RV enthusiasts turned out in high numbers as the crowded show floors resulted in steady sales this past week at the 44th Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation & Camping Show, as well as the 26th Annual Richmond Camping RV Expo, both sponsored by DISH Network and GEICO Powersports.
Both shows reported strong sales and increased attendance over 2010 with an 18% increase in Minneapolis and a 14% increase in Richmond, according to a news release.
According to Vilma Fraguada, regional manager of the Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation & Camping Show, “The show is an indication that the RV industry has emerged from its challenges in the past few years. The response from RV dealers and exhibitors alike was overwhelmingly positive.”
Mike Pearo, general sales manager of Hilltop Trailer Sales, commented, “Thursday was a fantastic day for us – the best Thursday we’ve ever had. We increased our sales over last year with a lot of good, quality buyers.”
Mark Pettersen of Coates RV agreed. “We were very pleased with the results of the show. Given the past few years, we were surprised to see many of our larger, more expensive units being purchased. This is definitely a sign that the RV business and consumer interest has bounced back.”
Jeff Nobbe of Shorewood RV concurred, “The show was great. Traffic was significantly up from last year with our sales increased by over 50%.”
Similar results were seen at the Richmond Camping RV Expo. John Patterson, owner of Southern RV said, “We had a tremendous show. Attendees came ready to buy and we sold double what we did last year. It was definitely exciting and encouraging to see the strong interest in RVing from customers.”
According to Jeff Haughton, regional vice president of the Richmond Camping RV Expo, “We believe we are seeing strong support for the RV lifestyle from the general public. RVing continues to be a superior and affordable vacation option for many families.”
Show Manager Dave Body added, “The attendance was great with a lot more selling than last year. Many dealers reported their sales were doubled.”
The shows are sponsored by Affinity Events, a division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), which owns and operates recreation-focused consumer shows throughout North America. AGI also is the parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.
Recreational vehicle shows in Minneapolis, Minn., and Richmond,Va., over the weekend continued the trend of higher attendance this winter than last.
”The dealers are enthused and they got a whole lot of sales to take home,” said Tom Gaither, senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc.’s (AGI) Affinity Events division, sponsor of the two shows.
The 43rd Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation and Camping Show Feb. 11-14 at the Minneapolis Convention Center saw an attendance increase of 15%, while the number of people attending the 25th Annual Richmond Camping RV Expo Feb. 12-14 was up 5%.
”As we are getting deeper into the year, consumer confidence is getting better,” Gaither said. ”In Minneapolis, it was elbow to elbow on Saturday, which was a good feeling.”
Fifteen dealers displayed more than 300 units in Minneapolis, while eight dealers brought about 250 units to Richmond’s Race Complex.
”The (Minneapolis) show went very well,” said Mark Petterson of Coates RV Center,” Hugo, Minn. Both attendance and sales were up this year — back to pre-recession levels for us.”
In Virginia, ”Traffic at the show was very positive,” said Joe O’Caroll, sales manager for McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV in Ashland, Va. ”Sales were higher than anticipated and there appeared to be a lot of pent-up demand. The key is selling at the right price points, and we have sold a lot of smaller, lightweight units.”
All in all, Gaither said, ”It really does feel like the RV business is coming back.”
Gaither said attendance might have been higher in Virginia had the show not competed on Sunday with NASCAR’s running of the Daytona 500. ”That’s NASCAR country,” Gaither said. ” And, of course, they had tons of snow out there, which they don’t usually get.”
AGI also is the publisher of RVBUSINESS.com.