David Avrin, an internationally known marketing and branding expert, will keynote the opening luncheon at the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds’ (ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE).
OHCE’s opening luncheon begins at noon Tuesday, Dec. 2, at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, according to a written announcement from ARVC, based in Centennial, Colo.
Avrin specializes in showing businesses how to recognize, craft and promote a truly unique and marketable competitive advantage, while building their brand identity. He has been featured on hundreds of broadcast media outlets and is the author of three books, including It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You. His latest book, Impossible to Ignore, is due out next year.
“We think David is really going to energize and inspire our members to think differently about how they promote their park’s guest experience while at the same time grow their business,” said Barb Youmans, ARVC’s senior director of membership and education.
Avrin has recently given presentations around the world, including Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand; Melbourne, Australia; Monte Carlo, Monaco; London, England; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and in Dubai.
OHCE is a four-day event Dec. 2-5 that includes 50 seminars, a trade show with more than 100 vendors, a tour of local parks and ARVC’s annual awards program. This year’s OHCE also includes two half-day workshops, one focusing on “Wi-Fi systems,” and the other providing information to help park operators obtain business loans.
For OHCE program and registration information, visit www.arvc.org/OHCE.
The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) announced a new member benefit with payment processing company First Data, a deal which can save private park operators thousands of dollars in credit card processing fees, according to ARVC's written announcement.
“We think this is going to be a highly sought-after member benefit because First Data will work directly with campground operators to develop a program that best suits their credit and debit processing needs while saving them money,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
First Data is providing ARVC members reduced rates on face-to-face retail transactions, Spend Trend analyses and ATM terminals.
First Data is also offering ARVC members a Platinum Service Package for reduced rates that includes enhanced statements; a customer Spend Trend analysis; 24/7 access to transaction data; alerts; and a tool to offer coupons and discounts to park customers. ATM terminals are also available at a reduced rate.
Based in Atlanta, First Data is a global leader in electronic payment processing.
The company also offers consulting services and other resources to help park operators improve their payment security and risk management.
Based in Denver, Colo., ARVC is a national trade association representing the interests of privately-owned RV parks, resorts and campgrounds. Membership is composed of RV park and campground owners and operators, industry suppliers, franchisers and others committed to promoting the growth and welfare of the RV park and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry through development and implementation of legislative, regulatory, educational and promotional programs and activities. Visit arvc.org for more information.
"Sue and Glenn Wells have found them a home-away-from-home in a place called Big Meadow Campground located in Townsend, Tenn., at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. With it comes an adoptive family, Malcolm and Barbara Johnson," wrote Rachel Evans in a column in The Neshoba Democrat of Philadelphia, Miss.
"Last year, Big Meadow was named #l campground in the state of Tennessee. Recently, it was named the #l campground in the United States! 'Can you believe it!' Sue called all excited to tell me. And, yes, I can, having been there as Sue and Glenn's guest, in years past with Helen Tolbert and Pat Johnson. It is a beautiful, very relaxing place," she wrote after the award was bestowed by the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) at their annual Outdoor Hospitality Convention & Expo in Knoxville the first week of November.
Evans concluded, "Congratulations to Malcolm and Barbara, and to Sue and Glenn, you chose well in selecting a home-away-from-home!"
To see the entire column covering various items, click here.
Tents for Troops (T4T) added three new parks as a result of the recent National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) conference in Knoxville, Tenn.
Although organizers of T4T weren't able to attend the show, Jennifer Schwartz and Erica Owens of the ARVC both went out of their way to make sure that T4T would not miss out on getting some new parks as a result of the conference, T4T's Charlie Curry said.
Just a few days prior to the conference T4T received a letter from the White House Joining Forces initiative encouraging RV parks and campgrounds to consider joining the T4T Program.
The welcome bags that went to ARVC conference attendees included a copy of this letter along with a T4T application.
As a result T4T added three parks from northern New Jersey, which puts T4T at nine Parks in New Jersey.
Curry said Office Depot also helped make it happen.
Debbie Decker from Kymers Camping Resort called and enrolled not only Kymers but the Delaware River Family Resort and Panther Lake Camping Resort as well.
Kymers offers 200 acres to explore in the Kittatinny Mountains of northern New Jersey; Panther Lake Camping Resort 50 miles from New York City also has 200 acres to explore and their own 45-acre lake; and Delaware River Family Campground offers the chance to take to the river in a raft, canoe or tube, hike the Appalachian Trail, or just relax around the resort.
