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RV Rental Reviews: Crucial to finding your Dream RV!
If you’re planning on renting an RV for your next trip, one of the most important steps you can take is to do your research on the rental company/dealership/owner that you’ll be renting from. Of course, a lot of RV data online is presented in a purely informational format, which makes it difficult to determine the reality of renting from a particular location.
For example, while the website for a dealership might indicate that there is no vehicle prep fee, the actual rental experience might be substandard if the vehicles are not properly prepped (despite there being no fee attached).
User reviews are a critical resource for making an informed decision about an RV rental. There are a number of trustworthy online sources for user reviews of RV rental companies, such as Google Reviews, Yelp, FourSquare, and TripAdvisor, but these reviews are fundamentally limited in the RV rental context, as the focus of the review is the experience with the dealership and not with the individual RV.
The RVshare platform is different. RVshare not only changes the way RV rentals work, but it also empowers prospective renters to conduct more targeted research so that they can better ensure that they have a positive RVing experience.
What is RVshare?
RVshare is an online, peer-to-peer RV rental platform. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple!
RVshare works by connecting prospective renters directly with individual RV owners. RV owners who are not currently using their RVs can post a listing with relevant information about the rental (i.e., vehicle info, price, availability, benefits, equipment, location, fees, etc.), and prospective renters can use the RVshare search tool to filter for their ideal rental.
As RVshare listings are easy to compare, owners are incentivized to lower their rental rates to remain competitive.
The Advantage of Listing-Focused Reviews
The primary benefit to using RVshare as a review source is the fact that reviews are targeted at specific vehicle listings.
Basically, on the RVshare platform, renters are empowered to leave reviews for each unique listing. Suppose, for example, that an owner regularly rents out his older Class C motorhome model. You’re interested in renting the unit, but concerned about encountering mechanical issues due to its age. Thanks to RVshare, you can read reviews left by previous renters of the very same Class C motorhome, giving you insight into its reliability.
As RVshare lets users leave reviews for specific vehicle listings, this provides much more useful information to prospective renters than standard user reviews on platforms like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Consider the inherent challenge in relying on Yelp or TripAdvisor user reviews for guidance on RV rentals. Most dealerships have a fleet of RVs available for rent, with at least a few duplicate models. Unless an individual review identifies their rented vehicle in such a way that it is obvious which particular RV they rented out of the fleet, the review will not necessarily be predictive of your own experiences.
Suppose that a user gives a local dealership a five-star review on Yelp. The user recalls that they rented a Class C motorhome from the dealership for a weeklong trip, and observes that the vehicle performed admirably throughout the length of the trip. You take the review at face value and decide to rent a Class C motorhome from the same dealership. A few days into your trip, you encounter mechanical issues that require roadside assistance and that cause significant delays for your schedule.
The reality is that the dealership likely has numerous Class C motorhomes available for rent. The specific vehicle that the user review was referring to may not be the one that you actually rented.
Some vehicles are more finicky than others, and some vehicles have more involved maintenance histories – to put it simply, some RVs have long “rap sheets.” RVshare lets you avoid the uncertainty of renting one of the “bad” vehicles in a fleet by reading user reviews of a particular vehicle (and owner).
What to Look For in an RV Review
Not all reviews are equal, and this is certainly true of RV rental user reviews as well. A five-star review from a user with no appreciable standards may be worth less than a three-star review from a particularly demanding user. The key to taking advantage of online user reviews is to be able to assess the value of a review in the context of your intended use case.
If you are a first-time RVer, for example, you may find complaints about certain nitty-gritty details by experienced RVers somewhat irrelevant to your intended use case. On the other hand, if you are an experienced RVer, you will probably find the observations of another experienced RVer much more valuable than those of a first-timer.
Thus, when evaluating an RV listing, make sure to evaluate the value of each review as well (in context). Truly useful reviews should make note of the condition of the rented RV, any maintenance issues encountered over the course of their trip, and include criticisms of transacting through the owner (perhaps the owner is excessively strict when it comes to the condition of the returned RV, or the owner charged a late fee when the RV was returned an hour late), among other relevant concerns.
If you find an ideal RV listing but the price puts it beyond your current trip budget, check the reviews to see if any previous renters succeeded in negotiating with the owner. If the owner is amenable to further negotiation, then consider taking the time to contact the owner directly and attempting to negotiate the rental rate down. On RVshare, plenty of owners are willing to compromise with prospective renters to ensure a rental.