Kampgrounds of America Captures Campers' Attention with the Yext Location Cloud
"We love Yext because it allows a handful of us to serve our 500 properties easily and effectively. Yext's analytics give us a clear view of the improvements we have made in our local engagement — and the numbers are mind-boggling. Yext shows how our work has really made an impact for our franchisees."
For over half a century, the world’s largest network of campgrounds, Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has provided millions of campers in North America with fun and memorable adventures. "We are in the vacation business for outdoor hospitality," explains Toby O’Rourke, Chief Franchise Operations Officer at KOA. "Our locations are private campgrounds with RV sites, tent sites, cabins, and various activities and amenities that go with that experience. There are 500 total locations across the United States and Canada, and 470 of those are franchises."
With a small marketing department of 8-10 people serving its 500 locations, KOA competes nationally with other private campgrounds as well as national and state parks at the local level. KOA launched Yext Listings in 2013 in order to amplify its brand presence, update its local listings, eliminate inaccurate data, and enhance local campground listings with custom content. Yext’s technology enables KOA to manage and update local campground listings in real time with just the click of a button, across Yext’s comprehensive network of over 100 app, map, directory, search engine and social media partners, including Apple, Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, and Yahoo.
"Many of our campground owners are operators, not marketers who are going to claim their Google Plus or Yahoo Local pages, or fill out their Yelp listings," explains Cole Reinhardt, Digital Marketing Manager. "That’s why we love Yext. It allows us to scale easily in service of our 500 properties, taking all the information from our content management system and pushing it out quickly through Yext to create full profiles across all the important sites where our current and prospective customers are searching." Adds O’Rourke, "There is absolutely no way we could manually push all our campground information across all the sites and apps that are integrated into Yext’s PowerListings Network."
By using the Yext platform to fill out its listings with rich and complete information, KOA is not only creating a more engaging digital presence, but it is also increasing the chance that the customers will find the locations online. "Local SEO is a big piece of what I do at KOA, and Yext’s capabilities play right into that," claims Reinhardt. "We are definitely seeing a shift to mobile, where people are using their mobile phones and tablets to search for camping in any given area, though not necessarily KOA camping. That’s where SEO comes in – we need to have a high ranking in organic search results to capture those potential new customers." Since starting with Yext, KOA is dominating the unbranded search for ‘campgrounds’, which now consistently returns KOA campground listings at the top of results pages.
With such a lean marketing team, KOA not only looks to Yext for its technological capabilities but also for strong customer service and support. "The team at Yext has been great to work with! Anytime I run into a problem with Facebook, a duplicate listing, or an issue with a publisher, I let them know and they take care of it immediately," says Reinhardt. "They really have been an extension of what I do for KOA local marketing, without my having to hire another employee."
The KOA marketing team is extremely happy with the improvements in its digital presence and local customer engagement since partnering with Yext. In particular it has seen a huge amount of success in leveraging Yext’s patented Featured Message with localized offers and updates to drive more customers to its website and increase bookings. After launching with Yext, KOA saw an immediate lift in search traffic: 168% more mobile search traffic, 263% lift in profile views, and 110% more unique visitors. "That is how I measure our success, looking at traffic back to the website. What we are doing with Yext is clearly helping us raise the bar, raising our rankings within each publisher and within organic listings as well," notes O’Rourke. "Yext’s analytics give us a clear view of the improvements we’ve made in our local engagement, and the numbers are mind-boggling. Yext shows our work has really made an impact for our franchisees."
Location is the ultimate context, KOA realizes. "Yext is what will help us be found in and win those street fight battles in local markets. We don’t otherwise have an effective way to compete in these local markets," reflects O’Rourke. "Location has become the primary starter — people want to go to a location, and then they search for what campgrounds are in the area. That’s why Yext is such a critical asset for our marketing success," she concludes.