T4T encourages owners and managers of RV parks and campgrounds to join their growing network of parks is giving something back to our troops every day of the year.
For more info on adding a park to T4T email email@example.com, call (360) 274-7915 or see their Website.
Big Creek RV Park made a big splash at the yearly National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE) last week in Knoxville, Tenn.
Owners Craig & Patty Claney took home the 2013 Plan-It Green award for small/medium park, as well as the 2013 Small Park of the Year runner-up, according to press releases.
There are more than 3,000 member parks in ARVC, and more than 80% of these parks are classified as small (100 sites or less) or medium (101-250) sites. Competition for these awards is fierce, and winning such awards can not only spotlight a park as a great place to camp, it can also show customers that the park goes the extra mile in areas such as customer service, amenities, activities, and eco-friendly practices.
Owner Patty Claney said, “It is such an honor to win either award, but to win both after building the park from the ground up and opening in March of 2009 is truly humbling. The response from our customers to our winning the awards has been so amazing! E-mails, phone calls, and Facebook messages of congratulations coming from so many has been amazing.”
The ARVC Plan-It Green award is given each year to one small/medium park and one large park and is based on the following (100 points possible):
• Park has converted to tankless water heaters (5)
• Park uses motion sensors for lighting in the bathrooms and club house (5)
• Park has switched to energy efficient light bulbs (5)
• Park uses non-toxic biodegradable cleaning products (5)
• Park uses water-saving shower heads and/or auto turn-off taps (5)
• Park provides recycle bins for cans, paper, glass and plastic (5)
• Park uses energy-saving products and appliances (5)
• Park offers eco-friendly and ‘Leave No Trace’ tips and education for guests(5)
• Park landscaping consists of wood chip, pebble, paved or grass paths (5)
• Park has "Reduce Water Usage" signage around the park (5)
• Park has one or more of the following: lighting, heaters and/or coolers with timers (5)
• Park uses solar power or wind power (5)
• Park uses low flush toilets or waterless urinals (5)
• Park participates in on-site organic composting (5)
• Park sends email confirmation rather than paper to minimize waste (5)
• Park uses geo-thermal heating/cooling (5)
• Park plants new trees frequently (5)
• Explain your commitment to Plan-It Green Friendly Park practices (15)
The criteria for the Park of the Year Award, which is given to a park in each of four categories (Small, Medium, Large, and Mega)—with a runner-up in each category, is much more intensive. There are four categories: Marketing/Public Relations (40 points possible), Operations/Management Skills (80 points possible), ARVC Involvement (10 points possible), and Commitment to Industry (10 points possible).
Within each category, there are specifics that relate not only involvement in ARVC and the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (MOARC), but also community involvement, emergency preparedness, and even use of social media. Parks must prove that they are truly outstanding in every way in order to be considered.
Big Creek RV Park LLC is a full-service Good Sam RV park with full hookups, cable TV, Wi-Fi Internet, pool, private air-conditioned/heated showers, laundry, arcade, meeting hall, propane fill station, and big-rig friendly sites. We are open year-round. Visit www.bigcreekrvpark.com for more information.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announced Monday (Sept. 30) it has launched a member benefit program with Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Blue Rhino that provides significant discounts on propane, barbecues and other outdoor accessories.
“This is another very practical discount program that will save our members money,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
While ARVC already has discount programs with the nation’s leading propane suppliers, the Blue Rhino discount program covers the propane canisters used for barbecue grills as well as a wide range of other outdoor living products, including outdoor heaters, fireplaces, fire pits, fireplace accessories, mosquito traps and barbecue accessories marketed under the Mr. Bar-B-Q brand name.
ARVC members wanting to take advantage of the Blue Rhino discounts should log in to arvc.org and go to the Blue Rhino listing in the Supplier Marketplace. From there, call the main contact listed to receive special discounts. More information about Blue Rhino and Mr. Bar-B-Que products is available at www.bluerhino.com and www.mrbarbq.com.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has launched a member benefit program with New Holland Agriculture that can save park operators significantly on purchases of tractors, backhoes and other utility vehicles.
“ARVC membership can now save park operators thousands of dollars whenever they purchase a tractor, backhoe or other type of maintenance or materials handling vehicle from New Holland,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
ARVC created the new member benefit program with New Holland in direct response to feedback the association has received from members who have lauded the performance and reliability of New Holland equipment.
