October '20

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Editors' NOTE 8 • RV PRO • October 2020 rv-pro.com P.O. Box 1416, Broomfield, CO 80038 (800) 669-0424 • (303) 469-0424 FAX (303) 469-5730 • rv-pro.com NATIONAL BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. PRESIDENT Dave Pomeroy VICE PRESIDENT / FINANCE Kori Gonzales, CPA DIRECTOR OF CONTENT Regan Dickinson VICE PRESIDENT / AUDIENCE & EVENTS Lori Farstad DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL SERVICES Wolf Butler CEO & OWNER Robert H. Wieber Jr. PUBLISHER Chris Cieto (800) 669-0424, ext. 253 ccieto@nbm.com EDITOR Bradley Worrell (800) 669-0424, ext. 299 brad@nbm.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Mike Clark (800) 669-0424, ext. 246 mclark@nbm.com DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR Tony Kindelspire 800-669-0424 ext. 213 tkindelspire@nbm.com MEDIA CONSULTANT Anthony Bowe (800) 669-0424, ext. 232 abowe@nbm.com SALES SUPPORT Sara Dorheim-Davis (800) 669-0424, ext. 256 sddavis@nbm.com ART DIRECTOR Kim M. Wright ADVERTISING DESIGN/PRODUCTION Dayne Pillow MULTIMEDIA PRODUCER Alison McDonald CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steve Bibler, John Egan, Mike Harbour, Rob Merwin, K. Schipper, Ronnie Wendt, Linda Cahan and Michael Rees SENIOR ADVISOR Mike Wieber Bradley Worrell EDITOR brad@nbm.com Don't Forget About Training It's been a crazy year. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown of the RV industry (and much of the rest of the U.S. economy) early in 2020, RV sales bounced back in a huge way during the later summer months. In fact, RVIA data shows that RV shipments spiked 54 percent in July – making it the best July on record in four decades. Meanwhile, RV rental operators reported record-shattering num- bers of their own for the summer months. (On that note, be sure to check out this month's cover feature article on rentals, starting on page 30.) Given how busy things have become, it can be easy to forget about tech training ... but that would be a big mistake. A recent survey by RVIA's RV Technical Institute found that the availability of a highly skilled workforce represents a critical challenge for the long-term health of the industry. The survey notes that it is not simply an issue of recruiting new techs to the RV sector, but also retaining existing ones, given that the skills they possess are valuable in other career fields. Notably, the survey found a desire by current techs for comprehensive training and a certification program that provides a career path. For their part, dealers generally acknowledged that investment in training – whether for existing or incoming workers – has a great deal of impact on the dealership's bottom line, and would help them to attract and retain qualified workers. But the catch is, dealers also said finding the time for training can be a challenge and that "training is a long-term investment and may not pay dividends immediately." Unfortunately, that can lead to decisions to postpone training. We won't know for some time how 2020 will end in terms of shipment numbers and sales, but the early indications are very encouraging, as are signs that the industry is making continued inroads with many first-time campers. "While Baby Boomers may have been the industry's bread and butter, now it is all about continuing to seek out a younger, more diverse consumer base," the RVTI survey says. "Over the past several months, data has shown a growing percentage of RV buyers are coming from a younger, more diverse demographic, and dealers are recognizing the need to understand that the new consumer is more informed than ever and has a different set of needs and expectations when it comes to brand, quality and purchase experience." Previous research suggests that this younger, newer demographic is a lot less forgiving of delays and errors than previous ones. Given how important techs are to customer satisfaction, it's imperative that dealers not waste the opportunity 2020 has given us. Make sure you invest in training for your fixed operations team. It will pay dividends. As always, thanks for reading. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/RVProMagazine Follow us on Twitter: Twitter.com/RVProMagazine Follow us on Linkedin: linkedin.com/groups/2801212

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