Josh Schukman
by Josh Schukman
Posté December 6, 2023

Before we close out another circle ‘round the sun, we at Outdoorsy wanted to dig into the ways guests rolled this past year.

When setting goals for your RV rental business, it’s important that those goals be guided by data. That’s why this post shares what we crunched about popular destinations renters chose, hot travel dates, ways to make extra income with your RV, and much more.

2023 Highlights

Here are some top data points we hit this year:

  • We’ll close out 2023 with more than 182,000 departed RV trips. That’s roughly a quarter million nights spent outdoors thanks to hosts like you.
  • 95% of reviewed bookings received five-star reviews in 2023. This is a testament to our wonderful crew of hosts.
     
  • You’ve helped us make over 47,000 RVs available for rent. This means families wanting to reconnect with the outdoors, couples looking for adventure, and solo travelers alike are all able to find the perfect vehicle for them.
  • We launched our one-millionth trip this year!

How Will Guests Travel in 2024?

It’s no secret that 2020 and 2021 were booming years for RV travel. Guests rented RVs in droves as they sought socially distanced locales and vacations.

We’ve seen more folks move back into hotel rooms and onto airplanes these past couple of years, but RVing is still a wildly popular travel choice. 

Our data show that RVing will be a major travel mode for 2024 because of its affordability relative to other types of travel. The surge of RVing during the pandemic got people experiencing the outdoors and the spaces in between in ways they couldn’t with other vacation types. That’s why RVing is here to stay in 2024. 

Another trend on the rise is glamping. Glamping happens when vacationers seek a connection to the outdoors via upscale accommodations in nature. Think tiny homes, cabins, yurts, and more. We even launched our Stays platform so our hosts can get in on this growing trend. 

Tiny home glamping stay

Water Is Where It’s At in 2024

Water took center stage in trip planning for 2023 with guests planning entire trips and campgrounds around water access. We expect this trend to continue in 2024, especially given water’s healing benefits.

To this end, think about ways you can better connect your guests with water in the coming year:

Could you start offering kayaks and/or paddleboards as a rental add-on? 

Do you have nearby water attractions like lakes or beaches that you should highlight in your listing? 

What are some ways you could share a guide for water-centric campgrounds and activities with your guests? 

Many Travelers are Advance Planners

While many of our guests plan and book their vacations close to the time of departure, there are many others who plan trips far in advance. 

Families taking RV road trips are especially prone to planning well ahead of time. In fact, we’re seeing these advance planners booking an average of 253 days out for 2024 trips. 

What this means for us as hosts is that now is the time to make sure our listing descriptions are polished, our photos pristine, and our calendar up to date for the whole of the 2024 season. Anything less and you could be missing out on the batch of bookings coming in right now. 

Average Rental Length in 2024?

We predict the average length of an RV trip in 2024 will be 6 days. This tracks well with what we’ve seen for trip length during the past several years. 

Knowing this, jump on outdoorsy.com and do a sample 6+ day reservation for RVs like yours in your area. How does the overall price compare?

Chances are, you’ll see several hosts offering different incentives like length of trip discounts that might result in a more competitive overall rental price than yours. 

If you see that, dig into your listing to see what sorts of things you might offer to encourage people to book longer trips. Generally speaking, the more days someone rents your RV, the more your profits will go up because you’ll have less turnover and more days to sell add-ons. 

Truck camper in a field

Where Are Guests Traveling in 2024?

Here are the spots we’re already seeing a bunch of bookings for in 24:

When Are Guests Traveling in 2024?

Our busiest booking windows stay reliably consistent year over year. That’s why we expect these to be our windows of highest rental demand next year: 

  • Late May (Memorial Day travel)
  • Late June (Independence Day travel)
  • Late August/early September (Labor Day travel)

The Add-Ons That’ll Help You Grow Revenue in 2024

We crunched the numbers to figure out the most lucrative add-ons that hosts are pitching with their RVs. If you don’t already offer add-ons, check out this page we made to save you 10% when purchasing popular add-ons

Here are the most popular add-ons for our guests:

Outdoor essentials:

Camping tables and chairs

-Generators like this Jackery

Camp stoves and coolers

Comfort and convenience:

Bedding, linens, and cooking amenities are highly sought after, showing that guests value the comforts of home on the road. It’s usually better to include these items than to charge extra for them. 

Flexible services:

Guests love personalized services like delivery (which you can charge by the mile for), flexible scheduling for drop off and pick up, and resources in the RV that make operation easy.  

RV on a snowy road

Should You Increase Your Nightly Rate in 2024?

Your mileage will vary on this decision because nightly rates naturally fluctuate based on things like RV type, location, and season. 

That said, we see in our data that nightly rates for RV rentals haven’t moved much during the past 3 years. On the flip side, hotel prices increased by as much as 54% from 2022 to 2023. So, the chances are you’d have some wiggle room to increase the nightly price of your listing(s) in 2024. 

Another tactic that many owners are successfully applying is charging a reasonable prep fee to help cover the increasing costs of cleaning and other goods. This is a way to help cover your increasing costs without having to move your nightly rate by as much. You can toggle prep fees on and customize what you charge from within your listing. 

The average nightly rental amount we saw in 2023 (before any fees, insurance, or add-ons) was $161 per night. This is an average across all geographic regions and RV types. 

Ultimately, the best way to decide how/if to adjust your nightly rate in 2024 is to search for similar rigs in your area and calculate an average on where their nightly prices hit.

From there, a good general rule is to set your nightly price somewhere in the middle of what you’re seeing for similar rigs in your area. 

Deer looking into campervan

How Will Gas Prices Impact 2024 Rental Demand?

While no one can predict the geopolitical future, we have (tentative) good news for you. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts a decrease in gas and diesel prices next year

The EIA currently predicts an average price of $3.09 per gallon of gas in 2024 versus $3.32/gallon in 2023. Chalk it up to all the new EVs hitting the road and fuel efficiency standards of new autos. Either way, it’s good news for RVers. 

How Will Inflation Impact 2024 Rental Demand?

Experts are expecting inflation to fall in 2024. RVing is also known to be an especially affordable form of family travel. 

That’s why we see 2024 as a year when RV travel demand is not significantly impacted by inflation. 

Fun 2024 Travel Trends

Here are some fun stats that we also think can help inform your 24 business planning:

Gastro Tourism here to stay — Many of your guests in 2024 will be traveling with a food and drink focus. What local fare could you highlight? What are some ways you can market cooking as a selling point of your RV? Could you create guides for your guests that highlight the best restaurants in your region?

Robots are into trip planning — Guests are increasingly depending on AI to plan their trips. 

Solo travel is on the rise — Solo trips are in vogue. Campervans and smaller Class Cs are the types of rigs that are best suited to target this traveler. If you have rigs of this type, think of ways you can speak to this audience in your listing description, photos, and marketing. 

–Glamping is growing —  Fixed accommodations in the outdoors that feature hotel-like amenities are surging in popularity with guests. Got glamping? List it here

Flexibility is key — More and more travelers are seeking trips where they can flow with the rhythm of the journey.

That’s why things like more flexible reservations, flexible cancellation policies, and easy trip modification options could give your listings a competitive edge in 2024. 

Campervan on the beach

2023 is about to hit our rearview. It was an exciting year and we rolled through many milestones with the help of hosts like you. 2024 looks to be even more exciting and we’re stoked to be on this ride together. One of the best ways to keep plugged in with fellow owners and on top of the latest trends is via the Outdoorsy RV Host Community on Facebook. 

Cheers to New Years!

Josh Schukman

 

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