RV industry veterans and membership club innovators have come together to develop a new company – AmeriGO RV Club – poised to be the ultimate RV club and online community dedicated to RV enthusiasts.
Scheduled to launch in October 2013, AmeriGO RV Club “will boast outstanding value-added membership benefits, services, and discounts via a highly advanced online RV club experience,” organizers reported in a Monday (Sept. 16) press release. The new website, they add, will be all-encompassing throughout the RV market and feature a mix of rich content and an inviting community, where RV enthusiasts can go to learn, research, and share everything they love about RVing.
“With decades of experience in the RV industry and having already built an amazing set of offerings with our allied partners, it is with great enthusiasm that we announce the development of AmeriGO RV Club,” said Joe McAdams, chairman of AmeriGO RV Club. “Our goal in creating AmeriGO is to build a trusted resource for products, services and information that adds value and security for the RV enthusiast by providing access to and savings at our premier network of RV vendors, dealers and campgrounds.”
The company’s new website, soon to be introduced at AmeriGOrv.com, is being developed in partnership with Stoneacre Company – the premier provider of technological solutions for member-based organizations focused on passion-based themes with an acclaimed client roster including the official NASCAR Members Club, NFL Alumni Organization, Pepsi Stuff Loyalty Program, Yahoo! Rewards Loyalty Program, and Anheuser Busch Affinity Email Program.
According to AmeriGO’s organizers, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company will provide RV enthusiasts with a highly advanced and engaging online experience at AmeriGOrv.com.
Led by RV industry experts and featuring a wide array of partnerships with leading companies, AmeriGO RV Club has established an RV club benefits program with unique offerings designed especially for RV enthusiasts. The club will present exclusive programs, services and savings for members – from valuable insurance option choices that ensure the best deal on the right coverage to 10% savings at hundreds of AmeriGO-affiliated campgrounds as well as RV extended warranties, sanctioned road care plans for the ultimate in peace-of-mind as RVers navigate the open road and preferred provider pricing on RV financing options.
“RV enthusiasts will also be able to access engaging, fresh and in-depth content about everything related to the RV lifestyle, and can take advantage of frequently updated exclusive deals and discounts on dining, shopping, attractions, events and more in their local area and across North America,” the release states.
AmeriGO’s key alliances will provide the following benefits:
• AmeriGO has teamed up with Equity LifeStyle Properties, owner of Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts, to offer Club members a discount of 10 percent off daily rates at over 170 locations across North America. This partnership provides AmeriGO’s outdoor enthusiasts opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in some of the country’s most sought after vacation destinations. AmeriGO’s Club members will enjoy resort-style amenities and family-friendly activities at each of the Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts nationwide.
• Via a strategic alliance with AmeriGO, Progressive presents RVers the opportunity to shop for and purchase Progressive RV insurance policies online at AmeriGOrv.com and via the AmeriGO Agency. As part of this valuable partnership club members can select many types of coverage, including Vacation Liability, Full Timer’s, Emergency Expense as well as special product attributes, unique coverages, extended coverages and more.
• AmeriGO has teamed with Carefree Resorts to give club members access to a family of RV resorts where they will be welcomed by friendly and helpful staff, and can enjoy safe, well maintained communities with modern amenities and vibrant activity programs while benefiting from a discount of 10% on overnight stays.
• AmeriGO RV Club members will have exclusive access to an AmeriGO RV Club Protection plan by American Guardian Warranty. The product offered to members will be a custom-designed version of American Guardian Warranty’s core program that has been sold and serviced across the United States for over a decade. Flexible terms to club members give them the option to further tailor coverage to their use. Coverage is also renewable at a member’s discretion. Via AmeriGOrv.com, club members will be able to access service locations, access coverage information, and make policy changes. In the future they will have the option to extend coverage or purchase additional products through the website.
• AmeriGO RV Club has created a strategic alliance with Newcoast Financial Services to provide RVers with the best finance programs available in the industry – featuring the most competitive rates and terms available as well as experienced staff with specialized knowledge in RV lending. Via this affiliation, AmeriGO’s members will be able to work one-on-one with Newcoast’s financial specialists through the loan application and approval process.
With personalized service every step of the way, Newcoast can also help RVers in choosing an extended warranty for their RV, executing title searches and transfers, or refinancing their loans. Established in 2001, Newcoast Financial works with one of the largest networks of quality lenders in the RV industry to make sure that customers are not only offered the most competitive rates, but also have the options they deserve in their financial packages. Newcoast Financial’s RV industry experience means that customers can expect a simple application process, quick approvals and no-hassle closings.
