Travelers can dream about the perfect RV trip for years. Given that, it’s no wonder that it can take months of planning to make an RV vacation a reality.
This means that smart owners know to plan ahead for the busy season, too. Being able to predict when incoming rental requests will increase can be very profitable for owners who think to adjust their rates ahead of time. There is increased demand for RVing during holidays and what RV rental experts call “Peak Season”, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Key days to remember are the ‘Big 3’ of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
Here are some helpful tips to maximize your profits this surge in activity.
Research popular events for tourists.
First, you’ll want to research local events near you to see when your RV will be in demand and learn how to adjust your rates. Google and Facebook make this easy. Try making a list of towns near you and search for the phrase “[City] + Event” in both Google and Facebook. You’d ideally want to target the multi-day events as they lead to longer rentals.
Another way to find local events is to look at the description of other RVs in your area to see if they have seasonal rates. With your pricing strategy is usually best to follow the trend of the market you are in. Some owners even present discounted rates to appeal to the price conscious bargain-seeking renter, while others go all out to put together the perfect package for the event. It’s up to the owner and what kind of renter they’d like to attract.
Picking a seasonal rate
Top-earning RV owners take the time to experiment with different seasonal prices.
To get more clicks on your listing, Class C owner Amy Shoemaker recommends having a less expensive daily rate for months like March, April, and even the Fall months. She explains that this will make the price on your listing show as less expensive and will start more conversations with renters. Other owners, like Jim Sloan, lists his higher busy season rate as his regular rate and then creates seasonal discounts for when he has vacancies. He likes surprising his renters with a less expensive rental.
The choice is up to the owner, but whichever you choose to list as your regular rate is how your listing will show up in the search.
How to create a seasonal rate
To adjust your seasonal rate, select “Change Pricing” from the “Manage Vehicles” section.
At the bottom of the pricing page, you’ll see a green “Add a Season” button. Clicking will bring up an “Edit Season” window where you can enter a name, a start and end date for the new rate, and select whether this season will repeat each year. This will be your season rate, after selecting “Update Season”, you can easily adjust the pricing.
Now, add a daily, weekly, and monthly rate. If you’d like to edit the dates or the title again, click “Edit Season” to go back to the previous screen.
We recommend that you set several rates, with the highest seasonal rates during Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, and other local events, and adjusted rates for different times. If you have a vacancy coming up, try setting a lower seasonal rate. Keep an eye on other rentals in your area to stay competitive.
Create add-on packages for unique occasions.
Creating unique add-on packages makes it easy for renters to know that they’ve got the essentials covered. We’ve rounded up the major events and the type of add-on packages, from tailgating packages for sporting events and music festivals to binoculars and picnic supplies for free National Park days. By creating add-on packages helps tourists and out-of-towners to be comfortable with renting from you.
How to create add-ons
In the “Edit Listing” tab of the “Manage Vehicles” section in your dashboard, select “Add-ons.” From here you can select “New Add-on” and give it a title, description, write in your local tax rate, and list how many you have available for the quantity.
Now let’s talk business. You also have the option of making the add-on “Required”, having it be expensed “Daily”, and having it be “Paid on return”. Some owners choose to have their cleaning fees “Required”, especially owners who decide to rent for festivals. If the add-on is an item that you’d otherwise be renting to other travelers or using yourself, like a barbeque grill, you might want to charge a daily fee. The “Paid on return” option works well for overage fees, such as when you have to add up mileage or generator costs.
Raise your minimum rental period
Set a “Minimum Rental Period” for the busy season, or the minimum amount of nights you would allow your rentals to be out. The average “Minimum Rental Period” during peak season for our owners tends to be at least three days.
‘With few exceptions, if I have short spans available between other renters, I would advertise a higher nightly limit early in the year,” says Dave Meekhof, Class B owner. “Then within a few weeks of summer, I would start to lower that depending on my vacancies.”
How to adjust your minimum rental period
To adjust your minimum rental period, select “Change Pricing” from the “Manage Vehicles” section.
Near the top under “Pricing Details” you’ll see the “Minimum Days” option. This will show for the renter as they enter their rental dates, so the lower your minimum days the more results you are likely to appear in.
As of January 2018, there is no way to set the minimum rental period as a seasonal rate, so you have to keep this updated as you go. As always, remember to thoroughly communicate your policies with your renter in advance and go over them again in person.
Market to local tourists.
Adjusting your rates is a practical way to increase your income, but advertising to your local community is key. You can post your listing to the “Travel / Vacation Services” section on Craigslist or other local and community-based websites. Be sure to update your description and photos to fit your markets and to include your new add-on packages. Contact event producers and let them know you have a local RV that is rentable — event organizers need to book RVs for their talent to stay in during the shows.
Most of all, have fun and cultivate your presence in the community as a resource for anyone seeking an RV rental. Reach out to local event organizers and let them know your RV is available to host their talent. Get a permit to the National Park so you can save your renter the headache.
However you do it, getting smart about the upcoming events season is a great way to have your RV pay for itself with just a few timely rentals.