February '21

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68 • RV PRO • February 2021 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T O n the heels of a two-month COVID-19 shutdown of many in-person events in 2020, Lakewood, Colo.-based Windish RV Center turned to virtual events to drive sales for the dealership. Over a three-day Facebook Live stream in May, the team generated more than 100 quality leads and closed 59 RV sales – using their cell phones to record videos and a customer service platform on its website for real-time interaction, according to General Manager Corey Shaw. Today, as much of the country continues to follow social distancing guidelines linked to COVID-19, plenty of RV businesses have taken to hosting virtual events, including dealership chain Camping World, multiple independent RV dealers and Canadian dealer group RV Care. Additionally, manufacturer rep firm Derema Group, RV manufacturers Grand Design, Heart- land, Newmar and Winnebago Towables and industry associations National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and the RV Dealers Association opted for virtual events in 2020, and more events are planned for this year. Hybrid Events Are the Future As COVID-19 restrictions shift across states to allow small-scale events with safety precautions in place, event production companies like San Francisco-based Entire Productions are devel- oping bridge strategies to help its clients com- bine virtual and in-person customer experiences. "We believe hybrid events are going to be the new norm for trade shows and walk-throughs," says Communications Specialist Madeline Raithel. "Hybrid events provide a little more engagement for the people viewing them." Hybrid events allow dealers and suppliers to customize the experience for customers. One example would be if a dealership livestreamed Doing Business IN A Virtual World As COVID-19 lingers, the RV industry is pivoting to virtual events for sales, training and industry connectedness. By Holli Koster

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