The board and members of the Virginia Campground Association (VCA) have voted to accept individual Virginia state parks as full members of VCA and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
Meeting at the 2010 Annual Fall Convention & Trade Show at American Heritage RV Park in Williamsburg, Oct. 18-20, the members decided that the association would no longer accept advertising in the Virginia Campground Directory from non-members and therefore the state parks could join the association as regular members and be accorded all of the rights, privileges and benefits of membership including listings in the directory and advertising, according to a news release.
In recent years, the Virginia State Parks Department purchased a full page ad listing all of the state parks with campground accommodations and also had icons on the state map in the directory denoting their locations.
“The VCA board and members at the meeting felt that state parks are marketing their facilities in the same manner as the private sector and the state parks are not going away, so it’s best that the private campground industry embrace them, learn from them and benefit from having them in the industry,” said David Gorin, executive director of VCA.
The association presented the new plan to State Park Director of Marketing Tom Cervanek and while he could not speak for the State Park Department, he seemed to embrace the concept of full membership, Gorin stated.
There were 20 campgrounds in attendance and 15 exhibitors. The conference focused on the educational seminars on the topic “Park Marketing for the 21st Century” and was highlighted by three seminars by Blake Ashdown, a longtime RV park entrepreneur and President of Sure Vista Solutions, a technology-based marketing company that specializes in measuring guest satisfaction and incorporating the findings into action plans for business improvement.
A marketing panel described three of the newest marketing techniques. Carol Rust of Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, Luray, Va., described her park’s experience with Groupon, an Internet marketing tool that is designed to attract new customers through limited deep discounting and the broad reach of the internet. Alan Kobran, president of Illumenetics, described his company’s customer relations management system (CRM), a technology solution for tracking and communicating with customers. And special guest Mary Arlington of High Plains Camping in Oakley, Kan., talked about how she turned a small campground into a profitable business through focusing marketing efforts in social media.
In a moving ceremony at the convention’s Monday night dinner, VCA President Karl Littman, Candy Hill Campground, Winchester, and ARVC Board Member Steve Albrecht of Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA, Staunton, paid tribute to Linda Profaizer, retiring president and CEO of ARVC. The association presented her with a special gift in recognition of her 40 years of leadership in the campground industry with Woodalls and then with ARVC.
VCA also bid farewell to Skip and Judy Deegans of Anderson’s Brochure Distribution Service on their retirement, while welcoming Joe Tice, the new owner of Anderson’s.
The small but powerful group of members attending the meeting supported the association by purchasing over $4,000 worth of merchandise at the annual auction.
Karl Littman was elected to his fourth one-year term as VCA president. Other officers elected were Vice President Ray Barker (Tall Pines Harbor, Sanford), Treasurer Bill Rhoads (American Heritage, Williamsburg), Secretary Kristina Crall (Grey’s Point Camp, Urbanna) and Board Chairman Steve Albrecht.