Editor’s Note: the following analysis, authored by Bill Zhang for Harvest Hosts, examines the long-term effects on RVing from the coronavirus and the opportunities for businesses to capitalize with more people taking to the road in the post-pandemic era.
Traditionally, the RV industry has been dominated by retirees and the older generation after their careers are done and they finally have the time and means to travel all over the country in their home on wheels. This trend has continued, but just in the last decade, a new burgeoning group has joined the Boomers in their travels: Millennials.
As the coronavirus changes the landscape of life as we know it, many forces are creating a perfect storm of factors that will help foster massive growth in the RV industry with not just Millennials, but all generations. Those business owners who are able to prepare and change their businesses to welcome these nomadic travelers will benefit from this rising tide.
As the country emerges from the current crisis, an entire nation will rise out of its collective cabin-fever inducing home-stays and burst onto the travel industry like a wave of Black Friday shoppers. With lingering fears about social distancing and a possible return of the virus during flu season, travelers will most likely opt for outdoor destinations with more space to explore. More camping and outdoor activities have already been documented in areas where the current coronavirus hit earlier than the US, namely in Japan, where families pitched tents rather than stay in hotels.
With a penchant for the great outdoors, the U..S population that grew up with Boy Scouts, s’mores, and 85 million acres of National Parks will undoubtedly move towards the great outdoors even more.
As air travel grounds to a halt and public transportation systems around the world are operating on drastically limited schedules, people are reimagining the ways they travel in a post-pandemic world. Most national health services are recommending either avoiding public transportation entirely and avoiding close contact with an infected person, which is defined as being within six feet of the person for more than 15 minutes.
This pretty much encompasses all mass transit options available and people are following those recommendations, with many U.S. transit systems teetering on the edge of insolvency. It is estimated that this pandemic will hit the airline industry even harder than the post-9/11 emergency and statistics are already showing huge impacts on flight capacity, with some airlines canceling all long-haul flights.
With these problems in mind, travelers will still be wary once things start to be “normal” again. Road trips are poised to make a resurgence as travelers shun international destinations requiring long flights and transits through crowded airports. Those who are looking to travel and enjoy all the wonders of this great country will be looking for the safest and most comfortable way to travel.
A self-enclosed RV with your own bed, bathroom, kitchen, food, dishes, sheets and clothes seems like a really good option. As for cost, many rental markets such as Outdoorsy, are offering RVs for as little as $100-a-day. Even with fuel and insurance, that’s still on par with or cheaper than plane tickets and hotel rooms for a family of four. Any way you slice it, the RV industry is going to look like a very attractive option for many pandemic-weary travelers.
For the full report, click here.