Sep 202010
 

The Hershey RV Show finally ended yesterday, and it was the longest week of our lives. We are so glad that it is over! We have worked a lot of RV rallies over the years, but this was our first RV show. I’m pretty sure it will be our last, too.

The good news is that, according to the folks running the Hershey Show, they had record attendance. Uh huh. Here is a picture of the vendor aisle where our booth was yesterday about mid-morning. Sunday was supposed to be the other “super busy day” of the rally. Does this look familiar? If not, look at my last couple of blog posts. Oh yeah, another record setting attendance day!

Hershey last day empty aisles

My friend Al Hesselbart from the RV Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart was displaying this really cool 1915 Model A camper at the show. Pretty cool, huh?

Al Model T 3

 Al Model T rear 2

Al set a record of his own at the show yesterday morning, when absolutely nobody showed up for his always popular 100 Years of RVs seminar. I didn’t want Al to feel too bad about that, so I also had nobody at all at my Meandering Down The Highway seminar at 2:30 p.m. 

After about 15 minutes of sitting in the room alone, I began packing up my computer and projector, and one of the show dweebs poked her head inside and told me I had to stay in the room in case anybody did eventually did show up.  Well, you know how well that worked out, don’t you?

The show was supposed to end at 5 p.m., and vendors were not allowed to start packing up until then. But there were no customers and we were way past fed up, so I went back to our booth and we started packing things away and taking them out to the van.

We were about finished when another show representative came by and told us that we were breaking their rules by leaving early. Yeah, and your point is?

In looking over our totals for the show, we have taken in much more money on the very first day of many RV rallies with only a few hundred RVs attending than we did in our week at the “biggest RV show in the world!

While the show was a total bust, we could have lived with that if the folks putting on the event were more organized, and treated their vendors with some respect. But when they have so many rules that even they can’t agree on them; when you arrive and get a hassle just to get your name badges and parking permits; when nobody can tell you even the most basic information about where to park to unload your inventory; when they  treat you like an idiot and blow smoke up your butt about the numbers, it’s just too much to deal with.

But at least it’s over, and we’ll spend today licking our wounds and getting some much needed rest. We have a few more days here at the Hershey Thousand Trails campground, and then we’re going to Gettysburg for a couple of days before we continue on to Washington, D.C.

Somebody e-mailed me to say that they were sorry to hear that we would not be returning to this area because the show was a bust, because there is so much to see and do here that we would enjoy. No problem, we love this area and we will be back again for sure. We will just spend our time exploring and having fun, not stuck at the RV show.

Thought For The Day – It’s hard to be nostalgic when you can’t remember anything.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  17 Responses to “At Last It’s Over!”

  1. We have gone to the Hershey show the last 4 years, looking for our dream RV for when we retire. Each year the vendor area seems to get smaller and smaller, and the vendors all complain that it was worse than the year before. This year there were not even signs pointing toward the one elevator, or telling us that there were vendors down on the lower level. No wonder it was deserted most of the time.

  2. Don’t blame us, we looked all over for you guys and couldn’t find your booth!! We tried to find the elevator but nobody knew where it was. My wife uses a power scooter and couldn’t do the steps down to the bottom vendors so we stayed upstairs. There weren’t that many vendors there.

  3. Nick,

    I am a long time believer in the power of the press. I am so glad that you told it like it is. Reading the above two comments from Gail and Fred just reinforces what you have been saying all week. Sounds to me like a case of where they want the vendor rents and then could care less about building traffic to the very people who bring them a lot of money.

    Being from Chicago I’d have to say you were dealing with a bunch of “schmucks.”

  4. Nick,

    In my former life (when I had a job) I spent 30+ years attending conventions and trade shows. Most of these gatherings made sure there was plenty of foot traffic to the exhibitors by using such methods as coffee breaks and lunches in the exhibit hall. I would have to assume that the dweebs that ran this show do not belong to any professional associations which would provide them with ideas on how to better take care of their vendors.

  5. Sounds like them boys counting heads were using that government math!

  6. It sounds like the organizers were taking attendance on vendors so they could boast “##s of Vendors!” in addition to their boasts of the number of folks coming through the turnstiles.

