Following up on a March board decision, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has begun setting up a regional office in a sedate, one-level office complex near the intersection of County Road 17 and Middlebury Street on the east side of the RV-building center of Elkhart, Ind.
In fact, RVIA staff members are on site today (April 16) at 663 C.R. 17, a contemporary, one-level complex just south of Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant that’s easily accessible from both U.S. 20 to the south and the Indiana Toll Road to the north.
“I think the board recognized that having a visible presence in Elkhart, especially with the industry consolidating largely in that area, is good for RVIA from a member relations standpoint,” reported James Ashurst, vice president of communications and marketing for the Reston, Va.-based trade group representing a majority of the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers.
Although RVIA hasn’t released details yet about staffing or a formal opening of the new offices, it’s expected to do so in the near future and, perhaps, in RVIA President Richard Coon’s remarks at the upcoming RV Industry Power Breakfast May 8 at Elkhart’s Northern Indiana Event Center and RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“All things considered, it’s a good visible location for us and, you know, I think that in addition to the staff that will be there permanently, you’re going to see more of RVIA’s leadership there on a weekly and monthly basis,” Ashurst told RVBUSINESS.com. “In addition, it gives the RVIA staff a place to work out of when in town, and I think you’ll see more RVIA staff in Elkhart on a regular basis, you know, working out of that office as well as visiting members all across the Elkhart region.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) unveiled its newest efforts today (April 15) in trying to address the transportation backlogs that are troubling the RV industry as it continues to grow.
Roughly 30 representatives of 16 RV transport companies gathered with RVIA representatives at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., to hear about RVIA’s new partnership with The Employment Network to try to attract more drivers to the industry, as well as the industry association’s efforts to relax some federal transport guidelines.
It was an unprecedented gathering for a fragmented sector of the industry as only five transport companies are part of RVIA.
“A big portion of the transporting industry’s is here – high-quality transporters,” said RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert, looking around the room. In his role as a general manager at Forest River Inc., Gaeddert works with many of the transport companies and knows the difficulties facing the industry.
Dave Miller, head of Elkhart-based CWRV Transport and formerly of Horizon Transport, said CWRV needs drivers like the rest of the industry. “We’re like everyone else. We’re about half the size we need to be.”
Diane Farrell, vice president of government affairs for RVIA, noted, “We have an issue that is disrupting the flow of business in our industry and we need to get something done about it. We have a big problem. We have a shortage of drivers, it’s delaying delivery and it’s costing all of us a lot of money — manufacturers, transporters and dealers.”
She added, “How big is the problem? According to some of our members, right now it’s taking them five to six weeks to get their RVs delivered to the dealers, and they’re saying that they have about 25,000 to 30,000 units this month sitting on lots, built and waiting to be delivered to dealers. Members are telling us they think there’s a driver shortage of at least 2,000 drivers.”
Farrell told RVBUSINESS.com that she asked around, checking with other trade associations, and learned about The Employment Network through automotive trade groups.
Farrell reported that through its findtherightjob.com site, The Employment Network will work with RV transport companies to find out exactly what they need. The Employment Network will find applicants, screen them, and then pass the screened, qualified applicants on to the transport companies. The transport companies will pay on a per-qualified-applicant basis, but can set whatever limits they desire to limit costs.
“We think of this as a true partnership. Let us know what you’re looking us for and let us know what’s historically working for you,” said Kristy Fallon, COO of The Employment Network.
The company can get a listing online in under an hour, she said, and the listings can be as targeted as the company wants. For instance, if companies are looking for drivers in the Phoenix area, they won’t see applicants from New Brunswick.
The RVIA will promote the findtherightjob.com channel “every chance we get,” Gaeddert said.
In addition to the new tool to find qualified drivers, RVIA’s Jay Landers, senior director of government affairs, said RVIA is working with federal regulators and Congress to lighten weight standards for transporting RVs. Instead of basing the threshold for requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) on gross vehicle weight, for transport the threshold would be based on the actual weight of the empty units.
“Drivers would still need a CDL to transport anything heavier than 26,000 pounds, but the weight would be figured by the actual weight of the vehicle,” Landers said “That change is in process and could take effect in about six months, he said.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is continuing to accept registrations for a special webinar the association is hosting to review the upcoming 2014 editions of several RV standards on April 17 from 10 a.m. to noon EDST.
