Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) is returning for its 18th annual recreational vehicle show at the Lee County Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium in south Fort Myers April 19-21.
According to a press release, the three-day-event will feature 11 dealers from throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast displaying a wide selection of new, used and leftover recreation vehicles of all styles, brands and price ranges. A variety of RV suppliers also will be on hand to provide information on where to camp as well as various other services to make the great outdoors accessible. Financing for well-qualified buyers will also be available.
“This event is held just before the summer traveling season, so consumers can make their plans to see our great nation,” said Dan Wylie, president of FRVTA’s Region One. “Dealers also need to reduce their inventory from the busy winter season, so prices for new and used RVs have been reduced as well.”
Financing for both dealer inventory and qualified buyers has improved, resulting in a market that has seen RV sales markedly recover for both new and used merchandise.
“Statistics continue to show that an RV vacation is much less expensive than other vacation travel options, even when a purchase is factored in,” Wylie explained, “Despite recent fuel cost increases, an RV vacation is still a bargain.”
Furthermore, Wylie stressed that RVs are versatile vehicles perfect not only for camping, but for exploring, tailgating and weekend excursions. “You can bring your entire family together, even the dog, by taking them away,” he said.
The admission-free recreation vehicle show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. For more information visit www.FRVTA.org/rv-shows.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) just completed its sixth regional show at venues throughout the state and reported that attendance numbers have been strong, according to a press release.
A roundup of show results includes:
• The Fort Myers RV Show, celebrating its 28th year, featured 17 dealers from all along the Gulf Coast along with well over 100 vendors. Show Chairman Chris Morse reported that attendance increased about 1,000 over the the 12,300 patrons last year while dealers and vendors registered steady sales. Morse noted that the event also generated followup sales for dealers.
• The Ocala RV Show held the last week in January showcased 13 dealers and the supplier’s tent included representatives from campgrounds and resorts along with a parts and accessories store. Great weather the entire weekend brought in just under 5,000 people over the four days of the show. “This was the second year at the new location adjacent to the Super Flea Market, which gives us great visibility from I-75,” said FRVTA Marketing Director Dave Kelly. “It’s easier to get to and we are closer to town than the old location. I know the dealers like being closer to town and it appears the public does, too.”
• The 7th Annual Spring Clean-Out RV Show was held the second weekend in February and featured seven RV dealers and six vendors at Germain Arena, which fronts I-75. Held in conjunction with an annual home and garden show, the event attracted over 3,300 attendees despite a cold, rainy start. “We hold this show to reach down into the Naples market where there are lots of RV resorts, but no RV dealers,” said Region 1 President Dan Wylie. “From what I could tell, every dealer did well, moving both new and used products.”
• The Jacksonville RV Show returned for the fourth year to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Six participating RV dealers showcased product and the supplier’s area was setup so that the public came in and out right past the booths. Great weather again brought in a record crowd of over 7,300 people. “We renewed the promotion from last year’s show to get visitors to go to every dealer and have a card stamped that made them eligible for a drawing every day for a gas card,” said Region 6 President Tom Tibbitts. “This not only got people to visit every dealer, it also gave every dealer the chance to interact with every visitor.”
• The Central Florida RV Show was held at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand the last weekend of February. Seven RV dealers reported “good to great” sales from the close to 4,000 people that attended. “We dropped the admission price a couple of bucks to try and get a bigger crowd, and we were up about 400 people over last year’s show,” said Ken Prentiss, Region 4 president. “We will continue to look at ways to increase attendance and bring more buyers to this event next year.”
• The last winter regional show was held March 7-10 in West Palm Beach. Held in the parking lot of the South Florida Fairgrounds, and included nine dealers and 10 booth exhibitors. Drawing over 3,400 people, dealers enjoyed strong traffic, including Keith Waits from Palm Beach RV who reported selling both new and used units.
Still to be held is the 18th Annual RV SuperSaver Show in Fort Myers. Show Manager Jack Carver expects to have about 11 dealers and 10 exhibitors in this annual event that is aimed at local residents. “Depending on the weather, this show usually delivers about 3,500 people over three days,” he explained. “It’s the perfect time for our dealers to reach out to local residents as they prepare for the summer travel season.”
