Editor’s note: This column was written by Art Liberman, CEO of MCPS for Campgrounds, a credit card processor. Lieberman, along with Deanne Bower are the co-producers of the upcoming 2020 Virtual Hospitality Expo. To learn more about the 2020 Virtual Hospitality Expo head to its website at www.virtualhospitalityexpo.com,  email virtualhospitalityexpo@yahoo.com or call (855) 666-6277. 

After several weeks of research and then another week of negotiations, Campground Expo, the producer of two conferences in 2010 and 2011, is now ready for their newest trade show/conference in the outdoor hospitality industry with a new logo redesigned by our marketing team

Invited to the expo, which is set for Sept. 15-17, will be owners and personnel of RV parks, marinas, ski resorts, golfing resorts and dude ranches. Suppliers to these businesses and experienced business owners will also be present to market their goods and services and speakers will address attendees in “Open Forum” presentations. These forums are not lectures, which are common at conferences, but rather are panel discussions, which include the audience. This has been used in the past and generally are interesting and can even be entertaining since so much is off the cuff.

The reason why we are holding this expo again is because we received several calls and e-mails from RV park state associations asking us to help them with a virtual show because their shows had been canceled due to the pandemic.  We decided to hold the expo ourselves and invite all of the ARVC state associations to partner with us and even some associations that are not affiliated with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

In the past month, a website has been built by ResNexus, a sales force recruited, outside advisors hired, and, most importantly, the most experienced software company for virtual events is under contract.

Our event in 2011 attracted 3,371 people, 1,400 of which were hospitality business owners. That is a phenomenal number of people for an event that features RV parks and campgrounds. We still have the database from the registrations.

Besides the dozen or so exhibitors who are already participating in the expo, the producers have already signed two Platinum Sponsors. One is, of course, MCPS for Campgrounds, the credit card processor also owned by me. The other, however, is the phenomenal manufacturer of covered wagons, PlainsCraft, that made such a hit at last year’s ARVC Symposium. They saw the expo as a unique investment since they didn’t have to bring one of their wagons to a physical show.

The expo will run live for the three days but will remain in “on-demand” mode until the end of 2020, giving exhibitors an additional three month’s worth of advertising space to display their wares.

The custom software will be completely built for the expo by the end of next month, giving the programmers a month and a half to incorporate each booth into the software, teach the exhibitors how to operate their exhibits virtually and to give speakers rehearsal time for their presentations at the forums.

Watch for future announcements of businesses that will be at the 2020 Virtual Hospitality Expo.