What Is the Hidden Truth About RV Shows?

Updated on August 28, 2019
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.

Many who innocently attend RV shows don't understand how they work or the things sellers will do to get unsuspecting visitors to purchase a recreational vehicle.

This lack of knowledge, unfortunately, can create major problems for some.

While RV shows are seen as nothing more than a source of entertainment for many, some view them as an opportunity to buy a travel unit at a greatly reduced price. Others see them as opportunities to satisfy their curiosity about the latest innovations and amenities that have become available in recent years.

All of these show visitors need to be careful when they attend these events because they are likely to be drawn in by unscrupulous salesmen who want nothing more than to lock them into situations where they get caught up in the hype and buy a unit they may not really, want, need, or can afford to own.

Why visitors to RV shows need to be wary of the sales tactics used by sellers.
Why visitors to RV shows need to be wary of the sales tactics used by sellers. | Source

Who Holds RV Shows?

Most people think these shows are put on by RV dealers. and most are. However, some are put on by manufacturers who give extra financial bonuses to salespeople who sell their brands.

They do this because their goal is to sell as many coaches as possible in the shortest amount of time and for the highest prices possible!

They want you to think they are offering good deals, but just the opposite is true. There is no way for anybody to ever get a good deal on a vehicle he has not had time to research!

The sellers know this. The buyers do not.

Sneaky Sales Tactics That Work

One of the main methods used by these people is to create an RV feeding frenzy.

The shows create a party atmosphere where everything is expensive and everything is geared to pushing the hype of RV living and travel.

Vendors set up booths for selling equipment, furniture, camping clubs, necessities, and all sorts of things that buyers will need for their coaches.

There are giveaways of all sorts that people enjoy while eating tons of junk food and listening to music.

By the time visitors actually start looking at campers, travel trailers and motor homes, they are relaxed, happy and in a partying mood.

In short, they have been primed for the kill.

Your salesman is required to show you only 3 RVs.
Your salesman is required to show you only 3 RVs. | Source

Browsing Can Become Expensive

When salesmen see people coming, they consider it to be the same thing as fishing in a barrel.

These individuals are excited, full of junk food, tired, and worried that they may miss a deal because sales people randomly place “sold” signs on certain units to make people think if they don’t act quickly, they’ll lose a great opportunity.

All day long they have been thinking about how great it would be to own something so beautiful and be able to take fantastic vacations in it.

Many live relatively drab lives. The dream of being able to show the world that they have “made it”, makes the desire to buy almost impossible to avoid.

Those who fall for the hype end up spending huge amounts of money because there is no such thing as a cheap RV.

Not only that, but nobody tells them about all of the hidden costs that are involved in owning an RV, and there are plenty of them.

How Much Does It Really Cost to Own an RV? provides this information.

What buyers don't realize is that once they've signed on the dotted line, they will be stuck with spending tons of money for the extras cited in the above article.

This is why people need to be very careful that browsing doesn't turn into buying!

Selling Methods

Manufacturers place 3 sales people and 1 assistant manager with each product line.

They act like they only want to hand out their business cards, but they actually are trying to sniff out potential buyers.

When they “catch” one, they bring him into the coach for a tour and a chat. This makes people comfortable and gives them a taste of what it would be like to be in this travel unit when sitting in a beautiful vacation spot!

This point is made often during the conversation because the salesman knows that what people want is a way to escape their hum drum lives and be able to enjoy a bit of luxury while doing it.

Providing temporary respite and selling the dream are two of the most powerful sales techniques available, and RV sellers use them often because they work!

What People Are Actually Buying

People who get roped in think they are buying the exact coach they are looking at, but this is not the case.

In fact, some salesmen actually sell as many as ten of the same unit at any given show!

They tell buyers they can’t take the coach because they must leave it there until the show closes, which is true.

However, the truth is that the manufacturer will have every unit of the same year, make, size, type and model that has been sold delivered to the dealership’s lot within a day!

Thus the chance of getting the exact coach that people thought they were buying is rarely the case.

This can become a big problem for buyers because there may be flaws in the unit they get that did not exist in the one they thought they bought!

The RV you bought at the show is not always going to be the same one you pick up at the dealer's lot.
The RV you bought at the show is not always going to be the same one you pick up at the dealer's lot. | Source

Problems Can Be Serious

The biggest mistake people make when they buy at an RV show is that doing so does not give them the opportunity to do good research or comparison shop.

As a result, they likely will pay far more than necessary and may find, too late, that the coach they chose has hidden flaws that can turn into big problems and excessive expenses.

The worst case I ever saw dealt with a couple that purchased at a show only to learn later that their slide room had been improperly constructed and could not be repaired.

The one at the show worked fine, but theirs did not. There was nothing they could do about the problem because there were no lemon laws to protect them!

Had they bought on a dealership lot, they would have immediately seen that there was a problem and could have walked away from the deal.

The Bottom Line

There is no question that going to RV Shows can be a great deal of fun. It’s great to see what’s out there and to just enjoy a day of browsing.

However, regardless of your intent, before you go to an event like this, make sure you understand its real purpose, which is to sell recreational vehicles!

  • Never assume that buying a recreational vehicle at a show will save you money, because it won’t.
  • Always assume that the entire thing has been arranged to prey on your emotions and get as much money from you as possible.

If you make these two assumptions, you can protect yourself, enjoy your day and use the information you’ve gained to help you buy a unit after you’ve had time to do your research.

Remember that once you understand what really is going on at an RV Show, you won’t have to worry about any of the issues mentioned in this article.

Would you ever buy an RV at a recreational vehicle show?

See results

© 2018 Sondra Rochelle


Submit a Comment
  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Sondra Rochelle 

    23 months ago from USA

    Liz Westwood: Yep. Fish in a barrel!

  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    23 months ago from UK

    My parents took a camper van for service at a dealership. My Mum's eye was taken by a new van and, you guessed it, they came away having signed up to buy a new camper van. It's so easily done.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, axleaddict.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)