Organizers for the 28th Annual Fort Myers RV Show, held Jan. 24-27 at the Lee Civic Center, reported the event drew over 12,300 patrons while generating sales for dealer and vendor participants. According to a press release, the show was sponsored by Region 1 of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).
“Everyone I spoke with at the show was generally pleased with the buying interest the public had,” said FRVTA Region 1 President Dan Wylie of Dream RV. “In fact, we had several dealers who achieved double-digit sales. All dealers came away with many sales leads they can now follow up over the coming weeks.”
While no attendance records were set, Show Manager Jack Carver said he was gratified the public responded so positively, especially following the economic turmoil the industry has suffered over the previous years. “We worked hard to put on a quality event that created a buying situation for all participants,” he said. “I’m very thankful the show was successful.”
This year’s annual event featured 17 dealers displaying well over 600 new RV units of all types, styles and price ranges. The show also staged 85 vendors selling everything from resort lots, insurance and permanent roof coatings to repair services and other enhancements for the RV lifestyle.
“Everyone seemed to be selling whatever they brought,” said Show Chairman Chris Morse of Skip Eppers RVs. “I’m still busy with traffic and additional sales a week after the show.”
Wylie added, “We are proud to offer dealers, vendors and patrons the best the RV Industry has to offer and look forward to helping spread consumer interest in the RV lifestyle.”
In advance of a highly anticipated spring selling season, Prime Time Manufacturing announced today (Feb. 4) a 71% increase in retail registrations for the month of January, according to a press release.
“Prime Time, like our dealers, has been very bullish on retail sales prospects going into 2013,” said Ken Walters, national sales manager for Wakarusa, Ind.-based Prime Time. “Our product managers unveiled a strong lineup of new, innovative floorplans, features and programs last fall at the Elkhart Open House and Louisville shows. Our dealers sensed the opportunity, aggressively stocked inventory, and subsequently had great success at the early retail shows. We expected strong growth, but a 71% increase over last year has been a pleasant surprise.”
Many of Prime Time’s largest dealers have benefited from record-level consumer traffic at their respective retail RV shows.
“With historically low interest rates still in place, there seems to be an upbeat attitude with our customers and they are coming out to buy a new RV,” said Eddie Unger, corporate sales manager of Tom Raper RVs in Richmond, Ind. “The Prime Time brands continue to be a hot seller for our dealerships and we have gotten off to a big start with their products so far this year.”
A division of Forest River Inc., Prime Time was founded in 2009 and enters 2013 as a top 10 brand in travel trailer and fifth-wheel registrations, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
“It’s easy to show a 71% increase when you’re just starting, but we’ve been around the block a few times now and to still be growing at this rate is a huge compliment to our team here at Prime Time and our incredibly loyal dealers,” noted Walters.
Jacksonville, Fla., RV dealers say the positive feedback that’s coming from last week’s Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, coupled with strong sales of recreational vehicles locally the last quarter of 2012, are pointing toward a strong showing at the upcoming Jacksonville RV MegaShow.
The Florida Times-Union reported that the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will play host to the four-day event a third consecutive year. The show opens Thursday (Feb. 7) and runs through Sunday.
Tom Tibbitts, regional president of the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), says the group expects to attract about 7,000 visitors to the show — about 1,000 more attendees than last year.
“I talked to one dealer at the Tampa show who said his sales were up nearly 35% from last year,” Tibbitts said. “Based on the response there, I’m expecting we’ll have a lot more interest and a bigger turnout at our show this year. Based on everything we’re hearing, the RV industry appears to be making a rebound.”
This will be the 28th year the FRVTA’s Region 6 has sponsored the event in Jacksonville. Tibbitts believes the show should feel the momentum established in Tampa.
“Attendance was up and sales of RVs were strong, primarily because of excellent attendance and RV pricing by individual dealers,” he said. “And the aftermarket vendors reported excellent exposure to their merchandise, campgrounds and services compared to 2012.”
A potentially more telling sign is the fact that additional campsites had to be found at the Florida State Fairgrounds where the event was held.
“Based on our experience this year in Tampa, I think the retail public waiting in the wings for the economy to recover aren’t going to sit back anymore,” said Lance Wilson, FRVTA executive director.
