Exclusive: 2020 Aftermarket Conference Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Spike

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The 2020 RV Aftermarket Conference will not happen this August 10-13 as originally planned.

RV Industry Association leadership announced the San Diego event’s cancellation Monday afternoon, meaning the next RVIA RV Aftermarket Conference will happen in August 2021 in Atlanta. RVIA leaders say the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in California creates an unsafe environment for the 2020 conference.

Registration for the 2020 conference opened in April when organizers announced plans for a “hybrid” virtual and in-person event. The RVIA hoped to be able to accommodate the needs of people wanting to participate in the event but avoid contact with the coronavirus. Jeremy Greene, RVIA senior director of events and marketing, said 47 individuals or companies had registered for the 2020 event prior to cancellation.

“Meeting in person and having the consistency of this event in August before most of the catalogues come out is a big part of the aftermarket business,” Greene said. “There’s obviously disappointment here, but from what we’ve heard it sounds like there’s understanding about where the decision came from.”

In the past few months, the RVIA’s Aftermarket Conference Task Force has considered the different factors at play in coordinating the in-person conference in San Diego. Greene said after discussions between the RVIA board and task force, RVIA leadership determined the pandemic environment in California is too unsafe for the conference.

“The conversation was, ‘Let’s run this through the task force to see what they’re thinking,’ and there was alignment there and that’s how things progressed,” Greene said.

The RVIA announced Monday that the task force will work on ways to provide RV Aftermarket Conference content via webinars in lieu of the physical event this year. Industry leaders and aftermarket suppliers heard word of the cancellation Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

“I think Craig Kirby and the RVIA board made a really good decision here,” Dana Nelsen, CEO of RV News, said. “There is just so much uncertainty right now and things have taken an unexpected turn with the resurgence of the virus. I know RVIA was very focused on having this event because it is so important to the RV aftermarket; the aftermarket committee by consensus was hopeful we could make this happen, but at this point I think doing so would just be irresponsible.”

Greene said the 2019 conference drew around 200 attendees. He said the task force will work to create programs to potentially offer some of the conference’s educational material to aftermarket professionals.

“We thank you for your understanding and continued support, and share in the disappointment that this event ultimately had to be cancelled,” the RVIA announced. “Please stay safe and healthy.”

The association shared the following information regarding the cancellation:

Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic the RV Industry Association leadership, in conjunction with the Aftermarket Conference Task Force, has come to the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming RV Aftermarket Conference, scheduled for August 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina in San Diego, CA.

As the event draws near, public health conditions surrounding COVID-19 in California have not improved as hoped. Southern California in particular is experiencing a rapid expansion in cases. The health and safety of our members and staff are our primary concern as an organization, and there are simply too many unknowns and uncertainties to safely move forward with the event as planned.

For more than six months the RV Aftermarket Conference Task Force has worked diligently to add value to the conference. We want to thank them for their continued dedication on behalf of the membership and will look to redouble those efforts into making the 2021 event in Atlanta the best conference ever– and a celebration truly befitting of the 50th anniversary of the Conference. In the time between, the Aftermarket Conference Task Force will be discussing how we may take proposed educational content from this year’s event and offer that up as webinars for the Aftermarket segment of the RV industry.

We thank you for your understanding and continued support, and share in the disappointment that this event ultimately had to be cancelled. Please stay safe and healthy.

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