RV Business today (Aug. 31) has announced selections for the 2nd Annual RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards, which are based on the nominations of North American RV manufacturers and are to be presented on the evening of Wed., Oct. 7, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
A volunteer panel of industry veterans concluded its review of dealer applications on Aug. 21 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., keeping a keen eye on dealers’ overall focus on professionalism, association activities, civic involvement, best practices and consumer care.
Above all, RVB Publisher Sherman Goldenberg maintains, the mission of the Top 50 program is to continue to remind individual dealers – and the industry at large – of the intent and specific recommendations of the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence and, beyond that, to give attendees at the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association’s (RVDA) Con/Expo a chance to relax and reflect on a year that was trying at best.
“We had an overwhelming response from our manufacturer nominees this year,” said Goldenberg. “The number of applicants received was about 40% more than what we had in 2008. Before judging even started, we considered this year’s program a success, and that was largely due to the many quality dealerships submitting applications. Because there were so many worthy RV dealers who applied, it was a much more difficult selection process this time around, and, unfortunately, we weren’t able to include everyone who applied.”
“The judges did take a very good look at all the application materials dealers sent in, and it was a very close race,” adds BJ Thompson, president of BJ Thompson Associates Inc., whose Mishawaka, Ind.-based agency oversees the application process for RVB. “We encourage all participating dealers, whether they were selected or not, to reapply next year.”
RVB Top 50 dealers are not ranked, although 10 Blue Ribbon retailers are singled out for special recognition. In addition, a Dave Altman Award for lifetime achievement in RV retailing and exceptional corporate citizenship will also be presented to one of the Blue Ribbon dealers at this year’s RVBT50 dinner at which Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, the former — and possibly future — Republican presidential candidate will be keynote speaker.
“Given the current national political climate and the ongoing debate between the two political parties — and the ways in which these debates directly impact the recreational vehicle industry — we consider Mr. Huckabee an excellent and thought-provoking choice for an enjoyable evening in Las Vegas,” said Goldenberg. “And that goes for industry people of all political persuasions.”
The following U.S. and Canadian retailers are the recipients of the 2009 RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards (in unranked, alphabetical order):
- Aberdeen RV Center, Aberdeen, MS
- Aloha RV, Albuquerque, NM
- Altman’s Winnebago, Carson, CA
- American RV, Grand Rapids, MI
- Apache Village RV Center, Hazelwood, MO
- ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre, Edmonton, AB
- Beckley’s Camping Center, Thurmont, MD
- Big Country RV, Bend, OR
- Bill Plemmons RV World, Rural Hall, NC
- Boat N RV Superstores, Rockwood, Tenn.
- Can-Am RV Centre, London, ON
- Carolina Coach & Camper, Claremont, NC
- Coachlight RV, Carthage, MO
- Coates Trailer Sales, Columbus, MN
- Colonial Airstream, Lakewood, NJ
- Crown RV, Conyers, GA
- Curtis Trailers, Portland, OR
- Dandy RV Superstore, Anniston, AL
- Dixie RV Superstore, Newport News, VA
- Dodd RV, Yorktown, VA
- General RV, Wixom, MI
- Giant RV, Montclair, CA
- Greeneway Campers, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
- Guaranty RV, Junction City, OR
- Hilltop Trailer Sales, Fridley, MN
- Ketelsen Campers of Colorado, Wheat Ridge, CO
- Kings Campers, Wausaw, WI
- Lazydays RV Supercenter, Seffner, FL
- Little Dealer Little Prices, Phoenix, AZ
- Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, CA
- Modern Trailer Sales, Anderson, IN
- Mount Comfort RV, Greenfield, IN
- Parkview RV, Smyrna, DE
- PleasureLand RV Centers, St. Cloud, MN
- Poulsbo RV, Kent, WA
- Quality RV, Draper, UT
- Reines RV Center, Manassas, VA
- Richardson’s RV, Sun City, CA
- Rick’s RV Center, Joliet, IL
- Roy Robinson RV, Marysville, WA
- RV America Inc., Johnstown, CO
- Steinbring Motorcoach, Garfield, MN
- Tennessee RV Sales & Service, Knoxville, TN
- Terrell Camping Center, Terrell, NC
- Thompson Family RV, Davenport, IA
- Tom Johnson’s Camping Center, Marion, NC
- Topper’s Camping Center, Waller, TX
- Trafford’s RV, Center Conway, NH
- Veurinks’ RV Center, Grand Rapids, MI
- Woody’s RV World, Red Deer, AB
Building on last year’s format, which appears to have worked rather well for those involved, RV Business Top 50 Dealer Award honorees will be promoted in the national press, in dealers’ hometown newspapers and in the pages and websites — of Affinity’s trade and consumer magazines: RV Business, Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.
