The Affinity Events division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) has welcomed the winter season with back-to-back successful powersports shows. The 16th Annual Big East Powersports Show, Oct. 2-4 in Syracuse, N.Y., and the 24th Annual Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Expo, Oct. 10-11 in Denver, Colo., both boasted increased attendance and strong sales.
The Big East Powersports Show, sponsored by Camping World and Snow Goer magazine, featured the latest snowmobile and ATV models from Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha alongside aftermarket products, open and closed trailers, clothing, accessories and resort information. The excitement surrounding the debut of the 2010 sled models along with attractive prices on gear and accessories led to a 7% increase in attendance from last year’s show.
“Enthusiasm was evident and energy on the show floor was high as attendees shopped the new models and found great deals on everything they need for the coming winter season,” said show manager, Laurie Hallowell. “The exhibitors were thrilled to see such large, enthusiastic crowds and all agreed that the success of the show is a positive sign of things to come in 2010.”
Robin Ingles, owner of Ingles Performance of Phoenix, N.Y., agreed. The company celebrated its 14th year of participation in the show and reported strong sales and increased booth traffic this year. “The show attendees were excited to get back on their sleds,” Ingles said, “and our sales were better than they’ve been in over two years.”
The Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Expo, also sponsored by Camping World and Snow Goer magazine, took place at the Denver Merchandise Mart and saw the second best attendance in the history of the event. The chilly temps and snow showers on Saturday did not deter the crowds from visiting the Expo to see the newest 2010 snowmobile models and shop the popular Swap Meet Extravaganza. In fact, the line to participate in the Swap Meet formed three hours before the Expo opened.
“The snowfall added to the atmosphere of the show,” said show manager, Dianne Seymour. “The attendees were excited at the thought of another great snowmobiling season and it showed. Our exhibitors sold more than they have in years.”
Tom Gaither, senior VP of Affinity Events, pointed to the close relationship Affinity Events maintains with powersports enthusiasts as the main reason for the continued success of the shows. “Our connection to ATV and Snow Goer magazines gives us an intimate understanding of the powersports world. The enthusiasts who attend the shows are our friends. We know and love the powersports world as much as they do,” he said. “That continued relationship we maintain with the show attendees, combined with the great variety of local exhibitors featuring new products and services continues to generate amazing interest from local powersports enthusiasts.”
AGI is the owner of RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.com
The 21st Annual New Jersey Fall RV & Boat Super Sale will take place Oct. 16-18 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, N.J.
This year’s sale will feature recreational vehicles, travel trailers and lightweight towables alongside sport boats, pontoons, personal watercraft and more.
More than 20 dealers from around the New York and New Jersey regions will be aggressively pricing new 2009 units, pre-owned units and even some of their new 2010 models, according to a news release.
Friday, Oct. 16 is Public Service Day at the sale. In appreciation for their service, show sponsor Affinity Events will give free admission to all members of the military as well as police officers, firefighters, teachers and all other municipal employees who attend the show that day. This offer is limited to one ticket for each person with a military or municipal ID.
In partnership with The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, all sale attendees who bring a canned or packaged food item will receive $1 off the price of admission. Most-wanted food items include canned meats, fish, chili, fruit, vegetables as well as peanut butter and boxed meals. Glass containers and cellophane should be avoided. All attendees will be able to register to win a new Keystone RV in the Live Your Dreams Sweepstakes, along with a variety of other prizes.
Show hours are Friday 1-8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (on Friday only), $6 for kids ages 12-17 and free for kids ages 11 and under. Discounted online tickets are available on the show website.
For more information, visit the show website, www.agievents.com or call (800) 441-0013.
The 8th Annual North Carolina Fall RV Show & Sale, which took place last weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum, boasted increased attendance and strong sales.
This year’s sale attracted numerous RV enthusiasts optimistic about the economy and ready to purchase their next RV, according to a news release from the sponsor, Affinity Events. The low prices on new 2009 and 2010 RVs along with special tax deductions for qualified buyers brought thousands of attendees to the sale.
“The majority of the dealers participating in the show reported having met their sales goals and they were all very happy with the quality of traffic throughout the show,” said Anthony Tedesco, show manager. “With all the discouraging news we are seeing about the economy, we were excited to have so many people come to the sale intent on making a purchase. It was great to see the dealers do so well.”
