By Dave Helgeson
While performing research for this article I came across the heading “Despite a Global Pandemic, RV Shows Must Go On” in a blog post written by Kyle and Olivia Brady of drivinvibin.com. This is a thought-provoking statement, as many ponder the fate of 2021 RV shows during the ongoing pandemic.
Producing RV shows for a living, the topic of 2021 RV shows and what they will look like is of great interest to me.
I have corresponded with venues and other show promoters, and researched what different states are permitting. Following are insights into 2021 RV shows and what you will likely experience if you choose to attend one. Because, like it or not, the 2021 RV show season is about to begin.
“The RV show season is about to begin again after a tumultuous 2020 that cancelled almost every show from February through this month.” —Mike Wendland with the Florida RV Supershow.
RV shows in the first quarter of 2021
Most RV shows in the first quarter of 2021 will be held outdoors. Many COVID-19 mitigation protocols will be in place. These include wearing face coverings, physical distancing, plexiglass barriers, wider aisles and one-way aisles. There will possibly be screening at the entrance, and probably hand sanitation stations, etc.
RV shows normally held indoors during the spring in colder northern climates will be converted to a virtual platform, cancelled, postponed or possibly held as a hybrid event like Camping World is attempting with their traveling RV show. They’re using the slogan: “It is RV Show season and while things might look a little different this year, we are revolutionizing the RV Show experience for YOU.”
How do consumers feel about virtual RV shows?
As an RV show promoter I question if virtual shows are a satisfactory substitute for in-person RV shows, as consumer-type shows are very sensory in nature. Cathy Breden, CEO at Center for Exhibition Industry Research, states, “You use all five senses to feel and experience them, whether that’s examining a new product or shaking someone’s hand to build a relationship.” As noted, rather than seeing it on a computer screen, most people prefer to feel it with their own hands, see it with their own eyes and maybe kick a tire or two. Plus, who can resist that new RV smell!
RV shows this year will most likely require advance online ticket purchase and reduced building capacities. To control crowd size and reduce possible virus transmission, venues will not be selling tickets at the gate (no handling of cash). Advance online tickets will have a set time for admission. Also, they’ll limit the number of people in each hall of the venue at a given time. It is yet to be seen if you will be asked to leave a show if you overstay your welcome.
2021 RV shows will likely start showing signs of normalcy as we move into late spring / summer. By then much of the country will be immunized against the virus. I suspect we’ll still be required to wear facial coverings and social distance indoors through the summer.
Will 2021 RV shows be safe to attend?
Safety? Bottom line: Will the public feel safe attending? The folks at drivinvibin.com offer these suggestions for staying safe at an RV show this year.
What is everyone thinking? Will people attend an RV show if given the chance? We are about to find out as both the annual Quartzsite RV Show and the Florida RV Supershow are scheduled to be underway as you read this.
What about you? At what point will you be comfortable returning to an RV show? Let us know in the comments below.
For a listing of RV shows click here.