AmeriGO is also joining forces with the highest quality RV dealerships. The company’s goal is to establish a coast-to-coast network of certified dealerships that will offer AmeriGO members peace of mind as they ride the open road across North America, providing amazing deals and quality workmanship every mile of their travels should they need assistance, and unparalleled deals and offers on RV services, parts and accessories, fuel, and more! The company will present its initial Charter Dealerships in the fall of 2013.
“Designed around a collaborative online community, AmeriGO members will also have access to an ever-expanding range of RV-related news and information, RV travel tips & hints, tech resources, RV living articles, popular and fun RV destinations and much more,” the release explains. “Members will also be able to share their experiences and engage in communication with other like-minded RV enthusiasts via the site’s online community, local chapters and social media channels. Those new to the RV world will have the opportunity to learn all about RVing from experts, friends and family as well as fellow RVers.
“Comprehensive online RV search and shopping offerings will also allow AmeriGO RVers to find public and private campgrounds and dealers across the nation.”
With a yearly membership fee of only $9.95, the club’s developers maintain, AmeriGO RV Club offers a “truly affordable, comprehensive RV club with access to an elite spectrum of benefits, services and resources” dedicated to RV enthusiasts.
“We are thrilled to launch AmeriGO RV Club as a premier membership club dedicated to RV enthusiasts,” added Joe Daquino, president of AmeriGO RV Club. “At AmeriGOrv.com, we are creating a highly advanced online destination that provides RVers with unmatched value and makes the RV experience easier and more exciting than ever.”
AmeriGO RV Club is inviting RV enthusiasts to become fans of the company’s Facebook page by visiting the following link and clicking “Like”: www.facebook.com/AmeriGOrvClub. Fans of the AmeriGO RV Club page on Facebook will have access to an array of contests, giveaways, exclusive offers, and much more.
AmeriGO Charter Dealers are awarded territories on an exclusive basis. For dealer inquiries, contact Jeff Martin at (513) 236-7512. For campground inquiries, call (800) 933-3171. General inquiries about AmeriGO RV Club may be emailed to info@AmeriGOrv.com.
Go RVing’s new “AWAY” ad featuring a tailgating theme will debut this weekend and continue to air throughout the fall in conjunction with college football ad buys with ESPN and CBS Sports.
Titled “Victory,” the new 30-second ad showcases how RVs are the perfect tailgate vehicle by featuring families gathered at a girls’ soccer game where they are grilling, relaxing in and around the RVs, and enjoying each other’s company. The voiceover, once again performed by Tom Selleck, tells viewers that “Away” is always having home field advantage even when you are miles away from home.” The ad was shot in Denver in June and features a Fleetwood Storm Class A motorhome and Cruiser RV Fun Finder travel trailer. The manufacturers were selected in a lottery to provide the vehicles.
A special 60-second version of the ad will air during ESPN’s highly rated College Gameday this Saturday. The ad will continue to air on the program each Saturday morning through the season. Footage of RV tailgating will lead into a Go RVing commercial in the “A” position of the program. There will be additional exposure on ESPNU and ESPN2.
The ad will also be featured on CBS Sports coverage of college football, including sponsorship of the Thursday night Inside College Football post-game show; custom-produced “Tailgate Tradition” vignettes airing on This Week in the SEC and Inside College Football as well as online on CBSSports.com; and Road Trip Fact graphics featuring the Go RVing logo airing in 15 live college football games.
The utilization of the “Victory” ad is part of Go RVing’s focus to leverage the strong connection between RVing and college football tailgating and keep positive messages about RV travel in front of consumers throughout the year. Go RVing typically would significantly scale back advertising in the fall and early winter months.
“We are very excited about the buys with ESPN and CBS Sports” said James Ashurst, RVIA vice president of public relations and advertising. “This audience of college football fans will be very receptive to the versatility, convenience and family bonding messages found in the new television commercial. This is a great way to extend Go RVing’s awareness building later into the year.”
He added, “Today’s families are really involved in their kids sporting and extra-curricular activities. The new ‘Victory’ ad strongly communicates that an RV can enhance the tailgate experience and the family bonding that takes place at sporting events at any level of competition. There are beautiful exterior shots, but we also intentionally focused on kids and parents enjoying the great amenities found inside the RV. This was done to show the versatility of RVs and to compel consumers to begin thinking about RVs in a different light.”
