By R.G. Wilson, F21025
Why would you go to Louisville, Kentucky, in early December in your motorhome? Believe me, it’s not to camp out and enjoy the outdoors. In December 2002 when we visited Louisville, we encountered eight inches of snow. This past year we experienced temperatures below the freezing mark.
The reason for the visit at this time of year is to see and experience the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show. Each year RVIA members gather at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center in Louisville, forming the largest display of recreation vehicles and RV components in the nation.
After our November Executive Board and committee meetings in Cincinnati, I traveled to Louisville for this show, as did FMCA’s senior vice president, secretary, treasurer, and several of FMCA’s area vice presidents.
It was a great experience, especially for the board members who were attending for the first time. It not only gave our Executive Board members the opportunity to see the newest and latest products in the RV industry, but it also gave them a chance to meet manufacturers and dealers from all over North America. This is especially valuable to all who are responsible for seeking exhibitors and sponsors for FMCA’s international conventions and area rallies. The Executive Board members took turns assisting Cincinnati office staff in manning FMCA’s booth during the show.
The RVIA trade show is the industry’s largest, with assigned exhibit space in excess of 650,000 square feet. It fills the entire Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center. The primary purpose of the show is for the RV industry manufacturers to display their new products to their dealers, sign up new dealers, and get sales commitments so that their manufacturing people can start building the products that will be sold to the public in the upcoming year. The show is not open to the general public. RVIA does host a fall show in Pomona, California, that is open to the public.
Motorhome manufacturers continue to use large numbers of slideouts in their units, whether large or small. We saw one large motorhome that had a full-length slideout on either side. Not being an engineer, I have no idea how it worked or how it was possible.
Another popular item, especially in the pull-type units (trailers, etc.) is the multipurpose room. The RVer can haul a four-wheeler, motorcycle, or other “toys” in this space, and then use it as sleeping quarters or an extra living area after the vehicles are offloaded.
Luxury type C units seem to be more popular for those who are not comfortable driving the “big rigs” but still want the amenities found in large motorhomes.
We attended the “Outlook 2004” breakfast meeting, which included an update regarding the “Go RVing” campaign, and a presentation of the many pro-RVing promotions that are being aired on TV and in other media. We were told that research reveals that the RV industry is experiencing an annual growth of around 20 percent. All the major manufacturers that we visited with were very optimistic about the future and told us that their dealers were placing strong orders.
On Wednesday morning, the FMCA Commercial Council met and transacted business. Following that meeting, I, along with the senior vice president, secretary, and treasurer of FMCA, met with the council’s task force to exchange ideas and hear suggestions about how we can improve our conventions.
On Wednesday evening, FMCA hosted a reception for our commercial members, magazine advertisers, and the companies that are exhibiting at our upcoming convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, exhibitors could learn where their booths and display spaces will be during the convention, and do some socializing, too. As usual, this was a well-attended affair and it gave us an opportunity to visit with the vendors and develop closer relationships.
Overall, I felt the RVIA show was an excellent event and a very good learning experience for all of us who attended.
My wife, Jeri, and I hope to see you in Albuquerque in March for another wonderful FMCA convention. Until then, safe travels.
During the last quarter of 2003, the FMCA Governing Board voted to raise the annual dues of family and associate memberships from $25 to $35, and to raise the first-year new family membership fee from $35 to $45. This change took effect January 1. However, between now and March 31, 2004, current FMCA members have the opportunity to purchase up to five additional advance years at the old discounted rate schedule “” two years for $47.50, three years for $67.50, and five years for $100.
The new discounted rate schedule is two years for $66.50, three years for $94.50, and five years for $140. There have been questions about the maximum number of years a member may purchase in advance. Assuming that a member renewed in 2003 and at that time purchased five years for $100 at the old discounted rate, he would currently have four years of advance dues on the books. Until March 31, 2004, a member with four years on the books could purchase an additional five years at the old discounted rate even though his membership renewal is not due at this time. This would bring him up to nine years, which is the maximum number of advance years authorized. Don’t hesitate to contact the Membership Services Department at (800) 543-3622 if you want to take advantage of this opportunity or if you have questions. Or visit www.fmca.com and sign up online