RV manufacturers and accessory suppliers experienced larger-than-anticipated traffic and sales at the nation’s largest RV rally April 17-20 in Albuquerque, N.M.
In drawing 3,112 RVs, 353 indoor exhibitors and 140 outdoor exhibit slots over the four-day event, this growing annual get-together – officially called The Rally – again demonstrated the ongoing commitment North American RV enthusiasts have for the RV lifestyle, according to a press release.
Millions of dollars in RVs and accessories were sold throughout The Rally, now in its 10th year, including a $460,000 motorcoach by Michigan-based manufacturer Silver Crown LLC. Roadmaster Inc., Camping World Inc. and Demco-Dethmers Mfg. Co. were among the exhibitors reporting “terrific” sales, while a number of companies literally sold out of product.
“Our exhibitors are very pleased with the amount of traffic and sales activity at The Rally 2009; in fact, at times, attendees were shoulder to shoulder inside the exhibit hall,” said Sue Bray, executive director for the Good Sam Club, the event’s organizer. “RV manufacturers and aftermarket parts and accessory suppliers alike saw many buyers in a short amount of time, which is a testament to the strength of the industry and commitment to this lifestyle. It was a huge shot in the arm to an industry that really needs it.”
“The turnout was better than expected,” noted Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc. (AGI). “Our goal was to get 3,000 family rigs to attend, and we ended up with 3,112. Both the indoor and outdoor exhibitors told us they were happy with the results. Dealers were able to get inventory moved, and the indoor guys were flooded with customers. The first two days of the show it was tough to just walk down the aisles; there were so many people inside. We delivered a bunch of buyers to exhibitors, and nothing makes us happier.”
RV travelers, representing every state and province in North America, camped at Albuquerque’s famous Balloon Fiesta Park, while exhibitors, seminars and daily activities took place down the road at the EXPO New Mexico fairgrounds.
Among the first-time events this year at The Rally 2009 were philanthropic projects, eco-friendly initiatives and pet adoptions. In an effort to give back to The Rally’s host community of Albuquerque, more than 70 Rally-goers participated in a day of service at Rio Grande Community Farm, while conservation expert Brian Brawdy showed how traveling by RV can conserve resources. The Rally also hosted dog and cat adoptions, courtesy of Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, which secured homes for more than half of the animals.
The Rally 2010 will be July 22-25 in Louisville, Ky. Additional information and registration can be found online at www.therally.com. The Rally can also be found on Facebook (The Rally), EONS.com (TheRally), Twitter and Flickr (flickr.com/photos/therally/).
For a decade, The Rally has been an annual event hosted by the million-member Good Sam Club, along with Camping World President’s Club, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with AGI, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.
RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com are AGI products.
As part of a five-year licensing agreement, Boating Industry magazine, a publication of Affinity Group Inc., will be responsible for “the overall creation and development” of the annual Marine Dealer Conference & Expo (MDCE), the annual convention of the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA).
Slated for Nov. 16-18, the newly named Marine Dealer Conference & Expo will be held at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla., a move that numerous dealers suggested in a survey last year, reports Tammy Galvin, a vice president of Affinity Media, publisher of Boating Industry. The more convenient location is expected to generate greater participation from the dealer body.
Boating Industry, a leading trade journal in the marine sector, will work closely with the MRAA convention committee and will assume responsibility for all sponsorship sales and marketing efforts, according to Galvin, who’s based at Affinity Media’s suburban Minneapolis office.
“This partnership will culminate in a must-attend event that – at long last – will bring the seemingly disparate segments of our industry together at just the right time,” said Galvin. “Let’s face it: All segments of our industry have seen an incredible amount of attrition that is likely to continue. It’s abundantly clear to us and the MRAA that the survivors will be those arming themselves with every conceivable best practice available, and that’s precisely what we will deliver.”
A number of boat builders have expressed an interest in incentivizing their dealers to attend the event, which is still in the early planning state, and others are looking to hold downsized dealer meetings there. Likewise, industry 20 Groups are planning to hold their regular meetings on the front and back ends of its educational content.
“Exhibitors maxed out the available space at the 2008 MDCE in Las Vegas, and this year, with the move to the Coronado, companies seeking to display their products and services in front of an even bigger crowd of dealers will find a much larger and more convenient exhibit hall,” a release states. “The Coronado features more than 86,000 square feet of exhibit space, of which the MDCE has more than 58,000 square feet already reserved, a welcome necessity with growing exhibitor interest. In fact, numerous boat builders and other companies are already signing up to showcase their products.”
The Good Sam Club has chosen Warrantech Corp. as its exclusive provider of extended service contracts sold through participating Good Sam Authorized Dealers.
Warrantech is a provider of warranty products and administrative services. For more that two decades, Warrantech has been a source for manufacturer, retailers, dealers, distributors and other sales organizations.
Warrantech is backed by Wesco Insurance, an “A” rated insurer with many years of experience in the industry and a subsidiary of AmTrust.
“This was an easy choice for the Good Sam Authorized Dealer Network,” said Larry Chandler, director of the Good Sam Authorized Dealer Division. “In our 12 years of experience developing service contracts for the RV market, I believe that we have found the perfect partner to represent the Good Sam brand which of course is critical to our continued success.”
Good Sam Authorized Dealers now include 73 locations across the U.S. In addition to extended service contracts on new and used RV’s, Good Sam Authorized Dealers offer Roadside Assistance, Certified Pre-owned RVs and other Good Sam branded products.
“Good Sam Authorized Dealers now offer the only extended service plan with unlimited mileage for motorized RVs. Participating dealers also have state of the art on-line contract and claims management service,” said Chandler.
“We look forward to partnering with Good Sam,” said Joel San Antonio, CEO of Warrantech Corp. “Over the years, Warrantech has established a solid reputation for handling customer service claims with fast, courteous service. With state-of-the-art technology to manage claims, and an extensive network of mechanics on call to handle needed repairs in a timely manner, Good Sam customers have access to extended service plan protection that is unmatched. Dollar for dollar, we take pride knowing Warrantech’s service combines good value with the most comprehensive coverage in the RV industry.”
Warrantech Corp. administers and markets service contracts and after-market warranties on RVs, automobiles, automotive components, appliances, consumer electronics, homes, computer and computer peripherals, jewelry and furniture for retailers, distributors, Internet providers and manufacturers. Acquired by H.I.G. Capital, Amtrust Financial Services Inc. and Stanwich Capital Corp. in 2007, the company continues to expand its domestic and global penetration, and now provides its services in the U.S. and Canada.
Good Sam Authorized Dealers is headquartered in Ventura, Calif., and is a subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI). AGI also publishes RV Business magazine and RVBusiness.com.
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.