A Chat with Benoit Panel, CEO and Co-Founder at Motorhome and Campervan Hire Company: Yescapa

Yescapa is the online partner for leisure vehicle holidays. It gives you access to over 12,000 campervans and motorhomes for hire across the UK and Europe to reconnect with nature and enjoy real trips, outdoors, with your loved ones.

With 1.2M nights of rentals completed since launching in 2012, Yescapa is focusing on re-inventing outdoor travel with leisure vehicles by offering easy, flexible and safe solutions for our community of 675 000 members.
 
 
Peer to Peer RV Rentals - Yescapa
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
As a hiking and surf enthusiast, I planned frequent trips outdoors in Europe and was often interested in renting campervans.

In 2012, when we started the company, motorhome hire was only available through commercial fleet operators offering expensive and impersonal vehicles.

Considering that a campervan is used on average only 60 days a year and the cost of both its purchase (£53K on average) and its annual maintenance (£3-4K), I created a service that allows leisure vehicle owners to share their passion with people who want to experience the nomadic travel in the outdoors with a larger and more affordable choice of fully equipped vehicles.

I first presented the idea in a startup weekend, in November 2011 and I met my cofounder there.  We then launched the service in May 2012 and this fantastic entrepreneurial journey began!
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
As many companies we firstly switched to a fully remote work organisation. Despite being from one day to another, the transition has been smooth and easy as we were already using many SAAS tools and as the team was really supportive and willing to overcome that tough time. Since then, after having surveyed the team, we adopted a hybrid work model adapting to working between the office and at home.

Our operational processes also evolved to ensure the safety of our users: we promoted our customers to embrace our digital “rental contract” and made it a standard that all vehicles would have to be disinfected before departure and that disinfectants products should be provided during the rental period as hygiene protocol.

We evolved by focusing on restoring confidence when there was so much uncertainty amongst holidaymakers when booking holidays. We implemented a flexible cancellations policy allowing renters to be refunded or to reschedule their trip if their booking was affected by Covid19.

We registered a growth of 111% from 1/1/20 to 31/12/21 and are now a much more resilient and agile company and we feel 100% ready to successfully embrace any changes coming.
 

What can we hope to see from Yescapa in the future?

 
It will be bright as long as we keep our customers satisfied as our key priority!

With over 150 000 people who travelled with us in 2021, and with 12000 campervans and motorhomes to choose from in 25 countries, Yescapa is already the leading European player in the campervan rental industry. If you consider the travel and holidays trends and the desire for staycation, slow tourism and connection with nature far from the excesses of mass tourism, they all are evolving in a way that positions our services as a travel solution for the masses.

We now prepare Yescapa for being able to climb the next stages of its development and to continue to provide a vast choice of leisure vehicle holidays adapted to everyone’s desires.