Editor’s Note the following article appeared in Financial Times offering a first-hand report of author Matthew Garrahan’s experience booking a trip with Airstream 2 Go, a rental firm started by former Airstream executive Dicky Riegel last year. For the full story click here.
There is a car museum in Los Angeles to which I sometimes take my children on quiet weekends. It has hundreds of classic cars: a Model T Ford; a Bugatti; wide, sweeping Cadillacs – even a genuine Batmobile – and a diner that serves terrific milkshakes.
Next to the museum entrance is an aluminum trailer, curved like a rocket and still shiny, despite being decades old. It is an original Airstream Clipper and when I was asked if I wanted to take my family on an Airstream holiday, it was the first thing that came to mind.
The company that launched the first “recreational vehicle” in 1932 has updated its trailers over the years. Today’s Airstreams are like miniature luxury apartments and are priced accordingly: top-of-the-range models can cost more than $100,000, which is beyond the reach of casual travellers who want to experience a road trip in their own piece of Americana.
Enter Airstream 2 Go, a new business started by Dicky Riegel, a former Airstream chief executive, with the aim of allowing everyone from curious tourists to diehard Airstream fans to rent one. Riegel was with Airstream for 16 years – “cut me and I bleed silver” he says – and realized there was an untapped market. “Anytime anybody discovered I had anything to do with Airstream, they would ask me, ‘How do I rent one?’ ”
Airstream 2 Go is owned by Riegel and has an exclusive license from the manufacturer to rent the trailers. Wally Byam, who founded Airstream – he made his first trailer in 1929, building a platform on the chassis of a Model T Ford – placed as much importance on design as on functionality, and the aluminium panelled trailer that he eventually constructed became an American design classic. Over the years, Airstreams have been beloved of Hollywood stars as much as adventurous road warriors who embraced Byam’s creed of travel with “all the comforts of home.”
For the full story click here.
Airstream 2 Go, a startup travel company offering Airstream trailer rentals, announced new rates and promotional programs for the off-peak season of Nov. 22 through March 14, 2014. According to a press release, highlights of the new limited time offering include a 25% rate discount, new three-day minimum rental period and a streamlined two-tier offering.
“We’re excited to offer tremendous off-peak value to travelers,” said Dicky Riegel, Airstream 2 Go’s founder and CEO. “Airstream 2 Go clients enjoy a unique opportunity to experience America, in a quintessentially American way. It is truly a timeless vacation and travel offering. And now, with our winter season pricing, shorter minimum trip durations and two ways of booking, an Airstream 2 Go experience is now even more accessible.”
The new off-peak rate structure represents significant value to consumers, according to Riegel, noting, “This timing is some of the best opportunity for Airstream 2 Go travelers to visit many of America’s best destinations, without the crowds and lines experienced at other times of the year. And at a 25% discount from Airstream 2 Go’s peak season pricing, these rates are the best available during the Airstream 2 Go calendar.”
The journey duration is always up to the traveler, with a new winter season minimum of only three days. Three-day trip rates range from $1,740 for a “Take It & Go” journey in a 23-foot trailer, up to $2,400 for a three day “Custom Journey.” Weeklong trip rates during the off-peak winter season range from $4,060 for a ‘Take It & Go’ trip with a 23-foot trailer to $5,600 for a fully customized itinerary with the 28-foot trailer. Travelers can plan an Airstream 2 Go experience from Los Angeles, California or Las Vegas, Nevada.
Riegel said that Airstream 2 Go’s two-tier offering makes planning simple. “Whether booking a ‘Take It & Go’ journey or a full Custom Journey’ with itinerary and bespoke activity planning included, travelers receive hands-on guidance and expertise to make the trip as turnkey and user-friendly as possible,” he said.
Travelers also benefit from Airstream 2 Go’s partnership with “Off the Beaten Path,” the renowned travel planning and outfitting company known for exceptional outdoor explorations since 1986. Named one of the top 25 exploration experts in the nation by National Geographic magazine, “Off the Beaten” Path offers an insider experience to some of nation’s natural attractions.
