Better timing, a new location and a fresh program of the hottest topics await dealers at the 2014 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas, hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). According to a press release, North American RV dealers will convene at Bally’s on the strip, Nov. 10-14, under the theme, “Passport to Excellence: Education and Training.”
Registration is open now on the RVDA convention website, www.rvda.org/convention.
“Shifting the convention to November is better for our dealers and will allow greater participation by more people at the dealership,” said RVDA Convention/Expo Committee Chairman John McCluskey of Florida Outdoors. “Employee development opportunities will be expanded and we are aiming for maximum flexibility for dealers to plan their schedule for the convention.”
Vendor Training +Plus will be back again after its successful implementation last year, offering even more informative training sessions by industry suppliers and vendors on Monday andTuesday. Tuesday through Friday, educational workshop topics will target the burning issues affecting every department in the dealership and many will be repeated so participants won’t have to miss out on one great workshop to attend another. In addition, workshops will be shorter in duration so presentations remain both targeted and engaging.
A very big change this year will be the venue itself as the convention is moves to Bally’s. The venue is at the heart of the famed Las Vegas strip, surrounded by the most iconic casino properties, bright lights and street attractions that characterize Las Vegas. Convention registrants will have easy access to all the nightlife Las Vegas has to offer and be able to book rooms in blocks at Bally’s or Paris at low convention rates.
The 2014 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 committees will also meet again this year to work on important dealer-manufacturer issues, but the meetings will be spread more evenly throughout the week to ease dealers’ schedules.
Visit www.rvda.org/convention to register and for regular updates. You can also get convention updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. recently partnered with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) to contact 116 RV dealers to assess trends during the first quarter. The following is a summary of the results.
RV momentum improves sequentially: Weather hampered retail traffic and demand early in the quarter, though dealers noted sequential improvements. Inventory remains balanced in motorhomes and towables, supporting parity between retail and wholesale going forward. Big picture, we believe the wealth effect is releasing pent-up demand for RVs, supporting our favorable fundamental outlook – though we are biased toward later-cycle exposure (motorhomes).
Retail improves sequentially: Dealers reported growth in motorhomes (+14-16%) and towables (+4-6%) in the January-March period. While traffic trends were abysmal in January and February – during the height of the Polar Vortex – traffic improved materially in March. Although the results are not a surprise, given the overlap with already-reported results from Winnebago and Thor, the sequential improvement is encouraging – especially given recent weather and reports from other discretionary categories (boats).
Inventory is balanced: Dealer inventory appears balanced in motorhomes and towables, as inventory levels appear essentially in line with levels last year. Based on anecdotal commentary, dealers still appear willing to stock incremental units – as many dealers believe that weather created significant pent-up demand – and are concerned that long lead times will result in insufficient inventory to satisfy an inflection in retail demand.
Sentiment improves sequentially: The Baird/RVDA dealer sentiment index improved from seasonal lows, as dealers become increasingly optimistic about the spring selling season. The 3-5 year outlook remained above 70 for the eighth consecutive quarter (73), and the measure of current conditions improved dramatically as well (from 57 to 64). Net, dealers remain optimistic at this point in the cycle and see a pathway to a strong retail season as weather improves.
Credit: Credit trends remain favorable, in aggregate, though conditions decelerated from our prior survey. While we think credit still provides a tailwind at this point in the cycle, we believe it is a trend worth watching, particularly as dealer commentary on credit conditions becomes incrementally negative.
Outlook: Big picture, we continue to believe an emerging wealth effect is releasing pent-up demand. Towable retail has reached 90% of prior peak volume, while motorhome retail has recovered to just under 50% of prior peak – a trend that favors motorhomes over towables.
Hometownlife.com reported that the local company is relocating its Wixom dealership/headquarters to 33 acres of land just down the road from its current store.
“Things are moving along really well and we are looking forward to getting into this new location,” said Dennis Anderson, vice president of marketing for General RV.
Owned and operated by the Baidas family, General RV has become the largest family owned RV dealer in the nation with nearly 600 employees in 10 locations.
Staying in Wixom was important for the company. It had a previous offer to move to South Lyon, but never pursued it. Anderson said that when this new opportunity came about, it was ideal.
“We need more space is the biggest reason, but we also want to provide an even better service to our customers. This new location will help in that and should be a perfect fit,” he said.
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It’s no secret that group dealerships need the right software solutions to run their businesses. A free webinar, hosted by the Mike Molino RV Learning Center in conjunction with online marketing company KPA, will detail how new HR technologies including automation, broad reporting and flexibility can increase a dealer’s efficiency, increase your return on investment and manage multiple groups from one desktop.
According to a press release, the webinar is slated for April 10, noon to 1 p.m. EDT. To register click here.
The webinar will also demonstrate KPA’s Human Resource Management (HRM) software. Tailored to group dealerships, KPA HRM is an automated system that provides consistent practices that can be customized to individual dealership needs. KPA’s Kathryn Carlson will demonstrate how KPA HRM is the paperless software solution for you.
If unable to attend, register and receiver a link to a recording of the webinar along with the presentation slides. If you have any questions or feedback, contact Becky Ross at email@example.com, (866) 356-1735. or Karin Van Duyse at the RV Learning Center at firstname.lastname@example.org (703) 591-7130.
The Go RVing Dealer Tie-In Program for 2014 is still available to dealers for $225 through the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) website, according to a press release.
RVDA reported that participating dealers will be receiving a bright green and white indoor/outdoor banner as part of the 2014 tie-in program. These eye-catching, high quality banners provide participating dealers with another promotional tool to increase consumer interest and drive traffic to the dealership.
