b'The Glamping Show USA Works to Make its Virtual ConferenceSomething that will Benefit Both Attendees and VendorsBY BEN QUIGGLE tual tour, show videos, but its not theAfter a successful first show in Octo- same as having someone admire yourber 2019one that brought 450-plus to workmanship, see the quality of the ma-the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in terials and the finishes.Aurora, Colo.The Glamping Show USA For vendors, the expo will be openwas gearing up for another solid show 24/7 from the start of the show until thethis October. But like everything else in end of October, but Korse noted that2020, COVID-19 flipped the script.someone does not need to staff a ven-In early July, after learning that the dors booth the whole time. Arapahoe County Fairgrounds were not The nature of the beast is well havegoing to be availabledue to its use as people from Singapore who come in thean emergency over- middle of the night for us, but its theflow healthcare facil- middle of the day for them, and they canityDavid Korse, the either consume a recorded briefing, oreventsorganizer, look at an exhibitors display area, hemade the decision to said. We wont have specific expo hours,change the format of but we are providing a full hour betweenthe show to a virtual agreed to be part of the show on the fact ers for the whole package.each session that gives people time to goone. that they may have to do it from home, We have people we call conference to the exhibits or to get a sandwich or doIt will be held over Korse added. We will do live streaming delegates, and these are people who are whatever else they want to do.David Korse the same dates as the and provide them with the background coming as much for the education as they Instead of having a live chat feature,original in-person show: Oct. 13-15.and the training to do that. And we had are to see the exhibits, and theyre paying we actually have a button that says Con-KorsetoldWoodallsCampground to talk to almost every single exhibitor money to do that, he explained. Full reg- tact Me, and if you want to engage withManagement (WCM) that the organiza- prospect and say, Can we do a video call istration cost is $249 before Sept. 12 and an exhibitor, you click on that buttontion is doing its best to make lemonade like this so I can actually show you what $349 after that date. And then we have and the exhibitor will get an email andout of lemons.were doing because its hard to describe? trade visitors, we call them exhibit-only they can respond to that email as quicklyWe knew for several months it was a AndImgoingtoaskyoutogiveus visitors, who are just every bit as qualified, as they can, explained Korse. If some-possibility as COVID-19 continued its re- money for a digital presence instead of but are not interested in consuming the one from Singapore really does want tolentless march around the country, he some concrete lawn space outdoors. So, content. They just want to visit with ex- reach out, the exhibitor may not see it tillexplained. We had a plan B, hoping that Ive been doing back-to-back video calls hibitors or network with their peers and the next day, but they dont have to allo-it wouldnt come to that, but we did have just playing show-and-tell because most colleagues. Our expo-only access is free. cate resources to watch that booth spacesome time to prepare for it. With a plan of our clients have never done one be- More than 400 attendees had already every moment.in hand, when it became clear we could fore, and almost all of our clients are registered for the virtual event.So far, registrations for the event onnot do the face-to-face event, we literally being forced to consider at least one, if For the RV park and campground sec- both the vendor and attendee side ofjust went to plan B from one moment to not several this fall. tor, virtual shows for the most part are a things is strong, noted Korse. He expectsthe next and started making phone calls On the education side, Korse said that new experience, and Korse noted that numbers to match or do better than lastand sending emails and just doing all the the virtual show will offer 11 educational vendors have been asking a ton of ques- years event. On the vendor side, morethings we needed to do. sessions and that participants will have tions as they adjust to the fact that they than 40 vendors have already signed up. The first item on the to-do list was to access to the educational content until wont be able to talk with a person face- We have had a lot of interest fromselect a platform for the virtual confer- the end of October.to-face.overseas companies looking to make in-ence. Korse said he looked at a slew of We also have six focused discussion Korse said there are a number of dif- roads in the U.S. and this virtual eventoptions, but landed on a system devel- forum areas, basically chat areas, he ex- ferent reasons businesses come to con- makes sense because they dont have theoped by Mark Koep, CEO and founder of plained. Theyre not moderated and are ferences.expense of having to ship materials andCampgroundViews.com,forKoeps self-directed on six topics that people Somecompaniescometoareal products for a booth, explained Korse. Back to Camping Summit, which was wanted to hear about. Five of the topics