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How to Use Your RV as an Airbnb Style Rental

By: O'Connor RV   |   01 Feb 2022
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The world has changed in the past few years, and so has the way people use their RVs. Most people spend an equal amount of time with their RV parked as they do travelling or camping in it, but there is a growing number of RV owners who are renting their units out to vacationers when it’s not in use.

There are many benefits to using your RV as a vacation rental:

  • It gives other people the opportunity to enjoy RV life who may not have the means or ability to purchase an RV of their own.
  • It provides extra income, helping your RV pay for itself.
  • Online rental platforms have made it easy to safely list, insure, and even park your unit.
  • It can be a great project for people who are between careers, retirees, empty-nesters, or those who have always wanted to try their hand at DIY renovations on something a little less scary and expensive as a house.

Before you rush off to sign up on an RV rental listing site, there are some key considerations that will help your new business be as successful as possible. In this article, we’re sharing our top tips on transforming your RV into the ultimate Airbnb-style rental.

Top Tips for Using Your RV as a Vacation Rental

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  1. Find the right RV. If you’re purchasing a new or used RV with the intention of turning it into a rental, make sure you choose a unit that can fit the bill. You’ll want something that can sleep multiple people, has a great cooking space, is easy enough to set up and tow, has plenty of storage space, and can handle a wide range of weather. You might be able to put up with cramped quarters or an AC unit that doesn’t work right, but your guests likely want an easy, breezy, and pain-free experience.
  2. Consider doing some of your own renovations. Just like any vacation destination, you need to make your RV rental experience stand out so that potential customers choose you over the competition. One way to do this is through custom renovations. Whether it’s adding a luxurious standing shower, swapping out your lighting fixtures, updating the kitchen, or even just painting the walls, think about the “vibe” you want to sell with your unit. Be unique and share your personality!
  3. Don’t skimp on warranties and insurance. Finding the right insurance when you’re using your RV as a rental can be tough. Explore your options ahead of time, and make sure that at a minimum you have basic coverage, plus fire and theft. We always recommend getting a good warranty for any RV purchase, but the warranty package you choose will be even more important when you’re using your unit as a rental.
  4. Accept that there will be challenges. From finding RV storage to updating your locks to delivery and pickup of your RV at campsites, there are certainly challenges associated with this type of business! As long as you go into things with an open mind, you will thrive. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends - or your friendly local RV dealership, of course!
  5. Decide on how the RV will get from A to B. Some RV owners are OK with allowing somebody else to tow their unit, while others prefer to take care of all drop-offs and pickups. There are pros and cons to both; for example, allowing somebody else to drive or tow your RV is risky, but it opens your business up to a wider customer base. Depending on what you’re most comfortable with, there could be insurance, location, weather, and even time constraints, so we recommend looking into each option thoroughly before deciding what’s best for you.
  6. Keep up with your RV maintenance. Again, it’s easy enough to put up with a small inconvenience when you’re the only one using the RV, but your guests need to be assured that their rental is safe, secure, and functioning at 100%. Be sure to stay on top of your RV’s specific maintenance schedule, and use professional services and genuine parts for all major repairs.
  7. Use reputable listing sites and campgrounds. If you’re imagining something as seamless as an Airbnb-style rental business, then be sure to use a listing site specifically designed for RV rentals. RVezy and CanaDream are two of Canada’s most popular RV rental listing sites and help make the process easy for both owners and renters. It’s also important to use campgrounds that you trust, so you can be certain that the hookups, sites, communal spaces, and surrounding area will make for an enjoyable camping experience for your guests.
  8. Deck out your unit! Offering a well-stocked RV rental is one of the best ways to get 5-star reviews, recommendations, and repeat customers. Think about the basics, like RV toilet paper, toiletries, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, olive oil and spices, tinfoil, cookware, tools for the fire pit, matches, and even spare bottles of fresh water. You can go the extra distance by offering bonuses like robes, plush bedding, games and puzzles, lawn games, camping chairs, and even a recipe book and groceries for renters who are new to camping. Many guests will appreciate a small memento they can bring home, and a guidebook of the local area with ideas on where to hike, swim, fish, or go out for dinner. Don’t forget that keeping a well-stocked emergency kit is also your responsibility. Things like extra fuses, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, fire blankets, shovel, thermal blankets, and a life jacket could all be helpful to have onboard.
  9. Be available and have fun. Your guests might have questions or experience an issue while they’re renting your RV - it’s to be expected! Make sure you’re available (especially during the first few hours after check-in) and friendly in your communications, and try to be as accommodating as possible. You’re offering a service and your guests are hoping for a relaxing, fun, and memorable experience. Provide it to each and every guest, and you’ll be sure to have more bookings than you can handle!

Need Help Transforming Your RV into a Vacation Rental Business? Visit us at O’Connor RV!

Whether you’re selling your RV, buying a new unit, require maintenance and repair services, are looking for RV parts and accessories, or just need to chat with our experts about everything related to RV life, we’re here to help. We’ve been camping and helping the RV community in the Chilliwack area for decades, and are happy to bring our enthusiasm and expertise to your next project.

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