Feature Story Page 3
This is really important. What I see are dealers sincerely trying to find out how they can be more oriented. How they can train all of their personnel to execute merchandising, the sales presentation, up-selling of the products - not just to make a sale, but to truly satisfy the expectations of the purchasing RVer. RVers get into the campground, set up camp and then find out everybody else has all these things they don't have. Now, from a parts and accessory distributor's viewpoint, I obviously have a vested interest in this but I also have a vested interest in people getting what they believe is necessary to support the lifestyle. We have to have enough confidence to tell the consumer that no matter what the vehicle is that gets them there. The objective is to fully enjoy all facets of the experience. Having the right toys is integral to the RV lifestyle.
"And I've seen retailers who believe that and want to add profitability to their business and they want to add value to the relationship they have with their customer so they come back over and over again and truly develop a profitable, lifetime relationship. That's critical. We talk a lot about it. We featured Tom (Faludy) here at the lunch today to talk about the Go RVing campaign updates. We had Harry Dent who talked about it. We had a variety of seminars that dealt with the issues of customer service and customer retention and lifetime relationships. And the willingness of retailers to come and spend an extra day to learn about that and then spend time on the floor at the show is very encouraging."
So all in all it seems as if everyone is happy; however, I wouldn't expect this coincidence to reoccur, even though it appears from RV News' viewpoint that the potential conflict may have helped both companies. Since the shows were in close proximately, relatively speaking, some dealers took the opportunity to do both shows.
And while it may have strained the resources of vendors, those that needed to be at both shows, they adapted and seem to have been rewarded for their effort. But it was a strain for RV dealers as well. They had to make decisions about what show to attend or whether to attend both shows. And if they attended both shows, how much time to devote to each show.
Randy Biles, owner of Pikes Peak Traveland, Colorado Springs, CO, explained, "We attended both shows and thought the attitude of the suppliers as well as other dealers was outstanding and real upbeat. Everyone seems optimistic about this year.
"However, the problem for me was that I would have liked to been able to spend 100 percent of the time at both shows. For example, StagParkway had one full day of seminars and I would have liked to attended some of those. But because of the schedule I couldn't."
While the scheduling conflict was strictly a coincidence, it's obviously better for everyone concerned if they didn't overlap. And at least for next year, the Coast and StagParkway's shows will not conflict. StagParkway announced early that their 1999 show would be in Nashville, January 12, 13, 14, at The OpryLand Hotel. Coast has not announced their dates yet, but they intend to return to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas sometime in February.