A renter just booked your rig, what’s next?

Josh SchukmanApril 19, 2022

A renter just booked your rig, what’s next?

Confirming a rental request on Outdoorsy always brings a mix of excitement and anxiety. On the one hand, you’re excited to share your RV with the world and to make extra cash.

But you’re also anxious. You wonder things like:

Will your renter feel comfortable in your RV?

Will they drive it safely?

What if your renter has challenges with the camper setup?

These are very normal questions to ask yourself when you seal a booking for your RV. It’s understandable to be nervous, but with the right processes in place, you can create a great experience during your first rental and beyond.

This article will serve as your blueprint for a smooth key exchange every time you hand your rig over to a new renter. We’ll talk about what to do before your renter arrives and how to tee them up for a wonderful trip.

people outside RV

Before your renter arrives

When a renter rents your RV, they are likely feeling the same sort of anxiety and excitement as you are. First-time renters especially might ask you many questions to help them feel comfortable on the road. 

That’s why it’s important to have a pre-arrival process for all your renters. Here are the steps we recommend you take:

  1. Build a relationship with your renter as soon as you see the request — While you might be tempted to accept every rental request that comes through your dashboard, it pays to do your homework before accepting a rental request. You will also never be penalized by Outdoorsy for declining a request.

    When you see a request come through, you can immediately start getting to know the prospective renter via Outdoorsy’s messaging feature. Here are a few questions you might ask of your renter to help you decide whether or not to accept the request:
    1. What are their plans? Where do they plan to take your rig?
    2. What is their RVing experience level? 
    3. How many adults/children will be traveling with them?
    4. For trailers, what kind of tow vehicle and hitch do they have?
    5. Are their campsites already reserved or do they need suggestions?
    6. Are they planning to boondock or camp at full-hookup sites? 
    7. Do they need additional amenities to make their trip awesome?
  2. Follow up with your renter to ensure they’ve completed driver verificationDriver verification is a very important process that Outdoorsy undertakes to make sure that any renters looking to drive your rig are carefully vetted through the DMV for driving infractions or license issues.  

    In order for your renters to be covered by Outdoorsy’s insurance, they must pass driver verification. In your owner dashboard, if you navigate to a specific rental, you will be able to see the drivers on the reservation and whether or not they’ve passed driver verification.

    Be sure to check in with your renter well ahead of their trip to make sure that everyone who will be driving your rig has passed driver verification. Only drivers who have passed driver verification will be covered by Outdoorsy’s trip insurance.
  3. Create resources for your renter to help them have a great trip — For example, many of our owners create simple instructional videos that give renters a video tour of their rig while also helping their renters understand how to operate the RV ahead of time.

    You could also provide your renter with a packing checklist, guide to area attractions, list of cool campsites, and anything else fun you can think of to help your renters have a terrific vacation.
  4. Use a pre-arrival checklist to make sure your RV is always safe and clean — 
    Think back to the last time you rented a hotel. You expected certain things like a clean bathroom, fluffed pillow, and fresh towels, right?

    Hotels can offer this level of consistency because they have checklists that their crew follows to provide a consistent experience for guests. In much the same way, working through a pre-arrival checklist will help you feel confident before handing over the keys to your RV.

    Here are a few examples of the things you should focus on in pre-arrival checks:
    1. Interior and exterior cleaning
    2. Check tire condition and tire pressure
    3. Follow Outdoorsy’s required maintenance routine 
    4. Fluid checks
    5. Signals check
    6. Systems check (e.g. fire up the generator, test water pump, etc.)
    7. Test drive your rig to discover any potential kinks
  5. Keep your maintenance up to date — As an example, tire blowouts are a major cause of RV issues on the road. You can prevent this by inspecting your RV tires every 90 days and keeping them inflated to proper pressure.

    Safety is paramount for us at Outdoorsy and it should be for you as well. By always checking the safety of your vehicle before the key exchange, you’ll be doing your part to keep your renters happy and safe on the road.
  6. Create a manual for your RV — Our most successful owners create a great handoff by offering a manual that is specific to operating their RV. Generally speaking, you’ll want to create a digital version of your RV manual so that you can send it to your renter ahead of the key handoff. Touchstay is an easy to use tool for creating beautiful e-guides that can be sent to your renter.

    Here are some things you should definitely include in your manual:
    1. A personal introduction — People love hearing stories and renters want to hear your story. Personalize your manual by telling folks a bit about yourself.
    2. Do an RV walkthrough on your own — Walk through your RV with pen and paper in hand and write down anything you think is important for your renters to know.
    3. Create a table of contents — This will serve both as your outline and as an easy reference guide for your renters.
    4. Take photos — You can likely reuse your listing photos to give your renters visual references in your RV manual.
    5. Common RV rental incidents and how to avoid them — The majority of RV rental incidents happen in one of these seven ways. By proactively showing your renters how to avoid such incidents in your manual, you’ll set yourself up for success as an Outdoorsy owner. 
  7. Cross check your listing with your RV prep — When you offer an amenity in your Outdoorsy listing description, your renters will be expecting that amenity to be available when they take your rig.

    That’s why it’s important to prep your RV for departure by double checking that all amenities offered are ready to roll. For example, if you provide things like bedding, a grill, s’more supplies, etc., double check that all those items are in tip top shape before handing your RV off to your renter.  

Leave ample time for the key exchange — A key exchange is the term we use around here for everything that happens as you hand off your rig to your renter. By planning plenty of time for this process, you’ll ensure that your renter is set up for success.

For example, you could use the key exchange time to give your renter a full walkaround of all the features of your rig, take them for a test drive, and give them a special gift like a s’more kit that’ll surprise and delight them as they get on the road.

The key exchange is also the time where you’ll go through the departure checklist and can do fun things like offer snacks to your renter so your renter gets a great first impression. 

The time during the key exchange is the time you can use to help your renter understand all the features of your RV and to show them how to be safe on the road. Be sure to use it to the max!

RV on road
RV on road

How to ‘surprise and delight’ your renters on the road

The best way to make sure your renter is a happy camper when they leave the key exchange is to go above and beyond with the things you offer. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a bunch of money, but it does mean you want to put a personal touch on everything you do.

Here are a few examples of ways to surprise and delight your renters as they roll:  

  • Leave a favorite snack or drink in the rig. 
  • If you’re close to a major attraction like a national park you could create guidebooks to give your renters the ‘insider’s scoop’ on the area.
  • Provide little gifts like s’more fixins, great coffee, and fire making supplies.
  • Link with restaurants and stores in your area to get coupons for your renters that you can leave in your rig.
  • Sync up with area outfitters and outdoor businesses to offer special deals to your renters.
  • Provide extra blankets, flashlights, and other camping tools that you enjoy on your own trips. 

When you confirm a rental request on Outdoorsy, it’s only natural to feel a bit of anxiety, but with the right stuff in place, you’ll have happy renters for the long haul. The tactics above revolve around the simple idea of treating your renters as you’d want to be treated. By thinking about the things you love for your own camping experiences and then offering those same things to your renters, you’ll set yourself up for a long and happy future renting out your RV.  

Josh and his wife gallivanted all over the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

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