The numbers are in for the 29th Annual Fort Myers RV Show and both dealer and vendor participants came away smiling as the event drew just under 13,000 patrons during the show’s four days, according to a press release. Region 1 of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) sponsored the show.
“Everyone I spoke with at the show was generally pleased with the buying interest the public had,” said FRVTA Region 1 President Chris Morse of Skip Eppers 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 not an attendance record, Show Manager Jack Carver 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. “Attendance was up over last year and I’m very thankful the show was successful.”
This year’s annual event featured 15 dealers displaying more than 600 new RV units of all types, styles and price ranges. The show also staged 85 vendors selling everything from resort lots, insurance, permanent roof coatings, repair services and other enhancements for the RV Lifestyle.
“It seemed as if everything we brought to the show was selling. We’ve also had very good after-show traffic on the lot,” said Rick Swift, general manager of Camping World Fort Myers.
This year’s show success continues the Fort Myers RV Show’s distinction as one of the largest dealer-sponsored RV events in the southeast United States, Chris pointed out. “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,” he said.
Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) returns for its 17th annual RV show at the Lee County Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium in south Fort Myers, according to a press release.
Nelda Iacono, president of Region One, reported that the April 20-22 event will feature 11 dealers from throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast displaying a wide selection of new and used recreation vehicles of all styles, brands and price ranges. RV suppliers also will be on hand with financing for qualified buyers available.
“This event is held just before the summer traveling season, so consumers can make their plans to see our great nation,” Nelda explains. “Dealers also need to reduce their inventory from the busy winter season, so prices for new and used RVs have been reduced as well.”
FRVTA said that 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,” Nelda explained. “Even with the recent increase in fuel costs, an RV vacation is still a bargain.”
Visit www.FRVTA.org/rv-shows for more information.
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 Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will host the 27th Annual 2012 Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 11-15 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. RV Industry Day will take place on Jan. 10 and all RV industry personnel may attend for free.
According to a news release, the show will have representation from every major RV manufacturer as well as hundreds of accessory booth exhibitors. “We will have more supplier booths and every type, size and style of RV on the market,” said FRVTA Marketing Director David Kelly. “With the addition of new entertainment and more seminars, we’re anticipating record crowds this year. We’re also renewing the two-day pass so the public will have two full days to see everything at the SuperShow at no additional cost.”
The theme of the 2012 Florida RV SuperShow is “Take Another Look,” conveying the idea that “if consumers haven’t seen all the new and exciting changes in today’s RVs it’s time to take another look,” according to FTVTA. Entertainment will feature clowns, unicycle riders, barbershop quartets and bagpipe bands, and a free shuttle service inside the SuperShow will be available to transport visitors throughout the fairgrounds.
Seminars include Tips for Buying an RV, Basic RV Maintenance, Weight and Tire Issues, How to RV to Alaska and Full Time and Extended RV Travel, explaining how RV travelers deal with banking, bill paying, telephone communications, e-mail, mail forwarding, medical care and other concerns while on the road for extended periods of time.
The “Super Rally” celebrates its 25th year at the SuperShow. The RV rally is open to any RV club and the general public, and includes a number of amenities including free admission to the SuperShow all five public days, meeting facilities for clubs, free coffee and donuts every morning, and seminars. Three nights of entertainment and refreshments are also included and will feature “The Rivoli Revue” music by Kay and Ron Rivoli, a fun evening with Rick Arnold and turning back the clock with Malt Shoppe Memories. There will also be a collection of antique RVs from the members of the Tin Can Tourists.
For more information visit the FRVTA website at www.frvta.org.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will host the 27th Annual 2012 Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 11-15 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla. RV Industry Day will take place on Jan. 10 and all Rv industry personnel may attend for free.
“This is a great opportunity for all RV Industry personnel here in Florida or anyone in the industry spending the winter in the state,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “If you didn’t have the chance to take your staff to the Louisville Show, this is an inexpensive way to expose your entire crew to all the new products and RVs available for 2012.”
Industry Day will include free coffee and donuts in the morning and a free lunch for all attendees. Registration forms can be found on the FRVTA website.
For more information on the 2012 Florida RV SuperShow contact the Florida RV Trade Association at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, FL 33578, (813) 741-0488, or visit our web-site at www.frvta.org.
The Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) Florida RV SuperShow has been named to Tradeshow Executive’s Gold 100 largest trade shows in the United States for the 14th straight year.
As listed in the annual Tradeshow Executive’s Gold 100, the 2010 Florida RV SuperShow ranked No. 12. The RVIA National RV Trade Show was ranked No. 7.
“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 2012 Super Show is already looking like another winner.”
