North Carolina’s last RV show of the season kicks off today (March 18) in Raleigh as the 22nd Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show opens its doors at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.
The event, which runs through Sunday (March 20), has grown to become one the largest RV shows in the Mid-Atlantic region. Along with a giant array of recreational vehicles on display, the program features a Park Model Village and a Camping Showcase. Camp chefs and comedians Pat Mac and Mike Faverman also will stage their show, Ultimate Camp Cooking, to show visitors to the event how to cook and grill with the right supplies, on a reasonable budget and create healthy yet delicious campground dishes.
Dave Solberg, a leading RV expert and author of “The RV Handbook,” also will be on hand throughout the show to provide veteran and neophyte campers alike with tips on everything from RV driving to AC generators and onboard electrical systems. Seminars are scheduled hourly from 11:00am to 7:00pm today and Saturday, and from 12:00pm through 4:30pm Sunday.
The show also is offering an “RV Getaway Package” valued at $500 for anyone purchasing an RV during the event. The package includes a Good Sam Emergency Road Service six-month membership, Good Sam Club one-year membership, Camp Club USA one-year membership, dry camping reservation at The Rally 2010, Golf Card one-year membership, Good Sam Club cookbook, Good Sam Club Road Atlas, Trailer Life Directory, Ultimate Camp Cooking DVD, a one-year subscription to either MotorHome or Trailer Life magazine, Woodall’s One Tank Trip book and Towing/Dinghy Guides.
Anyone camping on-site using one of the fairgrounds’ 350 full-service sites also will be provided with a free three-day pass to the show.
Show hours are 10:00am – 9:00pm Friday and Saturday, and 11:00am – 5:00pm Sunday. For more information, contact Anthony Tedesco at (800) 441-0013 or go to www.agievents.com.
RV enthusiasts turned out in high numbers as the crowded show floors resulted in steady sales at the 21st Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show, as well as the 16th Annual Atlantic City RV Show, both held recently and sponsored by DISH Network.
The shows were a great success in Charlotte, N.C. and Atlantic City, N.J. featuring new Class A, B and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, popups and park models from leading dealers in the region, as well as campgrounds, RV and camping accessories and entertainment, according to a news release.
Both shows reported strong sales and increased attendance over 2010 with an 18% increase in Charlotte and a record 8% increase in Atlantic City. According to Jeff Haughton, regional vice president of both shows, “We are seeing more and more support from the general public for the RV lifestyle as RVing continues to be a superior and affordable vacation option for families.”
Anthony Tedesco, show manager of the North Carolina RV & Camping Show, said, “The show was phenomenal with several reports from dealers of better-than-ever sales. The success of the show created an overwhelmingly positive response from both the RV dealers and exhibitors.”
Alan Good of Camping World RV Sales said, “We were ecstatic to see the traffic flow considering Charlotte is a hard city to navigate. It was an excellent show for us and we tripled our sales from last year. It’s a great show for the RV industry and we can’t wait to be back next year.”
Richie Keller of Country Camping Center agreed.
“We were very pleased with the results of the show. We had a lot more activity than last year and it’s encouraging to see our sales increase each year,” he said.
Similar results were seen at the Atlantic City RV Show. Steve Minginelli, owner of Dylan’s RV, said, “We had a tremendous show – one of our best ever. The traffic was incredible with so many interested customers that at times we didn’t have enough staff on hand to assist! It was definitely exciting and encouraging to see such a strong interest in RVing again.”
Show Manager Harry Lutz added, “The attendance was astounding and dealers sold a lot of product; everything from small to large units. There was definitely a refreshing attitude among the attendees with many coming ready to buy.”
The shows were run by Affinity Events, a division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.
Encouraging comments about the season’s first retail RV shows continue to filter back from the show sites.
Anthony Tedesco, show manager for the just completed 22nd Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show held in the Greensboro Coliseum and sponsored by Affinity Events, said attendance totaled about 12,000 and topped the 2010 show. Initial reports from the 14 participating dealerships are very positive.
“We had strong reports from multiple dealers having significant sales,” Tedesco said. “One dealer doing the show had his best show in 22 years.”
“Another thing to note from the dealers. The feedback they got from talking to the attendees was a lot more positive than last year, which could be a sign things are improving with the economy. They seemed to think last year attitudes were down in the dumps. There was more upbeat vibes from the attendees this year.”
Despite the frigid temperatures and multiple threats of snow, the show was a great success with the largest number of exhibitors in the history of the show, he said.
Robbie Booth from Americamp RV Sales agreed, “The strong attendee traffic continued on from last year, resulting in a positive future outlook in RV sales.”
The show was sponsored by Affinity Events, a division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.
Here are comments on the Ohio RV Supershow, held Jan. 6-9 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, from Sid Johnson, director of marketing at Jayco Inc.
“There was very, very heavy traffic, extraordinarily heavy traffic. Sales generated didn’t match the traffic but were good, better than last year’s show.”
