The leadership of the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and RVDA of Canada have announced a pivotal decision to move their annual convention — the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo — to an early November timetable and to another Las Vegas casino from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino where they’ve held their annual show for a decade.
RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch and RVDA of Canada Chairman Ian Moore informed their respective memberships Wednesday (Oct. 2) during the opening general session of the 2013 Con/Expo.
“It is a challenge to make changes to an event that has proved to be as successful as the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo,” said Hirsch, president of New Hampshire-based Campers Inn. “But, as the RV business matures and changes, so have we. Through the state representatives on the Board of Delegates, we heard the message loud and clear that early October was not the best time for our convention. Most of us are still trying to ring the cash register.
“As a result, dealers can’t bring some of their valued employees who would truly benefit from this convention experience.”
So, Moore reported, the new schedule for future conventions, which is designed to give dealers more of a chance to take advantage of the October market and more of a break after Elkhart’s September Open House, looks something like this:
• 2014: Week of Nov. 9
• 2015: Week of Nov. 1
• 2016: Week of Nov. 6
• 2017: Week of Nov. 7
Meanwhile, the Con/Expo will move to 2,800-room Bally’s Las Vegas, another Ceasar’s property that offers more of a high-profile location on the Vegas Strip as well as a simple chance to change the game, so to speak. A room block will also be available at Caesar’s Paris Las Vegas.
“In Canada,” said Moore, “we heard from many members that they enjoy the Las Vegas experience, but after a decade at the same hotel, it’s time to go somewhere else — with a strong preference for a Las Vegas strip location. So with that input, your RVDA leaders had to work together to figure out the next phase for our joint RVDA-RVDA of Canada Convention.”
Does this present yet another obstacle for those in the industry who had entertained the idea of an all-industry convention week in which manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and dealers could all participate? That’s how it appears, at least for the next few years.
“Over the past year we’ve had many discussions on an all-industry event with industry stakeholders,” said Hirsch. “These discussions continue. We are in the discovery stage to determine feasibility in a co-located event. But there are many considerations.
“Many of you have spoken,” he continued. “There are strong opinions about having an independent event designed by dealers, for dealers. There are financial considerations for RVDA, RVDA of Canada and any partners. And finally, the jam-packed schedule at this convention and other events makes planning activities for an all-industry gathering a formidable task.”
Weighing all options, said Moore, owner of Big Boys Toys, Nanoose Bay, B.C., the two trade associations were pleased to make this rather surprising announcement. “It secures RVDA’s preferred dates in an extremely competitive environment for meetings here in Las Vegas,” he concluded.