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Overheard comments by salespeople and consumers at the Florida RV SuperShow

You can tell quite a bit about an industry by attending a large show like the Florida RV SuperShow this past week in Tampa, Florida. This super-large, annual RV event is held inside the Florida State Fairgrounds each January. This year’s show was so large it could barely be contained within the many-acre, fenced perimeter. Just ask my feet. (We’re no longer on speaking terms. But maybe if you asked kindly, they’d tell you their reaction.) My feet will truthfully tell you we walked miles. Miles upon miles!

Barkin’ dogs! (And I’m not talking canines)

Arriving early in the day proved to be a good decision. The mad crush of people didn’t come until shortly after noon. We had a chance to visit all 350+ of the RV products and accessory vendors before lunch. Then we began to tour the millions of RVs at the show. (The number of RVs is an estimate provided by my feet. It may have been less than a million … just sayin.’) You might be interested to know that it took approximately three weeks for all of the RVs to arrive and be moved into position for the show.

What I found most interesting, aside from the electric prototype RVs, rugged off-road rigs, and the sheer number of different manufacturers present, were the comments I overheard. Here are just a few things I heard while walking through the event:

Overheard from dealers and salespeople

“Lots of visitors. Hope it translates into sales.” We won’t know how many RVs sold during the event until all of the information is gathered and compiled. Many RV dealers will extend their special show pricing for a while following the show.

“Prices reflect the uptick in demand.” I may have overheard this as I was trying to recover from my own sticker shock. Granted, I haven’t shopped for new RVs in a while, but still! Prices definitely have increased—exponentially.

“I’ve got a guy who wants to know the capacity of the holding tanks.” This comment made my day. In truth, many shoppers do not inquire about holding tanks. Or anything else constructional or mechanical, for that matter. It gave me joy to know that at least some RVers are able to look past the bling long enough to ask about the critically important internal (or external), out-of-sight features.

Consumer comments overheard

“Not sure we can afford an RV with prices like this!” Guess I wasn’t the only person experiencing sticker shock, huh?

“Look! Another wine cooler.” Many, many RVs featured this special add-on. I was surprised, considering that the same rigs had full-size refrigerators. But I’m not a wine connoisseur, so what do I know? It seems RVs continue to compete to see who can include the most bling! From fancy exterior paint jobs to interiors that take your breath away, the bells and whistles are really amazing.

“Not enough RVs for families!” Whatever the reason, there didn’t seem to be as many RV bunk rooms (or RVs that featured bunks) as I’d expected. There were several floor plans that incorporated desks for all those folks who can (thanks to two years of COVID) work remotely from anywhere. That’s a real bonus for them!

The strangest comments?

“Is that a mixed breed dog?” “Nope! It’s a pig.” There were lots of pets at the Tampa show. Lots! I saw large and teeny-tiny dogs of every color. Cats, too. (In strollers.) I also spotted what looked a lot like a potbelly pig. On a leash. Definitely not a mixed breed of dog!

My takeaways

The RV industry is alive and doing very well. Consumers are excited about new features, but prices? Not so much.

Have you attended any RV shows lately? What are your impressions? What comments have you overheard? Travel over to my forum and let’s discuss it together.

##RVT1037

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Col. P D Hodgens
1 month ago

Cheap, impracticable RVs that are amusingly overpriced. Lots of flash but under all the flash there simply isn’t all that much product content there to be had.

Daycruiser
2 months ago

We are so glad we took delivery of our Ceder Creek in 2019 just before the pandemic got rolling, we’ve had very few issues with the coach now 3 years later and we live in it seasonally and tow it about 5000 miles per year so far. From what I’ve been hearing about the post pandemic Creeks is that they are crap quality with lots of problems out of the gate. Too bad, was a great RV until the pandemic and subsequent industry greed got a hold of it. It’s our last RV so I really don’t care much but there used to be some really great RVs, wouldn’t buy one today on a bet.

Michael Zehr
2 months ago

What happened to my post? I typed it all up and entered my name and email, clicked on the boxes, and all of a sudden it was gone!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Zehr

Sorry, Michael. I have no idea. But this one “arrived.” Have a good evening. 🙂 –Diane

Patty
3 months ago

We stopped going to the RV shows. It was just not our thing, I’m not fond of crowded places pre COVID. When we want a new motor home we do research on what the RV industry has and narrow it down to a few manufacturers and then drive to the businesses to look at them then make our decision. We are on our 3rd motor home. First one was a Monaco Diplomat in 1999 we put 120,000 miles on then traded it in on a 2006 Monaco Dynasty that we put 80,000 miles on and traded it in on something different , we got tired on Monaco after it went bankrupt. Stepped up to a 2018 Newmar London Aire. So far been happy with it, we have had a few issues, if we have to take it to the dealership for repairs it can take 3-6 weeks to get it back, that’s our biggest gripe. I seriously don’t know what people do if they are full timers in this situation.