Underwriting this year’s program are Platinum co-sponsors ADP Lightspeed, Salt Lake City, UT; Blue Ox, Pender, NE; Coach-Net, Lake Havasu, AZ; Cummins Onan, Minneapolis, MN.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., Gaffney, SC, RV Trader and RVTraderOnline.com, Norfolk, VA, and Ultra-Fab Products, Elkhart, IN, while Protective Asset Protection Division, Chesterfield, MO, is a Gold sponsor.
Tickets for the $120-a-plate dinner ($99 for RVDA members, Con/Expo exhibitors and Top 50 dealer guests) are available through RVBUSINESS.com’s registration link (http://www.rvbusiness.com/top-50-dealer-awards/2009-registration-form/).
“All in all, we can’t imagine that anyone attending the RVDA Con/Expo wouldn’t want to take the opportunity to mix with Mr. Huckabee and their industry peers at the cocktail party prior to our dinner and to hear Mr. Huckabee speak on the hot topics of the day at the dinner itself, regardless of their political persuasion,” said Goldenberg. “And, of course, we’ll honor our dealers, one by one, at the dinner as well, giving everyone a chance to reflect on the professionalism for which we’re trying to help raise the bar in this industry.”
RVTraderOnline.com, the website of RV Trader magazine and a division of Dominion Enterprises, now offers dealer advertisers the option to directly publish their online classified listings in participating RV Trader magazines throughout the country, according to a news release.
RV dealers simply log on to their RV Trader Inventory Management Tool, provided free of charge to all RVTraderOnline.com dealer advertisers, and click on the Add Magazines tab. After selecting which RVs from their online inventory they wish to publish in RV Trader magazine, they select the magazines they wish to publish in by market. Dealers also have options to advertise all their inventory in print or advertise in all RV Trader magazines with just one click.
“We are giving dealers a turnkey option to increase their reach and market penetration with media other than the Internet,” explained Tim Custer, RV Trader general manager. “Our research shows that print advertising is a great way to supplement online advertising. On average, dealers who advertise in our print magazines and on RVTraderOnline.com receive 57% more leads than dealers who advertise online only.”
RVTraderOnline.com contains the largest database of recreational vehicles for sale online. Headquartered in Norfolk, Va., it is part of the TraderOnline.com family of online vehicle classified advertising sites that includes BoatTrader.com, CycleTrader.com, AeroTrader.com, EquipmentTraderOnline.com and CommercialTruckTrader.com.
RVTraderOnline.com, the website of RV Trader magazine and a division of Dominion Enterprises, has launched Lead Manager for its dealer advertisers.
Included as an additional feature in the inventory management tool provided to all dealer advertisers, Lead Manager offers dealers a central location to manage their online leads, according to a news release. The new feature automatically collects and reports all inbound e-mails and telephone calls from any source, including the dealer’s website and any third party Web sites where the dealer’s inventory may be displayed. Lead Manager also reports on all unanswered online leads to help dealers better manage their response time.
To increase direct communication between buyer and dealer, Lead Manager generates customizable templates for dealers to quickly send personalized or targeted e-mails to groups of prospects from an easy-to-use dealer database.
“According to AMR Research, 70% of all online leads go unanswered,” said Tim Custer, RV Trader general manager. “In 2008, RVTraderOnline.com provided over 56,000 online leads-which means that more than 39,000 potential RV purchases were not made, with millions of dollars in sales potentially missed. We work hard to assist dealers in all areas of their business.
With Lead Manager we will help them with the timely but very important task of managing leads. We are excited to help our partners optimize all revenue opportunities.”
AMR Research Inc. estimates that the 70% of unanswered online leads represents between 14% and 22% of annual revenue. Statistics such as these and input from current dealer advertisers were key influences in the development of Lead Manager.
RVTraderOnline.com contains the largest database of recreational vehicles for sale online. Headquartered in Norfolk,Va., it is part of the TraderOnline.com family of online vehicle classified advertising sites.