Nearly 2,000 RVs were on display in Hershey

America’s Largest RV Show reported record attendance at this year’s event with a turnout of 43,131 people for the Retail Days alone, according to a press release.

The Sept. 10-16 event at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., saw a 29% increase in attendance from 2011 and set a new record for the history of the show. The show had over 1,092 new units on display, 172 booth vendors and 45 manufacturers covering display space that surpassed 2011 by over 7%.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the increase in both show space and attendance,” said Rebecca Lenington, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA), which annually hosts the show. “We sold out of booth vendor space inside the Giant Center and extended the manufacturer space further into the parking area. People coming to the show are always amazed at how many RVs and accessories the show has and this year’s show definitely exceeded expectations.”

Industry Days were the focus of the first two days of the show allowing dealers one-on-one time with manufacturers and the opportunity to see the debut of the 2013 products.

“There’s a lot of value in Hershey’s Industry Days,” said Dan Saltzgiver, general manager of Camping World of Hanover and PRVCA show chairman. “The show allows dealers and campgrounds to have the first glimpse of the new product and familiarize themselves with the models.”

Vendor booths were busy in the Giant Center

Industry Days also included education clinics focusing on F&I, service writers and advertising along with a Red Carpet Breakfast featuring NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen and a party at Hersheypark.

This year, PRVCA held a trip giveaway to the Dominican Republic for campground and RV dealership owners attending Industry Days. The winners were John and Linda Sosko, owners of Silver Valley Campsites and RV Sales in Saylorsburg, Pa. “I can’t believe we won,” Linda Sosko said. “I am going home and packing my bags.”

Retail days brought consumers who were ready to shop. “We had our best show yet,” Saltzgiver said. “Our sales were up over 20% and, from what I could tell, all segments of the industry did well at Hershey.”

“Traffic has been up and sales have been steady,” Ed Lerch, owner of Lerch’s RV, said during the show. “We are ahead of last year.”

Jay Troyer, director of sales and marketing for first-time exhibitor Forks RV Inc. noted, “We were very pleased with traffic and public reaction. This show will become a staple in our show schedule.”

A steady flow of people checked out units at the Hershey Show

The Hershey Show also provided hourly seminars for both new and experienced RVers. Industry experts such as Bob Marx, Walter Cannon, John Holod and RV Doctor Gary Bunzer were on hand to share their know-how.

“This year, America’s Largest RV Show far exceeded all my expectations,” Bunzer states. “We were blessed with glorious weather, outstanding sales and, of course, enthusiastic crowds that attended in record numbers each day of the show. In my 23 years of presenting seminars at this show, I cannot recall any year where we had such perfect sunshine, moderate temperatures, low humidity and no rain for the entire run of the show, every single day – including the two Industry Days on Monday and Tuesday.

“The dealers and vendors I spoke with were ecstatic about the record attendance and how well their sales were progressing as each day built towards the big weekend. I especially liked chatting with the first-time vendors and attendees. Everybody wore smiles the entire week. That’s a great sign for the RV industry.”

The universal appeal of RVing, as well as the ability to shop and compare so many manufacturers at one place, continues to attract thousands of people to Hershey. “We are so happy to provide a place where people can come together and share their passion for RVing,” Lenington stated. “We are in planning mode for next year’s show to make it even better.”

The 2013 PA RV & Camping Show will be held on September 9–15. For more information, visit www.largestRVshow.com.