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Chip Eichelberger Set to Speak at RVDA Expo

June 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Chip Eichelberger

Chip Eichelberger

International motivational expert Chip Eichelberger will challenge attendees to ditch mediocrity and “switch on sales success” during a special presentation on Oct. 6 during the 2011 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The convention is sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada, and the RV Learning Center.

Eichelberger will present “S.W.I.T.C.H. On Your Sales Success!” and explore what dealers can do to stand out from the competition. He will outline a sales success system that gets customers to say “wow,” and be loyal, leading to more referral business.

Eichelberger is the former point man for self-help giant Tony Robbins (author of “Unleash the Giant Within”) and has a reputation for enthusiasm, high energy, and the ability to fire up an audience. He’s been dubbed by appreciative corporate clients as an “audience arsonist” who lights fires and moves listeners to action.

With the constant barrage of negative news about the economy, many people have gone from a mindset of success to one of survival, says Eichelberger, adding, “It’s time to look in the mirror, put on the hat of personal responsibility, and get switched on.”

“We are extremely excited to have secured Chip Eichelberger for this special sales session at the convention,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss. “He’ll help get everyone re-energized for the opportunities at hand in today’s market.”

Themed “ReVolution: Take Charge Today,” the convention will feature new, in-depth super sessions covering the top issues RV dealers and their employees are facing. The education program will include information on building sales through innovative marketing strategies to reach new customers and an overview of the short and long-term trends that will affect the RV industry.

To make the convention as affordable as possible, the registration fee for dealership employees is the same as last year.  RVDA is also offering special registration plans including an “Easy Pay” plan of four payments.  Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext 103, or send an e-mail to scharter@rvda.org .

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RVDA Adds Two Silver Sponsors for Confab

June 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Bank of the West and Protective are “Silver Sponsors” for the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 3-7, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The convention is sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center.

“Sponsors play a vital role in making the convention both educational and enjoyable for dealers and their employees,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss. “We thank both companies for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to RV dealers and the convention.”

San Francisco-based Bank of the West is an FDIC-insured bank with a 135-year history. Through holding company BancWest Corp., the bank is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, one of the six highest rated banks in the world.

Protective’s XtraRide service agreement is exclusively endorsed by RVDA and is backed by Lyndon Property Insurance Co. (a Protective company) in all states except New York.  In New York, the product is backed by Old Republic Insurance Co.

Themed “ReVolution: Take Charge Today,” the convention will feature new, in-depth super sessions covering the top issues RV dealers and their employees are facing right now. The education program will include information on building sales through innovative marketing strategies to reach new customers and an overview of the short- and long-term trends that will impact the RV industry.

To make the convention as affordable as possible, the registration fee for dealership employees is the same as last year.  RVDA is also offering special registration plans including an “Easy-Pay” plan of four payments and the ability to “lock-in” early bird savings for additional employees with one paid convention registration.

Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext 103 or send an e-mail to scharter@rvda.org.

Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and for regular updates about the convention. You can also get updates by following the convention on Linkedin and Facebook.

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RVDA Con/Expo Comes at Industry Juncture

August 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Expo LogoThe RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, scheduled for Oct. 4-8 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., comes at a crucial time for the U.S. economy in general and the RV industry in particular as both work their way out of the tough recession of 2008/2009.RVDA logo

On one hand, the industry’s rebound has exceeded expectations in many ways, especially for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers aligned with the right towable recreational vehicle brands. On the other hand, however, the aftershocks of the Great Recession are obviously still with us in terms of unemployment, stock market fluctuations and a general discomfort among many Americans with regard to the general state of the economy.

And while most Americans assume that the worst is over, many of the nation’s durable good manufacturers – including RV builders — are still looking to bridge their way to the next year and the next level of recovery and to find a comfort zone in this new post-recessionary age.

Mike Molino

Mike Molino

“There is a consensus we have to recalibrate our definition of what is a good business environment,” said Mike Molino, president of the Fairfax, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), lead sponsor of October’s annual Con/Expo. “We’re not going to get back to the 400,000-unit years any time soon. We’ll probably never return to that. The next couple of years will be tough, but doable. If dealers stay within the cash structure they have, they will survive. The consumer will come back — slowly. We won’t see a significant increase (in sales) until there is more certainty (about the state of the economy). I’m not so sure the election of 2010 will bring more certainty. That might just bring more confusion.”

