> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Imagine Attending a Trade Show without the Hotel Bill or Airport Security? That’s what AGS Internet Services (AGS) envisions for its new informational website.
AGS has launched what it believes is the campground sector’s first “online traveling trade show,” a site at which web-cruising campground operators can visit vendor booths, attend seminars and exchange self-help information, much like they would at a regular trade show.
While some state associations provide their members with vendor lists as well as the ability to participate in password-protected forums, www.travelingtradeshow.com purports to be the first website that enables parks and participating suppliers to freely interact.
“There hasn’t been a forum like this for campground owners,” Louise Rogers, co-owner of Port Angeles, Wash.-based AGS, said of the new website, which was launched in late January. “This is something where everyone can get involved. It’s an online brainstorming session.”
Rogers, whose company hosts websites for private campgrounds and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), got the idea for the traveling trade show website after participating in numerous informal discussions with park owners and suppliers at trade events across the country.
“I started thinking, if we could give them that (trade show) information on the Web, and let them brainstorm on the Web, it would be something that would benefit the whole campground industry,” she said.
Additional trade show formats involving the bed-and-breakfast and hotel industries will soon be incorporated through the same website.
Each participating vendor pays $300 a year to have a booth on the site, which includes a photo of his or her product and logo, a brief description of the product or services, a link to the vendor’s website and the e-mail address. But anyone can participate in the online seminars by simply e-mailing questions and comments and watching the discussions unfold on their computer screen. The only restriction, Rogers emphasized, is that content must be relevant to the seminar’s subject and focus on positive, constructive information.
“I don’t want to get caught up in talking about a bad camper, a bad situation,” she said. “If a traveler stumbles onto it, I want them to see the positive sides of this industry.”
Among the seminar topics: campground hospitality, activity ideas and campsite phone service. “We will add new seminars as we go and archive the others so they are always available for reference to the parks,” Rogers said. “This is a great draw to keep the parks returning to the site, especially if it’s fun and interactive, colorful and fresh.”
The website also offers a wealth of other information, including links to a directory of entertainers www.wecanentertain.com, a food court with an online cookbook www.chuckwagondiner.com and a kids play area that includes things to entertain kids while traveling www.kidstravelfun.com. The site also includes links to AGS’s Business 2 Business and Traveling Scene newsletters. For more information, visit the website at www.travelingtradeshow.com.