Steve Plemmons, president and CEO of Bill Plemmons RV World, reported strong sales and plenty of great interest from show attendees around one of his newest offering, the KZ RV Sportsmen Classic, a retro-design travel trailer retailing at $4,995.
“Attendees were very excited about the KZ model and its great price. We were even able to sell a few on the spot at the show,” reported Plemmons.
Plemmons wasn’t the only dealer who did well. Alan Good, sales manager with the RV Superstore, also reported strong sales. “We were also able to talk face-to-face with a lot of people, avid RV enthusiasts as well as people who were looking at purchasing their very first RV,” he said. “That is something that we really enjoy about participating in events with Affinity. We always expand our reach and meet lots of new potential customers at the sale.”
According to Jeff Haughton, vice president of Affinity Events, the success of the sale can be credited, in part, to the strong connections Affinity creates with RV enthusiasts through its many clubs, services, media outlets and events. “Affinity is proud to produce sales events that play an important role in the process of getting loyal RV enthusiasts behind the wheel of the RV of their dreams,” Houghton said.
Bill Plemmons RV World also premiered the first ever “green” RV on the market, the Evergreen Ever-Lite. The Ever-Lite is revolutionizing the RV industry through the use of composite materials (rather than traditional wood products) to help eradicate formaldehyde and out gassing to make a healthier, more environmentally sound RV. The model is also much more resistant to water leaks and rotting, which makes for much a higher resale value in the long run, an important feature for many buyers.
RV enthusiasts throughout North Carolina and the surrounding regions will have one more opportunity to take advantage of discounts on a new RV before the summer ends at The Charlotte Fall RV Show & Sale. The event will take place Sept. 25-27 at The Park (formerly Charlotte Merchandise Mart).
For a complete list of exhibitors and additional show information, visit www.agievents.com or call (800) 441-0013.
Affinity Events is a subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc., publisher of RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.COM.
A South Georgia couple, Mackie and Gail Daniels, shown at left, have won a new $26,000 Keystone Springdale travel trailer in the first phase of a unique new retail promotion — Keystone’s Live Your Dreams Sweepstakes — through which Keystone RV Co. Inc. is giving away four towable RVs between June 2009 and February 2010.
As part of this aggressive new program, a joint effort between the Goshen, Ind.-based Thor division and the RV-related websites, e-newsletters, magazines and retail shows of Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc., the Danielses’ name was chosen at random in April from more than 50,000 entries in the inaugural round of the Live Your Dreams sweepstakes.
Suffice to say that the Danielses, of Fitzgerald, Ga., appreciated their good fortune.
“When my wife received the phone call from Keystone informing us that we had won, we were skeptical,” said Mackie Daniels, a retired telecommunications worker. “‘Must be a practical joke,’ I thought. ‘What are the odds?’ But when I returned the call to Keystone and spoke with the people there, I realized this is real. What a surprise! This is the first time I have ever won anything and this is really big!”
The Danielses, who ironically own a 2002 Springdale travel trailer, are avid campers who are planning future camping trips with their grandchildren. “We camp almost every other week,” adds Daniels. “This new model has more space and conveniences than our 2002 and we are sure going to enjoy the additional features.”
Signups are currently under way on Keystone’s website and at point-of-entry displays at Affinity Events shows for Phase #2 of the national giveaway through which the winner of an Outback travel trailer will be announced Aug. 15 at Affinity’s Colorado RV Super Sale. Next up is a Cougar fifth-wheel in October at Affinity’s Atlantic City RV Show. Then comes the finale, a Montana fifth-wheel, the winning name of which will be released in February at Affinity’s St. Paul RV, Vacation and Camping Show.
“Literally tens of thousands of interested consumers have visited the Keystone web site due to the exposure this sweepstakes has generated,” says Ron Fenech, president and CEO of Keystone, the nation’s largest manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth-wheels, with manufacturing facilities in Goshen and Pendleton, Ore. “These visitors learn more about Keystone travel trailers and fifth-wheels and, many times, contact our dealers for further follow up. The Live Your Dreams promotion is a win for the consumer, a win for our dealers and a win for Keystone RV and our employees.”
The Pomona RV & Travel show, originally scheduled for April 23-26, will now be held June 19-21, and is partnering with Summer Fest ’09.
