The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) hosted a Prospective Owners Workshop (POW) and conducted Takeaway Tours — along with a Welcome Reception — to kick off its Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE).
The Welcome Reception was an energetic gathering of attendees that allowed many to catch up with people they haven’t seen face to face since 2019. The event was sponsored by RMS North America and was hosted at Jimmy Vs, a Raleigh-based restaurant dedicated to legendary North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who passed away from cancer in 1993. Many of the attendees at the reception wore gear from their favorite sports team to celebrate the start of OHCE2021.
“What an amazing way to kick off OHCE2021 seeing everyone we hadn’t seen face to face since 2019,” David Basler, ARVC’s vice president of membership and marketing, told WOODALLSCM.com (WCM). “We designed this year’s welcome reception, sponsored by RMS, to be a networking event unlike any other, and the folks at Jimmy V’s didn’t disappoint. The food was delicious, the venue was amazing and the entertainment, provided by BMI, was spectacular. More than 600 people enjoyed the evening and celebrated the start of OHCE2021.”
The Takeaway Tours took attendees on a bus trip in the greater Raleigh, N.C. area — where the OHCE is taking place — to visit two local parks and allow attendees to ask operational questions, snag ideas and network. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort Asheboro, which features 100 sites on 100 acres with miles of hiking, biking and golf cart trails, and Oasis of North Carolina, which features 62 sites, including full hookups, yurts, park model cabins, tent sites and glamping pods, were the two parks that attendees visited.
Basler noted that this year’s Takeaway Tours sold out in record time and were a huge success. The group of 60 attendees visited three unique parks in the Raleigh area, had lunch and networked with each other sharing ideas they can takeaway to their own parks.
“We heard from participants that the full-day tour was incredibly valuable,” Basler explained.
The POW was also sold out, with Basler noting that ARVC added a few last-minute seats. It featured a number of industry experts highlighting numerous areas including electrical, legal, insurance and more that prospective owners need to hone in on as they work to either develop or buy a park.
Today, attendees will dive into the more than 60 breakaway sessions available over the course of the OHCE. An opening general session is set to feature a panel of experts talking about the future of electric vehicles and how they might impact the industry. Panelists will include Josef Hjelmaker, chief innovation officer, Thor Industries; Gene Zanger, owner of ARVC member-park Casa de Fruta in Hollister, Calif.; Darren Foley, sales director, Rexel USA; and Christine Taylor, attorney, Towne Law. The panel will be moderated by ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei.
“This unique panel will prepare attendees for the oncoming rush to electric vehicles that are growing in popularity and has already started, and will continue to impact our industry,” explained Basler.
There will also be a Unity Lunch where ARVC will honor the State Leader of the Year and Campground Partner of the Year. State associations that have created exceptional camping directories will also be honored.
“ARVC’s main focus is industry unity because we truly are ‘Stronger Together’ and this lunch shows exactly what that means,” said Basler. “The ARVC community recognizing the accomplishments of state leaders from all states is what this lunch is all about. We want to make sure every voice is heard and now, more than ever before, that is so important. The outdoor hospitality industry is growing so rapidly that being at the forefront in this arena will set us all up for long-term success.”
Spot2Nite and Tony Chachere’s are set to sponsor a reception this evening on the plaza and part of the closed street in front of the Raleigh Convention Center. Spot2Nite, a Louisiana-based reservation mobile app company, will be sharing its Cajun roots with attendees with a special food experience brought in by Tony Chachere’s.
The reception will also feature a special live performance from a trio of country music singer/songwriters — Lance Miller, Stephen Wilson Jr. and Rob Hatch.
The performance is sponsored by SESAC, one of the three performing rights organizations (PROs) featured in ARVC’s music licensing program.
ARVC’s YP group is also set to host a networking event too.
To view the full schedule of events, visit www.arvc.org/OHCE.