Kelly noted, “The bottom line coming out of the Florida winter/spring RV show season is that the attitudes of consumers are vastly more positive and the fact that most shows were either at or close to last year’s attendance means the interest in RV products is still strong and getting stronger.”
For more information contact the FRVTA at (813) 741-0488 or www.frvta.org.
Organizers for the 28th Annual Fort Myers RV Show, held Jan. 24-27 at the Lee Civic Center, reported the event drew over 12,300 patrons while generating sales for dealer and vendor participants. According to a press release, the show was sponsored by Region 1 of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).
“Everyone I spoke with at the show was generally pleased with the buying interest the public had,” said FRVTA Region 1 President Dan Wylie of Dream RV. “In fact, we had several dealers who achieved double-digit sales. All dealers came away with many sales leads they can now follow up over the coming weeks.”
While no attendance records were set, Show Manager Jack Carver said he was gratified the public responded so positively, especially following the economic turmoil the industry has suffered over the previous years. “We worked hard to put on a quality event that created a buying situation for all participants,” he said. “I’m very thankful the show was successful.”
This year’s annual event featured 17 dealers displaying well over 600 new RV units of all types, styles and price ranges. The show also staged 85 vendors selling everything from resort lots, insurance and permanent roof coatings to repair services and other enhancements for the RV lifestyle.
“Everyone seemed to be selling whatever they brought,” said Show Chairman Chris Morse of Skip Eppers RVs. “I’m still busy with traffic and additional sales a week after the show.”
Wylie added, “We are proud to offer dealers, vendors and patrons the best the RV Industry has to offer and look forward to helping spread consumer interest in the RV lifestyle.”
Jacksonville, Fla., RV dealers say the positive feedback that’s coming from last week’s Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, coupled with strong sales of recreational vehicles locally the last quarter of 2012, are pointing toward a strong showing at the upcoming Jacksonville RV MegaShow.
The Florida Times-Union reported that the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will play host to the four-day event a third consecutive year. The show opens Thursday (Feb. 7) and runs through Sunday.
Tom Tibbitts, regional president of the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), says the group expects to attract about 7,000 visitors to the show — about 1,000 more attendees than last year.
“I talked to one dealer at the Tampa show who said his sales were up nearly 35% from last year,” Tibbitts said. “Based on the response there, I’m expecting we’ll have a lot more interest and a bigger turnout at our show this year. Based on everything we’re hearing, the RV industry appears to be making a rebound.”
This will be the 28th year the FRVTA’s Region 6 has sponsored the event in Jacksonville. Tibbitts believes the show should feel the momentum established in Tampa.
“Attendance was up and sales of RVs were strong, primarily because of excellent attendance and RV pricing by individual dealers,” he said. “And the aftermarket vendors reported excellent exposure to their merchandise, campgrounds and services compared to 2012.”
A potentially more telling sign is the fact that additional campsites had to be found at the Florida State Fairgrounds where the event was held.
“Based on our experience this year in Tampa, I think the retail public waiting in the wings for the economy to recover aren’t going to sit back anymore,” said Lance Wilson, FRVTA executive director.
Wilson notes that his industry looks to sales in Florida, and specifically the Tampa SuperShow, as the “bellwether” for the year’s RV sales nationwide. Based on attendance, which could reach 55,000 once all the numbers are in, 2013 is shaping up to be a better-than-expected year in RV sales.
“The most important thing for us this year is that no people showed up with agendas on taxes or gas prices,” Wilson said. “They looked at a lot of product and made a lot of decisions. Financing was available and the price was right. Everything looks good heading into our biggest season.”
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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.”
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.”
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The 28th Annual 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, hosted by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), is set to run Jan. 15-20 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
As in past years, “Industry Day” will be held on Jan. 15 followed by “Public Days” for the remainder of the show. According to a press release, the theme of the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow is “Now’s The Time,” conveying the idea that there will never be a better time to buy an RV.
Those attending the show will be the first U.S. consumers to get a look at the North American recreational vehicle industry’s 2013 lineup, all assembled at one time in one coordinated retail exposition.
