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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — NTP-Stag, a wholesale distribution company serving RV industry dealers and suppliers, will welcome hundreds of people to Nashville this week as the firm launches it annual expo.
The expo event is an opportunity for companies selling RV parts and accessory products to order stock in advance of their busy summer selling season.
RV Daily Report had an opportunity to talk to John Spaulding, the director of communications and events for NTP-Stag about this year’s expo and what’s happening with the company.
The discussion is presented here, in question-and-answer format.
RVDR: This year’s theme is about helping RV dealers identify new revenue streams. What will that entail?
SPAULDING; In almost any industry retailers run the risk of getting into a product selection rut. Not being open to new items, new categories, new trends in the way people shop, retailers limit the sales opportunities that each and every customer brings to them when they walk through the door or log onto a site.
We wanted to use the show this year as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of refreshing product selection, experimenting with mix and rethinking what should be in front of the counter and what can move behind it.
Attendees will get a chance to see how categories like pet products, housewares, subscription services and smart RV products can be used as add-on sales drivers while creating a shopping environment that elicits a different behavior from consumers.
There are more than a dozen new exhibitors at the show this year which reinforces our desire to show our customers new and exciting retail solutions.
RVDR: What’s different about this year’s show?
SPAULDING: Of course, the location is different than last year and that’s one of the big appeals for the show. Our destinations are draws because they allow us to showcase new venues which creates some excitement and facilitates a strong attraction for regional customer attendance.
Moving the show around the country like we do, is a great way to provide event access to to customers that may not be able to come every year because of time and travel constraints.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort is a beautiful facility and its all-under-one-roof design makes it very convenient for everyone regardless of what the weather is doing. They opened up an new water park at the facility in December which will be a nice feature for folks adding extra days to their stay either before or after the event.
We will be showcasing 17 new suppliers this year and previewing a number of new products services from NTP-Stag. Things like our new marketing garage, where dealers can learn about the copy-paste-post social media content library, and Parts Via’s expanded supplier offering should be highlights this year.
RVDR: What popular features will return this year?
SPAULDING: Our show format and agenda is tried and true. We are keeping all the things that our customers have given us positive feedback on and mixing in some new twists to keep things interesting and engaging for them.
RV University (RVU) will kick off the event with 36 product workshops and PRO business seminars. The opening reception and active ordering on the show floor will begin Tuesday afternoon following RVU.
We will have live music, food and drink on the show floor and challenge our guests to be talent scouts as they participate in a scavenger hunt to find popular music artists in the supplier’s booths. Every artist they find results in a chance to win a vacation voucher.
We open the show on Wednesday morning the start the fun with prize giveaways and plenty of our ever-popular “power hours.” The show will conclude with a reception at the Wild Horse Saloon in downtown Nashville.
Our model store is returning with a twist. In keeping with the theme of “new opportunities,” we are going to be showcasing merchandising strategies for new product categories. We will also be reinforcing the importance of service parts inventory management and its role in helping reduce repair event cycle times (RECT).
RVDR: What type of training will be available through your PRO sessions?
SPAULDING: We have a great line up of PRO speakers this year. Marcus Sheridan is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker known for his unique ability to excite, engage and motivate audiences.
In 2017, Forbes listed him as one of 20 “speakers you don’t want to miss.” Sheridan has been dubbed a “web marketing guru” by the New York Times and featured in Inc., The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and other publications.
Sheridan will be talking about content marketing strategies and how they can generate traffic, leads, and sales. In today’s marketplace, what we say, how we say it, and where it is seen or heard can have a dramatic impact on business. His presentation will help attendees better understand that dynamic and be more thoughtful about content strategies.
Gabrielle Bosche is the leading expert in generational diversity and millennial engagement. She is regularly called on for her insight from print, radio and television outlets.
Bosche conducts research on millennial retention and brand loyalty and has led research efforts in partnership with organizations such as The Catholic University of America and Burk International. A millennial herself, Gabrielle specializes in demystifying the millennial generation and motivating them to do and be more.
Her PRO seminars will focus on hiring and retaining employees and managing in a multi-generational office environment. Finding good people and creating a business culture that is rewarding for individuals and profitable for the company is Bosche ’s focus.
Valerie Ziebron has worked with hundreds of clients — big and small — to increase not only customer service index (CSI) and profitability, but also job enjoyment. She firmly believes that “work that’s fun gets done!”
She has delivered thousands of presentations around the world for dealers and their OEM partners. Her clients have included Yamaha, Chrysler, GM and Eastman Kodak.
Ziebron makes a special study of what a dealership can do to “flip the switch from reactive to proactive,” and how a proactive stance in customer service can influence loyalty and improve the lifetime value of a customer.
With retail and service providing the most touch points for customer engagement in a dealership, Ziebron’s presentation is sure to have a lasting impression with attendees.
RVDR: Are there any networking events planned?
SPAULDING: No Expo is complete without providing plenty of opportunities for people to network. It is one of the great benefits of bringing people together.
Dealers can talk to dealers, suppliers and the NTP-Stag staff on the show floor, at meals, receptions and around the resort. We build into our agenda plenty of time for face-to-face engagement – something that just can’t be replicated on the phone or through an e-commerce or virtual experience.
RVDR: You have a new breakfast sponsor which will play a big role in introducing a new benefit to dealers. Are there any other sponsored events?
SPAULDING: We are very excited to have Dish sponsor the opening breakfast and opening night reception. Their subscription services plan allows dealers to tap into a revenue stream that is primed and ready for the taking.
We are also thankful for Blue Ox as our show sponsor, Valterra as our RV University Sponsor, and Carefree of Colorado as our closing event sponsor.
Expo is the leading event in the market because of these committed suppliers and we are grateful for the contributions they make at our event and throughout the year.
RVDR: What will dealers gain through their attendance this year?
SPAULDING: Our hope is that our customers leave the event with ideas that can help them sell more products in the coming year. Ideas that can help them run their retail and service areas more profitably.
We want them to have confidence that they have an industry partner in us that will support them with the products and services they need when they need them. In the end, we hope they have fun, learn something new and come away with purchases that they feel were good deals.
RVDR: Can dealers still register?
SPAULDING: While the preregistration process is over, our customers are always welcome to register for the event by calling their customer service representative. We have quite a few walk-in registrations every year and we are prepared to handle those as well.
The registration windows will open at 11 a.m. Jan. 20 where we will be handing out show badges and taking care of those last-minute sign ups. For dealers that are not pre-registered, we recommend that they confirm their hotel room prior to their arrival.