Gauthiers’ RV Wins Customer Service Award

At the 27th annual Better Business Bureau of Acadiana Awards Program, held Nov. 7, 2019, Gauthiers’ RV Center won the coveted Customer Commitment Award. Each year the award is presented to a local business with an outstanding customer service program that exceeds customers’ expectations.

Jonathan Gauthier represented Gauthiers’ RV Center at the ceremony, hosted by the Petroleum Club of Lafayette. As one of the four winners that evening, he spoke to the audience about why customer service has been at the core of the company’s success.

“Gauthiers’ is a family company, built by multiple generations over several decades,” said Jonathan. “We’ve always prided ourselves on putting people and customer service first. When you do that, customers will buy from you again, they’ll tell their friends, and you’ll earn a reputation that only gets stronger over time.” He thanked the BBB for their recognition and congratulated the night’s other winners.

“Our top priority is making sure our customers have the best experience possible, from their first visit all the way through the sale and beyond. That’s just who we are.”

Jonathan Gauthier
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Get to Know the Prime Time Brands

With six travel trailer and three fifth wheel brands to choose from, Prime Time offers something for just about every need and budget. We find it’s helpful to group these different brands into three broad categories: fifth wheels, aluminum-sided travel trailers and fiberglass travel trailers. Here’s a bit more info on which brands fall into each group:

Aluminum Travel Trailers:

  • The Navi travel trailer has been engineered to maximize comfort and convenience while minimizing weight, which means these units can be towed by most of today’s minivans and crossover SUV’s.
  • Avenger campers are loaded with high-end features at an affordable price.

Fiberglass Travel Trailers:

  • PTX travel trailers are lightweight, versatile RVs with thoughtful features and technology.
  • For the ultimate easy-to-tow ultra-lite, take a look at Tracer and Tracer Breeze. Towable by most crossovers/small SUVs, Tracers feature Prime Time’s exclusive ETERNABOND® Construction, LED lighted power awnings, heated and enclosed underbellies and walk-on roofs. These units come with spacious layouts, residential-style furniture and other high end features not usually found in an ultra-lite camper.
  • LaCrosse Luxury Lite is Prime Time’s premium travel trailer brand, offering style, comfort, storage and upscale features normally seen only in high-end fifth wheels. 

Fifth Wheels: 

  • Crusader and Crusader Lite offer spacious, well-designed interiors with premium features and a luxury feel. Crusader can go toe-to-toe with any high-end luxury fifth wheel when it comes to features and value. The Crusader Lite offers the same type of best-in-class features and comfort but is Prime Time’s lightest fifth wheel.
  • When it comes to “smart” technology, Sanibel sets the standard. These luxurious units offer a refined style and premium features plus the latest in innovative functionality. Sanibel definitely stands out from the pack.
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Prime Time RVs Now Available at Gauthiers’

When it comes to choosing which RV manufacturers and brands to carry, we look for quality, value and consumer appeal. We also try to carry a wide variety of unit types, floorplans, sizes and features to make shopping for an RV convenient and easy. We’re excited to add the Prime Time lineup of RVs to our inventory because we believe our customers will enjoy having an even broader array of options to consider. From space-saving, affordable towables to high-end luxury fifth wheels, Prime Time has something for everyone.

Celebrating its 10 anniversary this year, Prime Time is owned by Forest River, North America’s largest RV manufacturer. In Acadiana, Prime Time’s lineup of 6 travel trailer and 3 fifth wheel brands are available exclusively at Gauthiers’ RV Center. You know we take our reputation for customer service pretty seriously, so we appreciate Prime Time’s rigorous approach to quality-testing and inspection. Every Prime Time RV undergoes a thorough 65-point inspection at the factory and at our dealership. They conduct additional air and water pressure testing to check for leaks and make sure all units are fully sealed.

And to further ensure your peace of mind, all Prime Time units come with a free year of emergency roadside assistance through Coach-Net. Plus, you know Gauthiers’ experienced service team is always here to help if needed. Prime Time’s travel trailer and fifth wheel brands have a reputation for being well-built and reasonably priced, offering customers even more options when shopping for an RV. Come check them out for yourself: we currently have quite a few on our lot and more are arriving each day!

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Derek Visits RV HQ

Sales Manager Derek Lemaire gives the thumbs-up to this side patio of a rear-kitchen travel trailer from Coachman Catalina. With him is Coachman sales representative Jeff Hill.

Gauthiers’ RV Sales Manager Derek Lemaire recently traveled to the 2019 Elkhart RV Dealer Open House, held September 23-26 in Elkhart, Indiana. What started out 12 years ago as an expo for industry heavyweight Forest River has evolved into an industry-wide event that attracts about 4,000 dealer personnel to see approximately 600 new model year introductions. It’s a big outdoor event exclusively for dealers hosted by the industry’s biggest manufacturers, and Derek was there to check it out in person.

