About The Top 50
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the RV Business Top 50?
As determined by RV Business magazine and an independent panel of industry experts. the Top 50 is an annual list of dealerships that are unsurpassed in overall business operations, customer service, professionalism and all the characteristics that go along with them.
Q: When will the Top 50 be published?
In RV Business’ January 2011 issue.
Q: How does a company get nominated as a 2010 Top 50 dealership?
U.S. RV manufacturers are being asked to make the initial nominations, after which dealers are to receive applications directly from RV Business.
Q: What is the deadline for 2010 Top 50 applications?
All applications are due back in our hands by June 18.
Q: How will the Top 50 be selected?
An independent panel of industry insiders will sit down with the applications and determine which dealerships are in the Top 50.
Q: Will there be an awards ceremony honoring the Top 50?
Yes. We will be hosting a gala event, the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards Dinner & Celebration, on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 6, during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas. There, at the Rio, we plan to bring together the Top 50 dealership principals and some of their key personnel along with a host of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and a celebrity guest speaker who is sure to catch attendees’ attention.
Q: What’s in it for the chosen dealers other than the award itself?
A comprehensive marketing campaign that only Affinity Group Inc. can provide through its unsurpassed arsenal of print, online and face-to-face products that collectively reaches more than 6 millions passionate enthusiasts. RV Business will:
- Publish through its sister publications (Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life. etc.) 2-page ads telling millions of consumers to visit the Top 50 dealers
- Provide in-store merchandising opportunities for Top 50 dealers to add to their own marketing efforts
- Recognize you, one of the industry’s elite dealers, and make you visible to the RV universe through its print and online products as well as a national public relations campaign all aimed at driving traffic to you
- Help you promote your status as one of the elite dealers in the RV industry to your local media outlets with customized press releases
- Recognize you, one of the industry’s elite dealers, in front of the industry. As a chosen dealer, you will receive two complimentary invitations to this marquee event.
Q: What’s your approach to nominations for multi-store operations like La Mesa, Giant or FreedomRoads?
This is one of the most difficult items with which we’ve had to deal in developing this whole new industry offering, especially considering our parent firm’s affiliation with mega-dealer FreedomRoads. The best solution we’ve come up with, imperfect as it is, is to limit all multi-store operations to one award, regardless of how many storefronts they have. So, at best, FreedomRoads would account for no more than one of the 50 awards if, in fact, it were to qualify at all.
Q: What are the key characteristics of the dealers I should nominate?
Managing a dealership to high levels of customer service, high volume sales and, yes, high profits, is no easy task. Simultaneously creating an atmosphere that exceeds high consumer expectations can be even more difficult. For the most professional of dealerships, however, these tasks have not only become second nature, but they are firmly integrated in the business’ day-to-day operations. They understand that delivering on the promise of the RVing lifestyle – not just an RV – is the No. 1 key to success.
Generally, though, qualifying dealers should:
- Display a consistent and clear understanding that the profitability of the organization is directly related to the extent that it focuses on customer satisfaction;
- Provide customers with an experience worth returning for and recommending to others;
- Prepare for future success with sound planning, marketing and training initiatives;
- Ensure an exceptional RVing lifestyle.
Q: Should a company nominate dealers for each of its brands?
In all fairness, we can’t deal with all of the industry’s brands in this program. There’s simply too many. So, our approach – and this is often a subjective matter – is to accept additional nominees from a manufacturer’s distinct, stand-alone divisions if such divisions actually exist. If you have questions, please contact us.
Q: Are you going to rank those Top 50 dealers like Boating Industry magazine does in the marine sector?
No, we’re not ranking them, although we do plan to focus extra attention on ten Blue Ribbon performers as the top finishers among the 50 award recipients. And we will focus special recognition on one of those ten retailers – above and beyond the rest – as the Dave Altman Award winner, named for the late Southern California retailer and industry activist.
Q: Are there sponsors involved?
Yes, but not manufacturers. We’re working as we speak to assemble a roster of sponsors – we’re calling it a “Leadership Alliance” – comprised of key industry service and component suppliers interested in promoting excellence in customer satisfaction. In our inaugural year, we should add, we’re simply looking to break even.
Q: Is each award winner linked to the nominating manufacturer? In other words, will it be public knowledge who nominated whom and will that linkage be part of the award presentation?
No. We’re fully aware of the fact that some manufacturers, for their own reasons, may choose to submit their nominations in strictest confidence, and we’re more than willing to keep it that way.
Q: What if a given dealer is nominated by several manufacturers, which is a real possibility?
We’re aware of the fact that some dealerships may get nominated several times by different manufacturers, but we frankly don’t see that as a problem. The more the merrier.
Q: What if a manufacturer simply chooses to nominate its largest dealers?
Of course, there’s nothing we can do to stop them, although we would hope that everyone will play ball on this and that they’ll give us their best – not just their largest – nominees. Size, in this case, doesn’t matter. Remember, too, that all nominees still have to undergo our vetting process, based on their applications.
Q: Are Canadian dealers involved?
Q: What about park trailer dealers? Are they a part of this?
No, but we’ll be looking at that, for future years.
Q: Given the interesting timing of this new initiative, have you addressed in your application any of the conclusions contained in the recently released report of the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence?
In a word, yes.
Q: Where do I direct additional questions regarding the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards?
Contact RV Business Publisher Sherman Goldenberg, for any questions or issues that might arise. For submission of the nominations themselves, however, contact Barb Riley at BJ Thompson Associates in northern Indiana who is working in conjunction with RV Business on this new industry initiative.