Carolyn Underwood does not consider herself to be outdoorsy, yet she camped for six months last year.
As reported by the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press, that’s what she calls it — “camping.” But she and her husband, Steve, are hardly roughing it in their fully equipped RV at Chester Frost Park. They’ve got a TV, Wi-Fi and a pork roast cooking in the crockpot.
“Gasoline’s high and we can come up here, and it’s a pretty cheap vacation,” Underwood says, sitting at the covered picnic table outside her RV. The golden bangles on her wrist catch sunlight as she taps on her iPhone, which is plugged into the vehicle with an extension cord.
With their real house only about seven miles away in Hixson, the Underwoods swing by two or three times a week to mow the lawn and check on the cat. They’ve been coming here for about eight years now, usually from spring to early fall, and they’re part of a small community of long-term campers at the park.
The Underwoods are hardly unusual. At several parks around Chattanooga, including Chester Frost and Possum Creek RV Park and Campground in Soddy-Daisy, when the weather gets warm, dozens of folks pull up their RVs or expandable campers to campsites on the water and homestead for the summer.
To read the entire article click here.
A 50-something man climbed down from behind the wheel of the massive recreational vehicle in the parking lot of a county park.
“It’s my second home,” the man said to nobody in particular. “Took early retirement. And, I needed a deduction.’’
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane. Wash., reported that in the world of housing and shelter, the recreational vehicle also can qualify for the mortgage interest deduction as a second home.
According to the IRS, all “second homes” must be used as security of the loan and must have basic sleeping, cooking and toilet accommodations. Virtually all RV types – motorhomes, van campers, travel trailers, truck campers and even some folding camping trailers – are so equipped.
In a capsule, an RV combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping. The two main categories are motor homes (motorized) and towables (towed behind the family car, van or pickup). Types of towable RVs are folding camping trailers, truck campers, conventional travel trailers and fifth-wheel travel trailers.
And there’s a reason we see more of them on summer roadways. There are more than 12,000 RV-related businesses in the U.S. with combined annual revenues of more than $37.5 billion. The RV industry employs more than a quarter-million Americans with a payroll of about $4.9 billion.
More than 11% of U.S. households headed by people age 35 to 54 own an RV, exceeding the 9.3% ownership rates of those 55 and over. The 35-to-54 age group posted the largest gains in a 2011 study by the University of Michigan.
To read the entire article click here.
Editor’s Note: The following story comes from Clark Norton, a writer focusing on Baby Boomer travel. When he isn’t on the road, Clark resides with his wife, Catharine, in the town of Narrowsburg on the Delaware River in upstate New York. You can follow his thoughts at www.clarknorton.com.
The recent news that the Winnebago company — which makes motorhomes — nearly doubled its profits in the 2013 spring quarter is just the latest indication that the Baby Boomer recreational vehicle boom is in full gear.
Winnebago motorhome sales jumped more than 50% in the same quarter, while trailer sales jumped 10%.
Some 9 million U.S. households — 8.5% — now own RVs, and the number is growing rapidly. One out of every six U.S. households say they have future plans to buy an RV.
Baby Boomers — the youngest of whom are now nearly 50 years old — are Winnebago’s and other RV manufacturers’ biggest customers. And with many of the oldest Boomers (now 67) retiring or nearing retirement, they’re devoting more and more time to travel.
RV owners average more than a month of travel annually, racking up nearly 5,000 miles a year on the road.
Motorhomes — which many Baby Boomers make their primary residences after selling their family homes — are becoming increasingly luxurious, offering everything from spacious kitchens and bathrooms to fireplaces and flat-screen TVs. Sleeping areas may fit king-sized beds and dining areas a comfortably sized table.
Price tags can range up to hundreds of thousands of dollars — but then again, so do prices for regular houses (and many sell in the $100,000 range, with trailers and truck campers selling for much less) . Fuel costs can be substantial, but the money saved from hotels, motels and restaurants while traveling more than makes up for high gasoline prices.
As you might imagine, catering to RV owners is big business, beyond the RV manufacturers themselves. Some 16,000 U.S. campgrounds, both private and public, welcome RVs. Campgrounds can be found in or near cities, park lands, historic sites and other attractions — just as convenient as hotels and motels.
