RV membership program Harvest Hosts has raised $37 million as consumers turn toward road trips as a distanced way to travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The investment comes from New York-based Stripes and will allow Harvest Hosts to expand its host locations to offer travelers with RVs access to unique overnight stays.
Based in Vail, Colorado, Harvest Hosts connects its members with a network of more than 1,900 attractions across North America, such as wineries, breweries, farms, golf courses and museums. Travelers can park their RV on the host’s property and explore the destination or attraction.
Harvest Hosts members pay a fee that allowed them to stay at an unlimited number of locations without added costs, other than the suggestion to support the local businesses they visit.
The company says its membership doubled in 2020 and members spent more than $25 million with the small businesses they visited. Harvest Hosts attributes this to a new class of travelers who have become interested in RV travel and they search for safe ways to move about.
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"At Harvest Hosts, our mission is to help people live happier lives by getting off the couch and onto the open road, while also supporting the small businesses that are the backbone of America," says Joel Holland, CEO of Harvest Hosts.
"We want Harvest Hosts to continue being a trusted resource for finding a unique RV experience. We are excited to be partnering with Stripes to double down on the investment in our host network and member experience. We want everyone who interacts with Harvest Hosts, members and hosts alike, to benefit from the experience."
According to RV Industry Association, 46 million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months. As more travelers hit the road, camping inventory becomes an issue, which Harvest Hosts hopes to mitigate through partnerships with thousands of small businesses to provide travelers with alternative overnight experiences.
"It's an exciting time to partner with Joel and the Harvest Hosts team. We look to back ambitious entrepreneurs who are delivering amazing products, and it became clear as we spent more time in the space that Joel is building a really special product for RVers," says Chris Carey, partner at Stripes.
"As part of our research, we surveyed thousands of RVers and dozens of hosts to learn about their firsthand experiences, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both members and hosts. And what got us even more excited is the significant opportunities to continue to expand the host network and offerings for RVers to make the experience even better. The energy and charisma from Joel to invest in making Harvest Hosts the leading RV experience platform was the final piece of the puzzle. His vision for the company is something we are excited to be part of."
The RV space has seen additional funding activity in recent months, with millennials saying they are the most likely to rent an RV in 2021. In October, RVshare raised $100 million to expand its peer-to-peer marketplace as the coronavirus accelerates the road trip trend.