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 Sep 26, 2017
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Lone Star RV’s Vice President Scott Byrne is feeling grateful. Both of his dealership locations in Texas were spared – though he can’t say the same for his home, which was flooded. Despite the flood damage that he and four other employees suffered, and the fact that he lost a car in the storm, Byrne remains optimistic. His positivity goes a long way as one of the second-generation owners of the well-established Houston, Texas-based RV dealership.
Although Lone Star RV has been in business since 1985, the Byrne family has been selling RVs for much longer than that. Original owner and Byrne’s father, Bruce Byrne, started the company in 1967 with a single-location Fleetwood dealership called Northwest Camper Sales. When the manufacturer bought out the store in 1985, it was renamed Lone Star RV. In the same year, Bruce Byrne opened a second store on the other side of Houston to serve the expanding market. After his father’s passing in 2016, Scott Byrne is now actively operating the two dealerships on a day-to-day basis alongside his brother and sister, Gordon and Shauna Byrne.
Including the three siblings, there are 34 employees at the dealerships today, and most of them have worked at Lone Star RV for 15 years or longer.
“We have very low turnover,” Byrne says. “It’s a family business. We have a relaxed atmosphere – you’ll never find a tie here.”
The company keeps a grill in the back of the dealership and regularly holds lunches and cookouts for the team. The staff has a laidback attitude with customers as well, according to a press release.
To help his business achieve even more success in sales, Byrne began looking for a new web provider back in 2014. He wasn’t very happy with the company’s current one, so he began looking online and found websites he liked for some other big RV dealers - Dealer Spike websites. It wasn’t long before Byrne signed on and launched his new site, and he hasn’t looked back.
“With our past web provider, one person did it all. But Dealer Spike has specific people and teams who are specialized for stuff like social media marketing and SEO,” Byrne says. “Before, there was no single person with expertise. No one would give you marketing advice. Dealer Spike has a bigger shopping basket of products to choose from, and you’re given a lot more detail.”
Byrne and his team certainly took advantage of this shopping basket, currently implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and a Marketing package that includes social media, website banner graphics and e-newsletters. Byrne has increased his budget for these products over time as well.
“I don’t mind spending a little money to make more money,” he says. “I have no complaints.”
After seeing an average of 184 percent increase in leads per month during the first year with Dealer Spike, Byrne and his team decided to omit the newspaper ads and direct mail pieces that his team used to market with in the past.
“The number of sales leads through the website, and the quality of those leads, definitely jumped,” Byrne says of that first year. “We tried sending out two mailers after signing on, and the results were nothing compared to what we saw with the website. It’s much more productive.”
Beyond seeing impressive results with the social media ads he runs on Facebook with the help of Dealer Spike, Byrne was also pleasantly surprised at the community that he saw on Lone Star RV’s Facebook page during and after Hurricane Harvey.
“People were really coming together,” he says.
It was reported that social media was the superior tool used to reach people and spread news during the storm, and Byrne saw the truth of that firsthand. He reiterates how lucky he feels that his livelihood was not affected by the storm, and things seem to be moving (slowly) back to normal.
The Byrnes as well as the whole Lone Star RV family are looking at a legacy that will go far beyond the 50 years they’ve already tucked under their belts.
“Our leads are way up, and things are really coming together,” Byrne says. “I’m completely happy.”