For a 14th consecutive year, HGTV is producing its annual RV special, which will premiere New Year’s Day and be rebroadcast several times throughout 2012.
The RV segment has been HGTV’s highest rated special the past several years.
Producers worked with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in mid-September to film this year’s show at the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey. Twenty-two RVs will be highlighted on the hour-long special.
HGTV is received in more than 99 million U.S. households and is one of cable’s top-rated networks.
One of the real show stoppers at the 43rd Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show Sept. 12-18 at the Giant Center in Hershey, was a heavy-duty “Class C” motorhome on a Freightliner Coronado Class 8 truck from Show Hauler Trucks Inc. The 54,000-pound GVWR coach is designed to appeal to the racing crowd and anyone else who wants to combine the livability of a motorhome with the sheer power and brawn of an over-the-road truck capable of hauling 40,000 pounds. The 45-footer on display at Hershey, retailing with solid oak or maple interiors and all the electronics one might expect in a $319,000 coach, featured two full bedrooms, two full baths and four slideouts in a front-engine “diesel puller” that doesn’t really fit in any of the current categories applied nationally to motorhomes, according to Lonnie Troyer, sales manager for the 11-year-old Middlebury, Ind., custom motorhome builder. “We’re talking about a diesel puller here,” said Troyer. “Maybe we need a reclassification for something like this, maybe a ‘Class D’ or something like that. I’d personally prefer a Class D, a diesel puller, as opposed to a diesel pusher. Yet, diesel pushers are allowed in resorts, and these in some cases aren’t. We have a $300,000 unit here that’s not allowed in some parks because it’s technically a Class C.”
The recently completed Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey posted record attendance with a turnout of 36,410 people for the Retail Days alone, according to a press release.
Event organizers reported that the Sept. 12-18 event, billed as America’s Largest RV Show, saw a 4% increase in attendance from 2010 and set an all-time record. The show encompassed over 1.3 million square feet and had over 1,050 new units on display – an increase of 6% compared to last year. There were 165 booth vendors in attendance, representing a 15% increase over 2010, while manufacturer square footage increased by 5%.
This year’s show battled national media attention as flooding hit the area the week prior to opening. “We received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails asking if the show was still opening,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of the host Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA). “Thanks to the PRVCA staff and the understanding and the cooperation of our exhibitors, set-up of the show went as scheduled and we opened on time without having to make any changes to the show’s program.”
Industry Days were held the first two days of the event allowing dealers one-on-one time with manufacturers and the opportunity to see the debut of the 2012 products. “There’s a lot of value in Hershey’s Industry Days,” said Dan Saltzgiver, owner of Reicharts RV and Camping Center and show chairman. “We send staff to the show both days so that everyone has a chance to see the new product and get a chance to talk with manufacturer representatives and suppliers.”
The educational events were a popular draw with eight featured industry experts. Keynote speakers Randy Sobel and Scott McKain focused on operating in today’s economy, allowing attendees to walk away with some new approaches to their businesses.
PRVCA said that Retail Days attracted consumers who were ready to shop, representing a good sign for the industry as the show is generally regarded as a bellwether for the coming year. Comments included:
• “Consumer attitudes were positive and it looks like we’ll bypass our 2010 sales,” Nick Palm of Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. said. “We had an excellent show. (Owner) Bob Tiffin attended all retail days and was impressed with PRVCA’s management and consumers’ attitudes.”
• “PRVCA did a phenomenal job,” said Chris Colton, owner of Colton RV. “Sales have exceeded last year’s sales and we’ve sold more gas products than in the past. It was a good show and Mother Nature was on our side this week.”
• “We are very happy with how the show has been,” offered Gene Ulrich, sales manager of Stoltzfus RV of West Chester. “As of Saturday night, we surpassed any sales we’ve ever done.”
• “The show finished well for us and we’re pleased,” Don Laird, president of Lime Lake RV said. “A lot of people are really getting into the green phenomenon and that’s been a real plus for us.”
• “It was very encouraging to see such a positive consumer attitude,” said Jeff Kline, owner of Gayle Kline RV. “Sales are good.”
Supplier booth vendors also experienced good sales. “For a product debut, it was everything and more,” noted Drew Schiller, president and inventor of Bag Rack. “I received a lot of validation for the product and signed six distributors during Industry Days.”
The show also provided hourly seminars for both new and experienced RVers. “I get a lot of attendees in my seminars who have yet to purchase an RV,” Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, said. “They find value in being able to apply what we discuss in the seminars to make a better informed decision when they buy. And they know the Hershey Show is THE place to get a good deal on a brand new RV.
