Adria Newcomers

A Timely Mission to Retain Newcomers into Caravanning

The rising number of newcomers into the caravanning industry during the pandemic was a chance for Adria Mobil to make a strategic move and well prepare for the future.

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One of the leading caravan manufacturers in Europe, Adria Mobil, is one of those companies who are well aware of the necessity of making systemic, cyclic innovation efforts. With the ever-changing landscape of user expectations and the challenges presented by climate change, the leadership has already established a system of continually tracking new trends. However, with the onset of the pandemic, the values and priorities of people started shifting unexpectedly, which also significantly marked the caravanning industry that suddenly gained a new popularity.

30 Caravanning newcomers and non-users involved
7 GB Collected data in form of video, photo and text
170 Insights

Adria Mobil's main mission when they approached us with an idea for a design research in 2021, was to get to know this group of newcomers. As a leading caravanning brand, it was key for them to be quick to discover who these new users were, what they valued most and what their expectations in terms of vacationing were. Our strong belief was that even though not all of the newcomers would remain loyal to caravanning after the pandemic restrictions, the remaining ones would differ distinctively from the long-term caravanners.

The approach was to envision a research targeting this new group of users – and we took on our task in the summer of 2021, after the second COVID-19 wave, when the new vacationing styles really started to become more prominent. The research was aimed at newcomers as well as non-users who were drawn to caravanning but still undecided. With the help of a mobile ethnography tool, we led a remote online study that resulted in 7 GB of collected data in form of videos and photos, bringing 170 insights from three different markets – France, Italy and Germany.

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25 innovative directions that emerged from this research showed many promising areas for Adria Mobil to address. We discovered, for example, that important life events, such as retirement, can be a significant trigger to re-start life on your own terms, when free of work, family and other obligations. Freshly retired individuals often choose diverse types of caravanning as a means to socialise, make new friends and enjoy life or on the other hand live a nomadic lifestyle, embarking on ‘never-ending’ trips.

We also learned that motorhomes are perceived as easier entry point into caravanning for newcomers in comparison to caravans which require towing. On the other hand, motorhomes present a challenge with their limited mobility around the final destination, selective parking ability in city centres and difficult manoeuvrability in tight spaces. From the experience point of view, newcomers proved to primarily cherish the freedom of post-covid vacationing offered by caravanning, socialising at the campsites and the spontaneity to tailor their vacationing experience according to their wishes, the weather, interests, or even to travel without a pre-planned destination.

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The research outcomes went beyond the usual innovation efforts. One innovation direction specifically pointed out that newcomers have the highest expectations of the industry leaders to initiate change. The following 2-3 years will show if the caravanning vacation style would keep its popularity in the specific post-pandemic context. In the meantime, Adria Mobil can use ample information to develop the right approach to increase the loyalty of newcomers and maintain its position of a leader in the caravanning segment.