As people filed in and out of campers and motorhomes at this past weekend’s Moncton RV Show in Moncton, New Brunswick, many made a common observation.
“It’s nicer than my house,” said one woman, clearly stunned by the luxury she had just seen inside a vehicle retailing for $259,000, the Moncton Times & Transcript reported.
Ron Adams, of Petitcodiac, has an older model Ford Econoline camper, but he was at the Moncton Coliseum on Saturday, checking out the more than 180 trailers on display.
“We’ve been inside a few of them and a lot of them are more expensive than my house. I saw some motorhomes down there worth $300,000,” said Adams. “We don’t have a dishwasher at home, but some of these have dishwashers.”
Dishwashers are just the start. For people who haven’t been inside a high-end motorhome, it’s an awe-inspiring experience. Some have bedrooms large enough to have a recliner next to the bed. Several have so much room they have living room spaces set apart from the kitchen/dining room space.
“If you really want to rough it, you have your fireplace, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with DVD, CD, liquid television ranging from 19 inches to 40 inches, microwaves, king-sized beds and Serta mattresses,” said Robert Farquharson, service manager with Sackville Auto and RV Ltd. “Everything has gone luxury, but you can step down. That’s $150,000 (for a high-end model), but you can step down to $6,995 with a popup. It’s a huge range of prices.”
This weekend’s show was the ninth year and show manager Scott Sprague of Master Promotions expected about 7,000 people to come look at the RVs, which were parked all over the Moncton Coliseum in every space available. People walked among them like mice looking for a piece of cheese in a giant maze.
RV sales are actually on the rise in Canada, according to Go RVing Canada, which reports an 18% increase in sales for 2010. Last year, $3.7 million worth of product was sold at the Moncton event, proving this trade show does big business.
“At this event, we’ll generally sell 120-130 trailers for the weekend,” said Sprague, adding that with an average price of $30,000, they could approach $4 million in sales for the three-day event.
He said every price point is represented, starting with a $7,500 basic hard top and topping out at a $349,000 diesel motorhome.
“Every price point, every family size, retired couple or family of four,” he said.
The key to the show is that people can compare every type of RV and all the features during a single walkabout, instead of having to drive to different dealerships all over the region. Farquharson said people aren’t just window shopping.
“We’re here to sell product and people come ready to buy,” he said. “Folks come shop on Friday evening, come back on Saturday and shop and come back on Sunday and finalize a deal.”
While some of the higher-end machines can be pricey, payment plans and financing are available. Also, with the RV eliminating the need for a hotel or flight, the start-up costs are recouped with every vacation.
Adams said he loves the freedom his vehicle provides.
“We got out six or seven times last year, had a great time, so we’re just hear checking it out,” he said. “I just like getting away on the weekends, going to different places. A lot of people park it at campgrounds, but we’re in the RV going everywhere. It’s a good way to get to see the Maritimes.”
Scott Gude, Puma RV regional sales manager for northeast U.S. and Canada, traveled from Elkhart, Ind., for the Moncton show. He said owning an RV is a good way to enjoy the outdoors.
“It’s very family oriented and a lot of couples and their kids will go out on the weekends, take an RV and a lot of retired people travel through Canada and the U.S. in them,” he said. “It’s a less expensive alternative to staying in hotels and it’s the freedom everybody looks for, to get out on the road.”
The annual show comes at a good time, when spring is approaching and people are thinking about a warmer time and getting a break from snow and cold.
“There are 30-foot snowbanks out there and this place is full,” said Farquharson, of the Coliseum crowd. “People are itching to get out, buy stuff, get it to the campgrounds and start enjoying the outdoors. It’s been a huge, long winter.”
One of the largest RV shows in Canada’s Maritime provinces opens today at the Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Workers were busy polishing up models of all shapes and sizes on Thursday (March 3) getting ready for the opening, the Telegraph-Journal reported.
Matthew Brown of Pine Acres RV Ltd., which has dealerships in Moncton and Kensington, Prince Edward Island, says it is easier to sell customers on the benefits of recreational vehicles this time of year despite the snow.
“People are tired of winter,” he says.
Brown says people become hooked onto the lifestyle that RVs allow.
“Once you get into it, you don’t get out of it. It’s a mini-vacation every weekend.”
RVs can come as simple or as sophisticated as you like, says Daniel Cormier of the Moncton RV Center. Full-size fridges and stoves, barbecues, apartment-model washers and dryers and even indoor and outdoor kitchens are available in some of the RV Center’s 38 models that are on-site in the Coliseum.
Cormier laughs and admits it’s hard to call it “camping” when you can microwave your food outdoors.
RVs can be a big investment — Pine Acres offers a variety of models that range in price from $13,900 to $269,000 for a top of the line luxury diesel bus — but Brown notes that sales and even preferred interest rates are being offered at this particular RV show.
