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.
The recreational vehicle industry is still in a strong growth mode, based on initial reports from this week’s Hershey Show, officially known as “America’s Largest RV Show.” The event, sponsored by the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA), is widely viewed as the first of the new model year’s major national industry trade and consumer venues.
Located in and around Hersheypark’s Giant Center, the Hershey Show broke all-time attendance records on Wednesday (Sept. 11), its first public day, despite a stifling heat wave that lifted after a storm front swept through on Thursday.
“Well I can tell you that our Wednesday attendance numbers were 6,629, and in 2012 they were 6,542 this year,” reported Heather Leach, marketing and education director for PRVCA. “So we did break last year’s Wednesday record, which was our biggest opening public day ever.”
And Leach, contacted late Friday afternoon, is looking to post record numbers for the entire week, which started with two trade days Monday and Tuesday followed by public days Wednesday through Sunday night at the show, which this year includes 50 manufacturers and 216 supplier exhibits located both inside and, more than ever, outside the Giant Center
“Our goal (for Wednesday) was hopefully to beat last year’s record because last year was a big milepost for us,” said Leach, noting that manufacturers’ space this year is up about 20% while supplier displays are up about 14% at the 862,000-square-foot exposition. “So we’re hoping that this year even beats out last year. So far, it seems like we’re on the right path.
“And just from talking with the people here, there really does seem to be a lot of first-timers here, which is great to see,” she added. “While we usually have a lot of repeat business, there’s a lot of people coming in and saying it’s their first time here.”
Just as important, according to show chairman Dan Salzgiver, general manager of Camping World of Hanover, Pa., is the fact that the Hershey crowd includes a relatively high ratio of buyers.
“Yes, it’s been very, very busy today,” Saltzgiver said Friday afternoon. “There are lots of folks walking up and down the aisles. It’s not packed like a Saturday, but there’s been traffic – very good traffic — all day long. And there’s a lot of buyers here. Sales have been brisk. I haven’t been receiving any complaints (from exhibitors). You know, if things are slow or anything like that, I typically hear right away.”
Amid “beautiful” balmy weather on Friday afternoon, meanwhile, manufacturers seemed to agree with Leach and Salzgiver’s upbeat assessments.
“From our perspective, the first two days we didn’t see as much traffic as we had hoped, although it seemed like the people who were here were buyers,” said Scott Degnan, vice president of sales and product management for Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa, which is showing a Trend-brand Class C motorhome, the U.S. market’s first C-body on the diminutive Ram ProMaster chassis, an adaptation of Fiat’s popular Ducati platform.
“Maybe it was the weather,” Degnan said on Friday. “But we had a pretty good percentage of buyers. And today feels very strong. Today feels better than the first two days, and it seems like we’re picking up normal Hershey-type momentum.”
Despite Wednesday’s heat spell that tended to fatigue both show attendees and exhibitors, Coley Brady, vice president of sales for towable RV builder Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC, Elkhart, Ind., on Friday said he liked what he was seeing in Hershey with regard to sales.
“The first day was very hot, but our sales were actually up from where they were the year before,” said Brady. “Thursday traffic was OK as well. We had rain early. Then it was great for five or six hours in the middle of the day. Then it kind of tapered off in the afternoon around 4 o’clock when the rain came in. But in the first two days, our sales are slightly above last year’s, even considering the weather. Traffic’s been solid today (Friday), although I don’t know the numbers yet. But all things considered, we’re pretty excited about where we’re going into the weekend.”
Things also looked good late Friday from Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s perspective, according to Nate Goldenberg, general manager for several of the Thor subsidiary’s towable lines. “Things look great, really,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “We had a false start mostly due to weather and traffic, but today has been phenomenal. The aisles have been packed. Customers are out. I ran out for lunch and, hell, we had to park all the way in the back of the parking lot when we came back because there were so many people. And they’re buying. So, right now things are really looking good.”
Editor’s Note: The following column was penned by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, reporting from America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa. To view Woodbury’s newsletter click here.
I’m still in Hershey, Pa., at the 2013 Hershey RV Show, which is officially billed as America’s Largest RV Show. If you are in the area, there is still time to attend. It runs through tomorrow (Sunday). It’s a huge affair. For anyone interested in seeing what’s new for 2014, this is a piece of heaven.
