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Old 03-28-2015, 11:09 AM   #1
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FMCA Convention Disappoints

I attended the national FMCA convention in Pomona CA yesterday on a day pass only, since it is close to home. My intention was to attend some great seminars, peruse all of the new gadgets being offered (hence my forum name), and purchase some other items that I needed in the vendor exhibits. I did this 8 or 9 years ago during the last national convention held in Pomona and I had a blast!

This year things were TOTALLY different. Day pass holders are no longer allowed to attend seminars. Really FMCA? I pay my dues faithfully for 18 years you cheap out on a lousy seminar?

Oh well, at least there were the vendors...or so I thought. I found there to be a fraction of the vendors that I saw at the last Pomona convention. I had six items on my shopping list and found none of them. A few interesting items I did see were seriously over priced and could be had on Amazon for much less. All in all, my visit was not worth the price of parking and admission. Very disappointing.

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Old 03-28-2015, 12:16 PM   #2
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The passage of nearly a decade has changed the financial situation for any of these events. Boat shows are also not nearly as elaborate as they once were. When the economy gets tight businesses in luxury sales have no choice but to tighten their belts. And Amazon, as you mentioned, is a big reason that there are fewer vendors at the shows. Nobody can compete with online vendors.
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Old 03-28-2015, 12:47 PM   #3
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I believe RV vendors greed has a lot to do with Amazon's success.
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Old 03-28-2015, 12:55 PM   #4
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We've been hitting most of the western area rallies, (Good Sam and FMCA) for quite a few years, and the seminar policy for not allowing day pass visitors has been standard. We've also noticed the decline in vendors at these rallies....even Quartzsite has gone down quite a bit.

However, there is a pass that is available at the FMCA rally this weekend at Pomona that does allow going to the seminars (without having an rv there)....quite pricey tho.

Amazon is definitely the place to shop now days and I suspect that the vendor decline at rallies will continue.
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:00 PM   #5
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FMCA Convention Disappoints

I understand that folks need to make money, but if a vendor sells their same product online, whether it be on their own website or Amazon, for less than what they want at a convention, what's the benefit for me the consumer? I paid for parking, admission and lunch, so paying above retail for anything there is a bad business decision on my part.

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Old 03-28-2015, 01:02 PM   #6
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We used to be vendors but usually at cat shows. Did try an FMCA regional rally. Too expensive and more trouble than it's worth. By the time you purchase the booth (seems like $500 for a 10 X 10 is standard), get there early to setup, man the booth for all hours required, teardown and leave you need to also sell stuff! People just aren't buying as much and YES, the Internet has changed it. It takes a lot of sales to cover your expenses and we weren't even coming close to even breaking even. Met a lot of people over the years and became friends with them so it wasn't all wasted!
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Man View Post
I understand that folks need to make money, but if a vendor sells their same product online, whether it be on their own website or Amazon, for less than what they want at a convention, what's the benefit for me the consumer? I paid for parking, admission and lunch, so paying above retail for anything there is a bad business decision on my part.

Craig
It's all about the costs of doing business. Selling online is much cheaper than going to a rally/convention as you have to buy your booth space plus the expense of getting there and back. Much cheaper to set up a web site or sell on Amazon. Then There's the competition from overseas on the Internet and the copying of products.
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:10 PM   #8
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FMCA Convention Disappoints

Mr D, thanks for the explanation which makes sense. I guess this has all changed over the past couple of years. Until recently, vendors at rallies and conventions always seemed to have better prices than they offered for the same products online. I enjoyed attending and seeing the products first hand. It's sad things have changed so drastically.

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Old 03-28-2015, 08:22 PM   #9
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When we buy online, we shoot ourselves in the foot, but it's hard to pass up the savings. It's unrealistic to think a vendor is going to set up or buy a booth, travel long distances with a truck full of products and then be able to sell for cheaper than some company that is drop shipping the product and working out of their home office. If a vendor has a product within a few dollars of the internet, I ALWAYS try and buy from the vendor to keep them coming back.

It's just like Best Buy, people go in there, touch and feel the quality of the product and then run home and order it online for $10.00 cheaper. Pretty soon, you won't be able to go anywhere and inspect a product before you buy it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 10:34 PM   #10
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So very true, I'm the same way if I can save a ton online I'll buy it, but if a local business can come close I'd much rather buy it local. Hate having to ship a defective product back and wait forever for a replacement or credit.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:32 AM   #11
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FMCA Convention Disappoints

I think everyone is zeroing in on my comments about prices, when my main complaint was the lack of vendors and the inability to attend any seminars.

I don't mind paying a little extra for an item, i.e. I bought some spray cleaner that I know I can get for less online. I was very disappointed however in the lack of products being offered as a whole. The annual RV show held at the same complex every fall seemed to have more of an offering.

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Old 03-30-2015, 11:05 AM   #12
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Well, here is one problem with the Pomona International Convention. The Western Area just had a rally in Indio in January. Lots of people pick one FMCA activity a year and seeing as how a lot of people are down here for the winter, they went to the Indio rally. Most of the vendors have a circuit that they travel and the Pomona convention might not have fit their plans.

BTW, it has been the policy of FMCA to not allow day pass holders to attend seminars. In all the rallies and conventions I have gone to, they have never allowed day passes to attend, even at Indio. If you were able to get into a seminar, you lucked out.

Now, I know you are going to say, well they shouldn't have had two events that close together but the areas and international are two separate things when it comes to scheduling. Most times if the international is going to be held in a specific area, that area does not hold a rally but the western area decided they would have their Indio rally anyway because they make a lot of money and it is a big draw in mid winter.

True, you can get better pricing on the internet but where can you go and talk to reps from Dometic, Norcold, Girard, different battery dealers, Cummins, Freightliner, etc.

Also, if you need something repaired, where can you get a large assembly of factory techs in one spot. Need a new windshield, you can get it, need new awnings you can get it, need new tires they are there. Want to get some new cabinetry, it is there also

So you can see, attending a FMCA convention is more than cheap prices.
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
True, you can get better pricing on the internet but where can you go and talk to reps from Dometic, Norcold, Girard, different battery dealers, Cummins, Freightliner, etc.

Also, if you need something repaired, where can you get a large assembly of factory techs in one spot. Need a new windshield, you can get it, need new awnings you can get it, need new tires they are there. Want to get some new cabinetry, it is there also

So you can see, attending a FMCA convention is more than cheap prices.

EXACTLY!! This is the main reason we attend these rallies! Coming to one place to get personal attention and almost immediate response to problems or repair is well worth the cost of the rally. The misc vendors, seminars, and entertainment is just icing on the cake.

Ron
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:07 PM   #14
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... my main complaint was the lack of vendors ...
The lack of vendors thing is a by-product of the customer migration to internet sales. No sense in absorbing the cost associated with vending at shows like this - when the bulk of your customer base has made it pretty clear they're driven by pricing and will buy online to save - regardless of how loudly they profess their support for brick and mortar stores.

Unless it's a show is a true industry showcase where major manufacturers are showing new product releases that generate real buzz (i.e., CES (Consumer Electronics Tradeshow), NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), etc.) - there's little benefit for a smaller vendors (especially those that are primarily resellers) to bother with trade shows these days.

It's the same in virtually all industries ... the cost to produce that bagfull of flashy printed marketing material and often useful swag that we all used to walk out of shows with just isn't a good return on the investment. As shows have reduced the "freebies" since the recent and companies tightened their belts with regards to travel in the wake of the recent economic downturn - trade shows have taken what may ultimately turn out to be a fatal blow (especially the smaller ones!)
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