GRAPEVINE, Texas – At the start of the NTP-STAG 2020 Expo luncheon, Bryan Fletcher, Valterra’s VP of sales and marketing, had one request: “Pat yourself on the back.” The crowded ballroom of the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center obliged happily, raising their hands in the air and giving themselves a pat. According to the slideshow presentation, the reason was clear: retail is on the rise.
The number of new RVs on the road has increased by 2.4 million in the past 8 years.
“The dealer build has been down the last three or four years – and that could certainly lead you to think the year 2020 is going to be half empty,” said Fletcher. “But the reality is, at the dealer and retail level, we’ve had an unbelievable growth in the install base in our market.”
With more than nine million RVs on the road, Fletcher said the parts and service industry will be plenty happy in 2020 despite market concerns.
NTP-STAG President Bill Rogers echoed similar sentiments. He also mentioned how RV University – the Expo’s day dedicated to product training and educational seminars – proved to be the best-attended segments yet. On that note, he added that NTP-STAG’s Professional Retail Organization (P.R.O.) – a platform established in 2010 and created to enhance dealer education and streamline certification – will be updated Jan. 31. The improved platform will feature access to completed courses, Mike Molino RV Learning Center continuing education units, gamification, and more.
This is all in an effort to better prepare dealers for how new technologies are being incorporated into products (e.g. Bluetooth-connected products, electric RVs) and campgrounds (like Kampgrounds of America’s virtual reality platform showcased at RVX).
“Staying up-to-date and current with all the education that goes with all of this stuff is more critical than ever before,” Rogers told the room of vendors and dealers. “We also know that consumers that we care about – and need to buy all of our great products will be different. With different needs and requirements than those people in the last decade.”
He went on to mention how gas prices are forecasted to be “stable and low,” and that the stock market is continuing an upward trend.
“So, similar to Brian Fletcher, we see blue skies and green pastures in our 2020 vision,” concluded Rogers. “We see huge opportunities for dealer growth and expansion. And we have a multitude of business development ideas for you at the Expo.”