The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Tue Jun 13, 2017
Rifle, Colorado - A small but successful RV and trailer dealership with the determination and drive to grow – that’s how Western Slope Trailer & RV’s president, Nate Robinson, describes his family’s business.
“We’re still ‘mom and pop’ level, but we have big ambitions,” Robinson says.
Western Slope Trailer & RV began as a horse trailer dealership in 1993 in the small, rural town of Rifle, Colorado. Robinson’s family purchased the business in 2000, and it’s still a largely family-operated production. Robinson’s parents work at the dealership a few days each week, and his wife is also involved.
After the Robinson family took over management, they saw an opportunity to expand the dealership not only physically, taking it from one acre to five, but also to grow inventory beyond horse trailers and products. Slowly, they eliminated the horse trailer side of the business and moved to cargo and equipment trailers; eventually travel trailers as well - the store is now a one-stop shop for both.
While growing the business is a major focus, Robinson says that forming relationships with customers is the top priority.
“People tell us all the time that we’re not your typical RV dealer,” Robinson says. “We consult our customers, and we’re honest and upfront with them. Even if they’re not going to buy from us, we want them to have the right information.”
When new customers visit his lot, Robinson goes out of his way to get to know them on a personal level and find common ground – where are they from? Where do they like to go camping? Robinson thinks it’s important to be easygoing and not only focused on the sell, according to a press release.
When asked what his most effective advertising strategy is, Robinson has no hesitations when he says the dealership’s website is No. 1.
“You have to put gas in your car if you want to drive it,” Robinson says. “If you don’t have a website, you don’t have a business. You can’t expect any results.”
Western Slope Trailer & RV’s previous website was hosted by a local provider that didn’t specialize in dealerships. When Robinson began to request things like inventory feeds, they were slow to put it together. The need for a mobile-optimized website became apparent over time, but the dealership’s local provider couldn’t make the update for a reasonable price. That’s when Robinson reached out to Dealer Spike – he’d seen competitors with great-looking responsive websites that weren’t “cookie cutter,” and that’s exactly what he needed.
Despite a superior website that pulls in more customers and leads, the dealership does face some unique challenges for sales due to location. Rifle, Colorado is a somewhat obscure place. While it’s relatively close to cities with bigger populations like Aspen and Denver, it’s enough of a drive to deter customers who don’t know exactly what unit they want to purchase. That’s where Search Engine Marketing (SEM) with Dealer Spike has become a game-changer for Western Slope.
“Our biggest restriction is where we’re located and the amount of people here,” Robinson says. "We can only reach so far, which is why we have big hopes for SEM getting us beyond our home turf.”
Robinson says he wants to attract customers from metropolitan areas in Colorado as well as neighboring states like Arizona and New Mexico with the ads he’s running online. Customers can be confident that the trip will be worth it because of the competitive pricing his dealership offers.
“No one is going to look you up in the Yellow Pages,” Robinson says. “It’s a ‘Google me’ world - so that’s where you have to be.”
For this reason, Robinson decided to jump in with both feet. He says he’s seen impressive results in the first few months with the SEM reports from Dealer Spike.
With an impressive online showroom and a powerful SEM package both in his arsenal, Western Slope Trailer & RV is in good standing as an industry leader.
“I haven’t lost my flair or my energy for this business – if you want to get big, you have to think big,” Robinson says.
Tools like SEM spread the message about an outstanding business to areas beyond their backyard, and that give dealers like Western Slope Trailer & RV the chance to be recognized on a much larger scale. This is just the beginning for the small-town dealer, with exciting new opportunities sure to come.