Last Updated: 11th Feb, 2021
It’s a known fact that enjoying the outdoors doesn’t come cheap. The cost of owning new gear, maintenance, storage coupled with the essential equipment needed for camping or backpacking can very easily rack up the bills to thousands of dollars. This is the reason for the growing popularity of services specialized in catering to equipment rental needs of a vast range of outdoor activities.
Online entrepreneurs seem curious about ventures based on rental models. So, let’s take a look at the business model of an outdoor gear rental marketplace to get an understanding of how they actually make money.
A P2P adventure gear marketplace allows people to rent and borrow gear from each other at affordable prices. The marketplace charges a small commission on each transaction. The owners (renter) make money by renting their equipment for a specified time period.
Now that we have a clear understanding of online outdoor equipment rental business model, let’s see how the overall architecture of a rental portal works:
The term ‘adventure gear’ in itself is an all-inclusive term encompassing various types of equipment suitable for all sorts of outdoor sports. In this article, we are emphasizing those adventure gear types that are the most profitable and viable with a rental business model.
According to Statista, there were 7 million skiers and 2.2 million snowboarders in the US by the year 2018. Their numbers have only increased due to the growing Gen Z population and the popularity of these two sports. The top markets for winter sports equipment rental are US, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, indicating a huge scope for new entrants in the industry. The top players renting out skiing and snowboarding gear in the aforementioned regions are Christy Sports and Black Tie Skis.
In the year 2017, hiking made it up to the top as the world’s most popular adventure activity. Similarly, activities like trekking and trail running were amongst the top activities that gained prominence amongst adventure travelers in 2018. Also, camping is quite popular as hiking with the latest statistics showing the active numbers of US campers as 41.67 million. Moreover, studies conducted in 2020 forecasted 44% campers to continue camping in the year 2021. The top regions where hiking and camping gear is regularly rented are the United States, Canada, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and France. Notable players in this industry are Arrive Outdoors, Rei and Outdoors Geek A popular and safer alternative to camping is RVing, which is also a very lucrative business idea in 2021. You can find all information about RV rental business here.
Surfing as a water sport has over 35 million participants all over the globe. In fact, it is immensely popular in the US where an average of 1.7 million people go for surfing on an annual basis. The second country with maximum recognition for the sport is Australia, which is followed by the United Kingdom and France. Additionally, surfing equipment like surf boards and wetsuits are rented frequently due to training sessions and pool surfing in regions that aren’t in close proximity to water bodies. The top players in the surfing equipment rental industry are Quiver, rentsurfboard.com and Surfy Nomad.
The world has a total of 9 million scuba divers out of which 3.5 million and 2.8 million reside in Europe and the United States respectively. The scuba diving industry is growing at such an astonishing rate that its evaluated market share of $1077.7 million in 2019, is estimated to reach $1442.1 million by the end of the year 2026. With countries like Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and the United States taking the lead with most popular scuba diving destinations, it’s safe to assume the profitability of scuba gear rental business in Asia-Pacific region along with America and Europe. Top players in the industry are Aquatic Adventures, Mares and One World Dive.
The global bike rental industry is projected to achieve a market share of $4 billion by the end of 2025. With advancing technology, particularly, GPS navigation, bike renting has become a reliable, safer and comparatively more accessible adventure sport than ever before. It is practiced all over the globe and is a highly profitable business idea with a simple business model. The top online biking gear rental companies are Spinlister, BimBimBikes. The application of bikes as a micro mobility vehicle also increases the business potential of a bike rental marketplace.
Like most online ventures, peer to peer renting platforms also get a major boost by focusing on user experience and engagement. Hence, focus on simplifying the UI/UX for consumers. Let’s take a look at the crucial website features and various other aspects that are highly recommended by major rental marketplace software developers.
