Attendance of 54,255 at last week’s Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa was up slightly over last year, but still set a record, according to the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).
”We didn’t knock the doors off, but we had better weather last year,” said FRVTA President Lance Wilson, who noted that 54,016 passed through the show’s gates last year. ”We were very pleased. No. 1, we want to make sure enough people are there, and No. 1B is we want manufacturers to sell product. In most cases, people did very well.”
The Florida show, often said to be a bellwether for the year, was held Jan 15-20 at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
”The good news is that the public’s attitude is very positive,” Wilson told RVBUSINESS.com. ”Nobody was talking about gas prices and nobody was talking about interest rates.”
Fledgling towable manufacturer Grand Design RV, Middlebury, Ind., introduced its first product to the retail public at Florida RV SuperShow — the 38-foot extended-stay Solitude fifth-wheel.
”By far the SuperShow exceeded our expectations and down there, that’s a discerning crowd,” said Grand Design President Don Clark, whose company was represented by Lazydays RV Center. ”Many of them are previous owners and they are experts at extended-stay camping.”
Currently building only one floorplan, Clark said other Solitude layouts will be available within the next 60 days and a second brand, which has yet to be named, will hit the market in June.
Another new company, Augusta RV, Bristol, Ind., which began producing Flex-brand travel trailers and fifth-wheels, also did well, according to National Sales Manager Leif Freehafer.
”We had good retail activity and deals were written on both the fifth-wheels and travel trailers,” said Freehafer, who also is a part owner. ”The fifth-wheel drew a lot of attention.”
As reported previously by RVBUSINESS.com, several other manufacturers and dealers earlier reported they had good sales at the show.
Over the next several weeks, the FRVTA will sponsor regional shows in Fort Myers, Ocala, Jacksonville, Deland, West Palm Beach and tentatively, Lakeland.
”Not all the dealers are able to participate in the SuperShow,” Wilson said. ”The regional shows are for all our dealers. A lot of people come to the SuperShow and wait to make their buy at a local show.”
Although attendance numbers haven’t been tabulated, reports from attendees at the Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 15-20 at the Florida State Fairground in Tampa indicate there was strong traffic and brisk sales.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” said Mark Hollan, general manager of the Camping World store in New Port Richey, Fla., who reported selling 40 Itasca motorhomes from Winnebago Industries Inc. ”People have been staying on the sidelines and they have jumped in. I’ve been doing that show for 25 years and it’s the biggest show I’ve ever had and the deals are all solid.”
Dave Kelly, marketing director with the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) said attendance was good, although numbers won’t be tallied until later in the week.
”We’re knocking on last year’s numbers,” Kelly told RVBUSINESS.com.
Last year, the Florida RV SuperShow saw more than 54,000 people pass through its gates, which was reported as record attendance. Kelly said that show space was also up by double digit percentages this year compared to 2012. ”It shows to us the importance that the industry puts on this show,” Kelly said.
Jeff Rank, president of Forest River Inc. subsidiary Prime Time RV, said the company had ”record breaking” sales.
”Traffic was absolutely awesome,” Rank said. ”We were really, really pleased. What we were seeing down there was what we are seeing at all the shows we’ve attended. There is a high sense of optimism. Right now, our retail customer is in a pretty good mood.”
Sid Johnson, Jayco Inc. marketing director, said sales of both motorized and towable RVs in Tampa were the best since 2007. ”Our guys are saying attendance was much heavier than it was for the last two or three years at least,” Johnson said. ”It’s a little early to draw conclusions on how the year is going to go, but most of the shows our guys have been to so far have been pretty strong, pretty positive.”
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt of a column by Terry Tomalin, outdoors/fitness editor for the Tampa Bay Times, offering a rundown of the Florida RV SuperShow running through Sunday. To view the entire article click here.
When it comes to recreational vehicles, small is in big demand. “Everybody is downsizing,” said Dave Kelly, marketing director for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA, which is hosting the 28th annual Florida RV SuperShow. “People want lighter, more maneuverable RVs.”
The time of the monster motorhome has not gone the way of the dinosaur, but the recession has reversed the trend of bigger is better.
“The market was once 60% motorhome and 40% travel trailer,” Kelly said. “But now that is reversed. They are selling 80 travel trailers for every 20 motorhomes.”
The downturn in the economy hit the RV industry hard. But according to a 2011 survey by the Reston, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million, up from 7.9 million in 2005.
The Florida RV SuperShow, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa through Sunday, features hundreds of recreational vehicles of all varieties and price ranges. You will still find rows of million-dollar motorhomes, but the hot buys this year are $20,000 or less.
