|October 2003||Volume 29 - Number 3|
How long can it last?
About the Author:
Bob is available for consulting services, seminars, and writing assignments. You can reach him at 978-461-2143 or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The call might be from a consumer publication reporter, a national newspaper or television newsroom, or a consultant who wants to be the first one to proclaim that the bubble has burst.
Ive even had the question asked of me by industry veterans who know a lot more about this industry than Ill ever know.
Well guess what, it wont be anytime soon folks. And thats exactly what I tell them when they call, and did it again today.
Why do they think the momentum can not sustain itself for many years to come?
While one could argue that RVs are not yet mainstream America, they are certainly a lot closer than they have ever been. However, they are still a mystery to many, and unknown to countless others who have yet to discover the RV industry and lifestyle.
Where else could a potential customer find a lifestyle experience that can start with a tenting adventure in a national park and culminate with a $1.7+ million dollar bus that is the only home for many full-timers who would never go back to a life without an RV until forced to by age or ill health?
Where else can a potential customer find the camaraderie and friendship of so many others who enjoy the very same things that they do, and in so many different places?
Just look at the constant improvements and new designs that manufacturers come forth with each year, and showcase to partners and competitors alike at the RVIAs annual Louisville show. Some of the new RVs are simply engineering marvels that incorporate features and systems designed for enhanced safety and comfort.
The answer is unknown, but it wont be any time soon. Think of all the people who have yet to discover the RV lifestyle, what else can we do to reach out to them?
Think of all the current RVers who will be introducing their family and friends to the lifestyle that they have recently discovered.
Think of all the people who are requesting information through the Go RVing market expansion program.
Think of all the people who are interested, but have not yet made an investment in an RV.
We could go on and on, but the fact is that we dont really know just how big this industry can be, but we know it can be bigger than it is.
These are exciting times and people should stop asking: How long can it last? Instead they should be asking: What else can we do to make it even better, and make it last even longer?
The industry can not afford to think that the job is done. We can not be so complacent that we think the business will now just come to us because the RV industry has arrived.
We will go to Louisville soon and once again we will be treated to a review of the phenomenal exposure that the industry has received in the press and on radio and television. We will hear the statistics that validate the Go RVing campaign and expose the industry to many new RVers each year.
The KFEC will be filled to capacity with RVs of all shapes and sizes. Manufacturers will hope to steal the show with new models, new floor plans and new options. Suppliers will compete for increased business opportunities with those same manufacturers. And dealers and campgrounds will pull out their checkbooks and spend a lot of money.
We should be proud of what the industry has accomplished, but we should not think that our job is done.
We should be excited about the new model year introductions, but understand that we must convert new people to the lifestyle to continue industry growth and expansion.
However, we still have a lot to do, and can not rest on our accomplishments of recent years.
We must get even further outside the RV world as we know it today.
Blacks and Hispanics represent tremendous growth opportunities for the RV industry.
Families looking for a second home in a vacation location are great prospects for destination camping and park model trailers.
Outdoor enthusiasts with boats, ATVs, motorcycles, bicycles are just finding out how to combine their hobbies with the RV lifestyle.
Sporting enthusiasts are one of the largest segments of RV rental customers. Lets work harder at converting them to buyers so they can tailgate more often and enjoy the RV lifestyle at the stadium or on the road.
If they can license school names for credit cards, why not do it for motorhomes and trailers? Higher education likes to promote their colleges and universities. Lets give them RVs adorned in school colors and logos. Nobody sees the credit card in their wallet except the cashier. I think many of them would welcome the opportunity to be a rolling billboard for their Alma Mater.
We can go on and on, but you probably get the idea.
Lets stop asking: How long can it last? Lets start asking: What else can we do to make sure it lasts forever?
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