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CalARVC is Reinventing its Convention

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January 29, 2014 by   - () Leave a Comment

Editor's note: The following article appeared in the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) "Coffee Talk" newsletter to members outlining plans for several special events throughout the state over the next year in lieu of reviving its convention and trade show.

CalARVC suspended it's convention and trade show in 2010. The traditional convention just doesn’t work any longer for the RV park and campground industry here in California. Park owners and managers are just too busy to break away.

California is huge and no matter what we do, half the attendees have to fly to get to the event and spend extra days traveling. CalARVC was competing for space and room nights in some of the world’s premier destinations. Prices became too much of an obstacle for the average RV park or campground.

Instead, California held its first RV Park Day in Paso Robles last spring. The event was repeated Tuesday (Jan. 28) with 75 registered attendees as of this writing. The entire event is structured to facilitate & develop connections between attendees. There is a coffee bar in the morning, networking lunch, table-talk dinner, reception and campfire.

The afternoon session is a non-traditional format for sharing of expertise. Speakers, park operators, CalARVC staff and vendors are all equals, sharing and learning together.

Due to its success, CalARVC has now scheduled two additional events for 2014, each the same, and each unique in their own ways.

The CalARVC RV Park Vendor Day is scheduled for Newport Dunes RV Waterfront Resort, Newport Beach on Thursday, April 24. The primary mission of the event will still be to facilitate & develop connections. It will just have a special focus to connect park operators and vendors.

What we are trying to do is remove the traditional “table” that sits between a park operator and the vendor in a trade show format. We hope that park operators will change their perception of vendors as salesmen. We want them to come to rely on them as resources for information as much as resources for products or services.

To that end we will keep a couple of common elements from yesterday’s Winter Getaway: a coffee bar and networking lunch. The evening events are similar, but we change it up in the evening with a beach barbecue and campfire. The morning session will be a joint session for park operators and vendors with topics and take-aways for each.

After the networking lunch, we will have a beachside table top show. The goal for each park operator and vendor will be to build the foundations for lasting relationships, before we all head to the beach for the barbecue and campfire.

The CalARVC RV Park Fall Getaway agenda will return to the same format as our Winter Getaway. It is scheduled for Sept. 23 at Far Horizon’s 49er Village RV Resort located in the quaint gold-mining town of Plymouth just east of Sacramento. Far Horizon’s is situated in the middle of “Zin” country.

Some of California’s top Zinfandels come from one of 30 wineries within 10 miles of the park.

We already have most of the experts scheduled with great options for the morning session being debated. One of our Winter Getaway experts heard about our plans and has offered up a rather unique experience for participants. Lucas Hartford of Evergreen USA will be flying in live Maine lobsters for the table-talk dinner. I say that is something to “talk about!”

 

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