Inaugural Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Expo a Success

Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Expo

The Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) is celebrating ‘new beginnings’ with the success of the inaugural Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo.

The virtual event ran from January 18-21 and saw over 330 attendees from Canada and the U.S. participate, along with dozens of vendors and sponsors and contributions from speakers across North America. Topics covered were specific to tourism, campground operations, and strategies for 2021 and beyond. 

Toby O’Rourke, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA), was extremely well-received as the keynote session speaker. O’Rourke presented data showcasing the camping and RV industry and its bright future, touching on the overall success in 2020, as well as providing analytics on the changing market demographics and consumer-driven business elements. The session set the stage for attendees thirsty for a learning and educational experience. 

The four-day conference delivered over 45 sessions on various topics across four education tracks, ranging from “How to Have a 5-Star Bathhouse” to “Developing a New Park,” “Best Hiring Practices,” “Working with Influencers,” “Basic Campground Accounting” and many more. The content covered provided attendees with access to a wealth of resources, and recordings of all sessions have been made available for 30 days. 

Canadian Outdoor Hospitality
Online reservation management, marketing and Wi-Fi solutions companies were also showcased at the virtual event.

Increasing connection amongst attendees was one of the primary goals of the virtual event, and this strategy included workshops, where attendees could gather and discuss focused topics in a group setting. These facilitated incredibly productive peer-based conversations that provided perspectives across a broad range of business types and regions. 

In addition, “speed-dating” networking sessions offered a unique avenue for attendees and exhibitors to randomly match and chat for three minutes before being paired with someone else, proving to be a fun way to connect with vendors and hear about their products and services. 

“It was such a great experience working with both Shane (Devenish, CCRVC executive director, pictured top left) and Cara (Braeutigam, CCRVC membership coordinator) to create a unique virtual experience,” said Heather Blankenship, co-founder of CampCon, which produced the virtual platform for the event. “To see such a positive response from both owners and vendors was the best outcome we could have expected.” 

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, officials added, with support for a 2022 event being echoed on both sides of the border. According to the CCRVC, generous contributions from sponsors and exhibitors were invaluable to the launch and success of the event, as well as to the longevity of the Council as it continues to deliver member benefits across Canada. 

The final night of the conference saw the CCRVC present a number of awards. The Award winners were:

The Canadian Camping and RV Council is comprised of the provincial campground owners associations, the Canadian RV Association and the RVDA of Canada to provide for the betterment and support of private campgrounds and the camping and RV industry in Canada. The Association also serves as the national advocacy voice of private campgrounds.