But Molino, generally a realist, does tend to see the cup half full.

“The dealers who are still in business, for the most part, are the ones who will survive,” he maintained. “The dealers coming to the convention are in good shape. The shakeout is well on its way to being complete. But it’s not totally over. Dealers are telling me they have inventory but are paying more finance charges on the inventory they have than they used to, and retail financiers are very stringent on who they are lending money to, so the ability to buy a recreational vehicle, the threshold for buying, is higher and the ability to buy is a lot lower.

“Another dynamic is that there is uncertainty among businesses, both large and small, and that drives employment, and employment drives the mentality of the economy,” Molino continued. “When a consumer is hearing levels of unemployment we currently have (around 10%), it’s still not conducive to them going out and buying an RV, even if they can afford to get a loan for an RV. Until unemployment goes down and employment rises, we will have some issues.”

A New Era for the Industry As Well as RVDA’s Con/Expo

RVDA of CanadaThe RVDA is tackling this new era head-on with a refreshing revision of the annual convention, which is co-sponsored by RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center.

A crowd of between 475 and 550 U.S. and Canadian dealers, with total registrations of about 1,100 attendees, is anticipated for the five-day event.

“I think it’s going to be the best convention ever,” adds Molino. “We’ve got a very, very active committee under (Convention Chairman) Peter Albano. Between him and my staff and the volunteers on the committee, I think they have put together the most pertinent program for dealers and the management level of staff I’ve ever seen.”

As ever, of course, there will be an aggressive educational component including workshops on everything from wholesale and retail financing options to new inventory management strategies and how to reach new customers through innovative marketing communications. And the 2010 convention will again feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s leading OEM and supplier companies offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability.

But attendees will notice significant changes, starting with the brand committee meetings, closed door sessions in which dealers meet as a group with representatives of the recreational vehicle brands they carry. RVDA’s “Partners in Progress” brand committees, among other things, will work on important dealer-manufacturer issues and address results of RVDA’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI).

“We’ve restructured the brand committees meetings, so they come early in the session,” Molino explained. “We tried to make it so there is no conflict between the committee meetings and anything else they want to do. I think it will enhance the experience for the dealers, especially the manufacturers.”

Peter Albano

Peter Albano

Before he took on the assignment of chairing this year’s convention committee, Albano confides, he talked with many dealers and asked them what they wanted with regard to the convention. “They said that we need to change and get some new blood into the system and see how we’re running the sessions, break it up and make it new,” Albano, owner of American RV in the Memphis suburb of Olive Branch, Miss., told RVBusiness. “We’ve worked very, very hard at doing that.”

Former Interior Secretary Kempthorne Will Keynote

Albano predicts that convention attendees will especially enjoy the remarks of former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who will serve as keynote speaker at the first general session on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Dirk Kempthorne

Dirk Kempthorne

“Secretary Kempthorne has a track record of developing innovative approaches to meet the outdoor recreation needs of RV travelers and other outdoor enthusiasts,” Albano said. “As a long-time motorhome owner, he is enthusiastic about the future prospects for our industry. He will provide an inspiring message for everyone who makes their living in the RV business.”

Kempthorne continues to champion outdoor recreation and is an active RV traveler and motorcyclist. As Secretary of the Interior during the George W. Bush administration, he brought fundamental relational changes in the environmental, conservation and outdoor recreation arenas.

During his service in the U.S. Senate, Kempthorne led successful efforts to create a sustainable funding source for building and maintaining trails and to promote balance between resource protection and outdoor fun – which is among the reasons he received the 20th Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award in 2008 from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC).

A second general session, on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 7, will feature an “RV Outlook Panel Discussion” for which panelists will include Ron Fenech, president of Thor Industries Inc.’s RV Group; Craig Kennison, analyst with Robert W. Baird, Inc.; and Pete Lannon, GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance.

