Whereas the primary purpose of the RV industry Association’s (RVIA) now-defunct National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., was for dealers to order the next model year inventory from manufacturers, at the March 12-14 RVX: The RV Experience the focus changed from selling RVs to selling the RV lifestyle.
“We wanted to change the focus to innovation, to what’s new, what’s exciting, new technologies, prototype vehicles, concept vehicles, thinking about the future and what RVing was going to look like and how that was going to change the experience for the younger buyers who are coming into the market,” Kevin Broom, RVIA’s director of media relations, told RVBUSINESS.com.
To help spread that story, RVIA partnered with a horde of national media outlets and social media influencers which descended on Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City by the hundreds – numbers never seen at an RV show before. Numerous prominent outlets were represented at the event including Sports Illustrated, Outside, O-The Oprah Magazine, Wired, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and MotorTrend TV.
The Reveal – which featured 47 different RVs, including nine winners, in nine consumer archetypes categories such as Outdoor Adventure, Team Tailgate and Family Friendly – served up ready-made content for the media to tell their respective audiences the story of how RVs are the perfect means to travel North America in comfort.
“I’ve grown up just completely around the outdoor camping experience from the time I was a little kid, so I went in like a kid in a candy store,” offered Mike Caudill, a national broadcast correspondent and feature reporter for Fox, adding that he was excited by the small, lightweight, and affordable trailers becoming more available, and was looking forward to bringing this awareness to his audience.
“There’s a big trend right now in the greater RV industry to make RVing affordable,” he continued. “There were these little RV trailers; there’s a couple different ones like the NoBo, the Mantis, the Cricket. The applications in some of the booths were for smaller trailers that people can pull and not have to go buy a truck, not have to buy an SUV, they can pull it with a car. My goal is to get out and just educate people on the ease of owning a recreational vehicle.”
As news editor for Curbed.com, Megan Barber said she writes about RVs several times a week, but hadn’t ever attended the Louisville Show. The new format of RVX attracted her, though, and she found herself in Salt Lake City strolling the convention center floors.
“I think the new RVX format has been great and really exciting,” Barber told RVBUSINESS.com. “I enjoyed The Reveal quite a bit. I thought that it had a lot of energy, and I thought that the division of different categories and awards did a great job of incentivizing innovation because I think that’s what the industry really needs in order to attract that Millennial generation that everyone’s talking about.
“Hopefully, RVX encourages more people to join RVIA and also come to the show and debut their campers here, and that that continues to push the industry forward into a more modern, hopefully sustainable, and innovative way.”