Capitalizing on record attendance and a thriving economy, several manufacturers reported a decided uptick in sales and strong traffic throughout last week’s 33rd Annual Florida RV SuperShow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
The host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) revealed on Monday (Jan. 22) that attendance reached an all-time high with over 73,000 attendees passing through the gates during the Jan. 17-21 event, up 3,000 from the last year’s record gate.
Pat Terveer, vice president and general manager of REV Group, based in Decatur, Ind., told RVBUSINESS.com that he was “extremely pleased” with the Tampa Show.
“I was there for Wednesday and Thursday of the show,” he said. “We had a great show. Based on everybody that I talked to, we had an all-time record in sales for REV products. We sold more Class A products than we ever have in Tampa. We are excited about that because honestly the ‘A’ market has been a little flat compared to the rest of the marketplace. The response we had at the show was tremendous.”
He said customers were buying the units on display and ordering other Class A products to be delivered to the dealerships present. “We are ecstatic about it,” said Terveer. “Tampa is always a leading indicator of what the new year will bring. Typically if you do well at the Tampa show, it follows for all the other shows throughout the Southeast. That also is a great indicator of how we are going to do across the country.”
Mark Steele, regional sales manager for Freelander, Leprechaun and Concord Class C motorhomes at Forest River Inc.’s Coachmen RV division noted, “The Tampa Show was strong right off the bat on Wednesday,” said. “Even the cold weather didn’t stop people from coming out. Pretty impressive.
“There were a lot of snowbirds,” he said. “I would say the medium age was close to retirement or retired. But there were also a lot of young couples.”
He said the majority of the customers he talked to were in the one- to three-year process of making a decision — not active buyers. “These are the bulk of the people you talk to before they pull the trigger. They influence sales over the next two to three years. But, fortunately, there were a lot of current buyers as well.”
Coley Brady, vice president of sales and marketing for Elkhart, Ind.-based Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC, also reported strong results from the Tampa Show, particularly in the company’s high-end Landmark and Bighorn fifth-wheels.
“We partnered with three different dealers, and overall it was a very good show for Heartland,” said Brady. “The traffic was really solid — we were busy throughout the week. We’re very happy with our overall numbers which were the best that we’ve seen in years at the Tampa Show.”
“It was a good trailer show, but not great,” he added. “I think that’s because there are a lot of snowbirds at the show, which is why we did really well with our higher-end pieces.”
Brady said the show also offered encouragement going forward in terms of new buyers entering the marketplace. “In general the lifestyle is alive and there are a lot of fresh buyers out there,” he said. “I think the Tampa show bodes well for the rest of the year.”
Mark Gerber, towables director of sales and marketing for Winnebago Industries Inc., said the company enjoyed a record-setting show. “We had an absolutely fantastic show,” he said. “We had great traffic, great buyers, everyone was enthusiastic and had optimism. The deals we put together were solid.”
From a sales standpoint compared to last year’s Tampa Show, Gerber said, “We beat last year’s numbers by a multiple of five. It was a tremendous event for us. We are seeing a lot fruit from the rebranding of the Minnie name.”
Gerber said Winnebago did very well with the Micro Minnie product and the Minnie as well as new introductions. “We showed our new Minnie Plus fifth-wheels for the first time and got some great customer feedback.”
Brian Hazelton, Winnebago vice president and general manager, motorhome business, added, “With record-breaking attendance, the Florida RV SuperShow is another recent example of the strong interest the general public has to pursue the RV lifestyle,” said. “The show provided an excellent opportunity to showcase some of our latest motorhomes including the Revel, Horizon and Intent.”