According to a report in RVIA Today Express, RVIA’s Senior Director of Standards Kent Perkins and Chief Inspector/Standards Administrator John Proteau will host the session that will examine the NFPA 1192 Standard on Recreational Vehicles, ANSI LV, and National Electrical code 551. Other topics will include the new NFPA code making process, the RVIA handbook process and other technical issues.
RV manufacturers, suppliers and industry members with standards responsibilities are encouraged to take part in the webinar to learn how changes to the various standards will impact their specific company and the industry.
“We are hosting this webinar instead of an on-site seminar this cycle in order to reduce costs, and hopefully allow more interested parties the opportunity to learn firsthand about the 2014 code changes and respective RV handbook enforcement positions,” said Perkins.
The cost for attending is $175 per terminal/connection. The number of connections available will be limited so early registration is encouraged. To access the registration form, click here and submit to Gatie Gore at email@example.com or fax to (703) 620-5071. Forms must be returned by April 7. For additional information, call (703) 620-6003, ext. 348.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week 2014 is set for June 1-5 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C.
During the five-day event, the association’s standing committees, Executive Committee and board meet to plan the organization’s agenda for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also convene at this event on June 2.
In addition to the full schedule of committee meetings, other key events planned for Committee Week include:
• The 2015 RV Market Outlook: Economist Richard Curtin, director of consumer research at the University of Michigan, will provide his first forecast for the RV market in 2015 and discuss the current economic climate.
• RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day – RVIA members will visit Capitol Hill on June 4 to meet with legislators and their staff to discuss key legislative and regulatory issues critical to the RV industry.
• Networking Events – Several joint-committee luncheons and receptions will give Committee Week participants the opportunity to establish, renew and build upon the relationships critical to business success.
The Mayflower Renaissance Washington is a luxury hotel and historic landmark. Proclaimed by President Truman to be Washington, DC’s “Second Best Address” after the White House, the hotel is on the National Registry of Historic Places and a Historic Hotel of America. Located just blocks from the White House, metro stops and dining and cultural hot spots, the 4-diamond property offers a splendid center for exploring the city.
For more information about Committee Week, RVIA members should contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RV wholesale shipments to retailers zoomed higher in February, climbing 18% to 30,826 units, the largest February total in eight years. Improvements were greatest for motorhomes which grew 31.7% over February last year to 3,737 units while towable RVs expanded 16.4% to 27,089 units. In spite of continued horrid weather across most of the country, February’s wholesale deliveries to retailers brought year to date totals to 56,293 units, an 11.5% gain over the first two months last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, February shipments were at an annual rate of more than 380,000 units.
Speaking to members at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Annual Membership Meeting, RVIA President Richard Coon discussed a number of issues on the association’s agenda that have implications for the RV industry. According to a press release, the meeting took place at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif., on March 6.
Coon told attendees that the RV market is expected to continue its recent growth trend through 2014 based on the latest RV wholesale projections from economist Richard Curtin in the Spring 2013 issue of RV Roadsigns. “RVIA is projecting that nearly 340,000 units will be shipped this year, which would be about a 6% increase over the 2013 year-end total of 321,100 units,” he said.
He also discussed key objectives and initiatives that the association has been focusing on in recent months. These include:
• Working on the plan to open a regional office in Elkhart, Ind., in the near future.
• Establishing and strengthening relationships with influential public and private campground operators.
• Updating the NFPA 1195 standards for park model RVs.
• Implementing a new pilot program at locations in Texas, Louisiana, Oregon and Washington to “put boots on the ground” to promote industry technician training and certification programs.
• Continuing work to harmonize U.S. and Canadian RV standards by 2017.
• Lobbying to change the regulations for transport drivers needing CDL licenses to help improve the RV transport issue in the future and to exclude motorhomes from EPA and NHTSA’s Phase 2 medium and heavy duty greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards.
• Continuing to work with industry members to capitalize on business opportunities found in Asia’s developing RV markets.
Coon stressed that in addition to these issues RVIA continues to also focus on representing members’ interests across a broad range of areas. “The association is working diligently everyday to help our member companies grow and succeed.”
Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of RVIA Today detailing initiatives and plans for the Go RVing “Away” campaign in the coming year.
On the heels of two successful years, Go RVing’s “AWAY” national advertising effort is back for a third campaign.
