The RV market is a booming one, providing alternative travel and camping vacation experiences to American families across the country. According to recent Ipsos research, consumer interest and planned travel decisions lean towards RV travel and camping as an option, especially in light of the current COVID-19 crisis. A different survey by Kampgrounds of America, Inc. indicated that interest in camping was increasing among first-timers and younger generations. The study surveyed 4,000 US and Canadian citizens, recording a 5% increase in leisure travelers considering camping as an option for the rest of 2020. This bodes well for the camping and RV industries especially considering the initial difficulty the RV industry faced with campground closures enforced by shelter in place measures in many states.
Consumers will still want to travel and enjoy recreational time off, albeit closer to home as the general public will still be wary of international travel. First time buyers and renters look to be interested in the versatile RV camping experience, where travelers can have the freedom to enjoy themselves while still maintaining control over health safety measures and appropriate social distancing. Business is booming at parks, campgrounds and RV providers with increases in demand for campsites and RV bookings.
Consumers look for options that allow them to comply with social distancing policies and responsible recreation while also allowing them to go outdoors after weeks of shelter in place. They may not be too interested in travel at the moment, but those who are lean heavily towards RV camping, especially among young adults. Some customers are using RVs to maintain isolation and quarantine, while others who can work remotely use the RVs as a mobile office. The change in work environment and culture bodes well for the RV industry – more people are able to work from home, possibly permanently, and that means increased mobility and a possible increase in consumers opting to travel as they work.
A fifth of US respondents to the Ipsos research study indicated that they were more interested in RV camping as a recreational option post COVID-19, far more than the options of using car and tent, car and rental stay, cruise or air travel and rental stay. Of the respondents who were planning on taking a RV camping trip this year, fifty-one percent stated that they were more interested in RV camping because of current health concerns. Experts recommend driving as a safer alternative than flying and for those who are opting to camp on vacation, to cook and shower away from common areas to minimize spread.
Naturally, RV parks and campgrounds have calibrated their site rules to enforce social distancing, including requesting that park guests are to stay home and only leave to perform essential activities like supply runs, outdoor activities with social distancing, seeking health services or essential work. Social events at RV campgrounds have been put on hold and communal facilities like gyms and game rooms locked to prevent close contact and suppress the spread of the virus. These restrictions will be relaxed in time as states regain control over the situation and relax their shelter in place orders, however it is important for travelers to take note of federal, state and district orders and regulations as restrictions vary from state to state.
In the Ipsos research study, many respondents showed interest in an RV trip – some respondents were actively planning a trip in the future, while others were planning to look online for more RV information. A significant number of respondents had RV acquisition plans in mind, whether in terms of purchasing plans, rental plans or visiting an RV dealer. A survey done for the US Travel Association reported that nearly 70% of respondents felt safer traveling in a personal vehicle, with parks at the top of the list of places survey respondents felt comfortable visiting.
By far, RVs allow consumers to curate and customize their travel experience into exactly what they want. Consumers can travel whenever they want, whenever they want within reason, skipping TSA checkpoints, long waits for flights and luggage and expensive airport and airplane food. RVs stand to be attractive alternatives to vacation plans that might have changed due to flight cancellations or attraction closures, all through 2020 and potentially 2021.