An entire city of motorcoaches has popped up in the parking lot of the Doyt Perry Football Stadium at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, this week for the biggest exhibition of its kind in the country.
Some 2,600 RVs from across the United States and even Canada are parked there attracting 10,000 people, according to WTOL-TV, Toledo.
They’re here for the 82nd Annual Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Convention.
What’s the attraction of hitting the road in one of these gas guzzlers — some of which come with a price tag of $2 million?
The freedom of it. The camaraderie, say the RV owners.
Given the bad economic times and high diesel prices one would think this would be the worst of times for the RV industry.
But a University of Michigan survey shows one in 12 households owns one.
Still, owners have had to curtail travel plans because of the ongoing recession.
“We feel that people are still going out. They are still traveling,” says FMCA’s Robbin Gould. “They take a few less trips a year out there. Still enjoy their motorhome.”
Jim Evans has owned eight RVs in the last 30 years.
“We have a washer/drier. I have an in-motion satellite TV. We can watch 150 stations while driving down the road. My wife watches it,” says Evans. “Believe it or not, I’m getting about 12 miles to the gallon on a good day. Get an honest 10 all the time.”
But Evans believes an RV is a good deal no matter what’s happening with the economy or gas prices.
He says you can go anywhere on the cheap because you never eat out and don’t pay for airline tickets and hotel rooms.
“I worked all my life, very hard,” says Evans. “We enjoy doing things now that we’re retired.”
And those retirement years now involve spending five months a year in an RV — no matter what the price.
As “green” technology becomes mainstream, RV industry experts report a growing number of consumers showing interest in RVs that are smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient. For those consumers who don’t have the extra cash to shell-out for a new, eco-friendly coach, ShadePro Inc. will be unveiling two new products that will make “going green” while on the road a bit more user-friendly and affordable at the July 2009 Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) International Convention in Bowling Green, Ohio, according to a news release.
The convention, July 20-23, will serve as a platform for ShadePro not only to present its new products to thousands in attendance, but also enable the RV awning and shade company to promote the environmental and money saving benefits of becoming an energy efficient RVer. ShadePro will have six service teams at the convention offering installations and rally pricing to all attendees.
“What many RV owners don’t realize is that there are plenty of inexpensive ways to go green,” said Steve Smoot, ShadePro president. “One simple item all RVers can do to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint is to install shade products on their RV. This not only helps limit air conditioning use during the hot summer months, but also reduces the fuel consumption by running the generator.”
The Vista Shade is an inside mounted windshield cover for Class A motorhomes that blocks approximately 94% of the sun’s hot rays and saves energy in three do-it-yourself steps. Since the Vista Shade is a DIY product, the owner has the ability cut and create the shape of the shade they need and apply a small adhesive track to the glass. Once the track is installed, the Vista Shade simply slides in.
ShadePro is also re-introducing its line of awning shades with new features at the convention. The RV awning shade drop is now available in 6-, 7- and 8-foot heights to accommodate tall motorhomes or customers that prefer longer shades to block out the wind, sun and other elements.
By keeping the sun’s rays out and the inside of the coach cool, RV owners can afford to be eco-friendly without breaking the bank.
To learn more about ShadePro, Inc. and their RV awning and RV shade products, visit www.ShadePro.net.
To learn more about the FMCA’s 82nd International Convention in Bowling Green, Ohio or to register, visit www.FMCA.com.
Hundreds of motorhomes and a variety of accessory merchandise will be assembled in Bowling Green, Ohio, July 20-23 in a display of recreation vehicles at Bowling Green State University.
The motorhome exhibition is part of a convention of an international motorhome owners’ club, the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), based in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to an FMCA news release.
The RV exhibition is just one element of the FMCA convention. Approximately 2,600 families will travel from across North America in their motorhomes to take part in the event, and some 8,000 people will be on hand. The convention will include seminars on topics relative to RVing, topflight professional entertainment and various social events.
