The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) recognized the achievements of private parks during its annual industry awards competition as part of the Nov. 30-Dec. 2 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo in Savannah, Ga., according to a press release.
The highest honors, called the “Park of the Year” awards and sponsored by Good Sam, were given to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts based on several criteria, including customer service, employee training, operational excellence, national directory ratings and community service. Winners included:
• Nashville Country RV Park, Goodlettsville, Tenn., Small Park of the Year
• Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Kozy Rest, Harrisville, Pa., Medium Size Park of the Year
• Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Pa., Large Park of the Year
• Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Mega Park of the Year
The parks that made exemplary efforts to become environmentally friendly received the association’s “Plan it Green Award.” The winners in this category were:
• Guadalupe River RV Park Campground & Nature Trails, Spring Branch, Texas, Small/Medium Park Category
• Lakewood Camping Resort, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Large/Mega Park Category
On the marketing front, awards were presented to state campground associations that produced the best statewide campground directories. Award recipients in this category included:
• Maryland Association of Campgrounds, Small State Association Category
• New Jersey Campground Owners Association, Medium State Association Category
• California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, Large State Association Category
Top performing state campground association executives were also recognized for their efforts, including:
• Rob Halcrow, Tennessee Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, State Executive Director of the Year
• Vicki Cole, Ohio Association of Campground Owners, State President of the Year
Mark Anderson, Steve Albrecht, Jo Ann Mickelson, and Karl Littman were all recognized for exemplary service as outgoing members of the ARVC board , while Tom Kilmer of Suburban Propane was recognized as, “Supplier of the Year” for going the extra mile on behalf of its customers and the campground industry.
The winners were announced during an awards ceremony Friday at the expo, which took place at the Westin Savannah Golf Resort & Spa in Savannah.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) celebrated its annual conference and trade show in Savannah, Ga., with a 35% to 40% increase in registrations over last year’s figures, according to a press release.
The Nov. 30-Dec. 2 conference, held at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa included 43 educational seminars, a trade show with more than 100 vendors, networking and cracker barrel sessions, an industry awards program, an election of new officers as well as important updates by top ARVC officials regarding the association’s key achievements in 2011, which include the establishment of new member benefit programs that can save park operators thousands of dollars a year.
These programs include:
- A recently negotiated satellite television deal with Just in Time Communications Inc., a national distributor for DIRECTV, which can save ARVC member parks thousands of dollars a year in satellite television costs.
- A new preferred provider agreement with Skyline Corp., which translates into thousands of dollars in savings on park model and travel trailer sales to ARVC-member parks in the U.S. and Canada.
ARVC Past Chairman David L. Berg noted that the savings from these two programs alone far offset the cost of ARVC dues.
In fact, the savings from these programs, combined with the relocation of ARVC’s headquarters from Larkspur, Colo., to a new and more affordable office in Centennial, Colo., near Denver, prompted George O’Leary, one of ARVC’s most vocal critics, to stand up during the association’s annual breakfast meeting and publicly commend Paul Bambei, who has spearheaded these and other initiatives since he became ARVC’s president and CEO last January.
“I wholeheartedly endorse the hiring of Paul Bambei. I think he is a plus for ARVC,” said O’Leary, who owns 1,600 sites at his two Rincon Country RV Parks in Tucson, Ariz.
In addition to managing ARVC’s relocation into a new office and launching new member benefit programs, Bambei told conference attendees that he has also restructured ARVC’s staff, hiring former ARVC Chairman Jeff Sims to the new position of director of membership and government affairs and promoting Educator Director Barb Youmans to a new position of senior director of administration and education, making her second in command of the organization. Bambei also recently hired Jennifer J. Schwartz, a seasoned marketing expert with over 20 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies, as the association’s new senior director of marketing.
Other new initiatives under Bambei’s leadership include the hiring of the law firm of McDermott, Will and Emery to take over ARVC’s public affairs activities in Washington, D.C. The association has also hired Evanne Schmarder to produce ARVC Voice, a new electronic newsletter that includes embedded videos.
