Leisure activities have shifted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the day-to-day, vacations and tourism have tanked due to the realities of the virus. While some hotels in the United States are opening, they rightly expect consumer wariness with the pandemic still in full-swing. Major commercial tourist spots, like Disney World, re-opened with restrictions. Yet, re-opening does not guarantee attendance. Outside of deep cleaning a hotel room on arrival, there is no way of knowing the level to which they sanitize their rooms.
As a result, many consumers are deciding to take their homes with them. A massive surge is underway in both the luxury recreational vehicle and boating markets. People with money to burn are looking for a way to control their environment while they travel. RVs and boats both offer the perfect, socially-distant means of travel and lodging.
The Growing Culture of RVs
Recreational vehicles became a common sight over the past decade. As technology advanced and the Boomer generation shifted into retirement, the culture of RVs shifted. No longer considered the “cheaper” option, RVs represent a level of luxury alongside the convenience. However, the current trend is towards luxury rentals – with prices in the tens of thousands of dollars per week.
The hefty price tag has not dissuaded many, with bookings increasing ten-fold in the wake of the pandemic. Renters gain the ability to travel to responsible, socially-distant locations while avoiding interactions with hotel staff and restaurants. While this may be a boon for national parks, hiking hotspots and other solo activities, it does little to help tourist hotspots suffering in the current climate.
Luxury boats saw a similar spike in sales and rentals, for much the same reason. After a brief downturn during the initial lockdown, boating roared back to the forefront. Boat sellers report an inability to maintain inventory, as everyone moves towards the water. This applies to both the average boater, and those looking for options that are more expensive.
Larger vessels can potentially offer the same home-away-from-home amenities as RVs. Yet, sailing itself offers a responsible, socially-distant activity. Consumers suffering from months-long cabin fever can escape their house, without putting themselves or their family in danger. Even once the pandemic does eventually subside and a “new normal” sets in, many consumers will likely continue to gravitate to RVs, boats and other socially-distant recreational vehicles for vacation and leisure.
Article By: Adam Stone