b'4-Day Canadian Conference Blends Networking, Educational ContentTheCanadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC)wrapped up a four-day virtual conference at the end ofJanuary, which received positive reviews from the morethan 330 attendees of the event. TheCanadianOutdoorHospitalityConference&Expo was the first-ever national conference held by theCCRVC, which was founded in 2013, and was billed as away for Canadian campground ownersand even U.S.park ownersto gather together, take in educational ses-sions and network. Coordinated through a partnership withCampCon, anevent planning company, and sponsored by Campspot, areservation management platform, conference organizerssaid the event met all of its goals. While there were some technical issues, overall, we arehearing great feedback from our vendors who are sayingthis is the best virtual expo experience they have had yet,noted Cara Braeutigam, membership coordinator forCCRVC. The lead generation, and the speed networking,those kinds of things are great facilitators for connectingwith attendees.Networking sessions led to a total of 1,100 engage-I think everybody is chomping at the bit to get back to ments, with an average of three engagements per attendee. the ability to meet in-person, but Im definitely having tonsWith 44 vendors in attendance, vendors collected overof requests from attendees and members saying that they 2,600 leads with an average of over 50 leads per vendor. hope, even if in-person events come back, or when theyThere were over 230 vendor meetings booked duringcome back, that we will do some kind of a hybrid event and the conference.continue to offer a virtual component, added Braeutigam. CCRVC was also able to host its first-ever awards cere-Which just increases accessibility and gives more folks the mony, handing out awards to Canadian parks in a varietychance to attend both from a financial standpoint, but also of categories. Award winners were: in terms of travel, and time away from their business, andCanadian Supplier of the Year: Campgroundbook- Shane Devenish, CCRVCs executive director, said thatthings like that. ing.com he was impressed with the platform that CampCon hadTheeventwaskickedoffwithakeynotebyTobyCanadian Rising Star Award: Leanne Sallenback, created for the conference.ORourke, CEO and president of Kampgrounds of Amer- South Point Resort, Canim Lake, B.C. It was easy to navigate and it was spaced out perfectly,ica Inc. (KOA), who offered a positive outlook for the out-Canadian Large Campground of the Year: Marco Polo he said. Everybody had a half-hour session and then a halfdoor hospitality industry as a whole.Land, New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island. hour to get away or look at some other part of the confer-She had such an exciting outlook for our industry inCanadian Small Park of the Year: Surfgrove Camp- ence. It was well spaced out and the platform was very2021, Braeutigam explained.ground, Tofino, B.C. functional and easy to move around in.From there, educational topics included Best HiringCamping and RV Industry Person of the Year: Jim Devenish said the association will definitely be lookingPractices, Benefits of Jellystone and KOA Franchise op- Humphrey into making this an annual event moving forward, al-tions, Increasing Camp Store Income, Lock Fee Income, The conference also served as a fundraising event for though it will be up to the associations board of directors.Branding, Trends and Insights, Working with Influencers, Care Camps, an organization that provides kids with can- The association may also look to offer different virtual ed-Dynamic Pricing, Alternative Accommodations, and more. cer a chance to enjoy a week at specialized oncology ucational opportunities throughout the year.The four-day event was marked by great engagement, camps. While total figures for the event werent available, For attendees who want to watch session recordings,according to statistics provided by CampCon.CCRVC did raise $745 for Care Camps through an auction the site will remain active for 30 days, after that the session The conference offered 93 sessions, including net- held during the week of the conference, and also gave recordings will be made available on CCRVCs website. working events, with an average of 39 users per session.$1,000 to Care Camps.Ben QuiggleWCMRVC Outdoors Focused on Aggressive Growth Amid Surging MarketRVC Outdoors is building toward the 2020 marked the Catherines Landing is operated by RVC Outdoors in Gulf Shores, Ala.future, according to Andy Cates, CEO of firstfullyearthatthe Memphis, Tenn.-based company.we were able to op-Over the past 12 years, Cates told erateCatherinesWoodallsCampgroundManagement LandinginHot(WCM)RVChasbecomethefastest Springs, Ark., aftergrowingandleadingprovider/devel- wecompletedouroper of resorts in the high-quality seg- phase two project,ment.whichaddedan-The company is set to open the 37- other large expan- Andy Catesacre Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort sion to that resort, Cates explained. WeinPigeonForge,Tenn.,withinin are very pleased with how that projectMarch. It will feature 149 sites in its has gone and how it has performed forfirst phase, with high-end permanent us.tents and primitive riverside camping Cates said that RVC remains commit- Were still introducing new guests to our notch and make certain that camperssites, among a slew of features and ted to serving the high-quality niche and resorts. Once they find us and experience continue to enjoy this lifestyle. We thinkamenities.is actively targeting Baby Boomers and what we offer, we dont lose them. they will, but we need to work hard toIt is strategically located in that ex- young families.Cates explained that he thinks the cur- make sure they do. Our focus is contin-traordinary market, Cates noted. That We believe in segmentation and we rent COVID crisis has accelerated the up- ued safety, and we will continue dealingisamega-market.Withthenearby believethatourguestsareunder- wardtrendoftheoutdoorhospitality with COVID, but making a pivot to keep-Smoky Mountains National Park being standing that there are different quality industry.ing this momentum and this accelerationthe No.1 most visited national park in experiences and different parks that It just accelerated how quickly people of a trend that we thought was alreadythe country. There is also just a ton of target different audiences, he noted. acknowledged that the industry offers a coming.traffic that goes through that area with That segmentation is now accelerat- great value proposition, he noted. We RVC is also in constant growth mode,so much great interstate access and ing in our industry and we think that is offer a great quality of life and a great accordingtoCates,withaneyeonthe surrounding areas offer so much to good for everybody, but especially so product. You cant beat the outdoors. All growing existing resorts and developingdo.for RVC. of us are in the right industry. new ones. RVC Outdoors has also closed on an- In 2021, RVC hopes to continue to build Our focus right now is to take the mo- Wearegoingtoaccelerateourother large RV resort development in its brand recognition among consumers mentum from that hardship, and as the growth significantly, he explained. WeGulf Shores, Ala., which it plans to begin since it is a newer name to the outdoor world comes back to normal, which we all believe we now have the pipeline to dobuilding in 2021, along with operating its hospitality industry.desperately want it to, we want to accel- thatatagreaterscaleandwearecurrent portfolio of 10 resorts spread We have one of the newest portfolios erate and keep that momentum, Cates preparingonannouncingevenmorethroughout the U.S.just by age in the industry, Cates said. added. We now need to step it up a here shortly. Ben QuiggleWCMWOODALLSCM.com March 2021-3'