By Rick Kessler
Park model RVs and destination trailers are similar, although there are some key differences.
Destination trailers are fully contained RVs but are generally larger – 8 1/2 feet wide – than other towable RVs and less aerodynamic since they’re not meant to be transported as frequently. However, they are designed to be pulled by consumers.
Typically 12 feet wide, park model RVs (PMRVs) are larger and require special permits and contract carriers to be towed. Once at camp, tongues are often removed and the park model is skirted around its base.
However, both are loaded with residential amenities as they typically are used as long-term camping accommodations.
Two manufacturers told RVBusiness that, like most other segments of the RV industry including park models, destination trailers also are enjoying a spike in popularity.
Joe Luther, brand manager of the Hideout destination trailer at Keystone RV Co., a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc., said his line, as well as its Retreat sister line, has experienced “strong growth.”
“Our 38-foot destination trailer business has exploded on Hideout. Our Northeast region has seen 82% growth on the 38-foot destination trailers alone,” Luther said. “Our core floorplans and features have attributed to this, along with offering it in a traditional-built and a laminated offering.”
LUTHER ALSO CREDITED a “strong dealer body” for the lines’ success, noting that feedback indicates it is getting harder for consumers to get campsites on the weekends. Instead, they are electing to buy destination trailers, and setting them on a campsite for the season.
Similarly, Darin Elswick, general manager, and Tim Kress, product manager, at Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV, said their company’s Hampton destination trailer has “really taken off.” Both said the destination trailer market had been soft for a few years before spiking a bit last year, which has carried over to 2018.
“Last year, we came out and we basically reinvented the Hampton,” Elswick said. “We redid the interior, the exteriors, then came out with some new innovative floorplans. I think we entered the market doing those changes while some other manufacturers got out of that market, and we really took off. We signed up a bunch of dealers, and it definitely has paid off. This year, with the Hamptons, we’re up right around 65% retail over last year so far.”
“Plus, we’ve implemented two new loft models into our lineup,” Kress inserted, “which allows our buyers the opportunity to increase space without sacrificing kitchen space or living room space, and it allowed them to increase their bunk room areas.”
Elswick added, “The loft market is really taking off. Right now, even this year, we’re creating a couple new loft floorplans, just because of the demand. It’s got to be something that’s different and unique out there.”
This article is reprinted courtesy of RV Business Magazine, the leading periodical and website covering the RV industry.