There were plenty of questions as the gates opened on Wednesday, the first of five public days. There were long lines at 9AM and attendance was steady all day long. More people came on Thursday and Friday and then on Saturday, all records were broken as over 16,000 people visited the show. By the time the show closed on Sunday, a new all-time record for attendance had been set - 41,131 RV fans and owners had been part of an incredible show.
While I was out there, I had a chance to spend some quality time with several RV friends over dinner and drinks and the conversations would often come back to how we - as an industry - can provide RV owners with better products, better service, and better education so that they will become RV enthusiasts and not just RV consumers. What would it take to have them all become evangelists for the lifestyle and the many benefits it brings to families and friends throughout the year?
There is no question the industry can do better, and that is going to take a better working relationship between manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and campground owners. There are still far too many issues impacting consumers once they have purchased a new RV.
While we are not going to solve all the problems in one little blog, let me tell you about some of my RV friends that have web sites that you might enjoy if you have not found them yourself while surfing the Internet for all things relating to your RV lifestyle.
Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor, is a wealth of information when it comes to understanding how your RV is supposed to work, and what to do when it doesn't! Gary has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever know about RVs, and he shares his knowledge with the RV world through seminars at major trade shows, frequent articles in RV consumer publications and through books and videos found on many RV web sites. If you are at an RV show that features Gary in one of their seminars, you will want to sit in on the session. Regardless of what he is teaching that day, you will learn something you didn't know about RV you have invested in.
Another guy we spent a lot of time with during the Hershey show was Mark Polk, RV Education 101 - one of the most respected authors of books and DVD's on everything from basic education to informative how-to's for driving, parking and caring for your RV investment. I don't understand why every RV dealership doesn't have these DVD's and books on sale in their parts and accessories store, unless they just don't want you to know how these toys work and how you can enjoy them more when they are working the way they are supposed to. Mark and his wonderful wife Dawn, have built a great business the old fashioned way ... they earned it and worked hard to get where they are today and you'll enjoy doing business with them.
One of the most respected RV web sites on the Internet belongs to Greg Gerber, RV Daily Report. This site is a daily staple for most people in the RV industry and you will find the very latest news from every aspect of the business here. While it is a trade site, there is plenty of consumer related information to peak your interest, and you get to look over the shoulder of the industry folks at the same time. Greg will soon be launching a couple of new consumer RV web sites that you should find very interesting.
I start every Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and a great RV newsletter that is usually sitting in the inbox screaming "read me first!" Chuck Woodbury at RVTravel.com is the author of this long-running industry favorite that is jam packed with RV items and videos every week. Chuck has several RV sites out there but the newsletter and his RV Bookstore site are the two most popular with RVers.
My RV business associate here at RV Insights is John DiPietro. John is a national author, sales and marketing executive and television broadcaster who is an active RVer and we enjoy working on many projects together. We first met at one of my "First Time Buyer's Seminars" that I was presenting at the 2008 Boston RV & Camping Expo. You have probably seen some of the RV videos that John has produced the past few years. His television personality really comes through in his videos. John's blog, Motorhome Mayhem, is very popular with all types of RV owners.
It's always a great time to catch up with other RV professionals at the leading consumer and industry trade shows. Even better when we can relax with good friends, good food, good drink and all in a comfortable place where we can enjoy each other's company.
Check these sites out if you are not familiar with them. They offer you an incredible amount of honest information that will enhance your RV lifestyle and make you want to hit the open road more often
Travel safe and enjoy your travels.