For many OEMs and dealers, the Boston RV & Camping Expo is a harbinger of the year to come. By all accounts, this year’s show — a four-day event that concluded Monday, (Jan. 17) — was a gratifying success.
According to Bob Zagami, executive director for the New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA), the show organizer, buyers were out in force, sales were good and margins were healthy.
“I can honestly say it was beyond our expectations – or, rather, anticipations,” Zagami told RVBusiness, the sister publication of WOODALLSCM.com. “As this was the first show in two years due to the pandemic, none of us knew what to expect.
“While traffic was less than in 2020, the quality of the audience was better than we’ve seen in 20 years,” he continued. “Lookers were fewer and buyers more. There was a steady traffic flow, and every aisle was full, but not shoulder to shoulder. Several of my dealers told me this was their best Boston Show ever in sales and profits. It’s one of those crazy things about the RV industry.”
That’s not to say that there weren’t a few hiccups. First, a bitter cold snap descended on the region and likely discouraged the casual tire-kicker. Next, the Saturday night New England Patriots playoff game undoubtedly kept some home in front of the tube. Finally, a last-minute mask and vaccination mandate for show attendees, instituted by the City of Boston, put a bit of a damper on the event held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
But, in the end, the show was a success.
RVBusiness spoke with Pete’s RV Center Director of Marketing, Phil LeClair, whose observations paralleled Zagami’s in many ways.
“We fared well and, obviously, we were so excited to be back into show season after going through a year-and-a-half with no shows. It was awesome to be back on the scene,” said LeClair.
“Traffic was good, but not what it was two years ago. However, the people at the show were more qualified buyers,” commented LeClair. “Across the board, we sold everything, from motorhomes to stick-and-tin trailers. A lot of trailers. And looking at the leads generated during the show, I expect we will see strong sales in the weeks ahead.”
Pete’s RV Center, founded in 1952, operates dealerships in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. According to LeClair, business for the dealership is very good and, fortunately, less crazy and more manageable than at the height of the pandemic.
Added LeClair, “With an overall spike in leads along with the volume of show leads, timing is right. Manufacturers are getting in a good position, and we are getting products offline on a more normalized basis. So now that we have the inventory and it’s show season, I think it is going to be really good for everybody.”