b'2021ARVC CONFERENCEnBY BEN QUIGGLEARVC Hosts Record-Breaking Conference; Highlights EVs, Generational Study, More The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) drew about 1,000 attendees to its annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE), which was held Nov. 8-11 in Raleigh, N.C.The conference came at the end of a great year for many northern-tier parks, and the start of what is expected to be a very busy winter for southern-tier parks. Park owners told Woodalls Campground Magazine (WCM) at the conference that their parks were filled throughout the summer.We saw a lot of weekend traffic and about 30% of them were new RVers, noted SusanVendors, like Utility Supply Group shown here, were able to engage with customers during Jordan, who founded the 130-site Cajun RV Park in Biloxi, Miss., with her husband, Jim,ARVCs expo. Credit: ARVC/Katie Maynardaround 20 years ago.In its second year, Emberglow Outdoor Resort in Lake Lure, N.C., stayed busy in 2021.It was pretty much a full house from March 1 through now, said Tim Murphy, co- Matt Rose was honored as State Leader of the Year for the work he has done to bring owner of the park. I think that there are a lot of newbies that came into this industry be- two associations together as one in the state of Indiana. Larry Helms, executive director cause of COVID and saw what an awesome industry it is. I dont think we lose those onceof the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, was also recognized as State COVID is over. I think they keep coming back.Leader of the Year for his work in getting inherent risk legislation passed in Missouri. Patty Omen, from the Weidman Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Holiday in Weid- Lenny Ammerman, owner of Treasure Lake RV Resort, was named a Campground man, Mich., told WCM that 2021 was very busy, as the park enjoyed its first season in thePartner of the Year, along with Jim Button, owner of Evergreen Campsites & Resort. KOA system. ARVC handed out awards for state association directories in the large, medium and Since we are new to KOA, it appears that we are getting more people who are comingsmall categories. Those are: through, she added.Small category: Maryland Association of Campgrounds ARVC continued to build off this momentum with a conference that focused on in-Medium category: Maine Campground Owners Association dustry unity and trends. It hosted more than 60 educational sessions, along with other Large category: Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association breakout sessions, hosted buyer meetings, Takeaway Tours, a prospective owners work- ARVC also honored David Berg, the former owner of Red Apple Campground in Maine shop (POW) and an expo that featured more than 130 vendors. who passed away this spring, by announcing a new award that is being developed called The Takeaway Tours took partici- the Unity Through Generosity award. It will be awarded to an individual or group an-pantsonabustripinthegreaternually who shows generosity in some Raleigh, N.C., area to visit two localway that benefits the industry. parks and allow attendees to ask op- Hundredsofattendeesalsoen-erational questions, share ideas andjoyedanotherreceptiononthe network. Yogi Bears Jellystone Parkevening of Nov. 9 that was sponsored Camp-Resort Asheboro, which fea- by Spot2Nite and Tony Chacheres. tures 100 sites on 100 acres with milesOnWednesdaymorning,ARVC of hiking, biking and golf cart trails,Takeaway Tours were a hit for park owners as theyunveiled some findings from its Gen-and Oasis of North Carolina, whichtoured parks in the Raleigh, N.C. area. Credit:erational Trends of Campers Report itThe Hosted Buyer program offered vendors features62sites,includingfullARVC/Katie Maynard partnered to create with RMS, a reser- some one-on-one time with attendees. Credit: hookups, yurts, park model cabins,vations system provider. The reportARVC/Katie Maynardtent sites and glamping pods, were the two parks attendees visited.highlights consumer trends. David Basler, ARVCs vice president of membership and marketing, noted to WCMThe report found that campers said they spent on average $86 per person, per day in that this years Takeaway Tours sold out in record time and were a huge success. A groupthe area where a park is located. This is something Jeff Sims, ARVCs senior director of of 60 attendees visited the parks, had lunch and networked with each other, sharing ideasstate relations and program advocacy, noted could help developers and park owners build they can take to their own parks.or expand, since they can show community officials and residents