Expectations are high for the 2019 edition of America’s Largest RV Show, slated for Sept. 11-15 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. According to show producers, this year the show is expected to surpass 2018 when inclement weather from tropical storms dropped the attendance from a record of 64,000 attendees in 2017 to 60,000 last year.
Hosted by the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association (PRVCA) and featuring 160 vendors and 1,300 RVs from 45 manufacturers occupying more than a million square feet of indoor and outdoor display space, the Hershey Show is one of the largest retail RV shows in the country – second only in attendance to the Florida RV Trade Association’s Tampa Super Show.
Vendor booths have been sold out since March and manufacturer display space has also sold out, PRVCA Executive Director Heather Leach told RVBUSINESS.com.
“We are looking for another great year,” she said. “We have some new manufacturers in the show this year and some new booth vendors as well. We are always excited when we can have some new faces here.
“We have our educational lineup on Monday and Tuesday for the trade partners. It will be a pretty nice lineup – everything from electricity classes by Norcold refrigerators, a sales tip technique class and quite a variety that offers continuing education units. Better educating our trade and OEM partners is something we always strive for.”
So far ticket sales are on par with last year as PRVCA will again offer an online ticket purchase system.
“Last year, we initiated a real online ticketing service where they can purchase tickets online up until the day of the show,” said Leach. “So, we are still getting people used to doing that as opposed to waiting at the gate to purchase their tickets. It worked really well. I am thinking this year it be even better than last year. We are still trying to determine a projection but I would say right now we are on par with last year. By the end of August our numbers really start to jump.”
Also of note, Leach mentioned a new user-friendly website that will help boost sales.
“That should make things a little nicer for everybody,” she said. “Because our No. 1 phone call we received in the show office last year was, ‘Can I buy my tickets online?’ This year the answer is a strong ‘Yes you can!’”
As for the market flattening out with the exception of the Class B market, Leach believes the industry has been gearing for stabilization in sales for about six months.
“All the dealers and manufacturers are preparing at some point for the market to stabilize a little more,” she shared. “It has been quite a boom the last few of years. I think the dealers that I have talked to have been preparing for a little bit of a slow down. They are still making sales and are comfortable with what they see out there. I don’t think anyone is getting nervous from what I can tell. Keeping up that kind of momentum is difficult to do for any industry.”