We went to RVX and really enjoyed its new format; however, that format is going to change for the next RVX.
Words Antonio Mazzucchelli
photo Antonio Mazzucchelli and RVIA
Let’s start with the latest news: the date and location for the second RVX show in 2020 that had already been announced will change (and possibly, but hopefully not, even the format of the event). The next RVX was scheduled for 10-12 March, 2020 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, but on 4 April, the RV Industry Association Board of Directors convened a meeting that voted to not move forward with the currently scheduled RVX. We won’t know what the ‘version 2.0 concept’ will be until the RVIA’s meeting in Washington, D.C. in June 2019 (after this edition of the magazine has gone to print).
From our point of view, the first RVX event held in Salt Lake City from 12 to 14 March this year, delivered on its promise of bringing together all segments of our industry to highlight and showcase innovative and popular products.
According with the organizers, “a broad consensus of attendees and industry influencers agree that RVX successfully accomplished its primary goal of providing a high-profile, signature media event that celebrated the RV industry and outdoor recreation lifestyle”.
The event brought OEMs, suppliers, dealers, retailers and campgrounds together to showcase the latest RV products and celebrate the RV. Attendees from all over the world enjoyed over 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, featuring over 300 RVs, outdoor and camping products, and more. Manufacturers and suppliers showed up in a big way with new booths to showcase their latest products, and RVX gave dealers another opportunity to reload inventory, stock innovative new models, and engage with their supplier partners.
Over 2,200 attendees packed into the “Reveal”, an entertaining and engaging opening session highlighting how new products meet the needs of key consumer segments such as outdoor adventurers, families, tailgaters and spare-no-expense travelers.
Throughout the event, attendees experienced multiple education sessions about emerging consumer trends, and how the industry can attract millions of new customers to the RV lifestyle and convert them into sales.
An interesting formula
At Aboutcamp BtoB, we liked the RVX format very much, for several reasons: first of all, by reducing the number of vehicles on display and bringing only the real innovations, it becomes easier to focus on products and really get the latest news. Some manufacturers diligently interpreted the new format perfectly, such as Keystone RV, which presented some interesting ideas in the Keystone Innovation Lab.
In the following pages, you will see the most interesting news and our selection of original or innovative motorhomes and caravans that we saw at RVX, plus the winners of “The Reveal” which were decided by a specialized jury.
The accessories and components area was particularly interesting, with many stands in both pavilions, including many European exhibitors. Despite a slowdown in sales of RVs in the US, after years of continuous growth, everyone at RVX was very positive, with plenty of solid business opportunities. The European component manufacturers said they were very satisfied with the fair, even though not all decision makers of the market were present.
The absence that was particularly noticeable, was that of the dealers. Far fewer of them came than expected. Perhaps this was because of the dates of the show, as according to many, mid-March is already the “kick off of the season” and many dealers are already engaged in deliveries and sales activities. The organizers said that the final audited attendance was 4,104 industry members, 809 dealers and 239 media.
Excellent marketing and communication activity
The event organisers certainly earned our appreciation for their marketing activities as there was an impressive number of journalists, communicators, bloggers and influencers at RVX, creating countless opportunities to write articles or for social media posts. Earned media impressions (until April 2019) exceeded over 400 million, with coverage from the Ellen Show, Backpacker Magazine, Fox & Friends, Gear Junkie, Forbes, Snews, Curbed, Motortrend TV and more. In addition, promotional Kick-Off to Camping Season pieces, including digital and print content, continue to be distributed throughout the spring and summer months by Go RVing media partners. Moreover, during RVX, Go RVing launched an unprecedented multi-million-dollar national media campaign to “Kick Off Camping Season”. The campaign, which will run also in summer months, will build consumer awareness throughout the high season and drive new customers to RV dealer partners across the country.
The new formula
An RV Industry Association member Task Force has been identified and selected by the Chairman, Garry Enyart, to explore the path forward for the RVX event. The Task Force will specifically address how changes to the timing and location of RVX can increase participation and unity across all segments of the RV industry. Members of the RVX Task Force include: Piar Adams (Airxcel), Jack Cole (Lance), Ryan Elias (Triple E RV Brands/Leisure Travel), Brian Hazelton (Winnebago), Troy James (Thor Industries), Ellen Kietzmann (Blue Ox), Kevin McArt (Forest River), Trey Miller (Dometic), Mary Pouloit (Thetford), John Sammut (Newmar), Dan Shea (Gulfstream), Matt Zimmerman (Keystone).
The RVX Task Force’s immediate goal is to collaborate together and build on the successful components of the RVX show, as well as to reach out to dealers and other industry stakeholders for input and guidance over the next few months.
“I’m extremely pleased with the support the industry has shown in coming together to find a path forward for RVX,” said RV Industry Association Chairman, Garry Enyart. “RVX successfully accomplished its primary goal of providing a high-profile, signature media event that celebrated the RV industry and outdoor recreation lifestyle. This dedicated team of industry leaders have a strong desire to explore options that will bring all segments of our industry together in a unified event that will highlight the innovation and appeal our products bring to the market.”
“From the intermingling of units and supplier booths, to the inclusion of industry influencers and additional media outlets to reach the end consumer, to the push for innovation throughout, RVX was a great experience for Dometic,” said Vice President of Marketing for Dometic, Trey Miller.
“This show forced many companies to get out of their comfort zones and take stock of their marketing, sales, and product development efforts. RVX is not the Louisville show of old. This is where B2B shows are heading in all leading markets and the RV industry is now on or in several respects ahead of the pace,” he continued.
“I was very pleasantly surprised with the scope and organization of the first RVX,” said Bob Cox of Stolzfus RV’s and Marine. “It was time very well spent.”
“RVX gave Keystone RV an opportunity to really focus on the innovation we bring to the market,” said President of Keystone RV Company, Jeff Runels. “We were especially excited about the press interest that RVX generated and the chance we have to introduce new audiences to RVing and Keystone. Overall, it was a great three days.”
“RVX was an exciting and fresh expo that brought great attention to our industry and should bring a new group of clientele to our stores,” said Mike Pearo of Hilltop Camper.
“RVX is clearly positioned as the RV industry’s showcase event for OEMs, suppliers, banks and dealers,” said John Lebbad of Lazy Days. “It was a new, fresh and more exciting approach that the RV industry deserves.”
“RVX promised an innovative new approach to build on the awareness of our 50-billion-dollar industry just in time for the 2019 camping season to get under way,” said Tim Wegge of Burlington RV. “From the opening Reveal to the RVX Sales Navigator, the Industry Showcase and the Top Tech Challenge, RVX delivered on that promise. RVs and the RV lifestyle offer something for everyone and now the whole country knows about it.”