Tenting and glamping makes ex-money supervisor a billionaire

“This isn’t a blip,” KOA Chief Govt Officer Toby O’Rourke mentioned in an interview about tenting’s rise in recognition. “There’s an enormous motion in the direction of youthful various audiences. It’s a scorching market on the market.”

Tang mentioned the tenting trade was remodeled by the web, which allowed for higher administration of the group’s nationwide community. Earlier than then, the worth of long-distance cellphone calls made it too pricey to have a central reservation system. At present, KOA.com takes in additional than $US344 million in on-line registration income yearly.

“It’s ridiculous,” Tang mentioned. “Advertising was once a list. Now its everywhere in the web.”

Tang and his sister fled to the US in 1949 as Communist troopers superior on Shanghai, in response to a current video on the web site of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, which he attended and the place he’s additionally a donor.

He went on to Yale College and later earned an MBA from Harvard College earlier than turning into a researcher at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. In 1970, he co-founded New York-based Reich & Tang, an investment-management agency, and went on to buy KOA after the Seventies vitality disaster.

The corporate’s valuation relies on its income from a ten per cent payment on franchisees, plus the 47 campgrounds it owns outright. These properties are managed underneath a model referred to as OAK, for Owned and Operated Property of KOA. Tang’s holding firm additionally owns a enterprise that sells printing, advertising and marketing companies and expertise options franchises.

Tang purchased the corporate in 1980 whereas working as a Wall Road financierCredit score:AP

In 2017, Tang introduced on the firm’s annual conference that his daughter, Tracy, would change into vice chair of the holding firm. She’s additionally concerned within the household’s tourism properties by way of the Enchantment Group, in addition to its push into glamping — brief for “glamorous tenting.”

The group not too long ago launched its proprietary reservations software program, referred to as K2, and this 12 months began a luxurious model, Terramor Outside Resort, with its first property in Bar Harbor, Maine. O’Rourke says it faucets into a distinct buyer base, who pay $US400 an evening on common to remain in Terramor’s canvas tents.

“The trade is extraordinarily strong,” mentioned Scott King, who together with his spouse is a former KOA franchisee and is now a dealer of campground websites. “We’ve made a lot cash promoting campgrounds that it’s unbelievable.”

Tang often seems at annual firm conventions, although he now spends a lot of his time in New York, the place he works at his household workplace in midtown. He additionally has targeted on charitable giving together with his second spouse, Agnes Hsu-Tang, an archaeologist who chairs the board of trustees on the New York Historic Society.


He burst onto the philanthropic scene final 12 months with a file $US125 million present to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, becoming a member of a gaggle of billionaires together with Stephen Schwarzman and David Geffen in writing nine-figure checks for cultural tasks within the metropolis. Tang was the primary Asian-American to hitch the Met’s board about three a long time in the past.

“Oscar has felt the nation took him in and he made his fortune right here,” Hsu-Tang mentioned in an interview in February on the Lunar New 12 months gala of the New York Philharmonic, the place Tang is a co-chair.

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