The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) will host its annual spring conference and trade show May 1-3 at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville.

“We’re expecting a big crowd, much like we had last year,” Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO, stated in a news release, adding that the organization’s conference and trade show is the largest of its kind in the Southwest.

The conference will feature eight educational sessions, including:

  • Maximizing Employee Potential & Bursting Your Bubble: These sessions will be led by Lori Severson, a motivation training consultant who has consulted for numerous companies, including the Walt Disney Company, Leisure Systems, Camp Snoopy, IBM, TRW, the LeRoy Butler Foundation and the Gilbert Brown Foundation in addition to serving as executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners.
  • Utilizing Guest Surveys and Feedback & Dealing With Negative Online Reviews: These sessions will be led by Bob MacKinnon, a Certified Park Operator and campground industry consultant who developed the GuestReviews online survey program, which is widely used throughout North America’s campground industry. MacKinnon spent 30 years with the Walt Disney Company, handling everything from resort and theme park management to marketing and human resources.
  • The Legislature and You: Ron Hinkle, TACO’s legislative consultant, will explain the extensive legislative work TACO is performing on behalf of campground owners. Hinkle has worked in various capacities both inside and outside the Texas legislature for nearly 30 years. Hinkle served as Sergeant at Arms and Legislative Division Director for the Texas House of Representatives; then became assistant government affairs director for the Texas Chamber of Commerce as well as a legislative liaison for the Texas Public Utility Commission.
  • Campground Insurance Update: Lance Goff from AVP Philadelphia Insurance will discuss some of the latest insurance topics affecting campgrounds and how to maximize your coverage. A 20-year insurance industry veteran, Goff has been handling insurance for RV parks and campgrounds for the past 10 years.
  • Legal Challenges Facing Campgrounds: This session will be led by Casey Erick of McKamie Krueger, LLP, an attorney on retainer by TACO who specializes in defense against allegations of civil rights or labor violations, employment disputes as well as tort and insurance litigation. He also lectures on laws that impact government entities.
  • 21st Century Utilities/Electric Car Charging Stations: This session will be led by Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group. If you want to learn the latest in electrical hook-ups, changes in electrical codes and generate extra cash by being an electric car charging stations – don’t miss this class.
  • Driving the Experience: Facts and Figures from the Campground Industry: This session will be led by Larry Brownfield, a senior business development consultant in franchise services for Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). Brownfield is responsible for KOA’s southwest region, which includes 101 campgrounds.
  • So You Want To Expand Your Business: This session will be led by Carol and Walter Preble, longtime campground operators who have also worked for KOA in various capacities. Carol spent five years at KOA’s corporate headquarters, initially working as vice president of franchise sales and later as vice president of franchise services. Walter has provided consulting services to KOA and numerous campground operators for business development and campground design.
  • Playing the Google Game: This session will be led by Matt Taylor and Michael Moore of Texas Advertising. Taylor is a Google AdWords Certified Professional and website director for Texas Advertising who oversees the company’s social networking initiatives, while Moore is Texas Advertising’s general manager and account executive, overseeing internal operations and cross-platform marketing.
  • First Time Visitors Orientation and Creative Marketing Roundtable: This session is designed to help the association’s newest and potential members find what they’re looking for during the show. There will an emphasis on creative marketing – bring your best ideas and share with the group.

TACO’s trade show, for its part, will take place at Kerrville’s Inn of the Hills River Resort and will feature more than 40 vendors, who will display their products and services at the Inn’s 15,000-square -oot conference hall. During the trade show awards will be given to Supplier of the Year and also a Park Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other activities include an opening night Hawaiian luau and casino night with a live band and great food, a raffle with $3,000 worth of computer and entertainment equipment, including an iPad2 and a big screen TV and TACO’s annual auction, which supports its government affairs programs.

The three-day event will conclude with TACO’s annual awards luncheon, during which time awards will be given for Park of the Year, Website of the Year, Brochure and Rack Card of the Year.

For more information or to register, please visit the TACO show website, www.guadaluperiverroundup.com, or call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0219.