When the open road started calling Henry and Gloria Jannenga, they answered.
“We started in January of last year,” said Gloria Jannenga. “We bought the RV in December 2011. We went to the beach and literally stayed at the beach for about a month. It’s just a fun way to live.”
According to a report by the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, the Jannengas have put their 2009 Georgia Boy Pursuit, a 36-foot Class A motorhome, to good use since. The trip to Hunting Island, S.C., was a test to see how much they’d like it. They’ve made trips to several parts of the country since then, including putting 12,000 miles on it about 12 months ago when they visited Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.
The Jannengas are among a growing number of Americans who are taking to the open road and purchasing RVs to get the most out of the experience, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.
“The RV market continued to gain ground in the first quarter of 2013, with total RV wholesale shipments reaching 79,422 units through March, an increase of 11.2 percent over the 71,444 units shipped during the same time frame in 2012,” according to RVIA’s March 2013 survey of manufacturers.
“RVing is becoming more and more popular because it’s a convenient, comfortable and affordable way for families to spend quality time together and build memories that will last a lifetime,” said RVIA president Richard Coon in a news release from the RVIA. “RVs provide families with the ability to take whatever kind of vacation they want, and it won’t break the bank.”
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Time away from work and time spent relaxing is so sacred that not even a spike at the pumps can detour Iowans from their summer travel plans.
As reported by the Quad City Times, Davenport, experts in the travel and recreation businesses said while rising gasoline prices will not cause travelers to call off their vacations or getaways, the additional costs will prompt them to find savings in other areas.
“Most people when they set travel plans don’t plan last minute, especially if they have plans at the national parks or have purchased airline tickets. So that they rarely cancel their plans,” said Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for AAA Minnesota/Iowa.
“They will make up for it in other ways,” she said. “They may eat at cheaper restaurants or cut back on the other spending.”
Likewise, fuel prices seem to be having little impact on those in the market for a recreational vehicle, two Quad-City RV dealers said.
“It may affect how far people travel for the weekend, but it doesn’t affect if they are going to make a decision to purchase an RV or not,” said John Dresselhaus, the owner of US Adventure RV, Davenport. In fact, he said the industry finally has rebounded from the recession.
To read the entire article click here.
During the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, 5.8 million recreation vehicles will be on the road and in the nation’s more than 16,000 campgrounds, according to a new survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and Cvent. According to a press release, an estimated 14 million Americans will enjoy the holiday weekend in an RV.
Recreation vehicle owners will be on the road in a big way throughout the summer to enjoy time outdoors with family and friends. According to the new survey, 71% of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 21% will use theirs the same amount. Just five percent said they’ll use their RVs less.
“RVing is becoming more and more popular because it’s a convenient, comfortable and affordable way for families to spend quality time together and build memories that will last a lifetime,” said RVIA president Richard Coon. “RVs provide families with the ability to take whatever kind of vacation they want — and it won’t break the bank.”
One reason so many RVers will be on the road is the built-in cost savings of RV travel. A 2011 study by travel industry experts PKF Consulting found that a family of four can save 23% to 59% when they travel in their RV, even when factoring in purchase price, maintenance costs, and rising gas prices.
“More than nine million Americans own RVs because of the unmatched freedom and flexibility they provide when traveling,” said Coon. “RVers can adjust their plans to take a long road trip or a quick weekend getaway. What’s most important for RVers is the opportunity to spend quality time outdoors with loved ones.”
Emerging Trends in RV Usage
Approximately 19% of RV owners are engaging in “seasonal” or “destination” camping, according to the survey. Destination campers leave their RV parked at one location for the entire spring/summer (or longer) and travel back and forth to it using a family car.
Many families are taking shorter, more frequent getaways in their RVs to accommodate busy schedules. According to the survey, 72% of RVers plan to take more 1-4 day mini-vacations this spring/summer.
RV owners appreciate the control RVs offer in today’s travel climate. Unlike air travelers, RVers can bring anything they want on vacation — including pets. According to the survey, 64% of RV owners bring pets along on trips. Most RVers traveling with pets bring dogs (94 percent) and cats (10 percent). Others bring along pets such as birds, ferrets, snakes and horses. Three-fourths (76 percent) of survey respondents cited flexibility as a favorite benefit of RV ownership.
