Niall HamptonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Editor's Blog’ written by Niall Hampton
Since 2004, Practical Motorhome’s annual Owner Satisfaction Survey has been recognising the design, reliability and build quality of motorhomes, plus the quality of customer service from the dealerships who supply the ’vans to buyers – and we want you to get involved.
We don’t award gongs for individual ranges or models; instead, the manufacturer’s score is averaged out across all the ’vans it makes (split into new and pre-owned) that our respondents feed back on. Scores for supplying dealerships are averaged out for all the ’vans they sell, again split into new and pre-owned.
Readers shopping for motorhomes for sale, whether new or second hand motorhomes, are therefore well advised to read our annual Owner Satisfaction Awards coverage (published each year in our April issue, which goes on sale in February), as it really does tell it like it is.
And as it’s the only survey of its type to include new and used motorhomes, you get to see the whole of the market. The findings aren’t the views of the magazine’s testers or contributors, but of our readers, who base their scores on their experiences of ownership and touring. Readers like you. And many of you do get involved and rate your motorhomes and dealers, but we would welcome many more to make our survey even more valuable.
The Owner Satisfaction Survey sits well with our annual Motorhome of the Year Awards, in which we recognise innovation and excellence in motorhome design and production. We haven’t had time to cross-reference one awards against the other, but it could make interesting reading!
One thing our Motorhome of the Year judges can’t know when drawing up the shortlist towards the end of every model year, though, is how well each ’van will fare over prolonged periods of touring. Our access to the units will typically be for short tests over 48 hours, with the ones we’re most interested in being used for travel stories and live-in tests over a longer period. We publish regular updates on ’vans in our long-term test fleet, and if any of these perform consistently well then they will be in the reckoning for the Motorhome of the Year shortlist, too (a long-term test motorhome is made available to us by a manufacturer or dealership happy to cover the costs of first registration and depreciation while we have the use of it – we will run up to half a dozen of these vehicles in a calendar year and we’re very grateful to the respective manufacturers and dealerships who make them available to us).
For an even longer assessment of how a given motorhome works in the field, though, that’s where the Owner Satisfaction Survey comes in. For the 2015 survey, the awards ceremony for which recently took place at the EventCity Caravan and Motorhome Show in Manchester, respondents were able to tell us about any new or pre-owned motorhome they’d bought since 2010. This gave up to four years of insight into how a motorhome performs the job it was designed to do, and how well the design and build quality stands up to the rigours of touring. We got a separate report on the base vehicle and the habitation areas in the motorhome, plus how many warranty claims owners had to make over their time of ownership. With this rich level of information, what better way could there be to build up a picture of ownership of a given brand of motorhome – a vital insight whether you’re thinking of buying new or second hand?
The Owner Satisfaction Survey has now been going for over 10 years and the record 1035 responses we received in 2015 tells us it’s well known to motorhome owners and the dealerships who encourage their customers to take part. But more responses will mean we can drill down deeper into the data and give our readers an even better picture of what the best motorhomes for sale are.
So tell us about your new or pre-owned motorhome, and its supplying dealer, and help us generate even more valuable data to help you and your fellow motorcaravanners buy better. The 2016 Practical Motorhome Owner Satisfaction Survey is now live – so vote today.