What a crazy year, huh? Nothing about Summer 2020 matched our expectations, but now that it’s over and we’re taking stock of how the season went went, we’re realizing that it actually worked out ok. It wasn’t a record year by any stretch, but it was certainly better than we feared during the April and May lockdowns, when virtually all travel—worldwide—was cancelled or postponed.
There were even a few bright spots. This year, over half of our guests were Alaskans—many locals, from Anchorage, but also many from farther flung locations, like Kenai, Fairbanks and Juneau. We implemented a resident discount for the first time this year, and it turned out to be an unqualified success. But, while the discount was helpful, it was far from the only reason Alaskans booked. Many—in fact, most—cited the fact that we are a local, Alaskan-owned business as the main reason for choosing our vans. That and they wanted to give it a try.
Because camping was the thing this summer, wasn’t it? And even though Alaska didn’t see the record numbers that the Lower 48 did, mostly because we have a small population, we did see record numbers of Alaskans, both going camping and participating in those “touristy” activities that they normally don’t get to do.
Like visiting Denali National Park, and driving the park road. The NPS allowed private vehicles out to Eielson on select weekends this summer, and we saw quite a few Alaskans take our vans along those 60 miles into the park.
Or camping out on the waterfront in Seward, where more than one party reported whale, otter and sea lion sightings from their campsites. Or taking vans for extended berry picking excursions all around the state (using the fridge to keep them fresh!).
And, taking your pets with you on the family camping trip. We had admittedly resisted implementing a pet friendly policy before, mostly because we really hadn’t had much demand for it. But this year, the family camping trip had to include all of the family members, and so thanks to local demand, the pet friendly policy was born and became popular, all at once!
Tourism actually picked up for us in September, too, an uptick that was mirrored across the state. The end of summer travel season, combined with some ridiculously good flight deals from the Midwest, and better safety measures taken by airlines made our September the busiest month of the summer and, ironically, the busiest September we’ve ever had! We certainly didn’t expect that, and it did catch us off guard a little. We were a bit out of breath there for a few weeks, but we made it—not unhappily!
Now, we’re looking forward to our winter rest, and we’re already thinking about next summer. It’s going to be hard to predict what travel will look like next year, but we’re confident at least a few people will want to discover what a great state this is, and how a camper van is the best way to see it!
And we are so thankful to all of our Alaskan guests, for their patronage this summer, for the positive reviews they left and for the word of mouth advertising they didn’t even know they were doing! So we’ll be keeping our Alaska resident discount through next year, and probably beyond. What started as an incentive to interest locals has become a token of our appreciation and a measure of gratitude to show how thankful we are to you for supporting us this summer. Next summer, Alaskans, come on out and travel for less!
Our pet friendly vans were also popular enough this summer that we’ll be keeping our pet friendly policies going forward. Furry friends welcome! (As long as they’re well-behaved, of course :))
We are also planning on replacing a couple of the members of our fleet. Not because we don’t love them—we love all of our vans, and are always sad to see them go—but because we’re still looking toward the future, and at what our future vans/travel vehicles will look like. So you now have the opportunity to drive away in your very own travel van! We’ve got two different vans for sale, and you can view their specs on this page. If you’ve ever wanted to live the #vanlife, now’s the time!
And we are still going to hold our Black Friday sale this year. It’s become an annual event for us, and it’s actually pretty fun. It’s all online, so everyone can stay physically distant, and it lasts all weekend, so there’s no reason to skip your #OptOutside plans on the day after Thanksgiving. The sale: All vans are $189 per night during the summer season, for trips of any length. During Shoulder Season, vans are just $99 per night as long as your trip is 7 nights or longer. Check out the details here.
To everyone who supported us this summer, a huge THANK YOU for your rentals, for your reviews, for sharing and liking and commenting and talking us up. We couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to 2021!