RV Industry Association’s announcement that it will host the RV Experience or RVX, March 12-14 in Salt Lake City, Utah, has led to some uncertainty as the industry tries to understand the different format from the group’s 55-year-old Louisville show. Liz Crawford, senior vice president, trade shows and events, attended PRVCA’s board meeting earlier this month to providean update on the planning and share the features of the event.
“This is two years in the making,” Crawford said. “RVX is designed to spark consumer interest in the RV Lifestyle by unveiling the latest RV products, celebrating innovation and
providing inspiration and education to dealers to drive RV businesses forward.”
The product show will be much smaller than the Louisville show as RVX features only the newest products that manufacturers are unveiling to the industry for the first time. As it kicks off the camping season with a multi-million-dollar campaign, RVIA will use GoRVing consumer channels to unveil these hot new products to consumers.
“We hope to drive consumers, at the time they are thinking of going camping, into dealerships to buy an RV,” Crawford said. “We don’t want them to take a vacation to Hawaii, we want them to buy an RV.”
On the first day, RVIA will unveil the newest products. At the “Reveal”, RVIA plans to work with GoRVing and an independent panel, made up of RVers, journalists, social media influencers, travel and lifestyle media, to highlight products submitted by manufacturers and OEMs. The eight categories will reflect how the consumer uses the RV, rather than Class A, Class B or travel trailer. For example, Crawford said, “I’m going to use this for tailgating. I’m a city dweller and I’m going to use it in the city. Or, I want luxury. This is a luxury product.”
The show will be half the size it was in Louisville.Crawford says the OEMs and suppliers have been asked to bring what’s new and relevant and not their entire inventory. The show will be much more condensed and fit into 500,000 square feet. Suppliers and OEMs will be intermixed on the floor, which will be contained in one exhibit hall.
Recognizing the vital role RV technicians play in customer service, RVIA founded the RV Technical Institute to recruit, train and certify RV technicians. The Top Tech Challenge, which is entering its second year, is designed to elevate and magnify the role of service technicians during RVX. Eight technicians from around the country will compete for the title and $10,000. Last year’s winner Brandon Galbreath of D&N RV Service in Joppa, Alabama, will return to defend his title.
“The winning dealership will receive assets to promote their Top Tech winner, a big trophy that will travel around to the winner’s dealership, and a smaller trophy for the top tech to keep,” Crawford said. “We want to celebrate those unsung heroes keeping RVs on the road.”
She said RVIA hopes to turn the Top Tech Challenge into something like the “Top Chef” and have it televised. After people start watching it on TV, the association hopes that it will drive people to become technicians and raise the awareness and professionalism of the industry.
The RV Industry Awards will be presented during RVX to recognize the achievements of OEMs, suppliers, dealers and campgrounds.
In addition, the Utah Governor’s office will launch the Campground of the future at RVX. It will be located within the state and will receive a total makeover to modernize its facilities. When RVX returns to Salt Lake City in two years, it will be unveiled.
Other events include general sessions on “What’s next in outdoor recreation?” and “What’s next in tech?”, educational breakout sessions and a consumer event, held in a different venue in Salt Lake City, to kick off the camping season.
RVIA will also create promotional materials and a new dealer toolkit to assist with the national promotion.
“The whole idea is to sell more RVs and to celebrate the industry,” Crawford said.