If we say that Yang Xu, who sold his shares in the company, bought a caravan, and spent more than 400 days traveling around China, has made many netizens see the attraction of caravan travel. Then in the past two years, the booming camping economy, “RV travel and exquisite camping”, has let people see the two major highlights of the tourism industry – RV + camping.
This year’s National Day, local tours and peripheral tours in RVs have once again become the darlings. Many RV rental platforms can hardly rent cars, and campsites are also hard to find. “During the National Day Golden Week, the booking volume of RV travel products on the platform increased by about 1.5 times compared with the same period last year, the per capita customer unit price increased by about 20%, and the revenue of car rental and travel products increased by more than 30% year-on-year.” Accounting for nearly 70% of the domestic RV travel market According to the statistics provided by the one-stop RV service platform “RV Life Home” , RVs are increasingly favored by high-income, high-consumption, high-quality customers and trend culture lovers. This year’s National Day, stores in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and other first-tier and new first-tier cities will realize 100% leasing of vehicles, and the supply of 2022 new models will be in short supply in mid-September.
”Despite the continuous expansion of the market and the increasing number of participants, the current domestic RV camps are still characterized by few and unprofessional, and have not kept up with the development speed of RVs and the actual needs of users.” General Manager of RV Life Home Technology Co., Ltd. Yang Songbai said in an interview with a reporter from Nandu Bay Finance Agency that with the increasingly fragmented mass tourism, the RV category has further enriched travel options, and there will be a better outlet in the future.
At the same time, he also pointed out that the current lack of public awareness of RVs, imperfect layout and facilities of RV camps, low standardization, long camp investment return cycle, and difficulty in making profits are still problems facing the development of the RV industry. He hopes that the policy level can give more More guidance and support.
Touring around the RV, users like “temporary decision-making”
This year’s November holiday, Chongqing Lengshuifenggu Leisure and Holiday Camp, known as “China’s No. 1 Highway Self-driving Camp”, once again ushered in a full passenger flow. “RV camps (vehicle parking supply points) are the most in short supply. They were fully booked two weeks before the holiday, and the camp rooms were also fully booked a week ago,” Wan Weiping, the marketing director of the camp, told a reporter .
According to the data, the camp is 267 kilometers away from the main urban area of Chongqing. It is an important entrance to Huangshui National Forest Park, Yunzhonghuadu, alpine ski resort and Tujia ecological folk tourism line. The scenic spot can be reached at this high speed.
It is understood that the camp is aimed at RV self-driving groups, parent-child groups, and tent camping groups. Wan Weiping said that because the camp is located at the junction of Chongqing and Hubei, there used to be many tourists from Hubei. After the outbreak, the source of tourists mainly came from the urban area of Chongqing, and the annual passenger flow and income have increased significantly. “Non-airtight outdoor camps can better meet the needs of large spaces and small gatherings of family groups.” This is why RV tours are so popular.
Yang Songbai said, “We can see several obvious trends during this year’s 11th Golden Week. First, the number of surrounding tourists has increased significantly. This year, the bookings for RV local tours and peripheral tours accounted for about 50%, which is significantly higher than in previous years. Second, the repurchase rate is rising rapidly. Many users who have experienced RV travel before will continue to choose RV travel without hesitation this year. Third, the travel booking time is shortened. Orders are placed for more than 20 days, but this year it will be about 1-2 weeks, and impromptu vacations will become the mainstream.”
In addition, the habit of RV camping and RV travel has also become more popular. According to statistics, during National Days in previous years, RV trips were dominated by bicycles. Now, the number of users who travel in groups of three to four cars has increased significantly; unlike in the past, which was dominated by parent-child families, this year, young people choose RV travel experience when traveling around. willingness to increase significantly.
Wan Weiping also found that the campsites have obvious characteristics of destinations. “For Chongqing locals, many of them do not stop at the campsites to go to nearby tourist attractions, but directly regard the campsites as their destinations.” Therefore, the campsites Various seasonal projects and special activities have also been launched to attract guests to stay.
Popularization of C6 driver’s licenses, outbound tourists returning to China
In recent years, the field of domestic RV travel has ushered in explosive growth. The “2022-2028 China RV Market Panoramic Survey and Investment Strategy Research Report” shows that the domestic RV market has grown by more than 14 times from 2014 to 2022. According to statistics from the China Automobile Dealers Association, in 2021, driven by domestic self-driving tours and caravan tours characterized by “low-intensity tourism”, the annual sales of self-propelled caravans will reach 12,582 units, a year-on-year increase of 43.2%. 1000 vehicles. According to Fliggy data, the cumulative sales of RV travel products from January to August 2022 have nearly tripled that of the same period in 2019.
