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Hershey Sees Record Gate as Public Days Open

September 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

RVs lined the grounds at HersheyPark

RVs lined the grounds at HersheyPark

Spurred by sunny skies and riding the tailwind of a surging recreational vehicle industry, the 46th Annual America’s Largest RV Show ushered a record number of attendees through its gates Wednesday (Sept. 10) as the event officially opened “Public Days” at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

Heather Leach, marketing and education director for the host Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA), told RVBUSINESS.com that total attendance for the day reached 8,105, eclipsing last year’s record-setting count of 6,688.

“We were absolutely slammed in the morning,” Leach reported. “But the gate was steady all day. We offered a twilight pass at 3:00, which was really successful, and then the lines lasted on into the evening.”

In addition to posting a new attendance high, opening day also resulted in a strong number of orders for exhibitors, according to Leach and independent reports from several exhibitors at the Hershey Show. Leach noted that over 1,300 rigs were on display representing 48 manufacturers and encompassing nearly a million square feet in the Giant Center.

“We received a lot of very positive feedback from our exhibitors,” said Leach. “There were a lot of units sold, which isn’t always the case even if there are a lot of people coming through. It’s always great to get see strong attendance, but it’s even better when they’re in a buying mood.”

Traffic was strong for the opening of Public Days

Traffic was strong for the opening of Public Days

Leach anticipated that today would not match Wednesday’s numbers, but by 9:30 a.m. people were already filling the exhibit area. “Thursday is typically our slowest day,” Leach said, “but with what I’ve seen so far it looks promising.”

America’s Largest RV Show is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier consumer RV shows, and is typically the event at which RV manufacturers will debut new models to the public. 

The show also incorporates both Industry and Public Days to create a true “hybrid show.” Leach said that Industry Days, which ran Monday and Tuesday, were also well attended as the setting provides dealers and manufacturers the opportunity to network and concentrate on building relationships.

In addition to RVs on display, this year’s show features 144 booth vendors along with a full slate of RV technician training, service advising clinics and a distributor showcase.

America’s Largest RV Show runs through Sunday. For more information visit www.largestRVshow.com.

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Hershey Show Shaping Up to Be ‘Biggest Ever’

August 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

America's RV Show logoWith just a few weeks remaining before opening, the 46th Annual America’s Largest RV Show at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., already is being billed as “the biggest ever” by event organizers. 

Heather Leach, marketing and education director for the host Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA), told RVBUSINESS.com that exhibitor space for the 2014 edition has reached 996,296 square feet, easily surpassing the previous record of 901,291 set in 2008. With more exhibitors still expected, there’s an outside chance the show could reach a million square feet of display space.

“We’re going to get really close,” said Leach, adding that attendance is expected to reach record numbers as well. Figures have climbed steadily over the years, including the last three: 35,507 in 2011, 43,131 in 2012 and 43,506 last year.

America’s Largest RV Show has grown in both numbers and stature. It’s widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier consumer RV shows, and is typically the event at which RV manufacturers will debut new models to the public. 

The show also incorporates both Industry and Public Days to create a true “hybrid show.” Industry Days, Sept. 8-9, provides dealers and manufacturers the opportunity to network and concentrate on building relationships, while the Public Days, Sept. 10-14, allows dealers to sell products to consumers. Also on tap are a variety of RV technician training, service advising clinics and a distributor showcase.

This year, there will be 48 manufacturers displaying more than 1,300 RVs, including 70 demo models. Leach said the total is down slightly from last year due to recent acquisitions and consolidation in the industry. 

Similarly, while the 2013 show featured 185 booth vendors, this year will include 144. Leach explained that vendors bought more booth space than they did previously, noting there’s a waiting list of 100 vendors who would like to be in the show. “It’s a nice problem to have,” she acknowledged.

RVs packed the display area in Hershey at last year's show

RVs packed the display area in Hershey at last year’s show

That demand is why organizers made room for an additional 50 booth vendors outside the Giant Center in the space where the Park Model Village was located last year. The Park Model Village was relocated to a spot near the Saturday ticket gate, which Leach said should be “a benefit to them.”

“It’s been steady growth over the years, which is nice because we’re able to accommodate and manage that growth better,” Leach said, adding that this is the 10th year the show has been at the Giant Center. Prior to that, the event was held at the Farm Show Complex. 

