With the opening of “America’s Largest RV Show” less than two weeks away, organizers are anticipating a banner edition for the annual event that traditionally provides a timely checkup regarding the RV industry’s overall health.
“The show has always provided a fine testing ground for new products, which the vast majority will be 2013 model year,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) which sponsors the show. “It’s truly a unique selling environment because it draws a mix of industry people and retail consumers. That hybrid format lets manufacturers not only intermix with dealers, but also get feedback from the end buyer.”
The event kicks off with Industry Days on Sept. 10-11, followed by Public Days Sept. 12-16 at the massive Giant Center complex in Hershey, Pa.
Lenington reported that display space square footage is up markedly for all categories from last year. Overall space increased 6.64%, broken down into an 11% gain for supplier booths and 6.88% for manufacturers. OEMs signing on for the demo lot, which allows attendees to take a test drive, are also up 3%.
“One of the real encouraging numbers is that, as of right now, we are going to have 1,092 units on display,” Lenington said. “And for our Industry Days, pre-registration shows 93 rolling stock dealerships, 23 aftermarket dealers and 47 campground resorts.”
Lenington said that the strong response had prompted organizers to consider expanding the available square footage for the 2013 show.
“This year, we’re going to have booth vendors all the way down the sidewalk leading into the Giant Center,” she said. “The concrete entranceway is also going to be packed solid. We have compiled a wait list, but I think we’re officially done, with the exception of companies that are already signed up that want to expand.
“After looking at the numbers, we realize we need to go up on the overall square footage. Next year we are thinking about adding an outside tent for exhibitors.” She added that judging by feedback from Facebook and other online sources, the gate could top last year’s 36,400 total attendance.
While product always takes center stage at the show, Lenington noted that “education is also a big part of what we offer.” This year’s seminar roster for Industry Days offers an expanded scheduled and a new format. “Before we had a lot of hour-long seminars,” said Heather Leach, PRVCA education director. “This year we will be holding clinics that run from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.”
• The opening day lineup includes an F&I Clinic with speaker Tim Spencer from Protective Asset Protection. This one-day training course focuses on the finance and insurance function in the RV dealership. Learn everything from the laws and regulations to creating a higher rate of customer satisfaction. Fee is $50 per person, which includes lunch.
• During a seminar offered on both Monday and Tuesday, Don Bary will explain how to get RV technicians certified without having to pay for costly hotels and travel expenses. The RV Technician Distance Learning Program allows students to study from the comfort of their home. Registration is free.
• Tuesday kicks off with an all-star morning at Chocolate World that includes a breakfast, inspirational message and “Meet and Greet” with former NFL running back Marcus Allen. Autographed footballs, mini-helmets and photos are available for purchase and benefits the PRVCA PAC fund. Allen will also share his secrets on how you too can become a champion. Fee is $25 per person, which includes breakfast.
• A service writer clinic, conducted by Chuck Marzahn, starts off a full education day at the Giant Center. The clinic will allow service writers, service managers and others a chance to look at the very basics of service writers and learn practical strategies to help their businesses. Fee is $50 per person, which includes lunch. Bonus: Earn 5 RVDA CEUs for attending this seminar.
• Bernie Jwaszewski will show how to navigate the sea of social networking. Learn how to make it work for your business with the help of Jwaszewski’s insight and experience. Registration is free. Bonus: Earn 1 CPO credit by attending this seminar.
• Ron Wheeler of Wheeler Advertising, which specializes in marketing for RV dealerships, will lead “How to Advertise in a Complex Marketplace.” Advertising in today’s world is a difficult job, especially with so many different choices. Wheeler will offer tips on understanding the world of digital, mobile social and traditional marketing. Fee is $50 per person. Bonus: Earn 3.5 CPO credits for attending this seminar.
Gulf Stream Coach Inc.’s innovative 408TBS Innsbruck travel trailer will be prominently displayed in the Stoltzfus RV space (#513) during the Sept. 12-18 Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey.
According to a press release, the floorplan features eight-foot interior ceilings, three generous slideouts, 1 1/2 half baths and residential refrigerator and furniture. The release states “the 408TBS is a breakthrough in value and design that captures all the fun and adventure of camping in a lodge-style trailer that’s spacious, comfortable and impeccably crafted.”
“It’s no wonder Stoltzfus RV chose the 408TBS to anchor the center aisle of their display,” said Randy Baskerville, national sales manager for Innsbruck. “It’s a top-selling floorplan that never fails to impress retail customers. Mom and Dad love the huge Master Suite; kids love their own bedroom, half bath and entertainment center; and the whole family loves the generous “Great Room” main living area, with its double-width slideout and full-scale family-friendly kitchen.”
Gulf Stream will also be showing new products and floorplans at its own have display space (#513) at the Hershey show. For more information on the Innsbruck brand, visit www.gulfstreamrvtrailers.com or contact Randy Baskerville, national sales manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“RV Buddies Online” named four RVs from the recent Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) show in Hershey, Pa., “Best of Show.”
The show, which always creates a lot of expectation as people flock to see the new models, didn’t disappoint this year as a record crowd of 31,700 was on hand to check out the brand new 2010 models from 59 manufacturers at the 41st annual event, according to a news release.
“The manufacturers delivered some exciting products for the 2010 model year,” said Mark Summers, “RV Buddies” host and producer. “After walking the show and filming for nearly a week, several coaches simply stood out to us.”
