The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly | 2020 RV Season

November 23, 2020 — by Bekka Oxley

As 2020 comes to a close, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on the events that occurred over the course of the year and how they impacted our way of doing business. COVID-19 presented unique challenges that disrupted some of the traditional ways we conduct business.  We had to be innovative in finding solutions to problems, and we were forced to ask ourselves: How are we going to adjust and continue to serve our customers well?

Our business is largely based on face-to-face interaction. We enjoy shaking hands and rubbing elbows with our customers because it gives them the sense that MORryde is real. We never want to be the company that hides behind a computer or an automated phone system. With our dedication to service and quality, we believe that face-to-face interaction is crucial to the success of our business.

How We Adapted

In the beginning of the pandemic, travel restrictions were put in place, causing show and rally organizers to cancel their events. Gary Wheeler, MORryde’s RVing expert and Aftermarket Sales Representative has been attending shows and rallies for many years.

“I really missed our customers and the excitement of the rallies and shows during the shutdown. We have so many friends across the country, and the shows and rallies are normally a great opportunity to see them and make new friends,” he said.

With COVID cases on the rise and shutdowns taking place across the country, we had to make some changes to the way we interacted with our customers.

Our Expectations

In the very beginning, we didn’t really know what was going to happen in any of the industries we serve. We just had to watch and wait for whatever was to come. Early on, the transit bus industry faced some difficult challenges, as many of their organizations are government departments. With many governments taking the lead in reducing activity or cutting events, the transit bus shows were greatly impacted.

“Going into the year, my expectations were very high on both the RV and transit bus segments of our business,” said Joe Carroll, R&D and Towable Sales Manager. “While the year has actually been very good on the RV side due to increased interest in RVing related to the pandemic, the transit bus industry is struggling. I’d say that we’re doing the best that we can, but it’s been very challenging on the transit bus side to continue the momentum for our new RS and RSX suspension products. Introducing a new product requires lots of education and the cancellation of shows has greatly reduced these opportunities. We are now shifting our focus to bus dealers to educate them via virtual Microsoft Teams-based training to help leverage our selling effort. It’s not likely that travel restrictions will lift anytime soon, so hopefully this proves effective.”

Even as the transit bus segment of the business struggled, the RV side began to flourish. In September, rallies and shows began to open again, as scaled back versions of what was offered in past years.

“[Before] COVID-19, I was anticipating a huge rally/show season and looking forward to seeing all my friends again, but in March, my anticipation was dashed,” Gary said. “Fast Forward to September 2020 when some rallies were allowed. Of course, we had no idea what to expect, but honestly, I wasn’t expecting a lot. WOW! Was I ever fooled. We had four of the best rallies that I could recall, regardless of the number of units in attendance. I found that folks were ready for the incredible reunions that occur during a rally.”

Encouraging Signs

While COVID-19 has impacted every facet of our business, we have seen signs of encouragement along the way, as people begin and continue to be excited about RVing.

He continued by saying, “One of the biggest encouragements we’ve seen as a company is that people are changing their mentality of what it looks like to ‘vacation.’ Instead of taking a three-hour flight with hundreds of strangers only to be cooped up in a hotel for part of the day, more and more people are trying out this thing called RVing in order to control their surroundings and limit their exposure to the virus. This shift has been exciting for us in the aftermarket because it has allowed us the opportunity to meet brand new RVers. We enjoy informing all RVers not only about our products, but also about best practices and tips and tricks on enjoying their RV as much as possible. With all of these beginner RVers taking to the campgrounds, we have seen our customer base broaden. One of the exciting aspects of the MORryde line of aftermarket products is that there is something for every stage of RVer. It’s been enjoyable to be able to share that with others.”

Our Plan for 2021

We are eager to see what the year 2021 has in store for MORryde. Our hope is that we have the opportunity to return to having face-to-face contact with our customers.

“I’m ready to get to the other side and back to a more ‘business as usual’ environment, as that is where we are most effective,” Joe said. “We have great products and a strong reputation making events very rewarding and a vital link to our success. Until we get back to ‘normal,’ we’ll work to get ever better at taking advantage of all avenues to promote our products and service our customers.”

In 2021, our plan is to continue to focus on events where we can best serve our customers. Hopefully, we will be able to extend our reach by attending even more shows and rallies.

“Rallies are typically held in campgrounds, which gives MORryde an up-close opportunity to engage with RVers when they are using the product,” Jack said. “By offering on-site installation services, we’ve been able to help customers upgrade their components in real-time. By attending rallies, we also have more time to spend with customers in both seminars and individual conversations. Our plan in 2021 is to increase even further our owners’ club events.”

 

 

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