Traditional vehicle sales are down, but interest in recreational vehicles is rising. Currently at the largest volume in 30 years, the RV industry presents some unique opportunities for your agency. Whether you’re marketing to millennials or baby boomers, both demographics typically have a strong curiosity for these product lines, which makes now a great time to tap into the RV market.
Millennials make up most of the RV buying increase. Interest in nature and the outdoors has millennials looking for lower-cost, smaller units. Some millennials are delaying buying their first home and opting for an RV instead.
According to the RV Industry Association, 53% of the younger generation are interested in an RV. Twenty-three percent consider themselves likely buyers. On top of that, more than half of millennials (55%) wish they had an RV.
Whether you’re marketing to millennials or baby boomers, both demographics typically have a strong curiosity for these product lines, which makes now a great time to tap into the RV market.
“There’s a huge surge of 30-somethings buying RVs because it’s a great way to get their kids out of the house and off the TV and computer,” said Bob Hurley, owner of both Bob Hurley RV and Bob Hurley Auto. “Because of financing, sometimes for only around $200 a month in RV payments, young families can leave on Friday and disconnect by parking at a lake or somewhere else.”
On the flip side, baby boomers nearing retirement also have strong interest in RVs, especially RVs of a higher line. For this demographic, retirement makes RVs appealing for leisurely travel. RVIA estimates owning an RV can reduce costs by as much as 48% for a two-person traveling party.
Further adding to the RV hype, more than nine million households currently own an RV. That’s the highest level on record, up 64% since 1980.
To get the most power out of your RV sales, here are four things you’ll want to look for when selecting the right F&I provider.
1. Unique, Consumer-Friendly Coverage
Pet services are part of the consumer experience for RVs. Some of the most unique perks for RV coverage includes reimbursements for pet boarding fees, if or when the consumer’s RV breaks down. Dogs, cats, and even horses should all be covered.
Twenty-four-hour hotlines are another useful and sellable perk. If you are going to expand upon your agency’s RV business, look for a company that offers 24/7 roadside technical assistance. A special hotline is invaluable for people to call if there’s a failure within their RV and the dealership is closed.
The customer will have the superior service they deserve, and your dealer’s shop will reap the benefits of consumer loyalty and satisfaction.
2. Strong Insurance Backing
The company that’s backing your RV care is also important. Look for a company backed by a strong name.
3. Comprehensive Coverage
Make sure your customer is taken care of and that the dealership has plenty of service drive opportunities through comprehensive coverage. Expanded eligibility is key within the RV industry.
4. Convenient Online Portal System
A company that utilizes a strong online portal system, allowing dealers to electronically rate, contract, and remit with just a few clicks of a button is also ideal. The technology makes it easy for dealerships and customers to file claims and take care of service requests.
“For me, it was important to choose an F&I provider, for RV, who provides national coverage and immediate approval,” said Hurley, who has now been in the RV business for five years. “I wanted to make sure my customers are taken care of no matter what part of the country they travel in.”
Based on current trends, now is a great time to add RV service to your agency’s menu — or to expand upon your current RV coverages. It never hurts to stop by one of your local RV dealerships. The dealers are typically friendly and open to new ideas and products.
If you talk to the owner, they’re likely to listen and be receptive — especially if your coverages from a partnering F&I company are a better deal than their current offerings.
John Lutman is vice president of the agent channel at Innovative Aftermarket Systems.