The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) Sue Caldwell Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in membership recruitment was presented to Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. on Oct. 3 during the RVDA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. The annual meeting is held in conjunction with the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch noted that Lance was instrumental in adding 115 dealers to the association’s membership ranks during 2013. This award is presented to an individual or organization that recruits at least five new members in a 12-month period. National Sales Manager Gary Conley accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Hirsch noted, “This is a great example of what happens when industry partners work together.”
While the 2013 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and RVDA of Canada wrapped up on Friday (Oct. 4) in Las Vegas with a super session addressing F&I compliance issues, association executives stressed there are still opportunities to benefit from continuing education programs held during the event.
According to a release, links to selected workshop PowerPoint presentations will be posted soon on www.rvlearningcenter.com and www.rvda.org. There will also be an order form for audio presentations.
Kathryn Carlson from KPA, a convention workshop presenter, will also be scheduling a follow-up webinar on health care reform in partnership with the Mike Molino RV Learning Center. Details of that session will be announced soon.
A total of 1,106 industry representatives registered for the 2013 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, a 9% increase over 2012. A total of 467 dealers attended, compared to 456 in 2012.
In 2014, the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo will be held the week of Nov. 9 at Bally’s in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Board of Directors honored Jim Shields of Pan Pacific RV Centers with the organization’s highest honor, the James B. Summers Award for 2013 on Oct. 3 at the organization’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Shields was recognized for his long-term service to RVDA, including a term as chairman, his role in unifying RV dealers in California — leading to the creation of CalRVDA — and his eagerness to help struggling dealers to succeed.
Shields received the award surrounded by past JBS recipients gathered on the stage.
In presenting the award, RVDA President Phil Ingrassia called Shields “one of the great thinkers in our industry. He’s continually trying to improve the process and make things better — at the dealership, in the industry, and at RVDA.”
In addition to serving as RVDA Chairman, Shields’ service to the organization includes co-chairing the Government Relations Committee, participating in the RVDA marketing task force, and as a term as director of the RV Learning Center board.
The Summers award honoree is chosen by the RVDA board each year by secret written ballot from nominations made by association members. The award, created in 1986, is named for RVDA’s first CEO in recognition of service to RVDA.
The leadership of the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and RVDA of Canada have announced a pivotal decision to move their annual convention — the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo — to an early November timetable and to another Las Vegas casino from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino where they’ve held their annual show for a decade.
RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch and RVDA of Canada Chairman Ian Moore informed their respective memberships Wednesday (Oct. 2) during the opening general session of the 2013 Con/Expo.
“It is a challenge to make changes to an event that has proved to be as successful as the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo,” said Hirsch, president of New Hampshire-based Campers Inn. “But, as the RV business matures and changes, so have we. Through the state representatives on the Board of Delegates, we heard the message loud and clear that early October was not the best time for our convention. Most of us are still trying to ring the cash register.
“As a result, dealers can’t bring some of their valued employees who would truly benefit from this convention experience.”
So, Moore reported, the new schedule for future conventions, which is designed to give dealers more of a chance to take advantage of the October market and more of a break after Elkhart’s September Open House, looks something like this:
• 2014: Week of Nov. 9
• 2015: Week of Nov. 1
• 2016: Week of Nov. 6
• 2017: Week of Nov. 7
Meanwhile, the Con/Expo will move to 2,800-room Bally’s Las Vegas, another Ceasar’s property that offers more of a high-profile location on the Vegas Strip as well as a simple chance to change the game, so to speak. A room block will also be available at Caesar’s Paris Las Vegas.
“In Canada,” said Moore, “we heard from many members that they enjoy the Las Vegas experience, but after a decade at the same hotel, it’s time to go somewhere else — with a strong preference for a Las Vegas strip location. So with that input, your RVDA leaders had to work together to figure out the next phase for our joint RVDA-RVDA of Canada Convention.”
Does this present yet another obstacle for those in the industry who had entertained the idea of an all-industry convention week in which manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and dealers could all participate? That’s how it appears, at least for the next few years.