RV Market Continues to Grow
America’s wholesale recreation vehicle (RV) shipments shot up 11% in the first quarter of 2013, fueled by strong consumer response to the versatility, affordability and innovative designs of new models, according to market data collected by RVIA. Shipments for 2013 are expected to rise 7.5% from 2012.
According to the survey, 73% of current RV owners believe now is a good time to buy an RV because RVs are the best way to travel comfortably and conveniently (64 percent), and great deals now available (58%).
The online survey of 378 RV owners was conducted by RVIA and Cvent and has a margin of error of 4.7%.
Consumers can learn more about today’s RVs by visiting www.GoRVing.com.
Editor’s Note: The following article was published by CNN Money offering a rundown of the various types of RVs available. To view the entire story click here.
It isn’t as well-known as his investments in Heinz or American Express, but Warren Buffett has a stake in the recreational vehicle industry. In 2005, Buffett made an offer to purchase Forest River Inc., an RV manufacturer in Elkhart, Ind. over the telephone just one day after he first learned about the company. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has since been doubling down, purchasing Coachman RV in 2008 and Dynamax Corp. in 2011 and has singled out Forest River for praise. In his 2011 letter to shareholders, he wrote: “Forest River has 82 plants, and I have yet to visit one (or the home office, for that matter). There’s no need; Pete Liegl, the company’s CEO, runs a terrific operation.”
Buffett’s endorsement came as the RV industry was recovering from a once-in-a-generation slump. RV shipments climbed back up to 273,600 units in 2012, their highest level since 2007, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Survey Research Center. The market continued to gain ground in the first quarter of 2013 with total RV wholesale shipments rising 11.2% year over year.
That isn’t peanuts. RV’s are a $10 billion industry, with 80 manufacturers and 3,000 dealers. Thor industries, maker of the Airstream, and Buffett’s Forest River control 65% of the business, which is getting a big demographic boost: More baby boomers are moving into retirement, and buying an RV is one of the ways they reward themselves when they do.
RVs fall into two general categories: towables, where the entry-level RV has no motor and must be pulled behind a car or truck; and motor homes, self-contained units where everything is within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat.
To view the entire article click here.
RV owners will be hitting the road this spring and summer to enjoy time outdoors with family and friends, according to a press release.
The latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), reveals that 71% of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than they did last year, and 21% say they’ll use RVs the same amount. Just 5% said they’ll use their RV less.
The survey of 378 RV owners was conducted by RVIA and Cvent from March 29 through April 22 and has a margin of error of 4.7%.
The top reasons for using their RVs more include enjoying outdoor activities (78%), taking more mini-vacations (72%), spending quality time with family (62%) and escaping the stress and pressure of daily life (51%).
In a significant change from last year’s survey, just 34% (down from 58%) said fuel prices will affect their RV travel plans. Those who say their plans will be impacted still plan to travel in their RVs, but will adjust their plans by traveling to destinations closer to home (80%), driving fewer miles in their RV (63%) and staying longer at one location (59%).
According to the survey, 73% think now is a good time to buy an RV because the liefstyle is the best way to travel comfortably and conveniently (64%), and great deals are now available (58%).
Top benefits of RV travel include spending more time enjoying outdoor activities (80%), flexibility (76%), seeing natural sites and attractions (75%), the ability to bring pets (60%), and being on the open road (56%).
The research found that traveling with pets remains popular with RV owners. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said they travel with pets. Of those, 94% bring a dog and 10% bring a cat.
Mark and Kimberly Clemens recently super-sized their cross-country trip to a July 4th family festival in Owensboro, Ky.
The Daily News, Los Angeles, reported that the couple traveled in their new 33-foot, tricked-out motorhome, which cost as much as a house in some of the towns they will pass through.
“The rig is performing really well,” said Mark Clemens, a 59-year-old Woodland Hills, Calif., insurance broker, in a phone interview during the trip at the Cracker Barrel in Kingman, Ariz. “I like it a lot. I like the freedom to kind of come and go. If you see a point of interest you can stop and check it out. You get to see a lot more than you do at 35,000 feet.”
The Clemenses had plenty of company at the campgrounds they visited along the way.
The RV sector is on the road to recovery, after being decimated by the recession, losing 260 dealers and three big manufacturers nationwide.
“We’re probably having the best year we’ve had in several years and we’re trying very hard,” said Bo Beaubrixey, general manager at the Camping World dealership in Valencia. “People want to use their RVs and go camping. All the campgrounds are full (this season). Even high gas prices are not stopping people from using their RVs.”
