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RVillage acquired by Togo Group: Curtis Coleman interview by Mike Sokol

By Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,
Togo Group, the Cincinnati- and Chicago-headquartered travel technology company, has acquired RVillage, the online RV community sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for RVers.”

With the acquisition, Togo Group, owned in large part by Thor Industries, Inc., now includes the brands Togo RV, Roadtrippers and RVillage. (From a Thor Industries Quarterly Report dated April 30, 2020: “As a result of the [March 23] 2020 Agreement, Thor obtained a 73.5% controlling interest in Togo Group and the power to direct the activities of Togo Group.”)

Following is an exclusive interview I did Friday afternoon, December 4, with Curtis Coleman, founder of RVillage, regarding RVillage being acquired by Togo Group and what it means for RVillage members.


(Mike) Hey, Curtis. I hear you got some news about new happenings with RVillage. What can you tell us about it?

(Curtis) Well, we are now part of the Togo Group. And the Togo Group includes Roadtrippers, which is a great platform where you can find amazing places. It’s also a road-tripping platform for travelers, not just RVers, which is the flagship for road mapping of all sorts. Then there’s Togo RV, which has incredible tools for RVers to use. So we’ve been invited to be a part of the Togo Group family, and that’s the biggest news.

(Mike) So does this affect anything currently happening for your RVillage members?

(Curtis) No, absolutely not. The great thing about this collaboration is that RVillage is always standing on its own. It’s not going to become something else. It’s not going to become Togo-Village or anything like that. I’m not going anywhere… Hillary is not going anywhere… Our entire team is still in place. We’ve just become part of a much bigger entity that includes more resources. That means we’ll be able to grow RVillage in the ways we would really like to grow it.

(Mike) So I just did a virtual Get Together with you guys [RVillage] the other night, which I liked a whole lot. Will those sorts of programs still continue?

(Curtis) Yes, absolutely. Nothing is going to change. And we’re actually going to be releasing a new RVillage website which we’ve been building for a year-and-a-half and which we started way before any of this collaboration with the Togo Group. I don’t have a specific date, but the new platform is going to be much faster, much leaner, and much easier to use.

And RVillage will always be a free platform, just as it is now. We’ll still have our Gold Memberships and Get Togethers as well as other programs. And we’re planning on having more than one Rally per year, which can be even bigger and more interesting than previous rallies.

(Mike) Am I invited to teach more Master Classes at your next Rally?

(Curtis) Yes, you certainly will be. We would love for you to teach more RVelectricity Master Classes.

(Mike) Now, some of our readers asked if they have to worry about censorship because of Togo’s association with Thor. Will everyone be free to speak their minds about anything?

(Curtis) I think there’s a misconception about what’s going on. Thor happens to be a stakeholder in the Togo Group. But it’s not like the guys at Thor are standing over RVillage. We’re operating RVillage ourselves, completely independently of Thor. We’re really a part of the Togo Group, and there’s no information that’s shared directly with Thor. But I can understand everyone’s concern.

Protecting our community’s data has always been our top priority, and that doesn’t waver when it comes to protecting our RVillage member data. And these are fine people at the Togo Group. We’ve been collaborating with them for a while and gotten to know them very well. They’re talented, loving and have an incredible amount of integrity.

And the great part of this is that they get it. They really understand what we’re building with the RV community. They understand how valuable RVillage has been for thousands of RVers, and nobody wants to disrupt that. Togo Group thinks this is an amazing thing that’s already been built, and they want to be a part of it. And we all think this is about helping the entire RV industry, not just one brand.

(Mike) So you’re going to keep on doing what you’ve been doing, but even bigger and better since you’ll have more resources?

(Curtis) Exactly… And everyone will benefit by osmosis. What better way for people to learn about their own RV lifestyles than each other? And the people at Togo are amazing individuals who create an incredibly good cultural mix that will benefit our members and the entire RV community in the long run.

(Mike) Thanks very much your your time, Curtis. And good luck.

END

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.

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Livan_Life
10 months ago

I’ve been a member of RVillage since early 2016 and have seen many changes taken place. It makes me sad that Thor is the owner of RVillage, via Togo Group. Curtis had a dream and made it happen and deserves to reap the benefits. Still… it makes me sad that one day (could be a year or a decade) RVillage will be a marketing tool for Thor rather than the platform for RVers to connect.

Gary Smith
10 months ago

I’ve been a member of RVillage for about three years or so now. I see its potential value but I’ve uninstalled, later thought better, and then reinstalled at least three times out of frustration because of its complexity. I used to consider myself reasonable intelligent but that thing belittles me.

It’s like winning a Maserati and having to acquire a college degree to start it. Then another four years to drive it. I’m sure it’s a wonderful product, it’s that I just can’t enjoy something so feature rich but so totally unintuitive. At this point in my life I no longer enjoy reading volumes of pinned posts to accomplish the simplest of tasks.

Hopefully this new direction will improve things.

Thanks Mike, for publishing your interview.

Michael Gardner
10 months ago

RVillage is incredibly slow. Will they fix that? Togo also just made some deal with FMCA. So Thor is taking over RV social platforms……,can you say GoodSam?