Based in New Holland, Pa., New Holland Agriculture sells agricultural tractors, compact tractors, attachments and loaders for compact tractors, backhoes, Rustler utility vehicles as well as skid steers and materials handling equipment.
To receive special pricing, purchasers need to belong to the national association. ARVC members are encouraged to notify their New Holland dealer and indicate that they are an ARVC member and are eligible for a major account discount.
OHCE Regular Registration Deadline Approaching
This November is your chance to join hundreds of your fellow park owners and operators at the Knoxville Convention Center for the premier event of the RV park and campground industry.
This year’s Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE) regular registration deadline is Sept. 30. Register online at arvc.org/OHCE by that date and save $100 over the late registration.
Regular registration includes 35 educational seminars, all of which are Outdoor Hospitality Education Program-approved, attendance to the trade show and expo, keynote address, annual membership meeting and breakfast, the Awards of Excellence Dinner with a live performance from country music artist Rob Baird, and much more.
For the latest updates and additional information, visit the ARVC conference website at www.arvc.org/OHCE.
Darrell Hess & Associates (Campgrounds for Sale) will be presenting “Preparing to Sell: Now or in the Future” at the National Associations of RV Parks and Campgrounds convention in Knoxville, Tenn.
The firm's presentation will be on Nov. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Preregistration is required to attend this exclusive workshop.
Darrell Hess & Associates has specialized in the RV park industry for 30 years as brokers, consultants and speakers. They frequently conduct workshops for ARVC, state associations and 20 Groups.
Visit www.CampgroundsForSale.com or call (828) 452-1535 for more information.
For more information on the convention, contact ARVC at (303) 681-0401.
As high profile wildfires burned public lands across the state of Colorado in June, Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), was busy putting out some fires of his own.
From his office in the Denver suburb of Centennial, Bambei couldn’t see any of those wildfires which captured media attention and prompted some well-timed damage control efforts from both ARVC and Camp Colorado, the state campground association. But he could feel the heat that some ARVC decisions – even one made before he joined the association as CEO late in 2010 – were creating.
In particular, Bambei had what he called a serious discussion around Memorial Day with Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), over ARVC’s decision not to provide moderate financial support for Go RVing Coalition activities. Historically, that support ranged between $50,000 and $100,000 annually and was delivered by Bambei’s predecessor, Linda Profaizer, during RVIA’s Committee Week in June each year.
“The association (ARVC) felt it needed some recognition for the contribution and that was a way to get it rather than just sending in a check,” Profaizer explained to WCM. “For several years early on, ARVC members contributed more than dealers to the program,” although the campground sector has generally been lukewarm in its support of the RV-centric Go RVing marketing campaign because of its focus on recreational vehicles. There was a feeling for a period of years that the Go RVing advertising did not adequately reflect campground settings. It reflected RVs in neutral settings.
The last check presentation came in 2010 after which time the ARVC board voted to drop such support from the ARVC budget and leave funding up to individual member parks.
Starting in 2011 and continuing in 2012, member parks could send donations to the ARVC office and a single check was written to Go RVing, usually in June. That check totaled $6,000 in 2012, Bambei said. No check had yet been written for 2013 when Bambei was interviewed by Woodall’s Campground Management on June 27.
The absence of a moderate contribution from ARVC was addressed by the RVIA behind closed doors during RVIA’s Committee Week in early June in Washington, D.C. Ahead of that, an ARVC board member alerted Bambei to RVIA’s concern, and he called Coon.
Following is Bambei’s recollection of that discussion.
“I applaud what Go RVing has meant for our industry. Anything that stokes our industry and makes our industry more relevant to the consumer is something I am in favor of,” Bambei said. “And ARVC will always support it.”
But in explaining the board’s decision in 2010, Bambei said, “What they were trying to do was push the decision for funding for Go RVing to the members within ARVC who are the direct beneficiaries of it. They are encouraged to write a check and fund it if they see value. And if not, then they don’t.
“ARVC’s role is to promote the program, which we do on our website and we are the funnel that administers the funding that comes from our members back to RVIA. What got some of the RVIA folks a bit excited was that the funding levels have dropped.”
Bambei agreed the drop in financial support is “dramatic” but quickly added, “We make decisions each day on a much more limited budget. Ours (budget) is about one tenth of what RVIA’s is. It’s a completely different dynamic for us to be able to write a big check out of our pockets for something that is a branding investment that mostly RVIA gets a benefit from. The program is geared to people who are thinking about buying an RV. Does this program necessarily translate into somebody showing up at one of our member parks? You can argue both sides of that. As we track those leads, it is the members themselves who see it more than anyone else. If they’re not seeing that, they are not compelled to write a check.”
