Traveling by RV is a dream that many are now able to realise due to the increase in remote working opportunities since the pandemic began, and current data suggests that RV rental firms (existing and prospective) can look forward to increased demand for years to come.
For example, RV rental company Outdoorsy reported that 67% of their web traffic in 2021 came from first time RV-ers and that 91% of survey respondents were planning to take a road trip sometime during 2022, including during fall.
Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, freedom and adventure are top priority, as many people intend to travel further, spend more money, and enjoy once in a lifetime experiences. Sustainability is another factor influencing people to use this mode of transport.
As lockdowns provided a respite from environmental contamination and revealed just how polluted our world has become, consumers are now seeking more sustainable travel options and many are flying less. Time will tell, but it’s possible that this trend will stay with us for the long run.
Not everyone wants to buy an RV without prior experience, so the rental market includes those who want to see how the lifestyle suits them (whether for short trips or full-time), and get some experience driving these vehicles before committing to purchase.
RV travel is also becoming more popular among young people – those who are interested but cannot afford to buy their own (such as college students and graduates) may become returning customers for many years until they can comfortably commit to purchasing one alongside other financial commitments of greater priority.
In addition, the median annual usage of RVs by owners in 20 days – for some, this would not justify purchase (and not everyone wants to be responsible maintenance an RV, especially if they have other vehicles, so even long-term RV enthusiasts may favor rental for this reason).
Popular RV Destinations
44 US national parks saw record numbers of visitors in 2021, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which had more than 14 million visitors throughout the year for the first time ever. (Perhaps an added motivating factor for the increase in travel to such destinations is the new appreciation people gained for wildlife as various species started venturing into urban areas during lockdowns.)
The mountainous regions of the Scottish Highlands, Scandinavia, and the Alps are among the top European destinations for road trips, and research by TomTom showed that many Europeans have gained a new appreciation of their home countries and intend to explore them more (48% said they would continue to do so after the end of the pandemic).
RVs are still in demand during winter, with travelers taking road trips to the warmer states in order to escape (as well as the adventurous types who want to brave the cold wilderness of Canada’s Yukon Territory).
How to Prepare for the Summer Season and Beyond
RV rental firms can benefit from preparing vehicles and staff early, as discussed in our article on preparing for summer 2022. For those considering diversifying their offering by adding RVs to their fleet, keep in mind the following suggestions for increasing your bookings:
- Invest in high-quality photography showcasing the breathtaking landscapes customers can expect to enjoy.
- Ensure that customers get an accurate impression of what each vehicle has to offer by providing videos of the interior. This is especially important for families in need of sufficient space.
- Consider renting out additional equipment with the RV such as hiking equipment and kayaks. Again, many adventurous travelers are not deterred by the winter months, so consider the seasonal gear that will appeal to that audience.
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