RV PRO

August '20

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rv-pro.com August 2020 • RV PRO • 27 the industry. I plan to foster those connections. I feel honored and blessed to be in this position. I'm coming in and building on a foundation that amazing women started. I think the world of Susan Carpenter, who is the president, and Jordyn Foos, who is the vice president. I look forward to the next 12 months. It will be an amazing journey. RV PRO : Can you talk more about the gap you see between parks and the industry and the connections you hope to create? Ellingson: There's a nat- ural relationship between the park and the guests. There's a natural relationship between the guest and the people they buy products from. But there is a gap in com- munications between those who make things for the RV industry (manufacturers, after- market companies, dealers), and the parks. They are not strategically connecting. I find a good example in a conversation I had in November after the industry saw a dip in RV sales and everybody was questioning if it was the economy. I didn't believe it was the economy. I felt it was the fact that we had millennials and others buying units who couldn't find enough desirable or known spaces to camp. Millennials will not pick up the phone to make a reservation. They will not search through books with lists of parks. To me 'the dip' was evidence of this problem: New campers couldn't find desirable sites. The industr y needs to better understand the gap between the number of units produced and the number of discoverable and desired sites accessible for use with those new units. We can be proac- tive by encouraging the use of technology at our parks for online reservations and park management. We can advocate for and even support efforts to help our parks reach the next generation of campers. RV PRO: What message do you have for commercial developers that are creating more parks? Ellingson: We are seeing a lot of commercial developers looking to make money in the RV industry by developing parks – but they don't know the RV industry. At a national RV conven- tion, I talked to eight com- mercial developers getting ready to or in the process RVWA Executive Director Sandra Ellingson (right) meets with RVWA members at an RV park in Elkhart, Ind., where she was camping. Ellingson is a full-time RVer. Pictured with Ellingson are (left to right): Nancy Rapp with Crane Composites, Sharonne Lee with the RV Technical Institute, Lisa Liegl Rees with Forest River's East to West division, and Denyse Pontius with Century Chemical.

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