The Virginia Campground Marketing Conference, sponsored by the Virginia Campground Association (VCA), will be held Oct. 18-20 at American Heritage RV Resort in Willliamsburg, Va.
The 2 1/2-day meeting will be entirely devoted to discussing marketing tools and techniques for the 21st century, according to a news release. As the park industry continues to enjoy significant growth and public interest, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive and marketing is considered the key to success for individual parks.
The major speaker at the conference will Blake Ashdown, one of the park industry’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Blake has started 15 businesses over the past 30 years, including 10 RV resorts and campgrounds. He received the “Professional of the Year Award” from the American Resort and Development Association and is a registered resort professional. Ashdown was one of the creators of the Encore brand of RV parks and was the architect of its successful marketing and branding program. His most well-known RV park project is Tropical Palms Fun Resort in Orlando.
For the past four years Ashdown has been a professor at the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University where he taught marketing and business strategy. He is a frequent speaker at industry conventions, conferences and business meetings.
He is the president of SureVista Solutions, a marketing research firm that provides new marketing tools designed to increase revenues.
“Blake has an incredible appreciation for what it takes to market an RV park in today’s rapidly changing world,” said David Gorin, VCA executive. “We’re thrilled to have him as the featured speaker at this first-ever VCA marketing conference. VCA parks have had a good 2010 camping season and parks are improving their game significantly. Staying in the game with great competitors in the Virginia market, requires a real understanding of marketing to today’s consumers. Blake will be a great inspiration and help to park owners who are ready to step up for success.”
In addition to Ashdown, special guests and speakers will include Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), who will share the lessons she’s learned about the park industry in her 40 years in the business. VCA will honor and recognize Profaizer’s long industry career as she prepares to retire at the end of the year.
Mary Arlington, owner of High Plains Camping in Kansas, will also be a special guest. Arlington has fine-tuned the use of social media to build her small campground into a powerhouse small business with national recognition. Affiliated with Best Parks in America, High Plains Camping has received a Guest Review A rating for two years running and is gaining RVer attention throughout Kansas and Middle America. She will discuss her successful social media campaign and how she’s used the cost effective outreach to grow her business.
John Rust and daughter Carol Rust, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Luray, Va., will also speak, addressing two marketing programs they created during 2010. One program offered a camping discount through Groupon, an Internet marketing program that is sweeping the country in some metropolitan areas. In addition, the Rusts launched a weekly e-mail newsletter to potential and past guests offering specials and most importantly advising on availability for the coming weekend and future weekends. Both of these programs, Groupon and e-mailing, will be part of a panel discussion on new marketing techniques and tools.
The conference is open to park owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. For information on program details and registration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call David Gorin at (703) 448 6863. Camping is available at American Heritage RV Resort and hotel accommodations are available nearby.