgrounds of America Inc.

Campers throughout North America have embraced Value Kard Rewards, KOA’s loyalty program. Now the campground network has announced the addition of even more budget-friendly features to the popular program.

Starting this month, campers who sign up or renew their program membership will have access to SaveAround®, which offers a variety of coupons good in more than 200 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Additional nationwide coupons are also available in both mobile and print.

“We know enhancements such as SaveAround® are going to make Value Kard Rewards a year-around value for our camper guests,” said KOA Vice President of Brand Development Lorne Armer. He notes campers will now receive savings on entertainment, recreation, groceries, dining and more.

According to Armer, new enhancements to the Value Kard Rewards Program include pay-as-you-go Dish TV service for campers and RVers and special pricing on telephone technical support designed exclusively for them. These are in addition to the program’s discounts on registration fees, ability to earn points that can be applied towards daily site charges, and other benefits.

“And we’re only getting started,” he says. “There are a lot more great valuable KOA Value Kard Rewards program additions on the way.

Current Value Kard Rewards members can access SaveAround through the KOA app, which is available for download in the App Store or on Google Play. Information is also available by visiting www.myvkr.com.

Those wishing to purchase a Value Kard Rewards membership can do so at any of the more than 485 KOA campgrounds throughout the U.S. and Canada. The annual cost is just $30, and a portion of the proceeds go to support KOA Care Camps. For more program information, or to purchase a Value Kard Rewards membership online, visit or by visiting www.koa.com/value-kard-rewards/.

Kampgrounds of America is celebrating its 54th Anniversary in 2016. KOA was born on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962.

Time to Hit the Road

The RV is ready for a season of fun in the sun. Now…where will you go?

If you have young kids or grandkids, there’s no better destination for outdoor fun and adventure than Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks. With 82 locations in the US and Canada, there is sure to be one close to home. Plus, there is SO much to see and do right on property. So hook up the RV, kick back, and let us entertain your family!

Sure we have campfires and s’mores, but with Yogi Bear there is so much more. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:
  • visits with Yogi Bear
  • activities
  • theme weekends
  • pools
  • splashgrounds
  • wagon rides
  • playgrounds
  • mini-golf 
  • jumping pillows

Camping & Cabins with Convenience 
Our parks have RV sites, tent sites and cabins. Plus, we have the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. Can’t live without WiFi? No problem! Need to do laundry? We’ve got you covered. 
  • camp stores
  • laundry
  • bathhouses
  • firewood, propane
  • WiFi
  • pavilions
  • recreation rooms
  • snack bars
Visit www.campjellystone.com to find a park near you.
Please note – attractions and amenities vary by location.

Looking for a Community of RVers?

Spending your days on the road can get lonely, can’t it? Even if you’re traveling with another person, or a pet, it’s still nice to meet friendly new faces and share your experiences with those who can relate. Nearly 40 years ago, our founders, Joe and Kay Peterson, felt the same way as they traveled the country with their young family, and they decided to do something about it. Welcome to Escapees RV Club!
We are a full-service organization that offers a wide variety of benefits specific to the needs of RVers. Do you travel part-time? We can help with finding discounted parking, planning your route, and tackling emergencies along the way. If you RV full-time, there are even more benefits suited to your needs! We can assist in establishing your domicile, and our mail service will treat your correspondence with care, forwarding it to wherever you may roost. All of our members may take advantage of our RVers Boot Camp, hosted by our experts in RV safety. This is a great way to learn more about how best to operate and maintain your rig in a welcoming and fun environment.
Most importantly, Escapees was established to offer RVers a feeling of community and camaraderie. There are abundant opportunities to connect with other members through our organization. We offer a discussion forum, where members share experiences and advice on a wide variety of subjects, as well as opportunities for face-to-face interaction through our chapter activities, Head Out Program, Birds of a Feather groups, and our biggest event, Escapade.
Escapade is the highlight of our event schedule. You’ll meet fellow RVers from all over the country and all walks of life, experiencing the great things RVing has to offer. This year, our 56th gathering will be in Essex Junction, Vermont, July 24-29. Join us for six days packed with educational seminars hosted by industry experts, group discussions led by qualified members, live music, and plenty of occasions for socializing!

How to Enjoy RV Ownership to the Fullest

Buying an RV is an exciting but sometimes overwhelming endeavor.  There are so many questions that need answers.  What kind of RV should I buy? Are slide awnings included? Does it have powered or manually-operated jacks?  What happens if my RV breaks down?

We may not be able to answer the first 3 questions for you but we can definitely answer the 4th.  The answer is Coach-Net! Coach-Net has been an expert in the RV industry since 1987 and we understand the specialized needs of RVs and RV owners.  We don’t have a cookie cutter approach to meeting those needs either. We offer a full range of peace-of-mind products to help you enjoy RV ownership to the fullest.

