The 2020 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) opens today (Nov. 2), with 750 attendees registered for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) annual conference. The first day of OHCE2020 will be highlighted by virtual Takeaway Tours of three ARVC-member parks and the debut of ARVC’s new Hosted Buyer Program, which matches pre-approved OHCE attendees with exhibitors for meetings, replicating the true one-on-one nature of the expo floor.
Running Nov. 2-5, the conference will be ARVC’s first as a virtual event, having moved from an in-person event originally scheduled for Daytona Beach, Fla., due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is a change from past years, ARVC is excited about the ability to provide a familiar event and still allow attendees a chance to learn and grow at the outdoor hospitality industry’s premier event.
“OHCE is something that people have on their calendars every year, and we are proud that we were able to find a way to bring them some consistency in a year of so much change and unfamiliarity,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC president and CEO. “Our virtual event is set to replicate the in-person experience of OHCE as much as possible and we truly think we have utilized this technology to create some new learning opportunities and experiences that attendees have never seen before. While it will be different, it will still offer the great value and excitement that makes OHCE the biggest and best event on the campground and RV park circuit.”
Last year’s in-person event in Knoxville, Tenn., saw 937 registered attendees, the largest attendance in recent history, but ARVC is confident this year’s interest levels remain the same, if not higher.
“While we won’t quite match the OHCE2019 attendance record, this year’s pre-event registration level is comparable. Last year’s event received a late push of registrations, something that isn’t an option in 2020. Despite all the challenges and changes, we are still very close to record attendance, which is a testament to the resiliency of our industry and the hard work of so many to make this event a reality,” explained Bambei.
ARVC is especially excited for the debut of its Hosted Buyer Program, with more attendees scheduled to join pre-scheduled meetings with exhibitors all week surrounding the conference. It provides campground owners and exhibiting businesses the chance to do business in one-on-one settings, saving time and money by streamlining the expo process. All attendees will still have access to a virtual Expo floor on Thursday, Nov. 5, but members of the Hosted Buyer Program get early access all week long and will have already attended at least five meetings with preferred vendors.
“The Hosted Buyer Program is something that is sure to be an OHCE standard moving forward and is sure to be a hit,” said David Basler, ARVC vice president of membership and marketing. “We are thrilled at the interest in the first year of a new program and know that we are creating connections between owners and businesses with the products, services and solutions to take their campgrounds or RV parks to the next level.”
The conference will open on Monday with virtual Takeaway Tours, offering attendees the chance to watch on-demand videos showcasing three ARVC-member parks, Jolly Roger RV Resort, Nature’s Resort RV Park, and Cross Creek RV Resort. These videos will be available beginning at 10:30 a.m. EST, preceding a live question and answer session, hosted by OHCE speaker and industry expert Gary Quigley, OHE, owner of ARVC member-park Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Penn. This will allow attendees to learn more about the parks and the operations, to take lessons and ideas back to their own parks. ARVC worked with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Florida ARVC) to select parks in the state, as OHCE2020 was scheduled to take place in Daytona Beach, Fla., prior to the switch to a virtual event.
“The virtual Takeaway Tours are a fun and interactive way start to the week, still giving us a Florida connection for the event while bringing this learning experience right to our attendees,” said Paula Horwitz, ARVC’s executive director of education and events. “It will be a great way for our attendees to log in, check out and get familiar with the virtual platform, learn the advantages of the on-demand experience and learn about three great parks.”
The ARVC Foundation Silent Auction also opens on Monday, running through Thu., Nov. 5, allowing bids on over $35,000 worth of items. The auction will again raise funds and awareness for those in need throughout the outdoor hospitality industry, specifically through scholarship and disaster relief grants. View descriptions of all the items up for auction on the secure silent auction website here: https://www.32auctions.com/ARVC-Foundation2020
The silent auction will be live all week from Nov. 2-5, during the virtual OHCE2020 event, giving everyone plenty of time to research and make bids. Anyone can make a bid, not just OHCE attendees.
Registration for OHCE2020 is closed, but those that would like to purchase access to recordings of all sessions and events at the conclusion of the conference can do so by contacting ARVC at www.arvc.org/Contact-ARVC/Education-and-Events or 303-681-0401.
For more information about OHCE or to register for OHCE2020, visit arvc.org/OHCE.