(July 30, 2015) — Podcast episode 59 features an interview with Mark Bretz, owner of Bretz RV. He talks about his dealership, how it is weathering the economic recovery and what the market is like in the Pacific northwest. Bretz describes where he sees the RV industry headed and offers a warning to RV dealers. The second interview features Adam DiPietro, who heads up a new initiative to create a network of NASCAR themed campgrounds throughout the country. He describes the network, its goals and what campgrounds can do to tap into the huge NASCAR fan base.
(July 9, 2015) — In this episode of RV Industry News, Lorne Armer, KOA’s vice president of brand development, offers and update on KOA’s own rebranding initiative as well as some insight into how KOA evaluates partnership requests from other companies. Then, campground consultant Mary Arlington talks about what campground owners can do to build stronger businesses and to improve their reach through social media marketing.
(July 2, 2015) — Bambei talks about the mission of ARVC and some new additions to the association’s strategic plan designed to help park owners build stronger businesses. He outlines some of the challenges RV parks and campgrounds face, and why it’s better to belong to a professional trade group to benefit from “strength in numbers.”Bambei talks about the mission of ARVC and some new additions to the association’s strategic plan designed to help park owners build stronger businesses. He outlines some of the challenges RV parks and campgrounds face, and why it’s better to belong to a professional trade group to benefit from “strength in numbers.”
Manley describes how the transition to high-definition has impacted the RV industry and why he thinks television will remain a viable entertainment option for RVers since it is nearly impossible to stream video in a campground. The company has invested heavily into creating automated processes to build the components, yet the quality of finished products attests to the value of that investment, he explains. Manley also provides some insight into the direction of the RV market, at least from a component supplier perspective — and it’s good news for consumers, especially where satellite Internet is concerned.
(June 4, 2015) — This week’s guest is Bryan Henke, the manager of product marketing for Freightliner Custom Chassis, a company that has dominated the Class A diesel market for years. He talks about some of the new features being introduced into Freightliner chassis, and he gives RV dealers some tips on how to educate customers on the benefits and advantages of upgrading to diesel motorhomes. Henke also describes increasing in interest in entry level motorhomes, and hints that first-time buyers may be jumping right into the motorhome market.
The first guest is Tim Sullivan, the interim CEO of Allied Specialty Vehicles. He address concerns about the direction of the company following the sudden and immediate retirement of former CEO John Draheim and the announcement that the company had laid off several dozen people at its motorhome production facility. Next up is Caimin Flannery, the chief operations officer for Workhorse, which announced its re-entry into the motorhome chassis market. He addresses up front the idea that Workhorse is a company that jumps in and out of the RV market.
(May 21, 2015) — This week’s guests are Scott and Diane King, the owners of the Springfield Route 66 KOA campground in Missouri. Diane serves on the board of directors of KOA Care Camps, an organization that has raised $8 million since 1984 — $1 million last year alone — to help send kids with cancer to camp for a week. Care Camps supports 56 separate campgrounds that provide a camping experience to kids at no cost to their families.
(May 8, 2015) — This is Motley’s second appearance on RV Industry News. Last time he focused on service center operations. In this interview, Motley switches gears and focuses on one of his pet peeves — dealers who do not ensure that RVs, especially used units, are properly set up in “sale ready” condition. It’s a situation he thinks costs dealers dearly in terms of missed sales and lowered reputations. As an industry trainer, Motley has talked about his issues with RV dealers for years at various conferences. However, as more discerning buyers arrive on RV sales lots, they are expecting to view RVs without defect and missing parts.
(April 30, 2015) — Napp talks about the biggest changes he has seen in the campground business, as well as trends he’s noticing in the outdoor hospitality industry as well. He identifies several underserviced areas in the campground segment of the RV industry, such as finding investment dollars and land to create more RV parks. There are a number of things the campground industry can do to better reach its potential for customers and for investors, and he outlines how social media is a campground’s absolute best friend for maintaining a community of campers all year round.
(April 24, 2015) — Chad Reece talks about the company’s current marketing efforts and what Winnebago is doing to better promote its products to potential RV buyers. He also describes how the Internet and computers have shifted marketing away from predominantly print forms of communication to an emphasis on social media and websites. Sheila Davis talks about how Winnebago has changed during her tenure with the company, yet describes how much it remains a “small town company.” She stresses the importance of public relations and what it has done to help Winnebago shape its brand and reputation.
(April 22, 2015) — The first segment features an interview with Scott Degnan, the vice president of sales and brand development for Winnebago Industries. At the show, he reported on several new branding initiatives and partnerships with other firms, as well as an increase in market share for the company in 2015. The second segment features Corey Ruzicka is the executive director of the Priority RV Network and Katherine Brackett handles administrative and accounting functions. They talk about the dealer meeting as well as growth the network has experienced and why it is beneficial for RV dealers and consumers to be affiliated with the network.