Expanding the proven mix of integrated advertising in the nation’s top television, print, digital and social media outlets, the campaign utilizes emotion-evoking messages and images designed to resonate with the target markets and continue to propel the demand for RVs forward.
The $13 million 2014 media budget is highlighted by the campaign’s first-ever tie-in with a live music festival – Live Nation’s Jamboree in the Hills, known as the “Super Bowl of Country Music.” The 38th annual festival in Morristown, Ohio, will attract 100,000 attendees and feature country music notables including Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Montgomery Gentry, Darius Rucker and Diamond Rio. With most attendees camping on the festival grounds for the four days, two custom vignettes featuring headliners and Go RVing-provided RVs will be part of the sponsorship package. Those vignettes will air on CMT.
Product integrations continue to be an important element in Go RVing efforts and will include a spring RV sweepstakes with the Outdoor Channel and consumer events with Garden & Gun and Country Living where consumers will be able tour RVs for a hands-on experience.
Last summer, Go RVing produced 30- and 60-second “Victory” TV spots depicting family tailgating traditions that were the centerpieces of widely successful college football/tailgating initiatives that extended the campaign’s reach well into the fall. That effort will be expanded and repeated in the fall of 2014 with ESPN, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports.
With race fans being another target market whose interests easily align with RVing, Go RVing will air TV spots on the JumboTron at the main entrance of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2014 Indianapolis 500 where over 1 million people will see the ads over the three day event.
Go RVing’s television portion of the media buy includes a partnership with Destination America, a Discovery network, to air custom profiles of real RVers. With its focus on exploring the place, people and stories of the United States, it offers a great fit for the emotionally-driven messages of Go RVing’s television commercials. Throughout the year, Go RVing spots and custom-produced programming will also be seen on FS1, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, the Outdoor Channel and CMT.
The broadcast plan also includes direct response advertising on many other popular networks from January through December. All of these outlets have a solid record of running Go RVing spots at optimum times of day and delivering strong lead response.
Digital media advertising is constantly evolving and remains a centerpiece of Go RVing’s effort. In addition to banner ads appearing on top websites and search engines, this year Go RVing will launch ads that are tailored to individuals through native advertising.
Native ads allow advertisers to bring a custom message to online viewers through a variety of mediums including video, providing a uniquely individualized experience. Consumers are able to link directly to Go RVing.com through ads that are running on lead-generating sites such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook as well as over a dozen popular consumer sites.
The print portion of the 2014 plan includes magazines that offer a strong demographic for the ads and a good editorial environment. Issues featuring Go RVing ads began to appear in January and will continue through September.
Go RVing continues to seek multifaceted partnerships with its advertisers and seven of the print publications are providing added components like custom vignettes, pull & save sponsored booklets, tablet apps and branded websites. As part of the partnership with Woman’s Day, the popular Casserole Queens produced two videos demonstrating casserole recipes to make ahead and bring on an RV vacation.
The “AWAY” campaign will continue to drive consumers to GoRVing.com, where prospects are provided comprehensive information to help guide them through the purchase process and RV travel experience.
Go RVing’s “AWAY” emotion-driven campaign has proven to be very effective since launching in 2012. An Advertising Effectiveness Study conducted last year found that 39% of the core target market (families age 30–49 and empty nesters age 50–64) recalled seeing RV advertising in 2013 and 20% remembered seeing Go RVing ads specifically, up slightly from 18% in 2010.
In examining the likeability of the ads, 75% of core families (up from 64% in 2010), 68% of empty nesters (up from 50%) and 73% of Latinos (up from 57%) viewed the ads favorably. The ads also moved the needle on consumer motivation with 37% of core families and 27% of empty nesters saying they were more likely to consider buying an RV.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has scheduled its 2014 Annual Meeting for March 4–7 at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif.
According to a press release, Annual Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to discuss association activities, attend informative seminars and network with business colleagues.
The tentative schedule includes the arrival of Executive Committee and board members on March 4. The following day will be the major day of arrival for Annual Meeting attendees and will also feature the Executive Committee and RVIA board meetings, the First Timers and Welcome receptions, and an Annual Meeting Alumni Dinner.
A seminar session, featuring three presentations, will take place the morning of March 6. RVIA’s Annual Membership Meeting will be held that afternoon and feature reports on association activities from RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert and RVIA President Richard Coon. The day concludes with the Chairman’s Reception and Dinner.
Friday is an open day with attendees able to play golf or tour the area.