The Burma Shave signs are long gone and Route 66 exists in name only but this summer travelers can hit the road in a rig that truly recalls the glory days of the Great American Road Trip, according to a report by NBC News.
Launched earlier this month, Airstream2Go.com offers the first-ever rentals of the distinctive “silver bullets” that have been icons of the highway for more than 80 years.
“Everybody recognizes them,” said Al Hesselbart, historian at the Recreational Vehicle Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind. “If it’s a bright aluminum trailer with rounded curves, it’s got to be an Airstream.”
That shape owes its existence to Hawley Bowlus, a glider builder and designer who conceived it in the early 1930s after helping build the Spirit of St. Louis for Charles Lindbergh. Unfortunately for Bowlus, he was a better engineer than a businessman and the company struggled until master promoter Wally Byam took over, renamed it Airstream and launched a sales and marketing machine that capitalized on the trailer’s unique shape and then-futuristic styling.
“For many years, it had kind of a snob appeal,” said Hesselbart. It was, ‘I’ve got one and you don’t.’”
Enter Dicky Riegel, who founded Airstream 2 Go after serving as president of Airstream and group president of its parent company, Thor Industries Inc. With new models costing $30,000 to $100,000, he saw a gap in a business model in which the rigs were available for sale but not for rental.
“I was with Airstream for 15 years and there wasn’t a day that went by that someone didn’t ask, ‘How do I rent one?’” he told NBC News. “The answer to that question was always, ‘Well, I’m sorry but you can’t.’”
Until now, that is. Currently, Airstream 2 Go is renting 23- and 28-foot Airstreams from two locations: Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Trailers are paired with a GMC Yukon Denali truck with rates starting at $3,850 for a self-guided “Take It & Go” 5-day rental.
To read the entire article click here.
Airstream 2 Go, a new travel company offering rentals of current-model Airstream trailers, makes its debut this month.
According to a press release, Airstream 2 Go offers customers a unique and stylish way to explore the United States in a turn-key Airstream vacation experience. Travelers can visit and explore America’s national parks, landmark destinations and landscapes with all the comforts of their own Airstream trailer, custom matched to dedicated GMC Yukon Denali sport utility vehicles.
Independently owned and operated, and exclusively factory-authorized by Airstream Inc., Airstream 2 Go has strategic locations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
“Airstream 2 Go is a brand new company with an 82-year history,” said Dicky Riegel, founder and CEO and a former Thor Industries Inc. executive. “Airstream trailers have been an American icon for travel and adventure since 1931 but, until now, only Airstream owners have been able to access the brand. Through its rental offering, Airstream 2 Go provides adventurous travelers with a timeless vacation and travel experience.”
Airstream 2 Go trailers feature sleek and contemporary interiors designed by award-winning San Francisco architect and designer Christopher C. Deam. All Airstreams in the fleet are fully equipped, with many items provided through Airstream 2 Go’s relationship with Zappos.com (www.zappos.com). Each Airstream includes luxury amenities such as plush linens, towels and all the essentials for a fully equipped kitchen. Available in two sizes – a 23-foot trailer that sleeps four and a 28-foot trailer that sleeps six — each Airstream features Ultraleather fabrics, Beauflor flooring, Wilsonart laminate furniture, flat screen LED televisions, Sony DVD/CD players, iPod docks, integrated sound systems, microwaves and cook tops, barbeque grills and Zip-Dee powered awnings.
Travelers will receive also hands-on guidance and expertise to make the trip as turn-key as possible. Airstream 2 Go has partnered with Off the Beaten Path (http://offthebeatenpath.com/), a travel planning and outfitting company known for exceptional outdoor explorations since 1986. Named one of the top 25 exploration experts in the nation by National Geographic magazine, Off the Beaten Path offers an insider experience to some of nation’s most incredible natural attractions.
Prior to hitting the road, Airstream 2 Go will educate renters by providing detailed information on itinerary stops, destination facts and even step-by-step product videos available online at www.airstream2go.com, including what to pack for their specific journey. Upon arrival in Los Angeles or Las Vegas, guests are welcomed and transferred to the Airstream 2 Go depot, where staff will provide a thorough overview and education about the Airstream and tow vehicle. Renters will be equipped with fully loaded iPad Minis containing information on all necessary safety systems, a copy of their itinerary, maps and even a special Airstream 2 Go driving playlist.
