After taking a gap year in 2020 due to the onset of COVID-19, the annual Lodging and Camping Ideas Forum of the British Columbia Lodging and Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) is set to return this year. The forum will be held in a place that is familiar to all—the internet.
In an interview with Modern Campground, also virtual, BCLCA Executive Director Joss Penny shared that the board of directors initially planned to have a hybrid event where exhibitors and delegates could attend virtually as the event happens in person simultaneously.
“But of course, as you know as with the wave 4 (COVID), that has actually created the issue that we’ve had travel advisories to the areas that we would go,” Penny shared.
Yet, Penny remained optimistic. He noted that there is an upside to hosting the event online.
“There’s an advantage to virtual. As you know, we get to access speakers that are in different parts of North America that we could never afford to fly in to a single location [before],” he said.
Penny said they were glad about the transition when asked again about the forum’s shift from in-person to virtual during Modern Campground’s weekly podcast “MC Fireside Chats.”
“[We are] happy to make the shift. In reality, it gives us the opportunity to record everything and develop a learning center that we would never have done in some of our conferences. And then we’ll be able to relay those materials out for those exhibitors that are there as well. They’ll be able to be promoted throughout the year, and people will have a voice,” he said.
The three-day event will be from October 19th until the 21st. Side-by-side sessions will allow attendees to learn about the outdoor industry trends, investments, issues, and more. Marketing and social media, risk management, cancellation policies, occupancy vs. tenancy, and more will also be discussed.
The virtual event will kick off with Toby O’Rourke, the CEO and President of Kampgrounds of America (KOA). O’Rourke will touch base and delve deeper into significant trends affecting RVing, camping, and glamping in North America. Topics such as some of the things that operators should be keeping an eye on for the next two years and what to invest in to improve profits will also be tackled.
BCLCA’s annual general meeting will also happen during the conference where new directors will be elected.
Also joining the event are Parks Canada and BC Parks to hold a session on accessibility, reservations, campground expansions, and more. They will also discuss wildfire mitigation, recycling and waste management, and common issues that the private sector and the public can work on together.
Canadian Camping and RV Council’s (CCRVC) Shane Devenish and Tourism Industry Association of BC’s Walt Judas will also be coming in to talk about some of the critical tourism issues brought by COVID as recovering from the pandemic.
Attendees can get good mileage out of the event with the Cracker Barrel session, where some BCLCA directors will get a chance to answer questions and chat with the members.
What follows is a two-hour networking session for members to get to know and connect with fellow delegates and exhibitors.
Attendees will have plenty of opportunities to connect with outdoor industry fellows during the conference. Another networking event that participants should expect is Vendor Speed Dating, where they can participate in a 3-minute video chat with vendors. During the session, they can discover new products and services for their business.
The trade show will consist of virtual booths where delegates can meet vendors, their staff and make appointments to find out whether their products are suitable for their respective businesses.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring information from exhibitors who actually talked to many of your competitors and actually have solutions that you may not have thought about to some of your common problems,” Penny said.
Penny shared that the event is open to members of the camping industry around the world.
“I think the important thing to recognize is that we believe in being open. So, with regards to campground operators, you don’t have to be in the geographic region of British Columbia to participate in this event. You can be anywhere in North America—or to that effect—in the world,” he said.
To register and know more about the event, visit their website here.
The BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) is a not-for-profit trade association and consumer marketing organization. Created in 1944, BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association is membership-driven and represents the interests of British Columbia’s independently owned and operated small and mid-size lodging and campground/RV park businesses.