Driving Summer Sales: 4 Advertising Tips for RV and Boat Businesses

07.15.2020 Cox Media

Demand for RVs and boats is soaring this summer. As families navigate the travel limitations created by the ongoing public health crisis, they’ve found themselves turning to new travel experiences that offer outdoor activities and vacation options without requiring access to airplanes, resorts, or crowded tourist destinations.

Many boat manufacturers and RV dealerships are reporting sales figures that have doubled compared to sales from the same time period in years’ past. Those same manufacturers and retailers are seeing a surge in first-time buyers who are looking to put their travel budgets toward activities that enable social distancing, but still allow families to get out of the house and travel away from home.

For RV and boat businesses, this rush of interest is an advertising opportunity that can’t be taken for granted. With consumers searching for your business in record numbers, your ad strategy needs to keep your brand competitive and visible in your local market. Here are some tips to expand your business revenue through effective local advertising.


The surge in RV and boat demand is largely being driven by the restricted option consumers have when planning vacations in 2020. Health concerns have convinced many families to forego any vacations involving air travel. Instead, they’re looking for alternatives that let them enjoy the summer and get away from home without compromising their safety.

These clear motivations make it easy to craft ad messaging that responds to these customer ambitions. RV and boating companies should revise their existing ad messaging to position their products as a solution to the current travel problems many families are facing. Ads can explicitly call out the ease of social distancing when using RVs and boats, for example, tapping into the customer needs and wants that are driving record interest in this industry.

Given that demand for RV and boat services is at an all-time high, businesses should also use awareness-level ad campaigns, including cable TV ads, to build brand visibility among a broad local consumer base. While some consumers may be specifically seeking out your business, other potential customers might see your commercials and be inspired to investigate their boating or RV options further.


The majority of your RV and boating customers are going to come from your local area. Consumers will be seeking either purchases or rentals of these vehicles, and they may require additional services from local RV shops, boat retailers and marinas.

Ad campaigns should target this local audience through local SEO, geotargeting on mobile apps, location-based targeting on social media, and by using traditional media outlets, such as cable TV and radio, that serve your local community.

You should also leverage your owned media channels, such as blogs and email, to promote new vehicles and travel products, as well as servicing programs you may be offering as an incentive. And if you’re looking to spark aggressive growth and incentivize sales, consider a referral program that rewards existing customers for referring a friend to buy or rent from your company’s inventory.


While RV and boating companies have experienced a rapid rise in consumer demand, some are struggling to meet this demand due to inventory shortages for both purchases and rentals. New inventory continues to fly off the rack, and total inventory volume had already been limited by manufacturing slowdowns caused by the public health crisis.

Even with tight inventory, though, businesses can grow their revenues by advertising other aspects of their business, such as their servicing department. Target existing customers and current local RV and boat owners through ads highlighting the servicing side of your operations.

This ad strategy can take a more conventional approach by offering promotional discounts on popular services, such as an oil change or boat cleaning. You can also geotarget ads to recreational areas known for their RV and boating traffic—this can be a great way to position your brand in front of active RV and boat users who may have a current servicing need.

Remember to highlight the safety precautions you’re taking in light of the public health crisis: Since your service technicians will be entering the RV and boating spaces that your customers will be using, they need to know that safety is your top priority.


Other sectors of the tourism industry may be struggling amid ongoing travel restrictions, but RV and boating are uniquely positioned to expand their business during this period of disruption. Don’t miss out on your chance to grow your customer base by using advertising to capitalize on peak consumer interest.

Looking for a partner who can help build a successful ad strategy? We’re here to help.

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Cox Media

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