August '20

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30 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com in recovery. When I say that, I mean, emotional recovery, financial recovery – all of it. People are ready to camp again. We will have a fresh market of prospects, who have never camped before. I talked with a marketing firm that handles over 1,000 RV dealerships. They said those dealerships reported the best first quarter they've ever had. I also work with companies selling park reservation soft- ware. Private campgrounds are already on track to do 7 per- cent more than they did last year. That's the recovery we've seen since late April. People are pre-booking and getting back out on the road. Across the board, almost every vertical of the industry is seeing growth and catching up. While there have been smaller companies that have been dev- astated the industry as a whole is in full out recovery mode. RV PRO: How will you use your background to aid you in your new role? Ellingson: First, I'll imple- ment an organized and struc- tured volunteer plan so we can build the platform and the organizational founda- tion to represent members well. Then, I will use my education background – par- ticularly my experience with online education – to leverage technology to educate women entering the industry and to recruit people to the industry. RVWA wants to work with industry partners. I've been talking to The Lippert Academy to see how we can work together and offer their amazing leadership content to RVWA members. I also hope to get industry people to look at camping with a fresh perspective. For so long, I think they have seen them- selves as building a product. I don't agree with that. I believe they create tools that help people experience joy and create memories. I can say that because I am first and fore- most an RVer. I don't think industry people fully understand the impact they have on people's lives. Nonprofits use the acronym IOP, which stands for impact on people. But ROI drives the RV industry – I don't think it has ever looked at the IOP. I think the IOP is a measurement that is going to be more important as millennials enter the industry in larger numbers. RV PRO: How will being a full-time RVer for the past five years influence what you will do as the executive director of RVWA? Ellingson: It influences everything I do, because I am experiencing it – not just trying to react to what I think is the truth about the RV industry. I was even asked one time by an industry insider, 'How do you know this stuff?' And I said, 'It's not because I'm the smartest person in the room. It's because I'm the only person in the room who is RVing.' There's so much to gain by getting out into the RV world. I've already started challenging companies to get their employees out RVing. These personal experiences will affect what they do. The event next year with Girl Camper and industry leaders will address just this. RV PRO: With everything you've accomplished previ- ously, and all of your existing commitments, why take on this added role with RVWA? Ellingson: My personal mission statement is: I want to make a difference, with people who make a difference, doing things that make a difference. Everything I do has to line RVWA has hosted several networking events since it officially launched in early 2019, including its inaugural event held in conjunction with the RV Industry Association RVX show in March of that year and an event preceding the NTP-STAG Expo (pictured above) in January of this year.

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