The RMAR rallies have done well in this sense. Fri & sat night meals are included. Everyone eats on site. Camping with cabins keeps everyone together. Those who wander to hotels are not connected. Kegs of beer are key too.All quite true! While some will "sit in dirt and eat canned food" that I think is more of the gritty adventure image. You MUST have food onsite. You MUST have showers onsite. You MUST have restrooms and I think you also must have some port-a-potties around if expecting big attendance. There are folks happy to camp out, and that can be good for getting to know folks. Having onsite rooms isn't absolutely required, but if you don't have that you probably don't have a proper meeting area.
For instance, if you don't have food onsite the event will become fragmented. Dinner especially is the best time of day for folks meeting and greeting and getting ready for a presentation ceremony or seminar.
Same with showers. No showers, no campers. Which means they are at hotels. Some will always do that, but if the majority are onsite the event has a certain camaraderie that will add a LOT.
Rallies have exploded in the last few years. Every summer weekend there are several all thru out the country. Lot of competition for limited free time off so those who left did not stop just went elsewhere. Go to ADV alone and see all your options.
Volunteers often do not enjoy the rally as much, they are working...but it happened in the past because you needed to create something as there were so few rallies. Now there are so many, volunteers are saying I'll just go there and have vs working on my vacation time. Charge a small amount and pay the volunteers.
I help market Cycle Worlds rallies. They are $$ and people pay. They rent out a whole hotel in Gunnison & pack it with events.