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RV travelers spending less on vacations while supporting local businesses

Harvest Hosts helps RVers find unique local businesses across the nation
Posted at 2:57 PM, Feb 13, 2024
  • Video shows Lou Royce taking care of his ostrichs, Allen Anderson at the Minter Field Air Museum, and stats on the costs of RV travel
  • Joel Holland with Harvest Hosts began his company to help RVers find great spots across the country while supporting local businesses like the Quail Run Ostrich Ranch and the Minter Field Air Museum.

The 2023 holiday season was one of the busiest travel seasons on record for RVers.
That’s because RV travel costs up to 60% lessthan a comparable trip with hotels and plane tickets, and one organization is using that to help travelers support local businesses.

Packed bags, slammed car doors, and the open road are the sounds of a vacation to unique spots like this just outside of Kern county.

Lou Royce runs Quail Run Ostrich Ranch, taking care of dozens of ostriches each day.

“He’s got a little arthritis in his left knee, so the cold weather bothers him,” Royce said when asked about one of his birds.

He says the birds bring people from all over the world and Joel Holland the CEO of Harvest Hosts says that’s the idea behind his business.

23ABC Neighborhood News Reporter Dominique LaVigne Interviewing Allen Anderson with the Minter Field Air Museum
23ABC Neighborhood News Reporter Dominique LaVigne Interviewing Allen Anderson with the Minter Field Air Museum

“The thought was, man, there’s millions of RVers in the United States, and there’s so many cool small businesses all over. Why don’t we try and connect the two,” Holland said.

As inflation rates continue to impact costs for consumers, about 67 million Americans planned to take an RV trip in 2023 to explore without worrying about the expenses of an elaborate vacation.

“We ask our campers to spend about $30, and they usually spend closer to $50 on average,” he said.

Those donations make a big difference for Allen Anderson with the Minter Field Air Museum.

“We used to get let’s say 1500 dollars a year in the bomb, which is our donation deal, and since Harvest Hosts, it’s about doubled."

Anderson tells me it costs about $1000 a month to stay in business, and with donations, Anderson says he can keep the museum afloat.

He says 15 to 20 campers already made reservations to stay at the museum in the next 6 months.

“It tells me I’m gonna be busy,” he laughed.

Royce agrees, telling me Harvest Hosts drives people to the ranch to buy their products like an ostrich egg he scooped up.

“I’m gonna get this egg, right here.”

Products like that ostrich egg, he says cost more as expenses rise.

“Our costs are through the roof, so inflation has killed us in feed costs more than anything and of course, we have to pass it on to our products,” Royce said.

Both Royce and Anderson shared it’s the passion for their small business that drives them to continue despite the economic challenges, and they say working with Harvest Hosts makes it a little easier.

“Sure, I don’t want to go belly up. I’m trying to make a buck, but it’s deeper than that. You can tell the passion for the birds is deeper than trying to make a buck.”

You can find more of the local locations here.

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