Campground Expo, the producers of the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo, have announced dates applicable to their convention which will run Nov. 1-3 live on the Internet.

The new company based in New Berlin Pa., Campground Expositions, is launching the RV park and campground sector’s first virtual trade show. The convention, held entirely on the Internet, has the appearance of the real event, with a registration area, exhibit halls, a conference center for webinars, a lounge, press room in a virtual environment affording unlimited space, according to Campground Expositions, an affiliate of park vendor MCPS for Campgrounds, a credit card processing company also located in Pennsylvania.

The producers have set the date for the “early bird special” price for exhibitor booths at March 31. Prior to that date, the four-booth island exhibit booth will cost $500; after that date, the price will increase to $600. Booth and sponsorships sales have been rather brisk, said the producers, especially considering this is a first-time event. They point out that there is an enormous amount of curiosity and enthusiasm about the show, especially considering that the booth or sponsorship costs are the only expenses that sponsors and exhibitor will have to pay for participation.

Attendee registration is targeted to begin in mid-April and there will be no charge to attend the expo. Each registrant will receive a distinct attendee number and password which can be reused as often as the attendee wishes during the event and in the months that follow. However, attendees will not be able to actually “go” to the trade show floor until the show officially opens at noon EST Nov. 1.

There is a demo of a virtual expo that attendees will be able to view before that, however. Prior to the event, the press and selected VIPs will be escorted through the virtual show and a press conference will be held in the “press room” inside the expo software.

In addition to the trade show where attendees can move about through the virtual expo, the format will also provide the convenience of sitting in your office or home while learning and networking through general sessions, workshops and chat sessions with subject matter experts. Several keynote speakers will address the virtual audience, including informing the American attendees about the outdoor hospitality industry in other countries.

The software that is used to produce the virtual show is being customized by the producers. Several innovations are being added, such as:

  • The ability of attendees to be “transported” to an exhibit by merely clicking on the exhibitor’s name in the show directory.
  • The ability of exhibitors to view full information on an attendee’s “badge” when they enter a booth.

The producers have selected Campground & RV Park e-News to produce the show directory and to publish the directory on the web several weeks before the Expo. The directory will also be available immediately upon entering the registration area for viewing, downloading and/or printing.

TV screens in the registration area will also be running commercials which may be viewed when an attendee “enters” the expo. Several other innovations to the software are being added by the producers.

In order to add excitement to the show, auctions and drawings are going to be held where attendees can win or bid on items donated by exhibitors just as in live trade shows. The difference is that the items will be shipped to winners. These drawings will be conducted hourly at the expo. Special events will be announced in drop-down screens.

Nearly 100 of the supporting businesses in the hospitality industry have now been contacted about the expo and many have, at least verbally, committed to either attending or sponsoring the event.