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September '14

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New Home, New Date Invigorate RVDA Convention & Expo A new location, a more convenient date, and a multitude of educational and training slots have hit the jackpot with registrants and exhibitors for the upcoming RV Dealers Association Inter- national Convention & Expo. is year's event is scheduled for Nov. 10-14 at Bally's Las Vegas on e Strip. It is presented by the RVDA, RVDA of Canada and the Mike Molino RV Learning Center. RVDA President Phil Ingrassia says that by late July, dealers were cashing in on the chance to attend the convention, with reg- istration numbers about 12.5 percent ahead of the 2013 attendance figures. "We've seen by the initial exhibitor counts and additional people registering for the Convention that it's going to be a good move for us to be back on e Strip where the RVDA had its Convention for much of the '90s," he says. "Also, moving it back a few weeks gets us out of the October selling season. October's more like March now as far as number of vehicles retailed in the U.S. We've become more of a constant- selling industry, but November seemed to be a better time." e new location may be more conducive to attendees being able to enjoy any free time, but the truth is, RVDA is hoping those coming to Las Vegas will go home talking about what they learned at least as much as how much fun they had. is year's theme, Passport to Excellence: Education & Training, puts the focus of the event squarely on that goal. Dealers and their employees who attend not only will have a stacked deck of opportunities to network, but also will have ample chances to add to their industry knowledge in a way that can benefit their businesses. Speakers Will Cover Six Topic Tracks Six educational tracks will be offered throughout the week. Dealers can choose from Dealer/GM, Sales, Service, Parts, Rental and a new Social Media course. "Each year we've offered some speakers in the social media space," says John McCluskey, owner and president of Florida Outdoors RV in Stuart, Fla., and chairman of the RVDA Convention/Expo Committee. "For the last three or four years we've been adding another speaker here and there and they're very well attended. People always want to know how they can specialize in this and get better at this. We've been expanding the content and we decided this year it ought to be a separate track. ere's enough interest and enough breadth to the social media space that it warrants special attention." A number of the speakers in the various tracks will be offering their knowledge at the Convention for the first time, as well. "I believe the speakers that are coming in are going to be great," says Ian Moore, past chairman of the RVDA of Canada and owner Big Boy's Toys on Vancouver Island. "It's a great lineup this year." Detailed Education Opportunities In addition to the standard tracks, the Vendor Training +Plus offering will return and be expanded, allowing vendors the chance to share the knowledge of their products with the retailers and technicians who sell, install and repair them. "is is an opportunity to get dealers in front of some of their top vendors," Ingrassia says. "Sometimes you just need more infor- mation on how to use products more effec- tively. It's the top issues the vendors are trying to plan for dealers. It's information that will be useful for their customers." Dan Merkowsky, executive vice president of the RVDA of Alberta, says such training opportunities are proving to be a popular draw for members of his organization. With an estimated 70 to 80 members of that organization attending the event, the RVDA of Alberta decided to hold its annual general meeting on Nov. 10, the first day of the Convention. "ere's a nice variety of training and The new November time slot makes it easier for dealers and their staff to ace these educational opportunities. By Travis O. Pryor 68 • RV PRO • SEPTEMBER 2014 rv-pro.com

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