This year’s annual Airstream Dealer Training Event was held virtually instead of onsite as it has been in the past because of COVID restrictions. The company’s nearly 1,000 employees are still operating under COVID protocols, and the company said that many dealers who would normally travel to Jackson Center, Ohio, were not interested in getting on a plane for the event.
Dealers in more than 30 states and five countries outside the United States – Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, South Korea, and Germany – gained access to a wealth of product knowledge, an inside look at Airstream’s handmade manufacturing process, and education about the iconic history of this 90-year-old company.
“This was more than just a video conference,” said Airstream Vice President of Sales, Justin Humphreys. “The training event has always been about giving our dealers the tools and knowledge they need to help customers discover which Airstream is right for them. We couldn’t bring them to Jackson Center, but in a way this technology allowed us to dive even deeper into how these products enable an incredible travel lifestyle.”
More than 11 hours of video content took dealers inside the manufacturing process from start to finish and included full tours of the Airstream production facilities – travel trailers, touring coaches, and Basecamp – each of which is a new home for that production line.
“There have been a lot of changes in Jackson Center since our last in-person factory training event in November of 2019,” said Humphreys. “In just the past 12 months we moved our travel trailer operation into a brand-new plant, which then opened up a new facility for our touring coach operation. Moving into the vacant travel trailer plant meant our touring coaches had a building nearly six times larger than their old facility. The added space for both divisions has given us the opportunity to significantly enhance our production process with the added space. This was the dealer network’s first look at our new facilities and an in-depth examination of these new production processes.”
Dealers also experienced full video walkthroughs of each of Airstream’s model lines, with a review of key features in each model. And never-before-seen historic footage gave dealers a look at the company’s storied past. Sessions ended with trivia games to test the dealers on their new knowledge – and encourage a little friendly competition.
“The virtual factory training event has provided us a digital platform to grow our training here at Airstream in the future,” said Airstream National Training Manager, Heather Sailer. “We really engaged the dealers as learners from beginning to end.”
By using a tool created for training events like these, Airstream said it gained valuable metrics throughout the sessions, allowing the company to improve the effectiveness of the training for future events.
“I would like to thank our dealer partners for their incredible support of this completely new training venue,” said Sailer. “We look forward to implementing the valuable feedback we received and building on it in the future.”
Humphreys praised Sailer and the whole Airstream training team for bringing the popular event to life online.
“This wasn’t easy but hats off to the team for their flexibility and determination to make this experience not only work, but be so successful,” said Humphreys. “Through their hard work and the support of our dealer partners around the world, the Airstream customer experience will continue to lead the industry in 2021.”