ShowSpan’s Camper, Travel and RV Show in Grand Rapids, Mich., is coming to DeVos Place from Jan. 23 through Jan. 26.
Mlive.com reported that the show, which will feature about 300 units ranging from high-end motorhomes to egg-shaped micro-trailers, is one of Michigan’s largest RV and family vacation show, according to ShowSpan.
About 20,000 visitors attended the show last year, said Mike Wilbraham, the show’s producer. More than a dozen RV dealers and exhibitors from hundreds of vacation destinations will fill the convention center floor.
“We have more exhibitors this year than ever before representing hundreds of public and private campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. There’s absolutely no better way to plan an RV vacation,” Wilbraham said in a news release.
“Study after study shows us how taking vacations is important to our overall well-being — as individuals, but also as families,” Wilbraham said. “And there is no better way to take a family vacation than in an RV.”
This year’s show also will feature a new exhibit on tow vehicles sponsored by K&M Dodge Ram.
Wilbraham said the RV manufacturers will be showing their latest innovations, which included lighter-weight campers that can be hauled behind crossover SUVs and high-end motorhomes that are eschewing their generators in favor of all-electrical power sources.
The show also will offer several free seminars and presentations, including talks on full-time and extended RVing with Howard and Linda Payne, creators of RV-Dreams.com.
Travel and outdoor expert Jim Dufresne, who has been writing on where to go and what to do in Alaska for over 30 years, will offer expert tips and information on travel in Alaska.
Award-winning cinematographer John Holod also will return with his films about RV travel in Alaska, along Route 66, in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, and the Rocky Mountains.
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.”
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“Jeff’s creativity and strength in building customer relationships will be key to our growth,” said Burg. “The ability to join our years of expertise and creativity will greatly benefit our exhibitors and trade association partners moving forward.
Haughton, formerly with GS Media & Events, has spent the last seven years working shows from Rhode Island to South Carolina and all along the East Coast. Combined with his past ownership of shows in Colorado and Kansas, he brings Apple Rock “a unique vision for expansion in the future,” according to Burg.
“Joining forces with Eric Burg is exactly the opportunity I was looking for in my career,” says Haughton. “I have always enjoyed creating the best sales environments for my customers. It will be a great experience enhancing the success of exhibitors and sponsors at Apple Rock events.”
For more information go to www.applerock.com.
What’s not to like? These days in the recreational vehicle business, that pretty much sums up everything.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, even in the opening hours of the spring RV show at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., Friday (April 26), Dave Titus liked what he was seeing.
“I am already pleased with the traffic out here this morning,” said Titus, owner/manager of International RV in Elkhart. The show, which continues Saturday and Sunday, was only 90 minutes old, and Titus already had sold one RV.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association announced Friday that March shipments of 28,923 units were up 2.8% over March of last year, and 10.7% better than February this year.
It’s no surprise to Titus.
“I think this year is going to be a record breaker for us and for the industry as a whole,” he said.
His own dealership had record-breaking months in January and February, he said. And he sees it continuing. “You look at the (demographic) spread out here,” he said, surveying the large open grounds with RVs adjacent to the Hall of Fame. “I’ve seen people out here with little bitty kids to people up to 75 to 80 years old,” Titus said. “Everybody is doing it.”
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The first-ever Spring Hall of Fame RV Show will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum in Elkhart, Ind., April 26-28.
Hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC), the event will feature six of the area’s top dealers kicking off their summer selling season with special show pricing. Dealers will display the best of their inventory and the selection will include RVs to fit every budget.
“The show offers a tremendous opportunity for buyers to see and compare different models from many different manufacturers,” said Show Director Matt Rose who also serves as director of Recreation Vehicle for RVIC. “And the nice thing is they can see it all here instead of driving around town.”
The show kicks off Friday at 10 a.m. and will run through the weekend.
Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) is returning for its 18th annual recreational vehicle show at the Lee County Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium in south Fort Myers April 19-21.
According to a press release, the three-day-event will feature 11 dealers from throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast displaying a wide selection of new, used and leftover recreation vehicles of all styles, brands and price ranges. A variety of RV suppliers also will be on hand to provide information on where to camp as well as various other services to make the great outdoors accessible. Financing for well-qualified buyers will also be available.