Half the reason I attend the show each year is to rub elbows with my buddies — mostly other guys who write or do videos about the RV industry, and to meet up with readers of this newsletter. So far, a dozen readers have introduced themselves, and I’ve run into several authors of books we sell, which is always nice. I’m writing this on Thursday, so there is still plenty of time to explore the show and visit with friends.
I’ve explored many of the RVs on display and have been impressed with a half-dozen. I was amazed by the super-spacious Rockwood HW 296 popup trailer that includes “everything” — even a bathroom with shower. I also liked a lightweight hybrid trailer by Starcraft, the Travel STar EXP 187TB, with three canvas “pop outs” which make room for two double beds and a queen-size bed, plus all the other regular RV features. It’s so light that it can be pulled by many family cars. Lightweight trailers are the big thing this year and are popular with buyers. Depending upon who you talk with, towable RVs — trailers of all sizes and fifth-wheels — are outselling motorized RVs about 12-to-one (some people say 16-to-one).
Winnebago is debuting a new lightweight Class C motorhome with single-tire rear axle and a very interesting drop-down double bed (just push a button), with a Penistar 3.6 litre gas engine on a Ram ProMaster chassis. At 9,300 pounds, the 24-foot Trend is not suited to pulling a tow vehicle. But for a couple or family looking for an RV for camping weekends or vacations, it might be just the thing (good mileage). The MSRP is about $93,000 but it’s being sold at the show for about $79,000.
I loved a tiny trailer from Little Guy — even smaller than a Teardrop — called MyPod, that weighs a mere 500 pounds and can be pulled by virtually any vehicle, even some motorcycles. This would be a great step-up for tenters tired of sleeping on the hard ground.
I’m putting together a video showing these vehicles and others and will have it posted within a couple of weeks. But for now, I must get back to work (and to play). I’ll be home late Sunday night and hope to see you here again next week.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better in the world of recreational vehicles. Richard and Karen Bowser of Pittsburgh spent a better part of the day Wednesday walking around the grounds of America’s Largest RV Show at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
They weren’t searching for a high-end, luxurious recreational vehicle, according to a report by the Patriot-News, Harrisburg.
“We’re looking to buy something that will accommodate the two of us,” Karen Bowser said, adding they are retired and travel the country visiting their children.
Although, she did have some specifics including a two-door refrigerator/freezer, deep or two-bowl kitchen sink and a three-burner stove with an oven. She said she just wants enough kitchen space to make biscuits and gravy for breakfast when they are on the road.
“It has to have a potty and a shower,” she added.
They were eyeing the new Winnebago Minnie, a travel trailer being touted for its small size and big character. The Minnie is just one of a slew of new compact recreational vehicles hitting the market.
The light-weight trailers equate into fuel efficiency which is attractive in the market.
Steve Fretz of Fretz RV in Souderton said when fuel prices skyrocketed people traded in their SUVs for Priuses. RV manufacturers could no longer offer big towing trailers, he said.
Sherman Goldenberg, publisher of RVBusiness, called it a tentative trend as post-recession buyers seem to have a taste for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.
As a result, manufacturers are seeing interest in the Minnie which sells in bright colors like green and yellow.
To read the entire article click here.
Winnebago Industries Inc. is debuting several new products at America’s Largest RV Show running this week at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., including the Class C Trend.
According to a press release, The Winnebago Trend is the first Class C motorhome on the new Ram ProMaster chassis with the V6 Pentastar gas engine and 9,350-pound GVWR. The coach also offers six air bags in the cab for added safety, and best-in-class cab ergonomics and visibility.
The affordable Trend is fuel efficient and provides comfortable living space for up to six people. Both 24-foot floorplans feature a powered StudioLoft bed that lifts tight to the ceiling to conserve space during the day. Other features include energy-saving LED lighting, available soft, easy-to-clean Ultraleather furniture and industry-leading three-point seat belts in the dinette.
The 23B offers front swivel cab seats, a sofa/bed and dinette, a large, full-featured mid-coach galley and rear bath. Two large sleeping spaces provide comfortable sleeping for four adults with the queen size front loft bed and a king size Flex bed system. The 23L also features swivel cab seats expanding the living area of the motorhome, as well as a forward-facing dinette on the driver’s side and a side-facing dinette bench seat on the curb side of the unit. Together these comfortable seating spaces convert into one convenient sleeping space. Additional sleeping space is available with the rear corner bed and front Studio Loft bed. A mid-coach L-shaped galley is full featured and has a forward facing sink.