The store’s sales have increased between 25% and 30% from the recession low, Beaubrixey said. He declined to provide specific numbers.
After the economy tanked, people were still coming into the store looking to buy but could not get financing, he said.
Buying an RV is similar to buying a car, but banks want a 20% down payment and the payments are stretched over 10, 12, 15 or 20 years, Beaubrixey said.
This sector measures its strength in shipments of travel trailers and motor coaches from manufacturers to dealers. It has been on the upswing since 2009, said Phil Ingrassia, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
Through the end of May, RV shipments increased 8.6% to 127,454, compared with 117,352 in the first five months of 2011, he said.
“It’s definitely on the rebound,” Ingrassia said. “RVs are a discretionary purchase. One of the things we look at is consumer sentiment. When consumer sentiment takes a dive, usually RV shipments drop as well.”
To read the entire article in the Daily News click here.
Kidd RV Resort Consulting, an integrated marketing firm specializing in the RV industry, has interpreted the results of its five-question survey to analyze the relationship between gas prices and RVers’ travel behaviors from the summer of 2011 to the winter of 2012.
According to a press release, respondents of the 2011 survey indicated that if fuel prices continued to increase, more than 70% of RVers would change their travel plans or behaviors. The percentage of respondents who would change their travel behaviors dropped to 27% in 2012, an indication that more RVers are adhering to their travel plans despite fuel prices. This fluctuation is potentially due to the 16% fuel price decrease that occurred from the summer through December, combined with an improving economy.
Based on survey results, RVers are more committed to paying higher fuel prices and traveling in 2012 as compared to 2011. In 2012, the majority of RVers responded that they would travel until fuel prices reached $8/gallon, while only 7.4% of RVers would pay $8/gallon in 2011. In addition, 55% of participants are planning on traveling more than they did in 2011, 36% planning to travel the same as in 2011 and only 9% traveling less than they did last year.
“Understanding how RVers are affected by industry trends, obstacles and new technologies aids Kidd RV for the purpose of creating more focused marketing objectives and maximizing positive results for our clients,” says Jerry Kidd, president of Kidd RV Resort Consulting.
For detailed charts of RVers’ responses to fuel prices and traveling, visit http://kiddrv.com/news/2012021501.php.
Consumers looking to save on vacation travel should go RVing, according to preliminary data from updated vacation cost comparison research by PKF Consulting, according to a press release.
Commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the study shows that even during a time of economic turmoil and fluctuating fuel prices, RV trips remain the least costly.
PKF, an international travel and tourism consulting company, found that RVing is 28% to 59% less expensive than other types of vacations for a family of four. For an “empty-nester” couple traveling by RV, savings were 15% to 45%.
Even after accounting for factors such as RV ownership costs and fuel prices, the study confirms that RV vacations offer greater savings than those taken using a personal car or airline, and staying in a hotel or rental house or condominium.
PKF analyzed vacation costs for two sets of traveling parties — a family of four, including two adults and two children; and a party of two adults. PKF calculated the costs for these hypothetical travelers taking seven types of vacations to popular destinations, including: Branson, Mo.; Cape Cod, Mass.; the Grand Canyon; Corpus Christi, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Lancaster, Pa.; Napa, Calif.; and Traverse City, Mich.
The study analyzed popular RV types, including folding camping trailers, lightweight travel trailers, and compact motorhomes. Also studied were costs associated with an RV rental vacation, and a comparison of travel in a Class A motorhome against an upscale/luxury vacation. Vacation durations were three, seven and 14 days, and were directly related to the round-trip distances in highway miles between city-pairs.
PKF also analyzed how theoretical increases in fuel prices could affect vacation travel costs, and found that fuel prices would have to more than double for RV vacations to lose its economic advantage over other forms of travel.
The report will be finalized in the coming weeks, and will be published by RVIA this fall.
As a result of outreach by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and its agency Barton Gilanelli, RVs were a hot topic in local Fourth of July holiday coverage around the country. Media reported that five million RVers would be on the road during the July 4 weekend despite fuel prices.
RV-related stories were broadcasted more than 50 times in 39 media markets around the country. Reports reflected RVIA messaging that RVers planned to use their RVs more this summer because they save on hotel rooms, airfares and eating out.