Cormier explains that while RVs might seem like a big investment all at once, payment plans of up to 20 years are available.
“It’s a family outing,” he says, explaining the appeal.
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of getting an RV, Bruce Dobson, co-owner of Sackville Auto & RV, says the only downside is that it can be an expensive hobby.
But there are plenty of pros.
“It’s something that the whole family can do,” he says. “One couple came to us, and they traded a motorcycle. And the wife said, ‘He got the motorcycle for his entertainment, but it didn’t help the rest of us. So he traded his motorcycle in on a trailer.”
Dobson says the couple’s children loved having a cottage on wheels that allowed for all kinds of weekend getaways.
“It’s something that’s been growing over the years. More and more people are doing it. And hopefully summer will come,” he says.
Dobson says the Moncton RV Show comes at the perfect time for people to scope out RVs and decide what they would like so it can be ordered to arrive in time for the long weekend in May, which is traditionally when the camping season begins.
He explains that RVs can come as cheap as a $7,000 tent trailer and they can go right up to a $100,000 motorhome and beyond. He says newcomers to RVs tend to start out small and trade up every few years. Older couples tend to go right to motorhomes so they can travel to Florida in winter.
The average price people tend to spend is $20,000-$25,000, he says.
In 2010, RV sales in Canada were up 21% across the country. Dealerships are reporting sales have surged close to pre-recession levels. And at last year’s Moncton RV Show, over $3.74 million in inventory was sold right off the show floor.
Anyone who buys an RV at the Moncton RV Show has a chance to win $10,000 cash. Visitors also have the chance to win a $500 gift card from Action Car and Truck Accessories.
The producers of the Moncton RV Show, along with the Atlantic Recreational Vehicle Dealers’ Association, are shown here congratulating the winner of the “2010 Cash in Hand Contest” held in conjunction with this year’s Moncton RV Show, held March 5-7 at the Moncton Coliseum. While anyone buying a new unit at the show was eligible, the $10,000 check winner was Kim Holman, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who purchased a 34-foot Gulf Stream travel trailer from L.J. Patterson Sales. Attendance at the show was up 5%. “If the huge increase in sales and attendance at our 2010 Moncton RV Show was any indication, coupling that with increased consumer confidence, 2011 should prove to be a banner year,” said Denise Miller, a spokesman for the show’s promoter, Master Promotions, adding that next year’s Moncton Show is set for Mar 4-6. In the photo (from the left): Show Manager Scott Sprague, winners John and Kim Holman, and Steve Moss of L.J. Patterson Sales.
Tire kickers and sold signs were equally in evidence this past weekend during the annual Moncton RV Show that filled the Moncton, New Brunswick, Coliseum-Agrena complex with every type of recreational vehicle, RV equipment and accessories, according to the Moncton Times & Transcript.
The weekend’s spring-like weather didn’t hurt attendance either, bringing in camping fans from all over the Maritime provinces who were anxious for the season to get started.
“Our old 1970s-model Lextra is getting a bit tired, so we took the chance to come here to see what’s new,” said Byron Morgan of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in town to visit friends as well as to take in the show.
“It’s pretty amazing how the units get better and better each year,” Morgan said.
“Prices are decent, too.”
Competition is getting intense in the RV business, with close to a dozen dealers springing up across southeastern New Brunswick in just the past few years, all with extensive inventories. That helps boost consumers’ options as well as to keep a lid on prices. And whether buyers were looking for a $7,000 pop-up tent trailer or a $200,000 luxury motor home, on-the-spot financing was available, from about $45 per paycheck on up, offering options for every budget.
“Some people own cottages. Some like to go snowmobiling. We like to go camping,” Morgan said.
“Compared to other pastimes, it’s not that expensive. Plus you get to see all different parts of the country and meet new people every day, if you want. If you get bored or the weather turns bad, you pack up and move on to the next campground or go where the sun is shining.”
This year’s hot features, judging from audience response, are those trailers that feature indoor as well as outdoor kitchens, with flip-up panels on the outside of the units that reveal a fridge, stove, microwave, sink with hot and cold water, shelves and cupboards.
“Neat,” said Steven Cormier of Moncton.
“There’s no need to cook in a hot kitchen in the trailer any more with these things. I’d use it a lot if I had it.”
More than 50 different lines crammed the aisles of the Coliseum and Agrena, with more than 150 different units available for viewing. About 7,000 guests were expected to attend by the time the show wrapped up on Sunday.
Park model trailers were a hit. Where in the past, trailers were almost exclusively for towing from one campground to another, nowadays it is increasingly popular to find a season-long camp site and simply park your home-away-from-home from spring until fall. Indeed, some units never move, with patios and baby barns and other features added each season for extra comfort, fun and storage.
RVing demographics seem to grow more broad every year. Forty per cent of RVers in Canada have children and 67 per cent are younger than age 55. There are more than a million units on the road or parked in campgrounds in this country every year.
