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.
(Jan. 8, 2015) — The first podcast of 2015 features an interview with John and Kathy Huggins, the founders of Living the RV Dream. The couple have been full-time RVing since 2005, and have developed quite an audience among RV owners and people thinking about getting into the RV lifestyle. The Huggins talk about their own experience on the road, as well as some important industry issues from an RV owner’s perspective — and it goes beyond product quality.
(Dec. 18, 2014) — The final podcast of 2014, episode 38, features two interviews from the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. First up is Jeff Porter, the CEO of Velvac Corporation. The New Berlin, Wis., company is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2014, and is really making a push into the RV aftermarket to increase awareness among RV dealers about the firm’s driver safety products. Next up is Ryan Thomas, a salesperson for Blue Ox. The Pender, Neb., company hasn’t slowed down since the death of its founder, Jay Hesse, earlier this year. Ryan talks about the new Avail towbar and the company’s chassis performance package, which gives dealers a great product to sell to help RV owners better enjoy their driving and towing experiences.
(Dec. 17, 2014) — Guests on the show include Gerhard Hundsberger, president and CEO; Eldon Wood, vice president of sales and marketing; and Jutta Bringazi, public relations director. The trio discuss the company’s history, its plans for serving the American RV industry and the products being introduced at the National RV Trade Show.
(Dec. 11, 2014) — Gregg Fore, president of Dicor Products, kicks off the show by describing some of the more innovative products his company introduced at the show. Fore also talks about the Louisville show in general and its role in the industry. He’s got some frank advice for exhibitors who complain that nobody shows up at their booths. He applauds RVIA for introducing technician training to the show. Next up, Raymond Padgett, the principle at ARC Representation, explains how he came up with the idea to start the company and how he feels it will fill a unique niche in the aftermarket. His company will put boots on the ground at RV dealerships to teach dealers about specific products and help them market those products.
(Dec. 9, 2014) — Episode 35 features one interview with two online RV sales experts. Chris Mapson, the RV sales maximization specialist for RVT, and his colleague, data analyst Drew Clifton, talk about the company’s just released RV Market Report. The report looks at the online behavior of RV consumers, for which mobile device use has exploded with 32 percent of shoppers now using tablets and smartphones to access information about units available for sale. The most stunning disclosure, from an industry perspective, is that four out of 10 consumers report dealers don’t follow up on inquiries within 48 hours.