CARVC Hosting Record-Breaking Trade Show in Myrtle Beach – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News

When Mark Koep, CEO and founder of, began his cross-country adventure as a full-time RVer 15 years ago, the United States was in a different place from a technology standpoint. iPhones, for example, were not the ubiquitous devices they are today, he said. Neither was the practice of making campground or RV park reservations using a mobile device.

Mark Koep dove into key industry trends during his speech at the CARVC conference.

But when Koep addressed attendees at the 20th annual convention of the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CARVC) on Monday (Feb. 5), he recounted just how much our world changed.

“Seventy percent of bookings are (now) on mobile devices,” Koep said, adding that 70% of new campers are under the age of 40, citing Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s latest research.

“Being under 40, they are technology first,” he added, which means that today’s private park operators need to do everything they can to incorporate technology into their marketing and campground operations if they want to thrive in the ever younger, tech-savvy market of camping consumers.

Koep also said it’s imperative that parks that are not members of CARVC join the association so that they can learn how to get in step with changing times and changing consumer expectations.

“We need to invite them to our associations and conferences so they can run their parks better,” he explained, warning that the continuing existence of poor-quality parks can negatively affect the entire industry because they affect people’s perceptions about RVing and camping.

Koep spoke to park operators from across the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia who are attending CARVC’s Feb. 3-6 Convention & Trade Show specifically to network with one another and to learn how they can improve their park operations.

The four-day conference began Saturday with an all-day workshop by the RV Training Institute at Lakewood Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, which was designed to orient park operators on the benefits of having a technician based at their park who can help RVers with repairs and maintenance.

Sunday’s sessions included a workshop on hiring and staffing by Rebecca Murphy, general manager of the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Tabor City, N.C. and Lisa Courtney, director of operations/franchisee onboarding, for Southfield, Mich.-based Camp Jellystone.

Christine Taylor of the Towne Law Firm, P.C. in Albany, N.Y. led a Sunday workshop focusing on “social issues” in campgrounds and RV parks. She also spoke Monday on a variety of legal topics involving everything from licenses to liability waivers. Monday also featured the largest tradeshow in CARVC history, with over 50 vendors, and an evening auction with live music.

Today’s sessions include a workshop with longtime publicist and Woodall’s Campground Magazine writer Jeff Crider on how to identify newsworthy topics and write press releases to promote your park.

Tyler Watts, of Broad River Campground in Mooresboro, N.C., will lead a workshop focusing on the path to ownership and management of a new park. Feliks Yamnik is scheduled to hold a lunch session focusing on Google Analytics.