The coronavirus has shaken up the vacations of several Quebecers who are more likely than ever to have chosen to rent a recreational vehicle (RV), to the point where some companies no longer have one before September.
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“We do 500 rental departures per summer. At its peak, this year, we had 150 calls per day, double the number of last year, and that’s apart from internet requests! »Says Nanny Déry, rental manager at VR St-Cyr, in Beloeil.
“We started the season two months late, and at the start we had a lot of cancellations. Many have postponed their rental for 2021, ”adds Ms. Déry, whose company still has a few vehicles for the end of August, beginning of September, otherwise the book was full until the end of September.
” It’s stupid ! It’s a new clientele that has no knowledge of RVs and it’s great to see them go, ”says Mathieu Hérard, general manager at VR Soulière, in Lavaltrie.
“We had decided to only rent motorhomes, but in view of the traffic, this year, we have rented around thirty trailers. I would like to have more motorized vehicles, but the factories do not supply. I don’t have anything available until September 20, ”he says.
With its 1,000 vehicles, CanaDream is the largest RV rental company in the country. Quebec tourists “have limited the damage,” admits Christian Léveillée, director for eastern Canada.
“Our clientele is usually 80% or 85% European. This year, it’s 100% Quebec. We are 98% full until the end of August, ”says the man whose business is based in Mirabel.
To achieve this change of clientele, CanaDream has established partnerships with the CAA-Quebec and Transat travel agencies.
“It’s a way for us to respond to the demands of our members and to adapt to what people can and want to do this summer. VR quickly turned out to be a dream solution, ”analyzes Pierre-Olivier Fortin, communications advisor at CAA-Quebec.
At Roulotte E. Turmel in Château-Richer, however, the situation has hardly changed. The company rents trailers from 22 to 30 feet which require a vehicle with good towing capacity. “The rentals for the construction weeks were completed in March and April, as in the past. We have more last minute requests. I have availability for the second week of August, ”says the president of the company, Suzie Turmel.
Even some owners are solicited. “I received four offers this summer to rent my vehicle, between $ 200 and $ 285 per day,” says, still a little surprised, Sébastien Larente, of Saint-Adèle.
A family that bought a 1992 RV last year and turned down four rental offers over the summer. On the photo: Emmanuelle Philibert, Sébastien Larente, Victor, Marie, Henri and Chewy.
In August 2019, Mr. Larente purchased a 1992 21-foot Class C for $ 10,750, his first RV. As the vehicle is used extensively by the family this summer, he has so far declined these offers. But he intends to reassess his position at the end of the season, especially as applications, such as RVEzy, now facilitate this kind of operation.
Sales are also doing very well. ” This is completely crazy. I don’t know if we’re going to sell more than last year, because we’re going to run out of inventory. However, we are going to catch up, ”suggests Josée Bédard, president of Roulottes Chaudière, in Lévis and Alma, and of the Association of recreational vehicle traders of Quebec.
“Since these are a lot of new buyers, people don’t have a trade-in and we have fewer users. To this, she adds the understaffing, citing the PCU, which has had an impact on the service.
“The demand is excessively strong. There are a lot of people who are new to RVing. It’s incredible, we see the market changing. There is a lot of demand in small vehicles. In class C, demand is extraordinary, class B is growing and small trailers are very popular. We are short of vehicles, ”explains Serge Trudeau, general manager of VR St-Cyr, who has been in the field for 24 years.
Rent your RV
Like Airbnb, there are now platforms to rent out your RV. Hundreds of vehicles in Quebec are listed on Outdoorsy and RVezy. The offer is varied, from the tent-trailer to the spacious class A, almost new, recent, a little old or almost antique. A little research is required, but you’ll find quirks: homemade vehicles, units from the 1970s like the classic rounded Boler, the Westfalia of your childhood (very popular judging by the tariffs), and even Jeeps topped with ‘a retractable tent!
Do you have a driving license? So you can get behind the wheel of any RV. The standard class 5 license authorizes the driving of a 45-foot motorhome or a large fifth-wheel trailer. However, driving lessons are offered, in particular by the Fédération québécoise de camping et de caravaning, which offers a 12-hour course, including four of practice.
Up to 23 m
In Quebec, it is allowed to pull one or two trailers. If your set has two vehicles (one towing and one trailer, or one motorized and one trailer), it is limited to 23 m in length, or a little over 75 feet. With two trailers, for example a van, a trailer and a boat, the maximum length is limited to 19 m, just over 62 feet.
Advice from specialists
“Leasing diesel fueled vehicles is a bit more expensive, but it can be more cost effective than a gasoline vehicle for those who will be going the long haul. ” — Nanny Déry, VR St-Cyr
“You have to know the needs of customers. Some will crowd six in a 25 footer, others will want to be only two in a 40. ” — Nanny Déry, VR St-Cyr
“People sometimes forget the length of the vehicle and hang it in the back.” — Nanny Déry, VR St-Cyr
“The sewer connection is often problematic at first. Listen carefully to the technician’s advice before departure. ” — Mathieu Hérard, VR Soulière
” Take your time. People want to drive as fast as they do with their cars, but forget they have 8,000 pounds behind them. ” — Mathieu Hérard, VR Soulière
“You have to make sure that the towing vehicle is able to pull the trailer, that it has control for the trailer brakes, and adapt the torsion bars. ” – Suzie Turmel, Caravan E. Turmel
“Damage such as not properly closing the fridge door or blocking the toilet because we did not use biodegradable paper are part of the pleasure of camping. It’s like fishing anecdotes! ” – Suzie Turmel, Caravan E. Turmel
“A first RV getaway requires a lot of preparation and adjustments. Do not hesitate to seek advice from the landlord or someone who is familiar with this way of traveling. ” – Pierre-Olivier Fortin, CAA-Quebec
“Check with your auto insurer to see if the policy already covers an RV, and if not, if it is possible to add a rider. ” – Pierre-Olivier Fortin, CAA-Quebec