Interest was across the board, from entry-level towables and other towables and up. “There was a lot of interest with motorhomes and high-end towables. It seems like there were a lot of current RV owners who are ready to trade in after being out of the market during the recession.”
Any surprises? “Class C motorhomes did better than I thought they would do.”
Winnebago Industries Inc. has been in seven retail shows already this year and reported increased sales at five of them compared to last year, reported Roger Martin, vice president of sales and marketing. “We saw increased retail sales at five of seven shows this past weekend (vs. last year).”
Attendance was up at three of seven shows (plus-20% in one case and plus-35% in another). Attendance was consistent with 2010 at another three of seven shows.
Of particular interest trafficwise and saleswise were new floorplans for 2011 especially the Winnebago Vista and Itasca Sunstar 35F and the Winnebago Tour and Itasca Ellipse 42QD, he said. Both floorplans are unique to Winnebago Industries.
“Overall, we are sensing dealers being a little more conservative with their show marketing dollar resulting in their taking fewer units and reducing display sizes. In some cases dealers are electing not to go to regional shows that haven’t produced cost-efficient results,” he said.
The Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show got underway Jan. 7 at the Reliant Center in Houston. RVs are a small part of that show, featuring towables from six dealerships in the greater Houston area, but “traffic is good, steady and busy on the first weekend; a lot of people are shopping,” said Desi Cryer, sales manager at Topper’s RV Center, a Route 66 dealership in Houston.
The show continues through Jan. 16.
As reported earlier by RBUSINESS.com, the 14th Annual Camping World RV Supershow, held Jan. 6-9 at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y., was the best in years, the sponsor said.
“The show was great, traffic was fantastic,” Kevin Bostrom, regional vice president of Camping World, told RVBUSINESS.com. The show featured some 350 units from Camping World stores in Syracuse, New Jersey and New Hampshire.
Snowy weather held down traffic on Friday “but Thursday, Saturday and Sunday surely made up for it,” he said.
Sales more than exceeded the 2010 show, and that show was a good one, he noted.
The Syracuse show has always been a good one for towable sales, he said, “but we sold a great selection of new motorhomes as well, from 21-foot Class C’s to 42-footers with tag axles.”
A host of shows get underway this week in Tampa, Fla., Pittsburgh, Denver, Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., St. Paul, Minn., Grand Rapids, Mich., St. Louis and Indianapolis.
Camping World and Affinity Events are affiliated with Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.
Millions of Americans will take to the road this year in recreational vehicles. The latest trends in design, including more fuel-efficient, high-tech and lightweight RVs, are on display today (Jan. 7) through Sunday at the 22nd Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show in Greensboro, N.C.
Click here to watch a newscast about the show, courtesy of News 14 Carolina.
The Atlantic City Fall RV Show, which took place last weekend at the Atlantic City Convention Center, ended the 2010 RV season on a high note, according to a news release from Affinity Events, the show sponsor.
During the RV industry’s 100th anniversary, attendance and sales were up, providing excitement and encouragement for the upcoming 2011 season.
“With the spectacular end-of-season sale prices and renewed interest in RVing, attendance was up 56% at this year’s show,” said Harry Lutz, show manager. “People of all ages came to the show ready to buy, whether continuing the RV lifestyle tradition or entering the market for the first time. This gives us great confidence that the industry is on the upswing.”
Hitch RV saw an encouraging change at the show. “The overall sentiment among buyers was not waiting or holding off this year,” said Tim Walters, owner. “We were able to work with attendees on the spot, resulting in increased sales from the previous year’s show.”
The RV industry expects to see continued growth in 2011, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). The RVIA recently reported that the desire to own RVs is as strong as ever, according to Richard Curtin, RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan. In fact, Curtin forecasts that 2011 RV shipments will increase 8.2% from this year’s total, projected to be up 44.8% from 2009.
Current RV travel trends contributing to the industry’s growth include an array of product choices from manufacturers, such as energy-efficient green technologies, and the value ownership is providing for families. Reservations in 2010 at RV parks and campgrounds have increased 5-10% since 2009, as families are able to take more mini-vacations, accommodating busy schedules and saving on travel costs. An increase in baby-boomers, the age range with the highest RV ownership, in addition to the rising interest of young buyers with products such as sports-utility RVs, attest to this positive outlook for the upcoming season.
“Affinity Events was pleased that sales activity was strong at the last RV sale of the year,” said Jeff Haughton, vice president of Affinity Events. “This is a great sign for the industry as a whole in 2011. Family fun and outdoor adventure in an RV is a priority in America and will continue to grow in 2011.”
Affinity Events will kick off the 2011 spring show season during the first week of January in Greensboro, N.C., with the 22nd Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show.
Between January and April of 2011, RV enthusiasts across the country will have the opportunity to attend one of 18 RV shows from Affinity Events. For information on all upcoming RV shows from Affinity Events, exhibitor lists and discounted online tickets to the shows, visit the
Affinity Events website at www.agievents.com.
