Whether the recovering Southern California market or a shrewd media campaign is behind it, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 61st Annual California RV Show has posted an impressive start in its first three days, RVIA Western Show Director Tom Gaither reports.
“Right now, through three days, we’re up 63.2% in attendance,” Gaither told RVBUSINESS.com prior to the Oct. 11-20 show’s opening on Monday (Oct. 14) at the Fairplex in Pomona. “The three-day total is 13,923, and the entire show last year drew 20,756, so we’re going to blow last year’s gate right out the door.”
“It’s going incredibly well,” Gaither said of the 664,000-square-foot show. “Steve Richardson (of SoCal’s Richardson’s RV Centers Inc.) has told me that he’s had more sales at this show so far than he’s had at any show in the last 20 years – as of the first weekend. Mike Thompson’s (Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores) says they’re up something like 64% in sales so far. And Mike Langford at McMahan’s RV says they’re over the top in what they’ve been doing as well.”
The ongoing turnaround of Southern California’s battered economy is indeed playing a key role in the Pomona Show’s upswing, says Gaither. But so is a “phenomenal” media outreach campaign led by South Coast Media out of Orange County, as well as George Carson of Carson Marketing Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., who was instrumental in forging a last minute deal bringing the image and name of veteran rocker Brett Michael into the radio and TV advertising. In addition, he helped arrange a highly visible Sunday afternoon show appearance atop a motorhome that, Gaither contends, was a significant drawing card.
“I couldn’t ask for a better celebrity to come out and do this show,” said Gaither.
Also playing a role, in addition to a Hispanic media outreach program, were displays of several motorhomes from Michaels’ recent TV series “Rock My RV” along with a lot of other eye-catching recreational vehicles like the new retro-style, 24-foot Bowlus Road Chief.
Other units were set up at Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) 15,000 square-foot, landscaped “Campground Entrance” featuring RVs from Columbia Northwest/Aliner Inc., Fleetwood RV Inc., Pleasure-Way Industries Inc., Thor Industries Inc., Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc. KOA also has a deluxe cabin and teepee on display for attendees to tour along with staff on hand to answer questions and help make reservations.
The end result was great TV coverage on both English language and Hispanic TV starting early last week for a show that will also showcase the giveaway of a 2014 Lance toy hauler and Keystone Cougar.
All in all, Gaither maintains, the Pomona Show, with 1,200 units on display and 150 others parked outside for demos, may now qualify as the country’s largest RV retail show. “I don’t want to brag just yet,” he said, “but I am almost 110% positive that we easily have more RV’s here than the Hershey Show.”