While ARVC’s Expo won’t be in-person this year, the association is working on a number of different things to make the virtual experience a pleasant one for both attendees and vendors.

There’s a lot new planned for the Expo at this year’s Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE). In addition to the industry’s first Hosted Buyer Program, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has also created a unique way for exhibitors to customize booth and sponsor packages to take advantage of opportunities to connect with the buying power of the ARVC community, according to a press release. 

ARVC is debuting new initiatives aimed to streamline and replicate the face-to-face interactions, including a Hosted Buyer Program dedicated to providing meeting time between pre-qualified decision-makers and businesses throughout the conference, unique virtual booth options to replicate the face-to-face sales experience on the expo floor, and additional marketing opportunities before and after the show. 

At last year’s conference, 90% of OHCE expo attendees made a purchase at the show or within six months after the show, and it is important to ARVC and its valued exhibitors to be able to replicate that environment online, noted the release. With OHCE2020 moving to a virtual conference due to COVID-19 concerns, ARVC was able to quickly pivot to provide solutions and new avenues to create the best atmosphere for vendors to connect with clients. 

As of this release, 65% of this year’s Hosted Buyers report a buying power of more than $50,000, with 77% of those reporting a buying power of more than $100,000

“We have so many campground owners and operators who use this event as a time to plan their entire year, we needed to find a way to create the experience that made it possible for exhibitors to provide them a chance to research and purchase the products and services they need,” said David Basler, ARVC’s vice president of membership and marketing. 

One of the most exciting options available this year is the industry’s first Hosted Buyer Program, which promises exhibitors pre-scheduled meetings with pre-qualified decision-makers from parks. These meetings will take place at special times throughout the virtual conference and will not conflict with the education and networking sessions. 

“The Hosted Buyer Program is extremely exciting and provides a ton of value to exhibitors and attendees at OHCE,” Basler says. “It is something we have been wanting to launch for a few years now because it offers a new opportunity for park owners, operators and managers to attend our conference for free, and it also provides more direct value to our exhibitors. With us forced to go to a virtual conference, the timing was right to take a big swing and make this happen. Exhibitors will go into these meetings with established connections and guaranteed one-on-one time with buyers we’ve already vetted and who are interested in purchasing products either during or soon after OHCE.” 

Initially, there will be only 200 Hosted Buyers accepted into this year’s program. If there is more demand, ARVC will start a waitlist. Based on vendor participation, ARVC will begin pulling from the waitlist as soon as possible. Not all applicants will be accepted and there is a limit of one Hosted Buyer spot per campground. 

These hosted buyer meetings are just one part of the customizable exhibitor packages ARVC is offering at this year’s Expo. Exhibitors are also able to customize a number of virtual booth enhancements, sponsor exclusive experiential opportunities, and take advantage of pre- and post-event marketing opportunities, including video branding throughout the event, banner and video ads, and even an exclusive sponsorship of the entire virtual platform. 

“This industry sees all types of business and isn’t a one-size-fits-all world,” explained Basler. “We wanted to make it so each company could build a customized package of experiences that work best for them. There are literally hundreds of different combinations to choose from, all of which will allow an exhibitor to create a comprehensive and well-rounded sales approach during OHCE. The sky’s the limit!” 

Sponsorships are based this year on the total amount an exhibitor spends customizing their experience. Sponsorship levels begin at $2,500 and sponsors receive unique recognition on all pre-event marketing channels and all sponsor signage during the event, in addition to having their booth front and center throughout the entire Expo. 

ARVC is expecting a great turnout this year of owners, operators, managers and employees from across North America. 

“This virtual event removes many cost and travel hurdles which will attract more industry members to attend our conference than ever before, and we want to make sure they get the full experience of the Expo,” said Basler. “Our expo is always a highlight of the year, with clients seeking out exhibitors for solutions to their major challenges, so finding a way to get them face-to-face in a virtual setting to have meetings that will have great results is a huge win for everyone involved.” 

Another exciting opportunity for exhibitors is that ARVC has joined forces with Brian Searl and the Insider Perks team to offer free design of all marketing and promotional materials for exhibitors at OHCE. This added benefit for exhibitors is included with a purchase of any OHCE Expo package. Once an exhibitor package is purchased, ARVC will connect the exhibitor with Brian and Insider Perks to begin the design process. 

Because the Expo experience is so customizable this year, there are many options that are limited — including Hosted Buyer meeting packages and experiential sponsorship opportunities, so interested exhibitors should contact Gary Headrick at (303) 681-0401 ext. 130 to reserve their spot. 

To register for OHCE2020 and to learn more about the Hosted Buyer Program visit arvc.org/ohce