As you consider an RV purchase, consider RV Protect, our service contract. We offer customizable plans available for new and used, motorized and towable units and offer a low deductible. RV Protect is transferrable, meaning should you decide to sell your RV, you can transfer your coverage to the next owner, increasing the resale value of your unit.

RV Protect also includes 24/7 RV Technical and Roadside Assistance Basic membership at no additional charge.  So, should you run out of gas or have a flat tire, we’ve got you covered.  You also have access to our RV-trained representatives and certified technicians who are ready to assist you – guiding you through many common technical and operational issues you may experience. This is a handy benefit, especially when you have a new or new-to-you RV.

As an RV owner, you should concentrate on making lasting memories with friends and family and not worrying about all the what-ifs of ownership.  Even though break downs do happen, you can have peace of mind knowing that Coach-Net is your connection to carefree RVing.  Learn More.

RV Podcasts for Practical Tips and Inspiration

Excited for the New Camping Season? Check Out These RV Podcasts for Practical Tips and Inspiration!

If you are like most RVers, you are in the midst of dewinterizing and welcoming the arrival of a brand new camping season. Maybe you already took that first shake down trip. Maybe your first big trip is right around the corner. Or perhaps you are still shopping for the RV that will take you on your summer adventures.

Either way the RVFTA Podcast Network has podcast episodes that will help you stock the RV, plan your trips, and research an RV purchase.

If you are opening up the camper, check out our Spring Gear Guide Episodes #79 and #80, with dozens of recommendations for products inside and outside the RV. Does your RV need a bit of a facelift? Listen to our RV Makeover 101 Episode #82.  Stuck on what trailer to purchase, we have entire episodes devoted to the Pros and Cons of a Hybrid, Toy Hauler, and Travel Trailer.

If you are still nailing down your travel plans for 2016 camping season, Campground of the Week will inspire you to visit great RV destinations around the country. Recent episodes covered urban camping options in San Francisco, a major fishing destination in Missouri, and the Lazydays RV Resort outside of Tampa, Florida. From dry camping in national parks to waterfront resort RV parks, this podcast has something for every type of camper.

Our resident Girl Camper, Janine Pettit is busy teaching women how to tow and where to go. If you are trying to find the perfect trailer for your solo adventures, check out Episode #20: Tab Trailer Talk or Episode #26: Sylvansport's Coolest Camper Ever. She will also talk you through all those features in your tow vehicle on Episode #18. Want to maximize your travels this season? Then take notes on Episode #21: Cutting Camping Costs.

Tune in, get inspired, and we will see you at the campground!

