Kick off February with a positive stride by joining us for the MC Fireside Chats Open Discussion episode on February 7, 2024, at 2 PM EST! Dive into the latest insights and trends in the outdoor hospitality and recreation industry, directly from the insights of leading experts.
Host Brian Searl will be joined by recurring guests Campspot Vice President for Business Development Casey Cochran, Campground Views Founder and CEO Mark Koep, RV industry advisor Sandy Ellingson, CRR Lifestyle Chief Operating Officer, Mike Harrison, Christine Taylor of Towne Law Firm and Scott Bahr, the President of Cairn Consulting Group
This episode promises to be a melting pot of ideas, strategies, and experiences, offering invaluable perspectives on navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities within the outdoor hospitality sector. Whether you’re an industry veteran or new to the scene, this discussion is tailored to spark inspiration and foster community among all who are passionate about the great outdoors. Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with the minds shaping the future of outdoor hospitality and recreation.
January 31st Episode Recap
In a recent episode of MC Fireside Chats, hosted by Brian Searl, the conversation delved into the intricacies of the outdoor hospitality industry, featuring insights from Jenny McCullough, Director of Brand & Operations at Terramor Outdoor Resort/KOA; Jim Ritchie, CEO and Founder of AEONrv; and Dan and Angela Ugstad, Owners of Cuyuna Range Campground. The discussion spanned a range of topics, from the evolution of camping and glamping experiences to the integration of technology and sustainability in outdoor hospitality.
Jenny McCullough shared the vision behind Terramor Outdoor Resort, a venture by KOA aimed at offering an elevated camping experience. She highlighted the importance of connecting people to the outdoors and each other, a mission central to KOA’s ethos. Terramor, embodying the concept of luxury camping, has been successful in attracting both seasoned campers and those new to the outdoor experience, demonstrating the growing appeal of glamping. McCullough emphasized the role of personalized guest experiences and the significance of staff interaction in enhancing the overall stay, underscoring the balance between technology and human touch in creating memorable visits.
Jim Ritchie introduced AEONrv, a company focused on redefining the RV experience with high-tech, all-season vehicles designed for off-road and off-grid adventures. Ritchie’s background in Silicon Valley has informed the innovative approach of AEONrv, which aims to cater to a niche market seeking sustainable and durable RV options. He discussed the challenges and opportunities in expanding the RV market, particularly in relation to winter camping, and highlighted the importance of sustainability in the design and operation of RVs.
Dan and Angela Ugstad shared their journey of establishing Cuyuna Range Campground, emphasizing their commitment to creating a private and nature-centric camping experience. They discussed the challenges of starting a campground from scratch, including navigating environmental regulations and designing a layout that prioritizes privacy and space. The Ugstads’ approach reflects a growing trend in the industry towards offering more secluded and environmentally integrated camping options, catering to campers seeking a retreat into nature.
The conversation also touched on the broader trends in the outdoor hospitality industry, including the rise of winter camping and the increasing demand for sustainable practices. The speakers discussed the potential for campgrounds and RV manufacturers to adapt to these trends, offering insights into how businesses can evolve to meet the changing preferences of campers. The importance of listening to guest feedback and leveraging technology to enhance the camping experience was a recurring theme, highlighting the dynamic nature of the industry and the need for continuous innovation.
Sustainability emerged as a key topic, with discussions on how campgrounds and RV companies are incorporating eco-friendly practices into their operations. From planting native trees and supporting local ecosystems to designing energy-efficient RVs, the speakers shared their efforts to minimize the environmental impact of camping and promote conservation. The introduction of honeybee hives at Terramor Outdoor Resort was highlighted as an innovative approach to combining education and conservation, illustrating the potential for campgrounds to contribute to environmental awareness and stewardship.
The episode underscored the complexity of balancing technology, sustainability, and personalized guest experiences in the outdoor hospitality industry. The speakers shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in catering to a diverse range of campers, from those seeking luxury and convenience to those desiring a more traditional connection with nature. The discussion reflected the evolving expectations of campers and the ongoing efforts by industry leaders to innovate and adapt to these changes.
This episode provided a comprehensive overview of the current state and future directions of the outdoor hospitality industry. Through the experiences and insights of Jenny McCullough, Jim Ritchie, and Dan and Angela Ugstad, the conversation highlighted the importance of innovation, sustainability, and guest-centric approaches in shaping the future of camping and glamping. As the industry continues to evolve, the commitment to enhancing the outdoor experience while preserving the natural environment remains a central theme, driving the efforts of campgrounds and RV manufacturers alike.
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.