“The Annual Meeting is the ideal venue for our members to come together and develop the relationships that are so crucial to success,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “I’ve heard from so many people that attending this event opened their eyes to all the association does on behalf of the industry and influenced them to become more active in the organization.”
The Park Hyatt Aviara is an award-winning property set on 200 acres approximately 40 minutes north the San Diego airport. It offers state-of-the art meeting facilities as well as a wide range of activities and dining options.
For more information about the RVIA Annual Meeting, contact the association’s Meeting department at (703) 620-6003, ext. 305.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has unveiled a one-year pilot program designed to increase the awareness of and participation in industry technician training and certification programs by having field representatives call directly on RV dealerships to educate management and technicians about educational opportunities.
RVIA has hired Wade Greenwood and Connie Acord to serve as RVST in-field representatives. The two began visiting dealerships the week of Oct. 23 after undergoing orientation sessions on industry education programs at RVIA headquarters the week of Oct. 7.
Greenwood, who has experience on the RV manufacturing side handling RV warranty and service issues after working for Forest River Inc. and Skyline Corp., will cover the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Acord will focus on the South Central area, including Texas and Louisiana. She has previously worked for Keystone/NTP, Bumper Manufacturing and Valley Industries.
The pair will collect contact information at dealerships, identify the training that each tech has received to date, and work with service managers to determine the technician training needs. Service training will be coordinated with RVIA members with the goal to bring training directly to the dealerships. Research has found that service managers like the RVST training, but sending technicians away for a week at a time is not feasible.
“We are very excited about the potential of this program to invigorate our RV service tech training efforts,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education. “RV dealerships are busy throughout the year now and can’t afford to send techs away for periods of time for training. New ways have to be found to get this important training to the dealerships, and we think offering training on site is the way to go.”
In addition to the technician pilot program, RVIA is also creating an on-line, controlled access technical library that will be available to participating technicians, invited subject matter experts, and others.
RVIA has hired Sara Pierce to serve as the RVST librarian to specifically find wanted technical information, and, more importantly, to serve as a resource for RVIA supplier and manufacturing members who will be able to manage their own information in this library. She has been working on the structure of the online library, populating it with technical data that RVIA had on file, and contacting member manufacturers and suppliers to gather data and documentation.
Pierce previously worked for the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Va., and holds a master’s in library and information Studies.
“The overall goal of the library and in-field program is to increase RVST training and certification. RVIA has never tracked training in the past and technicians don’t currently have an available mentor to help them plan and obtain the training they want and need. These programs are designed to resolve these issues,” added Hopkins.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King will provide an insider’s view of the NFL and share tales from his three-week RV tour of NFL training camps this summer at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Outlook 2014: EVERYWHERE, the popular opening breakfast kicking off the National RV Trade Show on Dec. 3 from 7:30-9 a.m. in the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) South Wing Ballroom.
Go RVing teamed with Sports Illustrated to provide King with a Jayco Precept Class A motorhome for his Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) Training Camp Tour this summer. He and other Sports Illustrated writers and staffers enjoyed a three-week RV odyssey that visited 19 training camp sites. Along the way, King and other writers wrote and blogged about their RV adventures in addition to their normal football reporting on the widely-read MMQB.com site as well as other Sports Illustrated properties.
“John Madden used to say it all the time, and I am merely copycatting him by saying what a beautiful country this is, and I’m lucky over the past weeks to be driving through it instead of flying over it,” King wrote in one column.
King is one of America’s premier pro football writers and his MMQB column on SI.com, which began in 1997, has become a must-read for fans, league insiders and anyone who loves the NFL. The column regularly draws more than 12 million page views, and based on its popularity, Sports Illustrated and King expanded the column this summer to become a stand-alone site.
Hosted by RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert, Outlook 2014: EVERYWHERE will offer an overview of the industry’s successes over the past year as well as a look at the industry’s promising future.
RVIA President Richard Coon will share his thoughts on the state of the industry and where it is headed in the year ahead in a presentation titled “Growing Everywhere.”
The industry’s Go RVing and media relations team will deliver “Seen Everywhere,” a multimedia report highlighting the most impactful advertising and public relations achievements in 2013 and previewing what’s in store for 2014. The presentation will feature Go RVing co-Chairmen Bob Wheeler and Tom Stinnett as well as RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst.
The Outlook 2014: EVERYWHERE program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.