LAS VEGAS – As the RV Dealers Association Convention/Expo wound down early Thursday afternoon, many exhibitors finally had a break in the action to check emails that had been piling up while business was being conducted at the Expo.
By the time the teams began breaking down their booths, most of the dealers in attendance were either checking out one last round of educational tracks or had headed for home.
But overall, the show had to be deemed a success. RVDA President Phil Ingrassia said attendance for the four-day show increased 4 percent over the 2014 show, with about 1,300 people in attendance.
“We’re getting a lot of really good feedback,” Ingrassia said. “Our general session speaker had the right message for the right time and our dealers are on board. The dealers are having a good year, but they aren’t taking success for granted. Our new chairman in his speech also set a high bar. If we really want to reach a half-million shipment (goal), we’re really going to have to improve our customer service and marketing.”
A consistent message throughout the show and in many of the education tracks was that, although times are good, customers aren’t buying RVs in the same fashion they did 10 years ago.
The modern customer is well informed about the products he is looking for before he ever sets foot in a dealership. As a result, customers visit fewer dealerships and know exactly what they want and how much they are willing to pay before they see a sales rep.
“Some of the old ways are no longer effective,” Ingrassia said. “We have to learn to communicate with our customers in the way they want to be communicated with.”
A final evening reception was attended by around 250 people, many of whom were already talking about making plans for next month’s RV Industry Association Show in Louisville, Ky.