K.O.A. Goes After the Luxury Market
The other take is our property Terramor in Bar Harbor, Maine. We saw people looking for unique ways of experiencing the outdoors, and not everyone is interested in traditional camping. We always felt the place where Terramor sits, which was a former K.O.A. campground, had something really special about it. We don’t call it glamping. We call it an outdoor resort. We have a lodge with food service. We have tents with beds, comfortable linens and personal fire rings. Each tent has its own bathroom, which is a big difference.
Like at a resort, we have a lot of activities. We have these beautiful telescopes and we bring people in to lead stargazing. We have yoga and Pilates. Our flagship is in Maine, so we do lobster bakes once a week.
K.O.A. has been a budget-travel company. Were there concerns about expanding into the luxury market?
While we hadn’t operated in the luxury space, we felt very confident about our knowledge of outdoor hospitality and knew we could create something in Terramor that would resonate. We considered a brand extension of K.O.A., but ultimately felt a new brand made more sense. The brand is so well known and we’re building something really different.
Eighty-five percent of K.O.A. business is in R.V.s. When people see K.O.A. campgrounds, they think R.V. campground. There are no R.V.s at Terramor. We wanted to provide clarity for our K.O.A. campers. And we wanted to reach a whole new set of people who say, “K.O.A. isn’t for me.”
The decision to create a new brand was also tied to price point. Our average rate for a K.O.A. tent site is $42 a night, an R.V. site is $55 and a deluxe cabin is $137. The average rate at Terramor is $400 a night. In a camping experience, you’re bringing your own equipment. It’s rustic. You’re not in a bed. Terramor is comparable to what you would see at resort, and we offer resort amenities.
Do you have plans to expand the Terramor brand?
We’ll be ready to announce three to five new Terramor properties this summer. After that, I think we’ll get to the point where we announce one to two new resorts a year.
All of the Terramor properties will have several core features including a central lodge with food service, a nature-inspired pool, a group-fire experience, a pavilion and a fenced-in dog area. Our accommodations all have private fire rings at the tent, and we offer free firewood. We also are now implementing a space for massages at our current property, and that will likely extend to future properties.