  7. Travel channel had a special on last night featuring the Hershey. They showed a couple of shots of the vendor area and I noticed just a few, very few, shoppers. Good show about new rigs however. Hope you have better business at your next gig. Have you thought about the Tampa RV Show? We were there a couple of years ago and it was huge!

  8. Hey Nick …sorry to hear you had such a lousy time there. If its any consolation to you my wife and I were very pleased to have met you and Terry while we were there. (we were/are Chris and Caron from Toronto area) It was great to put a voice to your writings after following your adventures for a year or so. We also sat in on your seminar on Thurs afternoon and enjoyed it muchly. It really spurred on our desire to get out there and explore, to this extent…….
    …… our great news is we ended up buying a brand new Tiffen Allegro DP to complete OUR RVin’ dream. Bob Tiffen was there also, pushin’ his product…who could resist.

    So we got to meet two of our RVin’ heros.
    Many Thanks for showing up Nick …WE are glad you were there.

  9. You would think that after putting this show on for a number of years at Hershey, the show management would have their act together. We went to the show on Wednesday and had a 30 minutes wait in line to purchase admission tickets. Just like the stores they had 6 ticket stations, but only two were open. I could go on about $8.00 hamburgers and $3.00 bottles of water and the lack of area where you you could sit and eat.

    The show management better treat their vendors better or they will loose the few they have.

  10. Always take a book!!! At least you can read if nobody shows up. So says the librarian who hates to organize events because it’s very likely nobody but her & maybe one board member MIGHT show up. Sorry it was such a rotten week and having to be on top of an ice rink for 11hrs a day is just bogus. If they can’t put their vendors in a better spot than that they might as well skip the vendors altogether…..but I suppose they charged you big bucks to be there and waste all those hours of your lives that you can never get back. This week can only be better!!

  11. I think people go to RV shows to look at the RVs and they go to rallies to learn what else is out there. So sales and seminars go better at rallies. That said, the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Camping Show puts all those things mostly on one floor and both categories are well attended so maybe it’s Hershey’s lousy layout that is mostly to blame. In the future, you might ask your readers what they think about shows you are considering attending.

  12. We are sorry that your experience with the show was negative. We know just how much work you put into your presentations. It sounds like all they were worried about was the numbers and really do not care about the people. Now you and Terry can just rest up and enjoy the area. Please be safe when you leave for your next destination and if memory serves me right you will able just to rest and have fun with you kayaking.

  13. We visited the show on Friday. It took us forever to find a place to park due to poor signage. Then we stood in line forever because the girl taking admissions wouldn’t/couldn’t move any faster than a snail. Once inside the RV area, the salesmen were all like hungry wolves pouncing on anyone who even glanced their way. My husband had some questions about a 5th wheel trailer, and the salesman kept asking Are you ready to buy today? When we said no, we were going to buy next year after he retires, the guy lost interest and gave us the brush off. Once we got inside the Giant Center, the upper level was packed and you couldn’t stop to look at or talk to a vendor if you wanted to. The line at the elevator was long and we had to wait for it to go down and up twice before we got on. Why only one elevator in a place that big? Stupid! Down in the lower vendor show area we did buy a couple of things but we noted that the number and quality of vendors is way down from the past shows. And it seemed to me like most of the people on the lower vendor floor were just standing in line at the food booth where a beef sub sandwich was $8!!! Needless to say that were not impressed and we probably will not go back next year.

  14. We have been to the Hershey camping show three times and will never go back. The Tampa RV Show beats it hands down in number of vendors, quality of seminars and everything else. And its run professionally, not by a bunch of yayhoos who have to start the learning process all over agan every year.

  15. just for information; the camper is a model T not an A

  16. Hey Nick, If you are heading to Gettysburg this weekend be forewarned: it is Gettysburg Days. I don’t have a lot of details but I know they close down some streets and do a lot of rerouting. I think it is Friday, Saturday and Sunday so if you are traveling a different day you should be fine.

  17. A little late with this posting, but maybe one of your loyal fans (we qualify) could send a link to this week’s blog AND COMMENTS to the show organizers. We know YOU won’t be going back, but they need to know what frustated shoppers felt, too. You can send us (or post it here) an email address for your chief dweeb and we’ll forward our comments on.

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