SOUTH HAMPTON, N.H. – Families anxious to get out of the house during this socially-distant summer are turning to an old American pastime: RV camping.
Industry insiders say RV sales and rentals have exploded this season. Outdoorsy and RVshare – two RV rental share platforms similar to Airbnb – report that bookings have surged more than 1,000% since the beginning of the season. RV dealers across the country are also reporting a big spike in sales this summer.
“It’s bonkers,” Chris Reeder with Lerch RV in Milroy, Pa. told PennLive. “We are completely back to staff and we’ve even hired since going green.”
About an hour north of Boston, at Tuxbury Pond RV Resort in South Hampton, N.H., manager Brian Huppe said activity has been unprecedented this summer.
The RV industry is seeing an “astronomical” surge in sales as the summer of social distancing rolls on, dealers say.
Now on many weekends, he said RVs line up out of the gate waiting just to get a spot in the park.
“We filled the park,” Huppe said. “The pickup has been incredible […] We’ve never had campers lined up to get into the camp like we have this year.”
Inside one of those campers is Matt and Kristy Bialko, along with their three kids. They drove their RV all the way from Ohio to Tuxbury Pond. However, they’re not traveling for fun – but for a specialized doctor’s appointment for their young daughter.
“It just feels safer to have our own space,” Kristy Bialko said. “This makes it a little easier, we take our whole hotel with us.” her husband added.
“The pickup has been incredible […] We’ve never had campers lined up to get into the camp like we have this year.”
— Brian Huppe, manager of Tuxbury Pond RV Resort
Jon Gray, CEO of RVshare, said the concept is selling itself right now with many Americans still wary of staying in hotels and flying.
“RVs do afford you the ability to be socially distant,” Gray said. “This summer, the idea of being able to take your kitchen, your bed, your bathroom with you is incredibly compelling.”
However, the Bialkos had been on the road full-time long before the pandemic, sharing their adventures on social media. Matt’s job began allowing him to work remotely – like millions of other Americans right now – so, he had an idea.
“Well, if I have to work from home, why can’t I work from this hotel? And if I can work from this hotel, why can’t I work from this Airbnb. And if I can work from there, why can’t I just travel around, right?” Bialko said.
Gray anticipates more people will have that same revelation as more schools announce online learning and employers extend remote work policies into the autumn and even into 2021.
“We expect work from anywhere and online schooling to drive a very robust booking volume in the fall,” Gray said.
RV rental rates start around $120-150 a night, according to one recent report.