As soon as users land on the homepage, they must get a clear idea about what the website is all about. It’s crucial that designers apply more emphasis on creating a powerful UX. Some of the ways to do that could be:
It’s good to keep the sign-in/sign-up process simple. There should be a dedicated page for both options. You can also provide an option for signup/sign-in via Facebook. The overall signup process needs to be highly efficient. Asking for too much information will only turn users away.
After the user has logged-in, he/she should be directed to the dashboard, which showcases the listings straightaway. This will be a unique approach for your adventure gear rental marketplace. Usually in other peer-to-peer platforms, dashboard comprises a central hub which showcases all the information related to users’ accounts. Make a user-centric approach by offering a provision for a single account for rentee and renter.
Some marketplaces use a detailed map view of the listings, making it easy for the rentee to find products he/she is looking for. Rather than searching for a specific item, the platform must allow its users to find all the gear available in a given location. This is not only a simplified approach for the rentee, but also streamlines the overall process from searching to finally renting a product.
Search is one of the key areas in any peer-to-peer rental website. With thousands of items, it becomes cumbersome for users to browse through each and every listing. The search functionality should be simple yet powerful. The search filters can make it easy to find relevant items within a few clicks.
Users can also be allowed to sort the listing based on rentals as well as stores. Other useful filters can include:
The listing page needs to be highly user-friendly with all the information at relevant places. Take special care in making the renting process fast and efficient. You can segment the page in this way:
Your website must have an efficient booking system in place. Once users have selected a particular product and the respective date for rental, they should be taken to a booking form, showcasing the final price. Instead of booking an item straight away, they should first be asked to make a request to the owner. Only once the owner has approved the request, the rentee should be allowed to make the due payment. This is an effective approach to rule out the possibility of unavailable items.
Moreover rentees should have the option to have direct conversation with the renter to discuss their questions and other requirements before making a request. If the vendor agrees to the, then the rentee can go ahead and make the corresponding booking request. This is an innovative booking procedure that focuses on creating a conversation channel between the renter and the renter/vendor.
It’s important to keep the overall process of listing an item easy and simple. Place a button on the header that takes the users to “add a new listing” form. The form should ask for some basic details about the rental product, which are vital from the rentee’s perspective:
The overall process shouldn’t take too much time. Moreover, consider adding some insurance policies that will safeguard both rentee and the vendor. This can increase user’s confidence in sharing a personal item with a stranger.
The overall process of making as well as receiving funds should be simple. Although PayPal is a robust and secure payment gateway, try to allow users to make and receive payments directly into their bank accounts without the interference of any middle gateway. Whatever option you go for, make sure it is secure.
Communication channels help renter and rentee interact before making the exchange. A robust messaging tool will go a long way in creating a community feel amongst members. With this, prospective rentees will be able to contact product owners to discuss their queries before making a rental request. FATbit recommends a similar approach for your adventure gear rental marketplace.
Each and every vendor must have a distinct profile page to make it easy for the rentee to get an overview of all the items they have to offer. Allow store owners to make profiles on the website and rent their products. The overall page should be highly intuitive and must offer detailed description related to the vendor. Additionally, all the open listings can be made visible to the users to facilitate product selection.
The concept of peer-to-peer rental marketplaces has been around for some time but is still confusing for new users. This is why a Help section is important. We at FATbit believe that rather than a query-sharing feature, a real time help chat can drive user trust in your favor. This is the reason why real-time chat functionality has become an industry standard. Go for a detailed FAQ section to get additional points.
Your website must incorporate some unique ideas in order to stand out from the competition. If you are planning to compete with the likes of Coozie, Outdoors Geek and XscapePod, then, the above mentioned features are a must.
By implementing these features you’ll be able to create a powerful and sophisticated online gear rental website. If you’re looking for a turnkey solution to launch your online rental marketplace, then Yo!Rent can help. Yo!Rent is a product of FATbit technologies, built specifically to cater to the needs of online rental businesses. The solution is highly customizable and scalable allowing you to incorporate features that are crucial for your businesses growth.
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