b'INDUSTRY NEWSPlans for New Campground Owners Expo in the WorksAccording to Lori Severson, prepara- Wecontinueshe continued. There will be several of tionsfortheinauguralCampgroundto work on the ed- these types of activities that attendees Owners Expo (COE)which is set toucational compo- canchoosefromandgobehindthe take place from Dec. 15-18 at the Hiltonnents and line upscenes and learn more about these dif-BransonConventionCenterHotelinspeakers,notedferent industries. Branson, Mo.are coming along well.Severson. Bud isDuring the expo, there will also be a We are going to hit our mark of 100actuallygoingtounique beach space provided by Com-vendors taking part in the show, for sure,behostingonemercialRecreationSpecialist,which shementionedtoWoodallsCamp- thatistitledSeverson said should be a neat area for ground Magazine (WCM) in early Sep- Cornfieldtoattendees to relax. Other major sponsors tember. We already have that piece ofCampground.of the event, like Coverra Insurance and the puzzle complete, so that is exciting.Hes going to showBlackhawk Bank, are also going to be of-We have just started getting the wordacornfieldandfering different things in their respective out about individual registrations for thethetransforma- beachareas.Coverraissettoserve conference, but we have already had ation it took to be aLori Severson Bloody Marys, while Blackhawk will be bunch of people asking about how theycampgroundinprovidinglemonadeandconducting can register, Severson added. We antic- just a few months. He will focus on thedees a backstage tour.trivia. ipate having park owners from a numbergood, the bad and the ugly of putting theThey are an Ozark family that startedThe whole idea is to create this space of different states and that is going to givepark together in such a short time.working together and began performingwhere attendees can come and just have attendees at the show even more of aThe goal with our educational ses- in caves and campgrounds, Seversonfun, said Severson. chance to network with each other.sions will be to have a number of differ- highlighted. I think its so critical to hearIf for some reason the COE is can-Severson, owner of Severson & Asso- ent speakers with different viewpoints,firsthand stories from other industriesceledduetoCOVID-relatedissues, ciates and executive director of the Wis- she added.that share some of the same issues thatSeverson said that there will be no vir-consinAssociationofCampgroundAnother key component of the confer- we do. When you think about this yeartual option. Owners (WACO), and Bud Styer, ownerenceand one of the reasons that thespecifically, I cant tell you the number ofWorst case scenario we would have of Bud Styer & Associates, are both co- COE chose Branson at Christmastime campgroundownerswhoIveheardto figure out how to move forward, she founders of the COE and developed thewas to expose attendees to the entertain- from that have just said, I cannot get anyexplained.Bransonwasoneofthe show as a way to engage with a smatter- ment business around the city and howhelp. Ive had to count on my family. Thecountrys first large entertainment ven-ing of Midwest states and help park own- it relates to operating a campground. De- Presleys have been doing this very thingues to come back out of COVID, so I think erswhodonthaveaccesstoastatecember tradeshow attendees, in fact, willfor over a hundred years. I think it wouldit has solid practices in place. We have associationorstateassociationsthatreceive backstage access to several Bran- be fun to ask them some questions like,done a couple of site visits already and dont have the ability to operate a largeson shows, which will provide crossoverhow does the whole family thing workthey have some great contingency plans expo.learning opportunities involving market- for you? What are some of the biggestin place. I feel confident that things will The Branson show will include dailying, price management and employeestumbling blocks you have had to getgo as planned. educational seminars covering specificmanagement, which park operators canover?For more information about the COE topics, such as marketing, social mediaapply to their own businesses.Other topics we may cover with themanditsDecembertradeshow,visit andcampgroundrentalaccommoda- Severson told WCM that the Presleysinclude cash flow; how do they fill theirwww.campgroundownersassociation.cotions, with specifics on park model RVs,Country Jubilee is going to give atten- seats? That could help park owners thinkm or call 608-525-2323.Ben Quigglecabins, yurts, trailers and other sessions.about new ways to fill their campsites,WCMReps at Hershey See Many Upgrades Amid Camping SurgeMost of the campgrounds that had featured displays at the recent 2021Spectators enter Americas LargestHershey Show a Huge Hit, Americas Largest RV ShowknownRV Show in Hershey, Pa.in the industry as the Hershey RV ShowMarks Second Largest hadtheirfeetfirmlyplantedinAttendance, Over 61Ksnowbird territory. Butifthesuccessthesecamp-groundshavehadsincetheCOVIDAs confirmation the RV industry continues to ride an outbreak is any indication, there arentunprecedented wave of momentum, with a gate of over a whole lot of empty camping spots on61,000 the 2021 Hershey RV Show was the second-any given weekend and most camp- best ever. groundshavebeenundergoingim- Hosted by the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and provementstotrytomakeabetterCamping Association (PRVCA) Sept. 15-19 at the Giant experience for their visitors.Center in Hershey, Pa.and officially titled Americas Wilder Inc. has 10 campgrounds inLargest RV Showattendance for the five-day event Floridaandanothereightinsouthwas 61,320. Its only the second time the show has Texasthatarerepresentedonwww.RVResorts.com.tubs and pools and clubhouses. We have a full-time activ- drawn over 60,000 and is second only to the 64,154 in Wilders true busy season gets going when things get coldities director who has things going for the visitors. We have2017. upnorth,butevenduringthesummermonths,thebands coming in and dances and potlucks. Theres stuff campgrounds were running 65 to 90% full, according togoing on every day.The opening day attendance was reported as 8,899, Alan Nash.Jim Wilson, with Gardens RV Village in Crossville,followed by a 14,006 on Thursday (a second-day We picked up a lot of new customers that we didntTenn., had a different perspective on the current run onrecord), 11,117 on Friday, 17,995 on Saturday and have because they didnt go on cruises and things likecampgrounds.9,343 on Sunday. that, Nash told Woodalls Campground Magazine (WCM)An industry veteran, Wilson is now representing the re- It was a great crowd. Everyone was very pleasedduring the opening day of the Hershey Show. We losttirement village that isnt catering toward RVers, but tomake that, we were extremely pleased, PRVCA Execu-some of the Canadians, but we picked up a lot of new cus- people who are looking for a more permanent retirementtive Director Heather Leach told Woodalls Campground tomers and they are coming back this year because theyspot in a designed community.Magazine (WCM). Many people came into the show of-all had a good time.He, too, is seeing a boom in business.fice and thanked us and told us how great it was, and we Nash said all of Wilders resorts are running at fullyWe did about three years worth of business in nine weeks,got great feedback from consumers, too. staffed levels and are working to keep things COVID-safe.and they ran us totally out of lot inventory, Wilson said.Leach said there was some uncertainty heading into Facilities are regularly wiped down and cleaned to elimi- A trend he noticed at the show, however, was the num- this years event. Last years show was canceled due to nate the risk of contamination.ber of people looking to become first-time RV buyers,COVID, and the lingering effects of the pandemic also Those who are winter regulars might notice somewhich would add a new generation of customers forwas a question with regard to whether consumers were changes when they head south this year. Were prettycampgrounds.ready for an in-person event of this scale. much snowbird oriented in Florida and then in Texas theyFarther south at Natures Resort in Homosassa, Fla.,I guess we just proved there very much is a call them Winter Texans, which is pretty much the samerepresentatives report that there isnt a slow season, butstrong consumer interest in going to RV shows, she thing, Nash said. Weve made a lot of upgrades. We do itrather from snowbirds to summer visitors, the place issaid. WCMevery year. Weve done paving and painting and added hotHershey continued on page33WOODALLSCM.comNovember 2021 3'