The RV America Y’all channel on YouTube recently sat down with Newmar President Casey Tubman and his wife Nicole for an interview.
Newmar Corp. executives, product managers, engineers and others recently returned from the company’s 37th Annual International Rally with a better understanding of what owners like – and don’t like – about their coaches.
Hosted by the Newmar Kountry Club owners group and held Sept. 30 to Oct. 7 at the state fairgrounds in Sedalia, Mo., Newmar officials said the event – which this year featured some 485 RVs and nearly 900 owners – is always a highlight for the company.
“We want them to tell us what they’re thinking because the only way we’ll improve products is to hear it,” Newmar President Casey Tubman told RVBusiness, who said all employees with a direct connection to the end-user participated in the rally.
“We basically put the people that are going to interact with customers or design it for the customer at the top of the tier. And then we put executives and other people below that because we want to make sure they had that availability,” he continued. “We’re going to continue that for next year’s rally and, if anything, grow it — because I can tell you it makes a huge difference in the information we’re getting and how we’re able to interact with customers. So, we’ll just keep making that bigger and bigger.”
Of the Newmar contingent, about 60 were service technicians, parts people and others who attended the rally.
“We basically set up a parts store and we did more than 400 work orders to get people’s coaches back to new again – which is one of the reasons many people put the rally on their list: they know they can get service right at their coach,” Tubman said. “They don’t have to go out of their way and it’s done by Newmar staff, the service techs of our actual factory service, versus a dealer technician. So, they know they’re getting things done absolutely the best way that they can be done.”
Tubman and his wife, Nicole, and several other Newmar executives drove to the rally in Newmar motorhomes and camped alongside rally attendees.
“Basically, we wanted the people there to know we’re using our products just like they are and learning about them and what things we like and what things we don’t. And we spent time asking them those things as well,” Tubman explained. “But, it’s really about the more experience we have with the products and the better we can make them for owners.”
Continuing on that sentiment, Tubman said the “best thing” Newmar could do is listen to the end-user.
“You have people that will tell you their life story and their journey of getting their motorhome and using it and the experiences they’ve had, the sightseeing they’ve done, the people they’ve met and friends they’ve made,” he said. “They’re more than happy to tell you that story and they smile the whole time. And it’s great to hear that. It makes you proud to be on the manufacturing side and helping them achieve their dreams.
“They’ll also tell you if they have an issue and we’re not scared of that at all,” Tubman added. “We are here to help them when they have those. That’s why we have brand specialists who are on the phones 24/7, ready to help them and, again, take care of them with almost a one-to-one relationship. People that own these know that they can call that person, that they’re there for them, they know them by name and they normally usually have each other’s cell phone numbers just in case they need them.”
In addition to several events, nightly entertainment and delicious meals, another highlight of the rally for Tubman is the camaraderie and friendships that develop because of it – in large part because Newmar has such a large presence at the rally and other gatherings.
“Absolutely,” he said. “For example, the YouTube recording with Tom and Stacy Langland from ‘RV America Y’all’ (see the video above) was because we met them at a grand opening. We both were camping at that one and we met them, got to know them and became friends.
“And then we saw them again at the rally, and spent some time with them there,” he continued. “By the end of the week they said, ‘Do you mind sitting down with us?’ And you noticed it wasn’t just me, right? They could have said, ‘We just want to talk to the president of the company.’ But they said, ‘No, we want to talk to Casey and Nicole.’ So, that shows how you can become friends at the rallies.”