RV News: Lightship Ramps Up, KOA Adds an AI Chatbot, and More

Image Caption: Photo Credit: Lightship

Friday is here at last, which means it’s time for another round-up of all the important news from the RV and camping industry from the past week. Here’s a few important things that went down:

  • Lightship Ramps Up Operations in Colorado: Lightship—the startup focused on building an all-electric travel trailer—has ramped up operations in a 32,000-square-foot facility located in Broomfield, Colorado. According to RV News, the company recently received a $34 million Series B round of funding, allowing it to grow its staff to 60 people and start the process of turning its prototype model into reality. Production is expected to begin later this year, with wider availability starting in 2025.
  • KOA Introduces AI ChatBot: Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days and is finding new and interesting ways to pervade our lives. Case in point, this week KOA integrated an AI-powered chatbot into its website, allowing users to interact more efficiently and quickly. The AI tech helps campers find places to go, as well as linking them to KOA blog posts, FAQs, and other handy info. To begin chatting, head over to KOA.com and click on the bubble icon in the lower right corner.
  • RVIA Says Camping is the Most Affordable Way to Travel: A new study commissioned by the RV Industry Association and Go RVing indicates that traveling in a camper offers substantial savings over other types of vacations. Researchers analyzed nine popular destinations and found a 22%-60% savings for four people staying in an RV rather than a hotel. For two travelers, the savings was less, but a still respectable 9%-47%. To get the full breakdown of the numbers, read more about the study here.
  • Andersen Hitches Reveals Durable New Model: New for spring, Andersen Hitches is releasing a new version of its Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection model. The new hitch weighs in at just 40 pounds but offers unprecedented strength and performance. In a press release announcing the product, the company says that it can tow up to 24,000 pounds, with test units surviving more than 900,000 testing cycles.  Better still, the hitch was reduced in size by six inches, giving it a smaller footprint when mounted in the bed.
  • Dometic Debuts Front Runner Roof Racks for Ineos Grenadier: The Ineos Grenadier isn’t a well-known vehicle in North America just yet, but the rugged SUV—built to compete with the Land Rover Defender—is starting to gain traction (ha!) with overlanders and off-roaders. To support this burgeoning fanbase, Dometic has announced a line of Front Runner roof racks specifically for the Grenadier. The new kit supports more than 55 accessories and extends the utility of the vehicle both on and off-road.
  • Site of Historic Woodstock Festival Opens to Campers: The location that hosted the legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival is opening up to campers for the first time. The famous site that once welcomed 400,000 people for the iconic rock concert continues to host live music and other events to this day. But in 2024, it will give visitors the chance to stay in tents, glamping sites, and RVs and other vehicles. Find out more here.
  • Custom Mattress Factory Launches New Line: Not happy with the mattress you’re currently using in your RV? We have good news for you, as this week Custom Mattress Factory announced a new line specifically for RVers. Options include the entry-level Levi, the super-comfortable Grayson model, and the upscale luxury Kinsley mattress. A handy online “Mattress Wizard” helps shoppers select the right size for the available space. Pricing varies based on model and width.

That’s all for this week. Come back next Friday for another edition of our RV industry news. Have a great weekend.

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