Innovative designs mean impressive room inside modern RVs, many of which boast built-in sound systems and high-definition televisions with in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, queen-size beds, fully outfitted washrooms and lots of sunny windows.
Many of those in attendance already own RVs, like Dave Melanson of Miramichi, who came out to see what’s new in the industry but specifically to scout new destinations for this coming season, like Camping Oceanic of Shediac which epitomizes modern RVing with its free cable hookups, exercise room, free Wi-Fi and ultra-modern washroom facilities, all of which appealed to the Melanson family.
Some, like Hidden Hilltop Family Campground near Truro, Nova Scotia, will even rent you a trailer if you don’t have your own.
The 9th Annual Moncton RV Show in Moncton, New Brunswick, will be in full swing at the Moncton Coliseum Friday through Sunday, according to the Moncton Times and Transcript.
The complex will be jam-packed with the latest models and styles from the leading RV dealers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Over 50 different lines will be represented with over 150 units on-site.
“We had around 7,000 people out last year,” says Scott Sprague, show manager for Master Promotions. “And the dealers moved between 120-130 units during that time. To put it in perspective, that translates to something like $3.5 million worth of merchandise just with trailers alone.”
Which is the point; the trailers that people really want will be on display.
“People nowadays come with an idea in mind,” says Dave Myers, who works in sales at the CRC RV Center. “They do the research on the Internet or they have been RVing for a while.
“It makes our job easier; all they have to do is come here and check the actual product out.”
The show will also include two opportunities to win prizes. Action Truck Caps is having a drawing for $500 worth of towing accessories, while Master Promotions is having a “$10,000 for 2010” drawing. Anyone who purchases an RV at the show will be entered in a draw for $10,000 cash in hand. That makes your odds for winning possibly as low as one in 100.
“This is really a great way to start the RV year off,” says Matthew Brown of Pine Acres RV. “Our Prince Edward Island store has participated right from the beginning and the Moncton store has been in it for the past seven years.
“The show gets people in the mood for camping. It starts the season off with a bang. We will have 30 different trailers there for people to look at, the largest display, and all new models.
“We are only bringing haul-able trailers; and focusing on a variety of lightweights because that is a big thing these days; they are fuel-efficient and smaller vehicles can haul them.”
Matthew says that their best-selling units are probably the Cougar fifth-wheel and the Esprit travel trailers. But they will bring everything from trailers for families with a ton of kids, right down to Ma and Pa units.
The people from CRC RV Center have gone to the show every year and use it as the new model launch for their products.
“It is great to have the show because you never know what the weather is going to be like in the spring,” Dave says, “and here we can put the trailers inside, open them up, and everyone can walk through and compare. It is one-stop shopping.”
And the new products have exciting features. CRC RV Centerwill bring in a Jayco trailer, for example, which has a second, outside kitchen. You open up a panel on the outside and there is a fridge, a sink, a stove — everything you need.
“If it is sunny and hot, you can cook outside,” says Dave. “It is interesting and a really great feature.”
Both Dave and Matthew have noticed some changes over the years. For example, “the age demographic is definitely getting younger,” Matthew says. “We see a lot of people in their 30s (RVing), where a decade ago it would have been all people in their 50s.”
“We also find that a lot of people are buying them now and just parking them,” says Dave. “A trailer is becoming like a cottage; they pick a place that is an easy commute and, instead of hauling a big trailer around and having to buy a truck, they have an accessible vacation.”
“What you are going to get here,” explains Scott, “is a microcosm of the Maritime RV industry. Instead of having to travel to all three provinces, you can come here and shop for all your products and compare them side to side, under a roof, where it is warm and dry.
“We already did the Halifax version of the show, and the sales were up close to 30% over last year,” he says. “I think that those buyers who did not purchase last year because of hesitancy in the market are turning around and buying now; it is still as popular as ever.”
“And with the strong Canadian dollar, our prices are actually lower than last year,” says Dave. “There has never been a better time to buy.”
The Moncton RV Show returns to the coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick, March 5-7.
The complex will be jam packed with the latest models and styles from the leading dealers in the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, according to The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Over 60 different lines will be represented with over 150 units onsite.
Statistics indicate the RV and camping industries in Canada continue to be a fast growing and favorable lifestyle for Canadian families. The price of fuel is reasonably low, which is a prime time to begin living the RV lifestyle.
Purchasers of a new RV at the show will be eligible to enter a $10,000 sweepstakes. The drawing is the night of March 7. The odds of winning are approximately 1 in 100.
Everyone at the show is welcome to enter to win $500 worth of towing accessories from Action Truck Caps and Accessories, the leading truck and cap accessory distributor in Canada.
The show is presented by the Atlantic Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and is produced by Master Promotions Ltd. Sponsored by XL 96.9 and Go RVing Canada.