“Those who already have a coach, love, not only to look at the new models, but they glean value from the great educational topics presented at the show. I’m guessing everyone walks away with something; a new recreation vehicle, or a new product, or valuable information about maintaining their recreational investment. Everyone wins.”
The universal appeal of RVing, as well as the ability to shop and compare 56 manufacturers at one place, continues to attract thousands of people to Hershey. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the success of the 2011 Show,” Lenington stated. “We are in planning mode for next year’s show to make it even better.”
The 2012 PA RV & Camping Show will be held on September 10–16. For more information, visit www.largestRVshow.com.
Check out another round of new product that was on display during last week’s Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey. The event is considered a bellwether for the industry and host PRVCA reported steady traffic and sales.
Overcoming media reports of widespread flooding, the 43rd Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey saw steady traffic as the public days opened on Wednesday (Sept. 14) while event organizers reported that today’s gate was on track for an even stronger showing. The event is set to run through Sunday at the expansive GIANT Center.
“The first two days we had a total of about 8,500 people,” Becky Lenington, executive vice president for the host Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), told RVBUSINESS.com late this morning. “We were fighting the national media which was reporting that we were under water. But it seems that word has gotten out that everything is OK. We have really seen a strong turnout this morning and it looks like we’re going to compensate for the past two days.”
Lenington noted that with some of the surrounding areas experiencing water problems, the GIANT Center had increased overnight parking at the facility to help accommodate visitors.
A shift in the weather may also have accounted for the uptick in attendees. “We saw some rain on Wednesday and Thursday, but today the sun is shining and it looks like the rain will stay away for the rest of the show,” said Lenington.
The Hershey Show, long touted as the industry’s largest consumer show, is regarded as a bellwether for the industry as manufacturers and dealers use it as a platform to introduce new product.
“We have over 1,050 brand new RVs on display for individuals to purchase,” said Heather Leach, marketing and education director for PRVCA. “There have already been some sales and a lot of the purchases were motorhomes.”
Leach reported that the vendor booth space was sold out with over 218 companies represented on site. “We have the vendors set up throughout the GIANT Center, including the concourse area and the lower level. All of the RVs are set up outside on the parking lot.”
There are also hourly seminars each day, beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 7 p.m., that have been well attended, according to Leach.
“We’re very pleased,” she said, “and with good weather predicted for here on out we’re looking for another great show.”
The Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show in Hershey, Pa., will open as scheduled at 9 a.m. EST today (Sept. 12) for the first of two Industry Days.
Undeterred by torrential rainfall from Tropical Storm Lee, which inundated portions of central Pennsylvania on Sept. 7, show sponsors continued to move forward last week and over the weekend to get the 1,000 RVs on site for this morning’s opening.
“We were never hit by the high water,” stressed Becky Lennington, executive director of the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), told Woodalls Campground Management. But she concedes “it was tough, sitting in last week’s rain,” and not knowing how it might affect the event, touted as the nation’s largest retail RV show.
Lennington said the only units that did not make it on-site were some of the 12-foot-wide park models, which were restricted by area road closings. The state of emergency has since been lifted and all major arterial roads are now open, she added, noting, “Half of them made it in, the rest will come in today.”
The weather forecast today is a good one with temperatures in the 80s and dry. “RV folks are tough. It’s another one for the books,” Lenningyon said.
Sponsors are still hoping that media reports of the bad weather will not stunt the expected crowd of 35,000 that is projected to attend the show’s Public Days, which begin Wednesday and run into the weekend. Like the rain, show advertising saturated outlets in the East, from which the show draws its major attendance. The show website also states in bold print: “The local flooding has had NO impact on the Show.” HGTV is also still scheduled to film its annual look at RVs during this event.
From a distance, few vestiges of one of central Pennsylvania’s worst flooding episodes remain, neighborhood upon neighborhood having returned to normalcy by weekend’s end, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported. The Susquehanna River, which crested at a 25.17 feet Friday, had by Sunday night dropped to 15 feet and was to drop below 11 feet by midweek.
As of Sunday, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency was listing 13 deaths as possibly storm-related: three in Lancaster County, two each in Dauphin, Bradford and Lebanon counties, and one each in Chester, Luzerne, York and Philadelphia counties.
Organizers for the upcoming 43rd Annual PA RV & Camping Show at the GIANT Center in Hershey are reporting that block space sales have risen above 2010 totals and booth space sales have exceeded the 2010 show by 21%.
According to a press release, one of the keys is that this year’s event is offering more products to view. Industry Days are scheduled for Sept. 12-13 with Public Days set to run Sept. 14-18.
The Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA), hosts of the annual gathering also reported that HGTV will be returning to film RV 2012. The show will premier on New Year’s Day and feature the latest RV technology and accessories.
