b'to meet the demands of travelers.can take to advocate for the industry. As the session shifted to the wholeThe panel first highlighted some of the panel, Harpaz noted that if park ownersrecent industry wins including work on create a positive experience, then that willthe Housing and Urban Development Ex-lead to repeat business.emption, accomplishments at the state It creates a positive memory, he ex- level on Inherent Risk laws, work on new plained.ADA accessibility issues and more. Wynne-Parry echoed that sentiment,OHI also mentioned its AHA! Moments noting that younger campers are lookingquarterlynewsletterhighlightingadvo-for authenticity.cacyworkanditsOHIActionCenter, They dont want locations that all look thewhich allows members to learn about leg-same and offer the same things, he said.islation across the country and advocate Speaking about inventory managementlocal officials on issues that impact them. amid increasing interest rates and costs,Much of the panel focused on the idea Rasmussen said it is imperative that parkthat park owners need to build relation-owners increase rates but keep afford- ships with their local, state and national ability in mind.representativesandbegintoeducate I think you can hedge those increasesthem about their parks and the industry. with the experience that you provide asLegislators often dont know every-well, noted Harpaz.OHIs expo featured a record-breaking number of accommodation units,thing that is going on and need to be ed-Correa said that he has enjoyed work- and many vendors reported that the show floor remained busy. Photo: OHI ucatedaboutdifferentareas,noted ing with the resorts that Blue Water ownsHanes. When they begin to hear your and has developed glamping options thatgrow that, too.2023 Generational Camping Report, thestory, they understand and want to help. are affordable to the everyman.Correa wrapped up the panel by noting2024 Outdoor Hospitality Industry Out- Simsexplainedthatparkowners We have this incredible foundation inthat high-interest rates are a wet blan- look and the new Benchmark Report.should work to become the trusted re-this industry due to RVers and the peopleket, but that there are still plenty of op- Later in the evening, OHI hosted an- source that elected officials can come to that are coming into our parks want to beportunities to find financing in the market.othernetworkingeventattheMidlandwhen something pops up that impacts a part of that scene and environment, heMaybe not at the larger banks, butTheater that drew hundreds of attendeesthis industry. noted.definitely at community banks that betterto a movie-themed party.You begin to do that by reaching out On hiring, ORourke said that KOA con- understand the business, he explained.and inviting them to your park, he said. tinues to work with universities on ex- During lunch, Tiffany Gholston hostedOHIs Advocacy EffortsSometimesyoumaynotbeableto pandingprogramsandattractinga masterclass on Your CampgroundsOnNov8,JaquelineGloria,vicespeak with the elected official directly, but employees to the outdoor hospitality in- DEI Roadmap, which aimed to help parkpresident of operations at OHI; Jeff Sims,their staffs do a really good job of keeping dustry.ownersunderstandtheimportanceofOHIs senior director of state relations andthem informed as well. Park owners also need to rethink whatbeing welcoming to everyone and whatadvocacy; Edward Hanes Jr., principal ofWitting said that more people need to get a work camper is, she said. Tradition- that looks like in the daily operation ofthe Hanes Group; Sean Vidrine, CEO ofinvolved with their state associations to help ally, they were thought of as retired cou- theirparks.Afterward,DavidBasler,Four Points RV Resorts; and Dee Witting,boost advocacy efforts. ples, but we can broaden that scope tochief strategy officer for OHI, hosted aexecutive director of the Carolinas Asso- We all have to work together to make families and young couplesetc. If wepanel with Adelle Rodriguez, from RMS;ciation of RV Parks and Campgrounds;things happen, she noted.expand that mindset and begin appealingJon Gray, CEO of RVshare; and Blakediscussed some of the tools that OHI of- Next year, OHI is hosting its OHCE from to different demographics, then we canCollins, from Newbook, to discuss thefers and some of the steps park ownersNov. 4-7 in Oklahoma City.WCM OHI Announces Park of the Year and Awards of Excellence Winners OHI honored the winners of its Awards Park of the Year, Mega Park: Sun of Excellence during a special lunch onOutdoors Frontier Town (Berlin, Md.) Nov. 8 at its Outdoor Hospitality Confer- PLAN-IT-GREEN PARK ence and Expo (OHCE) in Kansas City,Plan-It Green Park of the Year awards Mo.honor parks that have made a commit-Those honored included:ment to sustainable business practices. PARK OF THE YEAR Plan-it-Green Award, Small/Medium The highlight of the Awards of Excel- Park: Aspen Grove RV Park (Tremonton, lence is the park owners who get to ac- Utah) cept the ARVC Park of the Year award. Plan-it-Green Award, Large/Mega One award is given in four park size cat- Park: Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve egories: 100 sites or less, 101-250 sites,(Santee, Calif.) 251- 499 sites and 500 or more sites.SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR The Supplier of the Year Award is given each year to an industry supplier that ex-emplifies excellence in product solutions, innovation, customer service and sup-port.Supplier of the Year Award: Newbook Tyler Watts, from Broad River Campground, receives the award for Park of Photo: OHI Park of the Year, Small Park: Broad River Campground (Mooresboro, N.C.)Park of the Year, Medium Park: Jelly- Newbook was named the Supplier of the Year.stone Park Kozy Rest (Harrisville, Pa.)Park of the Year, Large Park: Jelly- UNITY THROUGH GENEROSITY stone Park Golden Valley (Bostic, N.C.)The Unity Through Generosity Award and Jellystone Park at Larkspur (Lark- is presented to a person(s) or group that spur, Colo.)OHI noted that judges has had a dramatic effect on the camping tied on these two parks, so both wereindustry by generously sharing time, tal-honored.OHI Awardscontinued on page 2720 January 2024Woodalls Campground Magazine'