The appeal for RVs diminishes when you think about driving such huge vehicles but RVshare is thinking of ways to circumvent that even if it is to convince you that you don't need to drive it, you can just sleep in it.
Gone are the days when renting a recreational vehicle was all about taking a trip into the woods and disconnecting from the grid on a relaxing vacation. The CEO of one of the largest recreational vehicle rental companies said the company is expanding ways to market RVs beyond traditional camping.
RVshare CEO Jon Gray said the rental company is exploring options that would include providing accommodations to people traveling to events or destinations who want alternative and affordable lodging. Think of it as Airbnb on wheels.
RVshare already has the option for RVs to be delivered to the location of a renter’s choice but this option differs as there is no driving involved. So no driving is involved. You just stay in the RV.
“If what you’re trying to do is solve for accommodations while being near an event, it’s a really great option for that,” Gray said in an interview. He was previously the chief revenue officer for short-term rental company HomeAway.
Gray said while there are technically people with readily available RVs for the stationary rental option, there is still work to be done in terms of appealing to owners and users on the site about the benefits. Gray said he hopes the program could be launched by the end of the year. He did not disclose proposed prices.
In addition, the company is also looking at music festivals and tailgating events later on this year to demonstrate to users the many ways that RV rentals can be used, outside of traditional camping trips. Gray acknowledged that the Covid Delta variant could possibly impact this plan.
Gray also proposed RVs as a possible option for remote work going forward.
While the company is marketing RVs for other uses, traditional camping still remains the number one thing users rent an RV for. The company claimed double bookings for this year’s 4th of July weekend compared to last year, where it had also doubled its booking compared to the pre-pandemic levels. Bookings for its labor day weekend is expected to be higher — an 82 percent increase — than the previous year, which the company claimed as record-breaking weekend.
Through its recent partnership with Watkins Glen International, a road racing facility, RVshare became its official camping partner, providing a resource for thousands of racing fans to who wish to camp at camping locations on the NASCAR circuit in The Glen.
Gray said although tents still remain the number one competitor against RVs, the market is still good for people who do not want to be fully detached, who prefer to have air conditioning, access to a shower and clean bathroom and room to prepare food.
“Travel has become more experiential,” Gray said. “With vacation rentals, we can take family travel and put it out in nature. And that is something that I think we can do in the camping market better than the camping market.”
The company is also launching a mobile app to help improve renters’ experience. Through the app, users can have an easier connection with the owner should they ever need to access something on the RV that wasn’t known during the initial walk-through. The product is set to launch by the end of the year.
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Photo credit: RVshare is looking at new ways pitch RVs to users Rvshare