Former CalARVC President Bill Milligan of Rancho Los Coches RV Park in Lakeside makes remarks during introductions at RV Park Day

The California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC) held its largest RV Park Day event last week at Calistoga RV Park in Calistoga, Calif., attracting nearly 90 park operators and industry officials.

“We are thrilled to see the rising levels of attendance and enthusiasm from park operators across California,” said Debbie Sipe, CalARVC’s executive director, in a release. “We already have people signing up for our next RV Park Day event, which will take place Oct. 3 at Benbow KOA in Garberville.”

That event will be prefaced by golf tournament hosted by San Diego-based RV Park Brokerage.

CalARVC’s RV Park Days include educational talks on topics of interest to park operators as well as informal networking opportunities with eight or more experts who make 15-minute presentations at each table.

Sipe said the informal presentations provide parks operators the opportunity to interact directly experts in their fields and take home resources that a traditional convention doesn’t allow for.

Additionally, vendors are incorporated into all aspects of the day. Not only do they gain a better understanding of RV park operations, they are able to lend their expertise to any given topic that is discussed.

“It’s all about developing relationships that go far beyond a traditional trade show,” Sipe said. “It’s no longer about buying and selling. It’s all about finding ways for park operators to improve their business efficiency and profitability. And when it’s a vendor that’s been able to do that, it is a win-win for everyone.”

Dave Kendrick of DogTrekker.com (right) talks about the latest trends in people traveling with pets during the roundtable discussion portion of the CalARVC RV Park Day event

Experts attending last week’s RV Park Day in Calistoga included Skip Waisner of ReserveAmerica.com, who noted that the website can now be used as a reservation and marketing platform for private parks as well as public parks; Dave Kendrick of DogTrekker.com, which promotes dog friendly campgrounds and other attractions; Daniella Faieta of Coloma Resort, who talked about how to improve campground store sales with park branded clothing items and other accessories; Jason Ikerd of Edelstein, Gilbert, Robson & Smith, who talked about the importance of local lobbying and how to do it; and Thom Niederkofler of Pacific Current Partners, who discussed how to use metrics to improve park management.

Other experts participating in the roundtable discussions included Damian Petty from Leavitt Recreation Insurance; Rob Coldren of the Coldren Law Office; C. David Straight of Strait Answers; as well as Jason James of MHRV ACE LLC, a Temecula, Calif.-based company that helps parks protect themselves against discrimination lawsuits involving the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Last week’s RV Park Day event also included a presentation by Sipe, who provided updates regarding the redesign of CalARVC.org. She also provided an overview of Kampgrounds of America’s latest camping survey, which identified 1.2 million new campers last year in addition to noting that today’s campers are younger, more ethnically diverse, more tech savvy and more cabin inclined.

“If you own an RV park, you need to do (come to an RV Park Day event),” said Patricia Moore of Waiiaka RV Park in Yreka. “It will save you heartache, time and money.”

Tom Gaither, western show director for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), also found value in attending the RV Park Day event. “This is where the CalARVC member benefits come to life,” he said.

The day’s events also included a buffet style lunch and dinner and informal campfire discussion. For more information about CalARVC and its upcoming educational and networking events, please visit www.calarvc.org.