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.
Editor’s Note: Today’s video is from WNDU, South Bend, Ind., offering a rundown of last weekend’s RV show at the Hall of Fame hosted by local dealers. Below is an accompanying story.
More than 500 people stopped in Elkhart, Ind., for an RV Show over the weekend, signaling the industry is starting to turn around.
WNDU TV reported that several Elkhart RV dealers hosted the event at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum Friday (April 27) through Sunday.
“Things are starting to turn around,” said Elkhart RV Center Sales Manager Scot Moody. “Production’s starting to pick up, the retail customers are starting to come back out, we’re starting to see more retail traffic.”
It seems one of the industries hit hardest during the recession is making one of the strongest comebacks in Elkhart County.
Several folks actually purchased RVs at the show over the weekend.
“Everything’s been selling,” Moody said. “We’ve got everything from a high end fifth wheel for $100,000 down to a travel trailer that’s $9,999. Anything you want you can get for the family.”
Moody says part of the reason for the turnaround is simple math.
Families are buying RVs so trips to local destinations seem like vacations – and they’re saving a lot of cash in the long run.
“We can cook our own meals on the spot, so we’re actually saving money as opposed to going hoteling,” said RV owner Mark T. Stuber.
But in order to make a full recovery in the new economy, RV manufacturers are having to change the way they do business and find ways to make the gas guzzling vehicles cheaper to drive.
“It needs to be light enough that you’re not running 25,000 pounds down the road because weight costs fuel economy,” Stuber said.