The Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo producers have announced the final tallies for attendance at the 2010 version of their trade show and conference, held entirely on the Internet through Jan. 31.
According to a news release, campground attendance shattered records for physical shows at any regional or state association in the history of the industry: 279 distinctive RV parks had representatives visit the site during the three-day live event and the additional 90 day “on-demand” period. All in all, nearly 500 unique attendees visited the event.
“According to some of our more experienced vendors, some of the expo’s attendees had never visited a national show in the industry,” Art Lieberman, show co-producer, stated in the release.
“We’re pretty proud of the results,” he continued, “although the software used to produce the event was highly criticized by sponsors, exhibitors and attendees alike. Since the live portion of the expo closed, Deanne (co-producer Deanne Bower) and I have been examining a half dozen reputable alternative software companies that produce virtual expos, and we have found three with whom we are further negotiations.”
Bower said she believes that any of that trio will create a software environment that is more user-friendly than the one used last year. “And”, she states, “we believe that we’ve chosen an opening date that nobody will forget: Nov. 11th of this year: 11/11/11.” In addition, at the advice of several exhibitors, Campground Expo is also preparing another expo for the spring of 2012.
“I read somewhere in an e-mail that the year 2011 has produced some interesting dates and numbers,” she cotninued. “There was 1/1/11, 1/11/11, and, of course, our target date for the Expo, 11/11/11. Strangely, there is another number that is significant. If you add the last two digits of the year you were born (in the 20th century) to the age you will be in 2011, you always get 111. I bet this year is going to be the year of the campground!”
The producers have already had a bit of luck. They have added three people to the advisory committee of the expo who bring their own expertise to the event:
- Tracie Fisher, of Campground Manager Today, earned her invitation to the board by voluntarily assisting exhibitors in setting up their booths at last year’s event. Fisher also simultaneously worked in three different booths last year: the National School of RV Park and Campground Management, the Michigan Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and her own company’s exhibit.
- Also joining the board is well-known RV cooking expert, writer and owner of Roadabode Productions, Evanne Schmarder. Evanne took an early interest in the first Expo, conducted her cooking show live and volunteering to host an open forum.
- Finally, the producers were able to persuade Norman Boucher, owner of LCN Outdoors and president of the ARVC Supplier Council, to join the board. Norm’s expertise in the outdoor hospitality industry cannot be matched and, as a supplier of hard goods to campgrounds, his input is a necessity for a successful virtual event.