Boston RV & Camping Show ‘Beyond our Wildest Expectations’ – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News
BOSTON – The Boston RV Show ended Sunday, Jan. 28, after what organizers describe as a very successful four-day run.
“It was beyond our wildest expectations,” Bob Zagami, New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) executive director and show organizer, told RVBusiness. “If you walked around the exhibit hall and spent any time on the show floor, you would not relate it to what we hear in the news about the U.S. economy, wars, or political issues. It was that good! We had lines every day at opening.”
Paid attendance was estimated at around 14,000 — about par for recent post-Covid Boston shows — although sales were robust, by most accounts. What’s more, a smaller show floor made for a busier environment.
Zagami is quick to point out that attendance figures can be misleading. “I’m not bashful about saying that we are the most expensive indoor show in the country,” he said before explaining further. “Adult admission is $17 per person, plus parking, then lunch or dinner in the Seaport district. For a family of four, it’s $200 to $500 and upward. No one will pay that kind of money if they are not serious buyers. This show is not about tire kickers.”
To confirm that sentiment, Pete’s RV Co-Owner Chad Shepard described it as a selling show. “Boston was up with our best shows. We sold a lot of travel trailers — Jay Flight and Cherokee, our top two. But we also sold some RVs in the $250,000 range. In fact, motorhomes were 20% of our sales, which included As, Cs, and camper vans.”
When asked what this show portends for the season, Shepard offered, “I think it is going to be very, very good, but you have to give the customer a reason to buy. Also, they want to make sure they are getting a good deal.”
Camping RVs were not the only units selling, as park models were also in demand. Seacoast RV displayed the Elevation Park Model Company’s 700 Series, their new top-of-the-line park home. “There weren’t many times we were without someone in our unit,” commented Joel Lederman, co-founder of the 2-year-old Elkhart, Ind.-based manufacturer who worked the show. “Often, we’d have eight or 10 people at a time inside.”
So what does this mean looking forward? Added Lederman, “Conversations this year — compared to last — are very different. You’ve got serious buyers. We probably set up six or eight appointments to custom build one of our units with the dealer, and we sold the unit we brought to the show.”
In addition to what appears to be strong consumer confidence, Zagami offered several factors contributing to the show’s success.
“First,” he said, “there was a great product selection, including park models, van campers, and destination trailers. Additionally, the pricing was very aggressive, with prices well below what had been seen in the past few years. Furthermore, the show was well-promoted through social media and other channels.”
As the industry’s show season wears on, only time will tell if this momentum continues. But at least as far as the Boston Show is concerned, the future looks promising.