Wilson notes that his industry looks to sales in Florida, and specifically the Tampa SuperShow, as the “bellwether” for the year’s RV sales nationwide. Based on attendance, which could reach 55,000 once all the numbers are in, 2013 is shaping up to be a better-than-expected year in RV sales.
“The most important thing for us this year is that no people showed up with agendas on taxes or gas prices,” Wilson said. “They looked at a lot of product and made a lot of decisions. Financing was available and the price was right. Everything looks good heading into our biggest season.”
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With the early retail RV shows now in the rearview mirror, Thor Motor Coach reports the company is continuing to see an influx of new buyers for its products.
“The 2013 RV shows have been great, getting this year started on the right note,” said Joel Grimm, national sales manager for gas motorhome sales. “Our dealers have achieved excellent sales at our retail shows this year. Consumers are seeking out our products as a result of our great dealer base, introduction of new model features and the positive feedback from our ‘Shield of Protection’ customer service programs.”
New product offerings include:
• Thor Motor Coach’s HD-MAX high-definition exterior finishes with durable gel coat on select brands of motorhomes.
• All-new Four Winds and Chateau “Super C” motorhomes built on the Ford F550 chassis and powered by the 6.7L Power Stroke turbo diesel engine.
• Four Winds and Chateau 26A Class C motorhomes, offering a compact floor plan with walk-around queen bed slide.
• New 27.1 floorplan compact in TMC’s A.C.E. motorhome line, featuring a king-size bed and full wall-slide in a Class A coach that measures 28 feet, 7 inches.
• The Tuscany 34ST diesel motorhome offering high-end amenities while giving RVers improved maneuverability with an overall length of 35 feet.
• The Outlaw 37MD toy hauler with dual slide rooms, sliding patio door access to the garage and a ramp door that converts to a patio.
• The Hurricane 34E gas-powered Class A motorhome featuring a bath and a half floorplan.
• High-end Windsport 34F Class A with full-wall slide, a wide open living area, oversized shower and Denver Mattress king-size bed.
“New products, floorplans, eye appeal and a concentrated effort to offer the best value in the market help us build increased retail desire for Thor Motor Coach products,” said Adam Gudger, national sales manager for diesel motorhomes.
For more details about Thor Motor Coach Motorhomes and upcoming RV Shows visit http://ThorMotorCoach.com.
With temperatures hovering near “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Michigan residents’ thoughts this time of year often fast forward to summer. And for many, those lazy daydreams of summer usually involve camping and RVing.
The Macomb Daily reported that the timing of winter RV shows — including the upcoming 47th annual Detroit Camper & RV Show — couldn’t be better.
The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is sponsoring the 47th annual show Feb. 6-10 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. All types of new 2013 recreation vehicles including more than 275 units and 50 brands, will be displayed. Folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers, fifth wheel travel trailers and toy haulers are among the models visitors will see.
“There’s nothing like going to an RV show to cure your cabin fever,” MARVAC Executive Director Bill Sheffer said. “Where else can you get the opportunity to walk around and see, in the case of the Detroit show, 275 new RVs? You’re not just looking at picture of them on the Internet.
“An RV show is also the place to talk to campground owners. We’re finding more and more people are literally making their camping reservations with campgrounds owners who have a booth at the show.”
In addition to the Detroit-area show, MARVAC will host RV exhibitions in Battle Creek (March 7-10 at Kellogg Arena), Flint (March 14-17 at the Perani Arena & Event Center) and Traverse City (March 22-24 at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center). The 24th annual Detroit Fall Camper & RV Show is Oct. 2-6, also at the Suburban Collection Showplace.
Although attendance numbers haven’t been tabulated, reports from attendees at the Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 15-20 at the Florida State Fairground in Tampa indicate there was strong traffic and brisk sales.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” said Mark Hollan, general manager of the Camping World store in New Port Richey, Fla., who reported selling 40 Itasca motorhomes from Winnebago Industries Inc. ”People have been staying on the sidelines and they have jumped in. I’ve been doing that show for 25 years and it’s the biggest show I’ve ever had and the deals are all solid.”
Dave Kelly, marketing director with the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) said attendance was good, although numbers won’t be tallied until later in the week.
”We’re knocking on last year’s numbers,” Kelly told RVBUSINESS.com.
