More families in search of RVs, campers

By Kelly McCarthy

March 9, 2013 Updated Mar 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Dozens of campers and RV's set up camp at Binghamton University this weekend. The 7th annual Binghamton Camper & RV Show takes over the Event Center floor.

Finding the right camper for the right customer is a tough job, but it starts with asking the right questions.

"We ask them their family situation, are they looking for something with their family with kids, or a couple looking to camp by themselves," said Matt Briel, owner of Hillcrest RV.

The answers have been starting to surprise long-time salesmen.

"I've seen the trend starting with younger families wanting to go out there and get their kids away from all the technology of game stations and everything like that. Get them out and enjoying nature," said Rick Hazzard, sales manager at Camping World.

Families weaved in and out of rows of campers and RVs, looking to see what the new features had to offer.

"We can take our dogs with us and then the whole family can go, we don't have to worry about leaving them home. It's just about family time and being together," said Laura-Lee Kephart, of Kirkwood.

Salesmen have also noticed a change in product over the past few years.

"They're trying to make it more user-friendly, so we're finding a lot of couples that would normally physically struggle with getting the unit set up, there's a lot of power options, a lot of button-pushing, which is making things more convenient for the customer," Hazzard said.

Some families say it's not the technology that gets their attention, but whether there's amenities like bunk beds and enough space for the whole group to travel.

"We don't need like a jewelry box or things like that, we just need a lot of beds, comfort, places to sleep and hang out as a family," Kephart said.

Shows that have multiple dealers usually provide families the chance to take advantage of a good sale.

"There's all different sellers here and they want to compete with each other and get you to buy from them, so I think it's great they're in the same room and the competition's there," Kephart said.

The Binghamton Camper & RV Show continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.

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