The all-new Travato is the latest Class B motorhome to join the Winnebago Touring Coach lineup. The Travato is also built on the Ram ProMaster chassis. At just under 21 feet long, the Travato is agile and fuel efficient. With swivel cab seats, LED ceiling lights, standard touch-screen navigation, a split dinette and an abundance of features, the Travato delivers a whole lot of fun. The Travato is the only product in its industry segment to provide a three-point seat belt harness for passengers in the dinette.
The innovative 59G floorplan features a rear double bed that is designed to flip up out of the way to allow for large items like bicycles to be stored securely inside and making them easily accessible through the large double doors at the rear of the coach. The Flex bed system allows for additional sleeping in the front of the unit as well.
The new Winnebago Forza 38R floorplan will also be on display for the first time. Providing a luxury Class A diesel at an affordable price, the Forza is built on the Freightliner XCS straight-rail chassis, which provides a solid foundation with a Cummins 340-hp diesel engine and Allison six-speed transmission delivering the power. The Forza features ample storage with the Smart Storage design that increases capacity.
The interior is set off by polished Corian galley countertops, coffee-glazed cabinetry, upscale entertainment features and LED lighting. The 38R features two slideout rooms with an exceptional bath-and-a-half floorplan. A rear master suite provides a private rear bathroom and a queen-size bed with large wardrobe and a 28-inch HDTV that flips down from the ceiling for easy viewing.
The 38R also includes a Flex bed system that provides bunk beds, storage, or converts into a dinette. Also standard in the 38R is a half bath, Comfort sofa sleeper, BenchMark dinette with “Dream Dinette” table, full-featured galley with pantry and residential refrigerator, and large 50-inch LED HDTV above the optional fireplace.
Winnebago Industries will also have the full complement of 2014 Winnebago, Itasca, Winnebago Touring Coach and SunnyBrook products on display.
Kitchener, Ontario-based Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., the leading class B manufacturer in North America, is set to launch its 40th Anniversary Edition model at the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association’s (PRVCA) RV Show in Hershey Pennsylvania.
According to a press release, Roadtrek’s Anniversary Edition model offers an eye-catching exterior finished in a mocha steel color that is enhanced with a crushed glass finish that “shimmers in the sunlight.” The look is enhanced by stainless steel trim that wraps the body’s exterior frame. The interior features tan-colored leather captain seats and sofa, increased head room, integrated shower floor and high quality, artistic bamboo cabinetry.
“As we celebrate 40 years in the business, we wanted to make a model that encompasses everything that has made Roadtrek successful over the years, and we have done that with this special edition vehicle,” said Roadtrek President Jim Hammill. ”Forty years is a great achievement and although we are celebrating the past, we are excited for the future as we have many more exciting new products that will continue to lead the way in the Class B market.”
Other features in this special edition model include 205 watts of solar, 3,000-watt inverter, 3,500-watt engine generator, four coach batteries, all-season RVing and the Alde hydronic heat and hot water system. The 40th Anniversary Edition is built on the Chevy Express 3500 van chassis and is a higher-end model of one of the company’s best-selling lines, the 190 Popular.
Roadtrek will display the model at booth No. 527 at the Hershey Show. For more information, visit http://www.roadtrek.com/ or contact Karyn Torcoletti, director of marketing, at email@example.com or (519) 745-0711.
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.
Editor’s Note: The following story from Woodall’s Campground Management offers a look at the participating park model manufacturers at America’s Largest RV Show scheduled for September in Hershey, Pa. To read the entire article click here.
• Champion/Athens Park Homes sees the 2013 Hershey show as the culmination of a great year and the kickoff to the 2014 season, says Dick Grymonprez, director of park model sales for Champion Homes. “We look forward to the Pennsylvania show,” he said. The company is building park models from eight plants across the U.S. and the two units it’s showing at Hershey – one from the Rental Cottage Series and the other from the traditional Royal Series – are being built in Champion’s plant in Sangerfield, N.Y.
“That plant will service all our needs in the Northeast,” said Grymonprez, who noted that it also will build units for customers in eastern Canada.
The Hershey units showcase Champion/Athens Park Homes’ best design elements, including a front porch, tape and textured walls with wood accents, wains coating and a “hunter’s cabin feel” to the Rental Cottage unit and a rear porch, full tape and textured walls and ceilings, lots of upgrades and clear story windows with high ceilings for the Royal unit, he said.
