The ROUTE 66 RV Network Dealer Advisory Board met last month at its offices in Overland Park, Kan., to “drill down and speak into the strategies, tactics and direction of the network,” according to a press release.
“Ten network dealer principals sit on the board and provide invaluable input, thoughts and perspectives to help us define and refine priorities, fine-tune existing programs and evaluate new opportunities,” said Rob Merrill, a ROUTE 66 partner. “There’s been an increase in dealer interest and engagement in ROUTE 66 coming into 2012. In fact, the strength and alignment of the network and its dealers appears to be very high from all vantage points.”
As has been the case for several years, much discussion centered around the increasing role the Internet plays in today’s RV and parts purchases. Steve Francis, owner of Trailside RV and ROUTE 66 partner, noted, “Today’s RV dealership website must be much more than an online billboard… it must be an extension of your brick and mortar facility, offering an additional location to do business. Two or three years ago RV shoppers would make five to six dealership visits before making their RV purchase, but today that’s down to one to two visits because they’re doing much of their shopping online.”
ROUTE 66 RV Network launched Amdia Software several years ago to help dealers capitalize on web-based business. Amdia has built an exclusive RV dealership-ready web platform, RV SmartSites, that offers many valuable selling features and built-in online Search Engine Optimization capabilities to drive traffic. In addition, the network has built its own national online parts and accessories store at www.Parts66.com. Network online training workshops and 20 Groups have been implemented to support ongoing dealer education and website performance.
Other network online web properties include a travel site for RVers, www.ScenicRouteOnline.com, the RV Club membership site, www.Passport66RV.com, and the network’s consumer site, www.Route66RV.com. All network-wide web efforts are built to serve the Network dealer and transact sales through their dealerships.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network announced today (Feb. 24) the addition of three new dealerships to its nearly 140 dealership locations in 40 states.
According to a press release, the three new ROUTE 66 RV Network dealers are:
• Rex & Sons RV’s, Wilmington, N.C.
• M&M Camping Center, Trenton, Mich. (south Detroit)
• Bayou Outdoor Supercenter, Bossier City, La. (Shreveport)
“The addition of these three quality dealerships continues to strengthen the network and solidify the promise we make to every ROUTE 66 dealership customer that ‘Wherever the Road Takes You, You Can Count on Us,'” says Dave Francis, a ROUTE 66 partner. “Making and delivering on this promise is very important to our network dealers.”
Comments from the new Route 66 dealers included:
• Travis Creech, operations manager of Rex & Sons stated: “We are most excited about the opportunity we now have to promise our customers that when they visit any ROUTE 66 location nationwide they’ll be treated with the same level of service and commitment they get when visiting us.”
• Mike Ellias, owner of M&M Camping, also sees their participation in ROUTE 66 as a strong competitive advantage, noting: “We can not only give our customers a ‘safety net’ with nearly 140 locations nationwide ready and willing to serve them as they travel, but also enhance our ability to compete by taking advantage of the many exclusive programs the Network offers.”
• Bayou Outdoor’s Chad Brazzel said: “When you look at the map and see who the ROUTE 66 dealers are, it’s some of best independent dealers in America. You’re known by the company you keep, and we’re delighted to be a part of this elite dealer network.”
“With a 90-minute drive-time protected market area there are still a few areas around the country that need a ROUTE 66 dealer,” said Rob Merrill, a partner in ROUTE 66. “The major criteria when we consider a new dealer is do they have a reputation for delivering excellent customer service and are they a full-service RV dealership location.”
For more information on Route 66 contact Rob Merrill or Dave Francis at 913-317-6678.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network presented Bill White, co-owner of United RV Center in Fort Worth, Texas, with the Larry Coker Commitment Award at the Overland Park, Kan.-based dealer network’s recent 2011 Rally in San Antonio, TX.
The Larry Coker Commitment Award is presented annually to the ROUTE 66 RV Network retailer who best reflects the long-haul commitment of Larry Coker, a revered ROUTE 66 associate who passed away in 2009 and is warmly remembered today for his “faith, sense of humor, optimism, humility and dedication” and commitment to building the Route 66 brand, Route 66 partner Rob Merrill reports in a press release.
“Bill & Kevin White and the entire United RV Center team truly embrace what it means to be a ROUTE 66 dealer,” said Merrill. “It goes well beyond the dealership’s branding and promotions. It’s deeply ingrained in their culture and the hearts and minds of their associates.”
In addition to the dealership recognition that the Coker award provides, ROUTE 66 also donates that dealership’s annual network membership fee to a college education fund in their name to support Larry’s daughter, currently a high school senior.
United has been a ROUTE 66 member since soon after the network’s founding in 2004.
