To explain our motive for listing our camper on Airbnb, I could subtitle this post, “What to Do When Gulf Stream and Its Dealer Deceive You.” (But that’s just too long for SEO to appreciate.)
Our Saga Begins
Our camper-turned-Airbnb story began about 18 months ago when my husband Michael and I purchased a Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 23BHS. We discovered several weeks later that the axles were incorrectly labeled and were being recalled. Our dual-axle trailer was labeled and marketed as having axles with a GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) of 3500 pounds. The axles on the vehicle actually had a GAWR of 2800, meaning that our RV ha 1400 fewer pounds of NCC (Net Carrying Capacity) than we believed. We wrote, called, and implored the folks at Gulf Stream allow us to return their falsely-advertised vehicle, but did not get any satisfaction. The more we learned, however, the more convinced we became that the 23BHS could be dangerous to haul in certain long-distance towing situations. I won’t bore you with all the details here. If you’d like to know them, just go to our blog at https://www.inavintagecruiserrv.com/and note these particular posts: https://www.inavintagecruiserrv.com/specs-features-and-additions/weighing-in-on-the-recall, https://www.inavintagecruiserrv.com/specs-features-and-additions/weighing-in-on-deceptive-advertising.
Exploring Our Options
Anyway, 2017 turned into 2018, and we made payments on a vehicle we mistrusted and didn’t use. We talked about what to do with a lovely-looking camper that had become an albatross. We considered RV sharing sites that allowed people to rent a camper to haul wherever. However, we couldn’t in good conscience simply rent our Vintage Cruiser to someone who could be injured if he or she loaded the camper incorrectly. In late spring, we listed the trailer on outdoorsy.com. To avoid endangering others, we stipulated that we would tow and set-up the camper in any of several campgrounds within a few hours of our home. Not one person inquired about this arrangement.
Finally, in early summer, we fashioned a semi-permanent site in our backyard, and listed the Vintage Cruiser on Airbnb. We listed a studio apartment on Airbnb just over 2 years. We understand a bit about how to set up and market a listing. So, we landscaped, decorated, and cleaned, then prayed fervently and listed our 23BHS. After 2 months, our occupancy rate isn’t earth-shattering, but we are providing a unique lodging experience. Our guests have been pleased, and we have met some fine folks. And–here’s a big bonus– the camper is paying for itself!
Things we have learned by listing our camper on Airbnb
- Campers are by nature less durable and more cramped than homes. Although a Vintage Cruiser 23BHS could sleep 5 or 6, we limit the number to 4 in the hope that fewer people will lessen the overall wear on our camper.
- Campers are generally quick and easy to clean, but have lots of little, hard-to-reach spots.
- Campers are unusual listings that provide a competitive advantage. In our town of Greer, SC, the number of overall Airbnb listings has skyrocketed since we listed our apartment in 2016. Competition is stiff. A new camper modeled in vintage 50’s decor fills a niche with few similar offerings.
- Sometimes thinking “outside the box” introduces you to ideas that really work. Listing our camper on Airbnb did that for us.