that a park can benefit We heard from participants that the full-day tour was incredibly valuable, Basler ex- local businesses. plained.The report also highlights the fact that Millennials and younger generations are still The POW was also sold out, with Basler noting that ARVC added a few last-minutelooking for a personal connection when booking campsites, but that technology can be seats. It featured several industry experts highlighting numerous areas including electri- used to create that connection through text messaging or other messaging services. cal, legal, insurance and more that prospective owners need to home in on as they workThe full report will be available through ARVC and ARVC members can obtain a copy to either develop or buy a park.for free at www.arvc.org. An opening night reception, spon- Ricky Kalmon, a mindset expert, motivational speaker and celebrity hypnotist, gave sored by RMS North America andan entertaining keynote address during lunch that included some fun with audience hosted at Jimmy Vs, attracted aboutmembers who were hypnotized. Kalmon spoke on the need to do calming exercises and 600 people. to reset and allow yourself to focus on how you can accomplish things and not on the It was amazing way to kick offnegative realm. OHCE seeing everyone we hadnt seenARVC also hosted its popular Reservations Software Panel, which attracted hundreds face to face since 2019, Basler said.of attendees. This year, reservation software companies were allowed to have a park owner We designed this years welcome re- An EV Panel helped park owners sort through somewho uses their system explain how it has helped their park.ception to be a networking event un- questions related to EVs and how they may impactThroughout the conference, hosted buyer meetings between vendors and attendees like any other, and the folks at Jimmythe industry. Credit: ARVC/Katie Maynard were held. These meetings, which were scheduled before the conference, allowed vendors Vs didnt disappoint. The food was de- and attendees to meet at specific times and gave vendors one-on-one time with prospec-licious, the venue was amazing and the entertainment, provided by BMI, was spectacu- tive clients. Attendees in turn were eligible for a full refund of ARVC OHCE fees.lar.ARVCs expo, which opened the evening of Nov. 10, featured several different services The conferences opening general session featured a panel focused on electric vehiclesand accommodation units, while Ted Talk-style speeches offered advice and a look at (EVs) and the impact EVs could have on the outdoor hospitality industry. trends in the industry.Panelists included Josef Hjelmaker, chief innovation officer for THOR Industries Inc.;An Awards of Excellence dinner Nov. 11 recognized ARVC-member parks in several Gene Zanger, owner of ARVC member-park Casa de Fruta in Hollister, Calif.; Darrendifferent categories for the great work the parks are doing in the industry.Foley, sales director of Rexel USA; and Christine Taylor, a principal partner at The TowneThe evening began with recognition of the Plan-It Green Parks of the Year, an awardLaw Firm. The panel was moderated by ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei. given to ARVC member-parks that exemplify environmentally friendly practices across Zanger, who has had EV charging stations at his park for several years now, noted thatall areas of park operations. park owners need to gauge how EVs are going to impact their individual park and then The Plan-It Green Friendly Park of the YearSmall/Medium Park Category was start slowly.presented to Guadalupe River RV Park & Nature Trails in Spring Branch, Texas. Add a few chargers and then see what the demand is from there, he noted. We arent The Plan-It Green Friendly Park of the YearLarge/Mega Park Category was pre-talking about going out and converting your whole park.sented to Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve in Santee, Calif.The panel highlighted different trends and how park owners can prepare to see morePark of the Year Awards were given in four categoriessmall, medium, large and mega EVs at their parksincluding all-electric RVs. (You can read more about this panel on to ARVC member-parks that deliver an extraordinary guest experience because of all-page 26.)around excellence in operations, professionalism, marketing, customer service and in-ARVC recognized several individuals who have helped the industry at the state leveldustry involvement.during a Unity Luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 9. ARVC Conference continued on page 3218 January 2022Woodalls Campground Magazine'