After a series of late year, trade-only industry events at which manufacturers first unveiled their latest products to dealers, attendees will be able to view 1,100 units while 450 vendors will be on hand to service the RV-enthusiast public.
“The SuperShow as well as all our regional shows provide our manufacturers and dealers with excellent opportunities to display their new products all over Florida,” FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson told RVBUSINESS.com. “With a record attendance in 2012 of over 54,000, we are expecting the 2013 SuperShow to be even bigger and better than ever.”
Along with the displays of the nation’s largest and best known manufacturers, show attendees will be able to view altogether new brands from some authentically new companies, including:
• An all-new upscale fifth-wheel lineup from LIFESTYLE Luxury RV, a new sister company to Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC.
• Entirely new from-the-ground-up SporTrek towables manufactured since July by Venture RV, a new stand-alone subsidiary of KZRV LP, Shipshewana, Ind.
• The inaugural unveiling of an entirely new lineup of extended stay, Solitude-brand fifth-wheels from Grand Design RV Co., a fledgling Indiana-based towable RV manufacturing firm that’s been drawing a lot of initial attention.
• The first Flex-brand travel trailers and fifth-wheels from Augusta RV, a new company that opened its doors this year in Bristol, Ind.
• The rollout of Ocean One Class B motorhomes built on Mercedes Benz Sprinter platforms by Advanced RV, an Ohio-based startup.
• The North American debut of European-built RVs from one of the more unusual exhibitors at this year’s SuperShow, HYMER AG, Europe’s largest RV builder. HYMER executives say they’re taking a look at the U.S. market and gauging consumer tastes in showing several European-built coaches. The end result is that HYMER could well become a significant player in the U.S. RV marketplace.
In addition to the RVs on display, the event will offer a host of educational seminars while several of Florida’s campgrounds and resorts will have booth exhibits. Camping accessories and supplies will be shown in an on-site Camping World store.
RV writer Bob Marx will host two seminars daily, including “Tips for Buying an RV” and “Full Time & Extended RV Travel.” Additional seminars focus on basic RV maintenance, weight and tire issues and “RVing 101-Everthing You Need to Know.”
The Super Rally celebrates its 26th year at the event. The rally is open to RV clubs and the general public, and includes a number of amenities for the show.
For more information on the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow or to attend “Industry Day,” contact FRVTA at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Fla., 33578, (813) 741-0488, or visit www.frvta.org.
Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will host its Annual Fall Recreation Vehicle Show at the Lee County Sports Complex in south Lee County, Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
According to a press release, the “Fall Clean-Out RV Show” will feature seven local dealers displaying new and used inventory to make room for new 2013 models.
“This admission-free event is the association’s way of saying ‘thanks’ to the public for supporting us throughout the year,” said Dan Wylie, president of Region One. “By sponsoring these shows, the trade association allows the public to view lots of RVs in one place.”
The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. Admission and parking are free for everyone and on-site financing will be available to qualified buyers.
For more information visit www.FRVTA.org/rv-shows.
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 Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) space drawing for the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow yielded a 12% increase in manufacturer space over last year’s show, according to a press release.
FRVTA reported that the order in which space was selected during the drawing, held in the FRVTA office via phone and Internet, was determined by the “Grandfathered Drawing Order.”
“We want to thank all our manufacturer members for their continued support,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “The SuperShow as well as all our regional shows provide our manufacturers and dealers with excellent opportunities to display their new products all over Florida. With a record attendance in 2012 of over 54,000, we are expecting the 2013 SuperShow to be even bigger and better than ever.”
The theme of the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, is “Now’s The Time!” FRVTA said the theme emphasizes there won’t be a better time to buy an RV as dealers are highly motivated and interest rates may never be this low again. It is also an invitation to discover what so many people have already found out – RVs offer freedom, flexibility and fun not found in any other activity.
Industry Day at the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow will be Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will be treated to coffee and donuts in the morning and a free lunch. Public Days will run Jan. 16-20. Hours for the show are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday is Senior Citizens Day with seniors receiving $1 off the cost of admission (not valid with other discounts).
For more information on the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow or to register for Industry Day, contact the Florida RV Trade Association at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Fla., 33578 or visit our www.frvta.org.