“This event is held just before the summer traveling season, so consumers can make their plans to see our great nation,” said Dan Wylie, president of FRVTA’s Region One. “Dealers also need to reduce their inventory from the busy winter season, so prices for new and used RVs have been reduced as well.”
Financing for both dealer inventory and qualified buyers has improved, resulting in a market that has seen RV sales markedly recover for both new and used merchandise.
“Statistics continue to show that an RV vacation is much less expensive than other vacation travel options, even when a purchase is factored in,” Wylie explained, “Despite recent fuel cost increases, an RV vacation is still a bargain.”
Furthermore, Wylie stressed that RVs are versatile vehicles perfect not only for camping, but for exploring, tailgating and weekend excursions. “You can bring your entire family together, even the dog, by taking them away,” he said.
The admission-free recreation vehicle show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. For more information visit www.FRVTA.org/rv-shows.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) just completed its sixth regional show at venues throughout the state and reported that attendance numbers have been strong, according to a press release.
A roundup of show results includes:
• The Fort Myers RV Show, celebrating its 28th year, featured 17 dealers from all along the Gulf Coast along with well over 100 vendors. Show Chairman Chris Morse reported that attendance increased about 1,000 over the the 12,300 patrons last year while dealers and vendors registered steady sales. Morse noted that the event also generated followup sales for dealers.
• The Ocala RV Show held the last week in January showcased 13 dealers and the supplier’s tent included representatives from campgrounds and resorts along with a parts and accessories store. Great weather the entire weekend brought in just under 5,000 people over the four days of the show. “This was the second year at the new location adjacent to the Super Flea Market, which gives us great visibility from I-75,” said FRVTA Marketing Director Dave Kelly. “It’s easier to get to and we are closer to town than the old location. I know the dealers like being closer to town and it appears the public does, too.”
• The 7th Annual Spring Clean-Out RV Show was held the second weekend in February and featured seven RV dealers and six vendors at Germain Arena, which fronts I-75. Held in conjunction with an annual home and garden show, the event attracted over 3,300 attendees despite a cold, rainy start. “We hold this show to reach down into the Naples market where there are lots of RV resorts, but no RV dealers,” said Region 1 President Dan Wylie. “From what I could tell, every dealer did well, moving both new and used products.”
• The Jacksonville RV Show returned for the fourth year to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Six participating RV dealers showcased product and the supplier’s area was setup so that the public came in and out right past the booths. Great weather again brought in a record crowd of over 7,300 people. “We renewed the promotion from last year’s show to get visitors to go to every dealer and have a card stamped that made them eligible for a drawing every day for a gas card,” said Region 6 President Tom Tibbitts. “This not only got people to visit every dealer, it also gave every dealer the chance to interact with every visitor.”
• The Central Florida RV Show was held at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand the last weekend of February. Seven RV dealers reported “good to great” sales from the close to 4,000 people that attended. “We dropped the admission price a couple of bucks to try and get a bigger crowd, and we were up about 400 people over last year’s show,” said Ken Prentiss, Region 4 president. “We will continue to look at ways to increase attendance and bring more buyers to this event next year.”
• The last winter regional show was held March 7-10 in West Palm Beach. Held in the parking lot of the South Florida Fairgrounds, and included nine dealers and 10 booth exhibitors. Drawing over 3,400 people, dealers enjoyed strong traffic, including Keith Waits from Palm Beach RV who reported selling both new and used units.
Still to be held is the 18th Annual RV SuperSaver Show in Fort Myers. Show Manager Jack Carver expects to have about 11 dealers and 10 exhibitors in this annual event that is aimed at local residents. “Depending on the weather, this show usually delivers about 3,500 people over three days,” he explained. “It’s the perfect time for our dealers to reach out to local residents as they prepare for the summer travel season.”
Kelly noted, “The bottom line coming out of the Florida winter/spring RV show season is that the attitudes of consumers are vastly more positive and the fact that most shows were either at or close to last year’s attendance means the interest in RV products is still strong and getting stronger.”
For more information contact the FRVTA at (813) 741-0488 or www.frvta.org.
The 2012-2013 Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles & Campgrounds (MARVAC) show season wrapped up this past weekend with all five shows posting the highest consumer attendance in years.
