Shane Ott, director of campground relations for Thor Industries Inc., delivers the closing address today (April 21) on the topic of “RV Industry Trends” at the ReV up In Reno RV Park and Campground Western Convention and Trade Show at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev.
The three-day conference drew more than 100 campground owners and operators from California and nearby Western states. It is being sponsored by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) and associations from Arizona, Idaho and Oregon.
In a keynote address on Monday, Caroline Beteta of the California Commission on Travel & Tourism shared statistics for tourism for the last 18 months on the national and state level.
“There was a slight uptick in tourism activity in January,” relayed Debbie Sipe, CalARVC executive director, in summarizing Beteta’s presentation “but the bad news is — there’s still a long way to go for the general tourism industry to recover all the jobs lost in this economy. But, perceived as afffordable vacation options, RV parks and campgrounds are poised to have a great summer. Caroline’s enthusiasm is contagious and as you know RV parks and campgrounds are uniquely positioned to help families stay connected and vacationing even in a down economy.”
Delegates have been attending engaging seminars, evidenced by the discussions in the hallway about the topics they’ve just heard, Sipe said.
Also this week, attendees took part in a trade show, received a “State of the Industry” from Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and acquired treasures in the Silent Auction.
Today brings more seminars and conclusion of the trade show.
Shane Ott, director of campground relations for Thor Industries Inc., has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for the ReV Up in Reno Western Region Convention and Trade Show April 19-21 in Reno, Nev. The event will be held in John Ascuaga’s Nugget Resort and Casino.
The second annual event is sponsored by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) and other western state campground associations.
Prior to joining Thor this past year, Ott was the president and COO of Kampgrounds of America Inc.
Ott’s wide breath of experience in both the campground and RV industries affords him a unique perspective on the past, present and future of RV Parks and campgrounds in the West.
He will address current trends in the RV industry and how these will drive business to – or away from – RV parks and campgrounds.
“We welcome this partnership and feel that the favorable pricing and unique designs of these units will be very enticing for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts as they continue to diversify their business base with rental accommodations,” said Linda Profaizer, ARVC’s president and CEO.
About one-third of the nation’s commercially owned campgrounds, RV parks and RV resorts offer rental units to accommodate families and other travelers who don’t have an RV, but want to enjoy the Great Outdoors – and the numbers are growing, according to the release.
Pat Hittmeier, a 28-year veteran of Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) home office in Billings, Mont., and most recently the vice president of its Sales and Campground Development Division, has been promoted to the position of COO for the 47-year-old company.
Hittmeier replaces Shane Ott, who has resigned from the positions of president and COO of KOA Inc. The position of president will remain vacant, according to Jim Rogers, KOA’s CEO and chairman, and the duties will be split between Hittmeier and Rogers, according to a news release.
“Pat Hittmeier has done nearly everything there is to do at KOA, so he brings a depth of knowledge to this position that just can’t be matched,” Rogers said. “Early in his career, he worked in our Company Operated Properties Division, learning the nuts and bolts of campground management. He later was in the field, building new KOAs like the beautiful park we have in Polson, Mont. He’s also been at the helm of our Franchisee Services Department, a very complex operation that is at the very heart of the value KOA brings to its franchisee partners. He intimately understands the needs of both our staff and our campground owners, most recently as vice president of sales and development, where he has achieved the remarkable result of adding 50 new campgrounds to KOA in just two years.”
Ott, who is ending a 23-year career at Kampgrounds of America, is planning to create his own consulting business, to be based in Billings. He served as KOA’s president and COO for the past 2 1/2 years. He had previously been the senior vice president of KOA’s company operated properties.
Hittmeier, a native of Litchfield, Ill., is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He moved to Texas after graduation and worked with youth outdoor education programs in Houston and Waco. In 1977 he moved to Montana and became a forester for the state of Montana. In 1979, he came to Billings to be sales coordinator for the Mossmain Industrial Park before joining KOA in June 1981.