The 2020 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE), the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) annual conference, went out with a bang on Thursday, with the virtual Expo taking center stage. Attendees and vendors were able to replicate the feel of the virtual expo and the ability to interact one-on-one that makes the in-person expo a yearly highlight.
The Expo wrapped up a busy week at OHCE2020, as attendees were able to access exhibitor booths to watch videos and other media, chat with employees at the booths and enter private meeting rooms to experience demos and discuss business. Despite the challenge of the transition to a virtual conference, attendees and exhibitors appreciated the technology that allowed ARVC to replicate the in-person environment.
"The 2020 virtual conference and expo was an amazing event,” says George O. Flint, an ARVC associate member that is in the process of building and purchasing new parks. “OHCE2020 was jam-packed with great information, contacts and the vendors were very helpful and diverse - many key connections were made. I am eager for next year's event!"
A large portion of the visits to the expo booths were made by participants in the new Hosted Buyer Program, who attended more than 775 one-on-one meetings during the week and received early access to the Expo floor. The Hosted Buyer Program proved to be an immense success, generating rave reviews and calls for its return in 2021, when OHCE2021 is scheduled to head to Raleigh, N.C.
“I sat through some Hosted Buyer meetings during the show, and the exhibitors and attendees love this program and hope that it will continue when we meet in person next year in Raliegh,” says Joe Moore, the Supplier Council Representative on the ARVC Board of Directors. “They especially appreciated the meetings that are set up before the Expo opens, so that buyers have a chance to think about their purchases and consult with others before buying a product when the expo opens.”
The busy Expo floor, even while virtual, was able to replicate the feeling of the in-person shows for vendors and exhibitors alike.
“Our sales team said that the virtual OHCE2020 feels like a normal trade show, which is awesome,” says Erin Cullen, Marketing Coordinator for ARVC Supplier Council member RMS North America, which had a virtual booth and participated in the Hosted Buyer Program. “We love supporting ARVC and are glad to be a part of OHCE!”
The ARVC Foundation Silent Auction wrapped up bids on Thursday, with more than 40 donated items being sold to raise funds for those in need throughout the outdoor hospitality industry through scholarships and disaster relief grants.
“We are always so thankful for all of the great donation we receive for the ARVC Foundation auctions and for those that spend their hard-earned money to support our efforts,” says Paula Horwitz, ARVC executive director of education and events and the ARVC Foundation executive director. “The ARVC Foundation relies on this support, to make sure that we are there to support members of the industry when they need a helping hand after natural disasters or building their campground careers.”
ARVC’s Annual Membership Meeting took place on Thursday prior to the Expo, allowing ARVC’s leadership to update members on finances, industry trends and insights and plans for the upcoming year.
ARVC also announced the results of the ARVC Board of Director Area Representative elections. The individuals elected will serve a three-year term on the ARVC Board of Directors beginning on Nov. 9.
The Board of Director Area Representatives are:
Area 1: Michelle Gustine, Nelson’s Family Campground, East Hampden, Conn. and Wolf’s Den Family Campground, East Hadden, Conn.
Area 2: Eileen Vaughan, OHM, Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Penn.
Area 3: Jim Button, OHE, CPO, Evergreen Campsites & Resort, Wild Rose, Wisc.
Area 4: Michael Hobby, CPO, OHC, Moon Landing RV Park & Marina and Lighthouse RV Park & Marina, Cross Hill, S.C.
Area 5: Ed Miller, Rush No More Campground, RV Park and Cabins, Sturgis, S.D.
Area 6: Robert Rolle, OHC, Rolle’s Lynda Vista RV Park, Yuma, Ariz.
“We want to pass on our congratulations to the new Area Representatives and welcome them to ARVC Board of Directors,” says Paul Bambei, ARVC President and CEO. “We look forward to getting to work with them to continue to grow and improve ARVC and represent our members.”
Despite the challenge offered with a virtual event, ARVC was pleased with the turnout and engagement with the event and is excited that all OHCE sessions and events were recorded so they can be accessed on-demand during and after the event. Those did not register for the live event can purchase access to all recordings following OHCE by contacting ARVC here: https://www.arvc.org/Contact-ARVC/Education-and-Events
“It was an amazing week on the virtual platform, getting to engage with members all across the nation at once,” says Horwitz. “We feel that this conference managed to capture the feeling of past OHCE events, which is something a lot of ARVC members were scared wouldn’t happen. We able to come together to learn and share our successes and failures, so that we can continue to grow.”
“There isn’t another event in the industry like OHCE, and we are so excited to be able to bring it to you every year, but especially proud of how the entire outdoor hospitality community pulled together this year to make OHCE great! We can’t wait to see you next year, back in person, in Raleigh!”
OHCE2021 will take place in Raleigh, N.C. from Nov. 8-11, 2021. OHCE is a four-day event held annually by ARVC. This year’s event has included more than 25 educational seminars, a trade show with more than 80 vendors,?Takeaway Tours,?ARVC’s Awards of Excellence, a Reservation Management Panel, the ARVC Foundation Silent Auction and more. Visit arvc.org/ohce for more info.?