Of all the findings in the 2021 report on travel trends* that was just released by RVshare, a marketplace for recreational vehicle rentals, what strikes the reader more than anything else is the declaration that “New York and Illinois are the newest ‘RV states.’” That’s right. In the midst of the coronavirus-driven global pandemic, it seems that the RV mode of travel and the destinations that they visit, are going to realize more travelers in the post-pandemic world.
The RVshare report has a decidedly domestic focus in findings—but they reflect the shifts and trends among all travelers. In its summary finding, RVshare put it this way: “The pandemic kicked RV travel into high gear with almost 80 percent of renters in 2020 being new to RVshare’s platform. According to new survey research conducted by STR, RV rentals will continue to be the new-found travel option of 2021 for long distance travel, staying at state and national parks and for adventurous family trips. With ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, travelers’ preferences have shifted and new travel trends have emerged.”
These particular revelations do not exactly come as a surprise, however. RVers are not exactly a large share of the international inbound tourism market—one will find purveyors of the RV product at IPW and regional international marketing organizations in the U.S.—but international tour operators and receptive tour operators who have taken part in Connect Travel’s “Staying Connected” series of roundtable discussions this year have regularly suggested that, international travelers enjoy America’s large cities and urban destinations such as New York and Chicago, but that they would like to visit places further away from gateway cities.
“Travelers are ready to swap city life for beaches, mountains and fresh air,” the report said. As proof, it cited these two numbers:
—Rentals in New York increased by +186 percent year over year.
—Rentals in Illinois increased by +174 percent year over year.
The report also has a data dump that are rich in numbers and findings that the travel marketer—both international and domestic—will find interesting. Some of the key points addressed by the report follow.
—40 percent of respondents say they are unlikely to fly in 2021.
—70 percent of respondents said minimal interactions with other travelers is important.
—More respondents plan to stay with family and friends this year than last.
The New Age of Live-Work-Play
We are told that “RVs aren’t just parked in your grandparents’ driveway anymore.” With millennials (ages 25 to 39) leading the way, people are changing their lifestyles based on newfound freedom with working and schooling from home or… anywhere. “RVs will become a mainstream travel option post-pandemic, especially for millennials.”
—Millennials are most likely to rent an RV in 2021—73 percent of millennials said they are likely to rent an RV in the future.
—68 percent of millennials said COVID-19 led them to find RVing more appealing than before the pandemic.
—61 percent of all respondents agree that RVs would be a good workspace.
Many will forgo the 2021 Travel Planning Season
The public’s desire and willingness to travel is still as strong as ever. However, there is a resistance to planning too far ahead with quarantine, cleanliness, and refunds all causing concern.
—57 percent of consumers surveyed are likely to travel either the same or more within the U.S.
—75 percent of respondents agree they need to be flexible when booking travel since COVID guidelines are always changing.
—63 percent of those surveyed won’t be planning vacations for next year as they don’t know what the travel guidelines will be.
—72 percent of travelers don’t want to book too far ahead of their travel dates
Where are RVers headed?
—Access to coastal areas;
—close to National and State Parks.
* For a copy of the RVshare report, click here.