“Our daughter and her new baby are in Washington State and our son-in-law is deployed in the military,” the lively couple told dealer Mike Pearo before signing the papers for their first motorhome.
“We want to vacation with her and the baby at our new seasonal site, but we don’t want her to fly – so now we can go out and get her!”
Pearo is hearing a lot of customer stories lately, as traffic comes back strong at his three Hilltop Camper and RV dealerships in Minnesota. With states and counties starting to ease their pandemic shut-down and stay-at-home orders, dealers across the nation are showing traffic and sales numbers that make up – and then some - for lost ground. Many report that they have already beaten their numbers for April and/or May 2019.
As Debbie Brunoforte sees it from her three award-winning Little Dealer Little Prices dealerships in Arizona, people are eager to get outdoors after weeks or months of isolation and uncertainty. And more of them are discovering that an RV fits their needs.
“The experience is bringing new people to the RV lifestyle. We’re seeing customers who wouldn’t have thought about buying one otherwise,” says Brunoforte.
That includes an influx of millennials and young families, she says. “They want to know they can control their environment, cook their own meals, have lots of activities for the kids, and get outside to enjoy the wide-open spaces.”
In addition, Brunoforte expects a boost in interest among the rising number of Americans who are doing their jobs remotely. “If you can work from your house, you can usually work from your RV.”
Patriotism is also playing a role in the RV boom, according to dealer Mike Regan, whose three dealerships are in the famously patriotic state of Texas.
“People have a lot of pride in the U.S. and they’re saying, ‘We want to get out and see our country’.”
Like so many dealers, Regan’s business is being buoyed by a mix of young newbies and retired, more experienced RVers, some of whom have decided to upgrade because they expect to be getting more use out of their RVs.
Pearo, Brunoforte, and Regan use words like “phenomenal,” and “awesome” to describe the post-shutdown comeback. They say the year had started out strong, and with the recent surge in business they are highly optimistic for 2020 and beyond.
Regan feels it in the enthusiasm he hears in customers’ voices. “An elderly couple told me, ‘We usually take three or four cruises a year. Now we’re going to cruise the U.S. instead!’”