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MARVAC Event Offers RVX & SSI Overviews

RVIA’s Liz Crawford offers detailed preview of RVX during MARVAC event

Saying it’s all about “selling more RVs,” Liz Crawford, senior vice president of trade shows and events for the RV Industry Association (RVIA), stated the case for “RVX: The RV Experience” to about 15 Michigan RV dealers in a special event Tuesday (Dec. 4).

The presentation, which was hosted by the Michigan Association of RVs and Campgrounds (MARVAC) at the organization’s offices in Okemos, Mich., also featured a seminar on the latest national and Michigan-specific industry trends by Scott Stropkai, national sales manager for Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI), Grand Rapids, Mich.

RVX is set for March 12-14, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Crawford and other RVIA officials have been busy making similar presentations to dealers around the country to garner support for the new trade show that, they maintain, is unlike anything the industry has seen before.

“How do we work as an industry to grow the market, and attract consumers we don’t already know into the lifestyle, and sell them into an RV? We can do that by showing up at RVX,” Crawford said, noting that all major manufacturers and most major suppliers have secured their exhibition space. “The dealers need to come and see what the OEMs have on tap, and unite the industry under one roof at one time of year so that they can all collectively look at new and unique ways to grow the market, and sell more RVs.

“We want to help you sell more RVs, whether you’re a dealer, an OEM, or a supplier,” she continued. “By engaging new customers into the market, and getting dealers excited about the product, we feel that we have an opportunity to highlight the RV industry to the population, and get them in an RV.”

(L-R): SSI’s Scott Stropkai; MARVAC’s Bill Sheffer; Liz Crawford with RVIA; and Scott Dodge, MARVAC chairman and operations manager for General RV

While acknowledging the spring timing of the event might be difficult for some, she said RVX will serve as a “kick off to the camping season.” National media and key social media RV bloggers and vloggers will be on hand to “broadcast the latest and greatest the RV industry has to offer to a nationwide audience,” Crawford said.

Toward that end, she highlighted many of the RVX details including “The Reveal,” in which the best RV units, as selected by partnering media, will be unveiled in nine key categories: families; outdoor adventurers; van life enthusiasts; city dwellers; long-term campers; tailgaters; eco-conscious travelers; spare-no-expense voyagers; and future-minded RVers. She encouraged everyone to visit www.rvx.org for more details.

“Really, it’s about getting the dealers excited about the products, so they can go back into their stores, and sell it to consumers at the height of their selling season. That’s the real message here,” Crawford said, adding that dealer attendees will be given a “Digital Marketing Toolkit” designed to help them attract consumers to the RV lifestyle.

For his part, SSI’s Stropkai showcased his company’s data services by illustrating Michigan’s RV retail registration figures compared to the nation, then broke those numbers down even further through a variety of filters including product segment, manufacturer, model, state, county, age, ethnicity, gender, income, and year.

For example, Stropkai said the industry as a whole has rebounded extremely well since the 2009 low of 172,177 retail registrations. Last year, he pointed put, there were 421,233 RVs registered with various state departments of motor vehicles and other similar offices nationwide.

With 18,218 RV registrations, Michigan had the fourth-highest total in 2017. Texas (41,973), California (37,539), and Florida (23,973) topped the list, while Washington (17,515) was fifth.

Stropkai added that the figures are just as compelling through the first eight months of 2018. Even though the last few months have been down year over year, he said, they still represent the second highest monthly totals on record.

“So the good news is the industry is doing well and Michigan is outpacing the industry,” Stropkai said.

Noting that it’s a “busy time of year for our dealers,” MARVAC Executive Director Bill Sheffer said he was pleased with the turnout and thanked the dealers — as well as Crawford and Stropkai — for their attendance.

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