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On the heels of the coronavirus pandemic, with most states lifting shelter in place orders, how so RVers feel about the upcoming camping season? Are you ready to get back out there? Feel nervous? What are your biggest concerns? And what do you most look forward to? Here, we share the results of our 2020 Camper Plans Survey.
First up, we want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who completed this survey, where we asked our RVLove community about your RV and Camping plans this season. Our primary goal for gathering this data was to get the ‘pulse’ of our RV community. Then share your feedback, thoughts and concerns with hundreds of RV park and campground owners, during the industry panel discussion at the Back To Camping Summit, hosted by our friends at CampgroundViews.com.
We were joined bright and early on the panel by Mike Wendland of RVLifestyle and Kyle Brady of Drivin’ and Vibin’ and we are happy to report that the information we were able to share in the session was extremely useful to campground owners. You (and we) have been heard loud and clear – and with this information in hand, RV parks will be busy preparing in the coming weeks and months, as we all get back out there.
You can read a summary of the panel’s key takeout messages, in this online report by Woodall’s Campground Management “Summit Takes Pulse of 2020 Camper Mindset”.We promised we would share more detail the results of our RVLove survey, by sharing graphs and responses for each of the 5 questions below.
Let’s start by saying that we are VERY encouraged by what we are seeing, and remain very optimistic about the future of RV travel, this summer and into the future. This is based not only on your feedback, but also the immense amount of media coverage RV travel has been getting over the last couple of months, including this recent cover story in the New York Times which we were featured in. RVing is going to be THE way to travel in 2020 (and mostly likely beyond).
Before we dive into the survey results, here are a few things to note:
- We launched the survey on Saturday evening, May 9, 2020 and received almost 700 responses by 7am Monday morning (within 36 hours). In total, almost 1,000 people (963 to be exact) completed the survey. THANK YOU!
- Question 1 was limited to ONE response, so those responses add up to 100%.
- Questions 2–5 allowed for more than one response, with multiple checkbox options. That is why those percentages add up to more than 100%.
- 80% of those who started the survey completed all 5 questions.
- We shared the survey to our email list, on social media, and it was also shared by others. So while we can’t confirm total reach, we estimate more than 20K saw it.
- You will find the name of the Amazon gift card winner at the end of this post.
OK, here we go!
Q1: What are your camping plans for 2020?
RVers are a resilient lot. We found it encouraging to learn that nearly 70% of you still plan on traveling in your RV this year. Almost 30% are not sure yet and waiting to see what unfolds. Most of the remaining respondents are not sure yet, and only about 2% of those surveyed have no plans to travel until further notice.
Q2: If planning to RV, where will you stay?
Survey respondents were able to select multiple options in question 2. The big takeout here is that the vast majority of you plan to stay in campgrounds – including private campgrounds or national and state parks. Less than 7% plan on boondocking. This is great news for helping support the RV parks and campgrounds, as like many businesses, it’s been a tough start to the spring season.
Q3: What is most important in your upcoming travels?
Another multiple choice answer question. Here, the impact of the pandemic is definitely evident in your. Very few survey respondents are placing high importance on activities, and amenities this year. Which is probably just as well, as many amenities remain closed and we expect park social activities to be curtailed in 2020. These survey results also show most of you in our RVLove community have realistic expectations of what will be offered. Most important to RV travelers this year are keeping a healthy distance from others, and high standards of sanitation/health protocols within the campgrounds.
Q4: What are your biggest concerns?
The sentiment of question #3 was validated again here in question 4. Sanitation and distance from others definitely remain of high concern for many RV travelers. However, with our self contained RVs (and especially if we continue practicing social distancing) our risk of exposure should remain quite low. One more reason we love our RVs, right!?
The biggest concern shared by almost 50% of you was the potential inconvenience of having your travel plans interrupted by travel restrictions that could be imposed again later in the year. With this in mind, many travelers plan on staying closer to home in 2020. This is backed up by the response to question 1, where just over 21% of survey respondents indicated you would be camping some, but staying close to home.
21% expressed concern about not feeling welcome in local communities that may worry travelers are bringing the virus. And 13.6% have no concerns about traveling at all.
Q5: What are you most looking forward to?
Since mid March, most of the population has been impacted by ‘shelter in place’ or ‘lockdown orders’. That means after several weeks and even months, most people are understandably looking forward to that feeling the freedom of getting back in our RVs and traveling. It seems that being able to get out is more important than where we go, or what we do when we get there.
Almost 68% of you are looking forward to the freedom and safety of traveling and staying in your RV. The same number can’t wait to get back outdoors into nature. Only 32% of you look forward to exploring local area attractions. Almost 34% (the extroverts, perhaps!?) are most excited about being able to socialize with family and friends again. And about 10% (the introverts?) plan on continuing to lay low and self isolate.
Summary and Closing Thoughts
We hold cautious optimism for the camping season in the months ahead. We do believe that RV travel is positioned to become more popular than ever. And campgrounds and RV parks will see a burst of bookings, resulting from pent up demand and people wanting to escape cabin fever and get back outside.
Of course, RVs offer the best option for people to maintain a safe, controlled and sanitary environment while traveling, which provides comfort during these unusual and challenging times. However, the economic impact remains to be seen, in terms of how it affects campground bookings, travel and RV purchases.
We do anticipate a whole new group of people to start RVing, that may not have considered it before, and will continue to share our thoughts.
Click here to read the panel overview, by Woodall’s Campground Management.
PS. Congratulations to kdprimavera – winner of the Amazon Gift Card!
And to everyone who took the time to response and share your thoughts, THANK YOU! We deeply appreciate it, as do the campground owners.
GOT COMMENTS / QUESTIONS?
We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.