Speaking at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Annual Membership Meeting as part of the group’s RV Leadership Conference on March 2 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton, FL, RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer told attendees that the RV business is in a strong position.
As reported by RVIA Today Express, Hugelmeyer said that the robust shipment increases of the RV market seen in 2016 are the result of a deep affinity for RV travel and ownership with consumers. “The RV market had its best comparable performance of any year since 1980 with more than 430,600 units shipped,” he said. “Over that nearly 40-year time period, the RV industry has enjoyed a positive growth trend despite year-to-year fluctuations. It is evident that RVing continues to grow as a consumer lifestyle choice.”
He also believes the short-term outlook for the RV industry remains bright. “Looking out over the next year, we see strong orders, increased production capacity and favorable economic conditions helping push the RV market to a shipment level of 445,700 units,” Hugelmeyer said.
There are also a number of factors that will benefit the industry in the long term. “Younger and more diverse buying groups are showing a keen interest in RV ownership. The Go RVing effort is investing heavily in promotional campaigns to reach and engage these audiences, who represent the customers of tomorrow,” Hugelmeyer said. “Beyond that are just basic numbers working in our favor. There are 159% more consumers today than in 1980, and, there are double the number of drivers. That is a growing base of potential owners.”
Hugelmeyer advised that to capture this potential, the RV industry must continue to work collaboratively in a number of areas, including:
• Improving the Customer Experience – “Quick service and turn-around on all repairs is a consumer expectation, and providing exemplary service will ensure continued consumer loyalty to the RV lifestyle,” he said.
• Joint Advocacy and Political Reach – “The RV industry has an unprecedented opportunity to work with the Trump White House and the new administration to advance our legislative agenda,” he said. “This includes improving public lands and campgrounds by ensuring that outdoor recreation is recognized as a major economic sector; modernizing existing campgrounds; and creating more high-quality places for our customers to use their RVs.”
• Creating a Unified “RV Industry Week” – “We took an early swing at this and we need to revisit it. RVIA, RVDA, ARVC and RVAA need to work closely together to build a home where we celebrate all segments of the RV industry” he added.
In closing, Hugelmeyer stressed that the RV industry will be better served by moving forward together. “Remember that we are not in competition among ourselves,” he said. “If we all unite to focus on shared strategic goals that is what will make the RV industry stronger.”