Monday night receptions on the floor of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center (KFEC) before the annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville have been banned and a new seniority system to determine the location of supplier booths at the show has been established by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Board.
The board, meeting Feb. 27-28 at the Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., also voted to exclude park model trailers from the show after this year and agreed to spend up to $20,000 to develop a strategic plan for the conversion-vehicle segment of the industry.
Additionally, the board set the St. Regis Aspen (Colo.) Resort as the site of its next annual meeting Sept. 26-28.
“The parties (on the trade show floor) were getting to be a liability issue,” said Mary “Mike” Hutya, RVIA vice president of meetings and shows. “There weren’t a whole lot of parties, but the number of people attending them was increasing. We just could not control them and keep people out of the other booths. And some of our members were concerned that having the parties was a competitive issue.
“It isn’t that they can’t have parities. They just can’t be held in their booths.”
This year’s Louisville show is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 2, so the board’s decision means there can be no preshow parties in the KFEC exhibit areas the night of Nov. 29.
Hutya said the priority system for supplier booth locations was changed because the old system – implemented in 1977 – that gave priority to companies that had exhibited for more than six consecutive years, was not working.
“Last year, 64% of suppliers had ‘seniority’,” Hutya said. “The priority system wasn’t doing what it was designed to do.”
Space will be allocated in five draws, with companies that have attended the show 24 consecutive years being included in the first lottery. Some 35 suppliers will be eligible to participate in the first draw for this year’s show.
Companies with 18, 12 and six consecutive years at the show will be given priority in subsequent draws.
Hutya said space limitations at the show were not a major consideration in the board’s decision to exclude park model trailers after this year.
She said that the size of the trailers themselves – most manufactured by non-RVIA members – made it difficult to physically move them into the show space.
“We’ve always had a problem getting them into the building, but it’s gotten worse,” she said.
To get one unit with a shed dormer into the show last year, Hutya said, its axles had to be removed, and another 14-foot-wide model had to be squeezed through a 14-foot door.
“We don’t represent park trailers and we are not skilled at that kind of activity,” Hutya said.
The board motion committed RVIA to assist the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) with the transition.
The RVIA’s participation in developing a strategic plan for conversion-vehicle manufacturers follows a decision by the board in June to retain conversion companies as association members.
“Conversion vehicles are not included in RVIA’s strategic plan,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education. “Faced with the possibility of being in RVIA, the question came down to what services they want and where they want to be in five or 10 years. A strategic plan will help them get focused on what they want to do.”
Four companies have submitted proposals to facilitate development of a conversion-vehicle strategic plan, which must dovetail into RVIA’s long-range planning and goals, Hopkins said.