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“RV” Ready To Camp?

By Jennifer McKinney

More and more people are buying RVs, and the number is expected to rise even more in 2017. RVs and family vacations are a match made in heaven, and if you want the perfect home-away-from-home when summer hits, the time to shop is now. Industry experts from RV dealers in Texas have revealed what they’re looking forward to most in the RV space this year, and what trends they see for 2017.

Mike Regan, President and General Manager of Crestview RV, has been in the RV business for 15 years. He will be an exhibitor at the 2017 Austin RV Expo in February. Regan said the industry is selling more units than they have in the past 30 or 40 years, and the units are only improving.

austin_rv_expo_bunk_beds“RVs are much more complex today,” he said. “They’re incorporating more entertainment aspects, like televisions and fireplaces. Trends are changing quickly in the RV industry, just like in the housing industry.”

Regan’s largest customer base is young couples with kids who are between five and 10 years old. His recommendations depend on how many people they need to sleep, or if they plan to tow a vehicle with them on their camping or beach trip.

“A big screen TV, outside kitchen, king size bed and bunk beds are a few things customers frequently ask for, but it all depends on what the individuals want,” Regan said. “For first time buyers, I make recommendations based on their wants and desires, whether they’re looking to make a trip to the beach or visit the state parks.”

Arnold Simmons, General Manager at RV Outlet Mall, has been in the RV business for 10 years. He will also be exhibiting at the 2017 Austin RV Expo. Simmons is amazed by the innovations that happen each year in the RV space.

“The RV industry innovates and comes up with new ideas each year,” Simmons said. “There are constant improvements on the product, like bigger TVs and better sound systems on the outside.”

A major trend Simmons is looking forward to is the one-piece step on Cardinal fifth wheels, which takes the place of conventional fold-up steps. The one-piece step is sturdy, doesn’t fold, and rises up inside the door to latch to the doorframe. These units are what Simmons is most looking forward to showing at the Austin RV Expo. He is also excited about the leveling feature on RVs.

“Leveling an RV has become an issue, but now there are buttons you can push when you unhook that level your RV for you,” Simmons said. “It’s surprising how many units have the automatic leveling system. There’s usually one on high dollar fifth wheels priced around $100,000, but now they’re even on travel trailers that are priced in the mid 30s.”

To Simmons, it seems like all areas are covered when it comes to RV convenience, but manufacturers are coming up with something new all the time.

Regan agrees now is a great time to shop for an RV, and the Austin RV Expo is a good place to see a little bit of everything.

“If you need to make a special order, those usually take six to eight weeks, so come out in February and order something so it’s here in time for camping season,” Regan said.

For dates and more information about the 2017 Austin RV Expo, visit www.austinrvexpo.com.

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