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Attendees pause between education sessions in Las Vegas

Attendees pause between education sessions in Las Vegas

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) is in full swing at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

The event, which opened Tuesday (Dec. 2) and closes Friday afternoon (Dec. 5), has more than 600 attendees, ARVC Chairwoman Marcia Galvin told Woodall’s Campground Management. “It’s going really well,” she said.

The expo features 105 vendors, Galvin said.

The mood at the conference is positive thanks to a near-universal increase in camper nights — a happy byproduct, Galvin believes, of the recession. “I think that all happened because of the economy. People still wanted to get out but wanted to do it more economically, so they went camping. Now that they’ve experienced camping, they’re sticking with it.”

Campgrounds and RV parks, in turn, are adding amenities for their guests. At Galvin’s family’s Normandy Farms Family Campground in Massachusetts, for instance, not only are they adding a dog splash park next year, “we’re going to be building a treehouse,” she said.

The expo floor features 105 vendors

The expo floor features 105 vendors

While the expo and the annual meeting and the 50 educational options are important, Galvin told WCM, one of the most helpful pieces of the conference is interaction with other campground owners and operators. “I’ve grown up in the industry,” she said. “We’re not in competition with other campgrounds. It’s a relationship business,” not just building them with guests, but building them with each other, Galvin said.

While the strong attendance is a positive sign, it’s also only about a fifth of the 3,050 members ARVC has, according to Galvin.

The association hopes that next year’s event, with an earlier time — Nov. 3-6 — and an eastern location — Daytona Beach, Fla. — may attract more ARVC members to the annual gathering.