“Dealers who participate in the Go RVing Dealer Tie-In Program are able to leverage the power of the national Go RVing campaign to promote their dealership using high-quality leads, professional images, and now banners,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “These new banners are an effective way to reach consumers and build on the visibility the Go RVing campaign provides.”
Dealers can sign up now to get the most from the benefits of Dealer Tie-Ins, including Leads Plus and professional photographs and video footage that can be customized for use in their marketing efforts. A recent study showed that Go RVing leads produced purchase rates for new RVs at twice the national rate.
Dealers can go to the RVDA website to sign up and put these professional marketing and publicity tools to work for their businesses. For more information about Go RVing Dealer Tie-In Programs, contact Chuck Boyd at RVDA by email email@example.com or by phone (703) 591-7130 x113. To sign up right away, go to the online form.
RV dealers are expecting big things this year, according to results from a Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) survey conducted in late January to early February.
In the March issue of RV Executive Today, RVDA reported that after a good 2013, the majority of survey respondents are expecting 2014 to be even better. Specifically, 68% of dealers who participated in the survey feel the outlook for the retail market this year will be better than it was in 2013. Another 32% believe the market will be about the same as it was last year.
The only area of concern to dealers as they head into spring is the size of inventories. Forty-five percent of respondents feel their inventory levels are too high, 50% believe inventories are the right size and 5% feel they’re too low.
The optimism about 2014 comes after a solid recovery in 2013. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said last year’s retail market was better than it was in 2012 and 41% felt it was the same. No dealers said 2013 was worse than 2012.
All of the survey participants believe towable RV and motorhome sales will either be better in 2013, or at least the same. Seventy-seven percent believe towable sales will be better than in 2013 and 23% believe they will be about the same. Fifty-nine percent felt motorhome sales will improve from last year, while 41% are expecting no change.
The vast majority of dealers in the survey feel adequate amounts of both wholesale and retail credit are available. Ninety-five percent say there’s sufficient floorplan credit, and 86% feel there’s plenty of retail credit for their customers.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) board ratified the association’s strategic plan during its March 10-12 meeting in Fairfax, Va. According to a press release, the board’s annual planning meeting reaffirms and adjusts the association’s future vision, mission and goals.
RVDA reported that the board reviewed ongoing efforts to protect dealer-assisted financing, which remains the association’s top advocacy goal. RVDA continues working to educate lawmakers, regulators and consumers about the benefits of dealer-assisted financing.
RVDA believes that dealer-assisted financing improves competition, saves consumers time and money, and is an efficient means for lenders to deliver RV financing.
In other action, the board reviewed the preliminary schedule for the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, scheduled for the week of November 10 at Bally’s in Las Vegas. The association will release more information on the Convention/Expo to dealers and exhibitors in the coming weeks.
The board also set its yearly meeting schedule, which will include meetings in March, June and during the National RV Trade Show. The board will meet with the association’s board of delegates in November at the Convention/Expo.
The first dealer webinar for 2014 will focus on “Major Components of the Health Care Reform Act,” slated for January 9, at noon EST.
According to a press release, the free webinar is provided to dealers by the Mike Molino RV Learning Center through a partnership with online marketing firm KPA. RV dealers’ participation in the free, live event helps support the Learning Center’s development of new programs.
Dealers interested in ensuring compliance with Affordable Care Act regulations or looking for guidance about the law’s major components can register at the KPA site.
The webinar will be presented by KPA’s Kathryn Carlson, vice president for HR Management products. Carlson was a presenter at the 2013 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, has written on the topic of health care compliance for RV Executive Today, and provided RV dealers with previous webinars on issues related to human resources, including the Affordable Care Act. She is a certified HR professional with extensive experience developing HR software and programs to businesses of all sizes that seek to improve efficiency, reduce risk, and ensure compliance.
If unable to attend, register and receive links to the materials for later viewing. Dealers interested in prior webinar topics will find them on the RV Learning Center’s webinar page. If you have any questions or feedback, contact Becky Ross firstname.lastname@example.org, (866) 356-1735, or Karin Van Duyse at the RV Learning Center at email@example.com,or (703) 591-7130.
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) associate member A World of Training has made a $3,000 donation to the Mike Molino RV Learning Center. According to a press release, the annual fundraising campaign began last month at the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.
A World of Training provides training solutions for the RV and automotive industry and frequently presents at the convention/expo. “It is our hope to be able to continue to support the Mike Molino RV Learning Center with both monetary and time contributions to work together for the mutual benefit of dealers, customers and suppliers,” said Michael Rees, president of A World of Training.
“Michael Rees and his team at A World of Training understand the educational needs of our industry and have been valuable partners in the efforts of the RV Learning Center for some time now,” said Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Ohio. “This donation is just one more way they are showing their support for high quality, affordable industry education.”
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, live workshops, online products, training, and certification programs for RV dealership personnel.
Rod Wagner, general sales manager at Madison RV Supercenter in Madison, Ala., has been elected to the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Board of Delegates. According to a press release, Wagner is the first delegate elected under an October bylaws change removing the requirement that a delegate must be an owner/officer of the dealership.
The RVDA membership approved the bylaws change during the 2013 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Chairman Jeff Hirsch explained that a task force formed by the board “agreed that a bylaws change would widen the talent pool available to RVDA.” The bylaws change only applies to delegates and does not change the ownership qualification for officers on the board.
“Rod’s election to the board of delegates is a positive reflection on the bylaws change,” Hirsch said. ”He will make a great addition to our team of volunteer leaders, and I look forward to working with him.”
The RVDA Board of Delegates is charged with providing input, advice, deliberation, and guidance on matters of association policy, positions, long-term goals, and planning. For information about the RVDA bylaws, visit the RVDA website.