Last year, the Florida RV SuperShow saw more than 54,000 people pass through its gates, which was reported as record attendance. Kelly said that show space was also up by double digit percentages this year compared to 2012. ”It shows to us the importance that the industry puts on this show,” Kelly said.
Jeff Rank, president of Forest River Inc. subsidiary Prime Time RV, said the company had ”record breaking” sales.
”Traffic was absolutely awesome,” Rank said. ”We were really, really pleased. What we were seeing down there was what we are seeing at all the shows we’ve attended. There is a high sense of optimism. Right now, our retail customer is in a pretty good mood.”
Sid Johnson, Jayco Inc. marketing director, said sales of both motorized and towable RVs in Tampa were the best since 2007. ”Our guys are saying attendance was much heavier than it was for the last two or three years at least,” Johnson said. ”It’s a little early to draw conclusions on how the year is going to go, but most of the shows our guys have been to so far have been pretty strong, pretty positive.”
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt of a column by Terry Tomalin, outdoors/fitness editor for the Tampa Bay Times, offering a rundown of the Florida RV SuperShow running through Sunday. To view the entire article click here.
When it comes to recreational vehicles, small is in big demand. “Everybody is downsizing,” said Dave Kelly, marketing director for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA, which is hosting the 28th annual Florida RV SuperShow. “People want lighter, more maneuverable RVs.”
The time of the monster motorhome has not gone the way of the dinosaur, but the recession has reversed the trend of bigger is better.
“The market was once 60% motorhome and 40% travel trailer,” Kelly said. “But now that is reversed. They are selling 80 travel trailers for every 20 motorhomes.”
The downturn in the economy hit the RV industry hard. But according to a 2011 survey by the Reston, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million, up from 7.9 million in 2005.
The Florida RV SuperShow, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa through Sunday, features hundreds of recreational vehicles of all varieties and price ranges. You will still find rows of million-dollar motorhomes, but the hot buys this year are $20,000 or less.
“You can’t beat a Winnebago,” said Melissa Farrior, an RV consultant from Camping World in Bartow. “It is a household name and the quality is just outstanding.”
The bright yellow “Minnie Winnie” weighs less than 3,500 pounds. When I first stepped inside the 20-footer, I thought it would have a sticker price of $40,000 or more, but it was less than half that, starting at $17,000. Equipped with maple cabinets, a kitchen and bathroom, I joked that I could put a satellite dish on top and never go in the office again. The travel trailer, also available in white and fluorescent green, could be towed easily by my 10-year-old sport-utility vehicle.
“Part of the appeal of these new, lightweight travel trailers is that you don’t have to go out and buy a new vehicle to get it to where you want to go,” Kelly said. “They can be pulled by any truck or SUV.”
To read the entire article click here.
The Toronto RV Show and Extravaganza, sponsored by the Ontario RV Dealers Association (ORVDA) is kicking off the Canadian RV show season, running Jan. 17-20 at the Toronto Congress Centre.
“RV shows are the perfect place to explore the RV lifestyle,” said Chris Mahony, Go RVing Canada’s executive director. “Whether you are a family looking for a new vacation option, or an RV enthusiast looking for the latest gadgets, an RV show has everything under one roof for a day of exploration. The Toronto RV Show has over 500 units on display which is great for comparing models and understanding what best suits your lifestyle.”
RVing is a popular form of recreation with 14% of Canadian households citing RV ownership. RVing has also seen a shift in the demographic of owners, with the majority now under the age of 55.
“Canadians love to spend time outdoors and RVing offers the flexibility and fun to enjoy nature at your leisure,” continued Mahony. “More people than ever before are exploring the RV lifestyle because it’s so easy to take off at a moment’s notice. Busy career couples or families with children, anyone can turn a regular weekend into an RV getaway.”
For additional show information, visit http://www.rvshowtoronto.ca/ and for information about the RV lifestyle, a listing of more RV shows in Canada, and other RV-related information, visit www.GoRVing.ca.
Some 36,000 people attended the Ohio RV Supershow Jan. 9-13 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio, where sales were reported relatively strong by Detroit area-based General RV and manufacturer Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind.
”There definitely was a lot of positive customer sentiment,” said Loren Baidas, General RV president, whose company has 10 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and Utah. ”Sales were up slightly from last year. Across the board, we had good retail action.”