“You can’t beat a Winnebago,” said Melissa Farrior, an RV consultant from Camping World in Bartow. “It is a household name and the quality is just outstanding.”
The bright yellow “Minnie Winnie” weighs less than 3,500 pounds. When I first stepped inside the 20-footer, I thought it would have a sticker price of $40,000 or more, but it was less than half that, starting at $17,000. Equipped with maple cabinets, a kitchen and bathroom, I joked that I could put a satellite dish on top and never go in the office again. The travel trailer, also available in white and fluorescent green, could be towed easily by my 10-year-old sport-utility vehicle.
“Part of the appeal of these new, lightweight travel trailers is that you don’t have to go out and buy a new vehicle to get it to where you want to go,” Kelly said. “They can be pulled by any truck or SUV.”
To read the entire article click here.
The Florida RV SuperShow, hosted annually by the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA), has been named to Tradeshow Executive’s Gold 100 largest trade shows in the United States for the 15th straight year.
According to a press release, the 2011 Florida RV SuperShow ranked No. 10 as listed in the annual Tradeshow Executive’s Gold 100. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Louisville Show was ranked No. 13.
“We’re happy to get the recognition,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “The FRVTA is committed to making the Florida RV SuperShow not only the largest but the most profitable and successful show for our exhibitors, and the 2013 SuperShow is already looking like another winner.”
The 2013 Florida RV SuperShow will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Industry Day is set for Jan. 15 with Public Days running Jan. 16-20. For more information on exhibiting or attending the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, contact the FRVTA State Office at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Fla., 33578, call (813) 741-0488 or visit www.frvta.org.
The 2011 Florida RV SuperShow earned the No. 14 ranking in the recently released 2011 Top 250 Trade Shows compiled by the Tarsus Group’s Trade Show News Network (TSNN), according to a news release.
Culled from show management and data supplied to TSNN, the list represents the top 250 trade shows held last year in the U.S. ranked by net square footage. The full list can be found at http://www.tsnn.com/datasite-us.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., was ranked No. 17 and the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association’s Hershey Show in Pennsylvania was ranked No. 20.
“We’re happy to get the recognition,” Lance Wilson, executive director for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) which annually host the Tampa show. “The FRVTA is committed to making the Florida RV SuperShow not only the largest but the most profitable and successful show for our exhibitors, and the 2013 SuperShow is already looking like another winner.”
The 2013 Florida RV SuperShow will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Industry Day is Jan. 15 with Public Days running January 16-20. The 2nd World RV Conference will be held in Tampa at the same time.
For more information on exhibiting or attending the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, contact the FRVTA State Office at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, FL 33578 or call (813) 741-0488 or visit www.frvta.org.
Thor Motor Coach (TMC) showcased a host of new motorhomes and features at the Jan. 10-15 Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, providing a strong kickoff for the 2012 show circuit as the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder reported a 40% increase in retail sales compared to last year’s show.
“The Florida Super Show always gives us some indication of how the spring show season will go and it looks like it’s going to be a great year. The consumer reaction to our 2012 line-up was very positive,” Dana Simon, vice president of sales and marketing, said in a press release.
TMC said that the all-new 2013 Palazzo rear diesel “stole the show,” drawing crowds throughout the event. The industry received its first look at the Palazzo when it was unveiled in November at the RV National Trade show in Louisville, Ky. The Palazzo’s compact low-profile design makes it easy to drive while providing the amenities a premium motorhome shopper expects – as well as several they might not, according to TMC.
“The Palazzo, like the A.C.E., is a game changer creating a new segment in the market – attracting many buyers who thought a full-featured rear diesel coach was out of reach. While talking with new potential Palazzo owners at the show, it was clear the market has been waiting for this coach,” stated Adam Gudger, national sales manager for the Thor Motor Coach’s diesel division.
The A.C.E. continues its success as a crossover Class A motorhome. Recent additions include the 29.2 and all-new 30.1 floorplans. The 30-foot, 10 inch 30.1 model adds a second slideout, larger shower and more bedroom storage, in addition to the already well-equipped offerings of the entire A.C.E. lineup.
Making its debut, the 45-foot, 450-hp tag axle 45LT Tuscany also was well received. The 45LT offers a full-wall slide, expandable sofa, half bath with washer dryer option, dual vanity master bath, fireplace, and Sony electronics at a price point far less than its competitors.
For more information on Thor Motor Coach motorhomes, call (800)860-5658, or visit http://ThorMotorCoach.com.
In the wake of last week’s 2012 Florida RV SuperShow, which set a new record for attendance, several exhibitors offered upbeat comments about sales and the general mood of buyers.