“Over the past year we’ve had many discussions on an all-industry event with industry stakeholders,” said Hirsch. “These discussions continue. We are in the discovery stage to determine feasibility in a co-located event. But there are many considerations.
“Many of you have spoken,” he continued. “There are strong opinions about having an independent event designed by dealers, for dealers. There are financial considerations for RVDA, RVDA of Canada and any partners. And finally, the jam-packed schedule at this convention and other events makes planning activities for an all-industry gathering a formidable task.”
Weighing all options, said Moore, owner of Big Boys Toys, Nanoose Bay, B.C., the two trade associations were pleased to make this rather surprising announcement. “It secures RVDA’s preferred dates in an extremely competitive environment for meetings here in Las Vegas,” he concluded.
Jeff Pastore, chairman of the RV Learning Center Board of Directors, announced a name change to the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) RV Learning Center Wednesday (Oct. 2) during the opening general session of the 2013 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.
The center has been renamed in honor of Mike Molino, RVDA’s longest-serving CEO. Molino was president of RVDA from 1996 to 2012. “The Mike Molino RV Learning Center” honors Molino’s groundbreaking leadership in promoting continuing education and educational opportunities for dealers and their staffs.
“Working with RVDA dealer leaders and other industry partners, Mike was the driving force behind a number of initiatives at RVDA that continue today — including public affairs advocacy, industry relations, and Go RVing,” Pastore said in a news release. “But what really stands out for many of us is Mike’s unwavering commitment to and leadership in continuing education.”
Molino, working with volunteer leaders, began the RVDA Education Foundation — which later became the RV Learning Center. He was also instrumental in creating certification programs for fixed-operations staff and the partnership with RVIA for the tech cert prep program.
The Mike Molino RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, live workshops, online products, training, and certification programs for RV dealership personnel.
For more information on the Mike Molino RV Learning Center, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com.
Editor’s Note: Phil Ingrassia, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), penned this column for October’s RV Executive Today:
It wasn’t long ago that the conventional wisdom in the RV industry was that business traditionally started to slow down in October in many parts of the country.
Well, not any more. Retail data from recent years shows that, in the words of Tom Walworth of Statistical Surveys, “October is a good month.” Here’s the breakdown of national RV retail registrations in October during the past few years, according to Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Statistical Surveys:
• 2009: 12,196
• 2010: 13,610
• 2011: 13,420
• 2012: 14,956
Those October numbers are closer to what U.S. dealers sell in March, with the smell of spring in the air. In fact, the only months with fewer than 10,000 national retail deliveries are now December and January — dealers retailed more than 10,000 units in both February and November in 2011 and 2012.
So, everyone is making adjustments to what is now a year-round sales cycle — including your national advertising campaign. When Go RVing began in the late ’90s, the industry’s media buys were front-loaded to coincide with the spring and summer RV travel season. Go RVing typically would scale back advertising significantly in the fall and early winter months, but with families and empty-nesters on the go and buying RVs all year-round, a new approach is needed.
This year, Go RVing’s new “AWAY” ad featuring a tailgating theme made its debut Labor Day weekend and will continue to air throughout the fall in conjunction with college football ad buys with ESPN and CBS Sports.
The new ad is part of Go RVing’s attempt to leverage the strong connection between RVing and tailgating season and to keep positive messages about RV travel in front of consumers throughout the year.
Have a great fall selling season, and thanks for your support.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) has renewed its longstanding endorsement agreement with Caliper Corp. for employee assessment and testing.
For nearly a half-century, Caliper has consulted with more than 28,000 companies on improving every aspect of their workforce — from hiring and selection to employee development and succession management.
Starting with accurate, objective insights, Caliper clients benefit from the time-tested personality assessment, the Caliper Profile. Caliper assessment tools enable clients to reduce the high cost of turnover, help first-time mangers excel, and create solutions that are tailored, practical and adaptable.
“Over the years, RV dealers and RVDA itself have used the Caliper Profile to hire top performers in customer service and sales,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “Caliper provides employers with useful tools that help them develop talent and work on team-building for a more productive workforce.”
