Thanks to sharing-based sites like Airbnb, Lyft, Hipcamp (the list goes on …), we’re living in something of a golden age of travel. It’s never been easier to own nothing and still travel with world’s cars, campsites, and vacation homes are all at your disposal. Now, one company is throwing its hat in the sharing economy ring as the “Airbnb of RVs.” Maybe 2018 is the year to finally realize your great American road trip dreams?
The concept of Outdoorsy is simple: connect RV owners to RV renters.
For owners, it’s an opportunity to earn extra cash from a vehicle that’s likely just taking up space in their driveway. The site keeps about 10 percent of the total rental price, while owners pocket the rest.
For renters, it’s the chance to drive a pricey recreational vehicle for as long as they like without the complications and sky-high cost of ownership. Between upkeep, storage, servicing, maintenance, and lackluster build quality throughout the industry, modern recreational vehicles are notorious money pits.
According to Outdoorsy’s co-founder, Jeff Cavins, there are fewer than 100,000 RVs available through traditional commercial rental services. However, demand for such vehicles numbers in the millions each year. Most RV owners use their vehicles once or twice a year, then let them collect dust for the remaining fifty weeks. Bottom line: The U.S. is sitting on a massive surplus of unused recreational vehicles begging to be driven.
The idea isn’t entirely new. In fact, a dozen similar companies operate in the U.S. alone. Most notably: Campanda and Mighway. Even Airbnb rents out campers and RVs (though they’re often intended as stationary lodging). Outdoorsy is still in its infancy, but growing fast. They claim more than 250,000 users and more than 20,000 are signing up each month.
What’s most promising is the daily rental rates which (as of the time of this writing) typically range between USD $100-$200. That’s comparable to a mid-range hotel in any medium-sized U.S. city, with the added benefit that renters are getting their lodging and rental car all rolled into one. Plus, Outdoorsy has an agreement with Kampgrounds of America to provide discounted stays to their customers. “They sell the dirt and space and Outdoorsy brings the hotel room,” Cavins told TechCrunch. It’s like an all-in-one road trip solution.
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