The 2012 Florida RV SuperShow will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Industry Day is Jan. 10 with Public Days running Jan. 11-15. For more information on exhibiting or attending the 2012 Florida RV SuperShow, contact the FRVTA state office at 10510 Gibsonton Dr., Riverview, FL 33578 or call (813) 741-0488 or visit www.frvta.org.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) just completed five regional RV shows and the results were encouraging heading into the busy winter selling season, according to a press release.
Tampa, Destin, Stuart, Kissimmee and Ft. Myers all hosted fall RV shows this year. FRVTA noted that while it was hard to compare to last fall, as three of the shows were new this year, the people that did attend were very optimistic about purchasing in the near future. The Tampa Show collected 10 barrels of canned goods for Metropolitan Ministries.
“This is a great time of year for shows due to the drier and cooler weather,” said FRVTA Marketing Director Dave Kelly. “We were able to get more advertising value for our dollars as well because we weren’t competing with political campaigns this fall in Florida. I think that also contributed to the upbeat and optimistic attitude of the crowds”.
FRVTA said that dealers and vendors reported steady sales. Campgrounds around the state are also seeing “snowbirds” a little earlier this year. “With the winter selling season just around the corner, all of these are welcome signs of great things to come,” FRVTA said in the release.
The FRVTA winter show schedule kicks off with the 2012 Florida RV SuperShow, Jan. 10 (Industry Day), Jan. 11-15 (Public Days). That will be followed by shows in Ft. Myers, Ocala, Jacksonville, Deland and West Palm Beach.
For more information about the FRVTA winter shows or for exhibitor information, go to www.frvta.org or call 813-741-0488.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) is teaming up with RV|ID to offer a new telematics and inventory management solution for RV dealers, according to a news release.
FRVTA said that using GPS and wireless communications technology, together with a sophisticated software analytics engine and an online portal, RV|ID gives RV dealers a new tool to efficiently manage their new and used motorized and towable inventory, while also providing the myRV|ID consumer service to RV purchasers.
“We are pleased to work with FRVTA to offer a valuable new service and revenue source for its dealer members,” said John Mancinelli, vice president of RV dealer development for Red Lantern Labs, which developed and offers RV|ID. “RV|ID’s real-time inventory management system makes it very useful for dealers who are seeking better ways to manage their inventory, while the myRV|ID service enables dealers to offer a valuable new product for RV purchasers.”
“This new technology could benefit the entire RV Industry, but most importantly our FRVTA dealers and their customers,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “FRVTA dealers will be able to provide their customers an RV that will enhance their RV experience while providing our dealers a tool that will improve rolling stock management while increasing sales and profitability.”
Editor’s Note: The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) recently sent out to members a recap of its annual convention. The following is an excerpt focusing on an industry outlook panel held during the gathering.
Over 250 members gathered for the 31st Annual FRVTA Convention at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale Beach, September 8-11.
As part of the event, which included an address from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, FRVTA again hosted an industry outlook panel featuring representatives from all sectors of the RV Industry.
The following offers some key points from the participants.
• Rick Compton, senior vice president and general manager of BB&T’s Recreational Lending Division in North Carolina, thought this next year would be a bellwether for all businesses since it would be an election year. Additionally, Rick believes high fuel prices will make 2012 a challenging year, but he nevertheless is expecting slow and steady growth.
• Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino said he believes these past several years have been among the roughest he’s ever seen due to the economic uncertainly. With some economic certainty, he thinks consumers would feel more comfortable spending money. “It was a credit problem earlier, now we’re into a credibility problem,” he exclaimed. Not to be too downbeat, Mike did say that RVs are being used, just not being sold as readily as needed. Nationally, he said the industry is still losing dealers either through closure or consolidation. And, while retail sales aren’t currently pretty, he does expect things to stabilize and improve following the 2012 presidential elections.
• Martin Street, Stag-Parkway Inc.’s COO, related that he joined the company in May 2008 just as the “Great Recession” was firmly taking hold of the nation. Unlike many retailers, his business was going great through the first quarter, but slowed dramatically once April hit. He attributes much of this to the weather extremes the nation suffered this past spring that reduced customer traffic. Sales picked up however, once July and vacation season started. Saying it’s hard to predict future sales activity, Martin believes 2012 will be flat due to the uncertain presidential elections and the European economic problems that affect the stock market. He also stressed the effects of a change in consumers buying habits. “Consumers are using the Internet to price compare,” he said, “so we must offer items to distinguish ourselves from competitors.” Citing personal service as a winning strategy, Martin believes the RV Industry should stress the positives the industry offers consumers in order to drive sales changes.
