TACO Pumps $$$ Into Statewide PR Campaign
A strong Texas economy helped create a positive atmosphere at the 36th annual Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) Spring Meeting & Trade Show May 3-5 at the Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas.
“In polling our members who were there, just about everybody indicated business was up an average of between 5% and 10% across the board,” Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director and CEO told Woodall’s Campground Management. “In these economic times, that’s pretty good.”
The event drew 185 people representing 65 campgrounds, and 48 vendors displayed their products and services at the trade show held May 4 at the nearby Inn of the Hills.
To build on the momentum created by the industry’s current successes and forestall fallout from rising fuel prices, Schaeffer said the TACO board agreed to increase its public relations budget and embark on a localized campaign to promote within the state Texas RV parks and campgrounds.
“It will focus on the fact that two-thirds of all RVers in Texas are Texans,” said Schaeffer. “We want to continue to encourage those folks, in spite of high gas prices, to keep their rigs out on the road.”
Schaeffer said the PR campaign will be aimed at writers and broadcasters within the state but may later become more national in scope.
Guest Speaker Lineup
Lori Severson, president of Severson & Associates and executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners, gave the keynote address on the topic, “Adapting Your Communication Style.” She also gave a seminar on “Prioritizing Your Workload.”
Other speakers were Bob MacKinnon of MacKinnon Campground Consulting, who spoke on “Utilizing Guest Surveys and Feedback” and “Pricing Strategies for Profit;” Walter and Carol Preble, co-owners of the Rusk (Texas) KOA on “Working With Your Significant Other;” Marty Heaner of TengoInternet on “Wireless Internet and Your Park;” Scott Chilton of Community Energy and Lon Compton of Texas Energy on “Electrical Deregulation and Energy Saving Tips;” Rebecca Moore from Recreation Resort Cottages on the growing popularity of park models in Texas parks; and Mark Anderson, chairman of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
“I think we had our best lineup of speakers ever,” Schaeffer said.
Legislative and Financial Roundup
Ron Hinkle of Ratliff & Co., Austin, talked about several legislative matters, including an update on the “theft of services” bill and reviving a criminal trespass bill. The latter was passed by the last legislature but vetoed by the governor, Schaeffer said. “We will put the bill back up in the next session,” he said. The state’s attorney general has said campgrounds are covered in the present law, Schaeffer said, “but it is murky.”
Schaeffer said the 405-member association is in very good financial position with an annual budget of approximately $850,000.
TACO Award Recipients
The association also handed out several awards. Recipients were:
During the annual auction, auctioneer Daniel Kruse of Kruse International helped TACO raise more than $30,000 to support its government affairs program, which was a record amount for the association, Schaeffer said.
Severson brought with her two Green Bay Packer football stars, Santana Dotson and Sean Jones, who helped raise more than $6,000 for the Gilbert Brown Foundation, for children.
TACO will hold its annual fall convention in October in Canton, Texas.