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RVDA: RV Dealer Con/Expo is One of Best Ever

November 14, 2016 by   - () Leave a Comment

Total attendance for RVDA’s Con/Expo grew to 1,352 (Photo by Shawn Spence)

Total attendance for RVDA’s Con/Expo grew to 1,352 (Photo by Shawn Spence)

With dealer attendance up 13.5% over a year ago at 698 people, organizers said the 2016 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, held Nov. 7-11 at Bally’s in Las Vegas, was “one of the best ever.”

Total attendance also was up 4.3%, at 1,352 people while exhibitor attendees stayed the same due to space limitations reported Phil Ingrassia, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), which along with the RVDA of Canada as well as the Mike Molino RV Learning Center hosted the event.

“It was a very successful event and an exciting week,” Ingrassia told RVBUSINESS.com. “Just about everybody is having a strong year — it’s projected to be the best since 1977 — and business is good for the majority of dealers and exhibitors. There absolutely was a buzz the entire week, and I think being in Las Vegas on election night had something to do with it, too. There was definitely an electricity in the air.”

Eleonore Hamm, president of RVDA of Canada, echoed Ingrassia’s comments, saying they were pleased with the Canadian delegation’s attendance given the country’s sluggish economy and exchange rate. Final tabulations were expected later, but Hamm reported they were slightly down despite having the same number of dealerships represented.

“We were thrilled, and all of the comments we did get from our Canadian dealers were really positive,” Hamm said. “Specifically, they had good things to say about our speakers and education tracks. And exhibitors at the Expo seemed to be pleased with the turnout and number of leads they generated. Everyone just seemed upbeat and enthusiastic.”

Besides election night coverage, the Con/Expo featured a week of fixed-operations development, networking and motivation as well as several special events, including annual meetings for both associations, receptions for the Society of RV Professionals and Young RV Executives, and the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards ceremony.

Besides election night coverage, the Con/Expo featured a week of fixed-operations development, networking and motivation as well as several special events, including annual meetings for both associations, receptions for the Society of RV Professionals and Young RV Executives, and the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards ceremony.

The Con/Expo also featured a sold-out Business Expo featuring about 140 exhibitors; about three dozen training sessions provided by manufacturer, supplier and service representatives; and 49 education workshops presented by 39 speakers. The educational tracks were divided into seven different tracks: dealer/GMs, sales, service, parts, F&I, rental, and social media/eMarketing. In addition, select workshops were handpicked for a track specific to Young RV Executives.

In addition, the Con/Expo featured a keynote address, “Unleash Your Inner Superhero: Keys to Achieving Breakthrough Performance,” by speaker, author and corporate trainer Ryan Estis, a former chief strategy officer for advertising giant McCann Worldgroup.

Estis urged dealers to fight complacency and embrace change, saying “great companies often disrupt themselves” in their efforts to stay relevant. “So what can dealers do to stay relevant? First, embrace change. Your biggest breakthrough lies one step outside of your comfort zone,” he said during his address to RVDA members.

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