August '20

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28 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com of building parks. They said things like, 'All of our sites will be 75- to 100-feet long with 100-amp service.' I asked, 'Why?' They said, 'That's what it will take to accommodate all the big rigs.' When I then told them that more than 65 percent of the units purchased next year will be 35 feet or shorter, it surprised them. They don't even understand the 'life cycle' of the RV industry and that they can plan – not guess – what guests will be bringing to their parks. R V P R O : H o w d o y o u help them? Ellingson: As an industry, we already know what man- ufacturers will produce, but this information is not being proactively and strategically passed on to new park devel- opers. My recommendation to them was to revisit the size of the sites they were going to create, and if they had already started to consider alternatives – like including the option for one long site – to become two by adding additional hookups. I also told them I wouldn't put in 100-amp service; that's a dying breed. Most people are going solar and investing in lithium batteries, and man- ufacturers are even building in the ability to be self-con- tained. Therefore, the need 100-amp service is going to be much less than they believe. W h e n t h e y a s k e d m e , 'Why don't we know this?' I say, 'Because you're not talking to the manufacturers.' It's not that either of them is hiding information – it's that there's no effective and proactive platform for them to connect. RVWA is strategically positioned to assist with this connection. RVWA has mem- bers from all aspects of the industry. Our goal is to create a platform where these conver- sations can be had proactively and through our efforts ensure that all key participants stay informed and work together toward success. RV PRO: What are you planning to do to foster these connections? E l l i n g s o n : T h e ' My Camping Dream' campaign was actually our first step. From concept to launch, the campaign took less than two weeks to put together. It was all done through volun- teer efforts. We believe this campaign has established for us some credibility and shows that RVWA can pull ever yone t o g e t h e r. T h i s c a m p a i g n started as a small dream. Today, the number of com- panies acting as guides by sending emails and making posts exceeds over 27 million. We extended the campaign to roll out over two months instead of 30 days, because we needed to trickle emails out, so they didn't overwhelm our servers. We've upgraded our servers twice. Now that the campaign is running itself, it's time to move to the next step. That step will be to meet with industry partners to establish the needs of our industry that RVWA can help to meet. This includes a more laser focused strategic plan and acquiring the initial funding to make our goals a reality. RV PRO: What events is RVWA planning? Ellingson: We have plans for four major events in 2021. We recently announced a part- nership with Janine Pettit of Girl Camper. They will act as our consumer arm, reaching women who love to RV and we will represent those who sup- port women in the industry. Our first event will be in the spring of 2021 and is already anticipated to sell out quickly. This event will com- bine consumers and industry professionals (more than 500 individuals), and allow them to learn and share with each other over a four-day event. RV P R O : D o y o u h a v e any thoughts on how long COVID-19 will affect the RV industry? Ellingson: The RV industry is positioned to lead the country RVWA hosts a variety of educational seminars and networking events for its members with notable guest speakers. U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (center) spoke to attendees during a breakfast at last year's Elkhart Open House Week. ENERGY ®

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