According to a press release, the show season began on a strong note with the Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show up 30% in visitors, and RV dealers optimistic for the upcoming year. This was followed in February by the Detroit Camper & RV Show which was up 13%, the highest in over 12 years.
MARVAC said that shows in Battle Creek, Flint and Traverse City continued the positive energy with excellent attendance and sales.
“Michigan residents continue to look at the recreation vehicle lifestyle as an increasingly popular way to travel and vacation with their family in a safe and efficient way,” said Bill Sheffer, MARVAC director. “This year’s show reflected an increase in attendance from both new RV enthusiasts and veteran RV owners looking to upgrade their recreation vehicle in 2013.”
Last year began this upward trend with motorhome sales rising 7.3% nationally from 2011, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. RV shipments are projected to grow 7.5% in 2013 to 307,300 units, according to economist Richard Curtin, director, Surveys of Consumers at the University of Michigan.
Continued industry growth in 2013 is evident by MARVAC’s shows, but many factors will contribute to this growth and interest in the RV industry in 2013. Economic growth, more expendable household income and greater availability for financing is expected to have a positive impact on consumers and sales well into the camping season.
The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to the quality of Michigan tourism. For more information, visit www.marvac.org.
Consumers, weary from an extended Michigan winter, turned out in record numbers for last weekend’s Northwest Michigan Camper and RV Show in Traverse City, according to a press release.
The show, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds (MARVAC), ran March 22-24 at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center and recorded the highest show attendance in over seven years.
Thirty-seven new recreation vehicles were on display at the event. Organizers reported that “show visitors were enthusiastic and dealers and vendors were encouraged by the great interest.”
Bill Sheffer, director of MARVAC, noted, “It was great to see attendance was up and it was nice to see so many smiling faces as attendees toured the many units at the show. There were a variety of exciting RV and camper features on display for everyone in attendance.”
All five of MARVAC’s 2013 camper and RV shows had outstanding attendance this year, an indication the industry and the economy have started to bounce back, said Sheffer, adding that attendance, sales and reservations were boosted across the board.
MARVAC is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to Michigan tourism. For more information, visit www.marvac.org.
The 36th Annual Flint Camper & RV Show, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds (MARVAC), showed a 34% increase in attendance from last year.
According to a press release, the March 14-17 event was marked by an “enthusiastic” mood among attendees, generating steady sales for RV dealers and vendors.
“The Flint RV Show, and the Flint market, have been great for our industry over the last three decades,” said Tim DeWitt, MARVAC executive director. “As we know, from an economic standpoint, this area of the state has been experiencing difficulties for a few years now. An increase in show visitors may be a good sign that Flint is on its way back. Both RV dealers and campgrounds experienced success with sales and reservations.”
Longtime RVer and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson made an appearance Friday to speak with dealers and attendees. MARVAC reported she was impressed with many of the luxury RVs on display.
DeWitt noted that even the inclement weather on Saturday did not impact attendance. “There was an energized atmosphere at the show, from dealers to campgrounds and attendees,” said DeWitt. “With spring right around the corner, it was clear that RVers and campers were gearing up for a wonderful season ahead.”
MARVAC is currently planning for its final winter show in Traverse City. For information on visit www.marvac.org.
RV enthusiasts turned out in high numbers, resulting in record sales at GS Media & Events’ RV Shows in January and early February, the company reported.
“GS Media and Events has access to vast resources of RV enthusiasts across the country, reaching qualified RV buyers nationwide through direct mail marketing as well as email campaigns to past show attendees, Good Sam Club members, as well as current or past Camping World customers,” said Barbara Ronning, marketing and project manager for GS Media and Events. “Through these avenues, GS Media and Events reaches those consumers most likely to be looking to upgrade to a new model, trade in their old units, or even buy their very first RV. By providing quality, feature-packed shows, attendees return to our shows year after year.”
Comments on specific shows follow:
• Regarding the Colorado RV Adventure Travel Show held Jan. 9-12, Jim Humble, of Windish RV Center in Lakewood, Colo., said, “The January show was very good. Traffic was very solid even with cold weather and a Bronco game on Saturday. Sales were similar to 2012 show, a record year for Windish RV Center. We saw great traffic in the weeks after the show as well, and we will continue to do shows with GS Media and events as they are a huge part of our yearly success.”
