Mandy Alonso is gearing up for an exceptional week.
The founder of America Choice RV, Alonso has more than 50 salespeople who will man roughly 100 RVs at the Florida State Fairgrounds, with plans to sell up to 120 RVs during the Florida RV SuperShow, which runs today through Sunday.
In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, industry representatives like Alonso report that this year’s event is shaping up to be a record breaker.
The event has pulled in about 63,000 people for the past two years. If the weather holds up, Dave Kelly, head of marketing for the Florida RV Trade Association, has set the ambitious goal of 70,000 attendees.
Bob Phebus, vice president of sales and marketing for Oregon-based Marathon Coach, which manufactures RVs costing up to $2.5 million apiece, said the company’s workforce fell from 400 to about 250 during the recession. But it’s been climbing ever since. He has showrooms in Dallas and San Antonio, Fla.
“There’s a camera in the front of the vehicle that you couldn’t find if you wanted to,” Phebus said of a 2017 Class A on display.
Of course, every year TVs get thinner and brighter, but major technological changes haven’t come to the luxury RV industry in a few years, said Marathon Coach’s director of engineering, Mark Bryan. The focus has been on keeping each vehicle’s wireless connections secure, so that hackers can’t access that hidden camera, the lights or the pop-out awnings. The company has both an internal data security team as well as contracted help, he said.
The gadgets are becoming more of a focus for all price points, Alonso explained.
“It used to be beauty and comfort,” he said. “Now it’s about all of the gadgets. . . . The more buttons you put in, the more (millennials and baby boomers) like it.”