LAS VEGAS — Two rival companies battled for dominance in the all-important sewer hose market during a special “power hour” sale at The Expo put on by NTP Distribution this week at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.
The Valterra 15-foot Dominator sewer hose faced off against the 15-foot Camco Rhino during a one-hour promotion at which participating RV dealers could lock in exceptional savings, Donna Warr, Valterra marketing director told RV Daily Report.
“NTP has conducted power hour sales at their conferences for several years, but this was the first time they had two companies square off with competitive offers at the same time,” she explained. “The goal was to see who could sell the most units in a single hour.”
While neither company would — or could — provide exact order numbers, both booths were exceptionally busy from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday. When the dust settled, Warr said dealers had turned in 500 order forms, with most arriving in the first 25 minutes of the special sale event.
The event kicked off with sales staff from both companies dressed in boxing robes and gloves holding samples of the products.
“It was really NTP’s idea to do the competition,” Warr said. “In the end, both companies were winners because we sold a lot of product very quickly.”
The show was well attended, but NTP officials declined to provide exact attendance figures other than to say it enjoyed the highest attendance of any dealer show in the company’s history. Suppliers were especially happy with the number of attendees and the amount of orders being written, several people told RV Daily Report.
“We have seen a lot of good flow and there hasn’t been a lot of downtime,” said Rod Hire, marketing director for MITO Corp., which was exhibiting its WiFi RV Ranger Sky device that boosts wireless signals.
“Dealers are seeing the potential of being able to offer this product, and they are asking a lot of good questions,” he explained. “I think they are starting to get a lot of feedback from customers based on their experience at campgrounds, and this product can help resolve a lot of problems.”
Mike Voyles, a consultant with Priority RV Network, said he was shocked at the number of Canadian dealers he saw at the show.
“I’ve seen a significant number of people from Canada stopping by to introduce themselves,” he explained. “There seems to be an outpouring of interest among Canadian dealers at this show.”
Voyles’ company helps RV dealers improve their retail operations and displays. It’s an issue he said is attracting more dealer attention.
“RV dealers have always been in the ‘parts business,’ but I don’t think many dealers gave it the attention it deserved,” he explained. “But, that is changing. Dealers are becoming more aware of the appearance of their parts stores and they are making considerable investments to improve the shopping experience for their customers.”
A Canada Night dinner on Wednesday drew more than 270 Canadians at the Rock House Bar and Nightclub. The event was sponsored by Pullrite, Equal-i-zer Hitch, Progress Manufacturing and NTP.
Brian Allred, Ultra-Fab’s vice president of sales and marketing, also conducted a “power hour” sale through NTP, and noted that the company netted between half and two-thirds of last year’s total sales volume in just one hour. For him, that was a sign dealers were much more confident going into the spring selling season.
“For us, the StagParkway show was a little flat, primarily because it was in Puerto Rico and I think many people came there primarily to play,” he said. “We had lots of dealers just dropping off orders at that show, but here we had the opportunity to sit down and write orders in the booth, and to show people our products.
“Don’t get me wrong, Stag did a great job with their show and it really drew attention to their 25th anniversary,” he added. “Everyone had a great time, and a lot of dealers brought their spouses. It was a lot of fun and I am glad we went. We’re just doing more business here this year in Las Vegas.”
Ultra-Fab sponsored the closing party Thursday night at the NTP Expo at which nearly 1,000 people were expected to enjoy free drinks and hors d’oeuvres while they networked informally at the Ventian’s Tao nightclub.
Robert Brammer, president of Stromberg Carlson, noticed a lot of excitement at the expo, which translated into a lot of orders. That’s a big change for the NTP show, compared to other years where the focus appeared to be primarily on dealer education opportunities, he explained.
“We’ve done a lot of selling at all the shows we’ve been at this spring,” Brammer said. “I think it’s a good sign for the recovery of the RV industry going forward. Dealers have been coming to the shows to write orders. We sold a lot at the StagParkway show, and we’re seeing a lot of west coast dealers here.”
Brammer has seen a lot more interest in new products this year, which he considers another sign of dealer confidence.
“During the past few years, we have seen dealers simply place orders based on what they did the year before,” he explained. “If they sold 10 specific products in all of last year, we’re seeing them place a base order of five or six units at the shows to cover anticipated demand. But, it’s also freeing them up to look at new products we’ve introduced and place orders for that as well.”
The dates and location for the NTP’s 2015 Expo have not yet been announced.