• The Mid-America RV Show was held Jan. 17-20 in Kansas City, Mo. Daryn Anderson, general manager of Olathe Ford RV Center in Kansas City noted, “This was probably the best show as far as sales that we have had in many years. The show attendance seemed very large and the quality of the folks looking to purchase was also very encouraging for us. We are starting to plan for our attendance next year and definitely look forward to being a part of the Mid-America RV Show for many years to come.”
• At the Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation & Camping Show earlier in February, Coates RV Center of Forest Lake, Minn., reported record sales. Sarah Lange, owner of Coates RV, said, “This was our best show on record for sales, and we are very pleased with the results. Saturday traffic was heaviest I have seen, and we have had great follow-up with qualified leads in the weeks following the show. This is the best show to reach our potential customers.”
• At the New Jersey RV & Camping Show in January, record attendance was set, explained Anthony Tedesco, show manager. “We had very strong reports of show sales from dealers. Crossroads Trailers reported the strongest level of sales since 2004, which was the height of the RV industry boom. In Greenville, S.C., strong attendance was reported with more than 100 units sold at the South Carolina RV and Camping Show. This year, we doubled the size of the show and quadrupled dealer participation.”
• Record attendance was also set at the Atlantic City RV Show in February with dealers reporting excellent sales, said Ronning.
Upcoming RV shows for GS Media and Events include events in Providence, R.I., El Paso, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wis. All of these shows are part of the Progressive Insurance RV and Outdoor Show Series and will feature a variety of RVs, campground information and accessories along with expert advice and entertainment.
For more information about upcoming consumer shows, exhibitor lists and discounted online tickets to the shows, visit www.GSEvents.com.
Mike Geffre enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and going camping. So while he was browsing for an RV at the annual Liebelt RV Spring Indoor Show on Sunday in Aberdeen, S.D., he brought along his two granddaughters and their two friends.
“(I’m looking for) something reasonably priced that’s big enough so I can take my grandchildren camping,” said Geffre, 60, of Aberdeen.
As reported by the Aberdeen News, Geffre’s granddaughters along with their two friends scampered in and out of the more than two dozen RVs on display at the annual event. Models on display ranged from simple designs that had tables, sinks and a single bed to more elaborate ones with wooden cabinets, ceiling fans and multiple beds.
The show, which started Saturday (March 16) and runs through March 24 in the Holum Expo Center at the Brown County Fairgrounds, has been in Aberdeen for more almost 40 years, said Tom Badger, who helps coordinate the event and works at Liebelt RV.
Badger estimates the opening weekend had about 1,200 to 1,400 people walk through the doors of the Holum Expo Center. Two things draw people to the show: The latest developments in RV technology and the decorations put up as a part of the show, he said.
Wedged among the crevices between each massive trailer were cardboard cutouts of movie characters. The themes varied from Harry Potter to the Wizard of Oz to Pirates of the Caribbean. Some decorations were made by hand by employees of Liebelt RV, Badger said. Some decorations took three weeks to build and three days to install, he said.
As far as technological innovations, Badger said some of the latest models had multiple kitchens and multiple bathrooms.
“They come here to look and dream and see what’s available,” he said, adding that some customers buy RVs while they’re at the show. There were even a few on display that had stickers saying the specific model was already sold.
Neal Jones, 55, of Aberdeen hasn’t visited the show in a few years and was impressed with some of the additional kitchens on the RVs. He was examining one model that had a many of the kitchen amenities — stove, chopping board and sink — in an outdoor unit.
While he said some people may not consider traveling in an RV to be camping, he does. Even if you have the conveniences of a kitchen and bed, you’re still outside, Jones said.
Don Heinz, who has an RV model from 2001, was also browsing through.
“We got one, but we always look to see what the new stuff looks like,” he said. He added there was likely a big difference in his model and what’s on the market now.
“They do a lot in 12 years and they change a lot,” he said.
The Battle Creek Camper & RV Show, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds (MARVAC), experienced a 20% increase in attendance over the 2012 show, according to a press release.
