RVs’ Continued Popularity Is Poised to Characterize the 2021 Travel Landscape

RVshare , the first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, today released its annual Travel Trend Report , with research conducted in collaboration with respected third-party data firm STR. The study analyzed consumer sentiment, travel behaviors and RVshare’s internal booking data to predict what RV travel may look like in the coming year.

This year’s edition revealed that while, predictably, most people’s travel decisions continue to be primarily influenced by COVID-19 safety concerns, consumers are successfully adapting their travel habits in ways that allow them to satisfy their wanderlust.

"The global travel industry has been hit hard by this pandemic, but the demand for domestic travel options remains strong, and interest in RV travel has never been greater," said RVshare's CEO Jon Gray. "These findings help us understand how consumer travel preferences are evolving. The results prove RV travel is here to stay, and we're proud to be at the forefront of this new age of travel and discovery."

Over half of the consumers surveyed as part of RVshare’s research said that they plan on traveling domestically during 2021, with 70 percent citing minimal interactions with other travelers as an important factor and 40 percent indicating that they’re unlikely to use air travel.

The Rise of RV Travel

The findings reveal that RVs and personal vehicles will continue prevailing in 2021 as consumers’ preferred methods of transportation, with domestic getaways to outdoor attractions like state and national parks remaining popular vacation spots.

Since May 2020, purchases and rentals of RVs in the U.S. have been booming, especially among first-timers . In fact, almost 80 percent of RVshare’s 2020 bookings were made by new users.

—75 percent of travelers said RVs are a great choice for spontaneous travel and a quick getaway.

—77 percent of respondents agreed that RV travel lets you get outdoors, while offering the conveniences of a hotel, and is more comfortable than camping.

—57 percent of travelers consider RV travel more appealing than before the pandemic.

The New Live-Work-Play Paradigm

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it demanded that society modify and adapt its traditional models of how we work, attend school, shop, socialize and engage in recreation. Just about all of these activities can now be performed from anywhere, provided that you have a reliable internet connection.

RVShare’s analysis found that travelers are embracing this newfound freedom from office and classroom settings, and, thus untethered, are taking off on cross-country explorations or popping off of quick, convenient getaways while working and schooling remotely.

The trend is being led by Millennials with families who are benefitting from a new live-work-play balance that enables them to spend quality time together and away from home.

—61 percent of respondents agreed that RVs can provide good workspaces.

—68 percent of millennials surveyed said RVing is more appealing now than before the pandemic.

—73 percent of millennials said they would likely rent an RV for a trip in the future.

A Reluctance to Plan Ahead

RVshare’s findings indicate that the public’s desire and willingness to travel remain strong, with 57 percent of those surveyed saying that they’ll likely travel either more or the same amount as before within the U.S. next year. But, people are definitely hesitant about planning too far ahead, as any number of unknowns may impact their intended travel arrangement amid the ongoing pandemic.

—72 percent of travelers don't want to book too far ahead of their travel dates.

—65 percent of those surveyed won't be planning vacations for next year, as they don't know what the travel guidelines will be.

—75 percent of respondents agreed they need to be flexible when booking travel, since COVID-19 guidelines are always changing.

A Preference for ‘Self-Catered’ Vacations

Two-thirds of travelers surveyed said that, when they do travel, they’ll be looking for lodging options that allow them to personally control conditions, including cleaning and sanitation. As consumer preferences shifted toward these types of ‘self-catered’ vacations, interest in RVs skyrocketed. With self-contained, onboard amenities like a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen at travelers’ disposal, RVs offer an ideal means of seeing the world while remaining relatively isolated from others. Besides which, being at the owner/renter’s disposal, they allow for spur-of-the-moment getaways, custom-tailored and flexible travel plans.

—32 percent of respondents said an RV would be their preferred type of 'self-catered' accommodation, compared to 30 percent who would prefer staying with friends or relatives, and 28 percent who'd prefer to stay in a vacation rental.

The Newest ‘RV States’ to Emerge

After enduring weeks of initial lockdowns when COVID-19 hit, urbanites were ready to flee their home cities and trade city life for time spent in the great outdoors. States that contain major cities, including New York and Illinois, have seen great swells of residents who are renting or buying RVs to alleviate their claustrophobia and escape the crowds.

Leading Destinations Among RVers

RVshare’s internal data comparing 2019 and 2020 bookings showed that the volume of RV rentals in New York state increased this year by 186 percent and by 174 percent in Illinois. Internal data also revealed Yellowstone National Park to have been 2020’s top destination for consumers traveling in RVs, with visitors in September being up 21 percent from 2019.

Other top national parks visited by RV travelers in 2020 were Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Zion National Park, Utah; Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee; and Sequoia National Park, California.

For more information, visit rvshare.com .

RVs’ Continued Popularity Is Poised to Characterize the 2021 Travel Landscape

Hongxia Sun