Top 10 RV Industry News Stories of October, 2023
Table of Contents
From RV sales slowing down to RV parks attracting enormous investments, we have wrapped up the top 10 RV industry headlines of October 2023. We will cover the RV sector performance, RVer trends, electric RVs, industry events, innovative camper equipment, and more. Stay tuned!
1. RVIA Says Wholesale Shipments Edge Down 12.9% in September
A survey by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) on manufacturers revealed that the total RV shipments in September was 24,700 units. That’s a decrease of -12.9% compared to the 28,363 units shipped in the same month last year. Motorhomes saw the lowest shipments at -36.6%, while travel trailers saw a -7.6% hit.
What’s causing the RV industry to slump? Experts point to the high-interest rates. Dealers are shipping less and keeping their total inventory lower to avoid paying high interest rates. They also want to get the older models off their hands before requesting newer model shipments.
2. KOA: More Than Half of Campers Have Booked a 2024 Trip
Although shipments are down, people aren’t giving up the RV lifestyle. In fact, many are choosing it as their preferred travel option. KOA’s Monthly Research Report for October found that 51% of campers have already booked some sort of travel for 2024. The report points out that these travelers have specifically chosen to go camping because of the positive experiences they’ve had this year.
Elsewhere, the RV Industry Association President & CEO Craig Kirby noted that 38 million Americans are choosing RVing as their vacation of choice this fall. He cited milder weather, beautiful fall landscapes, and family-friendly activities at campgrounds as the major drivers.
3. RV Parks Are Attracting Billions in Public and Private Investment
Another major October RV Industry story is the revelation that public and private investors have been pumping billions of dollars into Campgrounds and RV parks since the pandemic. This is another indicator that the RV industry is experiencing good growth.
These investors are buying existing parks and adding upscale amenities and rental accommodations. In addition, they are building new RV parks in destinations where RV sites are in high demand. This trend is creating demand for companies that offer campground and RV resort management services.
Indeed, these investments seem to be paying off. RVC Outdoor Destinations, a provider of high-quality outdoor vacation resorts, notes that business is good. Their 2023 bookings are up 10%, and they expect to close the year with revenues up 16.35% compared to 2022.
4. Camping World to Acquire 12 Locations of Travelcamp RV
Camping World, the largest RV dealer in the world, announced plans to buy Travelcamp RV. This move would add 12 locations across Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Further, they plan to increase their dealership count from the current 250 to over 320 locations over the next 5 years.
They aim to do that through a combination of methods such as acquisitions, new dealership openings, and getting manufacturer-exclusive locations.
5. Cruise America Partners with Harvest Hosts
Cruise America, a leading RV rental and sales company, just announced an exciting partnership with Harvest Hosts—a top RV camping membership that gives RV travelers access to unique camping experiences.
From October 3, 2023, anyone who buys a used Cruise America RV will get a one-year Harvest Hosts membership absolutely free. That means you’ll have free unlimited access to the program’s thousands of campsites in North America.
6. Exciting Developments in the Electric RV Front
This October has seen impressive progress regarding eRVs. First, Grounded RV just unveiled the world’s first 250-mile range electric campervan—The G2. Just this year, it launched the G1, which had a 100-mile range. The G2 is an all-electric solar-equipped Class B with a better range than any other eRV in the market today. It’s designed around the BrightDrop Zevo 600 Platform.
Still on electric RVs, RVIA is now lobbying to ensure EV charging infrastructure upgrades meet the needs of e-RVs like the G2 and Winnebago’s new eRV2. They want federal funding to be used to install pull-through electric vehicle charging stations that can handle medium to large vehicles.
7. The Revolutionary Ibex/NoBo RV Suite is named RV of the Year by RVB
After a week of deliberation, the RV Suite by Forest River brands Ibex and No Boundaries (NoBo) was named the RV of 2023 by RVBusiness staff and consultants. It was a tough decision as many RV manufacturers have stepped up to the plate this year, creating innovative campers.
The jury reviewed over 100 units at the Elkhart RV Open House before settling on this model. It earned top honors because it wasn’t too expensive or too outlandish. The Product Manager of Ibex, NoBo Cody Schade says the RV combines the adventurous spirit of camping with the convenience and elegance of a high-end apartment, while boasting eco-conscious features.
