The world feels as fragile as ever, and those with any options at all are looking to get away this summer.
For many, planes and hotel rooms won’t be an option they consider owing to continued concerns about the coronavirus (not to mention the expense, which 40 million fewer Americans can likely afford). That leaves perhaps renting a local Airbnb this summer or, for a growing number of people, looking for the first time to rent an RV or camper van, including as a way to visit far-flung family members who might otherwise be unreachable.
Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV rental company that was founded in 2015, bootstrapped by its founders for a couple of years, and has more recently attracted $88 million in venture funding, $13 million of it an extension to a $50 million Series B round that it quietly closed early this year.
Jeff Cavins, a serial operator and the co-founder and CEO of a company said, “ We had typically seen an average rental on its platform would run about six days. That’s now over nine days. We’ve seen a 2,645% increase in bookings from the low point of COVID, which was late March, to right now.
“In the month of May, 88% of our bookings were by first-time renters, which is a record for us. And more than half of them have come back and already booked their second trip. ”
The big trend in the RV industry is that the new consumers don’t want those big land barges. What they want are camper vans, because the average user on this platform is under the age of 40.
Currently, Outdoorsy has 48,000 peer-to-peer listings; when it adds international users and has a lot of these mega fleets that are connected to its site via an API like Indies Campers or Jucy, that puts its supply at 68,000 units.
Cleanliness is a big factor for any form of accommodation. Outdoorsy has been producing for its listing community CDC guidelines on cleaning standards. It has asked its owners to place additional time between rentals so they can let the vehicles take time to manually disinfect.
Outdoorsy also encouraging renters to bring cleaning supplies with them. A lot of people will feel much more safe if they’re able to control their environment. And the platform has started a contactless key exchange, [meaning] the owner will deliver the vehicle to a campsite, put up the awning, the camping chairs, and so on. And then the renter will come later.
“We were profitable in the month of May. We’ll be profitable again in the month of June. Unless there’s a second wave of COVID and lockdowns, our booking activity is now foretelling a profitable July, August and September, so we’ll possibly produce a year-on-year fiscal profitable year.” Jeff Cavins says.
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