June '18

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82 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com they've been able to do so with special charters, but we continue to press and try to prevent any kind of legislation from changing that permanently for every school in the state. RV PRO: On that note, please talk about the "Pure Michigan" tourism marketing campaign and how MARVAC participates in that campaign. Sheffer: We got onboard with Mich- igan tourism years ago. I attended the 'Pure Michigan' governor's tourism con- ference last week – a lot of discussion about drawing more people here. There are the snowbirds who travel south in the winter. We're trying to reverse that and seduce people from the South to travel to Michigan in the summer, bring their RVs up here in the summertime where the temperatures are much cooler. We have woods and waters – fresh water lakes. The five great lakes border our state. We have thousands of golf courses and it's just a really nice place to take a vacation. Pure Michigan has done a tremendous job with (actor/ comedian and Michigan native) Tim Allen doing the voice over. It's been a real successful campaign. It's so cool to be traveling in an airport or in a hotel room and an ad comes on promoting Michigan tourism. RV PRO: How important is tourism to Michigan? Sheffer: The top three industries in Michigan are manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. And tourism and agricul- ture have run second back and forth for years. One year it might be tourism and one year, Ag. It's an economic driver for Michigan. For every dollar we spend pro- moting Pure Michigan, it returns $8.99 back in sales tax dollars. RV PRO: MARVAC just finished up a round of RV show for the season. How did it go? Sheffer: We did well. We go almost six or seven weeks doing shows. We do our biggest show in February in a facility in Novi, Mich., just outside of Detroit. In March, we do a show every weekend in other cities across the state. We also do a show in the fall. It's in Novi – the same venue as the February show. The October show is an introduction for the next year's models. This coming show will be the introduction of the 2019 models. The only fly in the ointment was the weather. This year we had 11 inches of snow on Friday and 6 inches on Saturday and Sunday. We're used to snow, but not so much all at once. Last year we had 25,000 visitors. This year 20,000. But our dealers looked at it as a posi- tive. They had more time to spend with each customer and they had very moti- vated customers. I mean, if you come out in the middle of a snow storm for an RV show, you're probably very interested in buying. RV PRO: Training for techs is always an issue. What is MARVAC doing for its RV dealers? Sheffer: It's not something we cur- rently have any program for. I know years ago that we were trying to be a part of a satellite program and trying to encourage our dealers to be part of the RV tech program. But I don't get that call from the dealers saying that they are really short on techs. We're only about two hours from northern Indiana. So, these guys can get a lot of training right down there by going to the plants and different service centers and major suppliers, such as Dometic. RV PRO: MARVAC seems to be one of the more active state associations in terms of the number of sponsored consumer RV shows, advocacy at the state Legislature on behalf of members, and marketing efforts. Would you like to comment on that? B U S I N E S S Sheffer (second from right) is pictured at the 2018 Winter Detroit Camper & RV Show, one of several consumer shows that MARVAC sponsors.

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