Jim Kring says there’s a natural progression when it comes to camping and recreational vehicles.
“A couple starts off in a tent. It’s all lovey-dovey, the honeymoon and all,” Kring told the Syracuse (N.Y) Post Standard. “But after awhile, they get sick of laying on the ground and graduate to a pop-up camper, particularly after the first child. More kids come and they graduate into an RV — and just keep upgrading as everyone gets older.
“Finally, when the kids are gone, they buy a motorhome and go see the U.S., doing what and when they want to do it.”
The Post Standard reported that Kring is show manager at the 42th annual Central New York RV and Camping Show at the state fairgrounds, which kicked off Thursday (March 1) and runs through Sunday. He said the event has offerings for every part of the continuum he described. Seven local dealers are putting more than 600 units on display in the Toyota Exhibition Center and the Center of Progress and Horticulture buildings.
“There will be start-up units costing $4,000 and travel-the-U.S. motorhomes costing $250,000, and everything in between,” he said. Most of the units will be new, but there will also be a selection of used ones in the Horticulture Building.
Kring noted the show also features more than 50 vendors offering parts and services, plus representatives from numerous campgrounds in the state.
He emphasized: “These are not your parents’ RVs. Family camping, if you like, can become decadent.”
Among the features:
Home entertainment systems: TVs that pull out of the counters, flat screen TVs, even motorhome movie theaters are almost commonplace. “There isn’t anything you can’t get in an RV that you have in your house, with the exception of a cellar,” he said.
Portable hot tubs: “It’s called a soft tub,” Kring said. “It’s a soft-sided roll-up thing that you set up outside your vehicle. You take it out, fill it up, hop in and sit by the lake and drink wine.”
Portable fences: “You can put out a fence and netting, a place to contain small children or a small dog,” he said. In addition, he said, the technology exits to set up an electric fence around your vehicle to keep your dog close to home.
What about rising gas prices? RV dealers are manufacturing vehicles that are lighter than ever, using more aluminum and laminated parts, he said.
Kring added that one of the big advantages of owning an RV is you can go to places like Cross Lake and Oneida Lake, get a season pass, and just leave it there the whole summer.
“That will save on your gas costs,” he said.
Kring has been involved with the RV show through its entire 42 years, either as an exhibitor or a show official.
“Every day is a bargain day at these things,” he said. “You can chat, compare, see new products. You can also get on-the-spot financing.”
Travel trailers and fifth-wheels will continue to star in 2012, bunk bed models will be hot but diesel coaches will not, and no one is looking forward to the possible side effects that the presidential election season may have on the marketplace. That’s the consensus of RV dealers who were interviewed recently for the December issue of RV Executive Today.
After several lean years, many dealers say they will add full-time positions in the next 12 months, particularly in the service and sales departments. Some retailers believe consumer confidence will improve markedly and have already seen signs of pent-up demand giving way in their showrooms.
A few are starting to ramp up for what they believe will be a gangbusters recovery, while others aren’t expecting confidence levels to rise significantly in 2012.
For more, read “What does the future hold for 2012?” in the upcoming issue of RV Executive Today.
Kidd RV Resort Consulting, an integrated marketing firm, specializing in the RV industry, has launched an effort to survey RVers nationwide through a series of five-question surveys on a number of subjects from fuel to technology to lifestyle and travel habits.
“We are interested in hearing from RVers and gaining insight into their travel habits, needs, wants, obstacles and more,” said Jerry Kidd, president of Kidd RV Consulting. “We want to keep the surveys short and sweet, focusing on one subject at a time to maximize participation and results.”
The quarterly RV Rewards Survey will be distributed electronically and will help the consulting firm gather information on emerging trends and issues facing RVers, helping to address these issues and better serve their clients – namely RV resorts. The first of the surveys focuses on fuel costs and how it may be affecting travel behavior.
“It is fascinating to learn about people’s behavior and lifestyle choices when culling through survey answers,” added Kidd. “The knowledge we gain through this process will play a role in directing communication efforts for our clients and developing sound strategies to help them better serve the RV community.”
Interested participants can sign up and take the survey now by visiting: http://kiddrv.com/rvrewardssurvey/. To encourage participation, the Kidd RV team will be giving away gas cards valued at $100 to a few lucky winners. The next quarterly survey will be released in the fall and concentrate on technology and digital media.