The reorganization and rebranding of the New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) continues with the unveiling of the group’s new logo today (March 3).
“We wanted a fresh new look that reflects what we are all about,” said Brian Sullivan, NERVDA president, in a press release. “As we continue to rebuild the association and provide quality services to our members, we wanted to further the branding with an entirely new graphical image that dealers will be proud to display at their facilities and members would want to showcase on our corporate apparel program.”
Bob Zagami, NERVDA executive director, noted, “We took a unique approach to creating a new logo and identification for the association with an online design contest at www.99designs.com. This on-line service, one of many on the Internet, offers hundreds of graphic designers an opportunity to compete for the business with the company, organization or association providing a guaranteed payment to the winner. In our contest we selected the $500 contest option and had 59 different submissions from 13 designers. The entire process was completed in just a few weeks. NERVDA owns the copyrights to the design and graphic file formats compatible for all print and online use. Designs are also provided in color and black and white.”
Board member Bruce Richard, Bank of the West, explained, “This is another critical step in rebranding NERVDA. Our association continues to grow as we bring real value to our members with quality shows and regional technician and staff training programs. In the next few months we will have a social media training program for administrators, a return visit of Lippert Components Inc. with their new products and Chuck Marzahn will be here in May to conduct his service writer training program. We are excited about the direction and growth of NERVDA.”
Even a playoff game featuring Peyton Manning and Tom Brady couldn’t keep diehard RV enthusiasts from the Boston RV & Camping Expo last weekend. According to a press release, 17 dealers showcased over 200 units at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Jan. 17-20.
“We were concerned about the conflict with the Patriots and Broncos game, but it really didn’t impact attendance much on Sunday,” said Bob Zagami, executive director of the host New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA), noting that the Paragon Group produced the show for the second straight year. “The dealers had the game on in the interior and on external entertainment centers starting with the pregame festivities at 11:30 a.m. I even had 50 attendees in my ‘First Time Buyers Seminar’ at 3 p.m., and they asked questions right up until 5 p.m. By that time the game was half over and we were still talking about, showing off and selling RVs.”
The “First Time Buyers Seminar,” presented seven times during the show by Zagami, was well attended all weekend. Interestingly, almost all attendees had never owned an RV and wanted to learn about RVs and the lifestyle. More than half the attendees in each seminar were attending their very first RV show.
“This is an excellent sign that the Go RVing campaign and the show promotions are reaching a new audience and new prospects that will soon be making major decisions on what type of RV to purchase,” said Steve Flagg of Flagg RV and NERVDA treasurer. “We saw some of these trends last year, but this year we saw more first-timers and many of them were ready to buy at the show.”
Brian Sullivan, NERVDA president and general manager of Campers Inn of Raynham, added, “People came to this show ready to buy a new RV. The quality of the attendee was significantly different this year because of our targeted marketing on radio, television, direct mail and an enhanced and highly active social media campaign. We were very fortunate to be able to work with the professional team at Paragon Group on this important kick-off event for dealers and RV enthusiasts.”
Some of the comments from out-of-town reps included:
• Ryan Rebar (Thor Motor Coach): “This year’s Boston Show was one of the busiest shows I have been to in a long time. The traffic was very good even on Sunday despite the Big Game. There were a lot of customers that I talked to that had not been to an RV show before and they are now starting to plan for their futures. Everyone was positive and we are pleased with the results from this show.”
• Randy Adams (RVM Promotions): “It has been a great pleasure working with NERVDA and Paragon Group on this show the past two years. The direct mail postcards, radio and television advertising, combined with the passion, enthusiasm and consumer engagement created by Bob Zagami through their Facebook program with several posts, photographs and videos is clearly one of the best marketing campaigns in the country and this is a model that other associations will want to follow.”
• Matt Olds (Heartland/Breckenridge): “I was very impressed to see how many customers came prepared to work deals at the show. Customers had their trade titles in hand ready to work a deal. Great job by the show promotion team for turning the Boston show into a huge success. I’ve been to a lot of shows in many markets and it’s rare to see that many titles and customers ready to buy. I would love to be a dealer principal/retail sales guy in that show.”
