Profaizer: Memorable ARVC Conferences
Linda Profaizer is immediate past-president of ARVC and a columnist for Woodall's Campground Management. You can contact her at email@example.com. She welcomes help along the way to give her some ideas on topics of importance to campground owners and operators as they manage their businesses.
It’s funny how you get into routines in life – you know, those things that you do at certain times of the day, the month, the year. Things that you’ve been doing for years either because you have to or you want to or you are too superstitious to change.
I’ve been thinking and reading about the upcoming National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo being held in Savannah, Ga. This is the first year in many years (at least 25 and probably more like 30) that I won’t be attending. While I really had to go to conferences throughout my career for the job, there were many events that I sincerely looked forward to and enjoyed. The National Conference was one such event and I will definitely miss not being there for a variety of reasons and superstition isn’t one of them.
I think most of all, I’ll miss saying “hi” to the people that I have come to know over 40 years in this industry. That’s one of the best aspects of going to the conference – keeping up with friends and learning from their experiences over the past year. You build up relationships with your fellow park owners/managers and there is no better way to learn about this industry than from your peers. It has always impressed me and anyone else who got involved in this industry how willing park owners/managers are to share their knowledge. That’s worth the price of admission right there. Whatever issue you might be facing in your business, you are not alone – someone else out there has dealt or is dealing with the same issue.
Of course that’s not the only aspect that I will miss – there are all the suppliers as well who are very supportive of our industry. Having been on the supplier side of the industry for 30 years, I could always relate to their issues and concerns. It was really fun and informative to walk the aisles and talk to the suppliers and see the latest and greatest in products and services offered to the industry. There is no better way to keep up on product trends and to find the best ways to conduct and better your business and business practices.
This past year I’ve seen more parks begin to utilize wind power and while the industry has always used solar to some extent, some are really beginning to use it to light and heat their buildings. While in Nova Scotia this past summer, there were several parks using solar on the sides of their buildings to harness enough power to provide electricity in their recreation building. More parks are looking at this technology to save money over the long haul and to be more efficient. I’m sure there will be one or two suppliers of these technologies at the conference. The technology is changing and prices are coming down.
I also always enjoyed the information on industry trends and input of industry experts on where the industry is headed and why. Keeping up with industry trends is of importance to everyone. It helps you run your business and not be blindsided by new trends.
The social events were always fun. Well, except for one time in Las Vegas when ARVC (and maybe then it was called NCOA) hired a comedian to entertain the crowd. He was so horrible I didn’t want to look at anyone and when I turned around, the room had cleared out in a short 15 minutes and I soon followed. Of course that is by far not the norm – looks like ARVC is planning a fun, delicious food experience the first night of the convention with a Low Country Boil in Savannah. Again, I always found the social events to be a time to talk to park owners/managers/suppliers. It was always fun, informative and personal.
One of the things I always hoped happened was that people attending the convention for the first time were welcomed by those who have been going for a while and make them feel welcomed and a part of the group. ARVC tried over the years to have park owners do this, but met with varying success. I would personally ask, for those attending this year, please make the park owners from Nova Scotia (and elsewhere) feel welcomed and extend to them the feeling that you are glad they are there. When you socialize, include them in the group.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a seminar at the national, though I’ll be doing one this November in Nova Scotia. I understand there are quite a few options this year as far as the educational seminars go, so choose carefully. These seminars are presented by people who know their topics and will provide you with great information and insight into their topic. You’ll leave with useful and in many cases new information you can use to improve your business.
There really weren’t any negatives to going to the annual conference. It was always an event I looked forward to and I encourage all of you to attend. It’s a time of sharing information, forming lasting friendships and improving your business, put on by a great ARVC staff. I’ll miss it! Most of all – have fun!