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RVIA's LaBella Says Industry Through the Worst Times

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Hundreds of attendees were able to listen and learn at the 29th Annual Florida Recreation Vehicle Trade
(RVTA) State Convention Sept. 11-13 at the Coconut Point Hyatt Resort in
Bonita Springs. This year’s annual meeting stressed education and training that will
strengthen members’ organizational strategies, internal workings and market positioning to
face an increasingly challenging business environment, according to a news release from
RVTA. Gary LaBella, vice president and chief marketing officer for the Recreation Vehicle
Industry Association (RVIA), gave the membership an update on the national RV Industry. He
informed members about the upcoming celebration of the 100th anniversary of the RV
Industry, which is estimated to have begun in 1910. As part of the celebration, RVIA will
coordinate a series of special events to inform both the media and general public about the
progression of the RV Industry and why people go RVing. LaBella said statistics show the
industry has passed through the worst times and that the future appears much brighter as he
pointed to June wholesale RV shipments that rose to 15,700 units, their highest monthly
total in nearly a year. He said sales, however, will be slow and uneven, which is why RVIA
is aggressively pursuing an active Go RVing national marketing campaign, even with
one-third less budget than was available in 2008 due to the economic slowdown. He said new
commercials for the Go RVing campaign are now being prepared that will stress economy, fuel
efficiency and savings. “Over 1.5 million consumers have visited GoRVing.com in 2009 and been exposed to
our value and affordability messages,” he said. “What’s really encouraging is that web
visits this July surpassed last July by nearly 20%.” He continued, “Overall, the Go RVing
campaign metrics of 2009 don’t quite approach the performance enjoyed in past years when a
much larger media budget was driving greater response. However, our 2009 results are
impressive considering the economic environment we’ve been operating in and show clearly
that the Go RVing campaign is helping the industry maintain exposure and keeping us ahead
of the competition.” He estimates the 2010 Go RVing budget will have be $8.6 million with a
media budget of $6 million – a $2.5 million increase from this year. “It will be very
helpful for the campaign to have this additional money to spend on print ads and TV
commercials as we begin to emerge from these tough economic times,” he said. “In addition
to an increased media budget for 2010, we will also be helped by the debut of new Go RVing
creative next year to help re-energize the campaign and motivate consumers.” “We are using
new, cost-effective production techniques to produce new television commercials using
existing Go RVing images and footage. The new ads will retain the emotional appeal of the
campaign while stressing the affordability and value of RV travel…powerful messages for
this economic climate,” he said. Story courtesy of RV Business.

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