U.S. Markets closed

People are turning to RVs for their summer vacations amid travel worries due to COVID-19

Jer Goss, President of Goss RVs, joined Yahoo Finance's 'The Final Round' to discuss the spike in interest in RV travel over the past month as people start planning summer vacations.

Video Transcript

JEN ROGERS: So we've talked a lot about the stay-at-home trade that has certainly been hot this spring. Peloton's up some 60% year-to-date. Netflix up 30%. There's also the mobile home trade, as Americans are looking for a way to vacation and remain socially distant. RV and camping companies Winnebago, Thor Industries, Camping World, they have seen their shares up big here as well.

Our next guest is seeing huge demand in the high-end RV market, as everybody has that desire to get out of their house. I want to bring in Jer Goss. He is the President of Goss RV. So a luxury RV company.


JEN ROGERS: How-- when you think of RV, immediately, I don't think luxury. But now I've seen the pictures of these. So tell us-- I mean, these are expensive, $50,000 for a week. What do you get? What is this product?

JER GOSS: Yeah, so to be honest with you, it's kind of a world that most people are not familiar with, unless you just happen to pass one on the road on vacation. But you know, these things are, you know, well-- well over $2 million in value. You know, it's-- you know, we were talking earlier about being inside an apartment, it's-- it's a large apartment. The walls extend and create a lot of extra space on the inside. It's basically a luxurious home on wheels, essentially.

JEN ROGERS: And what kind of demand are you seeing? Because as we all know, we've had a huge drop in the economy. We've had a lot of unemployment, people taking pay cuts. What's demand like for these really high-end and expensive products?

JER GOSS: Yeah. I mean, we-- you know, initially, we're kind of in the same boat as most-- most folks. You know, about the middle of March, we just kind of hit a standstill. And not only that, we were probably at 10% revenue for the month of April. And we hit a standstill.

And you know, thought this would be the wave of the future, with people that were wanting to travel this way, be in a self-contained space, maybe avoid air travel. But you know, we were kind of sitting on our hands for a while. And then it was, like, the floodgates opened up. And I don't have numbers for the entire month of May, but at least for our first three months-- or three weeks in May, we were up 367% in inquiries.

So I mean, it was unbelievable. We've never-- we have a lot of partners in this industry as well. We sell them. We rent them. And so it's just- it's amazing. We've never seen anything like this. There's facilities that are selling out of all their product. We're putting people on the roads. So it's crazy right now.

SEANA SMITH: So Jer, 367% jump. That's obviously huge. Are you able to keep up with the demand? I mean, are you thinking about adding more RVs to your fleet? Are you thinking about hiring? Where do those plans stand at this point?

JER GOSS: Yeah, I mean, we-- we've got some additional publicity, which is why we had an increase. But with that, you know, the entire fleet of luxury motor coaches that we have in our program, they're all privately owned. So people are handing us the keys. We manage the whole process.

So we're storing them in our facilities across the country, but they're giving us the keys. And we-- we've had an increase in people wanting to rent their vehicles out. So we've just been kind of lucky that people are-- we're getting inventory essentially at the same rate as being able to rent them out as well.

MYLES UDLAND: I mean, Jer, I just want of-- kind of a couple of practical questions here. One, where are these people taking RVs most often? And two, like, I mean, I don't know how to drive a big truck. Do you just give me the keys and then I just drive, and you're like, hey, good luck, you know, don't run any cars off the road?

JER GOSS: Yeah, Myles, maybe I'll give you the keys. But no. I mean, I would say, for us, we have-- we have popular tours that we've kind of put together. And so the average person is probably picking one of those tours. Probably one of the most popular tours for us is a canyons tour, in which they would visit Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Moab, see the Arches. So you know, there's a lot of national parks, certainly.

But most people don't realize that there are really high-end luxury RV resorts across the country too. And so, you know, it's kind of a-- it's-- most people think of a KOA standard kind of camp ground, but there's, you know, RV resorts with high-end amenities where you can literally park-- you know, there's one in the Key West-- in Key West where you could park on the water. These things have incredible window views, so you can roll the windows up when you're parked there and that's your sunset. So we've-- we've certainly sent a lot of people and helped them plan their trips.

And to answer your question about driving it, you know, I would say we do offer people to drive it. You know, you have a couple guy-- a couple people out there that are kind of the go-getters, and they want to have that experience and drive it. And so we'll-- we'll do a pretty extensive training with them. And they have to basically pass a test to do it.

But for the most part, most people are hiring a professional driver. You know, kind of like the yachting industry, they want a captain. They don't want to deal with, you know, the parking it, and driving it, and dealing with septic. You know, they don't want-- they don't want to do that. So most of them are getting drivers.

JEN ROGERS: Got it. So I guess, Myles, if we-- maybe if we can't afford it, we could become drivers. That's-- then you can get the keys that way, since Jer said he's--

JER GOSS: I'll take Myles out. We'll go on a ride.

JEN ROGERS: All right. We'll need to turn it over. Jer Goss, Goss RV, great to talk with you. Thank you so much for letting us a little peek into this luxury RV world that, yeah, you're right, I didn't know a lot about. Thanks so much.

JER GOSS: Thank you, guys.

JEN ROGERS: So before we go, we've been talking about summer 2020. But just Myles and Seana, I mean, we talked this morning about we don't really have any plans for the summer. But looking further out, are you making plans for the holidays yet? Is that something that's even on people's radar?

MYLES UDLAND: I guess. I mean, look, we-- we're going to drive out to my future in-laws in Ohio in a couple weeks. We're going to stay there for a couple weeks. I guess it'll be fine. And we'll figure out what to do with the holidays.

You know, for us, we were looking at, like, should we do a big honeymoon next spring, like, internationally, going to Asia? Like, I don't know. I don't really-- I don't know. We haven't talked about it. And I don't know if we could even book one at this point.

It just doesn't feel like the world's going to be super different in nine months that you would be like, yeah, great. We're going to get on a plane, and we're going to go from Dubai to, you know, to India, then go to Indonesia, or whatever the trip may have been. Like, I just don't really see that as realistic inside of a 18-month window.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah. And I think, Myles, you're exactly right, because I've talked about it with my husband, and there's been talk about maybe we should plan something for the future, if not the holidays, and maybe into the spring, or even next summer a year from now. But I think there's so much uncertainty. And when you talk about the fact that, yeah, you could get refunded, probably, and a lot of-- we heard from Travelzoo that there's a lot of great deals out there right now.

But I think people are still hesitant to take that jump and to really plan a vacation that they might not be able to go on. So I don't have any plans coming up. Literally, not one. I'm on New Jersey now. We were in upstate New York, and that's probably the furthest that we are going to go for the foreseeable future.

But I think from this special, we did hear that a lot-- a lot more people are feeling more comfortable getting out. Whether or not that's going to remain the case, I think a lot of that rides on the fact that we could see a second wave. But I think hotels, it sounds like is seeing a little bit of an uptick. People are now reserving RVs that they're paying $50,000 a weekend. Also, just broadly, people are going on airlines. People are beginning to travel again.

JEN ROGERS: Yep. That's my takeaway. People are definitely going and moving. I think we should all go in the RV together. I don't know. Could be fun. Everybody have a great weekend. Thanks so much for watching and talking about summer travel 2020 with us.