Jim Rogers

Jim Rogers

Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), will join an industry panel discussion examining the current economic factors affecting the RV industry during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

The panel, titled “RV Market: Rebound in Sight,” will be led by RV industry’s retail scorekeeper Tom Walworth of Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m., according to a release from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).

Rogers currently focuses on strategic partnerships and corporate growth for KOA.  KOA offers more than 55,000 RV, tent, and Kamping Kabin sites at more than 450 U.S. and Canadian campgrounds.

In addition to Rogers, the panel of industry experts includes Mark Beecher, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Bank of the West, and Derald Bontrager, president  and COO of Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind.  The group will focus on the mindset of today’s RV traveler and what products they will buy, how these trends will impact the market, and how dealers can better position their dealerships for success. 

“We are fortunate to have these knowledgeable people in the RV industry join us for what will be an interesting and informative session as we prepare for the recovery that we know is coming,” said RVDA Education Foundation Chairman Rick Horsey.

This is just one of the workshops planned for the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo featuring the RV Learning Center, which will be held Oct. 6-9.  For special advance registration savings, register by Sept. 4.   For more information and to register, visit the convention section of www.rvda.org and follow the RV Learning Center and convention on Facebook and Linkedin.

Meanwhile, advance registration for the event is exceeding expectations.

With the deadline on Friday to take advantage of  discounts, RVDA has 280 people from 163 U.S. dealerships and 59 people from 34 Canadian dealerships registered, according to Phil Ingrassia, RVDA vice president of communications 

“It’s better than we thought,” he told RVBUSINESS.COM. “It’s not up to last year (when 560 dealers were registered). But to be honest with you it’s better than what we had  budgeted for. We’re very pleased with this turnout but we would like to get it higher.”

He said RVDA would mount a big push this week to urge dealers to sign up to take advantage of the best rates to attend.

“We knew it was going to be a tough year, but we think we have put together a good value proposition for dealers,” he said. “We have good workshops, good hotel rates at the Rio and tried to keep all costs down. It will still be a very important meeting.”

RVDA has tracked 160 dealership closings since 2008, but with RV production picking up across the U.S., there are signs that the worst is over.

“That’s what we’re hearing from a lot of dealers,” Ingrassia continued. “You’ve got to feel like it will be better in 2010. but some dealers are still having a lot of issues. We’ve built the (Expo) program  around that — financing, business planning and human resources. These are issues dealers have to look at when they get ready for the recovery.”