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SAM Magazine—Woodbury, Conn., May 7, 2019—Registration is open for SAM's 11th annual Summer Ops Camp—a three day, all-inclusive program of seminars, workshops, and site visits that explore the state of the art in summer operations. Attendees also get to experience a wide range of summer activities, and explore product offerings with a diverse group of suppliers. This year’s event is being held in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Sept. 3-5. SOCGatlinburg

Why Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a major summer destination and serves as the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States—nearly twice that of the Grand Canyon, which has the second most. Gatlinburg welcomes 11+ million visitors each year with annual average sales of $3.4 billion. Businesses in this rocky-top town specialize in welcoming a diverse mix of summer guests—a different, yet lucrative market than what mountain resorts cater to in winter.

"Operators will get a rare behind-the-scenes look at what makes the businesses in this high-traffic, high-sales area so successful,” said SAM publisher Olivia Rowan. "We will visit and talk with operators about retail, attraction mix, theming, marketing, pricing, safety, staffing, latest products and technologies, demographics, and much more. Gatlinburg is an eye-opening experience and a must-see for any mountain resort operator who is in, or getting into, the summer business."

Moonshine Tastings to Thrilling Zip Coasters

Gatlinburg sells itself as a "magical mountain experience served up with Southern hospitality.” Below are just some of what's on tap during three chock-full days at Summer Ops Camp:

• Boyne Resorts’ SkyLift and the newly opened mountaintop SkyPark, including the new SkyBridge—the longest suspension bridge in the U.S.

• Anakeesta, an award-winning, multi-feature destination described as "a unique outdoor family experience that immerses guests of all ages in the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors."

• Mountain coasters. There are seven coasters in a five-mile radius, and each offers a unique experience, day and night.

• Zip Coasters. This new twist on zips takes the zip line ride to the next level with exciting dips and curves. We will check out two different installations.

• Retail and F&B. Retail and F&B are major draws for Gatlinburg's summer visitors. From moonshine distilleries and wineries to specialty food, we will experience what the area has to offer in unique settings.

• Theming and storytelling. Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge are loaded with tourist attractions, all with their own theme and story. Operators will learn how to draw in the drive-by and destination customer through the art of storytelling.

• Ebikes. This trend in two-wheel transport is exploding. Attendees will demo and learn more about them.

• Mountain Biking. ClimbWorks, a highly regarded canopy tour and mountain biking facility, has custom flow trails on tap.

• Hiking. The region's 800 miles of hiking trails and hundreds of miles of streams attract outdoorsmen and nature enthusiasts from all over the country.

More information

Come to Summer Ops Camp to gain insights into key strategies and opportunities that will boost your own summer ops business. "My team and I gained so much from the small group setting. I took something from every conversation, every workshop, and every activity and site tour. My third year coming...and we continue to draw new ideas." Summer Ops Camp 2018 attendee.

To view the schedule at a glance and register for Summer Ops Camp, visit saminfo.com/summer-ops-camp.

Questions? Email sarahw@saminfo.com. Spots are limited at camp. Registration is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.