In addition to the first opportunity at seeing next year’s models, the show is popular with consumers for several other reasons, Leach said. It’s set up differently from many other RV shows since it is laid out by manufacturer instead of dealers, making it easy for attendees to shop and compare the many RV brands.

There are also a number of educational seminars, including:

• RV Doctor Gary Bunzer – “Technically Choosing Your RV; 10 RV Facts of Life.”

• RV Adventure Video with John Holod – “Learn about your next RV adventure.”

• Bob Marx – “Full Time and Extended RV Travel & Tips on Choosing an RV.”

• Grass Haven Outdoors (known as the Martha Stewart of RVing) – “Glamp-sites.” 

The Industry Days education format includes:

• Red Carpet Breakfast featuring Olympic gold medalist volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor.

• RV technician training presented from: Lippert Components Inc.; Norcold Inc.; Atwood Mobile Products LLC; Thetford Corp.; Blue Ox; and Cequent Towing Products.

• Distributor showcase by Keller Marine and RV, and NTP Distribution.

• “Profitable Service Advising” by Chuck Marzahn and Gary Motley.

• Building a memorable customer experience-oriented brand.

The annual Industry Party will be 4-6 p.m. Monday at Hersheypark where exhibitors and attendees can enjoy rides, a variety of hors d’oeuvres, Pennsylvania’s own Yuengling Lager and an assortment of wines.

For more information visit www.largestRVshow.com.

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PRVCA Set for Record-Setting Hershey Show

May 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

            “America’s Largest RV Show,” set for Sept. 8-14 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., is preparing for another record-breaking year, according to a press release.

“I am pleased to report that manufacturer space sales at the time of this year’s show drawing has exceeded last year’s show by 18.8%,” Rebecca Lenington, Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA) executive vice president, stated at the 46th Annual Show Drawing.

The event, which gives manufacturer and booth vendor representatives the opportunity to select their company’s location in the show, was held May 7 at the Hershey Lodge.

Forty-four manufacturers and 132 booth vendors have purchased 907,882 square feet and 38,741 square feet of space, respectively, which is 18% more than space sold at the 2013 show drawing and 10% more than last year at show time.

“There is only one manufacturer space available, and all of the booths for Public Days are sold out inside the Giant Center with a very limited selection outside,” Lenington reported. “This year we extended manufacturer exhibit space into the parking lot and added additional booth space outside to accommodate the show’s growth.”

America’s Largest RV Show incorporates both Industry and Public Days to create a true “hybrid show.” Industry Days provides dealers and manufacturers the opportunity to connect and concentrate on building relationships, while the Public Days allows dealers to sell the new products to consumers.

The show is also the first to debut the 2015 product, which is a draw for both the industry and consumers. “I send half of my staff on Monday and half on Tuesday,” states Dan Saltzgiver, show chairman and general manager of Camping World of Hanover. “This way everyone get a chance to see what’s new.”

Education is a major component to the Hershey Show. “We had a great response to our service technician training last year,” Lenington stated. “This year we decided to increase the training opportunities for technicians and we have some great additions to our Public Day seminars as well.”

Affordable education programs provide an in-depth look at various aspects of the RV industry.

The Industry Days education format includes:

• Red Carpet Breakfast featuring Olympic gold medalist volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor.

• RV technician training presented from: Lippert Components Inc.; Norcold Inc.; Atwood Mobile Products LLC; Thetford Corp.; Blue Ox; and Cequent Towing Products.

• Distributor showcase by Keller Marine and RV and NTP Distribution.

• “Profitable Service Advising” by Chuck Marzahn and Gary Motley.

• Building a memorable customer experience-oriented brand.

The annual Industry Party will be held on Monday evening at Hersheypark where exhibitors and attendees can enjoy rides, a variety of heavy hors d’oeuvres, Pennsylvania’s own Yuengling Lager and an assortment of wines. The party will take place 4–6 p.m.

For more information visit www.largestRVshow.com, or #HersheyRVshow.

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HGTV Returns to Hershey, Films ’14 RV Special

September 23, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

HGTV and Nancy Glass Productions returned to America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa., to film their highly-rated special RV 2014. According to a press release, the segment will premiere on Jan. 1, 2014, and feature the newest RVs and products available to RVers.

