In many parts of America, the number of Covid-19 cases has peaked and is actually going down. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is working aggressively to develop a vaccine to guard against the virus. Whereas the key question in March was “what will Covid-19 do to the RV park industry?” the new question is becoming “what will the end of Covid-19 do to the RV park industry?” So what’s the answer?
Does it ever really end?
Dr. Fauci recently commented that the vaccine will only be a partial cure – that he thinks of it as just an additional tool along with face masks and social distancing. If that’s the attitude, then Covid-19 actually never ends, at least as far as returning to normal times. And, if that’s the way it will be going forward, then the current strength in RV park occupancy as part of the pandemic will never end.
Permanent vs. temporary shifts in consumer behavior
But when Covid-19 does finally end in the future, there will be some fundamental shifts in consumer behavior that will be left behind. These include:
- A loss of interest in air travel. Studies are showing that Americans were already losing their allure for long lines, the TSA, and poor service. This will put more Americans on the road.
- A loss of interest in foreign travel. Surveys are showing that Americans have decided that they will not return to overseas destinations as they find it too risky – and are also finding that there is plenty to do in the U.S. This will cause more Americans to travel domesticly.
- A return to the old-fashioned goals of building relationships and bonding. Families are looking for more than just going to a destination – they want to do things together when they get there, and an RV park gives them those activities.
- A renewed interest in the outdoors. Social distancing and repeated calls from the government that outdoor spaces are safer has given millions of Americans a new taste for nature and an appreciation for the exact environment that RV parks create.
Things that were learned from Covid-19
RV parks learned a lot from the Covid-19 pandemic. These include:
- The fact that the business model is extremely favorable for social distancing and that is important since nobody knows when this pandemic ends and the next one begins. Just as some industries prospered by being “essential” RV parks proved that their demand is solid during this type of American emergency.
- The fact that Americans with RVs retreated to those for quarantine as they find it more fun than their own home.
- Working from home is the future of American business, and RV parks can be that home and workplace if they have high-speed internet connection. This is a wake up call that all good RV parks need to have internet service for their customers.
- Destination RV parks are still the best, as overnighter parks do not offer the services that American RV owners are looking for when camping out for a prolonged period.
RV parks have fared well during the Covid-19 pandemic, and show no signs of weakening post-Covid (if that moment ever comes). There’s an old saying that “it’s better to be lucky than smart” and in this one case RV park owners just got lucky.