The Campground Owners Expo (COE) is hosting its first full day of educational sessions and experiential events today (Nov. 30) in Branson, Mo. The conference is set to run through Saturday.
Co-founded by Lori Severson, who is the owner of Severson & Associates and executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners, along with Bud Styer, owner of Bud Styer Associates, the conference is in its second year and is growing.
Severson noted that the conference has more than doubled its attendance from last year, approaching 600 attendees and that the expo is also exceeding expectations with more than 120 vendors expected to take part.
Wednesday morning includes educational sessions on a variety of topics including merchandising, camper activities, employment issues, graphic designing, legal issues, Quickbooks and more.
After lunch, Mark Koep, founder of Campground Views and host of several popular park owner Facebook pages including The Padded Room of Rants and the RV Park/Campground Owners and Managers Operations & Marketing Forum, will be hosting a networking event at Andy B’s.
The event is meant to allow owners to “let loose with peers, while everyone tells their craziest, funniest and most outrageous guest experiences.”
“After that is finished, attendees will then be taking a behind-the-scenes tour of Andy B’s,” noted Severson. “We will see how the facility operates activities from bowling to escape rooms and all of those kinds of things.”
Severson said the behind-the-scenes experiences are what separate the COE from other national conventions in the outdoor hospitality industry. The price point for attendees is also key.
“I am pretty sure that there is no convention on the planet that you can go to and bring five people for $200,” she noted.
Later today, the Illinois Campground Association will be hosting its annual meeting.
“It is tough, especially for vendors, to make it to all the smaller shows when you aren’t going to have very many people to interact with, so that is why we are working to provide a space for everyone to get together,” she said. “We pay for the space anyways, so we are offering meeting rooms for free to any of the state associations that are either trying to form or already have one.”
Major sponsors of the event include PlainsCraft Covered Wagons, Access Parks, Blackhawk Bank, Campgrounds for Sale, CampgroundViews.com, Commercial Recreation Specialists, Coverra Insurance, Utility Supply Group and WCM.
COE Program 2022