event and theyre trying to sell a product. He said he hopes people enjoy the vir-held in early May.came from our research after last years They want to sell a product right off the tual conference and that everyone whoKorse noted that while there will be event. For example, wastewater manage- showfloor,Korseexplained. Others attends grows from the experience. some similarities to what attendees saw ment was one of those big things and so know theyre not going to sell anything I hope that people who come as vis-at the Back to Camping Summit, there one of the discussion forums is waste- off the show floor, theyre just trying to do itors, whether its conference or exhibithavealsobeen substantialchanges water management. It allows you to dis- leadgeneration.Sometimestheyare only, feel as if it was a good use of theirmade to the platform, especially when it cussthetopicwithothersthathave there just to do branding. Sometimes time to broaden their knowledge andcomes to the exhibitor experience.similar questions or experiences. The they are there because their competitors their frame of reference on the glampingThats more my background and my sixth topic is very real for this year and are there, so they think they have to be. I industry,particularlyhereinNorthorientation, he said. Well keep the best thats basically COVID-19. We thought it mean there are just a myriad of reasons America,Korseexplained.Thatparts of the conference experience and was important to add that topic.of why somebody exhibits, and we try to whetheritsaglampingsiteowner,amake some changes for the better, we There will be four educational ses- understand what those reasons are and campground managerwhoever thathope, on the exhibitor experience side of sions on Oct. 13 and 14, with three on the what the objectives are for each of our person isthey walk away with a betterthings.final day, Oct. 15. Each of the sessions clients and prospects. understanding of the options and the al-As a participant in the Back to Camp- will be an hour long.If were talking to someone who was ternatives. What they decide to do is uping Summit, Korse said he enjoyed the You can ask questions, interact with planningondirectsales,maybethey to them, but they feel better prepared tofact that Koeps program was very stable other participants and its all happening have a lower cost item they were going to think about those opportunities. and that it functioned well throughout live, Korse said. As each conference ses- bring to the show, we have to talk about From an exhibitor/sponsor side, Iboth days of the virtual show.sion completes we will post a recording of whether they can still accomplish that hope they feel it was a good return onI loved the stability of the program, the it, so conference delegates can go back objective, he continued. Can they sell their investment of time and resources,customer service they provided and how and see it a second time, they can double products and do e-commerce from their he added. That we help them build theirwell the live streaming went, he explained.check something, take notes of what they website through the show and use the brand, expand their influence, get morePart of the challenge of putting on a heard or maybe they missed a session show to generate demand? Or is it going people who know about who they arevirtual show is understanding what a plat- and can come back and catch it later. to be just a branding and a visibility ex- and what they do that in the future mightform is capable of, according to Korse.He noted that it can be hard for some ercise? We have to go through that with become prospects and/our clients. AndWe need to try and understand what individualstostayengagedwithan people to understand what their objec- for everybody, I hope they feel as if Thethe visitor experience will be like when hour-long session on a computer screen, tives are, and then see if those same ob- Virtual Glamping Show USA did its job ofthey first get there, he noted. What do butthatthedigitalrecordingsreally jectives are achievable. A digital or virtual bringingthosetwocommunitiesto-they encounter? What is it like? How easy allow attendees to take everything in at event should excel at visibility, letting gether so that we can all talk about howor difficult is it to find your way around? their own pace.youknowthatabusinessisthere.It we can make glamping grow that whenWe tried to do the very same thing from Itwillbelikehavingyourown should also do a good job at branding they see our name and our brand in thethe point of view of an exhibitor or a Glamping Show USA Netflix for a few and brand differentiation. Those things future, theyll think happy thoughts assponsor, as well. What was their experi- weeks, Korse joked.are achievable digitally, but you cant give opposedtotheoppositeofhappyence going to be like? There will be two different types of at- somebody a tour of your two-bedroom thoughts and become long-term com-Then, we had to basically educate tendees at the show, noted Korse. Some tent, practically speaking, in a digital en- munitymembersforTheGlampingevery single speaker that had already will be coming just for the expo and oth- vironment. You might be able to do a vir- Show USA community. WCM22 -October 2020Woodalls Campground Management'