The North American RV rental fleet is expected to grow more than 12 percent in 2017, with almost two-thirds of rental operators expanding their rental fleets, according to a new survey by the Recreation Vehicle Rental Association (RVRA).
“This segment of the market continues to be a winner for the RV industry,” said Scott Krenek, RVRA chairman and owner of Krenek RV Super Center in Coloma, Mich. “The RV rental market is healthy and growing. That’s why so many RVRA members are looking forward to a great summer. Renting RVs is not only a good business for dealers, it helps drive interest in RV travel and use.”
Revenue Fuels Growth
Fueling the growth in RV rental fleets is a rise in rental revenue over the past 12 months. Nearly a quarter of those responding to the survey (24 percent) said its rental revenue grew by 50 percent or more in 2016. Another 17 percent said their rental revenue increased 20 to 49 percent, while 22 percent said their rental revenue increased 10 to 19 percent last year.
Increasing revenue is important, but so is profitability and 80 percent of those responding to the survey said their profit margins on RV rentals are adequate.
There are more options for consumers to rent an RV than ever before, either by picking up the unit themselves or having it delivered to where they want to stay.
In fact, 74 percent of the dealers responding to the survey say they’re willing to deliver a rented trailer to the campground – or other location – where the customer intends to use it. Among dealers who rent towables, 68 percent said more and more customers are asking to have a rented trailer delivered to the place where they will use it.
The average length of a rental contract last year was for four to five nights, according to 44 percent of the dealer respondents. Another 33 percent said six to seven nights was the average length of their RV rental contacts. Thirteen percent said three nights was the average length, and 9 percent said it was seven or more nights.
Larger RVs – as measured by the number of sleeping areas – are the most popular rental units, according to survey respondents.
Forty-four percent of dealers said units with at least four sleeping areas are the most popular, while 24 percent said at least six sleeping areas was the most popular floor plan. Another 31 percent said at least two sleeping areas was the most popular.
Although the survey results are overwhelmingly upbeat, the dealers acknowledged that renting presents challenges. The biggest challenge – listed by 24 percent of respondents – is that the rental season is too short.
Another 22 percent said the acquisition of rental fleet units is their biggest challenge. Fifteen percent said staff training is the biggest challenge, and another 15 percent said remaining profitable is the biggest challenge.
RV Rental Advice
With the surge of interest in RV travel, Krenek recommends that people who want to take an RV rental vacation book as soon as possible to get their desired dates and the unit that fits their needs.
“It’s wise to make reservations for the both the RV and campgrounds as early as you can,” he says. “RV rental vacations are a great way to make memories with family and friends. Some advance planning before you set out on your trip will make the experience even better.”
To find an RVRA member company, visit www.rvra.org.