Canadian RV, Campground Industry Convenes
Jim Rogers, chairman of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), Billings, Mont., outlined the changes in recent years at the largest campground franchisor in North America as the keynote speaker during the 4th Canadian RV & Camping Industry Convention, Oct. 25-28, at the Westin Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario.
The biennial gathering again brought together members of the Canadian Recreation Vehicle Association (CRVA), The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDAC) and Campground Campings Canada (CCC).
"He talked to us about the things that KOA has done to improve customer satisfaction," said Louise Morel, convention executive director.
About 450 people — a majority from RVDAC and the regional campground associations that comprise CCC — attended the convention, which also featured a one-day trade show with 35 exhibitors.
"The idea is to bring together the three industry partners to share ideas and to network," Morel said. "Networking is very important because this is the only venue in Canada where any of these organizations meet on a national basis.
"The three associations themselves aren't large enough to have a national convention, but economies of scale allow the three of them to get together at the same time."
Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) — CRVA's U.S. counterpart — outlined for the Canadians the customer service efforts being addressed in the U.S. by the Go RVing Coalition's Committee on Excellence. "He talked about the problems the committee has identified and what they intend to do about them," Morel said.
Also addressing the convention's theme, "Teaming Up for a Better Consumer Experience," was Tom Connellan, author of "Inside the Magic Kingdom," who shared his insights into how Disney creates exceptional experiences for its customers.
Seminars — many of them simultaneously translated into English and French — included the subjects of hiring, grassroots lobbying, appealing to different generations of RVers and hitch-and-tow safety.
The convention also featured tours of Riverside Campground near Merrickville, Ont., and Sandy Mountain Campsite and Golf Course, Mountain, Ont.
Lanny Irwin, Dometic Corp., Calgary, Alberta, a CRVA member, was named chairman of the industrywide committee that oversees the convention. The next convention will be Nov. 5-8 2009, at the Empress Hotel and Victoria Center, Victoria, British Columbia.