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Editor’s Note: The following column by Mark Polk appears in the latest RV Education 101 newsletter offering insight into the inaugural RVXD: The RV Experience. To view the entire newsletter click here.

 

Last month we attended the RV industry’s inaugural event held in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was billed as The RV Experience or RVX. The new show drew people from around the world, and from every facet of the RV industry, including OEMs, suppliers, RV dealers, retailers and lots of media.

Over 2,200 people attended “The Reveal”, an entertaining opening event to kick the show off. I think the industry did a good job with its messaging during “The Reveal.” There are new consumer trends, and new consumer segments that are entering the RV marketplace. In an effort to highlight and meet the needs of these key consumer segments, the RV industry identified categories that potential new buyers might fall into. The message also expressed the importance for RV dealers to understand this new generation of consumers, and to sell RV products that fit their specific needs and lifestyle.

The categories were: Family-Friendly, Outdoor Adventurer, Van Life, City Escape, Destination Camping, Team Tailgate, Sustainability, Luxury RVs and On the Horizon that gave a glimpse into the future of RVs. At the Reveal, a consumer-focused panel selected the best of the best (and a winner) for each of the categories. Although I did not always agree with the winner in each of the categories, I thought the messaging was clear.

Another theme during RVX was “Kick Off Camping Season.” Go RVing launched a multimillion dollar national media campaign, bringing in over 200 members of the media to cover the show and the new products unveiled at “The Reveal” event.

There were lots of new and innovative RVs on display and RV product supplier booths were intermixed within the RV manufacturer displays, which I thought worked really well for show attendees.

Toby O’Rourke, President of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) spoke at the Reveal about
changing habits of younger consumers and their expectations around outdoor experiences. KOA offered a 3D glimpse into the future of camping with its focus on experimental enhancements for campers in the year 2030. The virtual reality aspect of the KOA display, featuring five futuristic campground concepts, was fun and as Toby pointed out, several of the features on display at the Campground of the Future exhibit already exist.

Some of the features highlighted at the display were

• Automated site selection and check in, including geofencing technology to recognize when campers arrive and seamlessly guide them to their preselected campsite.

• On-site automated voice command technology for ordering services, signing up for experiences or delivery of necessities such as firewood.

• Natural gathering spaces designed around the campground environment to facilitate recreation activities that emphasize campers’ priority to tap into the benefits of the outdoors. Recreation areas will support the gathering of multi-generational groups, hiking trails will lead directly into the campground and pets will have dedicated parks with enhanced water features and washing areas.

I enjoyed the demonstration on how 360-degree video technology will enable campers to virtually tour the campground, select a site, see all the amenities and book their stay before they arrive. And I think this forward-thinking is essential for campground owners to keep pace with modern day technology and be prepared to handle RVs of the future and a new generation of campers.

In addition to all of these events there were professional RV training sessions, Power Talk Patio sessions, and the RV Technical Institute Top Tech Challenge Competition, where the winning technician took home a trophy and a $10,000 cash prize. All-in-all it was a good inaugural event.

To view the entire newsletter click here