RV Buyer’s Remorse

Did you join the mad dash to buy an RV during the global pandemic? And now you are experiencing a bit of buyer’s remorse? Well, this should cheer you up.

There’s very little about 2020 that could have been expected, including the RV being the hottest summer travel trend. According to the RV Industry Association, over 25 million Americans hit the open road with their recreational vehicle this summer. Travelers flocked to Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and even their local dealership to get their hands on a set of wheels that would haul them across the country on an epic summer adventure.

But with summer slowly coming to a close, it’s likely that 45-foot room on wheels sitting in your driveway has lost its luster, and inevitable feelings of buyer’s remorse are slowly beginning to creep in. You gave #VanLife your best shot, but now it’s time to enjoy all that #HotelLife has to offer.

Starting Tuesday, August 11, former road warriors can have their RV “appraised” in exchange for nights on Hotels.com that could be worth up to $5,000! The crappier your set of wheels, the more hotel nights you deserve.

For the chance to get your hunk of junk “appraised” for stays on Hotels.com, share a photo or video of your recreational vehicle with us at www.hotels.com/page/rvrescue/ by Tuesday, August 18, 2020.

“As travel trends continue to evolve, we want to make sure people don’t have to give up living their best hotel life no matter how they opt to travel,” said Josh Belkin, Vice President of the Hotels.com brand. “We’re helping to reward the travelers who might be experiencing a case of buyer’s remorse from their summer RV trips, with the experience of a night or two in a luxury hotel, for whenever they’re ready to travel again.”

Time to say bye, bye roadside service and hello room service!

Part of Expedia, hotels.com is seeing an opportunity to use the overhyped Year of the RV theme to get some business. Likely any business as the hotel industry has literally been decimated by COVID-19 with revenues per room down by 50 percent or more.

The McKinsey report summed it up this way:

COVID-19 has affected every sector across the globe, and the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Our research suggests that recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take until 2023 or later. Investors are providing similar views of hotel companies’ prospects, as seen in the underperformance of US lodging real estate investment trusts (REITs). Like so many industries, hospitality will also see both subtle and substantial shifts in the post-pandemic era.

The RV industry is apparently immune to the impact of COVID-19. It appears as though the only thing that people want to do right now is rush down to their local RV dealer, throw down tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and race out to enjoy the great outdoors.

According to this article from the RVIA:

RV travel and camping provides an appealing vacation option for American families according to recent Ipsos research examining consumer interest and planned actions on travel choices in light of the COVID-19 crisis. According to the research, 46 million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months. This positive news for RV manufacturers, dealers and campgrounds reinforces what US dealers are already seeing at the retail level.

46 million Americans plan to take RV trips in the next 12 months? Does that even make sense?

According to the RVIA there are roughly 10 million RVs still on the road in the United States. By comparison there are roughly 275 million registered cars.

But to grow from 10 million RVs to 46 million RVs in a year would be an incredible feat. And completely impossible.

Here are the shipments for the industry since the year 2000:

In 20 years, the RV industry in North America has produced a total of 6.7 million units, towable and motorized.

Perhaps 46 million Americans would like to plan a trip in an RV but I highly doubt that millions of units will be produced to meet all of this demand in the next twelve months.

2017 was the best year for the RV industry with just over half a million units shipped.

At the halfway point of this year, the industry has only shipped 176,000 units.

Will it be a record-breaking year? To get there in the next six months, the industry would have to produce over 330,000 more units. Even at the peak output of 2017, the industry averaged shipments of 42,000 units per month. Unless the manufacturers find a way to substantially increase their manufacturing output, I don’t see how they can achieve another 330,000 units in six months.

The math doesn’t seem to add up but we will find out soon enough if #VanLife wins out over the next six months.

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