A combination of a new venue, an aggressive social media campaign, direct mail postcards, radio, television and quarter page ads in the Boston Globe all helped to contribute to record crowds at the Boston RV & Camping Expo last weekend. Over 25,000 avid RV prospects poured through the doors all four days of the event. This was more people than in 2007 when it was a nine day show.
On Saturday the lines were out the door and down the sidewalk a half hour before the show opened, and they were that long - and longer - throughout the balance of the day until late afternoon. There were times when people waited an hour to get into the show, and stuck it out.
Also impressive at this show was the number of true newbies to the RV lifestyle wanting to learn more about RVs and RVing. I taught a "First Time Buyers Seminar" each day of the show and had between 60-75 people at each session. Amazingly, when asked how many people currently owned an RV, in each session only two or three hands went up. We did indeed attract "first timers" to this show.
Another great sign was the number of young families and kids in strollers or on dad's shoulders as their eyes surveyed the landscape of trailers, fifth-wheels, and motorhomes.
It will be interesting to see if the same demographics exist at the upcoming Springfield RV & Camping show that will be in Springfield, Mass., on President's Day weekend. This is typically a towables show and geared toward young families than in Boston.
When you consider the miserable weather that the Northeast has endured this winter, coupled with people still fighting high unemployment and uncertain financial challenges, and then throw in rising gas prices ... this show was a home run in anybody's ballpark.
Dealer's were overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time. Better than that, they were writing deals.
The only negative comment I can make is the continued practice of manufacturer's reps leaving the show early to go home. Many of them had left Boston by late Saturday afternoon and were no where in site on Sunday. Their job is to support the dealer's showing their products at the show. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years and for the life of me I do not understand why their sales managers to not make them work the entire show and stand side-by-side with the dealer's who are representing them at the show and in New England. With the lines as long as they were, and with the halls filled with prospective RVers, why would anybody head for the airport early? Sure baffles me, how about you?
What are the shows you are attending like this year? Hope they are all as good as Boston. Let us know!