It Takes an RVillage

It Takes an RVillage

ELKHART, IN – Nearly a thousand RV enthusiasts converged on the Elkhart Campground last week to take part in the first annual RVillage Rally One: The Connected Roadshow gathering presented by The rally, brainchild of creator (also an RV owner and enthusiast) CEO Curtis Coleman, was the first of what are many planned rallies all over the country supported by; a first-of-its-kind recreational vehicle lifestyle social network.

RVs lined up in a row

“We knew rallies were a big thing in the RV world, but most are only tradeshows,” said Coleman, “We wanted this to be about lifestyle. A happening that was ‘all about the RV’. We wanted a rally that would bring people together like RVillage does, so, we threw one.” Coleman chose Elkhart as the first pin drop for his series of events.

Coleman stated, “We chose this area for a few reasons. One, it’s the heart of the RV world. Two, it’s centrally located this time of year for many RVers. Plus, the location gave us a great opportunity to create content for our guests at the rally. We scheduled factory tours, brought in vendors to the expo hall, and had the opportunity to expose RV enthusiasts to this campground. I stayed here in 2014 and loved it.”

An old slightly rusty metal sculpture

With an event on the calendar, Coleman and his RVillage site put the word out that there would be a rally in the heart of RV country and the site’s followers showed up in droves. They, and RVillage, were looking to create the same feeling that the location-aware app does for the 100k+ followers of the site: the feeling of a sense of community. The campground setting was engineered to do just that. Instead of vendors everywhere for visitors to peruse and gather schwag from, the businesses were housed inside of the trade hall. Outside, on the centrally located basketball court, were hundreds of chairs and tables focused on the middle of the court where two massive steel structures stood. Each was impressive works that resembled ancient totems, rough-hewn and mottled, yet meticulously crafted

“See these here, these are great,” said Coleman, “These are great big fire pits created by this gentleman here,” he said as he gestured to a man who looked very much like Guy Fieri’s mechanically inclined brother.

Coleman continued, “Charlie (Smith), he’s out of Atlanta, builds these gigantic wood burning pieces of art that just draw everyone together. Most rallies just have some entertainment that people come and watch and then go back to their RVs. This, you should have seen it last night, people were circled around and talking, like family and old friends. Even though we had the RVers separate themselves into pods at the beginning where they could choose to be a Boomer, Boondocker, Geeksville or one of many other groups, they’ve become a big family as this weekend has progressed. That’s what this whole thing is about.”

The altruistic approach of building a niche social media market out of the established behemoth platforms is working for Coleman and his group.

“We started in 2014 and continue to grow. We believe we will continue to grow, too. We have a targeted audience with our followers at RVillage. We’re just a meeting place. They’re taking this social media platform and turning into a nationwide family” Coleman stated.

While his new inclusive group is growing exponentially by building on the new traditional idea of togetherness, RVillage is committed to staying with the times, and still offering aspects of old RV gatherings at its rallies. They filled the expo hall with expert speakers that gave multiple talks, attended by hundreds of RVers, that dealt with the recreational vehicle lifestyle. They also had a wide array of vendor booths for their guests to view from scooter and insurance vendors to companies like luxury furniture and RV aftermarket experts, RecPro.

Matt Pico from RecPro holding a tumblr

Matthew Pico, VP of Marketing and Sales, from RecPro was extremely excited to be representing the company at the event. When asked about his company’s involvement in the happening Pico stated,

“RecPro was supporting the RV community by being involved at the RVillage Rally One - The Connected Roadshow. We realized, in the spirit of the event, that being part of the community was more than presenting products and answering questions. We were there to build relationships. It was very valuable for us to have a presence at the rally. We were receiving lots of great feedback on our products as well as improvements we could make, or suggestions for new product to carry. We met a lot of great people and made lots of contacts. The response was overwhelmingly positive with both new and existing customers. RVillage is a great asset to anyone who owns an RV, or is researching what it’s like to live the RV lifestyle.”

RVillage rally booths

For vendors, RVers, and RVillage the weekend was a home run. Like a live-action version of the social sharing app itself, the rally brought everyone together. As RVillage continues to grow, the family will continue to grow. Its footprint will be one well-remembered. Their impression was even a high note for the campground.

“Everything ran very smoothly,” said campground manager, Bob Patel, “We could see all of the people enjoying themselves throughout the weekend. We were very happy to have the rally here.”

Coleman and his group personify what it is to live the RV lifestyle. Their website brings a connectivity to the RV world that wasn’t there before and will continue to promote for years to come. Why? Because, as Coleman stated, “Human interaction is way more stimulating than a cup of coffee.

May 23rd 2018 SD Shank

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