Attendance was up 13% at the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) three-day consumer show that ended in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday (March 30), and dealers were happy with their sales during the event, according to Dave Kelly, marketing director.
Paid adult attendance totaled 7,107 at this year’s show inside the Broward County Convention Center, compared with 6,313 adult attendees in 2002, Kelly said.
An additional 500 to 700 children attended the show, a total that was helped by the fact Fort Lauderdale area schools were closed for spring break on Friday (March 28), the first day of the FRVTA’s event, Kelly said.
“The dealers were extremely pleased. I did not talk to a single dealer who was not ecstatic” about sales during the show, Kelly said. “Sales were up across the board from the least expensive folding campers to motorhomes selling for over $200,000. There were dealers who had two to four sales on opening day and that’s unusual.”
Clearly, the Fort Lauderdale show did not suffer from an Iraq War-induced “CNN-affect,” although Kelly said, “If there had been a major development in the war, we could have had a drop-off” in attendance.
“We might have been in trouble had the show been a week earlier,” he speculated. “People may have just wanted to get out of the house” last weekend.
The Fort Lauderdale show brought the FRVTA’s retail show season to a close and attendance was up 10% to 20% at eight of the association’s nine shows this year. The only exception was the Jacksonville RV Supershow Feb. 6-9, where cold rainy weather held down attendance at the outdoor event, Kelly said.
Most likely, sales during the shows were not up as much at the attendance because “people still are a little bit cautious,” Kelly said. However, the FRVTA’s shows are attracting significant numbers of potential first-time buyers, so it is clear that the RV industry’s midrange to long-term future is bright, he said.