The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) announced last week that it will continue staging its National Trade Show at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center (KFEC) in Louisville through 2007.
However, the record attendance last week and huge displays by several exhibitors suggests that the KFEC may not have adequate space for the show, even after it is expanded, said Dave Humphreys, the RVIA’s president.
Construction to expand the KFEC’s South Wing by 165,000 square feet of exhibit space, along with 57,000 square feet of meeting rooms, is underway. The project is expected to be completed in time for the RVIA’s show late in 2005.
However, Humphreys said the show that ended last Thursday (Dec. 4) “could have filled all the additional space that will be provided by the expansion.”
Additionally, after the 2005 show, the KFEC’s East Wing will be demolished, so the amount of exhibit space available for the 2006 show will be about equal to the amount of space that was available last week.
The new East Wing is expected to be ready in time for the RVIA’s show in 2007.
But the RVIA did not want to make a commitment to the KFEC beyond 2007 because “we want to experience the 2005 show and see if it satisfies our demands,” Humphreys said.
“One thing we’ve been hearing is that the large, full-line manufacturers may not bring as many units because they have already introduced the new lines at their dealer shows,” Humphreys said. “That could alleviate some of the problem. We’ll just have to see.”
Earlier this year, the RVIA staff investigated the possibility of moving the show to larger but more expensive convention facilities in Atlanta or Orlando, and the RVIA has formed a Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of the association’s current executive committee plus three past board chairmen, to examine the situation.
“We wanted a body that included heads of companies,” Humphreys said. “If the only solution is to move to a more expensive venue, then we want people who are in a position to make that type of recommendation to the (RVIA) board.”
Committee members also will look at issues regarding the formula used for space allocation. “We’ve had a lot of turmoil over how much space exhibitors receive and where they’re located,” Humphreys said. “The committee will be dealing with all those issues — how the formula is applied, how space is allocated and if we need to move locations.”