The 2019 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) shattered modern attendance records, drawing large crowds to Knoxville, Tenn. for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) annual conference.
Featuring reimagined education sessions, new speakers, unique experiences and a packed Expo floor, this year’s OHCE saw 937 registered attendees from 341 unique campgrounds. Both of those numbers are improvements from OHCE2018 in Oklahoma City, Okla., representing a 71% increase in attendance and a 12% increase in number of unique campgrounds. The registered attendance figure is the highest total in the past 10 years of OHCE data.
“The increased attendance numbers at OHCE this year are remarkable. It shows the growing interest those in the outdoor hospitality industry have for this event and their passion for getting together to learn, share and network,” says Paul Bambei, ARVC president and CEO. “We almost doubled the attendance of last year’s event, showing the continued growth and strength of the industry, with ARVC members leading the way.”
The conference saw a total attendance of 1,215 during the event which ran Nov. 4-7 at the Knoxville Convention Center.
“This year blew our expectations for OHCE out of the water, and we are thrilled. We made some calculated changes to the curriculum and budgeted for more unique events, and the numbers of registrations and initial feedback shows our members were interested,” says Paula Horwitz, ARVC executive director of education and events. “But bigger doesn’t just mean better. We want our numbers to rise and to be inclusive of everyone interested in attending and learning at OHCE. We will be soliciting feedback via surveys to make sure we can still create an intimate learning and networking environment for all OHCE is known for.”
The previous record for a modern show was 658 total attendees in 2015 at the conference hosted in Daytona Beach, Fla., site of next year’s OHCE.
“We know that Daytona Beach is a fantastic location for OHCE and are excited to return to the Sunshine State,” says Horwitz. “We can’t wait to get planning on how we can refresh this event and find new ways to surprise and entertain our attendees.”
The official OHCE app, sponsored by CampLife, returned in 2019 with 18% more users and 13% more page views, allowing for greater access to information for attendees. The app is also in line with ARVC’s increasing green initiatives which in 2019 included making OHCE education sessions paperless, badges 100% biodegradable and an increased use of digital display signage.
OHCE is a four-day event held annually by ARVC. This year’s event in Knoxville, Tenn. included more than 40 educational seminars, a trade show with more than 140 vendors,Takeaway Tours of three local ARVC-member campgrounds, ARVC’s Awards of Excellence dinner and ARVC Foundation auction. OHCE2020 will take place in Daytona Beach, Fla. From Nov. 2-5, 2020.
For more information about OHCE or to register for OHCE2020, visit arvc.org/OHCE.