Tom Walworth, president of Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., will chair the discussion, which will focus on minimizing risk factors with RV floorplan loans, a manufacturing outlook on the future of RV product development and distribution, financial markets and the impact the issues will have on the dealers’ bottom lines.

“This session is sure to be extremely informative for everyone attending the upcoming convention,” said Albano. “It will provide some important steps that dealers can take to reduce their risk and successfully meet the financial challenges we are all facing today. The Convention/Expo Committee secured an outstanding group of RV industry experts to participate in this event.

RVBusiness HostsTop 50 Dealer Awards Festivities

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter

RVBusiness magazine (and RVBUSINESS.com) will host its 3rd Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards during a Wednesday, Oct. 6, reception and dinner at the Rio hosted by Affinity Group Inc. President & CEO Mike Schneider and keynoted by conservative political commentator and author Ann Coulter.

While the award eligibility has been expanded this year to include recreational park model dealers – just as it was expanded last year to include Canadian retailers — the awards format will include five Blue Ribbon retailers and one individual receiving the Altman Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Go RVing Coalition Convenes at Con/ExpoGo RVing logo

Concurrent with RVDA’s convention agenda, the pan-industry Go RVing Coalition will convene 8-11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 6, in the Rio’s Tango Room to continue discussions of topics raised during the coalition’s last meeting June 8 during RVIA Committee Week in South Bend, Ind. This will likely include campaign planning, 2011 funding levels and development of the Go RVing consumer leads prioritization system approved by the coalition in June.

Gary LaBella

Gary LaBella

Along with recent shipment and retail data, the coalition will rely on a new University of Michigan RV market forecast and new ad tracking research. “Go RVing’s 2010 ad tracking research will be complete, giving us a better handle on the impact of our media mix and the Ambassadors of Affordability creative,” reports Gary LaBella, vice president and chief marketing officer for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the coalition’s staff liaison.

Additionally, LaBella says results of the new study of Go RVing leads over the past three years will be reported by The Richards Group, the coalition’s Dallas-based agency. “This study will enable us to better prioritize leads, to provide more information to users about the specific products and price ranges consumer are considering, the lifestyle attributes of our leads and which media are most effective in delivering them,” he said. “All of this information will be helpful to future Go RVing media and creative planning as well as industry marketing efforts.”

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Kempthorne to Speak at Dealers’ Convention

April 29, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Dirk Kemthorne

Dirk Kemthorne

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will be the keynote speaker for the 2010 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 4-8.

Secretary Kempthorne will deliver his remarks to attendees at the Tuesday  (Oct. 5) General Session. The convention is sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Assocation (RVDA), Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada) and the RV Learning Center, according to a news release.

Kempthorne continues to champion outdoor recreation and is an active RV traveler and motorcyclist. As secretary of the interior, he brought fundamental changes to the relationships among national interests in the environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation. During his service in the U.S. Senate, Kempthorne led successful efforts to create a sustainable funding source for building and maintaining trails and to promote balance between resource protection and outdoor fun.

He received the 20th Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award during Great Outdoors Week from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) in 2008.

“Secretary Kempthorne has a track record of developing innovative approaches to meet the outdoor recreation needs of RV travelers and other outdoor enthusiasts,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Peter Albano of American RV in Olive Branch, Miss. “As a long-time motorhome owner, he is enthusiastic about the future prospects for our industry. He will provide an inspiring message for everyone that makes their living in the RV business.” 

Themed “Go to Grow – Innovative Ideas, Revolutionary Results,” the RV Dealers International/Convention Expo will be filled with vital information that will prepare RV dealers and their employees to take advantage of new opportunities in today’s RV market. The education program will include workshops on wholesale and retail financing options, new inventory management strategies, and how to reach new customers through innovative marketing communications.   

The 2010 convention will also feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s top companies offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability. RVDA’s Partners in Progress Brand Committees will also meet to work on important dealer-manufacturer issues and the results of RVDA’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI). 

To make the convention as affordable as possible, RVDA is offering special registration plans including an “Easy-Pay”  plan of four payments and the ability to “lock-in” early bird savings for additional employees with one paid convention registration submitted by May 31. 

Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext. 103 ,or send an e-mail to scharter@rvda.org

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RVDA Convention/Expo Workshop Recordings Available

October 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

RVDA convention logoAudio recordings of the 2009 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo educational workshops are an economical solution for bringing the industry’s best trainers to RV dealerships.

Two formats are available, according to an RVDA release:

  • CD-ROM. New in 2009, the CD-ROM includes web links to available PowerPoint and/or handouts so users can review the materials while listening to the presentations on their computers. An Internet connection is necessary for accessing the web links. Since not all speakers agree to provide handouts and/or their PowerPoint presentations, some sessions on the CD-ROM are limited to only the audio files.
  • Audio CD. The convenient, play anywhere option. It can be played it on any CD player. Individual workshops, multiple (including complete education tracks), and the entire set of educational workshops recordings are available. Complete audio CD and CD-ROM sets include a soft-side, zippered storage case.

Visit www.rvlearningcenter.com for an order form or contact API at (727) 375-7144, or e-mail audioprint@verizon.net with questions or help with your order.

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Thredgold: Economy Moving in Right Direction

October 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Economic futurist Jeff Thredgold of Thredgold Economic Associates told RV dealers from the U.S. and Canada that economic indicators are moving in the right direction and that “there will be growth throughout 2010 and 2011.”

Thregold was the keynote speaker at the opening general session of the 2009 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo on Oct. 6, according to RVDA Executive Today.  

During the general session Thredgold shared insights in the global economy, while focusing on the U.S. and Canada. His realistic, but positive approach helped attendees to understand the current economic environment.

He made the following key points:

  • Even though this is the most painful time in 75 years, sales prospects are better now than ever.
  • Consumers remain aggressive and are more prone to negotiate.
  • There is guaranteed growth in leisure and entertainment sectors, which will help the RV industry.
  • As the U.S. and global economies improve, individual state economies will stabilize and grow as well.
  • It is better to be proactive, and find ways to improve  business, rather than being reactive in the current economy.
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Futurist Thredgold to Address RVDA Convention

May 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Economic futurist Jeff Thredgold will share key factors that will impact the RV industry during his keynote address at the 2009 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo featuring the RV Learning Center.

Sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association 

 (RVDA), the convention will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 6-9. The 14th Annual RVDA Education Foundation golf tournament is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Thredgold has helped people understand the tangled maze of the economy and financial markets for more than three decades, according to an RVDA press release. With a unique ability to “cut though the fluff,” he leads his audiences on a slightly irreverent, up-to-the-minute “tour” of the economy, financial markets, government, and provides a preview of the future.

“The 2009 convention is shaping up to be the most important in RVDA history and Jeff Thredgold will provide dealers and industry representatives with a clear picture of what is happening in the economy and how it affects our future,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman Ron Wheeler of Wheeler Advertising. “The keynote presentation will kick off a series of workshops, panel discussions, and educational sessions that will help dealers and their employees navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

Themed “Rising to the Challenge,” the convention will feature a new series of timely workshops designed to help RV dealership owners, managers and employees respond to the critical issues the industry faces today.

Workshops for owners and GMs will focus on cash and personnel management strategies to stay competitive. Sales manager workshops will cover essential techniques for making more sales in a tough market. There will also be important workshops on acquiring inventory financing and retail financing that can help dealers get more buyers qualified. Educational workshops and the Expo will include a special focus on new products and services dealers can use to help build profits. RVDA will schedule a series of dealer-manufacturer brand committee meetings.

Thredgold is president of Thredgold Economic Associates, an economic consulting and professional speaking company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the only economist in the world to have earned the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation, the highest earned designation in professional speaking. He has spoken more than 1,000 times during the past 20 years, traveling more than 1 million miles in the process. He now serves as economic consultant to $50 billion Zions Bancorporation, which has banks in 10 states, as well as other clients.

Dealership employees who register for the convention before Aug. 7, receive special discounts of up to $449. For registration options, exhibitor information, and schedule updates, visit www.rvda.org, send an e-mail to info@rvda.org, call (703) 591-7130, or join the convention groups on Facebook and Linkedin.

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