Canadian Expo Brings Conference Rebirth

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When Canada RVDA partnered with the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC), the council’s main purpose was to provide educational avenues to private campground owners, promoting learning opportunities such as how to increase business efficiency and improve customer experience.

CCRVC hosted national conferences until the 2009 economic crash. For years, the CCRVC and Canadian RV industry discussed bringing back the conferences’ sponsors, suppliers, dealers and manufacturers.

In October, virtual outdoor hospitality event planners CampCon approached CCRVC to help put on last week’s first annual Canadian Outdoor Hospitality and Expo. The Expo is CCRVC’s first campground-only educational event. The event’s theme, “Celebrating New Beginnings,” marked just that.

“We tagged this one ‘New Beginnings’ because we think this is a good start, like a rebirth,” CCRVC Executive Director Shane Devenish said. “This is the perfect start to the year.”

More than 330 North American attendees, vendors and sponsors attended the virtual show Jan. 18-21.

The Canadian Outdoor Hospitality and Expo included more than 45 sessions on various topics across four education tracks, including business and finance, branding and marketing, income diversification and mastering fundamentals. Session recordings are available online for 30 days after the event.

The event included organized workshops and 3-minute, “speed-dating” networking sessions. Speaker topics explored tourism, campground operations and 2021 strategies. Kampgrounds of America’s President and CEO Toby O’Rourke gave the keynote address. She discussed data regarding the RV industry’s bright future, changing market demographics and consumer-driven business elements.

Devenish said there was such a positive attendee and supplier reaction that CCRVC is discussing how to move forward next year.

“Last year caught us off guard,” Devenish said. “It was almost like everyone in the industry drank out of the pail, as opposed to the glass. Everything came at us so fast. Now, we have had time to prepare ourselves on what to expect this year, on operating safely but also getting ready for hopefully another robust year.”

Devenish said he thinks the Canadian RV industry will have another successful year, provided everyone can replenish their inventories. “Every dealer is like a child pulling on your coat, asking for an ice cream,” Devenish said. “We have to be patient.”

CCRVC announced several award winners at the event:

    • Canadian Supplier of the Year:
    • Canadian Rising Star Award: Leanne Sallenback, South Point Resort
    • Canadian Large Campground of the Year: Marco Polo Land
    • Canadian Small Park of the Year: Surfgrove Campground
    • Camping and RV Industry Person of the Year: Jim Humphrey
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