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Old 07-23-2016, 10:09 AM   #1
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RV Industry Death Spiral?

Interesting series of articles by Greg Gerber, "RV Daily Report" editor and his take on RV'ing.

Intro from RV Business "The Buzz":
http://www.rvbusiness.com/2016/07/th...-death-spiral/

Gerber's 8-part series:
http://rvdailyreport.com/?s=death+spiral
.
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:28 PM   #2
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Very interesting! Gerber certainly hits upon issues talked about throughout the AirForums.
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:33 PM   #3
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Interesting to me is that real world RV/travel trailer sales numbers are up and record profits are being recorded.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:01 PM   #4
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One of the largest RV companies (Forest River and etc.) is owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway.

So that tells me that a bunch of folks who thought about this some have decided that there is a market to serve and money to be made in the RV industry.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:10 PM   #5
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I think the pending retirement of the baby boomer generation offers the biggest opportunity, and biggest challenges, in the history of this industry. Almost every baby boomer who is retiring has at least considered purchasing an RV, and many of them actually purchase one. However, lemonade could turn into lemons very quickly if the quality of the product doesn't meet expectations and if all the fun places to go are overcrowded and too expensive. In addition to quality control, it might behoove the industry to open a few RV parks of its own to deal with the coming crowds of new retirees, and not wait for the moms and pops and KOA's of the world to catch up with the increasing demand.


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Old 07-23-2016, 02:40 PM   #6
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We are baby boomers and we are retiring and we are ready to rumble. There is money to be made now. Give it a few years and we'll see what develops.

If Thor will really implement true Lean Line Manufacturing concepts and continuously improve quality, design, and their dealer network, then their products will succeed in the future.

The gravy train will slow down with the demise of gear heads and DIY folks. Or will it? Many of the younger folks are full timing and working remote. The cost of housing in major cities is getting expensive and many folks want to be free to move if they want or need to get closer to job, family, or recreation. Maybe the RV industry has a future. Maybe there is a new generation of can do folks on the way. Cool!

Edit - McDave has it right. The parks are a problem. The "you can't live in it" codes are a problem too. But off grid is kind of a big place. New ideas, solar, and communication systems will open new opportunities.

Travel safe. Pat
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for the interesting read.

I've noticed that in a parallel recreational industry - pleasure boats under $100k - quality has greatly improved over the last 15 years. But prices have doubled, at the least.
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Many of the younger folks are full timing and working remote. The cost of housing in major cities is getting expensive and many folks want to be free to move if they want or need to get closer to job, family, or recreation. Maybe the RV industry has a future. Maybe there is a new generation of can do folks on the way. Cool.
But off grid is kind of a big place. New ideas, solar, and communication systems will open new opportunities. Travel safe. Pat
.
Seems to me the whole concept of "RV Park" will evolve into more purpose specific designs - sure, there will still be the "come one, come all" parks but as we are seeing, parks will begin catering to all economic levels. True resorts catering specifically to high end coaches ($125+/night!) already exist. And then there's everything else in between. I've seen vintage RV parks with restored vintage trailers and of course there's the family friendly KOA's & Jellystones...

Here on the coast in Rockport, we have over 70 RV parks with 8 more being built. A lot of folks are buying up to 3-4 lots in town with friends, building a small main house with kitchen, laundry, day room & shop/fix-it/repair room, outdoor kitchens and laying out 3 full hookup pads (more than three, the city/county calls it an RV park). Always have a place to come for holidays, fishing, etc...

Fenced in nicely and "tropicalized" landscaping, these properties are amazing. Co-op RV parks? Sure, always have a base to come back to...

The industry is seeing a big change in why people RV - no longer just a recreation/retirement choice but now a lifestyle/vocation choice.

Hopefully, the quality of RV's will at least reach and maybe exceed that of cars one day...
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:37 PM   #9
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Funny, I talked to Greg in at an RV park in Tucson back in February about this exact thing. We were on our first long trip with the Airstream and I had asked him what the top 3 issues that he saw in the RV industry. We've been mostly lucky. Two motorhomes and now our first Airstream. Mostly solid and good quality. Of course everything could be better. But the service situation is certainly in need of improvement. If we had service done on the motorhome, it would seriously be measured in weeks. We'll see with the Airstream as there is a short list of things to address. RV parks are in transition. We've stayed is some great ones, but also our share of mediocre. I will say this, there seems to be no shortage of people wanting to partake in the lifestyle. We're currently up in Breckenridge, CO at Tiger Run RV Resort. Not cheap, but not an empty spot in the park either.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:12 PM   #10
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Thanks for the interesting read.
I've noticed that in a parallel recreational industry - pleasure boats under $100k - quality has greatly improved over the last 15 years. But prices have doubled, at the least.
.
I have been astounded at the price of hobby boats here on the coast... Seems the markets demanding boats on steroids to the tune of $100 to $200K + for fishing boats, not cruisers with quarters... Those are $200K up.
.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxon View Post
.
I have been astounded at the price of hobby boats here on the coast... Seems the markets demanding boats on steroids to the tune of $100 to $200K + for fishing boats, not cruisers with quarters... Those are $200K up.
.
Shhhhhhh don't tell the folks close To Canada they can sell the "pontoon" barges for almost x4 in Texas!!!! I saw a couple locally which neared 4x the cost of similar up north!!! Well. In Texas you can use almost year round... As long as you can find a place to launch... I am surprised there hasn't been a murder at one of The "docks"'around here ... Rude people ... Discourteous... Really, the "boating classes" should begin with "launch etiquette.".. No rules... Just respect.. That is gone... Like many campgrounds....
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:58 PM   #12
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In high school and college I worked in a large boat yard in Connecticut, and power boats like Chris Craft and Egg Harbor were priced at about a thousand dollars a foot!

A lot -- but not all -- of this is due to inflation. Like Yogi Berra said: "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:15 PM   #13
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Take a look at the Harley Davidson market. As us babyboomers started to age many ran out and bought a Harley. Purchased their costumes, tied on a do-rag and headed to Sturgis. Now that we are getting older, riding a big heavy motorcycle is a little tougher than it once was. The market is now flooded with bikes for sale and the prices are quite depressed. It is just a consequence of an aging market.

I feel much the same about RVs in general. Pretty soon, hefting that WD hitch into position won't be as much fun as it is now. This wave can't last forever.
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:50 AM   #14
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With all the terrorist problems in the world today, global travel is becoming less attractive. Not to mention the hassle of airport security. IMHO RVing has a bright future, however as others have said there is a need for the parks / campgrounds to keep pace. At one time there was a number of Airstream only parks, i.e. Pennwood, Top of Georgia, Paradise Park, Most of these parks are still in operation but sadly could use a little TLC.
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