Judging from the results of the latest RVBusiness/Blue Ox All-Industry Poll, a lot of RV industry people have taken a real shine to Elkhart’s Annual RV Open House Week, the fifth round of which was held Sept. 17-21. They like the accessibility of products and factory people and the relaxed atmosphere in which the Open House, with OEM displays located all around the RV-building center of Elkhart, Ind., is held.
On the other hand, a lot of people still see the downsides, particularly the proliferation of fall trade shows, the vulnerability of so many makeshift displays to inclement weather and the total lack of supplier participation.
Yet, the poll results were pretty clear. The actual question was: Whether you attended this year’s Open House or not, what do you think about this emerging trade event?
The general breakdown:
• 71.5% “like it a lot and can only see it growing in the future.”
• 22.4% “see both sides of it and don’t have a strong opinion.”
• 6.1% “can’t stand it and hope that it soon goes away.”
Here are some of the comments we’ve received:
Central location, right timing.
Fantastic event… will attend again next year.
Going to Louisville; can only afford one trip.
Good to put faces with names – meet and greet people you deal with.
I can’t get away at this time of year and feel that I am missing out.
I do see this show eventually replacing the Louisville Show.
More exposure, the better for the industry!
No need for Louisville now.
Traffic and orders were up this year.
Not all manufacturers are represented.
We did like seeing new products from vendors early…
Seems like it’s run by only a few individuals.
Wonderful chance to see new products in a relaxing way.
Too many events, not enough time or money for all of them.
We attended the Open House this year instead of going to Louisville.
What about the suppliers is the only question? Where do they fit in?
I favor combining the 3 separate trade shows into one big trade show.
Smaller industry needs smaller costs. Simple. RVIA and RVDA members should fund themselves or they’re not providing enough value.
I hope it eventually replaces the Louisville Show. It’s so convenient to have it here and it’s great for our local economy.
The Louisville show has, in my opinion, always been for dealers and manufacturers. I’m on the supplier side and our sales people should be showing new products to the manufacturers. I feel it’s a great boost to our Elkhart and surrounding area’s economy. – Jeff “Nic” Nicolini, Patrick Distribution, a Division of Patrick Industries
It’s easier, friendlier and less expensive. I also like being in our industry’s epicenter. – MJ
It is less formal and has a more comfortable feel in the ability to see all of your products without having to walk too much. You can also see the factory, which helps when you are debating a large order. It is less expensive for the manufacturer and more convenient to the dealer. If, by some miracle, all of the manufacturers could actually release new product in the same time frame, life would be much easier. When you handle a number of products and they scramble the model year release, it makes it difficult as to what to order and when!
This is a supplier responding, and I wish suppliers were invited. We really, as an industry, MUST evaluate all of the shows, as marketing costs for attending all are becoming difficult.
I see both sides. I wonder if it’s possible to change the schedule of all three events so they’re spread out enough to attract visitors, based on location, best weather, and sales.
I took 4 of our key employees this year. It was great. We got to see everything we wanted, talk with the people who count, and, most importantly, we all saw more products than we would ever be able to see any other way. On the way home we decided to pass on this year’s show in Louisville. Nothing there that we need to see or do.
I believe the Open House is a very positive event… its timing is perfect to balance out sales for the 4th Quarter. I believe it complements the Louisville Show by stirring the marketplace leading up to Louisville, with the Louisville Show providing final dealer assessment of product and OEMs. Louisville balances sales for the 1st Quarter. The continuation of both events offers dealers, OEMs and suppliers excellent timing for promoting their companies and products, and executing sales in the two slow quarters of the year. – Tom Ryan, D&R Agency, Inc.
I agree with the weather issues and outdoor makeshift displays being a long-term challenge, but like both the cost and availability of more opportunities to view what is going on in the industry. I firmly believe our industry needs to find a way to consolidate and combine all levels of OEM, Suppliers, Aftermarket Distribution, Dealership, Publishing/Marketing, and Education all under one unified umbrella making the get-together a true industry event and not just one aspect of it. – Chris Carpenter, John Roba Company/JR Products
I think we are going backwards with this outdoor Flea Market Look. It is not a very professional way to present the RV Business.
See more units and factory people. Figure out how to get space for suppliers. – Cliff Jones RV
Look for a new one-of-a-kind RVB/Blue Ox survey question in your email – and on RVBUSINESS.com – real soon.