Buoyed by a vibrant show season and the momentum of a prolonged growth cycle, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is readying for a high-energy National RV Trade Show as the organization rolls out its 52nd edition Dec. 2-4 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville.
“You know, it really looks like all the stars are in line,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “Business is pretty darn good right now. I’ve been to a lot of the major shows and have been impressed by the number of people and, more importantly, the positive attitude of both consumers and industry members.
“I think everything is in place for a strong Louisville Show. Registrations have been doing very well, we’ve been able to increase our overall exhibit space from last year, and we’re expecting a good dealer turnout.”
RVIA reported the event will showcase 57 manufacturers and 227 suppliers exhibiting product across 755,000-plus square feet of exhibit space in the expansive KEC confines. Accordingly, Coon is looking for an uptick in daily traffic, as RVIA is preparing to host more than 8,000 attendees representing a broad cross section of the RV industry along with a growing contingent of campground exhibitors.
Coon stressed that the annual event continues to offer a “unique environment” where all industry sectors can gather, network and assess their competition, while also offering dealers another timely opportunity to shop new product and place orders for the coming year’s selling season.
“Last year, there was a lot of talk about consolidating the major trade shows, but I feel that everybody has moved past that,” he said. “All of the shows – RVIA, RVDA and the Elkhart Open House – each bring something different to the table. In our case, people are seeing the benefits of an industrywide event. No one else provides that.”
He added, “Dealers are still coming to Louisville to buy product and our members are supporting the show to the ‘nth’ degree.’ We’ve had OEMs tell us that either they were not able to get all their new models developed for the Open House or they had purposely saved some introductions for Louisville. Dealers feel they need to be here in order to see what’s new in the marketplace and to finalize their orders for next year.”
Furthering its focus on training and certification, RVIA will host an inaugural series of seminar tracks during the Louisville Show providing a “hands-on” learning environment for RV dealership parts, service and technician personnel.
Working in concert with several high-profile industry suppliers, the program will feature seven free training sessions running 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 3-4 at the KEC. RVIA is also providing an incentive for attendance, offering dealerships a $200 stipend to help offset some of the costs associated with bringing staff to the show. Participants will receive certificates and continuing education credits for each session attended.
Again serving as an industrywide rallying cry before attendees “hit the floor” Tuesday in Louisville, “Outlook 2015: Good Things Ahead” will usher in the trade show, running 7:30-9 a.m. in the KEC South Wing Ballroom.
In accordance with the high energy anticipated for this year’s show, James Ashurst, RVIA vice president of communications and marketing, reported that Outlook would “maintain a fast pace” while still delivering updates and critical information on the industry’s overall health along with reports on the industry’s GoRVing initiative.
“Our goal is to keep the program on track for a 90-minute window,” Ashurst said. “We have adopted a multimedia approach to the program, tightening up the format with more video presentations.
In addition to Coon and Ashurst, RVIA will be represented during Outlook by newly installed Chairman Derald Bontrager along with Go RVing co-chairs Bob Wheeler and Tom Stinnett.