First-time host Chris Lambton, who is known for HGTV’s Going Yard and The Bachelorette, took three families on a journey to find their dream RV. Charles and Marisa Dean noted, “The producers and staff do a great job making you feel at home, and Chris is a really down to earth guy on and off the camera. He made shopping really fun.”

The Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), which manages America’s Largest RV Show, has worked with HGTV and the production company for several years. “HGTV is always a pleasure to work with,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of PRVCA. “We look forward to seeing them every year and providing whatever information they need – though they are so familiar with our show and staff at this point, they seem more like extended family.”

The HGTV special takes a look at the newest RVs and latest RV accessories featured at America’s Largest RV Show. For more information and air times, visit www.hgtv.com. The 2014 America’s Largest RV Show will be held Sept. 8–14. To learn more about the event, visit www.largestRVshow.com.

 

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PRVCA Reports Record Attendance at Hershey

September 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RVs line the Giant Center grounds in Hershey, Pa.

The Pennsylvania RV and Campground Association (PRVCA) reported that America’s Largest RV Show, held Sept. 9-15 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., set a new attendance record as 43,768 people attended the annual event.

According to a press release, the show had over 1,200 new units on display, 188 booth vendors and 50 manufacturers covering exhibit space that surpassed 2012 by over 16%.  Compared to 2012, booth vendor space increased by 14% and manufacturer space increased by 21%.

“We are very pleased with the both the increase in show space and attendance,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of the host PRVCA. “We sold out of booth vendor space inside the Giant Center very early and added 56 booths outside to keep up with the demand while manufacturer space was extended even further into the parking area. We have plans on adding additional vendor space outside and expanding the manufacturer space for 2014.”

Industry Days opened the show on Sept. 9-10 allowing dealers one-on-one time with manufacturers and the opportunity to see the debut of the 2014 products. “There’s a lot of value in Hershey’s Industry Days,” said Dan Saltzgiver, general manager of Camping World of Hanover and show chairman. “The show allows dealers and campgrounds to have the first glimpse of the new product and familiarize themselves with the models.”

Lori Morrow of Keller Marine and RV added, “I always value my two industry days at the show because I get to spend quality time with customers. I could never drive to these dealers and get to talk with all of them in two days’ time. I look forward to this one-on-one time every year.”

Industry Days also included a variety of well-attended education clinics focusing on RV technician training, parts management and campground trends along with a “Red Carpet Breakfast” featuring NFL’s Rod Woodson and the annual party at Hersheypark.

Retail days, running Sept. 11-15, brought consumers who were ready to buy, according to PRVCA. “The show is fabulous,” said Saltzgiver. “We had an unbelievable day on Saturday. It’s really a great sign that things are turning the corner for the economy. The buyers are here.”

“We had a very successful show,” noted Jeff Fiske with Ocean RV Center. “We’ve made a lot of people happy campers this week, and we have a lot of trailers to deliver this fall.”

Adam Gudger, national sales Manager, diesel division for Thor Motor Coach, reported, “Sales were awesome. We had tons of activity and enthusiastic buyers.”

Steve Fretz, owner of Fretz RV, noted, “It is probably our best show since we’ve been coming to Hershey.”

PRVCA said manufacturers and dealers were not the only ones enjoying the show. “This was the first time we brought our EMU electric trikes to the show and it will not be the last,” says Ian Shearer of the American Scooter Co. “It was the best show we have ever attended. Not only that, but the first day for the public was the best sales day EMU Trikes has ever had in our history.”

The universal appeal of RVing, as well as the ability to shop and compare so many manufacturers at one place, continues to attract thousands of people to Hershey, including younger families. “Strolling inside and outside America’s Largest RV Show this year, I was struck by how many younger families with kids there were,” says “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer. “And many were buying. The dealers and manufacturers catering to the younger crowd, especially those with entry-level or mid-priced RVs, probably hit a home run. It was quite encouraging to see so many 20- and 30-somethings at the displays.”

Bunzer, who is a featured speaker at the show, noted that younger attendees even attended his daily seminars.  “ It tells me they are serious about RVing,” he said. “I think that’s a very good sign for the RV Industry and the future of this show.”

America’s Largest RV Show 2014 will be held on Sept. 8–14. For more information, visit www.largestRVshow.com.

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VIDEO 1: ‘Hershey RV Show’ Kicking Off Today

September 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

America’s Largest RV Show opens today (Sept. 9) at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. According to a press release, the event will kick off with two Industry Day followed by Public Days Sept. 11-15.

