March '19

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84 • RV PRO • March 2019 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S "I'm keeping an open mind about the show because you don't know what you don't know. I am going to visit and check it out and see what's there for future years. I am looking forward to seeing some new products, and I am interested in the social media toolkit, which is special only to dealers. "The Louisville show had served its purpose. Dealers were buying product earlier in the year and by the time they got to Louisville they had already made all their buys. Louisville had been replaced by Open House. But RVX is not a replacement for Louisville. It is something completely new and different. It just happens to take place right after Louisville ended. "We go to shows to help us get along with the manufac- turers, cement relationships either with current suppliers or new suppliers, and help us grow our business. That's the ultimate goal, and what's in it for us as dealers. If this event helps us in our business, then it will be a great success. "The timing is not good for that, however, because we don't have time for people to leave the dealership in the spring. But if there is good information, I will bring it back to the others left behind. We always have a debriefing when we return from trips." Tim Wegge, president/CEO Burlington RV Superstore Sturtevant, Wis. "My wife and I, as the owners, are attending, and we will be there all week. I did bring our sales manager to Louisville, but RVX is, as I'm understanding it, a little higher level. There is the Top Tech Challenge, so there will be some technicians there, but for the most part, the educational track is geared toward higher-level management at dealerships. "I was fortunate to be the RVDA chair last year when this show was announced. RVIA sent a contingent of manufacturers, reps and other industry leaders to Salt Lake City to attend a meeting about RVX. There was a tour of the convention center and the surrounding area. I thought it was a very nice venue. I wouldn't say it is the most centrally located, but it is closer to the West Coast. One of the biggest drawbacks for Louisville was how far West Coast dealers had to travel. "We have some snippets of the things planned, but we don't have the experience yet. My vision is that this will be a grander event that will bring more industry exposure with the use of social media and media events. "When we went to Louisville, the buying public didn't have any understanding of what we were seeing or what we were doing there. This event – although it's not open to the public – will have RVs displayed for the public outside. That is something we have not seen before. "I'm just excited to go because I want to see all they have planned. I think it would be disappointing if they held this event and I didn't go, and then I heard all about it and wished I had been there. I'm looking forward to something that's uniquely different and not the same old, same old; rows and rows of RVs and that's it." Shannon Nill, owner Guaranty RV Junction City, Ore. "We have a team of three people going. We decided to send a cool dynamic team of women – an HR director, the office manager, and a senior sales administrator who is our general sales manager's assistant. We are having them look for refine- ments, warranty coverage – and the biggie beyond everything else – quality. "We have no expectations for the show, because it's hard to have them when you don't have a pattern to go by. Louisville was mainly about selling coaches. We'll see if RVX has anything different, but the Newmar folks, who were here yesterday, said they're not going to go. That is concerning, because if you don't get a critical mass, it doesn't pay to go a second time. They (RVIA) are going to have to do a good job to make sure the event is worthwhile. "RVX promises a focus on product and education. But we have yet to see what that's going to look like. They need to provide more than just the sale of coaches. Otherwise, no one will go again. Many dealers buy through their factory reps, not at these shows. We look at what people want and what they've been buying, then we place our orders. "Our folks are going to go and gather as much informa- tion and learning as they can. But it remains to be seen if this new show is really needed. This industry's going to shake out what shows are important and what are not. Ultimately, what's important is being at your store. You can't always be gone. The more you're gone, the less business you do at home." Tim Biles, owner Pikes Peak Traveland Colorado Springs, Colo. "Since RVX is still going to have new releases, and new products to show, I felt it would be good to have my new sales manager come to the event to help him establish relationships with manufacturers. Originally, I wasn't planning on going (or sending anyone) at all. I go to Elkhart for buying. Before that, we also did Louisville for buying. RVX seemed like more of a Hershey show, in Utah. But our dealer network and RVDA were encouraging us to go, so I thought, 'Let's just go and see what it's about.' We don't have any plan other than that. "It would be neat if the manufacturers took this opportunity to release new products. Heartland at one time would release products in January, which was way too early. Others did it in March. Still others did it in April. "Introducing new products at the same time would help dealers and make it easier for us to manage our inventory. That would in the future help me understand when I need to order products, because not only am I ordering based on the season,

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