If there is one sector for which the corona pandemic was a blessing, it is the recreational vehicle (RV) sector. After the first lockdown in 2020, demand skyrocketed in 2021, with a peak in Belgium never seen before. But with 2022 and the Ukraine war, uncertainty and inflation pushed private individuals more than ever to RV-sharing platforms like Yescapa.
The French scale-up, letting private owners rent some 15 000 campers, converted vans, and pickups on a safe and insured platform in eight countries, noticed a 52% growth in Belgium. Reservations peaked at 5 500, with 70% of Belgians crossing the borders on family holidays in France, Spain, and Portugal, preferably.
Extreme peak in 2021
According to figures from the Belgian mobility sector federation Traxio, the market for new RVs has grown continuously since 2017 by no less than +44,1%. After the extreme peak of the second corona year, 2021, with +31% (7 063 new registrations) compared to 2020 (5 381), sales cooled down the first ten months of 2022 (-17,7%).
In times of economic uncertainties, a sector like this is one of the first where it can come to blows. Dirk Van Eyck, CEO of Belgian market leader Dicar didn’t see a rose-tinted future when asked by Traxio end of last year.
Keeping a tight hand on one’s purse
“Our industry has had bumper years for the past two years. We are still enjoying our large order book or our backlog in deliveries. But we feel that people are keeping a tight hand on their purses for this kind of article. The installment for a motorhome is €700 per month, so consumers are not motivated to order.”
The latter makes people think about new forms of renting instead of buying an expensive RV, and owners are tempted to put up their investment for sharing as, on average, they use it themselves no more than 70 days a year. A platform like French Yescapa feeds on that growing demand.
5 500 reservations in 2022
In 2022, 5 500 reservations were registered in Belgium, of which 3 200 were in the summer season (May-August). Most demands came from French-speaking regions in Belgium like Liège, Hainaut, and Brabant Wallon.
Some 59% of the RVs rented were campers, 26% were converted pickups, and 15% converted vans. The average age of the RV owner in Belgium is 45, with the generation of renters showing a rejuvenation trend from 44 to 42 years old. The average rental period is nine days for a price of around €1 000.
Full coverage insurance
Yescapa was founded in 2012 by two young French, Benoît Panel and Adrien Pinson, and expanded rapidly into several European countries, including Belgium, in 2019. They forged a deal with Belgian insurance company P&V to offer private owners, who want to rent their RV full coverage insurance, including theft, fire, and broken glass, plus road assistance throughout Europe.
Owners can advertise their RV on the Yescape platform at a price they set, on which the platform will calculate a commission for its services, depending on the owner being a professional or private individual and the country where the RV is registered.
For that fee, Yescape will check the vehicle’s technical documents and the owner’s and renter’s credentials, deliver an insurance document for the renter, and offer all assistance needed.