Winnebago has delivered a great coach that will be a standard-setter for the next decade. It is for this generation what the View was for the last. It offers a sleek package and good mileage. On our test drive, the coach impressed with a stable, secure ride.
Four Winds Serrano
Four Winds is associated with value. The Serrano offers great styling, storage, floor plans and diesel at a great price. It’s a great combination in a nicely sized package.
This “Best of Show” is for the entire Tour line-up, as well as the sister-coach, the Itasca Ellipse. Winnebago re-invented their top-of-the-line Class A diesel pusher with some truly innovative layouts. They have even jumped into the fray with a 42-foot tag axle model.
The all-new Galileo is a 21-foot trailer. The custom-molded front cap is aerodynamic. Inside, the fit, finish, materials and equipment are without compromise. If you are looking for an efficient-sized, high end towable, the Galileo should be on your short list.
Following the success of the PRVCA show, “RV Buddies” will continue to film next month at the California RV Show in Pomona, Calif., with plans to shoot at the Florida RV Super Show in January. After attending these major debut shows, “RV Buddies” plans to name its “RV(s) of the Year.”
“RV Buddies” films and produces tailored videos for RV manufacturers and suppliers, as well as providing internet marketing and consulting services to the RV industry. For more information contact Mark Summers at: Mark@RVBuddiesOnline.com.
Three more RV manufacturers, including a recent start-up firm, have signed up to display new products at the 41st Annual Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show Sept. 14-20 in Hershey, Pa.
This brings to 60 the number of OEMs participating in the show, according to Heather Leach, marketing and education director for the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA), sponsors of the show.
The most recent additions are Microlite Trailer, Palomino RV (a Forest River Inc. company) and Galileo, the start-up company based in Howe, Ind., she reported.
In addition to the 60 U.S. and Canadian RV manufacturers, 112 booth vendors also are exhibiting.
“Last year we had 75 manufacturers and 140 booth vendors. So we would be behind compared to last year, but we are still very happy about it being that there are several manufacturers that are no longer in the industry,” Leach told RVBUSINESS.COM.
She doesn’t expect any additional OEMs to commit to the show, but it is possible that more booth vendors will sign up, she said.
“We’ve been very excited to receive numerous exhibitors very late in the show’s registration season. Many are brand new manufacturers making their product debut at the Hershey Show and we are very pleased to have their presence at this year’s show. We feel it a good indicator that the industry continues to gain strength as the year progresses.”
The show will be staged at Hersheypark Entertainment & Resorts Complex in Hershey and will cover more than 1.6 million square feet of display space.
Nearly 30,000 people are expected to attend the show, which draws consumers from across the Eastern U.S. and Canada.
The show is important for manufacturers, dealers, vendors and park owners as the show features the first look at one site 2010 products.
For more information contact the PRVCA at (800) 303-2887.
The Recreation Vehicle Education Safety Foundation (RVSEF) will take on an expanded role educating consumers about RVs and the RV lifestyle during a Sept. 13-16 clinc prior to the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show in Hershey, Pa.
“The number of RVers attending rallies is down, but the percentage of people attending our weighing and driving seminars actually is up,” said Walter Cannon, executive director of the Merrit Island, Fla.-based RVSEF.
Seminars will be presented by Workhorse Custom Chassis Inc., Spartan Chassis Inc., Freightliner Custom Chassis Inc., Cummins Inc.’s Onan generator division and Gary Motley of Motley RV Repair, Oklahoma City, Okla., in addition to the Geeks on Tour, who will teach Internet-related subjects, Nick Russell, publisher of Gypsy Journal, an RV lifestyle magazine, and Mac McCoy, who will instruct on fire and personal safety.
Cannon’s foundation has a full-time team on the road attending about 40 rallies a year sponsoring safety seminars focused on weighing loaded RVs and providing weight-safety instruction. RVSEF — the successor organization to “A’Weigh We Go” founded by John Anderson in Chucky, Tenn. — weighed about 1,500 motorhomes and towable RVs last year.
“We are seeing a decrease in the number of RVers who are overloading their tires,” Cannon said. “The tire manufacturers … have convinced RV manufacturers to install tires for how RVers are using their coaches.”
E-mails promoting the Pennsylvania clinic have gone out to potential RVers visiting the Go RVing Coalition’s gorving.com website, with another round of e-mail and postal mail followups planned early this summer.
The RVSEF clinic at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg (Pa.) Community College, in a manner of speaking, will fill a vacancy left by the poplar Life On Wheels program, which shut its doors in October following the death of founder Gaylord Maxwell. Maxwell sponsored his last Life on Wheels conference the week before the 2008 Hershey Show.
Dry camping for 100 rigs will be available at the college, and those attending for $249 for the first person and $199 for the second also will receive a three-day pass to the Hershey Show Sept. 16-20. Retail days are Sept. 14-15.
“The general need for a program like this is two-pronged,” Cannon said. “For the new owners, it enables them to understand their RV and the RV lifestyle so that they can get the most enjoyment out of their RV dollar.
“The second thing is that 30% of the attendees at Life on Wheels were non-RV owners. They were educating themselves about RVs before committing themselves to the expense. And about 90% of them purchased an RV during the next six months. It wasn’t a dealer or manufacturer talking to them, and they left Gaylord’s clinics feeling that they had the tools to make a decision about how to spend their money wisely.”