If you’re wondering why Elkhart, Indiana is the site of this annual showcase, it’s because 80% of RVs in the U.S. are built in this area. Elkhart is often referred to as “The RV Capital of the World,” and every year thousands of dealer representatives flock there to see what manufacturers have in store for the new model year.

Derek flew into South Bend, Indiana, about 22 miles away from the Expo, and drove into Elkhart County. The area originally became a hub for manufacturing after World War II and today boasts some of the best skilled workers in the country. Situated near the Amish settlements of Nappanee and Elkhart-La Grange, many in the Amish community work in RV manufacturing

Overall, Derek was impressed with what the industry has lined up for the new model year. He particularly liked the new Columbus interior and exterior redesign, which features more modern color schemes. (For an example, check out the Columbus Fifth Wheel 382FB highlighted in this month’s 2020 sneak preview article). The Sunseeker line of motorhomes, including Class C models, has also been updated with more modern interior decor and new safety features. Derek thinks customers will like the updated designs for 2020.

Derek noticed a few trends across the 2020 product lines on display at Elkhart:

Decor Upgrades: The new units on display continue to feature more modern residential decor, from cabinets and colors to furniture and appliances. Browns and tans have largely given way to grays and whites; while faucets, ranges and refrigerators are getting bigger, higher-end and more like their residential counterparts.

Floorplan Improvements: Customer feedback has led manufacturers to make a number of design tweaks, like positioning TVs to make viewing from couches and recliners more comfortable. They’ve also added new features like side-by-side bathroom sinks and workstations to better accommodate the needs of today’s customers.

Tech Takes Over: Technology is spreading throughout the RV industry just like it has through homes and vehicles. Many more units now have wifi range extenders or built-in hotspot antennas for on-the-go internet access. Touchscreen panels are becoming more common as well, bringing key RV functions (like slides, lights, jacks, A/C, water pump, water heater, tank monitors, etc.) into a single location. These panels also often pair with phones and tablets (via bluetooth or wifi) to enable remote operation as well. And of course, more TVs have built-in smart technology for streaming or wifi accessible features.

Curious to see which units Derek liked the most at this year’s Elkhart Open House? Check out the list here.

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Derek’s Top 3 New Units for 2020

Sales Manager Derek Lemaire attended the big dealer RV show in Elkhart, Indiana recently, where he got to see the 2020 models that manufacturers are just beginning to roll out. He gives the thumbs-up to these three units with updated floor plans and other great features.

Rockwood Ultralite Fifth Wheel with new floor plan (2882S) featuring a rear kitchen, slide-out with dinette and theater seats, island sink, pass-thru storage, washer/dryer hookups and a bedroom slide-out. Derek says it feels open and spacious at 32.5 feet long, but because it’s an Ultralite, its 9338 lb. weight is towable with a half-ton truck. Another fun update is an outdoor gas griddle in place of an RVQ grill, part of an outdoor kitchen that includes a mini fridge and microwave — all protected by a generous 21 ft. awning. This model includes theater seating as well as a sofa sleeper and a big refrigerator. Derek recommends the 2882S for anyone looking to make the best use of space without having to upgrade to a bigger truck for towing. It’s on our lot now, so come take a look in person. In the meanwhile, you can download the brochure here.

Columbus Fifth Wheel by Palomino with new floor plan (382FB) featuring a walk-in pantry with wine fridge*, front bath and stylish redesigned interior. Columbus fifth wheels are known for their distinctively residential vibe, with details like large, frameless tinted windows, high-end furniture, a kitchen island and lots of optional upgrades. Derek said he kept forgetting he was in a camper, because of the modern touches and roominess. With its 40 ft.+ length, it’s ideal for couples who plan to spend a lot of time in it and appreciate the finer touches, like the optional upgraded trim package seen in Derek’s pictures below. (*Picture at left shows 36-bottle Danby wine fridge.)

Cedar Creek Silverback 35LFT Fifth Wheel with new bunkhouse floorplan with two beds in spacious loft. Everyone will sleep better with the kids on one end of this 40+ foot unit and the parents on the other in a spacious king-sized bed. Derek was impressed by the new floorplan, which can also accommodate two adult couples comfortably — no ladder climbing necessary. Featuring three slide-outs, and island sink with room for a dishwasher, a fireplace, a half-bath and even a desk — this well-equipped model has something for everyone. Silverbacks for 2020 offer a new decor package, washer/dryer connections and the Insignia 24-inch freestanding gas range — the largest range currently used in RVs. Derek points out that because of the oven’s larger size (2.0 cubic feet) you can actually fit your bigger pots in it, and you get 4 burners instead of the usual 3. It’s a real cooking upgrade, especially for all the great home cooks out there. Coming soon!