Participating dealers were also pleased with the quality of potential buyers and the crowds they enjoyed in their displays. Coments included:
• Dan Doucette (Prime Motor Cars): The turnout was amazing. RVs have evolved from overweight gas burning monsters of yesteryear to the futuristic fuel-efficient models that we have today and there was no better venue then the Boston RV & Camping Expo Show to display all that we had to offer. We were impressed with amount of people that turned out and the positive feedback we received. It was a great way to start off the year.”
• Fran Roberts (Long View RV): “I’ve been to a lot of shows in Boston over the years, but there was something special about this one. There was an enthusiastic crowd every day. On Sunday we had the Patriot’s game on our external televisions and we were still writing orders at halftime. I’ve never seen anything like it. The relationship we are building between NERVDA and Paragon Group continues to deliver quality prospects in a great venue. This year exceeded our expectations once again.”
The New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) and Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) are teaming up to bring regional training to their dealers.
According to a press release, training on Schwintek in-wall slideouts, standard slideouts, leveling and stabilization, awnings and electronics will be conducted by the LCI training staff. Flagg RV in Uxbridge, Mass., will host training on Dec. 10 and Campers Inn, Merrimack, N.H., will host the training on Dec. 11.
“This is the first in a series of regional training sessions that we will bring to our dealers,” said Brian Sullivan of Campers Inn, who also serves as president of NERVDA. “We worked with Holly Nater at LCI to set up the program and our dealers are ecstatic with the opportunity to train many technicians over the course of the two days.”
Steve Flagg of Flagg RV and treasurer of NERVDA, noted, “We are rebuilding the association and wanted to show real value to the dealers who are already members of NERVDA, and to show the other dealers that we have a viable organization that can save them money and provide tangible benefits. For this first training session, we are not charging any dealership to send technicians. NERVDA dealers do get preferential registration for one week to enroll their technicians. We have 30 slots in Uxbridge and 50 slots in Merrimack. If NERVDA dealers do not fill all slots, any dealer in New England will be able to enroll their technicians at no charge.”
Registration for the training program is being facilitated by LCI and the deadline to register is Dec. 4. Nater, dealer relations and publications for LCI, said, “NERVDA has been a pleasure to work with in setting up the regional training program. We met Executive Director Bob Zagami during his Elkhart Open House visit to the area and he asked if we would consider doing training for their dealers in New England. We had all the details worked out in less than two weeks and we are ready to go! This can serve as a model for other state dealer associations to help reduce their training costs and train more technicians – it’s a win-win for everybody associated with this program.”
New England dealers can contact Zagami at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 974-3739. For information on the LCI training programs please contact Nater at email@example.com or (574) 312-7434.
Welcome to glamping, the “glamorous camping” trend that’s on the rise and on display at the Boston RV & Camping Expo at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center that concludes today (Jan. 21).
“In the past, the whole notion of glamping was in the high-end units. We now see them in every type of RV,” said Bob Zagami, show director for the New England RV Dealers Association (RVDA).
The Boston Herald reported that approximately 300 RVs, from fifth-wheels and motorhomes to park trailers and pop-ups, are on the BCEC floor. Some, such as the Fleetwood Discovery motorhome, come equipped with one and one-half baths, washer and dryer hookups, and polished tile floors for $220,000. And it’s only the entry-level model for the brand.
For a little more than $50,000, 400-square-foot park trailers come with a master bedroom and loft, and room for a big screen TV.
“You can now take the comforts of home with you. You are not giving up anything,” said Zagami, a dedicated RV user. “Having those amenities brings more people into the campground.”
These amenities are similar to those you’d find in an upscale apartment, such as stainless steel appliances, computer nooks and legroom-friendly bathrooms with double sinks, brushed nickel faucets and full-size showers.
Then there’s the toy haulers, which feature an on-board garage to store recreational vehicles such as ATVs and doubles as a common area with table. Planning for a crowd to visit? It’s got two full-size refrigerators.
In terms of style, “the RV industry is a year or two behind homes,” said Zagami.
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