Record Attendance at PCOA’s 47th Convention
Pennsylvania campground owners are more than optimistic about the 2011 camping season and shared their enthusiasm with one another at the 47th Annual Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) Convention Dec. 6-8 at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg, which boasted its highest numbers in both campgrounds and vendors.
More than 175 attendees from 80 Pennsylvania campgrounds, plus one prospective owner and three out-of-state owners attended, along with 70 exhibitors.
“It was a very good convention,” said Beverly Gruber, PCOA executive director. “There was a lot of enthusiasm and campground owners were buying at the trade show.”
“Our 2010 campground occupancy was 3.6% ahead of 2009,” Gruber noted. “I’ve been doing this job for 28 years and that is the biggest increase we’ve ever had.”
Gruber believes the main reason for the increase is due to PCOA’s revamped website.
“We have done a lot of work with our website (www.pacamping.com) and we changed our logo to include the website address and I think the Internet has really helped,” she said. “We do a lot of promotions and channel everything through our web site.”
Hits to PCOA’s website were up 32% in 2009-2010.
“We also know there are more people camping these days,” she added.
With that in mind, Pennsylvania campground owners look forward to what 2011 has in store and participated in a variety of seminars during the convention.
PCOA Convention seminars included:
- Forecasting Your Financial Future by Bob MacKinnon, president of MacKinnon Campground Consulting/Guest Reviews.
- Practical Social Media by Evanne Schmarder, Roadabode Productions.
- Where Memories Are Made by Eileen Vaughan, Mountain Vista Campground.
- The Innovators Toolbox by Rob Wilson, author and motivational speaker.
- Maximize Your Online Exposure by Peter Pelland, Pelland Advertising.
- Developing a Guest Relations Program by Lori Severson, Severson & Associates.
- Brochure and Print Development by Judy Deegans, former owner of Anderson’s Brochure Distribution Service.
- Low or No Cost Guerilla Marketing-13 Go-to Tips by Evanne Schmarder.
- Panel on Guest Reviews and Monitoring Your Progress Moderated by Bob MacKinnon.
- Park Trailer Opportunities by Bill Garpow, Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
- Pesticide Seminar
- Heartsaver CPR/AED Training.
Roundtable discussions included: Halloween activities, abandoned trailers and evictions, legal advice, profit centers, planning new sites, landscaping on a budget, maintenance tips, website marketing, partnering with other businesses, bedbugs and other pests, Quickbooks for use at campgrounds, cap stores and campground rules and regulations.
A well-attended Crackerbarrel was conducted by Bruce Heasley, Holiday Pines Campground.
Seventy exhibitors were on hand during the trade show, including log cabin dealers, equipment dealers, shirt vendors, advertising, entertainers, food distributors, software providers and printers.
Gruber reported that the Pennsylvania Auction raised $26,310, thanks to the generosity of vendors and campground owners. The auction raises money to fund educational scholarships and the National School of RV Park and Campground Management.
The Sunday prior to the convention 49 campground owners enjoyed visiting the nearby Civil War battlefield with a tour guide, and then spent time in the new visitor’s center. This trip was sponsored by Evergreen Insurance, Lewiston, Maine. Highlights were stops at several important battle sites, and the Civil War Museum and cyclorama in the visitor’s center.
PCOA Presents Many Awards to Campgrounds
Several awards were given during the event including:
- Best Apparel Item: Lake-In-Wood Campground, Narvon.
- Best Brochure: Whispering Pines Camping Estates, Stillwater.
- Best Camping Photo: Western Village RV Park, Carlisle.
- Best Example of Community Involvement: Rosemount Campground, Tamaqua.
- Most Creative Activity: Lake-In-Wood Campground, Narvon.
- Best Example of Guest Service: Lake-In-Wood Campground, Narvon.
- Best Souvenir: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Mill Run.
- Best Promotional Piece: Kalyumet Campground, Lucinda.
- Best Website: Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg.
- Tourism Employee of the Year: Harecreek Campground, Corry.
- Best Promotion for the RV Centennial: Brookdale Campground, Meadville.
Two special awards were given including one to Don Bricker, Bricker French Fries, who went above and beyond helping the PCOA at the York RV Show. The other award was presented to Skip and Judy Deegans who recently sold their business, Anderson’s Brochure Distribution Service, after 25 years of faithful service to the campground industry.
During PCOA’s annual meeting six regional directors were elected as follows:
- Region I: Tim Chilson, Brookdale Campground, Meadville.
- Region II: Deene Yehchochic, River’s Edge Campground, Connellsville.
- Region III: Kathy Stetler, Pioneer Campground, Laporte.
- Region IV: Tammy Boltz, Lickdale Campground, Jonestown.
- Region V: Tim Cartmell, Countryside Family Campground, Honesdale.
- Region VI: Karl Schmidt, Elizabethtown/Hershey KOA, Elizabethtown.
Also elected as new regional vice president for regions V and VI was Barbara Repetski, Hemlock Campground, Tobyhanna.
Next year’s PCOA Convention will be held at the Sheraton in Erie, Pa., Dec. 5-7.