Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
Webster’s dictionary defines “extravaganza” as a “spectacular show or event.” As a search began for verbiage that would aptly describe the magnitude of Family Motor Coach Association’s semiannual conventions, the word “extravaganza” seemed to fit.
If you look at this month’s Event Calendar, which begins on page 162, you’ll note that no FMCA international conventions are listed. Where did the conventions go? Well, in November 2001, during the Family Motor Coaching Inc. Board of Directors meeting, the decision was made to rename FMCA’s semiannual conventions. From now on, the name of each convention will be the same except for the number: “FMCA’s xxth Premier International Motorhome Extravaganza.”
This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Nearly a year of discussion and review went into it.
The notion of the change began to be discussed in earnest when FMCA was interviewing marketing firms, searching for a company that would help the association reach out to potential new members. The marketing experts noted that because each FMCA convention had a different name, depending on its location (such as “Southern Sensation” or “Back to Maine”), these events didn’t benefit from any ongoing name recognition. They further commented that the separate numbering system we had been using for winter and summer conventions created confusion and did not reflect the value associated with the cumulative number of conventions that the association has sponsored in its history — 67 counting our recent Perry convention.
They also questioned the use of the words “winter convention” when the event is held in March or April. The same question applies to the use of the word “summer” when we’re describing an event that takes place anywhere from June to, this year, October. Another question is whether the word “convention” is appealing to prospective attendees.
A convention, according to the dictionary, is “an assembly, often periodically, of members.” Granted, that definition does apply to our conventions, but it says nothing about the motorhome exhibits, supplier booths, seminars, and entertainment that also are part of the event. In addition, technically, the summer convention was the only one that included a formal Governing Board meeting and a membership meeting. The winter convention lacks those aspects, but to the average and prospective participant, both annual events hold the same attraction. So, the word “convention” was de-emphasized, and the emphasis was placed on the show itself.
If you have ever attended an FMCA convention, you are well aware of the structure and magnitude of the event. So, in an effort to better define these events, several names were considered.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out one other confusing issue related to the name of FMCA’s international conventions. A little more than two years ago, the International Area of FMCA started presenting area rallies. These events offer a welcome opportunity for the chapters of the International Area to come together. Because the International Area encompasses the entire North American continent, its rallies can occur practically anywhere on the map, much like the international conventions. Thus, confusion set in, and some members mistakenly registered for the wrong events. Some who registered for and attended the International Area Rally were surprised when this rally did not include all of the elements of an international convention.
FMCA is trying to reach out to the thousands of motorhome owners who have yet to join us and experience the fun, fellowship, and excitement of FMCA events. We are interested in creating visibility and recognition for the association and its international events. FMCA’s international conventions have long been the premier motorhome shows of the industry. If you have never attended one of these events, I sincerely encourage you to consider joining in when they come to your part of the country or are held in an area to which you wish to travel.
Now that FMCA’s 27th annual winter international convention is history, I encourage you all to join us in Hutchinson, Kansas, October 1, 2, and 3, 2002, for FMCA’s “68th Premier International Motorhome Extravaganza.”
See you there.