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NCA_Logo_HighResRGB_66B097-300x300When hundreds of campground owners and operators gathered in Nashua, N.H., March 19-21 for the 51st Northeast Conference on Camping, there was a lot of anticipation for the coming summer camping season.

There was also a little apprehension about whether the snow would melt in time for many campgrounds across the 11-state region from Maine to Maryland to open as planned, with a little more snow falling during the last two days of the three-day event.

Still, compared to the snows that plagued much of New England during the winter, “The weather is with us,” said Cyndy Zbierski, executive director of the Northeast Camping Association (NCA), the regional group which puts together the conference and trade show each year.

t was the first year the Northeast Conference on Camping happened at the Radisson Hotel Nashua, and the move from Sturbridge, Mass., a few hours north definitely helped bring in new attendees, Zbierski told Woodall’s Campground Management. “We had several new attendees from Vermont and New Hampshire, and of course the attendees who have been supporting us for decades came again.”

The move allowed the event to include more seminars from experts in the campground market:

  • “Advertising Your Campground” with information from Alicia Williams on creating irresistible promotions and from Peter Pelland on effective directory advertising.
  • “Customer Experience: Going Beyond Customer Service” from Robert Bouse.
  • “The Ultimate Insurance Panel” featuring Bob Barber, Guy Gagnon, Irene Jones, Ian Rider, Brittani Villandry, Warren Oliver and Tom Gerkin.
  • “Entertaining Guests With Themed Weekends” by Jill Harrison and Sharon Beaumont.
  • “Business Assessment: Where Are You Today and Where Are You Going?” by Larry Brownfield.
  • “Preparing to Finance Campground Improvements and Securing the Loan” by Mia Caetano Johnson and Jack Day.

In addition to the expanded slate of seminars, the two-day trade show saw 75 vendors, a mix of established industry leaders and newcomers, interacting with campground attendees.

The traffic at the trade show was positive, vendors told WCM, with Christine Kornely of The Tower Co., for one, impressed with the energy of the crowd filtering through.

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