Editor’s Note: Derrick A. Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition, shared these comments on a story posted Monday on the RVBUSINESS.COM website quoting Gina Martin Adams’ forecast of consumer attitudes Nov. 10 at the National Marine Bankers Association Annual Conference in Hilton Head, S.C. The Wells Fargo Securities economist said today’s American consumers are changing. “You will lose those consumers in 2010 and 2011 if you think they are the same consumers that you sold to from 2003 to 2007,” she said.
I think that Gina Martin Adams’ forecast about consumer attitudes for the next several years is likely to prove correct. There is a new realism about stability of assets, in homes and in the stock market and a real aversion to being too debt-laden. And this has important – and positive – implications for the RV business. Unlike high-end leisure purchases of overseas trips, cruises and luxurious resorts, money spent buying an RV isn’t lost. The RV is available for additional uses – weekend getaways, accommodations while visiting family that beat sleeping on couches and staying in hotels, tailgating and next year’s grand adventures.
But the real lure for RV sales is what an RV unlocks. For just $10, any American over the age of 62 can purchase a lifetime of free entry into our national parks and hundreds of other great places, including national wildlife refuges and national forests. These federal lands cover one-third of the nation and offer hiking, fishing, picnicking, swimming and other water sports, wildlife viewing and more. They are connected by more than 150 national scenic byways – great places for RV travelers. And the $10 fee is for all of the passengers in the RV, whether they are 62 or not – so bring the grandkids. And camping in national parks is a bargain, too.
If an RV prospect is not 62 –no problem. The same unlimited access for all of the passengers in an RV or other vehicle is just $80 annually – the America the Beautiful Pass.
Bottom line is that the RV industry can capitalize on consumer sentiments and the focus on value. Our message is remarkably like that used successfully by Wal-Mart for the past 18 months: Save money. Live better.
Good slogan for the RV business any time, but especially now.