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The basic creative concepts for the next three-year component of the Go RVing Coalition’s national market expansion advertising campaign, currently under review by a panel of coalition members and Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) staff, are to be presented during RVIA Committee Week, June 6-9 at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The campaign, directed by The Richards Group of Dallas, Texas, is currently on the downside of Phase III, budgeted at $58 million for 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Phase IV concepts more than likely will project the themes and prospective buyer targets culled from the latest Harris Interactive Communications Planning Study conducted by Harris Interactive. The Rochester, N.Y.-based market research firm has updated a comparable 2001 study with new data about the demographics and psychographics of the industry’s target audiences.
The objective was to profile RV prospects based on their travel attitudes and behaviors and to identify the best RV information sources and messages to reach them. Harris identified the following three groups – the last two of which are altogether new on the coaltion’s marketing radar, according to Chris Morrison, senior director of marketing communications for Reston, Va.-based RVIA:
* “The family that plays together”: This group, which the GoRVing Coalition has targeted all along, is comprised of parents who want to spend time bonding with their children. Typically aged between 35 and 49, their average household income is $84,900.
* “The get up and go crowd”: Members of this group are enthusiastic about motor sports – encompassing everyone from tailgaters to off road vehicle enthusiasts – sporting events and saving money on travel. More than half of this group is between 35 and 49 years old and the majority have no children. Their average household income is $81,800.
* “Nature Lovers”: Members of this market segment are mostly empty nesters who enjoy the peace and quiet of scenic destinations off the beaten path. Of prospect groups, “nature lovers” are the oldest, with 35% being between 50 and 64. They are also the most affluent with an average household income of $93,600.
Curiously, most people in the two new categories do not have children, yet they are just as likely to purchase an RV as a family with children, according to Harris Interactive.
But while the latest Harris Interactive survey identified these distinct groups of potential RV buyers, it also found demographic similarities among all prospective RV buyers:
* More than 60% of all RV prospects are married.
* Their average age is 41.
* 40% have a least one child under age 18.
* 68% are white/Caucasian, while African Americans and Hispanics represent 16% and 11%, respectively. Asian-Americans make up 4%.
Prospective RV buyers across all market segments, by the same token, share other similarities as well:
* They consider avoiding travel hassles (84%), strengthening relationships (77%) and exploring lesser-known destinations (75%) to be very or somewhat important in planning leisure trips.
* A majority agree that RVs make travel convenient for any age or physical condition (63%) and make weekend getaways easier (61%).
* 61% own pickups, SUVs, minivans or conversion vans – vehicles that can be used to tow RVs.
In terms of the GoRVing campaign itself, the survey found that www.gorving.com was the third most popular source of RV information after newspapers and advice from friends.
The survey, in turn, identified some marketing challenges.
For starters, cruises, vacation homes and home entertainment remain serious competitors for the favor of would-be buyers.
The survey also found that cost is the biggest deterrent to a recreational vehicle purchase. In fact, survey respondents generally believed that recreational vehicles cost more than they do primarily because most envision motorhomes rather than towable products when they think of an RV.
The expense and difficulty of RV operation, completing various tasks involved in RV usage and confronting possible problems with storage and parking RVs were also seen as barriers in the perceptions of prospective RV enthusiats.
The Harris Interactive study was based on 1,275 online interviews conducted in August of 2004. Qualified respondents for the study included non-owners between 21 and 64 with annual incomes of at least $40,000 who considered themselves likely to purchase an RV in the next few years or had valid driver’s licenses and made at least one overnight U.S., Canadian or Mexican trip during the past year. The previous Harris study was conducted by phone.
Morrison said the next round of television and print ads would be produced this summer and debut during the Louisville Show before being released to the general public in early 2006.