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 Dec 12, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen
When Gulf Stream was announced as one of the winners of the DSI Awards from RVDA at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, the company saw a nearly immediate rise to the interest in its motorized products and saw a spike to its dealer base.
Gulf Stream Marketing Director Paul Campbell says the type Cs the company makes were recognized by dealers for their reinforced frames in a DSI Award, while the towables segment were recognized with another DSI Award.
“We’ve been building our units our own way for years. We have patented unique chassis designs,” Campbell says. “We build what we call the cradle of strength, which is a cross section on the frame that’s beefed up in a big way. We use steel below the floor and use box strength tresses rather than triangular ones to add rigidity and weight in a stable way. This is all done in an effort to put weight where it belongs and make that chassis as rigid as possible.”
Campbell says the company saw a lot more traffic this year after the DSI Awards were announced, as dealers wanted to see what the company was doing different than other manufacturers.
“The traffic in the booth saw an instant boost and we’ve added significant growth to our dealer base,” he says.
The company unveiled a couple of new changes to both its towable lines and its motorized products. On the towable side, a new line of lightweight travel trailers were unveiled, called the Capris, which was introduced in its bright teal exterior color. The trailer taps into the retro vibe that many customers are interested in, Campbell says. The vintage aspect has seen a significant boost with Gulf Stream’s release of the Vintage Cruisers and the Capris is designed to piggy back off that same retro feel and design.
Additionally, the Cabin Cruiser introduced a redesigned interior with knotty pine paneling meant to evoke a cottage feel with the wood panels inside. The laminated walls are designed to feel warm and relaxing and are reminiscent of scout camp or camping in cabins in the woods when the potential customers were children. Gulf Stream introduced several new floorplans of the Cabin Cruiser at the RVIA Show.
The Gulf Stream Conquest 6220 was displayed as an updated floorplan in the type C segment of the company’s motorized offerings, which featured a couple of new changes that stemmed from input at the Open House in August.
“At Open House, we take some dealer input and went back to the drawing board on a couple of things,” Campbell says. “We made use of Murphy beds in some of the units. It’s a great solution to get more floor and storage space. It folds into a wall space when you don’t want to use it and use that floor space for a sofa and a dining table – we did both of those things in a couple of units. The dealers also had suggestions on refining the trimming. We took their input to heart and made our products a little more ready to retail.”
Campbell says the company has increased its dealer network on the motorized side over the last couple of months, which indicates the health of the market and the economy as well as a surge in desire for motorized RVs.
“We had a lot of room to grow in the motorized segment,” Campbell says. “Three or four years ago, there almost seemed no reason to be in the motorized RV business. That market had dried up. Now that that has turned around so much, people are looking for the right lines to carry. They’re looking at it as another profit center and who they want to be their supplier. We put together a pretty comprehensive list of floorplans, especially in the Class C.”
One of the challenges Gulf Stream, along with most other manufacturers in the marketplace are facing is a wide range of customers, both new customers and those returning to the RV experience. People have different needs, different desires and a different range of buying options. Campbell says a challenge is to be able to meet every need with its wide range of RV offerings.
“New people getting into the market is something that everyone is benefiting from,” he says. “We all know how valuable repeat customers are and now we’re seeing new people. They have discretionary money and they want to give it a try. They’re just getting their feet wet. There are other buyers out there with a sophisticated taste. They are used to going to a hotel or on a cruise ship or resort so they have a position on how accommodations will make them happy.
“We’re competing against other travel destinations. They have high expectations and they know what they like and what to expect. They have similar expectations when they get into motorhomes or travel trailers. These new RVers have those kind of expectations and we have to meet them.”