Domestic travel is a “hot ticket” this year for consumers who can’t wait to get out of the house, get away and, in many cases, explore the great outdoors—particularly at such U.S. National Parks as Yellowstone and Yosemite. In fact, some 41 percent of consumers say they’re likely to take a domestic trip within the next six months, according to MMGY Global’s most recent “Travel Intentions Pulse Survey."
Often, those consumers perceive RV travel as a safe way to travel, as it can provide a "cocooning" environment for a couple or family with self-contained sleeping accommodations, restroom(s), kitchen, dining and living areas.
Not surprisingly, RV suppliers who see that demand are gearing up. The RV Industry Association reports that wholesale RV shipments will increase nearly 20 percent in 2021, compared with 2020.
Signature's New RV Partnership
Increasingly, clients also are asking their travel advisor to assist with securing an RV rental. So, on December 15, Signature Travel Network announced a portfolio of new preferred partners, among them Goss RV.
“From more hotels in the United States, to COVID testing to private jets, RVs and more villas options, these all reflect what today’s traveler is booking now,” said Phil Cappelli, Signature’s senior vice president of preferred partnerships. He believes the new preferred partners, including Goss RV, will enable Signature’s members to launch a rapid recovery with options that clients are now seeking.
Travel Agent also spoke with Heidi Podjavorsek, Signature’s vice president, sales and marketing, land and specialty suppliers, who told Travel Agent that the Goss RV partnership developed because of requests by several Signature travel advisors; they'd had clients specifically requesting RV travel to U.S. National Parks and the ability to travel safely in a “private environment.”
With the new partnership, Signature’s advisors now have access through Goss to 150 luxury RVs valued between $500,000 to $2.3 million. Consumers traveling by RV—typically four to six people traveling together—can expect a luxurious outing
While Signature already had some RV packaged options available through its Abercrombie & Kent and Excursionist partners, Podjavorsek believes the new Goss RV preferred partnership will provide additional flexibility.
How so? She emphasizes that, depending on client desires, Goss can set up self-drive, non-packaged RV rentals, so clients can independently head out on their own to drive around the country. Those clients will receive a three- to six-hour training/familiarization session prior to departure so they are confident about all the features of the vehicle and how to safely operate it.
But Podjavorsek explains that, if desired, Goss also can provide robust assistance with route mapping, suggestions and reservations for RV resort parks, sample itineraries and (depending how much customization the client wants)—even excursions or boat rentals for those seeking “the full experience.”
In addition, for those clients who don’t want to drive themselves, through the Goss partnership advisors can offer the service of an RV driver. So, while someone else handles the driving and road stress, clients can kick back, relax, read, stream a movie, enjoy a snack or drink, converse with friends and family, take a nap or just admire the outside scenery.
Typical RV rentals through the Signature program can range from $10,000 to $40,000 weekly. To learn more about the program and commission structure, Signature’s advisors can visit their internal SigNet site.
New RV Parks
To understand just how popular domestic RV travel has become, simply check out the plethora of new domestic RV resorts and parks popping up across the nation. The 2020 Industry Trends and Insights Report, released December 9 by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds shows that more than 53,000 new RV sites will be constructed in the next 12 months.
For example, in a recent Visit Florida update provided to Travel Agent about what’s new in Florida tourism, here are three new RV destinations opening in 2021:
Opening in spring 2021 is Island Oaks RV Resort in Glen St. Mary, just off I-10, 30 miles west of Jacksonville. Phase One's opening will include use of 385 pull-through and back-in sites, waterways, a swimming lake, an outdoor recreation area, daily activities and a fishing lake with a dock for non-motorized boats, paddleboards and kayaks.
Opening in January is the new, luxury Five Star RV Resort, bordering Lake Myrtle in central Florida's Auburndale. It’s only an hour’s drive from both Tampa and Orlando and adjacent to the new USA Watersports Complex. Five Star RV Resort will offer spacious pull-through and back-in RV sites.
In Lake Wales, also in central Florida, the new Resort at Canopy Oaks is opening on December 28 with 1,000 sites, a mix between RV spaces and cottages. Set amid countryside and natural water features, vacationers can expect 200 acres of preserved eco-space.