RV Open House Provides Unique Dealer Venue
A few years ago, Forest River Inc. decided to have an open house event for recreational vehicle dealers to come to Elkhart, check out their products and maybe their facilities.
Since then, it turned into Elkhart RV Open House Week, a three-day (or four, for some manufacturers and dealers ) event which results in at least hundreds of millions of dollars worth of orders placed by dealers. As reported by The Elkhart Truth, that event has taken over as the major buying event, even though the annual Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show continues to happen in Louisville, Ky.
Several dealers from across North America said they continue to travel to the RVIA Louisville show after Thanksgiving, though the hands-on event in Elkhart is where they get the bulk of their buying done. In Louisville, manufacturers haul down a slice of their offerings. Here, many of them rolled out every floorplan offering of every brand so dealers could see exactly what each looks like.
For manufacturers, they reported anywhere from a tenth to a quarter of the year’s worth of orders were written between Sept. 16 and 19 at this year’s open house.
It takes some of the buying pressure off dealers in Louisville, and they reported enjoying a more social atmosphere at the RVIA trade show. They also get to see the Louisville show entirely indoors, so rains like those that rolled through Elkhart Thursday, Sept. 19, don’t dampen enjoyment at Louisville.
Elkhart holds another major bonus for dealers, though – the major manufacturers pick up a lot of the tab for a trip to Elkhart.
Thor and Forest River put up thousands of dealers in hotel rooms. Most, if not all, the manufacturers offered food for dealers, and Thor and Forest River offered entertainment in the evenings.
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