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RVB/Blue Ox Survey Looks at ’12 Open House

Posted By Sherman Goldenberg On July 25, 2012 @ 12:49 pm In Breaking News | No Comments

Thor's display at last year's Elkhart Open House

Nobody ever knows exactly how many people are attending Elkhart’s Annual RV Open House Week because the Open House, now in its fourth year, has never had any sort of central registration. And that’s still the case for this year’s event, slated for Sept. 17-21 in and around the side streets, home offices, showrooms and varied open field exhibits around the RV-building hub of Elkhart County, Ind.

Judging from responses to the latest round of the RVB/Blue Ox All-Industry Survey, however, participation in this year’s Open House, which is really focused on Tuesday through Thursday of that week (Sept. 18-20), should be pretty robust.

In fact, these survey results – along with what manufacturers are telling RVBusiness behind the scenes – point to a year in which Open House attendance is expected to at least reach, if not exceed, last year’s numbers, estimated at close to 4,000 dealer personnel:

• Asked in the online survey if their company plans to participate either as an exhibitor or attendee during this year’s RV Open House Week, 51.9% of the respondents said they planned to go as attendees, 22% as exhibitors while 26.1% aren’t going.

• Of those attending, a total of 44.4% planned to bring “four or more” people while 43.1% will send “two or three” and 12.5% only “one.”

• Asked whether a more active supplier or distributor role — a facet that some feel is still lacking in the popular Open House – would be important to them in the future, survey participants pretty much split down the middle: 46.3% said “yes” and 53.7% responded “no.”

Equally clear in the comments regarding the latest survey, administered by RVBusiness and sponsored by Pender, Neb.-based Blue Ox, is the fact that fall trade events are still a rather hot topic in the North American recreational vehicle arena – only a couple of days after an ad hoc show committee overseen by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) recommended that there be no changes for the timing of the industry’s Louisville Show until at least 2015.

Some of those Open House comments:

Good chance to see what changes are coming and catch some winter specials.


Great event – will never replace Louisville

Great time of year to bond w/our loyal customers

Hurts Louisville.

I like the ability of the manufacturer to show a great many of their floorplans.

It could be a little more industry-oriented, and not quite as OEM sales focused.

I wish the industry could settle on one event.

It’s a great location and ideal time of year. It is also easy to get to via air travel.

Keep it going!

Love it – easier and quicker than the Louisville Show




Too many fall events. Something has to change.

We are a supplier and I believe we are not allowed to attend.

I think this is an excellent opportunity to view our product lines in greater depth of model selection.

It’s a duplication of effort with the RVIA event in Louisville. The Elkhart “open house,” RVDA in Las Vegas and RVIA event in Louisville need to be combined in a single industry event. Get Forest River, Thor, RVIA and RVDA on the same page. It’s what’s best for the industry, the associations and its dealers.

This will be our first Open House to attend. However, I do not know how to get signed up nor what the details are. It would be nice to have more specifics.

I like the Open House in Elkhart because it is where I can view all of the models of the units I sell and view complete lines of other manufacturers that I might want to include in my next year’s inventory. For that reason, I find the Open House in Elkhart more productive for me than Louisville. The only thing missing is the supplier showcase. It would be nice to have a place there where dealers can go to view various supplier displays. On the other hand, the Louisville Show is advantageous in finding smaller, less known or new manufacturers that carry a product I might want to take on.






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