Traffic at the first major 2013 retail show left Baidas ”pessimistically optimistic” about the potential for sales this year.
”At this point there will be some opportunities for a little growth,” he said. ”I hope the market is up 5% to 10%.”
More than 600 RVs were on display at the show, billed by its promoters — Tm Show Productions, Kent, Ohio — as ”America’s Largest Indoor RV Show.”
”The show was bigger this year,” said promoter Paula Messersmith. ”There were a lot of good prospects on the floor and the dealers thought it was a pretty good show.”
Pat Carroll, director of product development for Jayco’s Motorized Group, said sales were stronger than the Ohio show last year.
”We did a lot better,” Carroll said. ”There were a lot of families there, but traffic was very heavy for all ages. Medium- and low-priced travel trailers sold the best.”
The increased Ohio Supershow attendance ”was a good sign for the industry,” Carroll said.
Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will host its Annual Fall Recreation Vehicle Show at the Lee County Sports Complex in south Lee County, Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
According to a press release, the “Fall Clean-Out RV Show” will feature seven local dealers displaying new and used inventory to make room for new 2013 models.
“This admission-free event is the association’s way of saying ‘thanks’ to the public for supporting us throughout the year,” said Dan Wylie, president of Region One. “By sponsoring these shows, the trade association allows the public to view lots of RVs in one place.”
The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. Admission and parking are free for everyone and on-site financing will be available to qualified buyers.
For more information visit www.FRVTA.org/rv-shows.
New Jersey RV dealers reported strong sales during the 3rd Annual NJRVDA Fall RV Expo, held September 21-23 at Six Flags Great Adventure, a new location for the show.
According to a press release, sales were up approximately 20% compared to previous years with many first-time buyers taking advantage of aggressive pricing from the dealers at the show, hosted by the New Jersey Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (NJRVDA).
Organizers said that dealers were upbeat on the move to Six Flags as the venue would allow the event to grow year by year while also offering attendees the opportunity to enjoy the Fall events at the amusement park.
D.P. Ball Advertising of Chardon, Ohio, handled the marketing initiative for the second year in a row and reported that participating dealers agreed that, because of show’s success, they will continue to offer show deals on their lots through Oct. 20.
Sales were across-the-board with lightweight trailers and fifth-wheels rating as the most popular purchases while motorhomes dealers also experienced strong sales.
“The momentum is there and dealers are prepared to continue to offer buyers bargains in order to clear out both new and pre-owned inventory from their dealerships in time for new factory orders that will be arriving in the winter,” said Ball, who has specialized in advertising for RV dealers for nearly three decades.
The 29th Annual Portland Fall RV & Van Show, featuring dozens of manufacturers and 15 dealers, is set to run Sept. 13-16 at the Portland Expo Center.
The event, produced by O’Loughlin Trade Shows, will be marking its 29th year and has evolved into one of the premier shows on the West Coast, according to a press release. In addition to all-new 2013 product along with pre-owned units, the show will offer destination experts, travel resources and an array of accessory exhibitors.
New product introductions include:
• B Young RV: The dealer will be showcasing the new 32-foot Allegro Breeze from Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. The coach gets solid fuel economy and is equipped with two sliderooms and a unique floorplan.
• Apache Camping Center: Apache is featuring the Artic Fox line of campers and will be unveiling the 10,000th camper at the show. Oregon-based Northwood Manufacturing Inc. will be offering the Milestone Edition of the 990 Arctic Fox.
• Paul Everts RV Country: New units from Pacific Coachworks will be shown, including the Powerlight and Panther trailers and Extreme Warrior toy hauler.
• Johnson RV: The dealer will be displaying a broad range of new product, including Leisure Travel, Jayco, Fleetwood, Pleasure Way, Roadtrek and Open Range brands.
Hours for the show are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information please visit www.otshows.com
The New Jersey RV Dealers Association (NJRVDA) is moving to a larger venue for the third running of its regional RV show.
According to a press release, the Sept. 21-23 Fall RV Expo will be held at the Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. Six Flags is the largest amusement park in the Northeast with easy access from the New Jersey Turnpike.
