RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer lays out the concept for new trade show at the HOF (Photos by Shawn Spence)

While a number of details were still to be determined, a crowd approaching 100 RV industry executives and managers witnessed the concept for the new RV trade show, set to debut in the spring of 2019, during a presentation today (Feb. 6) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.

While acknowledging most details will emerge over the next several months as officials continue developing the event, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Frank Hugelmeyer said the new two-and-a-half day, mid-week trade show – which essentially would replace the now-canceled National RV Trade Show in Louisville – would be “the ultimate kickoff to the RV and camping selling season.”

“We’ll excite consumer markets around the country with the newest products and technology and connect them to participating dealerships,” he said. “The time is now. We must capitalize on the current market success. This is an opportunity we are rarely going to have. This event will be the largest, best-attended and most important gathering in terms of education, innovation, celebration and excitement that has ever been seen in the RV industry.”

The new show’s working title is “RV Reveal,” and its concept as laid out by Hugelmeyer would seek to attain the impact of the Consumer Electronics Show and the coolness factor of a major auto show.

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“Reveal is a working title right now, but personally I really do like it because it talks about how do we reveal the industry to others,” Hugelmeyer said. “How do we reveal what they need to know? How do we reveal where we’re going? How do we reveal what new products are out there? How do we do that, and not just to ourselves, but to the world? And that’s really what we’re starting to build and what we are excited to build, and why the board made the decision to not build on the old, let’s redirect the team to be completely focused on building the new.”

When asked whether the event would be open to consumers, Hugelmeyer said it’s certainly a matter for discussion but as of now it was being developed as a business-to-business show. The show would be heavily promoted to the media – the spring timing aids in that effort, he added – and a “Go RVing road show” following the event would further put the industry in the face of consumers.

He mentioned the target attendee is a “c-suite upper management dealer,” however the event would appeal to all elements throughout the industry.

As for the event itself, some concepts under strong consideration include a Smart Bar, in which experts in their field would be brought in and available for consultation on an appointment basis. Also, the Top Tech Challenge, which debuted to much fanfare at the 2017 Louisville Show, would be revamped to include regional competitions this fall before culminating at the new show with a highly stylized final competition in the same vein as Food Network’s Iron Chef program. Finally, the show would showcase the newest and most innovative offerings from RV OEMs and suppliers, all interspersed on the display floor, as well as a special “Future Ready” display of emerging technologies from outside the industry.

Hugelmeyer said there would be a similar presentation in about two weeks, and everyone who’s interested in learning more, or in contributing ideas, is welcome to attend. He encouraged the industry to collaborate on developing the new show.