Want to learn more about the Elkhart Dealer show and the major trends shaping the RV industry for 2020? Check out Derek’s report from Indiana here.

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Shady RV Sales Tactics

Don’t be fooled by these common tricks of the trade.

When you’ve been in business as long as we have, you hear a lot of horror stories. Our customers have told us all about the high-pressure and misleading sales practices they’ve experienced at other dealerships. Here’s a list of the most common techniques that really put the beware in “buyer beware.”

  1. Refusing to give a firm “out-the-door” price in writing — If they are reluctant to give you the real total up front it’s a major red flag. What are they trying to hide? 
  2. Using “4-Square” quote-sheet to obscure pricing — This infamous tactic has been around for years; it’s designed to hide the true “out-the-door” cost and real finance terms in order to show you a low monthly payment. Don’t fall for it!
  3. Offering you a lower price depending on whether you pay cash or finance — This practice is actually illegal under the Truth in Lending Act.
  4. Not disclosing ALL costs — One way salespeople will try to win you over is with a super-low price that doesn’t include everything it should. Make sure you’re getting a real number that includes freight, PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and all the other back-end products you’ll need, like hitches and accessories, at a reasonable cost.
  5. Only giving you a monthly payment amount — The devil is always in the details. Without the terms and interest rate, you can’t check the math or know if it’s really a good deal.
  6. Limiting the number of campers they will show you — Why would any business do this? It can take time to find the perfect camper; don’t let them pressure or rush your decision.
  7. Offering both a “lifetime warranty” and a service contract —  If the lifetime warranty is so great, why would you need to purchase an added protection plan?  It’s important to investigate something that sounds too good to be true.
  8. Charging you for a demo of your new unit — A dealership that cares about its customers wants them to be informed, prepared owners of the RV they purchase. If they charge you extra for doing something this important … what does that say about your long-term value to them? 

Have you encountered any of these shady tactics yourself when shopping for an RV? Share it in the comments. 

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Tailgate Like a Boss

‘Tis the season … for FOOTBALL! Finally, after months of patient waiting, we can get back to normal: hating our rival rooting for the home team. Part of the fun of tailgating is hanging out with friends, cooking something up on the grill and watching football games during the day. Satellite TV is a popular option for campers and tailgaters who want to make sure they don’t miss a minute of football fun.

Gauthiers’ RV has several options to choose from when you’re ready to get connected. One of the most popular choices is the DISH Playmaker and Playmaker Dual from Winegard. The difference between the two models is that the Playmaker Dual features a second coax output, so you can connect two receivers for multi-TV viewing. Both systems are fully automatic, scanning and connecting to the TV mothership effortlessly. Both are available on their own or with an included HD receiver. Our Parts Store is offering a fall discount (through the end of October) on two of these models:

Dish Playmaker Dual $279 (normally $319)
Dish Playmaker & Receiver Combo $279 (normally $329)

The reason DISH satellite systems are so popular with tailgaters is their exclusive Pay-As-You-Go plan, which includes more than 55 channels starting at $37.99 per month. You can simply cancel when the season’s over and resubscribe next fall. There are no fees for canceling or restarting, so it’s very convenient and affordable for even the most fair-weather of fans.

If you’re a Direct TV partisan, we recommend the Winegard Carryout G3 satellite system, since it works with both DISH and Direct TV. It also includes dual coax outputs for multi-TV viewing and automatic scanning for easy set up. No receiver is included in this model, so you’ll need to connect your own. (It’s compatible with most Direct TV receivers.) Through the end of October, the Carryout G3 is on sale in our Parts Store for only $559 (normally $599). Give us a call today: 337-235-8547 to get yours.

There’s a lot to do to prepare for another season of football. You need to haul the bag chairs and folding tent out of storage, buy a new pack of balls for beer pong and — most importantly— get your TV (or TVs) ready for action. Your tailgate will thank you.

*Please note: Gauthier’s RV customer discount cannot be applied to these special sale prices.

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Cajun Palms tops 2019 list of favorite RV resorts

We were curious to find out which of the many RV resorts around the state were the most popular, so we decided to ask the folks we know best. We sent out a poll to our Facebook followers and our email subscribers asking them to vote and the results are in. The winner is Cajun Palms RV Resort in Henderson! 46% of voters chose Cajun Palms as their favorite place to camp in style, citing the overall cleanliness of the park and the wide variety of activities offered.

Two other resorts deserving honorable mention: Red Shoes Park at Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder and Paragon Casino RV Park in Marksville.

We also heard from people with favorites that hadn’t made our list. We’re definitely going to be checking these out soon!

Gator Grounds in Bunkie
Isle of Iberia in New Iberia
Lakeside RV Park in Livingston
Frenchman’s Wilderness Campground in Breaux Bridge

Do you have a favorite RV Resort Park? Leave us a note in the comments!

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