Exhibitors at this year’s RV Dealers’ Association Exposition say they’re prepared to give attendees plenty of reasons to visit their booths.
In place of old standbys like pamphlets and pens emblazoned with company logos, exhibitors at this year’s Expo say their booths will be much more interactive and in some cases offer hands-on product demonstrations.
The 2011 RV Dealers International Convention and Expo – with the theme of “ReVolution Take Charge Today” – is scheduled for Oct. 3-7 at The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“It looks like a nice mix of service providers, components parts, as well as a few new manufacturers,” Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications with RVDA, says of this year’s exhibitors. He adds, “Many exhibitors have gotten very innovative and interactive. Many service providers will offer online demonstrations of what their computer systems look like.”
Free Financial Tune-up, Plus HR Assistance
This year’s RVDA Expo features a mix of exhibitors, including suppliers, software and consulting firms, and RV manufacturers. The event is scheduled for Oct. 3-7.
Consulting firm Marzahn and King, a regular exhibitor at the RVDA Convention & Expo, will offer dealers a free financial checkup at its booth.
“We’ve got a number of products we’d like to show. One is a DMS mark-up that we’re doing,” says Chuck Marzahn, a principal with the firm. “So you could send us your DMS statement and we’ll mark it up for you.
“If they can give us the file – it might be best for them to e-mail us the information prior to the show – we can go over what we found,” he adds. “We’d be able to show them what we noticed about their financial statement that is out of whack.”
There is no charge for Marzahn & King to review a dealers’ DMS statement. However, the file needs to be in an accessible format: Both IDS and Systems 2000 DMS statements work; dealers might want to contact the consulting firm in advance if they use another DMS format.
Marzahn & King also will have its resident professional human resources pro, Betty Mills, on-hand at the booth to answer dealers’ questions regarding hiring RV professionals, as well as other HR matters.
“Certainly, if you’re needing people these days, there’s a reason to stop by our booth, because we can help with that,” Marzahn says. “If they’re in the hiring mode, they should talk with Betty, who has done literally tens of thousands of interviews with dealership personnel.”
‘Dancing Head’ Videos & Free Website Service
Aside from unveiling new products, website services firm UVS Junction plans to entertain dealers who stop by its booth by offering a unique photo opportunity: A green screen and voice-over fun, says UVS Junction Director Angie Cellucci.
“UVS Junction will be announcing new and exciting web development and software products,” she says. “Shoot your own fun ‘dancing head’ video in our video booth with a friend, and take home the DVD. They can also enter to win one year of website service valued at $7,140.”
A familiar voice from Florida, the home state of UVS, Joe, “the voice of Disney,” will also be at the UVS booth, Cellucci adds.
Meanwhile, the men and women of dealer management systems firm Systems 2000 will be wearing tuxedoes and evening gowns in their booth. A company representative told RV PRO that dressing up will coincide with that company’s “black tie” services.
Demonstrating Products & Dealer Incentives
One company combining high-end displays with dealer incentives is Zamp Solar LLC, which manufactures a line of solar charging systems.
“We have a really nice display, which showcases our core product,” says John Yozamp, the company president. “It’s a full walk-around steel display that showcases five of our most popular solar charging systems.”
Several exhibitors at this year’s Expo will offer hands-on demonstrations of their software systems. Pictured above, an RV Solutions staff member shows a dealer how the company’s RV Partsfinder product works.
Part of Zamp’s display will demonstrate to dealers how a solar charging system can be pre-loaded into every trailer, allowing dealers to bundle the sale into the F&I process.
“This is the first pre-loaded program available to RV dealers’ F&I departments in the industry,” Yozamp says. “We have a 10-watt charging program and bulk kits to pre-load all units in stock at a reasonable cost, which allows F&I (personnel) to sell systems and greatly increase the gross profit on the trailer and to be able to up-sale from there.”
Also, something the company hopes to demonstrate at the RVDA Expo is that Zamp Solar offers in-person sales training. Yozamp says his company can assist a dealership’s F&I department sell the benefits of a solar charger to customers, with customers having the option of keeping the solar charging device, or having it removed, at the time of the RV purchase.
“There is a 60-70-percent closing ratio, where if customers decide to keep it, they choose to pay an additional fee, but there is no installation cost,” he says. “This also provides for upgrades at no additional installation costs either.”
Improving the Customer Experience
For its part, ADP Lightspeed will use the RV Expo to highlight all of the services it can offer dealers beyond a basic dealer management system.
“We will be offering dealers some big changes in terms of providing whole solutions,” says Adam Shiflett, the marketing director for ADP Lightspeed. “We’ve gone from DMS to offering many different solutions. Our goal is to help dealers improve the customer experience their customers have.”
In order to do that, Shiflett says ADP Lightspeed will not only offer a display of its dealer management system – which deals with a dealership’s operations, parts and orders and F&I – but also display its new customer management tool.
“The customer management tool tracks a customer’s lifecycle – providing the dealership automatic responses, updates and reminders,” Shiflett says. “For example, when a customer goes and buys an RV, the dealership can log that purchase, and (the customer management system) e-mails that customer with a ‘thank you’ (note). Three months later, the system automatically notifies that customer that it is time to bring their unit in for service, and after three years, the salesperson gets a reminder that the customer may want to upgrade.”
ADP also will use the Expo to demonstrate the “efficiency builder” component to its system, which will highlight its credit checks and credit card processing systems.
“I think we really want to show dealers we have solutions for problems that they are dealing with every single day – whether it’s inventory control, customer loyalty, or making business run smoother,” Shiflett says. “We offer some great things and just want to find an opportunity to partner with dealers.”
Putting a Face to a Product
Systems 2000 dealer management system team members are seen pictured in a tux and evening gown in this photo from the 2010 RVDA Expo. Members of Systems 2000 dress in formal wear at trade shows to symbolize the company’s “black tie” services.
Leisure Travel Vans, which was bought by Canadian manufacturer Triple E RV in 2010, is hoping to meet RVDA members and acquire new dealers for its Class B line of Leisure Travel vans. This will be Triple E’s first year to have a display at the RVDA Expo.
“Leisure Travel Vans has a better recognition and more dealers that are in the U.S. and around Las Vegas, where Triple E RV didn’t have much of a presence, so it’s where we want to get involved,” explains Ernie Penner, sales and marketing manager for Leisure Travel Vans and Triple E RV. “As a manufacturer, we are looking more to promote our new products.”
One such product is the Unity, which Leisure Travel Vans and Triple E RV unveiled late last year.
“We have developed new floorplans to the 25-foot coach, which has European features and technology; built on a Mercedes-Benz chassis. It’s a unique little floorplan,” Penner says. “Vegas is a step forward.”
Also new to the Expo this year is Bitimec Speedy Wash Inc., which is seeking to determine how dealers respond to its Speedy Wash machine, which is specifically designed to wash RVs and trucks. The company plans to demonstrate its washer at the show.
“We will show it and see if there is any interest in the industry,” says Bitimec President Bruno Albanesi. “We’ve been making it for 22 years, and in showing the machine at the show, people will see that it’s a big timesaver, especially to maintenance departments.”
All in all, RVDA officials anticipate this year’s international expo and convention will provide a well-rounded representation of what the industry has to offer.
RVDA’s Expo offers dealers a chance to see products and services up close and to quiz exhibitors about their offerings.
“RVDA is looking forward to a great Expo this year,” RVDA’s Ingrassia concludes. “From dealer management software providers, to financial services, to RV component suppliers and manufacturers, all sectors of dealer vendors are represented. It’s a great opportunity to visit face-to-face with company representatives.”