The ROUTE 66 RV Network Dealer Advisory Board met last month at its offices in Overland Park, Kan., to “drill down and speak into the strategies, tactics and direction of the network,” according to a press release.

“Ten network dealer principals sit on the board and provide invaluable input, thoughts and perspectives to help us define and refine priorities, fine-tune existing programs and evaluate new opportunities,” said Rob Merrill, a ROUTE 66 partner. “There’s been an increase in dealer interest and engagement in ROUTE 66 coming into 2012. In fact, the strength and alignment of the network and its dealers appears to be very high from all vantage points.”

As has been the case for several years, much discussion centered around the increasing role the Internet plays in today’s RV and parts purchases. Steve Francis, owner of Trailside RV and ROUTE 66 partner, noted, “Today’s RV dealership website must be much more than an online billboard… it must be an extension of your brick and mortar facility, offering an additional location to do business. Two or three years ago RV shoppers would make five to six dealership visits before making their RV purchase, but today that’s down to one to two visits because they’re doing much of their shopping online.”

ROUTE 66 RV Network launched Amdia Software several years ago to help dealers capitalize on web-based business. Amdia has built an exclusive RV dealership-ready web platform, RV SmartSites, that offers many valuable selling features and built-in online Search Engine Optimization capabilities to drive traffic. In addition, the network has built its own national online parts and accessories store at www.Parts66.com. Network online training workshops and 20 Groups have been implemented to support ongoing dealer education and website performance.

Other network online web properties include a travel site for RVers, www.ScenicRouteOnline.com, the RV Club membership site, www.Passport66RV.com, and the network’s consumer site, www.Route66RV.com. All network-wide web efforts are built to serve the Network dealer and transact sales through their dealerships.