Although still not at pre-recession levels, attendance was still up 3% from last year at the Utah Sportsmen, Vacation & RV Show, held Feb. 12-15 at South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.
A total of 31,235 people passed through the turnstiles, according to show manager Jonathon Greenband of Greenband Enterprises in Salt Lake City.
“It was a huge buying frenzy,” Greenband told RVBUSINESS.com. “We carpet the entire floor and have a huge accessories section. We have cooking demonstrations going on for people to learn how to cook gourmet meals over a campfire or in a dutch oven. People come to our show, look at some RVs, sit in on some seminars, and then go back to looking at RVs. They’ll spend anywhere from two to five hours at the show.”
The event “really jump starts us for the year,” said Chad Citte, marketing director for Ray Citte RV Sales, a dealership in Roy, Utah, founded by his grandfather in 1946. Citte said they brought 34 units to the show and closed on 30 sales, with more expected this week.
“It was a very successful show for us,” he said, adding that most buyers were upgrading from their current RV. “It seemed like we had a lot of people who were trading in one with bunks that they no longer needed. They were looking for something that would accommodate their situation now.”
Citte said fifth-wheels and toy haulers seemed to sell the best, adding that Lifestyle Luxury RV’s Alfa Gold 3905SH fifth-wheel featuring a motorcycle garage slideout was a hit with consumers. “I wish they would have had a ‘Best in Show’ contest because we were getting compliments on that all show,” Citte said.
Another unit that did well was the Cyclone CY4200, a toy hauler made by Heartland RV. One couple in particular was drawn to it, Citte said, but not because they had a lot of toys. “She was in a wheelchair,” he said. “She liked that she could roll up the ramp in back, and onto the side patio.”
Mark Black, general manager of Stewart’s RV, a full-line dealership in American Fork, said that traffic was steady. The dealership brought 16 units to display and took a lot of trade-ins, but he thought given the amount of attendees he “would have have expected a few more sales.”
“Traffic was excellent, especially Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a little off, and I think Saturday night kind of thinned out, but that was probably because it was Valentine’s Day,” Black said.
Jared Jensen, part owner of Sierra RV, a full-line family-owned dealership in Sunset, said they ended up with close to 150 sales during the four-day show. Selling especially well were the Class A Palazzo by Thor Motor Coach, as well as a few Class C motorhomes. On the towables side, he singled out Heartland’s 27RKS and 29MBS Trail Runner travel trailers as doing well, along with the Denali 287RE travel trailer and Denali 307RS fifth-wheel, both by Dutchmen RV.
Buyers were a mix of current RVers looking for a new unit, those returning to the lifestyle and newbies making their first-ever RV purchase, he said. Jensen, who is a state delegate for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), added that the venue was so crowded, especially Saturday, that at times it was all but impossible to get inside a unit.
“On Saturday alone, between me and my sales manager we put together 57 deals. My wife was a little upset with me that I didn’t spend any time with her when she came to visit,” Jensen said. “The part we liked the most was that by late Saturday afternoon – which was Valentine’s Day – the bulk of the lookers left the show and all that was left were the buyers.”
Other Utah dealers at the show included Darren Bideaux RV in West Haven; C&R Trailer Sales in Tremonton; Camping World of Kaysville; Camping World of Salt Lake City; General RV Center in Draper; Legacy RV Center in Salt Lake City; Motor Sportsland in Salt Lake City; Neal’s RV Center in Orem; and Parris RV and Terry’s RV Center in Murray.