Capt. TS
3 months ago

My wife and I and some friends went to an RV show a few months ago in Fort Myers. It wasn’t really much of a show, I think it was all one dealer. But a Thor Miramar like we have cost about $25,000 more between 2019 and 2021.

Wncol
3 months ago

I attended the rv show in quartsite, az. I agree, not enough for families and way way overpriced. I have decided to wait 2 years before looking again mainly due to the unnecessarily inflated price for poorly assembled junk no matter the bling. It just isn’t worth it.

DALE LAFFERTY
3 months ago

Having RV’d for years, the one things that stands out is quality or lack of it. Most RVs, (including expensive coaches), are crap. Add terrible service and support and you have today’s market. My mechanic told us, never buy any RV built during Covid. We jusy waited 3 months for two $100.00 parts. We love the lifestyle but BEWARE, you may spend more than you ever thought. Used RVs rarely describe any maintenance done. Good luck if you buy one. We still travel but roads are terrible, fuel is almost 3x what we paid less than 2 years ago.

Mike
3 months ago

Loved the different comments you heard. The one about holding tanks and your thoughts about that are my favorite.

When my wife and I have shopped for RVs the FIRST things on the list are construction and quality. Then we find an acceptable floorplan within those brands that are at the top of the quality list and within budget. Without a solid, well-built structure, the “bling” is worthless.

In fact, one of the “jokes” my wife and I say to each other at RV shows when we walk through the plethora of “junk” RVs is “Let’s buy it…I like the color!” 😉

George Dietrick
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike

My first 2 questions are the size of the holding tanks and the size of the freshwater tank. But then what is a campground. I know what dry camping is. At $80 and up for a camp sight I might as well stay in a Hotel/Motel.

MadisonB
3 months ago

I have gone to RV shows over the last eight years. Went to the Ft. Worth, TX show in January and was disappointed over the few motor homes, maybe 10. But trailers were stacked deep. Disappointing. The Dallas show is in February. I’m hoping it will have more motor homes. Even four years ago, there were so many motor homes, I had to focus on the ones that would work for me.

Mike B
3 months ago

Useful: 2nd Restroom that DOESN’T open directly to the kitchen. Washer/Dryer that is NOT crammed into Bedroom closet.

Bobbie Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

I totally agree! I mentioned the bathroom situation to a company representative and got a snotty reply about how customers want the additional bath. I asked her if she would want those germs in her kitchen! She just snarked.

Capt. TS
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

Check out the Thor Miramar 35.3 check all the boxes

Doug Groening
3 months ago

Chuck,
Ever since I have been a reader of your newsletter it has been a wealth of knowledge! I’m a contributor to your effort to give us “straight scoop” on RV’s and have been for the past several years. Don’t stop what your doing it’s priceless! We bought a 2000 Forest River Flagstaff 26′ ultralite 5th wheel in 2012 to get our feet wet into RVing and 4 years later found out it had been flipped. Finding extensive water damage we gutted the inside and the rest is history. Due to retiring and Covid getting in the way we are almost done. It will be our RV and the learning curve has been awesome and your newsletter instrumental in getting us to this point! Keep up the good work and next time I will be more supportive of your work!

Donna
3 months ago

We also attended the Tampa show. Yes, I was also disappointed in some of the vendors but was VERY glad Camping World was not there. I asked several dealers about bunkhouses and they tried to show me over the cab bunks. Really? 🙄 Only saw 2 RVs with bunkhouses…one where my 13 year old grandson would have trouble sleeping in. The other was a Class C Diesel from Lazy Days and the gentleman was very knowledgeable. Hoping for better luck some other time.

Drew
3 months ago

A salesman’s response to me while we looked over a diesel pusher several years ago….”Diesels need less maintenance than gas rigs.”

Mike
3 months ago
Reply to  Drew

:))))) Too funny! Having owned both, I know which requires more and more costly maintenance, though I will say that if you can do most of the basics yourself, diesels are not quite as costly as some make them out to be. Still quite a bit more than gassers, though.

I have run into a couple of very knowledgeable sales people over 40 years of RV buying, but most don’t know much at all about what they are selling…and I’m being kind!

Montgomery D Bonner
3 months ago

Today, if 30, would not buy a new RV, quality of construction has gone ever further downhill. Getting into any CG is almost impossible unless you book out a year, hmmm, am I going to live another year in today’s world, crime, disease, crap drivers? Life is changing daily, aint got clue if CG and I will mesh in year. Ours is for sale as we speak. The sheer number of people on the road today, has put me out of the lifestyle, grumpy, too *&*&%^$% dogs doing their business all over the place and rude inconsiderate owners. DONE.

Charlie
3 months ago

I am 100% with you. It’s not the same. Poor quality in the Rv’s and just got too crowded. Too many people and truckers on the road. Just too many people have come into this country and have overcrowded it. I pity the younger age. They will never know the great lifestyle we had.