Many of the private campgrounds, especially, defy the old stereotypes of rustic living. These days, facilities may include swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, spas, grocery stores, and evening entertainments. Some operate like time shares, but are not limited to just a few weeks a year as long as you keep moving periodically.
I don’t own an RV myself, though my wife and I have rented a couple of them in Australia and found them to be great for touring the rural and beach areas there — but less convenient in the urban areas, where I’d just as soon settle into a hotel.
But I also understand the allure of taking your home with you on the open road — with the flexibility to stay in a place you like or pick up and move on a whim as well — and more and more Boomers are doing just that.
Travel products that help make life easier and more affordable for the booming Baby Boomer RV market are going to do very well indeed as more and more Boomers reach retirement.
RVs have enjoyed the media spotlight in recent weeks with several appearances in the national media, culminating in two live segments on the popular FOX & Friends morning show on June 17.
As a result of RVIA’s ongoing public relations campaign, RVs have been featured on NBC News, ABC News, CNBC, FOX and the Hallmark Channel, as well as in Bloomberg Businessweek, according to a press release.
Media hits include:
• On June 17, RVs were the focus of two live interview segments on the highly rated FOX & Friends morning show. The first segment showcased an Airstream trailer and offered the chance to discuss the recovering RV market, the popularity of trailers and the option of renting RVs with Dicky Riegel, former Thor Industries Inc. and founder of Airstream 2 Go. The second segment included former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and took place inside a Winnebago motorhome.
• On June 12, “Marie” — a Hallmark Channel talk show hosted by Marie Osmond — aired a segment that included Go RVing spokesman Brad Herzog. Herzog and Osmond showed three different RVs representing the most popular types of towable and motorized RVs.
• On June 6, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article focusing on the industry’s recovery from the recession. The article noted that the $14 billion RV industry is on course for its best year since 2007, and included RVIA’s projected shipment total.
• On June 3, “ABC World News” aired a story about the RV industry that included a visit to Winnebago’s Iowa headquarters, reasons for the industry’s turnaround, and information on the burgeoning rental market.
• On May 31, CNBC aired a “Behind The Wheel” segment focused on the industry recovery and Winnebago’s growing sales. Also on May 31, several national magazines published reports about the RV industry. Sunset Magazine published a guide to RV trailers; Midwest Living released a report about the best places to camp in the Midwest; and U.S. News and World Report published a story about how RV sales are booming again.
• On May 23, “NBC Nightly News” broadcasted a report that the industry’s recovery is driving a hiring boom in Elkhart, Ind.
Keith and Betty Conine already know their itinerary.
As reported by the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, the Riverview couple will load their motorhome, and head to Branson, Mo., then to Illinois. From there, they’ll trek back to Florida, stopping along the way at Civil War battle sites.
First, though, they have to deal with the small issue of buying a recreational vehicle.
“We’re kind of still in the research stage,” Betty Conine, 63, said Sunday (June 23) lounging in a recliner inside a SportTrek 270RL at the Florida Fairgrounds during the Tampa Bay Summer RV Show.
“We know what we want, we just haven’t seen it yet,” said Keith Conine, 65.
The four-day event attracted more than 2,000 people to the fairgrounds, which had close to 200 RVs on display and about 30 vendor booths.
The Conines got their first taste of the RV life in 2008 when they rented a motorhome, driving it from Arizona to Orlando. Betty Conine, who bragged about doing 90% of the driving, said she was sold by how the RV handled the road.
“It drove like a Cadillac,” she said. “I loved it. If I can get another one and they can guarantee it’d feel like that, I would be in it in a heartbeat.”
Mark and Lennie Schiefer were excited over the interior of a hulking Entegra Coach Aspire that featured cherry-glazed, hardwood cabinets, stainless steel refrigerator, electric fireplace, porcelain tile flooring and buttery-soft leather.
“We’re just drooling over these,” Lennie Schiefer said of the larger RVs. “Ours is on the other side, but we’re drooling on these. They are beautiful.”
To read the entire article click here.
Members of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Public Relations Committee were informed of the hiring of another consultant to promote the RV industry among national trade publications during RVIA Committee Week June 2-6 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.
James A. Boyle of Boyle Public Affairs, McClean, Va., has joined Diane McNamara of Fire it Up, PR, Boston, under contract to generate publicity for the RV industry. McNamara has already been promoting the RV lifestyle in consumer periodicals.