More and more young people are turning their attention to RVs. A recent survey conducted by the travel and entertainment community Mafengwo found that the popularity of C6 driver’s licenses (driver’s licenses required for light-duty towing trailers) this year has pushed the popularity of domestic RV tours to a new high. From 2022 to the present, the content of RVs on the Mafengwo website has increased by 30.3% compared with the same period last year. On Xiaohongshu, there are more than 400,000 notes related to “RV”. Under the two topics of Douyin, related videos have been played a total of over 20 billion times.
”RV+Camping”, “RV+Outdoor Barbecue”, and “RV+Stargazing” have attracted the most attention. Traveling in a RV can not only solve the problem of accommodation and catering on the way, but also satisfy young people who want to play while watching. demand.
On the other hand, favorable policies have ushered in new opportunities for the RV market. The “Notice of the “14th Five-Year Plan” Tourism Industry Development Plan” clarifies that promoting self-driving caravan tourism, implementing self-driving tour promotion plans, forming a networked camp service system and a relatively complete self-driving caravan tourism industry chain, launching a number of Self-driving caravan camp and tourist post. In July this year, 17 departments including the Ministry of Commerce issued the “Notice on Several Measures to Invigorate Automobile Circulation and Expand Automobile Consumption”, mentioning the development of automobile cultural tourism and other consumption, and supporting the construction and operation of projects such as automobile self-driving sports camps in terms of land use.
There is a view in the industry that due to the impact of the global epidemic, Chinese outbound travel users are returning to the domestic market, and the market needs high-quality products that can effectively meet the new demand for mid-to-high-end tourism and vacation consumption. According to Yang Songbai’s analysis, RV travel has become more and more popular in the market in recent years because it fits the development trend of domestic tourism that focuses on leisure and personalization. Especially since the outbreak of the epidemic, consumers have paid more attention to safety and privacy, and are more pursuing the “small gathering, large space” travel scene. Fundamentally speaking, this reflects the increasing consumer demand for high-quality tourism products and diversified tourism destinations.
The development of RV camps is not synchronized and calls for the promotion of standardized construction
As an emerging industry, caravan travel combines “food, housing and travel”, and has the advantages of freedom and flexibility, open and stop at any time, and can meet the needs of multi-person family travel, but there are many problems to be solved. From the user’s point of view, the “slots” of RV travel include but are not limited to: high rental and purchase costs, “vehicles can’t drive too fast”, “driving gas costs”, inconvenient parking, cramped space, poor living experience, poor sound insulation, Water and electricity cannot be used freely, rain leaks, and discharge is easy to pollute the environment. “RV life has 20% of the beauty, and the rest is trivial.” A RV travel blogger said bluntly.
In addition, corresponding to the strong demand is the imperfect supply. Wan Weiping said frankly to the reporter that the advantages of RVs such as safety, flexibility and cost control are prominent, and RV camps have obtained development opportunities. In the early stage of development, the industry has not yet formed a sufficient RV camp network layout and supporting facilities. The relatively late start of RV tourism, relatively scattered camp construction (especially in the west), and inconsistent service standards are the main pain points of RV supply.
”In fact, the development speed of domestic RV camps has not kept up with the development speed of RVs and the actual needs of users.” Yang Songbai further stated to a reporter that there are currently no more than 200 standardized RV camps in China. The so-called standardization means The land meets the qualifications, the environmental impact assessment meets the requirements, there are hydroelectric piles, public toilets, showers, accommodation/catering and other supporting infrastructure for various activities, etc., and there are many non-standard and supplementary camps that only provide the most basic parking, Hydration and charging needs. Therefore, there is a large gap between the number and standardization of domestic RV camps and developed countries.
The hot camping market this year has also allowed many travel-related upstream and downstream industries to get a share of the “camping” concept. However, in Yang Songbai’s view, unlike campsites, RV campsites have high construction costs, and the operating entities are generally in the investment period, basically making no money. Therefore, many campsites need to increase income by superimposing catering, accommodation, entertainment and other services. However, it is precisely because it involves various business types such as food, housing and transportation, the positioning of the RV camp business and the ownership of regulatory powers and responsibilities have yet to be clarified. He appealed and hoped that relevant departments could give more support to the RV industry and practitioners from the policy side and capital side, so that the industry can continue to move in the direction of standardization and normalization.
Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the National Travel Federation, also pointed out that despite the rapid development of the Chinese RV market, consumers are relatively unfamiliar with RV products and have a low awareness of RV camping, which is still the bottleneck for future growth. Therefore, increasing the exposure of RV products, providing consumers with more opportunities to test drive and experience, and gradually improving the supporting facilities and related services for RV travel will be the core driving force for the sustainable growth of the RV market.
What are the types of mainstream RV camps currently on the market?
At present, RV Life Home has signed more than 500 RV camps that can be booked, of which less than 200 are standardized camps. The so-called standardization means that the land meets the qualifications, the environmental impact assessment meets the requirements, there are various service facilities such as water and electricity piles, public toilets, showers, accommodation/catering, etc., and a business entity with legal operating qualifications.
At present, the country lacks official camp construction standards, only industry-level standards. We are also constantly improving the construction of the camp system, and the contracted camps will refer to foreign camp standards.
In addition to standardized camps, we cooperate more with non-standardized and replenishment camps, that is, to provide the most basic social and public service functions such as hydration and charging, or to provide some lawns as event venues to serve self-driving car owners, RV owners, RV travel products Purchasing users and other needs. At present, there is a big gap between the number and standardization of domestic camps compared with developed countries.
It is worth mentioning that non-standard supply camps, one of which is the expressway service area, have great potential to be tapped. At present, expressway service areas in 4 to 5 provinces are negotiating with us for cooperation, and one province has signed a contract and is in the process of planning. Expressway service areas generally have large sites and relatively complete supporting functions, with water and electricity piles and a few camps, which are convenient for customers to replenish and rest overnight. Moreover, the high-speed service areas are relatively safe, and there is a certain guarantee for RV travel. The entity operating the expressway service area also hopes to attract more guests to stay here. We are also seeking to carry out such cooperation with high-speed groups all over the country.
What do you think of the current development of the domestic RV market?
From the perspective of demand, many people do not know the concept of RV, and the market needs to be educated. In recent years, domestic RV sales have grown rapidly, but the total volume is small, far from the popularity of passenger cars, and is still in the early stages of development. In addition, RVs have a certain purchase threshold and require a certain amount of hands-on transformation ability, which is more suitable for outdoor in-depth travel enthusiasts, and the audience is relatively vertical. However, as mass tourism tends to be fragmented, RVs have enriched the choices of public travel, and there is a lot of room for growth of RV tourists in the future.
From the perspective of supply, according to the data of our platform, there are more RV camps in the eastern and southern regions, mainly because of the large number of tourists in this region and their strong consumption capacity; while the western region has fewer camps and has not formed a certain density. The supply is inconvenient, mainly because the western region is sparsely populated, the layout of camps is difficult, and the peak tourist season is short, making it difficult to continue operations.
This also reflects an imbalance between the supply and demand of RV camps: the western region has a large area, and the transportation facilities are not as complete as the eastern region. In fact, it is more suitable for RV travel. However, due to the above-mentioned situation, coupled with the fact that Chinese people have fewer long-term holidays, they are afraid to travel long distances due to the impact of the epidemic, and the frequency of travel in the west is low. On the contrary, there are fewer RV camps in this area, and more camps are built in the eastern and southern regions. People in these regions consume With strong ability, many people can travel in the nearest RV on weekends.
From an operational point of view, the input-output ratio of RV camps is not high. Due to the dependence on the holiday economy, the obvious low and peak seasons, unstable passenger flow, and low repurchase rate, it is basically not profitable to do this. At present, many camps are run by rich and landed real estate developers, who enclose land to operate them, and there are also some enterprises and individuals investing in them.
As far as the current situation is concerned, to build a standardized RV camp requires an investment of about 100,000 yuan in the initial infrastructure construction, and the subsequent investment is related to the number of camps, services provided, and the degree of standardization. The entire RV camp industry has not yet reached the stage of making money, so many camps will also superimpose catering, outdoor and other supporting formats to increase income.
What shortcomings and deficiencies still exist in the development of domestic RV camps?
In fact, the development speed of domestic RV camps has not kept up with the development speed of RVs and the actual needs of users. The existing owners of RV camps are uneven, including enterprises, governments, and individuals. Due to the long chain of the RV industry, in actual operation, it involves multiple business formats including catering, transportation, accommodation, scenic spots, and land use. It needs to communicate with multiple departments, and the procedures and processes are very complicated. Clearly, some processes could be simplified.
It is hoped that the relevant government departments can take the lead in promoting the standardized construction of RV camps, and give more support to the RV industry and practitioners from the policy and capital ends, so that the industry can continue to move forward in the direction of standardization and standardization.