To view a video featuring Gary Bunzer, “The RV Doctor,” click here or scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page.

The host Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) is anticipating record participation from exhibitors, including manufacturers exhibiting all-new 2014 products.

In addition there will be a full roster of training seminars. Today’s lineup includes RV technician training from Lippert Components Inc. and Gary Motley. Attendees can learn about Lippert’s Schwintek slideout, typical Lippert slides, hydraulic leveling and navigating the LCI website. Motley will be on hand to share roof sealant tips including methods of finding weather intrusion, proper use and techniques of roof sealants. The fee is $50 per person, which includes lunch.

Tuesday kicks off with an all-star morning at Chocolate World that includes a breakfast, inspirational message and meet-and-greet with NFL’s Rod Woodson. Autographed footballs, mini-helmets and photos are available for purchase and benefits the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) PAC fund. Rod Woodson will share his insight on the mindset of a winner ($25 per person – includes breakfast).

A parts manager clinic, conducted by Chuck Marzahn, starts off a full education day at the Giant Center. The clinic will cover the primary duties of the parts manager as well as critical processes and principles of running a top-notch parts department. Inventory planning, working with service to get the right parts, stocking plans and more ($50 per person – includes lunch). Attendees will earn five RVDA Continuing Education Units (CEU) for attending this seminar.

Tom Romero of Cequent Performance Products will be hosting a seminar on Reese-Tekonsha-Bulldog Training from 10 a.m.-noon. The session will cover the latest products, features and installation tips for Reese fifth wheel hitches, rail kits, weight distribution, pin box upgrade replacements, Tekonsha brake controls and Bulldog Powered Trailer Jacks. Recertification hours will be earned for attending this seminar (No fee for this seminar).

David Gorin will finish the day with a seminar on the latest RV park trends. The seminar is designed to increase awareness of park owners and operators about how their industry is meeting the challenges of change and how today’s trends are impacting the world of park business. The seminar is approved as an ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Professional certificate class.

For more information visit www.largestRVshow.com.

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RVIA & HGTV Partners for ’14 RV Product Show

August 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is now working with producers of HGTV’s annual RV special, which has premiered on New Year’s Day for the past 13 years, for the 2014 edition of the program, which has been the cable networks highest rated special for the past several years.

According to the RVIA, filming will take place at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa., show in early September. RV manufacturers are being asked to forward information about new models, features, innovations or accessories that their company will have on display at the event to RVIA’s director of media relations at kbroom@rvia.org or by calling him at (703) 620-6003, ext. 304.

While RVIA cannot guarantee your product will be featured, RVIA would like to be sure producers are aware of the newest, most innovative and interesting products our industry is making.

 

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Hershey Show Offers Education, Training Events

August 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

America’s Largest RV Show is holding several education clinics and special events Sept. 9-10 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., according to a press release.

Monday’s lineup includes RV technician training from Lippert Components Inc. and Gary Motley. Attendees can learn about Lippert’s Schwintek slideout, typical Lippert slides, hydraulic leveling and navigating the LCI website. Motley will be on hand to share roof sealant tips including methods of finding weather intrusion, proper use and techniques of roof sealants. The fee is $50 per person, which includes lunch.

Tuesday kicks off with an all-star morning at Chocolate World that includes a breakfast, inspirational message and meet-and-greet with NFL’s Rod Woodson. Autographed footballs, mini-helmets and photos are available for purchase and benefits the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) PAC fund. Rod Woodson will share his insight on the mindset of a winner ($25 per person – includes breakfast).

A parts manager clinic, conducted by Chuck Marzahn, starts off a full education day at the Giant Center. The clinic will cover the primary duties of the parts manager as well as critical processes and principles of running a top-notch parts department. Inventory planning, working with service to get the right parts, stocking plans and more ($50 per person – includes lunch). Attendees will earn five RVDA Continuing Education Units (CEU) for attending this seminar.

Tom Romero of Cequent Performance Products will be hosting a seminar on Reese-Tekonsha-Bulldog Training from 10 a.m.-noon. The session will cover the latest products, features and installation tips for Reese fifth wheel hitches, rail kits, weight distribution, pin box upgrade replacements, Tekonsha brake controls and Bulldog Powered Trailer Jacks. Recertification hours will be earned for attending this seminar (No fee for this seminar).