Bambei said ARVC Voice is using the power of video to focus on best practices in ARVC member parks, human interest stories about ARVC members as well as testimonial stories about the savings that result from ARVC’s member benefit programs.
While Bambei and Berg provided significant updates on ARVC’s achievements, conference attendees spent most of their time attending seminars and the trade show.
Seminars focused on a variety of topics, from 20 groups to marketing through social and mainstream media, Google analytics, risk management and prevention, employment and cyber liability issues, as well as electric car charging and other green opportunities for campgrounds.
The trade show featured more than 100 vendors, including Indianapolis, Ind.-based Yurts of America; Pacific Yurts, Cottage Grove, Ore.; Athens Park Homes of Athens, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco Industries; Ocala, Fla.-based Chariot Eagle; Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet; CheckBox Systems LLC, Gray, Maine; and RMS North America, a La Jolla, Calif.-based reservation systems provider.
Several vendors said they were pleased with the show, and noted that the response from park operators was stronger than last year.
“This show was much better than last year,” said Wade Elliott of Preston, Wash.-based Utility Supply Group, which supplies pedestals and other electrical equipment to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts. “Many more people came by the booth. (I had) many more orders than last year. I also would say that people seemed much more enthusiastic about their business and the industry. I was very happy with the turnout compared to last year.”
David Kozy, vice president and director of operations for RV, Home & Marine Solutions, which markets Nature-ZYME, an environmentally friendly line of holding tank treatment products, was similarly upbeat about his company’s experience at the show. “We wrote several orders late in the day Friday,” he said.
New Board Elected
In other business, ARVC members elected a new slate of officers for the association, including Chairman Rob Schutter of Leisure Systems Inc. in Milford, Ohio; First Vice Chairman Marcia Galvin of Normandy Farms in Foxboro, Mass.; second Vice Chairman Michael Gelfand of Terra Vista Management in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Secretary Terry Munoz of Thousand Trails-Lake Conroe in Willis, Texas; and Treasurer Patrick O’Neill of Camping on the Gulf in Destin, Fla. The past chairman is David L. Berg.
New ARVC board members include Mark Wineman of Kalyumet Campground in Lucinda, Pa.; Saundra Bryn of Desert’s Edge RV Village in Phoenix, Ariz.; and Tim Deputy of Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla.
Other campground industry meetings also took place concurrently with ARVC’s annual convention and tradeshow, including meetings of Campground Association Management Professionals (CAMP), which includes state campground association executives from across the country, as well as an update meeting involving affiliates of Best Parks in America (BPA).
Beverly Gruber, executive director of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA), received a certificate of appreciation from ARVC for her 28 years of service to the outdoor hospitality industry. She has attended most of the ARVC conventions since her first in 1983 in New Orleans.
After two days of pre-conference activities, the annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) officially gets under way today (Nov. 30) in Savannah, Ga., according to a report by Woodall’s Campground Management.
Held at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa and the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, ARVC’s Conference and Expo will bring together campground owners and operators from across the U.S. for three days of varied activities all designed to help them operate their campgrounds and RV parks.
Mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-60s are expected for most of the week.
“Where Outdoor Hospitality Meets Southern Hospitality” is the theme for the all-new event. The change will be apparent, as the education component has been doubled with an eye on a new name.
“We have completely revamped the program,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC CEO.
Woodall’s Campground Management reported that the newly revamped conference, offering 43 educational seminars and tracks for various experience levels, also employs a new, more affordable rate structure for attendees. And for those interested in breaking into the outdoor hospitality sector or in opening a park, ARVC’s conference seminars and networking opportunities provide an introduction on how to get started.
“We’ve completely revised the educational program and have created tracks and opportunities for all levels involved in the outdoor hospitality industry,” said Barb Youmans, ARVC senior director of administration and education. “We’re really looking forward to unveiling the new program at our conference.”