Episode 48 of RV Industry News is devoted to two groups focused on serving younger RVers — the Xscapers and Fulltime Families. Travis and Melanie Carr are spearheading the Xscapers expansion. They come on the show to talk about the club’s mission and what they plan to do to better equip younger RVs for their journeys. Kimberly Travaglino, the founder of Fulltime Families, is a repeat guest on RV Industry News. The group, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, is nearing 1,000 members who are primarily families with children living and working on the road.
(March 19, 2015) — The host of the online RV Cooking Show and of RV Life, produced for Rollin’ On TV, Schmarder’s involvement in the RV industry is vast and varied. She is the author of Unconventional Wisdom Works, and directed the outdoor hospitality industry’s first benchmark study to gauge the way campgrounds and RV parks are marketing their firms online. Schmarder is the owner of Roadabode Productions and serves as a consultant to business owners to help them maximize their digital marketing efforts.
(March 13, 2015) — Woodbury is the 2014 RV Industry Association Journalist of the Year. His career spans several decades and includes work as a magazine publisher, blogger, and videographer. Until recently, he owned RVbookstore.com, which served thousands of customers as the industry’s first online resource for books and DVDs. The manager of nearly a dozen different RV-related websites, he has been at the forefront of every communications change impacting the RV industry, and he offers some great insight into how digital media will change the way RV businesses and campgrounds reach and serve customers.
(March 5, 2015) — RV Insurance Solutions is celebrating its 10th anniversary and both men describe how the company came about how it has grown over the years. Although relatively small in size, the firm has a growing footprint and is looking to expand into other areas. Watters and Ballard also discuss the various types of insurance products dealers should be offering to specific customers. Plus, they explain why RV owners should purchase certain types of insurance protection just for their RVs rather than relying upon other types of insurance, like auto or homeowners policies.
(Feb. 12, 2015) — The first guest is Tim Sheehan, the CEO of Lazydays RV. He talks about what is happening at one of the largest RV dealerships in the world and describes how the market in Tampa has changed in recent years, and what’s behind the phenomenal growth in RV sales in that part of Florida. He also touches on the opening of the new Airstream Store at the Lazydays Tucson location, and how dealer-manufacturer partnerships like that can be game changers for consumers. The second guest is John Holod, owner of RV Adventure Videos, who has traveled throughout North America chronicling popular RV tours to places like Florida, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, Route 66 and the New England Coast. Holod is available to help RV show promoters sell the sizzle and fun of the RV lifestyle by hosting a series of fun, informative presentations. Magicians, musicians and water-skiing squirrels aren’t going to convince people to buy and use an RV, but learning about RV adventures will keep people talking for days and weeks after the show, he explained.
(Feb. 5, 2015) — This week’s guests are Tom Johnson, the president and CEO of JG Lubricant Services and Barney Gerdts, the director of sales. They describe a new service being offered to RV dealers and RV inspectors that allows fluid samples from RVs to be submitted for analysis, much like blood work for people. The analysis gives an accurate report on the condition of those components. It will allow RV buyers to better determine the value of a motorhome they are contemplating buying, plus it offers RV dealers a third-party review of an RV to create more accurate trade-in offers.
(Jan. 29, 2015) — Wendland, who blogs about his experience at Roadtreking.com, offers dealers insight into the Class B market and to the types of people who appreciate traveling in smaller motorhomes. He describes the convenience of using his Roadtrek Class B and overcomes some of the popular myths that the units are too small for full-time living. Mark Koep, with CampgroundViews.com. and his family are traveling the nation creating short introductory videos for campgrounds and RV parks so that potential guests can see what the campground looks like before they make reservations. Koep explains why traffic to his website has increased considerably since the site was launched.
(Jan. 23, 2015) — This week’s guest is Chris Baum, CEO of Little Guy Worldwide, a manufacturer of tiny trailers and teardrop trailers. He describes the market for smaller towables and talks about why teardrops seem to have such a cult following among some consumers. He also offers ideas on ways RV dealers can tap into the growing consumer base of people looking for an inexpensive way to move from tent camping and sleeping on the ground into the RV lifestyle via these entry-level products.
(Jan. 15, 2015) — Lance Wilson, executive director of the Florida RV Trade Association, which sponsors the show, is the first guest. He talks about the record-setting opening day and why he thinks the show is so popular. He also talks about the association’s training effort and how dealers all over North America can tap into the program. The second guest is Walt Burns, from EasyCare. The company offers extended warranties and other F&I products to RV dealers, and he describes those in detail. But, he also talks about a new video messaging service that EasyCare offers to dealers that let them e-mail video messages to customers. This is a popular communications technique for sales and service applications.