Big D
3 months ago
Reply to  Charlie

Too many truckers on the road? Interesting choice of perception. Trucking only exists, in its number of rigs on the road, in direct response to the consumption of consumer goods.

Here’s an interesting fact for the general public to do some real research on, and come to terms with. The Eisenhower Interstate system was conceptualized and instituted for 2 purposes. Not 3. To move our nations military might rapidly across our nation, and to move consumer goods efficiently across the nation.

Yet today’s society acts so entitled in everything they do or want, and they treat trucks and their operators as if they’re trespassing on the 4-wheelers turf, on the highways, including the interstates.

Maybe vacationers should simply keep to the secondary and tertiary highways always, and leave those that are putting in 70plus hour work “weeks”, in support of those vacationers, alone, to do just that.

To everyone else out there, that is patriotic, get yourselves up, out of that chair, and go out and enjoy what this wonderful nation has to view and offer. Rent a camper, buy one, use a tent; whatvever. Those that are elitists; stand up to them. They don’t own thevgreat outdoors; they just opted to enjoy that venue b4 you did. Your tax dollars support our nation as much as theirs do.

And remember; be responsible, accountable, and respectful, friends and neighbors, on the roads, and when camping. And if you will, try to leave a the place behind you, just a little better than you found it. It will last longer that way.

RKB
3 months ago
Reply to  Big D

Well said! I also really don’t think the growth in popularity of RVing has anything to do with “the number of people who have come into this country.”

Prices are ridiculous because of demand, but I have not found any issue associated with this growth that would make me give up this lifestyle or the enjoyment of seeing this great country.

Meg H
3 months ago
Reply to  RKB

I agree with you. We have a beautiful country to enjoy. Very lucky!

Monica Herzog
3 months ago
Reply to  Big D

Thumbs up!

Vanha Pieru
3 months ago
Reply to  Big D

Good response, and so true. I don’t understand the idgits in 4wheelers who refuse to properly yield and allow big rigs sufficient space to do their jobs. I guess if they don’t want truckers on the roads they should quit using products hauled by them. HA!!

volnavy007
3 months ago

Grew up in NYC, drove through LA during rush hour, and later in life lived outside of DC for 20 years. Traffic? Even the bumper stickers in DC have it correct: Washington DC Beltway, our version of NASCAR. The manners, or lack thereof, displayed on the highways is just a direct reflection of our society.

Donald N Wright
3 months ago

Reading about Florida, I guess Dallas RV show will be a three ring circus with the animals running loose.

Neal Davis
3 months ago

We, too, were at the Tampa Super Show, but only Wednesday and Thursday. We also saw the leashed pig outside the exhibit hall through which all had to enter the show. Yes, prices were high, but we have been shopping for our next RV for a couple of months, so we have watched prices steadily creeping upward. Our surprise, albeit mild, was how little motorized RVs were discounted at the show. The line of traffic entering the fairground parking, and lines of people waiting to buy tickets Wednesday morning were crazy long. Thankfully, we stayed across the street and could walk to the show. Further, we bought our tickets days before the show. Ultimately, we only waited 10 minutes to enter, but surely others waited at least an hour, given how long the lines were. Yikes!

Jeff
3 months ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

I was born and raised in Florida and I never bought but 1 RV on Florida. I’ve bought 6 others out of state due to the difference in prices. My average savings has been at least 5,000 which easily makes the road trip worth it. Florida is too {bleeped} high. Worth shopping outside of FL. And shop online. Find what you want at the show and then shop online.

Ray
3 months ago

Sounds like it was a heck of a show with plenty of newbies. I’m sure the manufacturers / dealerships had a field day. Wow, people impressed over a wine rack. What a hoot.

Gene Ford
3 months ago

First time attending. Was glad to be able to talk with Freightliner chassis techs to diagnose a low voltage problem after a Freightliner service center replaced the PDM being recalled on our class “a”. Turns out the new PDM is one 150 amp bolt-on inline fuse short.

Steve Murray
3 months ago

Camping World did not attend because they can not Sell RV’s to New “Rubes” while Old and Angry Previous Customers are yelling at them at the top of their lungs.

Livan_Life
3 months ago

We have been attending the FL RV Supershow outside of Tampa for many years, entering on Tuesday with our group and staying through Sunday. It was nice seeing so many new and shiny rigs there this year (last year was greatly reduced).

Didn’t miss Camping World, but they did annoy us there for the week at the FRVTA Rally. Many in our group called CW registering their complaints about CW low flying loud plane circling every 3 minutes touting “their” national sales event; so loud that we were not able to hear conversation just a few feet away. Heard, from a reliable source, that CW had trucks at every entrance trying to block people from attending the RV show, bad enough that the Hillsborough Sherriff Dept kept chasing them away. CW’s second year of annoying child like behavior may have backfired as many in our group currently using many CW services (store, service, Sam’s club, extended warranty, etc.) were angry enough to cancel those services.