Matt Wald

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Park Model RV Committee (PMRV) convened on Jan. 21 to set priorities for 2014.

According to a press release, the top priority for the committee is the completion of the 2014/15 revision cycle of the ANSI A119.5 standard. Significantly, the committee is proposing to change the very name of that standard from “Standard for Recreation Park Trailers” to “Standard for Park Model RVs and Campground Units.” This change reflects the evolution of these products into two distinct categories: park models that are a type of RV on the one hand and other units that belong in campgrounds such as duplex and triplex units built to ANSI A119.5 on the other.

According to RVIA PMRV Committee Chairman John Soard of Fairmont Homes, “This change, along with dozens of technical changes, will improve the safety of park models and also catch the A119.5 standard up with the reality of what the PMRV segment of the RV industry is today in terms of what our customers and campgrounds expect and desire.” These changes must now go through the ANSI Canvass Committee and Consensus process, which could take eight to twelve months.

The committee also agreed that more detailed tracking of PMRV shipments was in order. Starting with the January 2014 PMRV shipment report, RVIA will report not just total PMRV shipments, but break those shipments down by shipments to retail consumers vs. shipments to campgrounds for use as rental units.

According to RVIA Park Model RV Executive Director Matt Wald, “Of the approximately 3,600 PMRVs shipped in 2013, our best estimate is that about half went to retail and half went to campgrounds as rental units. But the Committee thinks it’s important to get hard numbers on that question. RVIA will track and report that data.”

The committee also discussed PMRV and seasonal camping PR and advertising efforts for 2014. In 2013, those efforts were focused around a satellite media tour and earned media. For 2014, the committee is seeking to do direct consumer outreach to not just explain what PMRVs are, but promote the seasonal camping lifestyle as an alternative to second homes and vacations at hotel resorts.

The committee’s goal is to pursue this market with select media buys in the print and digital space as well as a direct-to-consumer printed piece. The committee also discussed efforts to make foreign markets including Japan more viable for export of PMRVS, how the National RV Trade Show might be improved for PMRV OEMs, and how to convince national lenders to add retail financing of PMRVs to their loan portfolios.

“This is an exciting time for our committee,” said Soard. “Like the rest of the RV industry, PMRV shipments are strong. And at this point we are through all of the transitional issues from RPTIA to RVIA. So now our focus is 100% on protecting but also especially growing and cultivating the seasonal camping and PMRV market.”