David Gorin will finish the day with a seminar on the latest RV park trends. The seminar is designed to increase awareness of park owners and operators about how their industry is meeting the challenges of change and how today’s trends are impacting the world of park business. The seminar is approved as an ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Professional certificate class.

To register for any of the events, visit www.largestRVshow.com, select Industry Info, then view the Show Invitation, or call (888) 303-2887.

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PRVCA Announces Hershey Clinics for Sept. 10

July 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) has released information about a series of clinics set for Sept. 10 during the America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa. According to a press release, the show will open with Trade Days on Sept. 9-10 followed by Public Days Sept. 11-15.

Tuesday Clinics include:

Parts Manager Clinic: Hosted by Chuck Marzahn, Marzahn & King Consulting, the session runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Champions Club. Registration fee is $50 (lunch included) and attendees can earn RVDA CEUs. The Parts Manager Clinic covers most of the primary duties of the parts manager many of which come directly from the DACUM developed at Ohio State University with The RV Learning Center. Attendees will learn many of the critical processes and principles of running a top-notch parts department. Marzahn will spend some time on inventory planning, working with service to get the right parts from OEMs, using different stocking plans with the different categories of vendors and how to price for the market.

Click here for registration information  or call 888-303-2887.

RV Technician Distance Learning: Don Bray of Northampton Community College will lead the clinic set for 10-11 a.m. at the press room. Registration is free. The Distance Learning Program is the premier RV Technician e-learning program in the country. Bray will share the benefits of online learning including the ease of completing the coursework on your own schedule and gaining handson experience. The cost-effective program is perfect for those new to the RV industry or experienced technicians looking for recertification credits.

Click here for registration information or call 888-303-2887.

The Latest and Greatest Park Trends: David Gorin, David Gorin & Associates, will conduct the clinic slated for 1-2:30 p.m. in the Power Play Room. Registration Fee: $25 and the clinic is approved as an ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Professional certificate class. This seminar is designed to increase awareness of park owners and operators about how their industry is meeting challenges and how today’s trends are impacting the world of the park business.

Click here for registration information or call 888-303-2887.

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Hershey RV Show Shoppers in a ‘Buying Mood’

September 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Upscale motor coaches, along with popup tents, travel trailers and accessories – everything from travel coffee mugs to golf carts – enjoyed strong sales at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., during last week’s America’s Largest RV Show, hosted by the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA).

“They’re cranking. Business is booming in every aspect,” said Frank Davis with Camping World RV Sales.

The Patriot News reported that show organizers saw a record turnout Wednesday (Sept. 12) with more than 6,000 people through the gates. Davis said in two days he sold 29 motor coaches and a total of more than 200 items including trailers and campers.

Shoppers were out in full force, despite higher gas prices, checking out the latest models and taking advantage of interest rates as low as 3.9% for a 20-year loan, according to Davis, adding that he hadn’t heard anyone say gas prices are not preventing them from making a purchase

“It’s like buying a Corvette and asking about fuel economy,” he said.

Mario Pelletier of Annapolis, Md., said his motor coach gets about seven to eight miles per gallon but the trade-off is he and is wife, Denise, save money by pulling into camp grounds where it costs about $30 to $40 a night versus $200 for a hotel room.

He was canvassing the show in search of accessories, things like a GPS designed for Winnebago owners listing camp sites, service stations and restaurants. He was also checking into electrical isolation systems and tire sensors.

“Camping is a lifestyle. You have to love it,” he said.

“Sold” signs decorated several trailers at Grumbine’s RV lot at the show. The company is based in Harrisburg.

“This by far has been one of the best shows in three years,” said Steve Jablonski, sales manager. “I really think it’s kind of a renewed confidence in the economy. It seems to be a lot stronger than the past couple of years.”

He said he has noticed everyone from retirees to young families making purchases. They are spending $20,000 to $30,000, and not just on any one type of travel trailer.

“It’s all over the board. I can’t nail down a trend. It’s everything,” Jablonski said.

Rick and Beth Roberts of Columbia, Md., Were eyeing a Starcraft travel trailer at Grumbine’s. The couple , with two young boys in tow, said they are considering trading up from their current travel trailer.

Rick Roberts was especially enticed by the deals.

“They come here ready and willing to deal. They’ve already marked down a lot of their product line,” he said.

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