“It was about two years into their membership, however, that the owners and key members of the United RV management team decided it was time to go ‘all in’ with ROUTE 66 and tie the United RV brand with ROUTE 66,” adds Merrill.
“That meant participating in the full suite of ROUTE 66 offerings and customer benefits,” he continued. “Bill White also served two years on the network’s Dealer Advisory Board, contributing to the strategic planning for ROUTE 66.”
“The ROUTE 66 vision and strategy are perfectly aligned with the United RV brand,” states Bill White in the Route 66 release. “We have always had taking care of customers as our top priority, and the many locations, savings and service offerings of ROUTE 66 dramatically extend what we are able to offer as one dealership. It’s great to know that wherever our customers travel throughout the nation, there is a ROUTE 66 dealer committed to treat them like they were their local customer!”
Past recipients of the Larry Coker Commitment Award include Colerain RV Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Walnut Ridge Family RV Center in New Castle, Ind.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network held their 8th Annual Rally in San Antonio, Texas, last week with a record number of RV network dealers and supplier partner companies attending.
“This year we hosted over 210 people from 85% of our dealership locations and 31 of our network supplier partner companies,” said ROUTE 66 partner Dave Francis in a press release. “Our Rally is designed to facilitate relationship-building between all of the network stakeholders and it was really great to have so many on our team come together.”
“The major emphasis of this year’s meeting was to encourage our dealers, who are the industry’s best ‘brick and mortar’ dealerships, to more aggressively establish themselves as the best ‘clicks’ based dealerships,” said Steve Francis, a ROUTE 66 partner and network dealer principal. “Having built many of the proprietary tools necessary to help ROUTE 66 dealers compete effectively in the Internet space, the network is very uniquely positioned to meet the wants and needs of today’s RV shopper and traveler.”
Founded in 2004, the Overland Park, Kan.-based ROUTE 66 RV Network currently has about 140 dealerships in 42 states. The dealerships who are members of the network have the opportunity to not only participate in over 36 unique network programs, but also can promise their customers that “Wherever the road takes you … you can count on us.”
“A solid team and cooperative spirit among all of the network dealerships is what allows the network to so successfully deliver on this promise to their customers.,” says Rob Merrill, network partner.
In addition, the network management team is supported by an active advisory board of member dealers who are involved in the network’s plans and direction. The members for 2011-2012 are Aaron Johnston – Johnston RV Country (N.Y), Bud Maxey – Cullum & Maxey (Tenn.), Rick Rizzo – Rick’s RV (Ill.), Lee Litchfield – Lee’s RV City (Okla.), Larry Andre – A&S RV (Mich.), John Meyers – Apache Village RV (Mo.), David Hayes – Hayes RV (Texas) and Troy Padgett – All Valley RV (Calif.).
According to Merrill, “ROUTE 66 is always in a growth mode and is constantly looking for like-minded RV dealers with whom to lock arms and represent the network with excellence and integrity.”
For more information contact Merrill at 913-317-6678.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network presented Nathan Hart, co-owner of Walnut Ridge Family RV Sales, New Castle, Ind., with the Larry Coker Commitment Award at its recent 2010 Rally held in Denver, Colo.
Named in memory of Larry Coker, a long-time RV industry colleague and ROUTE 66 employee who unexpectedly passed away in February 2009, the Larry Coker Commitment Award is annually given to the ROUTE 66 RV Network dealer who best reflects Coker’s total commitment to building the ROUTE 66 brand.
Walnut Ridge has been a ROUTE 66 member since May 2005, and Hart served two years on the network’s Dealer Advisory Board.
“Nathan and the entire Walnut Ridge team deeply embraces what it means to be a ROUTE 66 dealer. Not only is that evident in the dealership’s culture and promotions, but they embody the commitment to exceed and deliver on the ROUTE 66 promise: Wherever the road takes you … you can count on us,” said Rob Merrill, partner in Overland Park, Kan.-based ROUTE 66.
In addition to the dealership recognition that this award delivers to the recipient, it also donates that dealership’s total annual network membership fee to a college education fund in their name to support Coker’s daughter who is currently a junior in high school.
The inaugural Larry Coker Commitment Award was presented last year to Colerain RV Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
ROUTE 66 RV Network has announced the addition of three new member dealers.
The largest RV network in North America got even bigger last week with the addition of Cullum & Maxey Recreation Vehicles in Nashville, Tenn., Three Way Campers in Marietta, Ga., and Webster City RV in Webster City, Iowa, according to a news release.
“All three of these dealerships are market leaders in their respective areas and enhance the ability for Route 66 RV Network to keep its promise, ‘wherever the road takes you, you can count on us,” said Rob Merrill, ROUTE 66 partner.
