Recreational Vehicles — or RVs — are in style and gaining momentum for those hoping to travel amid what seems to be a never-ending pandemic.
RVshare, a peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, reports its recent findings from its inaugural RVshare Owner Reporti, reflect how RV rentals emerged as one of the few industries to exceed financial expectations in 2020 and forecast a continued surge in popularity next year.
Americans’ desire to travel safely has fueled RV owners’ profits. Seventy-five percent of RV owners garnered more rental income than in 2019, a quarter of which have cited significantly higher income this year despite widespread shutdowns and travel restrictions, and RVshare news release said.
Thanks to a swell of rental activity in the spring and early summerii, many RV owners capitalized on travelers who chose a road trip over a resort or hotel. Twenty percent of RV owners began renting their vehicles specifically because of the pandemic. Supported by the RV Industry Association’s projection of records RV sales in 2021iii, RVshare’s report shows 14% of RV owners purchased a vehicle intending to rent because of the financial opportunity, the news release added.
“RVs are tailor-made for a socially distanced vacation, and many travelers discovered the appeal of RVs this year,” said RVshare’s CEO Jon Gray in the news release. “The owners of those RVs have capitalized on the ability to earn money from an asset that typically is only being used a few weeks out of the year, many of which are paying off their vehicles entirely.”
RVshare observed an increase in the number of owners who pay for their RV’s financing through renting. This summer, 35% of surveyed owners were able to pay for the entire cost of their RV with rental income. Now, half of the newly surveyed owners credited rental income with their ability to pay for their RV’s financing.
The average RV owner garners $16,000 per year in rental incomeiv. Frequently rented RVs, depending on their location, can generate an income upwards of $60,000 per year for the owner. The top choice for RV renters is the Class C, a mid-sized motorhome with the familiar bed-over-cab shape. Class C RVs have the earning potential of $45,000 per year in rental income. The Class B RV, or camper van, is rising in popularity as an easy-to-drive option. These RVs can earn up to $40,000 in rental income for the owner, the news release said.
“After all of our reservations were initially canceled at the start of the pandemic, we began to receive an unprecedented amount of bookings in the late spring and summer,” said Karla Atherton of RV Camping Rental in San Diego in the news release. “We have been so grateful to provide a safe travel experience for so many families in this challenging time.”
No Sign of Slowing
Rentals have shown no sign of slowing down for the foreseeable future as 60% of owners said they have more bookings this fall and winter season than in 2019. Also, more than a quarter (26%) of owners are already booked six months in advance, which is atypical during what is a traditionally slower season.
Additional information on owner resources and how to get started renting an RV can be found here.
i Survey of active 628 RVshare users, October 2020
ii RVshare bookings increased more than 1,600%, April – June 2020
iii RV Industry Association, RV RoadSigns Quarterly Forecast
iv RVshare internal data of active users