ARVC Still Supports Go RVing
“The important thing I want to stress is, we still support Go RVing. It’s just an individual business decision by each member whether they want to support it. ARVC as an organization supports it. Our Go Camping America website is the search engine for Go RVing. We didn’t ask for any contributions to redevelop GCA’s website when we were paying for that upgrade the past year. It’s reciprocal. It’s all for the common good.”
Reviewing his discussion with Coon, Bambei concluded, “We vowed to do a better job of communicating. Speaking for myself, I haven’t done a great job of that. I invited Richard to our conference in Knoxville in November and to our ARVC Business Forum (which meets during the conference). There are a lot of things we should be cross-channeling. We will try to do that more often and do a better job of it. What’s important is, we both awoke to a mutual concern. He told me he would take our discussion back to his board and he said they wouldn’t be happy. I said I understood that. I’m just sorry it didn’t get clearly communicated back to them.”
Coon, for his part, acknowledges that he has worked to build a better dialogue recently between the recreational vehicle industry and the campground sector in the hope that the entire industry can more closely work together – something that’s never really occurred in the past. “Look, RVIA has been working over the last couple of years to build more unity with the industry, not just our sales,” Coon said.
Coon says it’s consistent with other initiatives RVIA has undertaken over the past two or three years in its effort to better unify the industry. “We've done a good job in the areas of bringing Canadian people with us so we understand the Canadian market and their needs,” he added. “We've done a good job bringing the park model people back to the association, which are a big part of the industry. But one of the elements that is missing in the big picture is the campground industry, which we haven't had a lot of communication with in the past.”
'Superior Quality Parks' Issue
Meanwhile, Bambei and ARVC did some backpedaling on a decision announced earlier this year that ARVC would assign a designation of “Superior Quality Parks” to any ARVC member park where the owners, managers or other key employees had completed certain certificates in the new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program (OHEP).
“The original designation was meant to acknowledge a park’s commitment to education and improvement through their staff,” Bambei told WCM. “We don’t want to rate parks on anything else. We leave that to others. I don’t want to be the one with white gloves that determines whether a bathroom is clean. But we have a new education program that is being heralded by the people who use it and understand it. We want to recognize parks that try to improve through that program.”
Former ARVC president David Gorin took ARVC to task when he heard about the new designation. His viewpoint appeared in his In Sites column in the June issue of WCM.
By the time that column appeared, Gorin and Bambei had already spoken and Bambei agreed the precise designation could be amended.
ARVC subsequently renamed the designation “Superior Quality Staff.”
“We have communicated the change to all the state executives, to our board, the ARVC Foundation and to all our members. Everybody seems to be satisfied,” Bambei said.
Paul Bambei is closing his third year as CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). He spoke on a number of industry topics during an hour-long interview with Woodall’s Campground Management in mid-summer. Highlights of his comments appear in the following story and in a companion piece.
Call it a “shake up.”
That’s a phrase Paul Bambei, CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), used to describe the 2013 ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) scheduled for Nov. 4-8 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Unlike past years, ARVC has avoided conflicts with many other industry events, such as the KOA Convention, LSI Symposium and the IAAPA Show by putting the conference at the start of the month. The ARVC conference also will not conflict with the annual National RV Trade Show, which is held after Thanksgiving in Louisville, Ky., and big, 50th anniversary celebrations planned by the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) and Campground Owners of New York (CONY).
“These are all great shows that were tearing our members apart in terms of which one do they go to. We wanted to eliminate that conflict,” Bambei said.
“We will be able to see our friends from the manufacturing side at RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) and other shows that conflicted with ours. That won’t be an issue. We’re also avoiding the Thanksgiving holiday.”
All told, “This should translate into lower air fares and an easier time to get away.”
The ARVC conference will dovetail with the 48th Annual Smoky Mountain Gift Show Nov. 5-8 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, located 25 miles south of Knoxville. The show is popular with campground owners, Bambei noted.
“Convenience” is the operative word for the 2013 conference, as Knoxville is located within a 500-mile drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population and a similar percentage of ARVC member parks and campgrounds, Bambei noted.
“The whole idea of going to a place like Knoxville makes sense for that time of the year,” he added.
“We expect to see a lot of people driving in, including owners in the North who have shut down for the season and are heading South to their winter homes,” he said.