Some of the activities scheduled include:
• A slate of timely and affordable educational seminars ($20 for the entire education package). The education program has seminars is designed to help businesses grow and move forward in today’s economy. Many of the seminars also contain continuing education credits for dealers and campgrounds alike.
• Terry Cooper of the Mobile RV Academy will discuss how to get technicians trained without leaving the dealership. Walter Cannon from the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF) will offer a better understanding of how to match trucks to trailers and learn about weight and tire safety. Learn about the “Attitude of Troubleshooting” and “Packaging the Service Department” with RV Doctor Gary Bunzer.
• Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) President Bill Garpow will discuss how park trailers can fatten a campground’s bottom line. Grayson Schwepfinger will hold a seminar on how to make more sales by gaining trust from your customer and Bernie Jwaszewski offers tips on how social networking can help your business.
This year’s show features luncheons that will prove valuable to every aspect of the RV industry. Randy Sobel takes the stage on Monday with “Hiring Top Performers.” Tuesday’s luncheon features Scott McKain, who will provide insight on how to make a business stand out in a crowd.
There will also be an opportunity to meet football NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, formerly with the Buffalo Bills. Autographed footballs, photos and mini-helmets will be available for purchase.
An Industry Party is planned for Sept. 12, located at the HersheyPark with favorite thrilling rides, hors d’oeuvres, cold beer and wine and music by Copper Sky.
For more information, visit www.largestRVshow.com or call 888-303-2887.
RVs were in the national media spotlight throughout May as a result of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) public relations and Go RVing advertising, boosting consumer awareness even as consumer confidence was reported to be sharply improving.
Media coverage of RVing resulting from RVIA outreach focused on themes of vacation cost savings, family togetherness, and the industry’s efforts to add eco-friendly features to RVs, according to an RVIA news release.
On Memorial Day, ABC’s “Good Morning America” broadcasted reports from weatherman Sam Champion, who was stationed at a campground on Long Island, N.Y. Champion showed off a folding camping trailer and a fuel-efficient motorhome provided by Jim McAlpin of Grand Am RV on Long Island, while mentioning that RVing is a travel bargain.
Other national media placements include:
- A May 13 Associated Press story that touted an RV vacation as a great deal, and reported that there’s never been a better time to buy an RV.
- USA Today published a feature story about the Wahl family on May 18. The Wahls lived overseas for several years until retiring from the military. Instead of settling down, the Wahls hit the road for an RV tour of the country so that their three children could see America. Readers posted more comments online in response to this article than any other published by USA Today that day.
- “Today Show” travel editor and renowned travel expert Peter Greenberg published a story about green RVs on his high-traffic website.
- On May 21, two stories ran on Bankrate.com about new/green RV products and the impact of the government’s stimulus plan, new excise tax deduction and tax benefits on RV sales.
- On May 22, a front page story in USA Today included information from RVIA’s Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners about RV travel increasing this spring/summer.
- On May 24, HGTV re-aired the “2009 RV Special,” which showcased the latest RV models on display at the Hershey RV Show.
In addition, aggressive outreach to media in advance of Memorial Day resulted in coverage that included electronic and print coverage in local markets around the country, including: Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Toledo, Ohio, San Diego, Austin, Texas, and Billings, Mont.
Go RVing’s May ad buy on national cable television included spots on some of cable’s highest rated shows, plus a family movie favorite, “Spider-Man.” Programs with Go RVing TV ads ranged from “This Old House” on the DIY Network to “American Chopper,” “Little People Big World” and the infamous “Jon & Kate Plus 8” on TLC. Fans of “Law and Order” and “Bones” on TNT saw Go RVing ads, as did cooking enthusiasts tuning into Rachael Ray’s popular “30-Minute Meals” on The Food Network. The Weather Channel, History Channel and Travel Channel also ran Go RVing spots on their programming.
Go RVing’s most extensive May television buy was on the National Geographic Channel. Six 30-second commercials and six sponsorship billboards aired May 25 as part of a special “Memorial Day Marathon” buy. Exposure continues the final weekend of May with spots on “NG Presents Weekend,” “Ultimate Factories” and the network’s top-rated “Dog Whisperer.”
“Our strategy is to motivate consumers to release pent-up RV demand by hitting them with our messages as often as possible, through Go RVing ads and national media publicity,” said Gary La Bella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer. “With the economy showing signs of improvement and more consumers saying the worst is over, it’s a crucial time for our industry to remain highly visible through aggressive marketing communications.”
According to the monthly consumer confidence survey sponsored by the Conference Board, consumer confidence is now at its highest level in eight months.