February '20

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42 • RV PRO • February 2020 rv-pro.com more demand for better-built products, even if they are more expensive, espe- cially with our younger customers. We have seen that customers are not only willing to spend more on units in gen- eral, but they are willing to spend more on smaller units – especially our younger consumers, who want smaller, less impactful, easier-to-manage units. We have adjusted, and now the vast majority of what we carry is 24-feet and under, drivable or car/small SUV towable. "In terms of accessories, we now carry almost exclusively solar products, having replaced almost all generator sales with solar alternatives. Nearly everything we sell either comes with solar panels or offers the option to use portable panels. The combination of a dramatic increase in environmental awareness and changes in camping styles has encouraged us to focus on the solar ready/pre-equipped options our customers want. "On the finance side, we have noticed a consistent increase in cash buyers over the past three to five years. During that time, there have been periods when over 50 percent of purchases are cash, although this particular change doesn't seem to be age-related." Ben Silverman, business manager and vehicle sales manager Road Bear RV Rentals & Sales Agoura Hills, Calif. "There are several factors at play in the sales arena. We had exceptionally high motorhome sales in 2017 and 2018. They slowed slightly in 2019 due to excessive inventory levels at RV dealerships. RV manufacturers had increased their pro- duction of new motorhomes in the second half of 2018, leading to a larger-than-usual amount of new product waiting to be sold at the beginning of 2019. For us, as a used motorhome dealer, the reduction in sales during 2019 has been just a correction to the 'normal' sales numbers we had in the years prior to 2017. "We still provide the same floorplans we carried four to five years ago. Some models have changed, but we try to keep the same variety of Class C and Class A motorhomes our customers' desire. Our used motorhomes have an average age of 12 to 18 months, making them a perfect choice for dealers. They are all well-main- tained and are completely refurbished before we market them. "That said, we have upgraded all our Class C's so they are equipped with back-up cameras, electric awnings, and some other additions. Millennials are looking for Wi-Fi connections, USB ports, and the possibility to connect with solar products. "As for financing, many of the dealers in our wholesale network are reporting that banks have been tighter in approving credit for their retail customers." Jonathan Mayfield, sales manager Southern RV McDonough, Ga. "As our typical buyer seems to be get- ting younger, we're definitely marketing more toward where that generation seems to spend their time: Social media. Face- book has become a huge platform for us and we schedule daily posts that rotate between highlighting major units, specific accessories, or random funny photos and articles to keep interest up. "We've also started accounts with other social media platforms and post a YouTube video on every unit we sell. Our weekly video: "Hey, What's That?" Wednesdays feature our marketing manager, Barry Clement, tackling a common question regarding a new product or a typical ques- tion from a new RVer. Many of our cus- tomers report that they've seen every single episode – either through a binge session, or by following along weekly. "As we've seen more buyers asking for RVs that can be towed with their existing vehicle – not just the buyer that's willing to purchase a new truck capable of towing

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