January '18

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50 • RV PRO • January 2018 rv-pro.com S H O W C O V E R A G E look 2018 breakfast would've benefited from a thesaurus as the word Millennial was used over again. But with good reason. Of the 83 million individuals fitting that demographic, Go RVing estimates that 21 million Millennials are potential RV buyers. Bob Wheeler, Airstream president and CEO and Go RVing Coalition co-chairman, took the stage to shed more light on this demographic, which the Coalition calls "future ready experiencers." Three major research projects are underway, he said, the full report of which will be unveiled this spring. One has been dubbed "The Future Ready Project." "This research will help us understand the American Millen- nial consumer," said Wheeler, "and their perception of owning and using RVs, as well as market the consumer trends impacting their behavior." Knowing this will help drive success by informing business decisions. So, in this age of good fortune, how is the industry prepared to meet that demand? This is where keynote speaker Jeremy Gutsche came in. The New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Trend Hunter took the stage as a hype man for this undiscovered Mil- lennial country, and how this market is an "overlooked opportu- nity." This has happened throughout history, he said, going into more recent examples of failed or failing companies that were too late to the finish line. "In all these situations, the companies could see what was hap- pening," Gutsche said about embracing trends. "And in the RV industry, that could be the Millennials that shift toward 'experi- ence.' Different types or formats of what a person wants to RV in." He next pointed at the screen showing company names like Smith Corona and Blockbuster that dabbled in new trends instead of fully embracing them, like Acer computers and Netflix. "What happened in their case," he added, "is that, although they experimented a little bit, they went back to repeating and optimizing what had worked before." An end cap to the "future ready" theme of Outlook 2018 was the recognition of the RV industry's "40 Under 40" winners. The inaugural batch, of which 18 hailed from the Elkhart County area, were meant to highlight the young professionals gaining track to discover untapped potentials. "Maintaining our momentum will also require a set of fresh A series of "PowerTalk" educational seminars covered topics such as "George Jetson and the RV Future" and "Where Will They Camp?" Jim Hess (left) and Vince Smith manned the ASA Electronics booth. The supplier celebrated its 40th anniversary at the show.

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