Camper Van Sales Double During COVID-19 Pandemic
According to research from the RV Industry Association, 46 million Americans say they plan to take an RV trip in the next year, with sales rising among first-time buyers in particular.
Camping Tips: How to camp off the grid
Erin Gilmore, director of operations for a company that converts commercial vans into camping-ready vehicles, claims business has doubled, with orders taking up to 12 months to complete instead of the usual four to six.
“I am hearing people say they want to stay out of public restrooms and be on the road in a self-contained vehicle they can sleep in to avoid hotels,” Gilmore told CBS News.
Other business owners have reported similar upticks in interest, some providing a sharp contrast to consumer attitudes just a few months ago. In the spring, Wade Jorgensen, who rents vans for about $150 per night, had lost every single reservation he had for the entire 2020 calendar. But since May, demand has been “through the roof,” and he’s booked out through September.
“Everyone is traveling but people don’t want to fly or stay in hotels,” Jorgensen said. “They want to self-isolate and be safe, and they can do that in a van or RV. I can’t build them as fast as I need them.”
Interested In RVing? Learn about the different types of RVs
Meanwhile, Marcia Galvin, whose family owns the Normandy Farms Campground in Foxboro, Massachusetts, says they have seen an influx of first-time RV travelers who are still learning the ropes. “We are seeing a lot of newbies,” Galvin noted. “There are a lot more calls for help than usual.”
Since Memorial Day, when Normandy Farms reopened, the campground has been operating at full capacity and requires visitors to reserve slots at its four swimming pools. Though June business was down 10 percent compared to 2019, Galvin says she is “very optimistic” about the rest of the summer.
For RV manufacturers, the main concern now is to boost inventory, as inventory levels have been critically low following factory shutdowns from March to May. Should supply manage to match the demand, the RV industry could be in for a record year.
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.