The old adage, that “every problem is an opportunity in disguise” is likely more true today than ever before if you are an RV dealer.
Over the last two months we’ve witnessed the decimation of the travel and vacation industry by COVID-19.
Businesses all across the board have seen bookings cancelled, demand literally dry up overnight and potential customers locked down to local travel only.
Early in the spring you probably experienced the same issues that other travel companies faced: a dried up active customer base and bleak future prospects.
But if the road you’ve travelled the last couple months has been rocky, the signs we’re seeing reveal that RV, camper van rental and other associated businesses that are prepared will have the opportunity to benefit not only through the recovery, but for years to come.
What are the signs? Well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that even as restrictions loosen, the vast majority of people will still be very wary of flying.
That’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
But what may not be so obvious amidst the fear and uncertainty, is that as lockdowns loosen and people itch to get away, sentiment shows that right now, they are considerably more open to scratching that itch by taking a road trip.
How? Well, if COVID-19 hasn’t forced you to up your online game already, it’s important to recognize that this window of opportunity will not be open forever.
There has literally never been a better time to improve and leverage your online presence.
So, if you haven’t yet recognized that online marketing is the future of your business, I’m here to make a couple of bold proclamations.
It is… and the future is now.
What to prioritize today.
RV businesses that can craft the right messaging, deliver it to the right audience and make it easy for people to book with them, aren’t just poised to grow today. They’ll have established the digital chops and online foundation they need to grow for years to come.
Messaging that hits the high notes of the buyer values outlined above while positioning an RV trip as the best place to find relaxation “sheltering in place”… any place, also has the opportunity to strike a chord with buyers highlighting other RV travel related benefits, such as:
- an economical option in tight times
- a way to bring the healing/relaxing properties of nature into stressful lives
- an safe way to get away with the people they love
Getting the right message to the right people and connecting them to a beautifully designed, credible looking and functional website, holds more promise than ever before for your RV rental business.
Website Case Study: Ondevan Camper Vans
Recently, we had the privilege of working with Omar Bendezu, a camper van rental business owner in Florida, since 2017. With no physical location, Omar started his business by creating a website.
Like many entrepreneurs, a lack of expertise meant the website took months of valuable time to build, and in the end, was less than optimal.
As Omar reports:
“ As business owners our main job is to add value to our businesses… and I wasn’t doing that… dedicating so much time to building the website on my own and improving my SEO… that was challenging because I wasn’t an expert ”
Fast forward to January this year. Hired to build version two of Omar’s site here at RTOWN we were excited to see what employing a number of digital best-practices into his site would do to improve its performance.
In one-third of the build time – which freed Omar up to concentrate on building his business instead of his site – and without losing any of Omar’s hard earned SEO ranking, the new site was launched.
Knowing that better than 60% of Omar’s traffic found him through their mobile device, the responsive site design, faster loading times and online booking software from Wheelbase made it easy for users to book right from their phones.
The results were immediate.
Site Version 1
New Users: 939
Page Views: 3,538
Pages per session: 2.72
Bounce rate: 45.57%
Page load time (avg): 4.18 seconds
Gross Revenue: $13,854.20
Average Order Size: $729.17
Site Version 2
New Users: 2,215 – 135% increase
Page Views: 14,636 – 313% increase
Pages per session: 4.63 – 70% increase
Bounce rate: 35% – 22.87% improvement
Page load time (avg): 3.5 seconds 14% improvement
Gross Revenue: $21.43k – 282% improvement
Average Order Size: $793.68 – 9% increase
Year on Year Increase in bookings
Not only did the amount of new users on the site increase, but so did the time they spent there. Coupled with the ease of online booking, Omar saw a huge lift in revenue over the same period last year.
The new site build was paid off in under two months and best of all, if afforded Omar the opportunity to focus on the things that mattered most to him growing his business.
“ This year, since I started to work on this project with RTOWN, you can see the big change… Now I’m doing what I’m supposed to do… work on strategies like social (content). That’s an important channel for travelers… we sell our business by photos and experiences”
Let me bring this home for you. According to Forrester Research, your customer’s buying journey is 70% to 90% complete before they ever contact your business. Like Omar, creating valuable content to gain awareness and having a trusted, educational and functional site is the backbone for growth.
With that in place, it’s easy to amplify your content through paid ads and/or a local search engine ad campaign, to make the most of this unprecedented window of opportunity.
Without it, you are just throwing your money away.
People are telling the industry what they’re looking for and the rebound has started.
Are you ready?
The time to nail your online marketing and get your site ready for traffic to scale your business, is now. Your market is ready to hear about how you can help them find the safe, comfortable and stress relieving travel fix they are aching for.
If you need help, we’ve partnered with Outdoorsy to offer a significant discount on their Wheelbase Pro booking software, while we are offering 20% OFF any services booked with us here at RTOWN before June 30th, 2020.
As Omar has shown, an investment in your online presence today will pay dividends tomorrow and well into the future. Don’t wait to start your digital journey, you’ll love where you end up.
For more information on how to take advantage of these special offers, contact us today.