Knoxville, a city of 200,000 located in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains and Great Smoky Mountain National Park, will afford ARVC some unique opportunities to offer its members attending the conference, Bambei said.
The Hilton Knoxville is the host hotel with the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park as the secondary hotel. The expo will be held in the Knoxville Convention Center.
OHCE offers a choice of over 40 educational seminars, all of which are Outdoor Hospitality Education Program-approved and presented by nationally recognized speakers and leaders in the industry. ARVC has expanded educational content to give more learning opportunities. All educational seminars from Tuesday through Friday are now included in the full registration fee.
All sessions will take place at the Knoxville Convention Center unless otherwise noted.
Once at the conference, attendees will also notice improvements in seminar content and even the timing of some traditional events.
“We’ve shaken things up quite a bit this year,” Bambei said. “We have studied our members’ requests, so the topics of education are going to be so much different from what we’ve had in the past. For example, we have put together a multigenerational panel that includes the founder, middle generation family member and the children of that generation that are thinking about whether they want to get into the family business.
“We know there is a lot of inner-family questioning, decision-making that goes on whether the younger generations want to get into the business. We want to profile people in those situations who have been through the process, made the decision to stay and why they decided to stay with it. It should be lively and entertaining.”
New Marketing Tool Launch
During the conference, ARVC will launch a new marketing tool it has designed to provide valuable data to help campground owners run their campgrounds more efficiently.
“ARVC hasn’t been known for its data pool and its ability to pull rich data out about the industry,” Bambei conceded. This as of yet unnamed marketing tool should change that. It will let campground owners benchmark their financial data against other parks in their region and across the U.S. while maintaining privacy between participating parks, Bambei said.
“We think parks and we as a trade association will be able to see trends that affect occupancy and affect decisions day to day. We will at least understand what the median averages are and what the tolerances are of any revenue line or expense line we’re tracking.
“We won’t have a view into any one park’s proprietary data. A park that wants to keep its data private will have the ability to do that through this tool. When you pull it all up in a composite form, that’s where ARVC will have an interest in seeing all that data amassed together.”
“This is something we are very proud of,” he continued. “We’ve been working on it for some time. We’ve shared it with the ARVC Business Forum and the 20 Groups. We held webinars with both those groups to get them excited about it. We’ll put the marketing pieces together as we get closer to Knoxville.”
While no specific cost was revealed, the tool “will be very affordable,” he said.
Awards Night Move Up
ARVC also has moved up the awards night from the traditional Friday night closing to Thursday night.
“In the past, the awards banquet had been a ‘bottom of the 9th event.’ People got their awards, a few pictures were taken and everybody went home. We want people to revel in their awards. We want people to come en masse to that event and give them some good quality time to bask in the limelight.”
ARVC has lined up Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), to give the keynote speech at this year’s conference. Dow’s presentation will be at the noon luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
As head of the national umbrella organization dedicated to increasing travel to and within the United States, Dow was instrumental in leading an industrywide movement to create the Travel Promotion Act, which was signed into law in 2010. This led to the development of the nation’s first-ever communications and promotion program, known as Brand USA, which is designed to increase international travel to the United States.
Prior to joining USTA in 2005, Dow had a successful 34-year career with Marriott International. He frequently speaks on the topics of leadership, sales, marketing and management, and has co-authored two books: “Turned On – Eight Vital Insights to Energize your People, Customers and Profits” and “The Trust Imperative – The Competitive Advantage of Trust-Based Business Relationships.”
Visit www.arvc.org for more details.
Music Licensing Update, New Website Assistance
ARVC has a year under its belt of administering the music-licensing program for BMI and has worked out the bugs, most of which were administrative, Bambei said. It was an archaic, time-consuming process done via faxes and countless phone calls.
Over 1,000 campgrounds signed up with ARVC in the inaugural year of the program. “I can tell you the three music licensing companies were a bit nervous going in because it was new to them. They are all encouraged by the participation,” Bambei said.
For 2014 and beyond, ARVC has arranged for enrollees – new and renewals – to do everything online effective July 1.
New enrollees may learn all about the program, access a registration form, enroll and pay via credit card.
For renewals, campground operators may view their past invoice, renew their license and pay via credit card.
“It’s a new day for ARVC,” Bambei said. “We’re trying to get there. We think this website is the way to do it. Everything we communicate in the future is reliant on this website. We’re not going to kill people with e-mails. You go to arvc.org and everything you need to know is there.”