Outdoor Hospitality News

For owners, operators, team members, and anyone else interested in camping, glamping, or the RV industry.

MC Fireside Chats to Broadcast Live from KOA Convention & Expo With CEO Toby O’Rourke

Another special episode of MC Fireside Chats is set to take place this Wednesday as experts in the campground industry will be discussing the latest news and trends live from the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Convention & Expo on November 16, 2022 at 2 pm EDT.

Host Brian Searl will be joined by special guest KOA President and CEO Toby O’Rourke in Orlando, Florida.

Other special guests include KOA’s OAK Property Management Senior Director for Marketing and Revenue Management Kimberly Wootteon, Brigham City KOA CEO James Settlemire, JH Consulting Solutions Founder Jeff Hoffman, and Nate Thompson of KCN Campgrounds.

The hosts and guests will be discussing pressing issues and exploring new trends that are facing the campground industry especially as it heads into the new year. It will also provide an opportunity for the panel to talk about some of the things happening at this year’s KOA Convention & Expo including workshops, guest speakers, and special activities.

The 2022 KOA Convention & Expo will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida from November 14 through 17.

This week’s episode of MC Fireside Chats will be sponsored by Firefly Reservations, a cloud-based reservation management solution designed specifically for RV parks and campgrounds which enables these businesses to accept online reservations and automate tasks like collecting emails and sending confirmations with ease.

November 9 Episode Recap

This week’s glamping episode featured long-time recurring guests American Glamping Association Founder Ruben Martinez and The Fields of Michigan Founder and CEO Irene Wood, as they are joined by new regular guests Clockwork Glamping and RV Resort Design Lead Zach Stoltenberg, and Sage Outdoor Advisory Vice President for Outdoor Hospitality Connor Schwab. The show was broadcast live at the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds’ (ARVC) annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE2022).

As the camping season draws to a close and another year ends for the glamping industry, the experts and opinion leaders shared what they learned over the past year facing new challenges and opportunities.

According to Woods, Fields of Michigan tried “moving a few levers,” trying out new strategies to see which stuck for the business, which Woods conceded was a luxury that many campgrounds do not have.

She said they improved the guest experience by being creative with their space, reusing and adjusting their campground to fit the needs and aesthetic sensibilities of their guests.

Through their exploration, she learned that meeting guest expectations while striving to provide a good experience is crucial but difficult and that Fields of Michigan had to adjust their accommodations to improve customer experience.

Woods then brought up how their brand realized having an adults-focused campground brought in more revenue rather than a campground that allowed kids. She said that adults who do not have kids tend to pay for additional amenities and attractions to maximize their experience at the glamping site, while adults with families focus a little less on their own wants and more on keeping their kids happy.

Martinez agreed with Woods’s second point, saying that there’s a point when campground operators ask themselves whether to be family-friendly or not, and what amenities, food and drinks to offer at the campsite to fit this choice.

“As soon as you try to be everything, that’s when you become nothing […] Find what’s perfect for you and stick with it. You can’t always be everything, you have to choose when it becomes hard down the line,” Martinez said. 

The show later brought on a special guest from OHCE2022, Tent Masters Sales Director Steven Woodburn, who shared his perspective on the Glamping industry and provided a tour of one of their latest tent models.

According to Woodburn, the outdoor hospitality industry has been on the rise, going full throttle post-pandemic.

Woodburn added that older generations tend to go on camping trips with families, but in recent years the demographic has grown to people from different backgrounds and age brackets, who desire to experience nature, and see camping as the perfect way to do so.

On the architecture side of the industry, Stoltenberg noted that they have seen a rise in the number of clients who are first-time campground operators inquiring about how they can continue operating during winter.

Recently, more campgrounds have begun to accommodate guests year round, operating even in colder seasons. Stoltenberg said that consultants can provide owners with solutions on how to make this possible.

Schwab noted that winter camping is something that guests may want to experience, and they would have to come up with solutions for them to accommodate them, even if there aren’t as many potential guests as during the regular camping season.

Martinez said the industry’s growth will always be made by the people looking to set themselves apart from others. Winter camping for instance, is something that would keep campsites open all year compared to seasonal camping and glamping sites would have the infrastructure flexibility to cater to that.

About MC Fireside Chats

MC Fireside Chats is a weekly show devoted to the outdoor hospitality industry. The show is hosted by Brian Searl, the founder and CEO of Insider Perks and Modern Campground, and Cara Csizmadia, member services coordinator at the Canadian Camping & RV Council (CCRVC).

Airing live every Wednesday at 2 p.m. (EDT), MC Fireside Chats features guests from the camping and RV industry who share their take on the current state of the camping, glamping, and RVing sectors as well as upcoming innovations in RV parks, campgrounds, outdoor resorts, glamping, and the RV industry.
To listen to previous episodes of MC Fireside Chats, visit: https://moderncampground.com/mc-fireside-chats/


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