As the Omicron variant throws another proverbial wrench into the travel industry, Outdoorsy, a global peer-to-peer RV rental platform based in Austin, Texas, continues to flourish, according to Forbes.

When the pandemic first hit the U.S. borders in 2020 and travelers avoided airlines and hotel stays, Outdoorsy saw demand for its RVs skyrocket. From April to October of that year (generally viewed as RV season), the company saw a 4,000% increase in booking revenue. Nearly two years later, Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy is betting his business will keep growing even if hotel and airline travel returns to normal.

survey by Go RVing, a trade group for the recreational vehicle industry, estimates that 65 million U.S. leisure travelers are planning on taking an RV vacation in 2022. The trade group attributes the surge partly to a “fundamental change in the workplace with the amount of telecommuting and remote work [which] will play a much larger role even as we exit the pandemic.” The pandemic fundamentally changed how travelers approach trips, reportedly preferring to travel in smaller groups with family and friends. This trend will probably continue now that the new Omicron coronavirus variant has set back the reopening of international travel. That’s good news for the RV industry, and Outdoorsy, in particular.

This summer, the company raised a $120 million round led by Moore Strategic Ventures, ADAR1 Partners, Monashee Capital, SiriusPoint Ltd and Convivialite Ventures, valuing the company at $1.8 billion according to Cavins. The company has 48 million users offering more than 40,000 vehicles for rental across eleven countries, and hit 1 billion transactions earlier this year (i.e. amount of bookings through their platform). This year 85% of its RV renters are first-timers. Rental prices can range from $50 a night for a small camper van for two, and as much as $1,375 for a luxury vehicle for six.

“We are the only company that offers [RV rentals] on an international level. Nobody does this globally,” says Cavins.

Forbes first spoke with Cavins and his wife and co-founder, Jennifer Young, last year when the company was inundated with new business. In formulating the idea for Outdoorsy, the couple hit the road to visit RV parks and talk to motorhome owners. They saw an opportunity for the RV rental business but also realized insurance policies typically prevent such transactions from occurring. So, in 2014, they launched Outdoorsy, and in 2016, they founded Roamly, an insurance company created exclusively for RVs, travel trailers and camper vans.

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