The show ran March 7-10 at the Kellogg Arena in downtown Battle Creek. MARVAC reported that it was a later starting date – the show normally runs in January – and early spring type weather may have accounted for a higher number of visitors purchasing RVs and also showing greater interest in the campground and accessory displays.
This was the second spring show sponsored by the association with two more events scheduled for Flint and Traverse City over the next two weeks. This year’s Detroit Camper & RV Show experienced record attendance at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi in mid-February. MARVAC member dealers are reporting strong show sales and higher than usual lot traffic in the first two and half months of 2013.
MARVAC is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to Michigan tourism. For more information, visit www.marvac.org.
Jeff and Dorenda Bell threaded their way through a majestic fleet of Berkshires and Charlestons, as well as the more modest Ever-Lites and Grey Wolfs during last weekend’s 56th annual Colorado RV, Sports, Boat and Travel Show at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colo.
As reported by the Denver Post, they’re not in the market for a high-end recreational vehicle but wanted to fantasize just a bit about tooling around the country in a $600,000 McMansion on wheels.
“We just like to look at everything and dream,” said Dorenda Bell as they checked out the newest models displayed at the
The Bells are in good company. Last year’s RV show drew more than 30,000 people, and more were expected at the show this year.
Most will also be merely looky-loos. But others will arrive with intent to buy one of the 150 motorhomes, fifth-wheels and travel trailers off the lot. After all, financing is available.
“There really is a price range for everyone,” show spokeswoman Laurie Hallowell said.
This weekend’s offerings range from simple pop-up camping trailers for $4,000 to 44-foot-long Class A motorhomes with bedrooms outfitted with queen size beds, satellite, 32-inch LCD TVs and three-burner ranges with an oven. The base retail price for a Class A starts at about $120,000 and runs to $550,000 — or more.
And people are buying them, despite a massive hit delivered by the Great Recession of 2008. In that year, RV sales plummeted by 32.9%t with only 237,000 shipments. Another bad year followed in 2009, but in 2010, the industry rebounded with a 46.2% hike in RV shipments, followed by 4% growth in 2011 and a 13 percent increase in 2012, industry officials said.
In Colorado, sales of fifth-wheel campers and other recreational trailers were up 14% in 2012, said Windish RV Center manager Jim Humble.
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Bigger, better and newer was the focus at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E-Plex in Springfield, Mo., where people were dreaming of spring and summer camping trips.
Vendors said crowds were good for the weekend Springfield RV Megashow, where those who attended were able to see dozens of new recreational vehicles and trailers on display. Some of those visiting said the vehicles seem to be getting larger, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
Kenneth and Jessica Dawn, of Republic, said they would prefer to stick with something not so large, such as their current 26-foot camper.
“There’s a trend, everything is getting bigger and lighter,” Kenneth Dawn said. “I’m not sure I like that. Not everyone wants to have to pull behind a one-ton truck. It’s getting harder to find the smaller ones.”
Dawn also said he, his wife and 2-year-old daughter like to camp in an area where low tree limbs would make it hard to park a large vehicle.
Maurice Guerin, of Columbia, on the other hand, has a 39-foot fifth-wheel he’s considering trading in for something at least that size. He said he started with a pop-up trailer 20 years ago and keeps upgrading every few years.
“They’re light and they pull better,” he said of the new models. “Like anything else, they keep getting better.”
He said the vendors at the event were competing with each other in price. He thought he could replace his RV for somewhere in the mid-$40,000 range.
Rodney Sullins, of Sullins RV near Branson, said this year’s Megashow was the busiest he has seen in the last seven or eight years.
“The traffic is great,” he said. “The economy for RVs seems to be fine.”
He said there does seem to be a trend toward what he called “bigger and fancier” RVs and trailers. He said customers like many new features, such as self-leveling, that have come out in the last year or two.
He also said the large pickups needed for hauling the trailers get better gas mileage now, making it more feasible for customers to pull a large trailer.
“The same truck is now getting 20 miles to the gallon instead of 13,” he said. “GM and Ford have really stepped up there.”
Melissa Adams, business manager for Mid-America RV of Carthage, agreed that the crowds were good. She said the company brought 14 units to the event and had sold seven of them by Sunday afternoon.