This will be the first time to the Hershey show for Grymonprez in several years. The long haul from Texas made taking park models problematic in years past, but now with a plant within a half-day’s drive, the challenge is gone, he said.
Champion has been signing up new accounts throughout the year and adding park model production to some of its plants for the first time, he said. “We are really going after the camping business and oil boom housing business,” he said. “Any place a park model can be used, we’re going after.”
Champion’s plant in Weiser, Idaho, will build park models for western Canadian customers.
“We will have both sides of Canada covered efficiently,” added Grymonprez, who cited the increased park model demand there.
The company is building park models for customers in Japan and Finland.
Grymonprez also said the company continues to do well in Texas, Athens Park Homes; home base, where it has put units in more than 50 campgrounds since its founding in 2005.
Champion now sells park models in 37 states.
• Larry Weaver, sales manager at Dutch Park Homes, Goshen, Ind., is also excited about this year’s Hershey Show, where a new Dutch Park Homes dealer, Ken Asel RV of Gerry, N.Y., will be showing the company’s Monterey and Sterling 12-wides and 8 ½-wide Classic.
The Monterey is Dutch Park Homes’ best-selling model and is actually part 13-wide and part 12-wide. MSRP for this popular unit is in the vicinity of $59,000.
Dutch Park Homes has been coming to the Pennsylvania Show every year since 1980 and the 2012 show was one of its best, with 11 sales recorded, Weaver said.
He’s got a great location at this year’s show and looks forward to showing off all the new decors in Dutch Park Homes’ 2014 units, he said.
• Recreation by Design, a 25-year-year-old Elkhart, Ind.-based specialty vehicle manufacturer now aiming directly at RV dealers, will take two units to Hershey, a 48-foot fifth-wheel from its Baypoint Signature Series, and a 44-foot, two-bedroom Baypoint destination trailer, reports Terry Hiser, sales director for dealer development. MSRPs on the two units are $90,000 and $48,000, respectively.
Recreation By Design moved into a 70,000–square-foot, state-of-the-art former manufactured housing facility on the southwest side of Elkhart in the last year, which allows the company to expand from its historic specialty vehicle focus on the movie, agricultural and carnival industries to a broader line of products, Hiser explained.
“We now have the capability to go out and address the dealer market,” said Hiser.
The destination trailer, with four slideouts, has an appeal to the campground market, Hiser noted, as it was shown at Hershey in 2012 and did quite well.
Recreation By Design also has an expertise in building units in its Custom Series that are handicap accessible. Features include 48-inch exterior openings for power lifts, 36-inch inside doorways and roll-in shower units.
“We’ve done our homework on this over the last two years,” Hiser said. “We can accommodate just about everyone.”
Thor Motor Coach (TMC) reported record retail sales for units sold at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa., Sept. 10-16.
“The customer response for our motorhomes was amazing. We had people in the Thor Motor Coach display from the time the show opened until we closed,” remarked Joel Grimm, national sales manager for gas motorhomes at Thor Motor Coach.
According to a press release, the most sought after and talked about addition at the RV show was Thor Motor Coach’s new HD-MAX exterior packages, a line of full color exterior décor packages that provide the look and feel of a full body paint package, but for thousands of dollars less. HD-MAX exteriors are available on TMC’s A.C.E., Hurricane, and Windsport Class A motorhomes, Four Winds and Chateau Class C motorhomes, along with the Siesta and Citation Class C, B-plus style motorhomes.
The redesigned Hurricane and Windsport Class A motorhomes, shown to the public for the first time at Hershey, were well received, according to TMC, particularly the new 34E rear bath-and-a-half floorplan.
TMC reported that its best selling A.C.E. brand posted record sales, while the Palazzo line of compact diesel pusher motorhomes also attracted buyers. The Tuscany and Tuscany XTE luxury diesel pushers also drew attention with a mix of content and price in a higher-line diesel motorhome.
The new 31L Four Winds and Chateau Class C motorhomes are marketed as offering more interior living space than most Class A motorhomes while the 29TB triple-slide Siesta and Citation had completely new interiors with upgraded features including optional leveling jacks, Firestone Ride-Rite air suspension, and HD-MAX exteriors.
“The commitment to our valued dealers and retail customers, focus on innovative customer service programs, and the development of ‘must have’ products is generating added excitement for Thor Motor Coach products,” commented Dana Simon, vice president of sales at Thor Motor Coach.
Visit http://ThorMotorCoach.com for more about Thor Motor Coach.