On Monday, July 20, from 1 to 5 p.m., a special viewing of only the motorhome exhibits will take place. Hours for viewing motorhome and booth display exhibits are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Some 18 motorhome manufacturers and five Ohio dealers will be bringing new motorhomes to Bowling Green for convention attendees to tour. Plus, approximately 230 companies will display their wares inside the air-conditioned space of the Charles Perry Field House, encompassing nearly 75,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space.
The daily fee for viewing motorhomes and booth displays is $7 per person; children 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Visitors can save $2 on a day pass by bringing a nonperishable food item to benefit the Bowling Green Food Pantry. A Daily Passport that provides admittance to the exhibits, seminars, and daytime and evening entertainment is available for $55 per person. The admission fee on Monday covers admission on Tuesday as well.
Convention attendees will be able to view the latest features and innovations that are available in motorhomes. Some of the displays will feature production-line units, and others will demo custom-built coaches for uses ranging from family camping to transporting high-tech business equipment, or for use as conference coaches. A great variety of motorhome styles and a broad price range will be represented. In addition, the Charles Perry Field House will overflow with RV accessories, components, supplies and campground information.
After about two years working with the recreational vehicle industry, gaining contacts and experience, Tallahassee, Fla.-based marketing firm Kidd Group decided it was time to form a new division.
Kidd RV Resort Consulting officially launched in February and will cater to the specific audiences and environment of the RV business, according to Tallahassee.com.
“Our success can be attributed to 30 years of marketing experience amid government initiatives, transportation, real estate, technology, finance and health care, combined with tested and proven principles and excellent customer service to the RV industry,” said Jerry Kidd, president of the Kidd Group.
While RV unit sales may have slowed in some sectors of the business, Kidd account manager Allison Fogt said that hasn’t kept people from hitting the road. Many RV parks are at capacity this winter and spikes in fuel prices have not been a deterrent to travel.
Kidd finds business potential in the RV resorts, the manufacturers and in the associations of RV owners who have an affinity for a certain brand of motorhome or camper. Often, the groups organize their own events and trips.
“Part of our expertise is understanding these audiences,” Fogt said.
RV companies typically market themselves through targeted trade publications and exhibits at trade shows. One such event is this week’s 81st Annual Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) International Convention in Perry, Ga.
Relationship building is important, Fogt added. That includes bringing partners together who can sponsor special promotions or offers.
“We kind of use that leverage to help our clients and creating those marketing opportunities.”
The turnout was pretty impressive this week at the Georgia National Fairgrounds for the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 81st International Convention March 15-19 in Perry – especially given all the economic variables in play.
“We are pleased with the turnout,” said Don Signs Your Ex Girlfriend Wants You Back Eversmann, FMCA executive director. “A significant number of our members are here. We are running about 2,700 families, and we expect some more to register before the event is over.”
Indoor exhibits, boosted in part by local day passes, were busy Monday on opening day. Outside exhibits were inundated by rain – it invariably rains in Perry, one of FMCA’s favorite convention venues – while a sea of motorhomes surrounded the site in the rolling hills of Georgia. This year marked the sixth time that FMCA has hosted a rally in Perry.
FMCA depends on about 800 volunteers, with members often donating four to eight hours, to coordinate the event in Perry.
“Perry is a dynamite location,” said Eversmann. “And they continue to improve it. Right now, they have major construction going on and we are looking forward to coming back.”
Eversmann said that attendees seemed to be looking beyond the backdrop of a tenuous American economy.
“I think they are hoping like everybody else that it’s (the recession) going to be short-lived and turn around and our industry will get its feet back on the ground quickly,” he said.
The turnout, if anything, is a reminder of the resilience of the American RV consumer, he maintained.
“Yes, we’ve been hearing good news from other RV shows and we are very pleased with this event and the number of people who have joined us here,” Eversmann said. “And we are looking forward to Bowling Green (July 20-23).”