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.