“For a family of five it was still cheaper to travel by RV than it was to rent hotel rooms,” RVer Christine Torres told a Las Vegas TV news team. “By the time you add two hotel rooms, per night, and pay for three meals out, it gets really expensive.”
Stories appeared in major markets, including Sacramento; Pittsburgh; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas; Harrisburg, Pa.; Birmingham, Ala.; Cleveland; St. Louis; Indianapolis; Norfolk, Va.; Los Angeles; and Oklahoma City.
Capping off the holiday weekend, RVIA President Richard Coon appeared on the Fox Business cable network on July 5 to show off a luxury fifth-wheel toy hauler provided by Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., and discuss the industry’s recovery and enduring popularity.
“The RV industry is up 57% from 2009 and eight percent from last year,” Coon told Fox Business. “People love RVing for the convenience and the savings. A family of four can save two-thirds by not spending on hotels, eating out and airline tickets.”
The four-and-a-half minute live interview took place inside the Dutchmen trailer and effectively showcased the industry and one of its more popular product types before an affluent business audience.
RVers on the Go RVing Facebook page enjoyed the segment, posting overwhelmingly positive comments about their own RVing experiences, including:
• “I love our RV,” wrote Leslie Harris on Facebook. “I like to sleep in my own bed and not worry about bedbugs in hotels and motels. We relax and have all the wonderful things our home has. If we don’t like a particular place, we are up and driving down the road.”
• “We love our 27-foot travel trailer!” wrote Becky Brown Hecker. “Knowing your kids are sleeping and playing in clean beds. Having the ocean in your backyard, or beautiful views right outside your door. Having a yard for the kids to play in. When we are in our camper, we are as comfortable as being home — just having a lot more fun. We are able to go on more vacations, and can afford to do more when we are on vacation.”
The thought of gassing up for a cross-country – or even crosstown – vacation is enough to unleash an expletive-filled rant worthy of Chevy Chase’s Clark W. Griswold.
According to a report in the Sacramento Bee, with fuel costs hovering around $4 a gallon, many motorists and recreation enthusiasts are rethinking and reworking spring and summer travel plans.
Count the Jones family of Citrus Heights among those cutting back. Gone are the days when this family of seven would pile into their Honda Odyssey van and go for a drive.
Julie Jones, 36, said the family will wrap their summer vacation in with a roughly 300-mile trip to San Luis Obispo to celebrate her grandparents’ anniversary.
“When we’re going down there, we’ll include vacation time in that instead of traveling somewhere else or at another time,” she said.
Consolidating trips and staying longer will be a common theme among summer travelers, judging from interviews with consumers and travel experts.
Forty percent of adults expect to take fewer trips in the next four months because of the cost of gasoline, and 74% of those surveyed expect to reduce the number of trips by at least two, according to a recent study by the global market research firm TNS Omnibus.
If gas prices stay high, people stay home, or close to it. Consequently, cities such as Sacramento will see a drop in tourism dollars, said Mike Testa, senior vice president of convention sales and business developments for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Sacramento is a drive-in destination,” he said. “Anytime you have higher fuel prices, it impacts the amount of distance travelers will come from.”
When gas prices shot up a few years ago over Labor Day weekend – right in time for Sacramento Gold Rush Days – the event was attended more heavily by locals than out-of-towners.
“If history is the model, I think where we’ll feel it most are on those three-day holidays –
Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day,” Testa said.
Spending by locals who decide against travel might soften the loss, but won’t completely cover it.
“Visitors typically spend more than a local would,” Testa explained.
When gas prices inch up, recreational vehicle owners also tend to seek destinations closer to home. In addition, they stay in one place longer and trim costs in other areas, said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the Auburn-based California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).
“They still end up going camping, but they buy the hot dogs instead of going out for a steak dinner,” she said. “They’re still going, but are spending money in different ways.”
Despite the recession and rising gas prices over the past few years, occupancy rates have held steady at about 55% to 60% at privately owned RV parks and campgrounds in California, she said.
Unlike other segments of the travel industry, which have seen double-digit downturns, camping has had almost no downturn in occupancy, she said.
“Americans feel that a vacation is a birthright, and they’re going to go. They’re just going to go with what they can afford,” Sipe said. “RVing and camping is an affordable alternative. … Plus, it offers good quality family time that you don’t necessarily get on other kinds of trips.”