The Route 66 RV Network drew 235 dealers and partners to its 10th Annual Rally in San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 4-6. With nearly 155 locations in the United States and Canada, Route 66 has “grown well beyond the founding partners expectations,” according to a press release.
“In 2003, while laying the foundation for the network, we talked about how cool it would be to one day have 66 locations across the country,” said Route 66 partner Steve Francis. “Quite honestly, in those first couple of years the network grew so fast that no one even noticed when we blew by bringing on dealer No. 66.”
Partner Dave Francis noted, “The rally has evolved over the years into what feels like a large family reunion. These relationships between dealers, partners and the network’s management team are in large part why the network has enjoyed so much success. There’s a true sense of unity and partnership. In fact, many of the partners who attend the rally will say they really enjoy coming to this event and is one of the best and most productive marketing events they attend every year.”
With 34 network partners and the lion’s share of the network’s dealer principals from both the U.S and Canada present, the this year’s rally continued to “strengthen the ties that bind the network together,” according to partner Rob Merrill.
“While the what’s and how’s of the network have kept pace with our evolving industry over the last 10 years, our why’s have not changed,” said Merrill. “The network’s original vision and consumer promise of ‘Wherever the Road Takes You … You Can Count on Us’ remains the same. We continue to be a network of best-of-class dealers and partners focused of ensuring our customers enjoy the best RVing experience possible.”
During the gathering, Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), addressed the entire group in the rally’s opening session, highlighting KOA’s partnership with Route 66. “We couldn’t be more excited about our growing relationship with the Route 66 RV Network,” said Rogers. “As local Route 66 dealerships and KOA campgrounds begin working together, campers will quickly experience the benefits of these two brands aligned.”
In addition, several ROUTE 66 dealer principals shared their perspectives of being members of ROUTE 66, including:
• Randy Ketelsen, Ketelsen Campers, Wheat Ridge, Colo., stated, “It’s the best of the best … people who in their hearts have their customer’s best interest first. That’s the people I want my dealership to associate with.”
• Sylvia Thistle-Miller, Triangle RV, Sidney, British Columbia, said, “A lot of our customers go south, so being a part of a North American network with dealers who have similar business operations and ethics is really important and a huge bonus.”
• “We work better as a team. We’re all in this together,” saud John Meyer, Apache Village RV, Hazelwood, Mo.
• Randy Biles, Pikes Peak Traveland, Colorado Springs, Colo., noted, “Looking at the network dealer list, everyone of them is top notch. I’m not sure why any customer-focused dealer wouldn’t want to be a part of Route 66?”
Strengthening the Route 66 consumer brand and the many associated products continues to be a major focus for Route 66. Current members programs include: RV Club, Roadside/Tech24, Classic Coverage Extended Service Agreements, Certified Pre-owned RVs, Parts 66 Protection and RV Smart Sites.
“Looking ahead at the next 10 years, Route 66 is fully committed to continue growing our footprint of quality dealers throughout North America, strengthening our programs and relationships with our current and new supplier partners and ensuring our dealers’ customers are the most satisfied RVers on the road,” says Dave Francis. “We know that as a network we’re only as good as the company we keep, and we’ve been very blessed with a great team of dealers and partners.”
For more information contact Merrill at rmerrill@Route66RV.com.