The ABC's of TV for RV

Post originally seen on WinnebagoLife.com
WinnebaGoLife: The ABC’s of TV for RV
Mobile TV watching has come a long way since my parents traveled in their RV in the early 1970’s where a “compact,” 12-inch square, black and white Sony, with a single telescoping wand antenna was their only option.  And even at that, the channel selection was usually limited to four or five channels in a big city and maybe one in a rural town.
Now, inside our Navion motorhome in a rainy Tampa with two flat screens, HD TV antenna, cable input, satellite dish, and AppleTV, the only reason we’d be bored is because we’re dead.  But, all this entertainment choice comes with a trade-off: complexity.  At this point, if you’re part of that exclusive class of book readers only, you can stop here while the rest of us ascend the hierarchy of television reception options.
If you’ve been plugged into cable at home over the past decade you probably missed the part of the digital revolution where the FCC required over-the-air broadcasters to switch to digital signals.  This required new frequencies and tuners and, for the past decade, all TVs have this circuitry built in.  It all means that rabbit ears now refer only to Bugs Bunny, not the twin v-rods extending from the rear of the TV.  To receive over-the-air TV signals you now need an HDTV antenna.  In our case its a batwing shaped KINGJack TV antenna that can be rotated around by a manual ceiling control with five little blue LEDs that light up when you hone in on the best signal.
Broadcasters continue to air their main channels as usual, but there are sub-channels they also broadcast alternative programs on.  The result is that there are far more channels to chose from over the air, but don’t expect to see cable/satellite only channels like CNN or Discovery off your antenna.
If your rig is wired for cable input, you can get basic programming tiers in standard definition.  This usually is 20-40 channels.  Hi-definition channels usually require a digital tuner (ex. cable box).  In one case, when we were hooked up to a cable in Moab, Utah I was shocked to see some high-def signals appear, but that’s rare.  Park cable systems range from poor to crystal clear signals and often the lower band channels are poorer in quality (there’s a technical reason for that, but it’s not worth going down that rabbit hole).
Depending on whether or not you are feeding your TV with an over-the-air or cable signal, all modern TVs will require you to go into the menu settings and have the TV scan for the available channels – a process that usually takes 10 to 20 minutes.  Inside psychological tip: if you stare at the screen while it’s scanning, it will seem like it’s taking twice as long, so busy yourself with something else while your TV does it’s thing.
And here’s the number one tuning tip than many RVers overlook:  make sure your outside antenna booster circuit is turned off.  Many late model RVs (Winnebago included) use antenna amplifiers for off-the-air digital antennas.  When that little switch is on (and there’s usually an indicator light) it can cause distortion in the cable signal. Turn he switch off — your picture quality should be much better.
Satellite service
In the US there are only two satellite providers:  DirectTV and Dish Network. Bell Canada is the Canadian provider.  While both US services offer a gigantic range of signals, DirectTV does offer exclusive services like NFL Sunday Ticket that allows you to watch any NFL game.  Satellite service is the ultimate TV lover’s choice with both Dish and Direct offering 100+ channel packages starting around $60 per month.
Adding satellite to your RV requires several decisions to be made up front. The first is which service and the second is which type of dish.  Let’s start with service.
While Direct and Dish are very comparable in their offerings and prices, they use completely different satellites.  In DirectTV’s case if you want high definition channels, then you’ll have to go with an open style satellite dish.  If Direct’s standard definition is okay, then you can use a dome covered antenna.  Unlike DirectTV, Dish allows you to use a dome covered dish for both standard and hi-def signals. If you already have Direct or Dish service at home, you might consider taking one of your receivers on the road.  If you are buying a service from scratch, then Dish has the edge for several reasons.
One feature Dish provides at no extra cost is allowing you to change your service address so you can get local channels. If we’re going to be staying in a particular state or region for a week or two I’ll call Dish and give them a local address (such as a campground) for our service address.  That activates the local channels so you get all national networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, PBS and CW.  (There used to be an additionally priced service for national networks from the east and west coasts, but that’s no longer offered.)
Dish works with a dome antenna for both hi-def and standard-def signals.  So products like the Winegard Mission RT, G2 and Tailgater work well.  Dish also has a “pay as you go” plan that allows you to basically pay for satellite service on a month to month basis when you’re traveling.  But here’s the irritation with that.  While Dish advertises and markets this service to RVers, the actual process is painful and confusing.  When I first started the service I asked several Dish agents about the consequences of not paying my bill.  I was assured that it was not a problem and service would simply be turned off, until I wanted to re-activate by paying for the month ahead.
Well, when I stopped paying, the notices via mail and e-mail started coming with dire warnings should I not keep my account current.  I called several times and was assured that, “no, everything’s fine and you should discard the insistent e-mail and mail payment reminders.”  I held my breath to see if Dish would ultimately report this as a credit problem — fortunately, they didn’t.  Usually we turned service off for a month or two, but in our most recent stretch at home we didn’t use Dish services for over 90 days.  That caused my account to be deactivated and I had to pay a small reactivation fee.  That particular agent said I should call and “suspend” my service and I would only be assessed a $5 dollar a month maintenance fee.
Man, all of this is far more complicated, confusing, and as customer unfriendly as it gets — especially since it’s so contradictory from the promise of Dish’s pay as you go marketing.  Yet despite this continuing aggravation I still feel that Dish is the best choice because of the ability to get both high and standard definition channels and the rather torturous ability to save money by suspending service.
Satellite dishes
Dishes are either fixed to the roof or detachable with a cable that runs from a dish unit placed on the ground. King and Winegard are the two big suppliers and both make good products.  We’ve had Winegard dome models on both our Navions and have been very happy with their dependability and good customer service.
If you do a lot of camping under the trees, you’ll want a detachable antenna dish that you can place with an unobstructed sky view.  I prefer the roof mount and, if TV watching is important to us that evening, we’ll often ask for a satellite friendly site when we check into a campground.  My signal’s been thwarted by very sparse branches.  There are also inexpensive apps for both the iPhone and Android that show you where the satellites are so you can park for an unobstructed view.
The traditional open style, concave satellite dishes need to be stowed in a lockdown position for travel.  Domes protect antennas from highway wind and the elements. If you remove the lightweight dome cover you’ll see a similar, though smaller, concave antenna underneath. Many dome units offer in-motion satellite tracking for continuous video viewing when traveling.  And if you have a coach with multiple TVs, you want to make sure that the antenna you buy has the ability to send two different signals to two or more TVs.
Satellite in Canada and Alaska
If you’re a Canadian, you’ll have a choice of providers between Bell or Shaw.  As of 2012, Bell no longer has signal service below the border.  Shaw does provide service in the US so you can keep up on your favorite curling competitions.  For Alaskan travelers, the general consensus is that satellite signal quality degrades the further north you get.  The satellites used for TV are in a geosynchronous (rotating at the same speed of the earth)  location 23,000 miles above Brazil.  This means that the more north you get, the lower in the sky you have to point your dish (almost to the horizon) which increases the problems for a blocked signal.  Satellite signals are very weak and that’s why dish antennas are curved to concentrate the signal (like cupping your hand over your ear).  In the case of extreme north locations you generally see larger four foot dishes to gather in the weak signal.
A new option on the horizon
I’ve discussed the three different ways (over the air, cable and satellite) that most people will use to watch TV, but there’s a fourth one that is starting to get some traction:  streaming.  Streaming is getting a TV signal through the Internet.  There’s a growing list of streaming media players vying for consumer’s love.  And there’s a lot to discuss about the ins and outs of this emerging technology which will appear in another article in the near future.  Streaming may have a very bright future for RVers, but for now the three “old school” ways of getting your favorite shows will be with us for a long time to come.