In addition to the RV show, visitors will be able to attend the Boat, Home & Backyard and Computer Spectacular all for one price, according to a news release. The show will run Friday, June 19, from 12 noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.
Comedians with a love for life on the road, Pat Mac and Mike Faverman, will delight attendees with their outdoor cooking tips and easy recipes as they present “Ultimate Camp Cooking” on stage at the Show. They have several years of professional cooking experience and even more years performing to audiences as stand-up comics. They get crowds fired up about the outdoors and especially talking about great food.
Other events at the Fairplex during the weekend will include the 45th Annual LA Roadster Show and Wine and Cars Under the Stars events. (Separate admission is required for these two events.)
Show attendees will be able to register to win one of four Keystone RVs in the “Live Your Dreams Sweepstakes.” Other prizes include “The Rally 2010″ dry camping reservation, a one-year Good Sam Emergency Road Service membership, a one-year RV Handyman Club membership, a Woodall’s North American Campground Directory and a one-year Good Sam Club membership.
The Pomona RV & Travel Show is produced by Affinity Events a division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI). Call (805) 290-2203 for more information or visit www.agievents.com.
When Paul Stenzel and Chris Clark wanted to see the country outside their upstate New York town, they bought an RV.
They haven’t been back home since June.
Their stops included Deadwood, S.D., Cody, Wyo., and Ocean City, Wash. On Thursday (March 26) they were parked at the American Heritage RV Park in James City County., Va., according to The Daily Press, Newport News, Va.
The two are among millions of RV owners who take to the roads each year.
But the recession has taken a toll on the RV industry, as shipments decline and consumer confidence wavers.
“There is some level of buying, but not what the industry was seeing three or four year ago,” said David Body, general manager of Affinity Events. “Sales are down. The RV industry is impacted like every other industry.”
Affinity hosts about 50 RV shows nationwide a year. While sales are down nationally, people are still coming to local shows, RV experts say.
About 10,000 people attended the Affinity RV show in Hampton, Va., earlier this month. That number was consistent with attendance in 2008, Body said.
Motorhome sales were down 42% nationally in 2008, compared with 2007, according to Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). Travel trailer sales were down 23%.
“RVs are somewhat a discretionary business – our business slows when the economy does,” said Ingrassia. He said the decline in the availability of credit poses a problem for both dealers and consumers.
“I think that right now for customers there is generally a good selection out there and dealers are willing to wheel and deal a little bit because business has been slower than normal,” Ingrassia said.
The RV season typically runs from March to August. At Dodd RV in York County, Va., business is good.
During the first 10 days of March the company’s sales were higher than during the same time in 2008. “One thing that we’re seeing is that the warm weather in the last few weeks has accelerated the pace significantly,” owner Jamie Dodd said.
Smithfield resident Rob Davis purchased a trailer from Dodd last week. Davis bought the vehicle to travel to his 14-year-old daughter’s softball games.
“If you look at the cost of a hotel room and eating out, I actually think it’s more economical for us,” Davis said.
Although the recession has slowed sales nationally, RV experts say many dealers are offering lower prices to move the product – something that Davis and other buyers have run into.
“Now is as good time as any,” Davis said. “If you’re going to purchase, go ahead and do it sooner than later because I think the economy is going to bounce back and the special deals may not last.”
RV shipments in 2008 were down 32% nationally from 2007, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). The industry shipped 237,000 units in 2008. According to the association, the decline was due to tight credit conditions, higher interests rates and falling household wealth.
The association projects that RV sales will continue to be slow in 2009. An estimated 130,100 units will be shipped nationally this year.
“When credit markets are restored, the RV industry will rebound,” said association spokesman Kevin Broom.
Dixie RV in Newport News has seen an influx in traffic in the service and parts department, by owners who want to maintain what they have. That trend is also occurring at local auto repair shops.
Even with more people taking care of their RVs, Dixie vice president Layne Forrest says the economy has taken its toll on RV business.
“When people tighten up their pocketbooks, we’re definitely one thing that gets cut quickest,” he said.
People have continued to pack the American Heritage RV Park, in James City County, despite tough economic times.
The park’s attendance is up 20% from 2008, according to co-owner Bill Rhoads, who said 2008 marked the park’s best year.