RV PRO

October '20

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32 • RV PRO • October 2020 rv-pro.com a business like his, such as rigorous safety protocols, a team of trained technicians who maintain and repair units, and the ability to stay on top of phone calls from renters. Peer-to-Peer Rentals: The Disruptors Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Out- doorsy, says his platform's track record on customer service is solid. Outdoorsy can help its customers in 14 countries thanks to a network of 40,000 providers of roadside assistance, including mobile mechanics, he says. "We love that the dealership network is also supporting our customers – as we're supporting theirs. We have each other's backs, and we have a common goal: To take care of the con- sumer," Cavins says. "We hope all dealers deliver great customer service, and we want to share best practices with them. We're all in this for the better. We send millions of our customers to dealerships to buy RVs, so there's no bigger fan of the dealers than Outdoorsy." Jon Gray, CEO of Austin, Texas-based RVshare, shares a similar sentiment. He points out that his platform provides around-the- clock customer support and roadside assistance, in addition to a "worry-free rental guarantee." "While RVshare started as a peer-to-peer marketplace for RVs, we also work with hundreds of fleets and dealers as a marketing partner," he says. "Our objective is to provide travelers with an amazing selection of both peer-to-peer and fleet and dealer inven- tory, and to serve as a reliable and effective marketing partner for those individual owners and fleet and dealer partners who wish to garner the attention of travelers from across the nation to their inventory." Those partnerships do come at a cost, of course. Outdoorsy charges RV owners a rental commission of 10 to 20 percent, although credits, discounts and other breaks can reduce the com- mission, according to Cavins. At RVshare, commissions start at 25 percent, but the platform lowers them based on the number of bookings that an RV owner accumulates, Gray says. Lewis says he's willing to pay those commissions to boost his business, particularly during slower times. "As soon as fall comes around, I'll take every peer-to-peer rental I can get because it's icing on the cake," he explains. But during busy periods – with this summer being a prime example – Lewis normally doesn't depend on marketplace rentals. In fact, Lewis blocks Lightnin RV Rentals' calendar to shut out rentals from the platforms when direct rentals swamp his business. Scott Jones, owner of Access RV in North Salt Lake City, Utah, and a leader of the RV Rental Association, doesn't depend on marketplace rentals at all. Why? Steve Lewis (at right), owner of Lightnin RV Rentals in Lawrenceville, Ga., rents out motorhomes and trailers from a fleet of about 50 units, primarily thorough his company website. However, when his traditional rental season slows, he also rents out some of his inventory through online marketplaces, including Outdoorsy and RVshare. (Photos courtesy of Lightnin RV)

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