Snowmobile Open House attracts many first-time buyers
In the wintertime, when motorcycle sales are on hiatus in the northern states, some dealerships have time to focus on another favorite pastime — snowmobiling. Road Track and Trail, a 2015 Powersports Business Power 50 winner based out of Big Bend, Wis., has focused on snowmobile sales with annual open houses held in early October for the last few years.
“We sell over 1,000 mostly pre-owned snowmobiles throughout the year and over 3,000 total units, including ATVs and motorcycles,” said Kelly Hintz, compliance manager in marketing and advertising for Road Track and Trail. “Sales have been really good — we sold 1,041 snowmobiles and over 3,300 units total in 2014.”
The dealership opened in 1999, specializing in selling pre-owned motorcycles. The business has seen tremendous growth, with the sales floor now offering more than 500 bikes at all times. “We opened our snowmobile store in 2011, and as of December this year we have over 275 pre-owned snowmobiles for sale,” Hintz said.
In the winter of 2012, the dealership expanded its snowmobile offerings to include a 15,000-square-foot showroom that can hold more than 250 snowmobiles. “We also took on Arctic Cat as a franchise,” Hintz added.
Road Track and Trail hosted its first Snowmobile Open House in 2012, and this year celebrated its fourth annual event. The open houses always draw a large crowd, with last year’s numbers reaching 600 participants. “It’s very hard to gauge because we have more than one building at the same location, but it’s hundreds of people. We had 600 last year, and we’re estimating 700 or 800 this year,” Hintz said.
One promotion offered at this year’s open house included a new HJC helmet for free with the purchase of a pre-owned sled. “We have a lot of snowmobile buyers and fans that come in, and they’re looking for a helmet usually, too,” she said. “A lot of these people are buying a sled for the first time, so they need a helmet, and rather than offering some sort of incentive in a different direction, we thought that was good idea.”
Promoting safety and affordable offerings carries over into the dealership’s other apparel options. During the open house, Road Track and Trail offers deals on the majority of its clothes and apparel in addition to the snowmobiles.
“We’ll sell a lot of apparel up to 50 percent off, and everything in the store will be discounted as well,” Hintz said. Of the apparel, gloves and jackets are among the items that sell the most, though the open house helps clear out the prior year’s apparel inventory by marking those items 30 to 50 percent off.
Unlike at some dealerships, snowmobiles are on the floor all year long, and customers are encouraged to buy early before all units sell out.
The dealership experienced a high number of spring sales in 2015 and looks forward to cleaning out its snow inventory by the end of the season.
“We took over 100 units this year from Arctic Cat,” Hintz said. “Forecasting, we should get rid of all of them by the end of the season, like we did last year. I’m really interested to see the sales potential of the 2016 Arctic Cat XF 900 High Country Limited once the trails open in mid-December.”
As of Dec. 8, the dealership had 277 sleds for sale online.