April '19

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D E A L E R S 50 • RV PRO • April 2019 rv-pro.com "Consumer demand has encouraged us to increase our show footprint at the shows we have attended in the past. You can never have enough space at these premium shows. "The response has been excellent. We have had our best shows – both in terms of immediate sales and residual oppor- tunities. Shows present a unique opportunity to showcase our exciting products and to expand our customer base, and these are opportunities we are capitalizing on. "The reason these shows are so good is the result of a com- bination of hard work by show promoters and strong partici- pation from great dealers. Promoters like Bob Zagami (Boston) and Joe Gonsalves (Hartford) work tirelessly to market their respective shows. Additionally, dealer participation is strong and consumers are incentivized to attend, thanks to great pricing and premium product selection. "In terms of predictions for 2020, shows like Boston, Hart- ford and Springfield will continue to grow. Markets are strong and we see no signs of that great momentum slowing." Paul Willis, general manager Best Choice Trailers Irwin, Pa. "I have been in the RV business 36 years now and shows are an important part of our business model. So far this year, we have just been at the Pittsburgh Show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, but we have four more shows in Pennsylvania scheduled for the next two months. We will be at home shows in Butler and the Washington County Fairgrounds in March, and in Murraysville and at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in April. "We are a family-owned business, not a national chain, so we only attend regional shows. And we like the Pittsburgh show because it's the only indoor venue during a time of inclement weather. It also happens at the slowest time of the year, so it's a great time to generate both immediate business and leads for future sales. It really helps us plant the seeds for February and March. "We have been attending this show for many years, but this is the largest space we have ever taken. Overall, we paid about $36,000 for exhibit space. That bought us five 180-foot by 14-foot rows for a total of 40,000-square-feet of display space, plus a 10-by-10 (foot) booth outside, near where the attendees purchase tickets. We used that space to direct people to our interior exhibit and collect information for future contacts. "We can get five or six campers in each row. It's a big increase over last year, when we only had five 110-foot rows because that was all we could get. In all hon- esty, I would buy 10 rows at this show if I could, but there are limits to what we can reserve, because a lot of people want in. "Over the past few years, the popularity of this show has gone up and up. This year's show had a lot more traffic than last year – I'd say 12 to 15 percent more. Some of it is due to there being lots more press about RVs overall now with extreme camping and glamping and the market tailoring to smaller RVs so people can go camping without buying a 2-ton truck. "A lot of people want to be in the show and they can't sell space fast enough. But back in 2009, they couldn't give space away. A lot of that depends on the economy. "And more and more people are getting into camping. There are shows about it, and the Internet is full of it, especially You- Tube. Now camping is cool. "I camp myself, and have camped in all but four states (the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana) – I just have not gotten to them yet. The people you meet camping are a respite. It's fun, relaxing, and great now when everyone needs a break. The world has become so poisonous, especially for families, that more and more people are turning to camping as an escape; somewhere they can go to find those old-school, core values of honesty, helpfulness and fairness, away from the rest of the world. "For all those reasons, I think things will continue to rise through the end of this year, but, as we click over into January 2020, I think there will be some downturn. I am not the only person saying that. There are economists and people much smarter than me saying so. Really, it's just a natural cycle and we're due for a downturn." Clifton Lewis, president Lewis RV Center Oklahoma City "This is our first and only show of the year, as it was last year. The RV Super Show at the State Fair Park is the main

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