There are lots of RV shows early in the year. Large RV Shows are great places to see and compare RVs in a climate-controlled indoor setting and save you the time and fuel of driving miles and miles between RV dealerships and dealing with traffic. But how do you know which RV Show is the best to attend?

Following are five things you should look for when deciding what RV show to visit:

1 - First off, is it really an RV show?  Some events advertised as an RV Show are really just a parking lot sale put on by a single RV dealership or two. While they may list lots of different brands in the advertising, be aware that not all the brands listed may be new RVs they are licensed to sell by the manufacturer. Many times dealers may mislead the public by also listing the used brands of RVs they are selling at their “RV Show”.  At one dealer “shows” you won’t find the large selection of new RVs that you would at a real RV show with multiple dealers. Most of all, there is no competition between dealers assuring you are getting the best price.


Make sure it's a show, not a one-dealer sale

2 - The next thing to look for is whether the show is produced by a private promoter or an association comprised of local RV dealers? Private promoters are in the RV Show business primarily for the money. Money they collect from you at the gate and money they collect from the dealers to exhibit. If they aren’t making a profit producing RV shows they will either produce another event in the venue or move on to a different city where they can. On the other hand, RV shows produced by a dealer-owned association are there to showcase the RV industry, lifestyle and all it has to offer with the goal of providing show attendees an educational and positive experience and if they are lucky, cover their show costs while doing so. In other words, dealer owned shows typically provide more bang for less money. The only RV Shows produced by a dealer owned association in the Puget Sound region are the Seattle RV Show, the Puyallup RV Show and the Enumclaw RV Show.


Shows produced by dealer-owned association provide more bang for the buck

3 - Size Matters - Going to shows with the most dealers equates to more manufacturers, more brands, more competition between dealers and a larger selection of each brand. Go to the shows websites and determine how many dealers will be exhibiting. In Washington, the Seattle RV Show is the largest indoor RV Show in the state featuring more dealers and RVs under one roof than any other show.


More dealers means more of everything

4 - Manufacturer Representatives – Just like you have to decide which RV show to attend, so do factory representatives. Once again, larger shows with more dealers are much more likely to attract factory representatives for the brands you are interested in. Factory representatives are a great information resource as they typically know the models and manufacturing process much better than the dealership’s salespeople. They also know what modifications can and can’t be made if you are looking to customize a unit to meet your needs.


Find more factory reps at larger shows

5 - More than RVs - What else does the show offer besides hundreds of shiny new RVs?  Look for shows that also feature educational seminars and exhibits allowing you to gain the knowledge and assurance that the RV lifestyle is right for you. RVers in the Pacific Northwest know the Seattle RV Show is THE place to find these valuable features. At the 2020 Seattle RV Show you will find more than 20 unique seminar topics taught by industry experts. In addition to 50 booth exhibitors offering everything from places to camp to home convenience products, the show also features the Ask the Experts exhibit where you will find an RV equipped with the latest gadgets and gizmos along with a seasoned RV service professional to answer most any RV service or accessory question. The show also features the Upgrade My RV exhibit for those looking to remodel their existing RV rather than replace it. Other bonus items you will find at the Seattle RV Show include free childcare on the weekend, the chance to win a pair of kayaks or prepaid fuel cards, plus a free Treasure Quest for the kids with some cool swag!


Look for exhibits, attractions, seminars and fun for the kids

You Gotta Go” to an RV Show, just be sure to do a little research beforehand to make sure you are getting the most value for your time and effort.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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