Deb Kohls of Leisure Interactive and the educational director of the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo has announced six of the eight webinars and open forums which will take place at the expo Nov. 1-3 on the Internet.
As previously announced, these programs will be scheduled into time slots to be viewed live and interactively by attendees but also will be recorded and viewable for an additional 90 days when the expo is in the “on demand” status, according to a news release.
Here’s the partial agenda:
- The programs will kick off with a keynote address by Derrick Crandall at 1 p.m. on Nov. 1. Crandall’s topic is “Let’s Move” – discussing
how campgrounds can play a key role in raising a new generation of campers and taking advantage of the First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to get children outdoors and recreating. David Gorin will act as moderator for the presentation and discussion that follows.
- At 3 p.m. Robyn Chilson of Brookdale Family Campground, Mary Arlington of High Plains Camping and Tracie Fischer, a principal of Campground Manager Today, will discuss “Social Media – Practical Applications for Your Business.”
- Scheduled to close out the opening day of the expo at 4 p.m., Tyler Duffy of Campground Automation, Peter Kearns of Campground Manager, Stan Speilbach of Campground Master and Gary Pace of, Leisure I Interactive, Hercules will be participating in an Open Forum on Campground Reservation Software.
- On Tuesday, Nov. 2, attendees may be enjoying lunch live with Evanne Schmarder on her RV Cooking Show at 1 p.m.
- At 3 p.m. Stephen Ashkin and Larry Losconszy will team up to discuss “Sustainability – Defining Green.” Ashkin is often regarded as the “Father of Green Cleaning” and has nearly 30 years of experience in the commercial cleaning industry. Losconszy is the president of “Clean up America” and a well known writer of articles pertaining to a “green” environment.
- Tuesday’s presentation concludes with “Wi-FI: Emerging Trends and Guest Expectations.” This Open Forum will feature Wi-Fi leaders Jim Ganley of Checkbox Systems, David Gould of CA World Wi-Fi and Eric Stumberg and Frank Drew of TengoInternet.
- The final day of the Expo, Mike Prom, a renowned speaker, owner/operator of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail since 1993 and past president of the Paddlesports Industry Association will speak about “Effective E-Salesmanship” which will inform attendees of how to maintain connections with guests after they leave your facility. Prom will discuss the steps to gain permission and maintain effective sales strategies for reconnecting your business to your profitable guests.
Two more webinars are being scheduled but have not been confirmed as of this writing. All of the webinars and the open forums will be interactive and attendees may ask questions in chat LIVE.
Information about the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo can be found at their website at www.outdoorhospitalityexpo.com or by calling them at 877-901-EXPO (3976). Website designed and maintained by Pelland Advertising.
Editor’s Note: The following story was provided by veteran writer Evanne Schmarder.
Celebrity Cruises did. Comdex is making a comeback with it. Detroit is getting a piece of it. Even the outdoor hospitality industry is on top of it.
Virtual Expos – offered independently or in conjunction with live shows – expand upon technology some of us have become comfortable with such as webinars and online chats while delivering a very budget-friendly, productive trade show experience for attendees and exhibitors alike.
For the uninitiated, a virtual trade show is exactly what it sounds like – a trade show in a box – your computer.
Attend one and – believe it or not — you’ll be able to sit in on seminars and panel discussions and ask questions, visit vendor booths, chat with reps and collect printed collateral via downloads and, depending on the show’s software, even find yourself “bumping into” peers and prospects in the virtual hallways.
Prized for their cost-effectiveness, drawing power and ease of attendance, virtual expos are big and getting bigger. “The virtual conference and trade show market has more than doubled in a year from 2008 to 2009 and we expect a compound annual growth rate of 56% through 2015,”market analysts at Market Research Media report.
In fact, by 2015 they forecast the virtual expo market to be an $18.6 billion industry.
Now are these events simply drastic measures in tough times?
Depends on how you look at it. Most convention and event planners will tell you that attendance figures at conventional shows are down – way down in some cases. Between the cost of travel, lodging, meals and registration, business owners are examining the benefits of the expense – all of which brings us to the upcoming, Nov. 1-3 Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo, produced for the first time this year by Art Lieberman, president on a full-time basis for credit card company MCPS for Campgrounds.
“There’s almost nothing like pressing flesh at live shows,” says Lieberman, “because the social aspect is very important in order to generate relationships. This certainly won’t be replaced by virtual expos – even in 3D – but instead will complement live shows.
“We are attending several live shows this year, including ARVC (National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds) InSites,” he added. “On the other hand, as a supplier it is a very cost-effective method of working with a number of customers all across the country. Additionally, in my experience as a show producer, top-rated speakers are expensive. By conducting a virtual show, our speakers have no travel time or expense and can share their wisdom from the comfort of their own homes or offices.”
