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Old 02-18-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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RV Show Expectations

Since we're all sitting around the campfire here, I'll bring this up. Maybe it's just me. This past weekend my wife and I attended the RV show in Atlantic City. We did enjoy the show, for the most part. However we were a bit disappointed, again, in one regard. I guess I could draw an analogy to the boat shows that we have also attended in AC for many years. At that particular boat show more than HALF of the large show floor is dedicated to new boats. The remaining floor space, which is considerable, is referred to as the "Marketplace" (or something like that) and is dedicated to all the "smaller" exhibit booths for vendors and dealers selling all kinds of neat aftermarket "stuff" & accessories, add on equipment, upgrade hardware and other post-sale paraphernalia. When we were boat owners we really enjoyed that aspect of the show. You never know what you'd come home with.

HOWEVER at our very first visit to the RV show down in AC this past weekend, there were virtually NO aftermarket "dealers" in attendance selling any such wares. From what I recall along the entrance-aisle where you entered, there was ONE friendly dealer selling camping/RV related supplies & "stuff". I recall another vendor selling dog leashes or something like that. Nice people. And a few others. And of course there were a couple of the usual "filler" dealers selling other stuff that I had trouble associating with camping and RV's. But what the hey! They paid for the space so they're allowed to promote and sell their stuff.

But once we got onto the show floor as we walked up and down the aisles, row after row, looking at RV after RV it became apparent to me that by the 50% point I was going into "RV overload mode". All the models on display were beginning to become a virtual blur.

We were enjoying looking at all the different makes and models. But eventually one model seemed to just blend into the next and the next after that. It was apparent that most of the RV manufacturers must all use the same OEM hardware suppliers. (i.e. light fixtures, knobs, handles, steps, bumpers, covers, awnings, railings, fittings, etc, etc, etc.) And as most of these RV's have similar appearances, my wife and I bought our 22FB Jayco last year based primarily on other Jayco owner recommendations and Jayco's customer support. We're glad we bought Jayco.

So as we've attended only a few RV shows in our area of NJ, all with a similar complaint, here's my question. Are there other RV shows in other areas of the country where the assortment and availability of aftermarket "stuff" to buy at the show is plentiful and will knock your socks off? (Someone told us that we should check out the Hershey show.) Not being a professional marketing person I don't understand why the AC RV show promoter/organizer wouldn't want to attract a healthy attendance of such aftermarket RV accessories & equipment vendors. Or is it that, unlike boat shows, aftermarket vendors of RV related stuff are not interested in attending RV shows? Is it the economy? I will admit that sometimes it's just comical seeing some of the stuff that is being hawked these event shows. I remember being at a boat show and some enthusiastic salesman is encouraging me to replace the roof, windows and gutters of my home with some high-tech innovations he has on display. I'm at a BOAT show for goodness sakes not a "home" show! LOL ... I'm surprised that the Sham-Wow guy wasn't there in AC this weekend! Does anyone else have the same opinion or share such thoughts? I guess I'd be hard pressed to go back to the AC RV show again next year after this recent visit. But maybe it's just me.

You know what ... enough winter ... I'm ready to go camping again.

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Old 02-18-2013, 11:28 AM   #2
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The Detroit/Novi show has been without the extra vendors for many years. We get the usual campgrounds, insurance agents, bid dealer sales areas, hitches, etc. but none of the little items you might bring home from the show.

This year it was an overload of large MH and 5r's with plenty of class B units and C's. In 2008 we were looking for a C and only say 2 in the whole show.

A lot will depend on what they think will sell. Not always what we want to see. I did feel the RV Overload that you mentioned but I will also go back for the next show.

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Old 02-18-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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Our Dayton RV show can be described the same way. Only had chairs, ice makers, generators, and patio mats for sale and all contained in a small area as you left the building. As far as the RV selection, it was power overload! We ended up just focusing on the TT's since that is what we own and was the only fair comparison with ours. Our local dealer was there and had many Jayco TT's, of all sizes, and I enjoyed looking at them. I left knowing that I still made the best choice with buying Jayco.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:07 PM   #4
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We went to the Detroit/Novi show thus year looking to "accessorize" our new trailer & just browse the RV's & see if there was anything we liked better than our TT. After reaching RV overload, we concluded that feature-wise, there was nothing as pleasing to us as our 27DSRL. Price-wise, there were some good deals to be had, but, nothing that had us second-guessing the deal we made. There was an abundance of vendors from campgrounds/RV parks throughout Michigan, northern Ohio, Indiana & Illinois. It was nice having access to all this info at one location since Michigan has more RV parks than any other state. With the amount of choices, it's easy to get RV Park overload, so it's nice to have staff from the various parks to answer questions.

As for vendors, there were no direct reps from any of the RV or accessory manufacturers. General RV had a nice "store" with a wide variety of accessories available for purchase. We ended up buying a stabilizing system (that I will install once the weather breaks) to stop the wiggle we get even after chocking & stabilizing. We also bought some gourmet bratwursts from Nowicki's Sausage Shoppe (from Alpena, MI) booth that will be enjoyed around the campfire on a hot summer night with an ice-cold beverage or two, lol!

It's clear that the RV's are the stars of these shows & judging by the abundance of activity in the financing/application processing area, they do sell a lot of inits at these shows! Overall, there was a little something for everyone at the show, but, it would sure would be nice to have reps there from the RV & accessory manufacturers to talk to and get information from.

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Old 02-18-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dalenoel View Post
snip.....This year it was an overload of large MH and 5r's with plenty of class B units and C's. In 2008 we were looking for a C and only say 2 in the whole show...... snip
I went to the same show and came out with the same observation.


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Old 02-18-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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I also was at the Novi, Michigan show. Had about a 20 minute chat with the Starcraft Rep. ,Bob Miller, about the Autumn Ridge line up. Almost bought a 346RESA trailer really loaded. Maybe next time. There were plenty of RV Park vendors there. Many coupons for their campgrounds. Always pays for itself with these discounts. All in all a nice break from the winter blahs. Now to thing about SPRING!!!!
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:32 AM   #7
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We went to the Allentown (PA) show in January as well as the Springfield (MA) show this past weekend - same thing, not many people selling assessories, which was a big disappointment to us.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:00 PM   #8
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We attended the Springfield, MA show this past weekend. We go for the accessories and the campground booths. This year I felt there were fewer booths but a wider selection of all types of RVs. We attended one seminar this time but found fewer topics being offered. OH yes, we left with items for us and the grand kids despite the selection.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:37 AM   #9
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We attended the Novi, MI Rv show, and I left feeling disappointed, too. I'm not sure if I should feel that way because this was my first RV show, and the only thing I can use as a comparison are the boat shows and auto shows at COBO. Apples to oranges, sort of. I was disappointed that there were so few vendors selling merchandise and USEFUL gadgets for RV's. And I thought there would be more of the free give-a-ways that you get at the fishing/hunting shows. I was also confused as to why Jayco didn't have any of their Pinnacles on display--not that I was going to buy one, but I wanted to get into one so I could see how the rich folks camp!! I will go back next year, but I did feel somewhat let down by the number of vendors. Having said that, I now know of some good credit unions, dog obedience schools, and a great place to buy windows, roofing materials, and gutter screens. Think camping season, fellow Michiganders!! Happy Camping!!

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