“This is a perfect location to broaden our audience to those who live in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and even Maryland,” said Walter Hynes, NJRVDA president. “Everyone in this region knows Six Flags Great Adventure and realizes how easy it is to reach.”
The NJRVDA is banking on the fact that consumers prefer to purchase closer to home in order to establish service relationships with local dealers.
“Recent history shows that service can be a logistic problem for orphan customers who make purchases hundreds of miles from home,” said Hynes. “We have seen that our show has been a win/win situation for the customers, dealers and the manufacturers.”
Dealers will be showcasing a full line of towables and motorhomes from prominent manufacturers. For more information, call (888) 657-8332.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 60th Annual California RV Show, taking place Oct. 12–21 at the Fairplex in Pomona, will feature increased RV exhibit space and several enhancements to improve the show experience for attendees.
This year’s show will cover 523,000 square feet of exhibit space, well over the 467,000 square feet at the 2011 event. More than 925 RVs will be on display, including 150 RVs available for test drives by interested consumers.
The 60th California RV Show will also offer a number of elements and enhancements to inform, entertain and engage attendees, including:
• New Show Layout – A new floorplan will be unveiled this year that features one attendee entry point rather than four. A new mock campground and exhibitor tent will greet attendees upon entrance before they move onto the main show floor.
• Extended Show Hours and Admission Pricing – Show hours will be extended by two hours on Fridays and Saturdays with the show open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The later hours will create a night-time camping atmosphere with the RVs being displayed with their lights on. Show hours will continue to be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. The daily show admission will remain at $10. Attendees can also purchase a wristband for $15 that provides for admission throughout the 10-day show. Also, military personnel will be admitted at no charge this year following a $4 discount in admission price last year.
• Buy “N” Drive – Also new this year, guests who purchase an RV at the show will be able to take delivery of their RV the very next afternoon rather than needing to wait for a later delivery date. This also limits additional foot traffic in the RV and allows the consumer to begin RVing sooner.
• The RV Factory Showcase – The different RV product types will be showcased in this popular area with RV manufacturer representatives on hand to meet with attendees and present product demonstrations showing how RVs work. There will be 10 product demonstrations in the McMahon’s RV seminar tent.
• California RV Show App – In addition to the show website at www.carvshow.com, a new app for Apple and Android devices will be available in mid-August to provide a new level of show interactivity. Users will be able to view the RVs that will be on display as well as obtain information on seminars and other show events.
• Scavenger Hunt – The app will also feature a show scavenger hunt. Users can enjoy taking specific show pictures as directed by their smart phone and win prizes, including Starbucks gift cards, movie passes and Shell gas cards.
• 60th anniversary celebration – To celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary, special edition cupcakes will be given out free to the first 1,500 customers on opening day.
• Entertainment and seminars – The show will once again feature of number of entertainment options for attendees, including celebrity autograph sessions with off-road racers Jeremy McGrath and Corey Weller at the Eclipse RV display on Oct 13.
• Access to Dr. Phil Show taping – Guests staying at the on-site KOA will be loading up the bus and attending the taping of the Dr. Phil Show on Oct. 18.
• Kids’ Corner – Continued from last year there is a Kids Corner where families can take a break from the show. New this year will be the pumpkin patch where kids can paint their very own pumpkin.
• Daily RV Prizes – Camping World, Roadtrek Motorhomes and Temecula RV will be giving away daily prizes inside the exhibitor tent.
For more information about the California RV Show, visit www.TheBestRVShow.com or “Like” the event on the show’s Facebook page – California RV Show. For any questions, contact Tom Gaither, Western RV show director, or Show Coordinator Gloria Reeder at 818-248-6600.
Organizers reported record numbers for the Central Jersey RV show last weekend at the PNC Bank Arts Center.
“Attendance was up over 100%, reaching nearly 3,000 attendees over the three days,” Walter Hynes, general manager of Scott Motor Coach in Lakewood, said in a press release. He added that sunny skies and cool temperatures contributed to the attendance surge.
“We have not seen this much buying confidence in years,” Hynes added. “Sales were phenomenal.” To date, 40 RVs were sold over the three-day event with dealers anticipating residual sales.
In addition, more than 3,300 pounds of nonperishable food was collected for the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
Hynes noted that advertising and media promotion for the event was handled by D.P. Ball Advertising.