Both have stepped up to help fill the void left by the untimely March 2 passing of Jon Tancredi, 46, who served RVIA for 20 years as a PR professional with Barton Gilanelli & Associates and more recently as president of Tancredi Public Relations.
The committee also recommended approval of partnership packages with ESPN, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated to promote RV tailgating at upcoming NCAA and NFL football games along with other sporting events.
The tie-in to sports is a natural connection for promoting the RV lifestyle, said committee Chairman B.J. Thompson of BJ Thompson Associates, Elkhart, Ind. ”Tailgating with an RV enhances a person’s interest when they attend sporting events,” Thompson said.
Thompson reported that the RV industry has received a large amount of attention from national media outlets including NBC, ABC, Fox and CNN in addition to exposure in Sunset and Midwest Living magazines, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.
”Because of recent strong consumer demand for RVs, we’ve had quite a bit of interest from the national media,” Thompson told RVBUSINESS.com.
Additionally, the PR Committee asked the RVIA staff to coordinate an updated vacation cost comparison by San Francisco-based PFK Consulting LLC, the most recent of which was conducted three years ago.
The committee also heard that RVIA’s most recent Campfire Canvas of about 400 RV owners found that 71% intend to use their RVs more through the summer months than they did last year and that 78% cited outdoor activities as the reason they intend to use their RVs.
”Those are pretty good numbers,” Thompson said. ”Rather than us speaking in general terms about how great RVing is, we can go to the media with specific information.”
The Campfire Canvas is a biannual survey conducted by Internet-based Cvent, McLean, Va.
The committee also recommended that Brad and Amy Herzog continue to be RVIA’s traveling spokespersons for the 14th year.
The programs recommended for approval by the committee are pending until final approval by the RVIA Executive Committee at its August budget meeting and the RVIA board at its annual meeting in September.
Ron Spike purchased a Rockwood Windjammer travel trailer at Ruff’s RV Center in Euclid, Ohio, two months ago.
According to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, in the months since he joined the 8.9 million U.S. households — or 8.5% of all American households that now own RVs — Spike is part of a growing community of people who see upscale camping or traveling as a great way to relax.
“I parked mine at a campground in Geneva. Even though it’s about 40 minutes from our home in Lyndhurst, it’s still like going on vacation,” said the 62-year-old recently retired truck driver whose wife Marlene will join the retirement ranks this month. “There’s no stress out there. It’s so relaxing.”
Across town, Ron Revelt of Olmsted Township stopped by Moore’s RV in North Ridgeville to pick up a part for his decked-out fifth-wheel, his third and last purchase made in 2008. But he couldn’t help but check out an even more luxurious recreational vehicle during his visit.
“They keep coming up with more new neat things,” said Revelt, 73, a retired teacher and pilot who talked of new safety features and luxuries in the kitchen and bedrooms. “There’s always something I want.”
Nationwide, sales are rebounding because of new destination campers like Spike and repeat customers like Revelt who travel the country. They represent renewed hope for an industry that has suffered blows since the recession but is now attracting more younger people and families.
To read the entire article click here.
This spring, Jenny Miller and her husband bought a trailer to take their one-year-old son camping, but the plan had been in the works long before that.
“We had been talking about buying one for a couple of years, and we were just kind of waiting for our finances to get in order so we could make the purchase,” says the 29-year-old Davenport, Iowa resident.
As reported by U.S. News & World Report, Miller is representative of a broader national trend boosting the RV industry. Recreational vehicle sales crashed during the recession as Americans lost jobs and savings, but now, buyers are back and ready to make the RV purchases they put off for so long.
RV shipments dropped by over 30% in 2008 and again in 2009, according to figures from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. Annual shipments fell from nearly 400,000 per year in 2005 and 2006 to below 166,000 in 2009, forcing many dealerships and plants to lay off workers and some to close. But the RV industry soon rebounded, posting 46% growth in 2010. Since then, the increase has leveled off but remained strong, with manufacturers shipping nearly 290,000 units last year.
It’s not just that Americans are feeling more comfortable shelling out $15,000 for a camping trailer or $100,000 for a motorhome, says one industry expert. Banks are also now more willing to help customers buy campers and motorhomes.
“This industry was impacted by the economic crisis, as far as the drying up of consumer credit,” says Phil Ingrassia, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). “As things have improved, the economy has gotten better and there’s more credit available for consumer purchases like an RV.”
To read the entire article click here.