RVs cover the grounds at the Hall of Fame during Open House

RVs cover the grounds at Hall of Fame during Open House

From sold-out hotel rooms to massive sales of RVs, the annual RV Open House keeps getting better and better.

As reported by the South Bend Tribune, the show ended Thursday (Sept. 18) with most participants headed out of town by Friday. More than 4,000 visitors, mostly dealers, came to the Elkhart County area last week for the open house, where 2015 models were on display at manufacturing sites as well as at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The three largest manufacturers — Thor Industries, Forest River and Jayco — all participated. Bob Martin, Thor CEO and president, said last week that the company had its largest pre-registration ever for the show.

All hotel rooms were sold out in Elkhart last week, said Diana Lawson, executive director of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, including 1,400 rooms off exit 92 of the Toll Road. “It affected every hospitality business in the city and probably around the region,” Lawson said. “It was an absolute tremendous success that continues to grow year after year after year.”

And that’s just half of the story.

Doug Gaeddert

Doug Gaeddert

The other half is what one official calls a bigger sales effect than the long-running RV show in Louisville, Ky.

“In 2 ½ days we at least did a billion dollars worth of business,” Doug Gaeddert, outgoing chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and a group general manager at Forest River, said Friday, speaking for the industry as a whole. “We had to be in that billion dollar range easily. There’s no question there are more units and more sales written in this 2 ½ day period than by far anything else.”

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