The new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program has five track levels beginning with “outdoor hospitality candidate,” which enables start-up entrepreneurs to dive in and explore all the industry has to offer. The other levels include “outdoor hospitality associate,” “generalist,” “professional” and “executive.” Each level is specific to the experience and role involvement within the operation.
The keynote address for the general session and opening luncheon today will be offered by Tim Richardson, author of “How to Tap into the Great Wealth of Brain Power!” and the Putnam-published book “Transformation Thinking.” Richardson will show attendees how to think innovatively with their staffs.
Expo attendees will be able to browse the 120,000-square-foot expo hall in search of the latest products, services and technologies, with more than 150 exhibitors displaying their wares. The expo will open Thursday from 4-8 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Based in Denver, ARVC is the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry. For more information, visit www.arvc.org.
‘Where Outdoor Hospitality Meets Southern Hospitality’ is the theme for the all new 2011 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE).
The event is presented by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, with pre-conference events taking place Nov. 28-29 at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa and Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.
Savannah, Ga., known for its Southern charm and history, plays host to the 3,300-member association’s annual conference, which welcomes RV park and campground owner members and non-members plus — new for 2011 — the entire outdoor hospitality industry is invited.
The newly revamped conference offers educational seminars and tracks for various experience levels and industry affiliates. Plus, new for 2011, a new rate structure for attendees makes the conference more affordable.
For those interested in breaking into the outdoor hospitality industry or for those who want to open an RV park or campground, the OHCE seminars and networking opportunities will offer an introduction on how to get started.
“We’ve completely revised the educational program and have created tracks and opportunities for all levels involved in the outdoor hospitality industry. We’re really looking forward to unveiling the new program at conference,” said Barb Youmans, ARVC’s senior director of administration and education.
The new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program has five track levels beginning with outdoor hospitality candidate, which offers start up entrepreneurs an opportunity to dive in and explore all the industry has to offer. The other levels include outdoor hospitality associate, generalist, professional and executive. Each level is specific to the experience and role involvement within the operation.
“The greatest thing about this program is that it applies to park owners, paddle sport operators or adventure tour outfitters – whatever the involvement in outdoor hospitality, there’s a learning opportunity to be had by all,” said Youmans.
In addition to the new education program, the OHCE also offers more affordable attendee rates compared to years past.
“We wanted to make the conference more affordable to our members, especially our small and medium sized parks with 250 sites or less,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC president and CEO. “If you’re a small or medium park, you can attend for as little as $379 (before the early bird rate expires Aug. 31) for the first registrant and the rate drops to $339 for each additional person you bring from your park. Plus, we also offer discounts to those large parks that bring multiple employees from their park.”
The new rate structure encourages parks to bring more employees and coincides particularly well with the new education program, which offers courses for every level of involvement in park operation, Bambei explained. However, attendees must register by Aug. 31 to take advantage of the discounted rates. The full-registration rate does not include any pre-conference events and the pre-conference events are sold as a la carte items.
The keynote address for the general session and opening luncheon will be offered by Tim Richardson Nov. 30. Author of How to Tap into the Great Wealth of Brain Power! and the Putnam published book Transformation Thinking, Richardson will show attendees how to think innovatively with their staff. He’ll provide tips and techniques to increase their personal brain power and become more reliable, responsible thinkers to benefit your park, Youmans explained.
In addition to the seminars, keynote address and fun evening activities, attendees will also be able to browse the 120,000-square-foot expo hall in search of the latest products, services and technologies to help their operation. More than 150 exhibitors will be displaying their newest additions.
“The Outdoor Hospitality Expo is a great opportunity for park operators and outdoor hospitality outfitters to find exactly what they’re looking for and make purchases for the upcoming year,” said Youmans.
The expo will open Dec. 1 from 4-8 p.m. and will re-open Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information and to register early for the Early Bird discounted pricing, visit www.arvc.org/outdoor-hospitality-conference.aspx or call 800.395.2267.