RVDA is the national association representing RV retailers. The association’s members include RV dealers, RV rental operators, and RV AfterMarket sales and service locations. Visit RVDA at www.rvda.org.
Thirteen new speakers are confirmed for the 2013 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo. According to a press release, five new presenters are in the Sales Track alone.
Sales professionals attending track workshops will spend two days learning about effective ways to use new technology, how to reach consumers who increasingly rely on digital advertising, how to build solid relationships with consumers and close sales on the show floor. There will also be information about recent trends and best practices in sales, including a rundown of what works today — and what doesn’t.
The event takes place Sept. 30–Oct. 4 in Las Vegas at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The convention is sponsored by RVDA, RVDA of Canada, and the RV Learning Center. The theme is “Education: Your Competitive Advantage,” and the program has been broadened and enriched to include more education for more staff.
These Sales Track workshops offer RV sales professionals the opportunity to learn new techniques and tactics from internationally recognized speakers, making this a “can’t miss” event for those who want to close more sales. In addition to the five new sales presenters, this year’s topics are also new, reflecting the rapid advances of technology and putting into context the latest data about today’s consumers.
New for 2013 Sales Track presenters chosen by the Convention/Expo Committee include:
• Pierre Trudel, a Canadian marketing consultant with 25 years marketing experience who teachers at the University of Montreal’s world renowned business school.
• Gary McGugan of NEEDS Selling Solutions, sales consultant and business executive.
• Paul Webb of Paul Webb Training.
• Barry Siskind, a globally recognized consumer show sales consultant.
• David Nelson of VitalSmart, consultant, entrepreneur and international trainer.
Workshop titles range from “Advanced Business Communications” to “Double Your Sales” to “The Science of Leading Change.” In addition to the five new sales presenters confirmed thus far, Roger Vergara, who has spoken at prior RVDA Conventions, has been confirmed to speak this year about digital advertising. Additional speakers will be confirmed in the coming weeks. For a full listing of all workshops, including schedules and detailed descriptions, go to the RVDA website.
The convention will provide relevant learning opportunities for dealers and key members of their staff. In addition to Sales, tracks are in place for Dealer/GMs, and Parts and Service Managers. The 2013 convention will also feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s top companies offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability.
Companies interested in Vendor Training +plus, partnership opportunities, sponsorships, and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130, ext. 103 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
A coalition led by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA) and joined by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is asking National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis to increase entrance fees in parks that now charge them and to expand such fees into parks that don’t have them, National Parks Traveler reported.
Doing so, they argue, would provide the National Park Service with greater revenues as the agency moves into its second century beginning in 2016.
In a letter sent to the director earlier this month, the groups urge Director Jarvis to implement proposals outlined earlier this year at a conference they organized in Washington.
Also supporting the call for higher fees are the American Hiking Society, the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the National Tour Association, the Southeast Tourism Society and the Western States Tourism Policy Council.
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The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is urging members to set up a dealer profile on the RVDA Dealer App for smartphones, according to a press release.
When consumers planning RV travel go online to Rand McNally’s “Best of the Road” website, they can easily find RVDA members involved in RV sales, service, rental and aftermarket businesses. Each profile can be customized to provide information about specials, display inventory photos or post a personal statement about the dealership’s customer service commitment.
The “Best of the Road” website and RVDA Dealer Locator App combine to offer members a powerful online marketing tool that can be a great asset in promoting and growing a business. Members currently utilizing the service include:
• Noble RV in Owatonna, Minn., promotes a 10% savings on parts and service through the end of the calendar year .
• Norm’s RV in Poway, Calif., have personalized their dealer profile to promote their sales, master certified technicians and rental vehicle fleet while reminding customers that Norm’s offers storage services for RVs not in use.
• Wilkins RV in Bath, N.Y., offers store information including hours, inventory numbers and service availability.
• Stoltzfus RV in RV’s and Marine in West Chester, Pa., offers an aerial photograph on their profile page.
Every profile page already comes preloaded with links to the dealership website, directions, a map and contact information.
Members can access their profiles at www.bestoftheroad.com. For information on how to set up your profile, contact Chuck Boyd at (800) 336-0355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.