Numbers Down, Enthusiasm Up at Reno
The numbers at last week’s Rev Up in Reno Western Conference for campground owners from California, Arizona, Oregon and Idaho didn’t reach expectations, organizers say, but the enthusiasm was still high.
The first-ever conference for campgrounds from the four states drew 132 people from 86 campgrounds, according to Mari Dudash, director of member services for the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), the lead state association. That was well down from the 250 that organizers had hoped to bring in for the March 2-4 event which was held at John Asucaga’s Nugget resort in Reno, Nev.
But the event drew a nice cross-section of parks and post-conference comments have been supportive, Dudash told Woodall’s Campground Management.
“We were happy we got what we did,” she said.
The conference and trade show drew 97 delegates (58 parks) from California, 12 delegates (10 parks) from Arizona, 18 delegates (12 parks) from Oregon, one delegate from Idaho and one from Washington. Though held primarily for the four sponsoring states, campground owners and operators from the entire West were welcome.
Attendees could attend any of 22 seminars on a wide range of topics led by leading experts in their field in the areas of park operations, technology, administration and management and on the topic Making the Most of Your Membership. Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), was the lead speaker on the latter topic.
The trade show drew 46 vendors.
“We were worried because we never did a joint state convention before,” Dudash said. “Everybody was wonderful. It made no difference whatever state you were from, we all have the same issues.”
She added that the vendors “had a very good show. For the numbers being low, we were concerned, especially for those coming from the East Coast. We had very few complaints.”
Was the conference a success? “The other state executives and presidents felt it was,” she said.
But whether the event will be repeated in 2010 remains to be seen.
“We’ve talked about it; no decisions have been made. We definitely have that thought in our mind. We are trying to figure out whether the convention format is viable over the next few years. Not everybody is going to be able to attend, even if we keep the room rates low,” she said.
For example, many Arizona park owners were still busy with the end of their snowbird season and found it difficult to break away to attend, she said.
Low room rates, entertainment opportunities, air access via Southwest Airlines and Reno’s central location were key factors in helping organizers to hold the event there.
Like campground conferences held the first week of March in Missouri and Delaware, heavy snow interferred with part of the event and likely kept some campground owners from attending after Monday, Dudash said. In fact, the CalARVC staff was stranded in Truckee, Calif., on the way home from the event, though the trip from Reno to their office in Auburn, Calif,, was just 100 miles.