America’s Largest RV Show reported record attendance at this year’s event with a turnout of 43,131 people for the Retail Days alone, according to a press release.
As previously reported by RVBUSINESS.com, the Sept. 10-16 event at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., saw a 29% increase in attendance from 2011 and set a new record for the history of the show. The show had over 1,092 new units on display, 172 booth vendors and 45 manufacturers covering display space that surpassed 2011 by over 7%.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the increase in both show space and attendance,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), which annually hosts the show. “We sold out of booth vendor space inside the Giant Center and extended the manufacturer space further into the parking area. People coming to the show are always amazed at how many RVs and accessories the show has and this year’s show definitely exceeded expectations.”
Industry Days were the focus of the first two days of the show allowing dealers one-on-one time with manufacturers and the opportunity to see the debut of the 2013 products.
“There’s a lot of value in Hershey’s Industry Days,” said Dan Saltzgiver, general manager of Camping World of Hanover and PRVCA show chairman. “The show allows dealers and campgrounds to have the first glimpse of the new product and familiarize themselves with the models.”
Industry Days also included education clinics focusing on F&I, service writers and advertising along with a Red Carpet Breakfast featuring NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen and a party at Hersheypark.
This year, PRVCA held a trip giveaway to the Dominican Republic for campground and RV dealership owners attending Industry Days. The winners were John and Linda Sosko, owners of Silver Valley Campsites and RV Sales in Saylorsburg, Pa. “I can’t believe we won,” Linda Sosko said. “I am going home and packing my bags.”
Retail days brought consumers who were ready to shop. “We had our best show yet,” Saltzgiver said. “Our sales were up over 20% and, from what I could tell, all segments of the industry did well at Hershey.”
“Traffic has been up and sales have been steady,” Ed Lerch, owner of Lerch’s RV, said during the show. “We are ahead of last year.”
Jay Troyer, director of sales and marketing for first-time exhibitor Forks RV Inc. noted, “We were very pleased with traffic and public reaction. This show will become a staple in our show schedule.”
The Hershey Show also provided hourly seminars for both new and experienced RVers. Industry experts such as Bob Marx, Walter Cannon, John Holod and RV Doctor Gary Bunzer were on hand to share their know-how.
“This year, America’s Largest RV Show far exceeded all my expectations,” Bunzer states. “We were blessed with glorious weather, outstanding sales and, of course, enthusiastic crowds that attended in record numbers each day of the show. In my 23 years of presenting seminars at this show, I cannot recall any year where we had such perfect sunshine, moderate temperatures, low humidity and no rain for the entire run of the show, every single day – including the two Industry Days on Monday and Tuesday.
“The dealers and vendors I spoke with were ecstatic about the record attendance and how well their sales were progressing as each day built towards the big weekend. I especially liked chatting with the first-time vendors and attendees. Everybody wore smiles the entire week. That’s a great sign for the RV industry.”
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. “We are so happy to provide a place where people can come together and share their passion for RVing,” Lenington stated. “We are in planning mode for next year’s show to make it even better.”
The 2013 PA RV & Camping Show will be held on September 9–15. For more information, visit www.largestRVshow.com.
Robust attendance and strong sales marked this year’s edition of America’s Largest RV Show as the host Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA) welcomed 43,131 attendees – an all-time record for the longstanding event – to the sprawling grounds at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. Following Industry Days, which ran Sept. 10-11, 6,485 people poured through the gates on the opening of Public Days, offering notice that this year’s show was going to be special. “This year, we had record numbers almost every day,” said Heather Leach, marketing and education director for PRVCA, noting that last year’s total attendance reached 33,407 despite heavy flooding the week prior. “Saturday was phenomenal, and was by far a record-setting day.” The show, which ran through Sept. 16, annually stands as a harbinger for the industry heading into the fall. Widespread reports from dealers and manufacturers indicated that people were in a buying mood. Forest River Inc. President and CEO Pete Liegl noted, “The Hershey Show was a barn-burner. Forest River did phenomenally well in selling virtually hundreds of units.” Dan Saltzgiver, show chairman for PRVCA, also gave a strong review, stating, “Dealers have been telling me that sales were great. Everyone I talked to was very upbeat.” PRVCA reported that over 1,000 units were on display in the outdoor grounds at the Giant Center. There was also a strong showing during Trade Days, which featured a full roster of seminars and workshops. “The show is truly a unique selling environment because it draws a mix of industry people and retail consumers,” said PRVCA Executive Vice President Rebecca Lenington. “That hybrid format lets manufacturers not only intermix with dealers, but also get feedback from the end buyer.”