While the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is considering its first such event yet this year, Lieberman, based in New Berlin, Pa., has forged ahead with its inaugural Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. (EST), Nov. 1-3. Attendees may visit booths 24 hours a day – even during the unmanned hours – for free. And the entire event – from seminars to booth visits – will be available to view online for 90 days after the close of the “live” expo.
“Virtual expos have great potential and we are pleased this is being tried in our industry. ARVC continues to look into this possibility and is eager to see the technology advance,” remarked ARVC president and CEO Linda Profaizer.
The Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo will include RV parks and campgrounds, marinas, golf resorts, and other outdoor hospitality industries, with both exhibitors and attendees participating.
“With 16 hours of show time we anticipate running eight to 12 seminars including a keynote by Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and Steve Ashkin, president, Ashkin Consulting LLC and founder/executive director of Green Cleaning Network,” noted Lieberman.
He added that the Expo will host over 60 exhibitors ranging from technology providers to recreational product suppliers, state associations and more.
The Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo registration is now open and attendance is free. Interested parties are encouraged to pre-register at www.pre-show.outdoorhospitalityexpo.com. Once registration is complete, attendees will be able to login to the live show on Nov. 1 and take advantage of all the benefits of virtual attendance.
In order to participate, attendees will need:
- High-speed broadband Internet access.
- Adobe Flash. If you do not have Flash, there will be an option to upload the free program.
- Internet Explorer 7 and above or Firefox 3.0 and above. Mac users can log in on Safari.
- Audio. Speakers must be turned on or plugged in to hear the seminars and other audio.
Pop-up blockers must be turned off in order for the show to load and run properly.
So, whether you are an industry executive, a member of an affiliated industry, a park buyer or simply curious about how this “virtual event” works, mark your calendar and make your way to the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo show floor.
Campground Expo, the producers of the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo, have announced dates applicable to their convention which will run Nov. 1-3 live on the Internet.
The new company based in New Berlin Pa., Campground Expositions, is launching the RV park and campground sector’s first virtual trade show. The convention, held entirely on the Internet, has the appearance of the real event, with a registration area, exhibit halls, a conference center for webinars, a lounge, press room in a virtual environment affording unlimited space, according to Campground Expositions, an affiliate of park vendor MCPS for Campgrounds, a credit card processing company also located in Pennsylvania.
The producers have set the date for the “early bird special” price for exhibitor booths at March 31. Prior to that date, the 4-booth Island exhibit booth will cost $500; after that date, the price will increase to $600. Booth and sponsorships sales have been rather brisk, said the producers, especially considering this is a first-time event. They point out that there is an enormous amount of curiosity and enthusiasm about the show, especially considering that the booth or sponsorship costs are the only expenses that sponsors and exhibitor will have to pay for participation.
Attendee registration is targeted to begin in mid-April and there will be no charge to attend the expo. Each registrant will receive a distinct attendee number and password which can be reused as often as the attendee wishes during the event and in the months that follow. However, attendees will not be able to actually “go” to the trade show floor until the show officially opens at noon EST Nov. 1.
There is a demo of a virtual expo that attendees will be able to view before that, however. Prior to the event, the press and selected VIPs will be escorted through the virtual show and a press conference will be held in the “press room” inside the expo software.
In addition to the trade show where attendees can move about through the virtual Expo, the format will also provide the convenience of sitting in your office or home while learning and networking through general sessions, workshops and chat sessions with subject matter experts. Several keynote speakers will address the virtual audience, including informing the American attendees about the outdoor hospitality industry in other countries.
The software that is used to produce the virtual show is being customized by the producers. Several innovations are being added, such as:
- The ability of attendees to be “transported” to an exhibit by merely clicking on the exhibitor’s name in the show directory.
- The ability of exhibitors to view full information on an attendee’s “badge” when they enter a booth.
The producers have selected Campground & RV Park e-News to produce the show directory and to publish the directory on the web several weeks before the Expo. The directory will also be available immediately upon entering the registration area for viewing, downloading and/or printing.
TV screens in the registration area will also be running commercials which may be viewed when an attendee “enters” the expo. Several other innovations to the software are being added by the producers.
In order to add excitement to the show, auctions and drawings are going to be held where attendees can win or bid on items donated by exhibitors just as in live trade shows. The difference is that the items will be shipped to winners. These drawings will be conducted hourly at the expo. Special events will be announced in drop-down screens.
Nearly 100 of the supporting businesses in the hospitality industry have now been contacted about the expo and many have, at least verbally, committed to either attending or sponsoring the event.