It may have been an extremely long winter, but finally the weather is starting to get warmer and more people are beginning to plan their next motorhome trip. However, since the winter has been so long most people are having to give their motorhomes a bit of TLC or are planning on buying a new model, which is good for both motorhome manufacturers and mechanics alike. Here we look at the hot topics for April and how owners are getting geared up for the motorhome season: Continue reading
Motorhomes are not cheap, we all know that, and some of the offerings from top manufacturers over the last few years have shown that prices are on the rise. For most consumers that want to enjoy the freedom that a motorhome offers, the opportunities to buy are severely decreasing and it’s becoming harder and harder to get on the motorhome ladder, as it were.
Rental firms have enjoyed the benefits of this and there has been a considerable increase in the number of part-time motorhome users. This comes alongside a time when the music festival scene in the UK is booming and has encouraged families and couples who might never have thought of renting a motorhome to try out different models and different types of rental packages.
For the consumer the choice of whether to rent or buy does come down to cost but the balance can very quickly tip either way and it depends, often, on how long you’re renting for. Campers paying for a month’s worth of rental every year soon find they’d be paying more than they would if they bought a campervan outright, and after a few years many renters decide to buy up that motorhome after all. For only two weeks of use a year, there isn’t much economy to be had in buying.
The added benefits of buying do start stacking up though when consumers start thinking about added extras. Motorhome insurance represents a big part of the rental cost, but for consumers looking to buy outright they have the flexibility to find an insurer that is able to offer them the best deal. This also becomes a significantly smaller part of the package when the costs of the entire motorhome are dealt with up front.
Equally, the buyer has the chance to really get under the bonnet of his or her motorhome: conversions, modifications and repairs are all a part of the fun for the everyday camper and though renting is likely to remain a very popular option, an increase in incomes over the next few years might boost sales in the motorhome market.
Campervans have always been hot property in New Zealand, and they are the vehicle of choice for a lot of the tourists who decide to explore the beautiful countryside. A survey by market researchers Covec has found this week the campervan industry is worth half a billion dollars (that’s around a quarter of a billion GBP) to the New Zealand economy and these figures exclude the Rugby World Cup; a big draw for tourists in campervans.
The moment you start hiring is usually the moment you start spending; tourists will buy things like campervan insurance with their rental contract which can immediately start flowing. The rental fee itself can contribute and the cut of profit that rental firms make above their costs is either spent elsewhere or, often, reinvested in purchasing more motorhome stock, ensuring better capacity for the following year.
When on the road, tourists spend time in campsites and this contributes considerably to the figure. Equally, when living in a campervan, you need to keep living, and the cost of food, meals out and organised excursions makes up the rest of the tourist income. A quite remarkable figure showed that, on average, campervan tourists in New Zealand spend $195 a night – that’s just under £100.
The economic force of the campervan is often underestimated, but campervan users do tend to spend, and when they do, they spend locally. We see exactly this effect in the UK, where areas like Devon and Cornwall make considerable money from the tourist trade and a lot of local shops and amenities see themselves through the winter due to money brought in by the tourist trade in the summer.
These numbers from New Zealand show the potential that there is for bringing in the bucks with campervans, and it’s good news that the market is keeping itself afloat. This will only be a comfort to manufacturers and wholesalers over the next few years.
The Camping and Caravanning Club are expecting another increase in the number of older motorhome owners enjoying a break with their grandchildren during the upcoming October half term break. Their prediction follows the revelation that there has been a 12% increase in the number of older people with motorhome insurance booking pitches on club sites at this time of year. The caravan club think that the increase is in part due to the fact that even though the half-term break is a holiday for both the young and retired, it remains a period of work for a large number of mums and dads throughout the United Kingdom.
The research showed that 40% of the grandparents surveyed admitted that they expect to spend up to £300 on their grandchildren during the half term break. It also showed that 87% of children feel happy after taking a break in a motorhome, so it seems like this trend is good news for everyone involved. Holidaying with two generations might be some people’s idea of hell, but the concept has taken off. The survey of over 1,000 older mobile home owners with young grandchildren found that 75% were planning a summer holiday with them next year. The trend has been called “gramping” and is the latest style of holiday to be given a collective name, following on from so called “glamping” (glamorous camping) and staycations, the trend of holidaying in the United Kingdom.
Over the last three years there has been a noticeable drop in the number of families flying abroad on holiday, because of the recession and what seems to be the ever increasing cost of Air Passenger Duty and fuel surcharges. Research also reveals how spending by older motorhome owners has increased by 20%, while one in five over-65s have taken a camping or motorhome holiday in the past four years. As the role of grandparents continues to grow, motorhome owners clearly feel the industry needs to think about how it will adapt to meet their needs.
House swapping has become a popular way of taking a cost-effective holiday in last 10 years, and the trend is now extending to mobile homes. Plenty of motorhome owners are now arranging swaps that allow them to travel to a different part of the world and have use of a motorhome without need to rent, and motorhome insurance providers are now being asked in increasing numbers to provide policies that cover such circumstances.
The internet is by far the best way to arrange an exchange and there are plenty of websites and forums that offer advice on the formalities necessary. Lots of motorhome exchanges are taking place over very long distances and there are a large number of exchanges taking place between UK and Australian owners. The concept of exchanging is a fast growing market with some online companies dealing with 2,000 motorhome exchanges in the last 12 months. This figure is up 3.5% on 2011. The truth is that holidays are expensive, and so if mobile home owners can save a large part of the cost of the holiday by taking part in an exchange, there is no reason for them not to do it. By exchanging motorhomes, owners save money on transport and accommodation in one fell swoop. It’s a great way to see a different part of the world without it costing a fortune and the thousands of happy customers prove the scheme is working.
The arrival of a huge network of cheap flight operators has opened up Europe and to some extent the world to millions of people. They are able to holiday in places which 10 years ago they were only able to dream about. With a motorhome holiday swap people can now have the savings, convenience, comfort and flexibility that they have enjoyed in their own mobile home for many years, only this time on trips many thousands of miles from home. Research has shown that by exchanging motorhomes, a saving of between 36%-47% can be made on a 2 week holiday. Of course travelling overseas and using somebody else’s motorhome will require insurance. The exchange will not be able to take place without motorhome insurance being in place and most providers will allow the exchange partners to be added as named drivers. Exchanging is not 100% risk free, however, so make sure that the motorhome and contents are properly insured. Exchanging is a great way to see to the world and make that trip of a lifetime truly affordable. An exchange can be a very exciting way of touring and it’s not just for the free spirited, many people are choosing to save money on rental costs and prefer just to swap.