Lieberman Previews Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo II
Art Lieberman is so excited about the features of his upcoming Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo II that he gave a sneak peek on Tuesday (Aug. 23) to a handful of prospective exhibitors.
Undaunted by last year’s inaugural expo, an event that garnered rave reviews for its creativity but barely passing grades for its execution, Lieberman has lined up what he thinks this time will be a real winner.
VCopious, an award-winning, Conshohocken, Pa.-based software producer, is setting up this year’s Expo, set for Nov. 10-11 on the Internet.
The 2010 Expo, a first-ever virtual expo for the outdoor hospitality industry, attracted 479 unique visitors, of whom 297 were from campgrounds.
The company’s Elizabeth Davenport led prospects through the site during Tuesday’s demonstration.
Afterward, Lieberman talked about the upcoming event.
“There are 20 differences between then and now,” said Lieberman, comparing the two events.
Perhaps of prime importance, VCopious staff will set up the exhibitors’ booths for the Expo. Last year, exhibitors did most of the set-up themselves, with help from Lieberman and his staff. The results were spotty, with booths ranging from primitive to sophisticated.
The software provider lurked in the background much of the time last year but provided little assistance in the set-up.
“Last year, 73% of the entrants said they loved the concept but 68% said they hated the software. It wasn’t user-friendly. Not only the exhibitors but also the attendees said that.”
“The software this year is so good and so user-friendly and so easy to use, a child could operate it. Well, a child can operate it. It’s the adults we’re worried about!”
Lieberman, who runs a credit card processing firm that serves the RV park and campground industry, said campground operators are experts at running their parks but often are rusty on their office computers. The easy-to-use software will be far more appealing this time, he said.
For starters, once an exhibitor signs to sponsor a booth, VCopious staff will contact that exhibitor, ask what the exhibitor wants in the booth and assemble the contents within a day or two, Lieberman said.
Content could range from badges, signs and banners to brochures, videos and online chats. Then, the company will show the exhibitor how to operate the booth.
Not only will booth set-up be easier this time, visitors to the Expo will be ushered into the event quicker and easier, he said. For example, visitors may go directly to a particular booth once they register.
Exhibitors also will receive a more thorough report on who visits their booth. The report will note who visited the booth, what they looked at, how long they stayed, what they took with them in their “briefcase,” who they spoke to in the booth, how long the conversation lasted and any questions they asked.
“There will be total disclosure. You will know how active people were,” he said.
The Expo also will feature conferences and open forums. Lieberman is lining up a special speaker to welcome the visitors.
Lieberman and his staff are trying to make this year’s Expo an all-encompassing outdoor expo by inviting marinas, golf resorts, ski resorts, canoe and paddle boat outlets, even dude ranches to participate.
Booth sales are where they should be at this point with 27 sold, he said. Sixty-four exhibitors took part in the 2010 event.
“We’re still a couple of months out. We sold most of our space (last year) in September and October,” he noted.
Finally, Lieberman stressed that the Virtual Expo is not a substitute to the annual conference sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
“We are not competing with ARVC; we are in addition to it,” he said.
The Expo is slated to run from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Nov. 10 and 11 and be available in the "on-demand" status for 60 additional days.
As previously announced, David Gorin & Associates and Best Parks in America are the Expo’s first Platinum Sponsors.
Deb Kohls of Leisure Interactive, heading up the education portion of the Expo, is once again assembling a cast of interesting and varied speakers for the convention's webinars, Lieberman said. Last year’s keynote speaker, Derrick Crandall, drew nearly 250 attendees at his presentation.
The producers may be contacted by calling (877) 901-EXPO (3976) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Their website (currently being updated) is www.outdoorhospitalityexpo.com. Pelland Advertising maintains the Expo’s webpage. Visit hiss business at https://pelland.com.