The Pennsylvania RV and Campground Association (PRVCA) reported that America’s Largest RV Show, held Sept. 9-15 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., set a new attendance record as 43,768 people attended the annual event.
According to a press release, the show had over 1,200 new units on display, 188 booth vendors and 50 manufacturers covering exhibit space that surpassed 2012 by over 16%. Compared to 2012, booth vendor space increased by 14% and manufacturer space increased by 21%.
“We are very pleased with the both the increase in show space and attendance,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of the host PRVCA. “We sold out of booth vendor space inside the Giant Center very early and added 56 booths outside to keep up with the demand while manufacturer space was extended even further into the parking area. We have plans on adding additional vendor space outside and expanding the manufacturer space for 2014.”
Industry Days opened the show on Sept. 9-10 allowing dealers one-on-one time with manufacturers and the opportunity to see the debut of the 2014 products. “There’s a lot of value in Hershey’s Industry Days,” said Dan Saltzgiver, general manager of Camping World of Hanover and show chairman. “The show allows dealers and campgrounds to have the first glimpse of the new product and familiarize themselves with the models.”
Lori Morrow of Keller Marine and RV added, “I always value my two industry days at the show because I get to spend quality time with customers. I could never drive to these dealers and get to talk with all of them in two days’ time. I look forward to this one-on-one time every year.”
Industry Days also included a variety of well-attended education clinics focusing on RV technician training, parts management and campground trends along with a “Red Carpet Breakfast” featuring NFL’s Rod Woodson and the annual party at Hersheypark.
Retail days, running Sept. 11-15, brought consumers who were ready to buy, according to PRVCA. “The show is fabulous,” said Saltzgiver. “We had an unbelievable day on Saturday. It’s really a great sign that things are turning the corner for the economy. The buyers are here.”
“We had a very successful show,” noted Jeff Fiske with Ocean RV Center. “We’ve made a lot of people happy campers this week, and we have a lot of trailers to deliver this fall.”
Adam Gudger, national sales Manager, diesel division for Thor Motor Coach, reported, “Sales were awesome. We had tons of activity and enthusiastic buyers.”
Steve Fretz, owner of Fretz RV, noted, “It is probably our best show since we’ve been coming to Hershey.”
PRVCA said manufacturers and dealers were not the only ones enjoying the show. “This was the first time we brought our EMU electric trikes to the show and it will not be the last,” says Ian Shearer of the American Scooter Co. “It was the best show we have ever attended. Not only that, but the first day for the public was the best sales day EMU Trikes has ever had in our history.”
The universal appeal of RVing, as well as the ability to shop and compare so many manufacturers at one place, continues to attract thousands of people to Hershey, including younger families. “Strolling inside and outside America’s Largest RV Show this year, I was struck by how many younger families with kids there were,” says “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer. “And many were buying. The dealers and manufacturers catering to the younger crowd, especially those with entry-level or mid-priced RVs, probably hit a home run. It was quite encouraging to see so many 20- and 30-somethings at the displays.”
Bunzer, who is a featured speaker at the show, noted that younger attendees even attended his daily seminars. “ It tells me they are serious about RVing,” he said. “I think that’s a very good sign for the RV Industry and the future of this show.”
America’s Largest RV Show 2014 will be held on Sept. 8–14. For more information, visit www.largestRVshow.com.