The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is set to host its first-ever Campground Vendor Showcase before the opening of the 58th Annual Detroit RV and Camping Show.
Slated to take place from 2-6:30 p.m., Jan. 30, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich., Maris Brennan, MARVAC’s membership director, told Woodall’s Campground Magazine (WCM) that it made sense to host the event due to the large amount of space the association already has rented for its annual Detroit show.
“We are already renting 300,000 square feet, so adding a few more thousand isn’t such a bad price point for us, and we wanted to make it as inexpensive as possible for the vendors and for the campgrounds that are coming to visit,” she explained.
The event will include a chance for vendors to show off their wares to the more than 30 individuals who have signed up already. Brennan said that the association is hoping to bring in around 40 vendors.
“We have a lot of people who are excited about the idea,” she said. “The shortness of it is making it a little bit difficult because we’re only going to do a half-day to a three-quarter day. It’s not something that people from way out of town are necessarily coming into, but we kind of thought that would be the case.
“We created a QR option for vendors that want to take part but can’t physically be at the event that will allow them to share information about their company with participants,” Brennan added. “That information will also be printed in a book for the participants to take home with them. It will offer them a great way to still get in front of Michigan parks.”
The QR code option is $199 for non-members and $49 for members. There are discounts for those taking part in the Detroit show as well.
Booth prices for the event sit at $199 for members and $399 for non-members.
Brennan stressed that this event is open to everyone, MARVAC members and non-members.
Besides just the vendor showcase, Brennan said there will be sessions focused on updating attendees on the association, an educational event with a speaker that Brennan is still finalizing and a networking happy hour.
“The speaker we are working to secure will be talking about the changing demographics of campers and the changes the sector has seen since the COVID pandemic,” Brennan explained. “It used to be all be old folks and now we’re working with Millennials. It’s the highest percentage of new campers out there and the highest percentage of campers overall, and a lot of our members don’t know how to communicate with them. We’re going to do some work on how to reach them, how to communicate with them, and how to make them comfortable coming into the campground environment.”
The association hopes to turn this into an annual event.
“We’re hoping that it will become popular and that we can continue to do it annually,” Brennan said. “It’s not something that MARVAC has historically done, so this is kind of new territory for us.
“I am new to the association and so is our President and CEO John Lindley, so our approach to things is a little bit different and we’ve been spending a lot of time talking with our members about the things that they need from their association,” she added. “One of the things that kept coming up for campgrounds was assistance in getting professionals in to help them run their business and that’s kind of where this idea was born from.”