• FLARVC President Bobby Cornwell told member that “flat is the new up,” adding that most of his RV park and campground members are stable. However, a big change in his industry is the increased presence of corporate park ownership versus the traditional “mom & pop” ownership. “I’m also seeing increased demand for tent and park model camping, probably as a result of the economy,” he said. Saying “buddy sites” are increasing in popularity within campgrounds, Bobby believes parks are seeing more campers in their 40’s, which is down from previous years when campers in their 60’s dominated. Additionally, long weekend trips with reservations made at the last minute are more likely. Campgrounds have responded to all this by upgrading their sites with 50-amp service and a variety of high-end amenities.
• Mark Schroeder, senior executive/credit products manager of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, offered members a comprehensive overview on commercial RV lending, the loan process and what’s needed/required to obtain a commercial loan. Schroeder said credit consideration is based on three years of business and personal tax returns, audited business statements and inventory aging reports, among other items needed. Good capitalization is a must, he stressed. “Avoid high leverage in your business to remain flexible,” he said. “High liquidity and good cash flow are important to making sure the dealership is strong and able to pay bills adequately.”
• Winnebago Industries Inc. Chairman Bob Olson, who also serves as co-chairman of the Go RVing Coalition, praised the national Go RVing marketing campaign as a way to increase physical activity, which in turn promotes a healthy lifestyle. He said that thus far the campaign, targeting 30 to 64 year-old-adults, had achieved 2.4 billion impressions nationally. Bob also informed members about the new “Away” marketing campaign that will stress the affordable travels aspects of RVing for families. Three new TV spots will be unveiled at this year’s National RV Show in Louisville and are scheduled to begin airing in 2012. “This new campaign will keep the RV Lifestyle in front of American consumers,” he detailed.
• Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon spoke discussed the problems concerning economic and political uncertainty and how it has affected consumer sentiment. But, he remains positive saying that due to pent-up demand for RV products and election year efforts to “juice up” the economy that 2012 “may not be all that bad.” He also exhorted dealers to push their technicians toward certification via the new “RV Career Ladder.” One major issue Richard said RVIA is carefully monitoring is government efforts to increase the CAFE standards for trucks up to an average of 35 miles per gallon. “Since medium- and heavy-duty trucks are used as RV tow vehicles, this has the potential to have a major impact on the RV Industry,” he explained. Richard also announced that the 2nd Annual RV World Conference would take place in Tampa Jan. 17-20, 2013 at which he expects speakers from throughout the world to present their views and opinions on RVing. He ended by saying he hoped the conference would produce “world standards” for RV manufacturing as the lifestyle’s appeal grows globally.
FRVTA also named its slate of executive officers that included: President Larry Schaffer, Vice President Sam Abdo, Treasurer Rob Rothenhausler and Secretary Ryan Hollan. Donnie Davis remains FRVTA chairman.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) welcomed Gov. Rick Scott to the 31st Annual State Convention, held Sept. 8-11 at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Ft. Lauderdale. According to a press release, Scott spoke at the luncheon on Saturday afternoon.
“The best thing that government can do to help small businesses like yours thrive and grow is to get out of your way,” said Scott. “As a business owner myself, I can relate to the struggles you have to face, I am committed to creating a favorable environment for business in this state.”
Scott went on to outline the progress that has been made during the first nine months of his term. He said that working with the Florida state legislature, his administration has been able to balance the budget while not increasing taxes or fees.
In addition to Scott’s address, the annual convention offered attendees a review of several key issues in a Friday morning panel discussion featuring Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon, Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino, Rick Compton from BB & T, Mark Schroeder from Bank of America, Bob Olson from Winnebago Industries Inc., Bobby Cornwell from the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (FARVC) and Martin Street from Stag-Parkway Inc. According to FRVTA, the overall feeling was that the industry is still facing many challenges but has always bounced back from the worst of times.
Breakout sessions on Saturday covered a range of topics including Florida’s Dealer/Manufacturer Agreement, industry statistics featuring Tom Walworth from Stat Surveys Inc., dealer compliance issues, RV selling and making parts profitable.
The theme of the FRVTA State Convention was “The Greatest RV Show on Earth” following a circus motif throughout the event. The annual dinner/costume party featured many performers including ring masters, knife throwers, lion tamers, strong men, clowns and three bearded “ladies”.
Following the governor’s address at the luncheon, the FRVTA staff presented a game show that closely resembled the “Minute to Win it” hit TV program. The weekend ended with the “Grande Finale” Awards Banquet on Saturday night. It also marked the end of the silent auction, which benefited the FRVTA PAC Fund.