53 minutes | Mar 31, 2021

The Sad Future of RV Shows for 2021 and beyond

If you were disappointed that RV Shows around the country were mostly canceled last year, I have bad news for you. There will be many that simply will not happen again. A leading RV industry expert says in-person RV shows may be a thing of the past. With RV sales booming like never before, RV dealers have discovered they can sell more units - and more efficiently - in their own showrooms. It's no secret that dealers have long complained about how much work RV shows are. But now, many feel they no longer need big shows. For despite the COVID shutdowns of 2020 that saw almost all in-person RV shows canceled,  RV sales were through the roof. And they are even stronger in 2021. As. result, Bob Zagami, the executive director of the New England RV Dealers Association, says in-person events at fairgrounds and convention centers may largely be a thing of the past, except for mega shows like Hershey every fall, and Tampa every January. Instead, look for more online-only shows, like the one Zagami is organizing for April 10-11 in place of the annual in-person Boston RV Show. It's a trend he suggests has already taken root in many places. Zagami is our interview of the week of Episode 338 of the RV Podcast. You can hear his interview in its entirety on your favorite podcast app or by clicking the arrow in the player below.' Keep scrolling for an edited transcript of our conversation. RV Shows are moving online Before we present the interview transcript, here are the details of the  New England RV and Camping Expo Event Name:  New England RV and Camping Expo Dates:  Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 Register and buy tickets at:  www.newenglandrvandcampingexpo.com Discount tickets are available on the event Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/newenglandrvandcampingexpo Here's the edited transcript: Bob Zagami Mike Wendland: Well joining us right now to talk about RV Shows is our friend Bob Zagami from NERVDA, the New England RV Dealers Association. Hey Bob, how are you? Bob Zagami: Hey Mike. Great. Thank you. Very good to be back with you again. Mike Wendland: I'm really curious about how online RV shows work. Tell us about it. Yours will be April 10th and 11th, right?  Bob Zagami: Saturday, April 10th, Sunday, April 11th. Mike Wendland: How's it going to work? Bob Zagami: Well if we take a step back, we did manage to get the 2020 Boston show and then COVID hit. As we come to 2021, we had it scheduled for January, rescheduled it for April, then realized we were not going to be able to do it. RV Dealers don't miss RV Shows A lot of the dealers, quite honestly, do not miss the in-person shows. The consumers are missing it because they want to touch them and feel them and talk to people and see all the different units. But there are some shows that are not going to survive. We came up with a unique platform through an event manager here in Boston, He has a program called Hopin that comes in out of the UK, He studied all of these other programs and several things were missing. But the primary thing missing from most of the commercial programs was the interactivity, the connection with the customer. They could watch a presentation, but they couldn't communicate very effectively. Then they also lost the networking, walking down the hall and seeing an old friend, catching up or going to the bar and having a drink with your competitor that you haven't seen for a year, those types of things. This platform does that. Will online replace in-person RV shows? We were very careful from the beginning to make note that this does not replace the Boston RV show. It doesn't replace any RV show. At RV shows, you touch, you feel, and you spend a lot of time looking at units. Online is more educational and information But we have RV dealers and we have campgrounds as exhibitors, but we put a lot of emphasis on the online video presentations and gearing it towards the man...
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