b'INDUSTRY NEWS Bennettfrom page 3 CARVCfrom page 3 CARVC conference attendees viewed a part of history on Feb. 5 thwartinglegislationthatthreatenedhosted a workshop on building and expandingas U.S. fighter jets circled a spy balloon before shooting it down.the campground industry, and person- a park taught by Michael Hobby, the owner of ally delivered testimony on key legisla- two campgrounds in South Carolina. He looked tiveissuesatseveralcommitteeat NFPA 1194 guidelines during his session hearings.The Holy Grail of RV Park Construction Re-DuringtheinitialCOVID-19out- quirements & Standards-NFPA 11-94. break in 2020, his diligence and effec- Later in the afternoon, Kelly Jones, vice tivenessincommunicatingwiththepresident of operations for Great Escapes RV governors office and various govern- Resorts, highlighted ADA issues during her ment agencies ensured that independ- session on the Americans with Disabilities Act ently owned campgrounds in New York(ADA) and guest experiences. were defined as essential services andShe mentioned that along with larger infra-allowedtoopenandoperatewhenstructure improvements like building ramps so many other businesses were forced toindividuals in wheelchairs can access buildings, shut down. He has also been instru- park owners should also assess their camp-mental in working with other tourismstores, bathrooms, campsites and more to partners such as the New York Statemake sure individuals with disabilities can take Hospitality&TourismAssociationfull advantage of everything a park has to offer. (NYSH&TA) and Ski Areas of NY (SANY)Jones noted that it is important to have vi-sual aids for individuals that may be deaf, and forthemutualbenefitofthestatesshe also held up some large bingo cards andfour years to build a park.camping tourism industry.UNO cards made with Braille for individuals withOther barriers include workforce issues and Enhancing Wi-Fi Bennett currently serves as a boardsight issues.access to affordable Wi-Fi that meets the needsPromotingtheoff-siterecreationthat member for NYSH&TA, as well as theThese types of products dont cost a lotof campers.campers can take advantage of Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance.and it helps guests with these issues feel asThere is also a transportation barrier thatUnderstandingthatmorefamiliesare Movingforward,Bennettplanstothough you thought about them and it allowscampers face when coming from metropolitanbringing children and understand how to cater focus his efforts on expanding the scopethem to also enjoy all of the activities that othersareas, Poisson explained. Younger genera- to this segment of campers andservicesofMerchantry Tourismare taking part in, too, she said.tions arent getting drivers licenses and vehi-Being EV ready LLC, a marketing and consulting busi- Nichole Poisson, Kampgrounds of Amer- cles if they live in metropolitan areas. InsteadCathy Reinard, a licensed real estate broker ness he co-owns with his wife, Lisa Ben- icaInc.sfranchisedevelopmentmanager,they are utilizing public transportation. So, thatand former park owner, also presented a Buyers nett. With the bulk of their customergave the conferences keynote. She spoke oncould impact their ability to take part in theWorkshop featuring the benefits of ownership, a base located primarily on the easterntrends and insights in the campground industrycamping lifestyle.typical day in the life of an owner-operator and side of the U.S. and Canada, they planand looked at those trends through the lens ofPoisson wrapped up her speech by high- various ways to find parks for sale. to do more outreach and develop offer- a SWOT analysis.lighting a wealth of opportunity points that parkJones hosted a second session focused on ings that appeal to customers across theA SWOT analysis looks at Strengths (Inter- owners have.guest policies and park rules, which gave park nation and beyond.nal), Weaknesses (Internal), Opportunities (Ex- She mentioned that more park owners needowners a chance to talk about the challenges Merchantry Tourism LLC houses An- ternal) and Threats (External) to an industry orto take the time to understand the tent camperof managing campers and what will and wont dersons Brochure Distribution Service,business.segment and accommodate their needs. Pois- work when creating rules at a park. a business well-known in the outdoorPoisson noted that the industry has seen veryson said that the segment includes about 60%On Monday evening, CARVC hosted an auc-hospitalityindustryforitsrobustpositive growth over the last few years, and thatof the industry and that it is an entry point fortion and evening reception which allowed ven-brochure distribution program helpingsigns point to that growth continuing, but that thecampers who may look at an RV or glampingdors and attendees to chat even more while travelers connect with their next adven- industry still faces barriers to growth.accommodation down the road.raising money to support CARVCs lobbyist and ture at RV and consumer travel shows inCampers are still having issues with over- She encouraged park owners to look atlegislative work. The auction brought in a total theU.S.andCanada.Merchantrycrowding and not being able to find sites,building premium tent sites that include a niceof $12,000. TourismLLCalsoincludesBonfireshe said. But adding campsites can be anpad to put the tent on and maybe a little kitch- The CARVC board also welcomed two new Media, which provides affordable cre- expensive proposition. Parks that are addingenette and charging area.membersMichael Hobby and Dee Yasgaor. ative design, copywriting and printingsites to an existing park are seeing costs ofThese sites provide an experience for aThe conference is set to return to the same $17,000 to $18,000 per site. For new buildscamper, Poisson noted.location in 2024, but Witting noted that it will be servicesforpromotionalmaterials.that cost jumps from $45,000 to $55,000.Other opportunities include:utilizingalargerspace. Ben Quiggle MoreinformationcanbefoundatAnd we are finding that it takes about three to Taking advantage of the growth in winterWCM www.merchantrytourism.com. Part of Bennetts professional expert-isecomesfromowningtwocamp-groundsConesus Lake Campground and Conesus Lake RV Park in Conesus, N.Y.on the westernmost edge of the Finger Lakes vacation region. Conesus Lake Campground has been in his fam-ily for over sixty years. Bennett reflected on his time with CONY and the future ahead. I am so proud of everything that CONY has accomplished and become in the past 17 years. Im thrilled that I was involved in the process of making it one of the leading associations in the outdoor hospitality industry, he noted. CONY is in a good place moving for-ward, and I am extremely excited to begin this new chapter in my profes-sional life partnering with my wife Lisa to promote outdoor activities, services and tourism to a larger audience. Bennett lives in Pittsford, N.Y. with his wife, a high school earth science teacher, and their son, Mason, a soph-omoreconstructionmanagement major at Alfred State College of Tech-nology. Their older son, Winston, is a venturecapitalanalystbasedin Naples, Fla. WCMWOODALLSCM.com April 2023 41'