Coronavirus has presented the RV industry with significant challenges. Here’s how the RV industry beats Covid-19 and is poised to rocket higher once this difficult situation ends. Stay positive!
When Covid-19 is finally over, the RVing community will need the manufacturers, dealers and campgrounds to provide the products and services our beloved hobby and lifestyle requires.
On that front, we have some critical insights about exactly how the RV industry will survive Covid-19. We also examine why the RV industry should experience an economic boom once the virus is gone.
Before we get to that we need to assess the threat Covid-19 presents to RVing and the RV industry. The current situation is exceptionally tough, but there are solid reasons to remain optimistic.
RVing Is On Hold
With most states and major cities currently under strict stay-at-home orders and federal, state and local campgrounds and parks closed, there really is no recreational RVing right now.
The majority of federal and state authorities – including the President – have asked everyone to stay home. Unless you’re buying food or seeking medical attention, the authorities don’t want us out. How long this de facto RVing moratorium will last is anyone’s guess, but most estimates suggest weeks, if not months.
Until the Covid-19 is defeated, RVing is effectively on hold.
Most Business Is On Hold
The challenge for most businesses during Covid-19 comes down to this; how to survive an extended period of time with significantly reduced or – in many cases – zero revenue.
With nearly every citizen under quarantine to combat the spread of coronavirus, most businesses have no customers. Furthermore, a high percentage of businesses have been deemed non-essential forcing them to temporarily shut down.
For tens of thousands of companies, this means they are left to cover their expenses without normal business income. Should this zero-income situation go on long enough, the cash burn from fixed overhead costs including labor, rent, utilities, lease payments and taxes could push tens of thousands of businesses into jeopardy.
How The RV Industry Beats Covid-19
The above challenges paint a very dark picture, but one perspective should give us confidence that the RV industry can effectively handle this situation.
Many of the RV business leadership teams in place today were at their posts during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. From that ultimate test of leadership, they have proven playbooks; stress-tested plans to survive unexpected sharp downturns like what we are experiencing.
More importantly, these leadership teams know exactly how to execute these playbooks to safely navigate their businesses through a crisis. That’s why their companies survived the Great Recession and how they can survive Covid-19.
So what do these playbooks look like?
Every company goes into a recession with unique strengths and weaknesses and needs its own unique recession beating playbook. That stated, most businesses around the world, including our domestic RV industry, are essentially utilizing one of two playbooks.
The first playbook is powering through, business as usual, with cash reserves and/or government assistance. Companies using this playbook are adapting to mandated coronavirus safety protocols and, as much as possible, continuing to conduct business with customers. Many automotive and RV dealerships are following this approach.
The second playbook is – by necessity – more extreme. Some companies need to temporarily shut down until Covid-19 is contained or defeated. Shutting down works by minimizing resource-draining overhead business costs including labor, rent, utilities and lease payments.
Temporarily shutting down is painful, but it’s an effective way to ensure a company survives to provide employment, products and services once an external business shock lifts. With severe downturns like coronavirus, that’s the ballgame. Many automotive and RV manufacturers are following this approach.
A combination of these two recession-beating playbooks is how successful RV businesses weathered the worst weeks and months of the 2008-2009 recession. These two playbooks are how thousands of businesses all over the world are going to survive coronavirus. They worked for the Great Recession, and they can work to beat Covid-19.
Brighter Days Ahead: Domestic RVing Will Rise
Once Covid-19 is defeated, millions of people will want to get outside and travel after weeks or even months of being cooped up indoors.
People who might not have previously considered the RVing lifestyle will look to RVs as they seek to avoid crowded airports, airplanes, cruise terminals, cruise ships, restaurants and hotels.
Whether concerns surrounding coronavirus persist and/or people just want to avoid the predictable crowds, RVing offers an attractive option. In this new normal, RVs represent a safer and more self-contained way to travel.
Airplanes, cruise ships and hotels will return to favor over time, but it may take several years. In the meantime, RVing throughout the United States and Canada will rise.
Here’s a tagline idea for the 2021 Go RVing advertising campaign; “RVing: No Terminals, Hotels, or Restaurants Required.” Take that tagline to the bank GoRVing – no charge!
Thank You RVers and Industry. Hold On.
Thank you, fellow RVers, for staying home to support and honor our unbelievably brave doctors and nurses on the front line of this pandemic.
Thank you, RV industry leaders, for working hard and making the tough choices to keep our domestic RV manufacturers, suppliers and dealers strong.
Here’s to all of us RVing again soon. Our rigs are ready!