Fantastic 4: 2016 Journey

Post originally seen on WinnebagoLife.com
We’re putting the finishing touches on the 2016 Journey/Meridian and want to spotlight four of our favs.
#1 & #2  It’s a cook’s kitchen
JR-Galley-16Don’t use the word galley for this one. Feature #1 in the 38P floorplan is a brilliant wraparound kitchen design that offers a countertop extension and behind the sink riser.  This is perfect for complex meal prep before, and serving later.  Feature #2 is the pot filler faucet behind the range.   Beyond the convenience, this luxury residential feature points how how easy it is for two people to be working at the same time.
#3 The best Infotainment System. . .period
JR-Dash-16At the heart of our dual screen Infotainment system is a 10.5” display – the largest in the industry.  This is approaching Tesla territory in terms of display size.  With multiple exterior camera display, AM/FM radio, Sirius XM, auxiliary input, and Rand McNally RV-specific GPS integration, this truly changes the driver’s experience in terms of visibility and control.
#4 Max storage with the Maxum Chassis
JR-Ext Storage Tray Out-16Another Winnebago exclusive is our Maxum Chassis.  By lowering the frame rails the handling characteristics of the motorhome improve, but when you hook up at your site the real magic unfolds with huge roll-out storage.  Not only can you have it all. . .you can take it with you.

How to Get New Customers Into Your Dealership

You have a strong customer base, but you're not getting as many leads as you used to from traditional marketing methods. You sink more money into television advertisements, paid search ads, radio commercials and billboards, but your ROI isn't hitting the mark. It's time to consider inbound marketing strategies.

What is inbound marketing?

With traditional marketing, also called outbound marketing, you're sending out your message and hoping your audience responds. Inbound marketing takes the opposite approach by attracting customers to your marketing assets: Instead of using straightforward advertising messaging, inbound marketing focuses on creating value for the customer. Common forms of inbound marketing include blog posts, online videos, email newsletters, guides and infographics.

The benefits of inbound marketing

Inbound marketing's biggest benefit is drastically reducing the cost you pay per lead; Hubspot reports the typical company pays 61 percent less for inbound leads compared to its outbound costs. Customers also self-screen themselves with inbound marketing, since only interested people click through to view your marketing assets.

With inbound marketing you take the role as a trusted advisor for potential customers instead of someone trying to actively convince them to buy. While you spread marketing call to actions throughout your inbound marketing materials, you also know they're always relevant to the content; you can therefore build trust with your leads and give them a reason to return. Customers associate your dealership with a knowledgeable and authoritative business, so they come to you when they're ready to buy.

Inbound marketing ideas

You have many options for implementing inbound marketing strategies and bringing in new customers. The following ideas will get you started on attracting customers to your dealership, instead of sending your message out blindly.

             RV owner tips newsletter: Email newsletters provide you with a valuable way to connect with your customers. Your tips provide a helpful resource for new and experienced RV owners, and you can ask your email list to contribute their tips.
             Guide to the best places to drive: Create a local guide to scenic routes, and help your customers imagine doing these drives in one of your RVs.
             Video reviews of RV models: Put your leads right in the action with engaging video reviews of your favorite RV models.
             Twitter chats on RV topics: Social media channels let you engage directly with potential customers. Use a Twitter hashtag to coordinate a RV chat and catch your audience's interest.

Your dealership gains many benefits from adding inbound marketing to your existing marketing strategy. Bring your leads to you, and keep them around by offering exceptional value. Reach out to us at RV Trader for more assistance.