Affinity Events is a division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), which owns and operates recreation-focused consumer shows throughout North America. The division currently produces shows serving the RV, boat, snowmobile, ATV, home and garden, and ice fishing markets. AGI is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American RV and outdoor enthusiast market. AGI also is the parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.
A luxury motorcoach worth more than $1.5 million will headline the North Carolina RV & Camping Show which opens a three-day run Friday at the Charlotte Convention Center, but show organizers say there will be bargain-priced recreational vehicles available also, according to the Charlotte Observer.
A 14-foot-long recreational vehicle called the K-Z RV Sportsman Classic sells for $5,995 and features what show organizers say is a retro look.
“You’ve got to see this RV to believe it,” said Steve Plemmons, president and CEO of Bill Plemmons RV World, one of the Carolinas’ major recreation vehicle dealers. “It is so lightweight and compact, and the low price makes it obtainable for more RV’ers than ever.”
But also on display will be the Featherlite Luxury Coach, brought to the show by Tom Johnson Camping Center, another major RV dealer. It is 45 feet long and features Corian countertops, a fully equipped kitchen, marble flooring, a 42-inch LCD television, custom fiber opting lighting, and more.
Attendance at the bellwether Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa that ended Sunday (Jan. 17) increased 12% over last year, despite questionable weather on the last day of the show’s five-day run.
”The show was very, very upbeat,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade Association (FRVTA). ”The weather was iffy on Sunday, but the dealers we talked to all said the same thing — that they didn’t hear any negative talk at all. People weren’t complaining about the economy or gas prices. They were just happy to be there.”
Some 50,753 people passed through the gates of the Florida State Fairgrounds Wednesday (Jan. 13) through Sunday.
”We had a nice increase (in sales) from last year,” said Ken Stumpe, Florida Show sales manager for Lazydays RV SuperCenter in nearby Seffner, Fla., ”There was a lot more traffic than last year. It was a totally different atmosphere. A lot of people said they were tired of waiting.”
Camping World RV Sales, which had a dozen displays at the show, sold 179 units, 37 of them Damon and Four Winds motorized RVs, according to President Marcus Lemonis.
Increased attendance at the Florida Show generally mirrored that of other early 2010 shows in Denver, Cleveland, the Washington, D.C., area and Greensboro, N.C.
“Seeing all the aisles full and the dealers not being able to handle all the customers is great,” said Tom Gaither, senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc.’s Affinity Events division.
Gaither reported positive attendance results at three U.s. shows that his organization operates:
- The 20th Annual Colorado RV Adventure Travel Show Jan. 13-16 in Denver increased 26% compared to 2009.
- The 21st Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show Jan. 8-10 in Greensboro was up 1%.
- The 24th Annual Washington Camping RV Expo in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Chantilly, Va., increased a startling 154%.
”Just the fact that attendance was up tells me that people are looking for RVs and want to go camping,” Gaither said.
Elsewhere, the 34th Annual Ohio Supershow Jan. 6-10, sponsored by the Great Lakes Recreation Vehicle Association, saw a 30% increase in attendance.
”It was one of the best shows in 34 years,” said Great Lakes President Bruce Wolfson. ”It was a great start to the year. People were very upbeat, so the dealers were upbeat because of it.”
Bob Moore, co-owner of Moores’ RV, North Ridgeville, Ohio, said this year’s Ohio Show was the best he’d had in three years.
”The public’s attitude is improving,” Moore said. ”People came in in much better spirits and were much more interested in buying. Their level of creditworthiness and their willingness to put money down was up substantially. That has made us very optimistic about how things are going to go for the summer.”
Not all reports were upbeat, however.
At the Tarrant County RV Show Jan. 7-10 in Fort Worth, Texas, attendance wasn’t quite as strong as last year, said show director Pat Hahn.
Considering below-freezing temperatures for four days before the show and competition from a Dallas Cowboy’s playoff football game, ”I was very pleased with attendance,” she said. ”It was almost as good as last year and last year’s show was terrific.”
Stacy Rist, general manager of Bennett’s Camping Center, a towable dealer in Granbury, Texas, said that while sales at the Fort Worth show weren’t strong, the dealership got a lot of leads.
”There was lots of traffic, but nobody was turning lose of any of their money,” Rist said. ”We might not be over the hump yet. I’m not completely disappointed, but the days of the impulse buyer are gone. You have to work hard for each sale.”
The 21st Annual North Carolina RV & Camping Show opens today (Jan. 8) in Greensboro, N.C., and will showcase more than 300 campers and RVs through the weekend.
The event, held at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, features the latest and greatest in recreational vehicle technology. People will have the chance to tour a $1.8 million, 45-foot long luxury coach that boasts a fully equipped kitchen, marble flooring, a 42-inch television, one-and-a-half bathrooms, a washer/dryer and a host of other amenities.
RV makers are also showing off their environmentally friendly side with specially designed and engineered “green” campers. The EverGreen Ever-Lite trailer features many recycled components and fewer trees were used in its construction than normal.