Other RVs that made the top 10 list are:
- Alliance Delta 294RK
- Brinkley Model G 3950
- East To West Takoda 35TH
- Heartland Corterra CT3.0
- Holiday Rambler Invicta 36Y
- inTech Black Wing 828
- Modern Buggy Little Buggy 12 LRK
- Storyteller Overland HILT GVX
- Tiffin Midas 24MT
- Winnebago Solis Pocket 36B + EcoFlow Power Kit Pro
8. The Land ‘N’ Sea Trade Show Sees Positive Attendance and Sales
The organizers of Land ‘N’ Sea Trade Show have reported jumps in attendance and sales this year. The two-day event was held at South Point Casino in Las Vegas. It’s a mix of RV and marine dealers, with the majority focusing on marine.
Elsewhere, Airxcel Inc. unveiled its 10th annual Product Showcase. The event featured new products and innovations from its portfolio of brands. Its InVision lineup was the standout feature. Basically, it’s a new suite of coordinating high-end appliances designed to give the RV interior an elevated, residential look.
9. Companies Unveil Exciting RV Equipment and Technology
Lots of RV industry companies are working overtime to bring ground-breaking ideas to reality. Here are some exciting announcements made in the last month.
- Tune Outdoor revealed an all-new pop-up canopy topper that offers an industry-best weight-to-space ratio, unmatched performance, and a stylish, modern look.
- GoCamp is elevating its camper van rentals with revolutionary technology that allows it to independently manage renter and van owner experiences and prioritize customer needs.
- California startup Space Campers have introduced a prototype pickup truck camper unit in anticipation of Tesla’s electric Cybertruck. One brilliant feature is the bed that can be suspended outside the camper and be used for daytime lounging and stargazing.
- Venture RV just showcased their first ever fifth wheel, the Venture SportTrek STTF353VIK Fifth-Wheel.
10. October RV Industry Honors and Awards
Here are RV companies that earned recognition for their excellent work.
- Kampgrounds of America (KOA), was included in the prestigious Franchise Times Top 400 ranking for 2023. It was ranked 125 out of 400 and recognized as the top franchisor in hospitality.
- Airstream just awarded six Blue Compass RV Stores the coveted ‘Five Rivet’ distinction. It’s an indication that these dealers are capable of providing the very best sales, service, and long-term satisfaction to customers.
- The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has just announced the finalists for its 2023 Awards of Excellence. This annual accolade celebrates outdoor hospitality players who have consistently raised the bar with their innovative and forward-thinking practices. The grand reveal of the winners will take place at a special luncheon on November 8 in Kansas City, MO. The top contenders by category are:
- Best Small RV Parks Finalists – Aces High RV Park, CT, Broad River Campground, NC, and Carmel by the River RV Park, CA.
- Best Medium RV Park Finalists – Jellystone Park Kozy Rest, PA, Jellystone Park Williamsport, MD, Jellystone Park Cranberry Acres, MA, Sun Resorts and Residences Ocean Breeze Jensen Beach, FL, and Papoose Pond Campground, ME.
- Best Large RV Park Finalists – Camp Margaritaville RV Resort, FL, Camp Fimfo Waco, TX, Jellystone Park Golden Valley, NC, Jellystone Park Larkspur, CO, and Jellystone Park Columbus North, OH.
- Best Mega RV Park Finalists – Camp Margaritaville RV Resort Breaux Bridge, LA, Palm Creek Resorts and Residences, AZ, Sun Outdoors Frontier Town, MD, Lakewood Camping Resort, SC, Palm Creek Resorts and Residences, AZ, and Jellystone Park Barton Lake, IN.
- Best Plan-It Green Friendly Parks of the Year award – Apart from best services and amenities, they will also have separate awards for RV parks with the best green practices like recycling, saving water and energy, and even supporting conservation projects.
RV Industry October Review
There you have it, the top 10 developments in the RV industry. Check out our monthly news roundups to stay ahead of the latest stories concerning RV businesses and campers.