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MC Fireside Chats: Leading Industry Experts to Share Groundbreaking Insights at Upcoming Open Discussion

Save the date! On June 5, 2024, at 2 PM EST, tune in for an exciting episode of the MC Fireside Chats Open Discussion. This month’s session is set to unveil the latest trends and groundbreaking insights in outdoor hospitality and recreation, brought to you by top experts in the field.

The discussion will feature recurring guests Mike Harrison, Chief Operating Officer of CRR Lifestyle, Campspot Vice President for Business Development Casey Cochran, Campground Views Founder and CEO Mark Koep, RV industry advisor Sandy Ellingson, Christine Taylor of  Towne Law Firm, Scott Bahr, the President of Cairn Consulting Group, and Jeff Hoffman, President of Ohio Campground Owners Association. Our host, Brian Searl, will guide the conversation, ensuring a dynamic and informative session.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain invaluable insights from the visionaries shaping the future of the outdoor hospitality and recreation sector. Stay informed and stay ahead in the industry.

May 29th Episode Recap

In this episode of MC Fireside Chats, host Brian Searl is joined by Don Bennett, Jr., owner of Conesus Lake Campground; Melissa Baker, Director of Virginia State Parks; and Louis Thompson, Founder and CEO of Nomadic Resorts. Brian opens by explaining that this episode is unique, allowing for deeper conversations with the guests due to the extra week in the month, which provides an opportunity for a more intimate discussion with fewer guests.

Don Bennett discusses his semi-retirement and the operations of his family’s two campgrounds in the Finger Lakes, along with their company, Murch Tourism. They distribute campground brochures and travel guides at consumer shows, with several upcoming events in Allentown, New York, Cleveland, and Hershey. Don also talks about his new role as the Executive Director of the Illinois Campground Association and their legislative goals, emphasizing the importance of adapting to changing trends in the RV industry, such as the shift towards smaller units that are easier to manage and place less demand on campground infrastructure.

Louis Thompson delves into the potential of 3D printing in building construction, mentioning a project in Texas where the first 3D-printed hotel is being built. He highlights the benefits of 3D printing for creating innovative designs but also expresses concerns about the impact on traditional building trades. Louis describes the trend of van life, where young people retrofit traditional vans into camper vans, and how Nomadic Resorts focuses on creating modular, luxury tented camps that combine comfort with sustainability and mobility. He showcases their innovative designs, including the Looper, a modular, luxury tent that can withstand severe weather conditions.

Melissa Baker explains her role as Director of Virginia State Parks, overseeing 42 state parks with various camping accommodations. She discusses the planning process for state parks, which involves public input every ten years to guide the development of camping facilities. Melissa highlights the differences between state and private campgrounds, emphasizing that state parks offer more primitive camping experiences but do have some amenities. She notes the challenges of accommodating larger RVs and the trend towards smaller, more customized units.

The conversation shifts to the increasing popularity of smaller RVs and custom-built units. Don confirms this trend, mentioning the customization of Sprinter vans and the conversion of old school buses into mobile tiny homes, known as “schoolies.” He notes that smaller units are easier to manage and place less demand on electricity, which is beneficial for campgrounds and state parks alike. Don also highlights the importance of providing a variety of experiences for campers, emphasizing the need to offer activities and amenities that enhance the outdoor experience.

Louis showcases Nomadic Resorts’ innovative designs, including the Looper and the Seed Pod. The Looper is a modular, luxury tent that combines comfort with sustainability and mobility, designed to withstand 140 km/h winds and featuring high-quality materials for longevity. The Seed Pod is a tent suspended from trees, designed for nature reserves and environmentally sensitive areas, offering an immersive nature experience with minimal environmental impact. Louis explains that these designs aim to provide the luxury and comfort of a hotel room while maintaining a strong connection to nature.

The discussion touches on the balance between providing unique, high-end accommodations and maintaining a natural camping experience. Don mentions the challenges of zoning and capital investment, especially for campgrounds open only part of the year. He highlights the need for campground owners to be creative and innovative in offering new experiences to attract and retain guests. Louis and Brian agree on the growing demand for unique accommodations and the potential for innovation in the RV and camping industry.

Melissa concludes by emphasizing the spectrum of outdoor experiences available to campers and the importance of catering to different preferences. She mentions the role of public input in guiding the development of state parks and the need to adapt to changing trends in the camping industry. Melissa also highlights the importance of collaboration between public and private campgrounds to provide a diverse range of experiences for campers.

The episode wraps up with Don and Louis sharing resources and contact information for their respective businesses. Don mentions Murch Tourism and Illinois Go Camping as valuable resources for finding great campgrounds. Louis highlights Nomadic Resorts’ architectural and design services, expressing his interest in continuing the conversation in future episodes. The guests thank Brian for the opportunity to share their insights and look forward to future discussions on the evolving trends in outdoor hospitality and camping.

About MC Fireside Chats

Hosted by Brian Searl, CEO of Insider Perks and Modern Campground, MC Fireside Chats airs live every Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET). The show brings together industry experts to discuss the latest in camping, glamping, RVing, and more. For a recap of previous episodes, visit moderncampground.com/mc-fireside-chats.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: MC Fireside Chats: Leading Industry Experts to Share Groundbreaking Insights at Upcoming Open Discussion! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/mc-fireside-chats-leading-industry-experts-to-share-groundbreaking-insights-at-upcoming-open-discussion/