Decatur, Ind.-based motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. announced recent sales success at America’s Largest RV Show. The show, hosted by the Pennsylvania Camping & RV Association (PRVCA), was held Sept. 10–16 in Hershey at the Giant Center.
According to a press release, Fleetwood RV reported over 50% sales growth over last year’s show, with increased sales of Class A gas and diesel motorhomes. The growth was driven by the Bounder and Excursion brands retail volume. Fleetwood stated, “This success can be attributed to exciting new products, partnering dealer Grumbine’s RV and the record attendance.”
“We’re extremely pleased with the results generated by the Hershey show,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Fleetwood RV. “We’ve worked hard to make the 2013 product line our most exciting yet with new floor plans that meet the needs and wants of our customers. It’s exciting to see such an overwhelming response to our products. These results prove that great products and great dealers are a winning combination.”
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.
Crystal blue skies provided a fitting backdrop for Wednesday’s (Sept. 12) opening of Public Days during this week’s America’s Largest RV Show, as organizers reported a record gate far eclipsing any first-day attendance for the longstanding event in Hershey, Pa.
“We tallied total attendance of 6,485,” said Dan Saltzgiver, show chairman for the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), which annually hosts the event held on the expansive grounds at the Giant Center. “We thought last year was great when we had 5,057 attendees. We’re looking at a 23% increase over those numbers. It just never stopped. At 11 a.m. the line was back across the bridge into the Giant Center and into the parking lot.”
Salzgiver said that the show, which kicked off Monday and Tuesday with Industry Days, was not only attracting strong numbers but also generating sales for the approximately 100 rolling stock dealers and the host of suppliers manning the indoor exhibits at the Giant Center. Prior to the show, PRVCA Executive Vice President Rebecca Lenington reported that over 1,000 RVs would pack the outdoor display area.
“Dealers have been telling me that sales were going great,” Saltzgiver said, adding, “Everyone I talked to was very upbeat.”
In addition to “perfect weather,” Saltzgiver attributed the overflow crowd to a heightened promotional effort by PRVCA. “We spent more money on advertising than ever before – including social media like Twitter and Facebook – along with running billboards across Pennsylvania that went up around eight weeks prior to the show,” he said.
Saltzgiver said another factor behind the record numbers was the Hershey Show’s standing among RVers as “the place to come and see what’s new in the industry.”
“I have talked to a lot of people, and it was apparent that Hershey has evolved into the perfect venue for people shopping for a new RV,” he said. “It’s just grown year after year. They’re not just coming from the Pennsylvania region, but all parts of the U.S. and Canada. And they come to buy. I heard that a lot of people that had bought during a previous show were back to purchase again, so we’re getting repeat Hershey Show buyers.”
The show runs through Sunday and Saltzgiver is looking for a continuation of opening day. “The weather forecast is great,” he said, “so I don’t see a major slowdown in traffic. We are looking to add to those record first-day numbers.”
RV 2012 – HGTV’s annual one-hour TV special covering all things RVing – premieres on Jan. 1 at 3 p.m. (Eastern), according to a report by Examiner.com. HGTV host Brandon Johnson will lead three lucky families on the shopping trip of a lifetime as they hunt for the perfect RV – from elegant motorhomes to tricked-out travel trailers and toy haulers.
Shot on location at the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show – held annually in September at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. – the RV show is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA). The show ranks No. 11 out of the 200 largest trade shows in the U.S. and Canada with 59 leading manufacturers and over 100 supplier vendors represented.
Billed as America’s largest RV Show, PRVCA reported record attendance at the 2011 event with a turnout of 36,410 people for the Retail Days alone. The event, held Sept. 12-18, saw a 4% increase in attendance from 2010 and set a new record for the history of the show. The show was over 1.3 million square feet and had over 1,050 new units on display – an increase of 6% compared to 2010. There were 165 booth vendors in attendance – a 15%increase over 2010; and manufacturer square footage increased by 5% compared to last year.
HGTV – America’s leader in home and lifestyle programming – is distributed to more than 89 million U.S. households and is one of cable’s top-rated networks. HGTV.com is the nation’s leading online home and garden destination that attracts an average of 5.2 million unique visitors per month.