The following is a collection of quotes assembled by the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) and Jay Perrett of RVM Promotions that confirm the event was one of the best shows in a number of years.
• “The crowds are bigger and more engaging than the past few years. We are selling a lot of product,” said Gary Conley of Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.
• “It’s been a dynamite show. Better than last year. Traffic has been great and it’s obvious there is pent-up demand. People are ready to buy. Today (Saturday) has been a record day,” said Ryan Hollan, from Camping World.
• “Fantastic show. The rain and cooler weather did not keep people away the first few days. Best show I’ve been to in 25 years,” said Starcraft Inc.’s Troy O’Leary.
• “We’re having a great show. There are a lot of buyers out here. Better than last year; people are very optimistic. You can see that the economy is improving,” said T.R Fulk of Bates RV.
• “We have tripled our sales compared with last year. Wednesday and Thursday the traffic was average, but people came to buy. The snowbirds and full-timers are here trading up their older units,” said Jon Sare of Forest River Inc.
• “The smaller, lightweight units have been our best sellers. We are working lots of deals. There are a lot more families out here today looking at bunkhouses. It’s 4 p.m. and I’m just having lunch,” said George Grimm, of Campers Inn Fruitland Park.
• “We had a lot of serious buyers early on Wednesday that wanted to get an early start picking out their new unit. We have been extremely busy Friday and Saturday,” said Tim Garner of Airstream Inc. as 100-plus shoppers were looking at units in the Bates RV display.
• “This year’s show has been wonderful. The buyers are here this week. Traffic and sales are much improved over last year. Lightweight trailers with bunks have been our best sellers,” said Sam Hunter, of Arrow RV.
• “Great show. We have more than doubled our sales from last year,” said Matt Grimes, of Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC.
The 2012 Florida RV SuperShow set a new record of over 54,000 attendees over the five public days of the show, which ran Jan. 11-15 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. According to the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), the total is approximately 900 more people than attended the show in 2011.
“Even with a little rain on opening day, the last four days were dry and unseasonably warm. If we had to have rain, early in the week is always preferable,” said FRVTA Marketing Director Dave Kelly in a press release. “I think a lot of people wanted to get out and stretch their legs and see the new RVs.”
Dealers and manufacturers reported excellent sales, which usually is a precursor to the entire RV industry nationwide. While many of the attendees were retirees, the weekend brought out lots of families and they were interested in more than just window shopping. Low interest rates and a great selection of “entry level” priced RVs combined to create a successful show for just about all exhibitors.
“We are seeing three to four years of pent-up demand for RVs finally opening up,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “Americans will only wait so long for things that they really want, and it appears they want RVs right now.”
Booth exhibitors also reported great sales and many were running out of brochures and products early in the week. Camping World’s store was constantly packed and restocking went on well into the night each day of the show.
“We heard families saying they have been waiting to buy an RV for years and their kids were not getting any younger, and older couples have been patient and they thought the time was right,” said Kelly. “The media was also very positive and very anxious to see what was going on in the RV industry. They recognize that RV sales are a leading indicator of the entire economy and that point was made in a few of the TV interviews.”
The dates for the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow are Tuesday, January 15th (Industry Day) and Wednesday, January 16 through Sunday, January 20 (Public Days). For more information contact the FRVTA at (813) 741-0488 or www.frvta.org.
Today’s video comes from the Florida RV SuperShow featuring an interview by ABC Action News, Tampa, with Frank Konigseder, co-owner and vice president of luxury motorcoach builder Liberty Coach.
Representatives from www.RVDailyDeals.com launch its “Daily Deal” platform today (Jan 13) during the Florida RV SuperShow in Florida.
According to a press release, the new online platform will connect RVers with products they want at steeply discounted prices.
The company said that a recent consumer survey completed by BowStern, an integrated marketing firm specializing in the RV industry, showed 46% of the RV community is already using some form of daily deal platform such as GROUPON or Living Social, but none specific to the RV industry. The online survey was completed during the fourth quarter of 2011 by 680 RVers. The full report will be available through BowStern in the coming weeks.
“We’re seeing significant growth with deal-based programs across the country. Our online platform opens up an entirely new world of savings, specifically for the niche RV community,” said founder Tom Derzypolski. “We spent the past several months developing the software and building a platform that will give the consumer an opportunity to easily purchase products at steeply discounted prices while allowing unprecedented exposure for companies worldwide.”
RV Daily Deals will feature both national and regional products. Consumers can receive the RV Daily Deals by signing up at www.RVDailyDeals.com.