Cullum & Maxey has been serving RV consumers in the Nashville market for over 52 years. Co-owner Bob Sircy says the philosophies of ROUTE 66 and Cullum & Maxey are virtually the same. “We provide high quality products, back them with them with excellent service, and form a long term relationship by serving them and contributing to a great RV experience.Teaming up with ROUTE 66 allows us to extend our customer service throughout the entire nation as our customers travel.”
Three Way Campers is Georgia’s oldest and largest RV dealer. Founded in 1952, owners Jeff and David Porter are the third generation to serve the Atlant RV market. Located on the west side of Atlanta, Three Way Campers is a strategic location for the Southeast United States. “The Porter family and Three Way have earned an excellent reputation for taking care of customers and will be a great addition to approximately 150 ROUTE 66 dealer locations around the United States,” Merrill added.
Webster City RV is located about one hour north of Des Moines, with a second location in Story City, Iowa, on Interstate 35. Owner Rod Ruppel, commented, “We’ve been acquainted with ROUTE 66 for many years and had a great deal of respect for the organization, its dealers and their reputation for serving RV consumers around the country. We jumped at the opportunity to join the network and look forward to offering the extended ROUTE 66 benefits to both our customers in central Iowa as well as travelers who visit our stores.”
Merrill added, “every new ROUTE 66 dealer is recommended for membership in the network by other ROUTE 66 dealers. That’s how we’ve been able to assemble literally the best of the best independent RV dealers in nation. The well earned reputations of these 3 new member dealers only serve to further distinguish ROUTE 66 and our ability to serve RV consumers around the country.”
The ROUTE 66 RV Network announced Wednesday (April 28) the launching of the Passport 66 RV Club, a major upgrade to its popular Classic Care Club that has been in existence since 2004.
According to Dave Francis, managing partner of the network, “This new, enhanced product expands our customers’ benefit points to well over 5,000 partner locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.”
The paid-membership program is only available to RVers who either purchase a unit, parts or service from a ROUTE 66 RV Network dealership. “It’s always been our goal to provide our dealers with programs that are uniquely theirs and that add to the RV consumer’s preference in shopping and buying from a ROUTE 66 dealer,” Francis added.
In addition to the benefits offered by the Classic Care Club — including members’ parts discounts and priority service at all ROUTE 66 RV Network dealers while traveling — the Passport 66 RV Club also provides members with:
• Up to 50% off at nearly 3,000 campgrounds, hotels and resorts through Passport America and Freedom Resorts.
• Discounted golf rates at more than 2,000 Player’s Pass golf courses nationwide.
• Reduced car-rental rates at more than 700 Dollar/Thrifty locations.
• Money-saving offers for RV wash services at 100+ Blue Deacon Truck Wash facilities.
• Savings on DIRECTV satellite packages and a ROUTE 66 gift card.
• Specialty club rates at RV America Insurance.
• Unique offers at www.Parts66.com, the network’s new online parts store.
“We’ve launched the Passport 66 RV Club with a very solid team of partners and valuable RV customer benefits, but we see it as a very dynamic process that we intend to regularly enhance with new partners and programs,” Francis noted.
To upgrade from a current Classic Care Club membership or to learn more, visit the Passport 66 RV Club website at www.Passport66RV.com.
ROUTE 66 is introducing what it contends is the first and only “finance protection” program in the RV industry.
ROUTE 66 partnered with Walkaway USA, the administrator of Hyundai Assurance program.
ROUTE 66 Reliance is a program that gives customers increased confidence to purchase and finance a new or used RV from one of the network’s 100-plus nationwide locations, according to a news release.
Every unit purchased with ROUTE 66 Reliance includes an extra measure of security should the unexpected occur.
“If our customer loses their employment up to a full year after their purchase, they simply return the unit to their ROUTE 66 dealer,” explained Rob Merrill, partner in the ROUTE 66 RV Network. “At the time of purchase, the customer can choose to upgrade to protection lasting for the life of the loan up to 84 months and even add a payment relief option. And when a customer takes advantage of the ROUTE 66 Reliance return program, they’ll suffer no negative impact to their credit rating.
“So much of what ROUTE 66 is about is adding confidence and security our customers. It’s behind our promise, ‘wherever the road takes you, they can count on us’. ROUTE 66 Reliance is just another level of security in these uncertain times.”
Paul Budvitis, president of Dallas, Texas-based Walkaway, USA went on to say, “When we thought to bring our vehicle finance protection products to the RV market, ROUTE 66 was the obvious partner for this exclusive relationship. We knew their reputation for excellence. The whole ROUTE 66 mission is to provide the best value to RV consumers. I’ve personally met many of the ROUTE 66 dealers, I’ve visited their stores. The ROUTE 66 promise is more than a marketing slogan, it’s the way they do business.”
ROUTE 66 Reliance will launch at RV shows across the United States as early as this week. For more information, contact Merrill at (913) 317.6678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.