Hershey RV Show Attendance Down Slightly at Nearly 50,000

HERSHEY, Pa. – Attendance numbers for America’s Largest RV Show last week were down slightly, but overall it looked more like “mission accomplished” this morning (Sept. 19) as crews continued emptying out the Giant Center arena and parking lot where the event was held.

Pennsylvania RV and Campground Association (PRVCA) Executive Director Heather Leach said the organization chose to compare numbers to 2019 because that was the most recent “normal” year. Last year’s numbers were still affected by the COVID outbreak.

This first set of numbers has not been audited yet, but Leach said early figures indicate 49,112 people attended the show during its entire run. In 2019, 55,639 attended and 2021 numbers stood at 61,320 after a year in which the show had been cancelled by the pandemic.

Heather Leach

“I heard a lot of good responses from dealers who said their sales were still good,” she said. “They might have had to work a little harder for them this year than they did last year, but they still felt like it was a good show. It’s hard to tell from last year when it was just a different environment coming off of a year where we didn’t have the show.”

Leach said consumers were still in a buying mood, but were more choosy about the units they were interested in than last year, when inventory was tighter.

Mark Meyers

Mark Meyers of Meyers RV Superstore had mentioned that one of the first customers he talked with during the show had come all the way from Texas with the intent of buying.

“It’s always mind-blowing to me how far people come to this event,” Leach said. “On our industry day, a couple came who have a product they think would be great for the RV market and they came from Germany. They said they made a lot of connections and thought it was great. It’s always great hearing those kind of stories of people that have come and it met their expectations.”

Leach reported about 175 booth vendors and 40 manufacturers were on hand for the event.

She said that during industry day, about 900 visitors checked in for education sessions and an early preview of the 2023 RV models.

An early bellwether of industry satisfaction with the show is the number of vendors who already renewed their space for next year’s show. Leach said vendors are offered that opportunity to renew before they leave the show.

“A majority of them have already applied and wanted the same space that they had,” she said. “That’s kind of how we judge that is how many people come at the end of the show to renew. We had a couple of new vendors who sold out of all of their product by Thursday and had to get new shipments to the show.”

Comments from other industry officials echoed the comments of Leach and Meyers:

Coley Brady

Alliance RV President and co-founder Coley Brady said that he saw great results at the show.

“We as a team were very, very happy with the traffic and overall results and numbers,” Brady said. “We had a really good show. Level of interest was sky-high for our products and traffic in our display was outstanding.”

He noted that while he saw he a lot of younger families and first-time buyers at the show, the Alliance display catered more to a more mature demographic.

“For our products, specifically – we had the luxury fifth-wheels and high-end haulers – we were still seeing couples, retirees and snowbirds who were buying,” he said. “They were doing a lot of research and were ending up in our products. It was really good.”

Ben Hirsch

Campers Inn RV COO Ben Hirsch noted a strong level of interest at his dealership’s displays.

“For the overall show, and what we heard while we were there, was that Interest was strong throughout the week even though traffic was lighter than last year,” Hirsch said. “Also, the sales volume seemed to be in line with the overall market trends we have seen this year.  We also noticed an uptick in customers using the show to conduct research into their future RVs.”

He said Campers Inn had strong results in several areas, adding, “The team did a great job all week and we set a few internal records while at the show.”

Gerhard Hundsberger

Gerhard Hundsberger, president and CEO of Truma Corp., said he was “super happy” with the number of visitors his team saw at the Truma display during the show.

“We had a lot of interest. For us, we introduced the new Truma Aventa, a new air conditioner on the market,” he said. “We had a lot of interest from people interested in a more silent air conditioner. We also announced a partnership with Lance and there were a lot of questions about that partnership. Basically, Lance is going to use all the appliances – water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners – from Truma starting next fall. Good interest from customers, great feedback. We were very happy.”

Hundsberger said Truma’s display is geared toward end users of the company’s products.

“We like consumers coming here and asking about our products, if they need service if they have questions around our products. That’s why we come to these shows,” he said.

He also noted that the company brings mobile service techs to the show to satisfy consumer demand for aftermarket installations and service questions, which is very well received for end users.

“Overall, ti was a very good show for us.” Hundsberger said.

Dane Found

“We fared better than we anticipated,” said Dane Found, chief executive officer of Roadtrek Inc., Cambridge, Ontario. “We went down a day before show opened and we were a little concerned because the stock market took such a huge drop. But any concerns we had quickly disappeared come Wednesday morning. Sales began that opening day and stayed strong. We ended up being very pleased from the show – very pleased.”

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/hershey-rv-show-attendance-down-slightly-at-nearly-50000/