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Old 02-20-2004, 05:41 PM   #1
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Austin RV Show

In a word, "don't bother". I guess that is 2 words, but still, don't bother.

The show has shrunk to about a half of the floor space of a couple of years ago. There were fewer vendors up the center aisle and a good number of them weren't particularly RV related.

Maybe it is a reflection of the economy, but there were probably only a quarter as many huge motorhomes there as were there in the past, and the ones that were there were a notch lower in price than before.

There wasn't even one really innovative trailer in attendance; just rows of cheap-looking white boxes for the most part. Toy haulers are real big, there were quite a few of those. There were only a couple popups while there were rows of them in the past. Pickup campers, with slides, no less, seem to be coming back. There were some really huge ones. A couple of A-Liners and an Outback with a rear slide were the most interesting things I saw.

Our local Airstream dealer was there with one 19' CCD and a lot of white boxes. he did have an Airstream factory rep there and I unloaded on him about the quality of my late, lamented International. he did take some notes on some suggestions I had including doing something about the door blocking the refrigerator grille. The dealer said that they did quite well at the San Antonio show, earlier.

I think that the astronomical cost of floor space is about to write finis to the show.
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Old 02-20-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
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Late?

NOt that I had any reason to go to the show this year but that "Late lamented International is back at Camper Clinic as of today for a leaky toilet and a lift that only lowers. I hope to find all it's weeknesses before our 4,000 trek in May. I think the RV and boat shows are only for those who don't have enough of the rollup cutting boards, and super mops.
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Old 02-20-2004, 07:29 PM   #3
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Austin RV Show

I felt the same way about the RV show in Houston last week. The local Airstream dealer, Demontrond's Texan RV, had not a single Airstream product there. They had loads of Tiffin coaches, and were pushing them real hard.

Bob
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:56 PM   #4
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Re: Late?

Quote:
Originally posted by Gerald Clay
Not that I had any reason to go to the show this year but that "Late lamented International is back at Camper Clinic as of today for a leaky toilet and a lift that only lowers.
On the toilet, are you sure that all water was out of it before those couple of freezing nights? That is a ceramic toilet and a freeze-up could fracture the ceramic. I used to blow everything out with my air compresser when winterizing.
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Old 02-20-2004, 11:56 PM   #5
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I agree with Marks regarding the Houston show.
I wanted to talk to an AS dealer, and no one at the show knew much about the AS - they were definitely pushing the coaches. I even wanted some additional information on my anti-sway bars, and NO vendor there [there were only two who carried hitches] carried them.
Next time I even THINK about attending an RV show, I plan on contacting the organizers, and find out who is going to display at the show.
A total wast of time and money.
I did not drive as far as you Marks, but almost!
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Old 02-21-2004, 11:51 AM   #6
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I was afraid of this...

Which is why I made the decision not to go to the Austin show after my disappointment in the San Antonio show.

The fact that the Houston show was equally sub-par begs the question - Is this a result of revenue-starved cities gouging dealers for hall space, dealers falling on hard times, or dealers guessing that in todays uncertain economic times, that people won't be as willing to shell out the cash for higher-end units?

All the folks who've attended the shows such as the one in Minneapolis - what were your impressions? I could understand larger shows up there during the winter months when both dealers and folks aren't as inclined to be outside, and gives both an opportunity to get out of the house and excited about the upcoming season, as well as a chance for dealers to get a head start on sales...

Love to hear your thoughts on this...
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Old 02-21-2004, 12:31 PM   #7
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On the way to Dallas RV Show

We are just about to leave for the Dallas RV show. Hope it's not as big a disappointment as the other Texas shows. We have some specific accessories we want to see, aux. diesel fuel tank, hitches (I want to talk with the Hensley people), etc. I'll post our impressions when we get back.
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Old 02-21-2004, 12:38 PM   #8
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Re: I was afraid of this...

Quote:
Originally posted by coriolis1

All the folks who've attended the shows such as the one in Minneapolis - what were your impressions? I could understand larger shows up there during the winter months when both dealers and folks aren't as inclined to be outside, and gives both an opportunity to get out of the house and excited about the upcoming season, as well as a chance for dealers to get a head start on sales...

Love to hear your thoughts on this...
My impression of the Minneapolis Show?

I went there hoping to find some of the add-ons and accessories like converters, water heaters, fantastic fans, and refrigerators.

NONE, NADA, Nothing. Just a convention hall ($9 admission, $6 parking) with tons of SOBs, a couple of hitch installers (but no literature), and lots of campground booths. Attendance was light. Most popular exhibits were the SOBs with garages in the back for ATVs, motorbikes, and snowmobiles
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Old 02-21-2004, 03:54 PM   #9
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Coriolis1,
Re:
dealers guessing that in todays uncertain economic times, that people won't be as willing to shell out the cash for higher-end units?

Higher-end units would be the $329,000.00 motor coaches I saw in Houston? LOL

Perhaps dealers are getting a lot of their info to the masses via the internet, and not wanting to rely on the shows? I know several people who do a LOT of their shopping for 'big purchase' items on-line first.
Perhaps a lot of the folks out there who have trailers just have not been making the time to use them?
Fear of the economy?
Just a few thought as to why turnout, both vendors and potential buyers seem to be low this year.
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Old 02-21-2004, 09:40 PM   #10
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making it worth their while

Quote:
Originally posted by markdoane


NONE, NADA, Nothing. Just a convention hall ($9 admission, $6 parking) with tons of SOBs, a couple of hitch installers (but no literature), and lots of campground booths. Attendance was light. Most popular exhibits were the SOBs with garages in the back for ATVs, motorbikes, and snowmobiles
That pretty much sums up the San Antonio show (except they had a few small boats/personal watercraft instead of snowmobiles).

Based on your experience it's almost as if they're more interested in moving new units than they are interested in selling new/improved components for your existing unit. Maybe since space is at such a premium at these shows, they're inclined to fill it with RV's and trailers, and not bother with the little things. To distract show goers with little things to make your existing unit better might take you away from doing what they'd prefer - to buy a unit from them.

I think until we see another leap in RV engineering (maybe the Skydeck was a start in the right direction) attendance is going to continue to dwindle, especially when one SOB looks like another, looks like another, looks like another, and so forth (result of so many brands being folded under the control of so few). This combined with the wallet skinning for parking and admission will probably keep me away until something truly innovative and useful arrives on the market that I can't see by driving to my local dealership.
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