The journey duration is up to the traveler, with a minimum of five days. Introductory week-long trip rates range from $5,300 for a ‘do it yourself’ trip with a 23-foot trailer to $7,500 for a fully customized itinerary with the 28-foot trailer. Airstream 2 Go offers travelers a unique opportunity to experience America, in a quintessentially American way.
For more information visit, www.airstream2go.com or call 1-800-780-9880.
In a completely new twist for the RV industry, former Thor Industries Inc. executive Dicky Riegel in May will launch Airstream 2 Go LLC, a company that plans to rent Airstream travel trailers hitched to GMC Yukon Denali SUV tow vehicles to retail consumers.
”Airstream 2 Go is entirely new for people who never have had the experience of an Airstream,” said Riegel, former president of Airstream Inc. and senior president of Thor, Airstream’s parent company.
Airstream 2 Go initially will make available through facilities in Las Vegas and Los Angeles a fleet of 20 Airstream International Signature travel trailers, offered in 23- and 28-foot lengths, with interiors by noted designer Christopher C. Deam.
Rates for a weeklong rental will range from $5,300 for people who just want to pick up a trailer/tow package and range up to $7,500 for a customized itinerary developed by Airstream 2 Go’s partner Off the Beaten Path, a Montana-based travel planning and outfitting company. Riegel noted that Airstream 2 Go would limit rentals to five days or longer.
”It’s a premium experience,” Riegel said. ”Many in the RV industry will say, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money.’ But if you think about how unique Airstream 2 Go is, and the ability we give to visit America’s great venues in a quintessential way, we know there will be demand for the experience at the premium price point.”
Rental customers will be covered by their automobile insurance, Riegel said. ”Insurance coverage will be just like when they rent an automobile,” he said.
Riegel said Airstream 2 Go, in developing its novel business plan, surveyed 60,000 consumers about their interest in renting an Airstream and found a substantial number of positive responses.
”For all those people, Airstream 2 Go presents an exciting opportunity never offered before,” Riegel said.
Also as part of its game plan, Airstream 2 Go has an exclusive arrangement with Airstream Inc. to provide rental travel trailers to the public, which heretofore had not been available.
In California, Airstream 2 Go will offer rentals at the Airstream Los Angeles dealership in San Gabriel. In Nevada, the new company will have a 28,000-square-foot lot in a redevelopment project in downtown Las Vegas.
Riegel said Airstream 2 Go over the next three to five years expects to establish facilities in Florida, Texas, the Pacific Northwest, Illinois and New England, among other locations.
Editor’s Note: The following column is penned by Dutch Mandel, editorial director for Autoweek, chronicling his association with former Airstream and Thor Industries Inc. executive Dicky Riegel over the years and the pending launch of Airstream 2 Go – the only factory-authorized Airstream trailer rental company in the U.S.
I met Dicky Riegel about 10 years ago. I’d been wandering the halls of the annual Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) convention in Louisville, Ky., and Dicky was completely blocking the doorway of a bright and shiny Airstream trailer. I wanted in.
At 6 feet 7, Dicky blocks a lot of passages, but opens up many more. As then-president of Airstream Inc., he afforded adventurers a chance to see the world, one iconic aluminum tube at a time.
When we found out what each other did, neither of us could stop asking questions. Dicky is a car fanatic — a nut of the finest order – and from an early age, he consumed car magazines, including Autoweek, like oxygen. As I’ve an interest in design, the open road and a cool, hip life I envision leading someday with an Airstream on my bumper and miles of roads ahead, it was an ideal match. For days, stories and vodka gimlets flowed.
Over the years, I visited Dicky and right-hand-man Bob Wheeler — an unassuming engineer the ladies adore at their Jackson Center, Ohio, headquarters. We did projects together: When Autoweek competed in a human-powered Red Bull Dragster event, we promoted a righteous Airstream SkyDeck motor home. Every successful race team needs hospitality, right?
In time, Dicky moved from Airstream to parent company Thor Industries Inc. (and Bob became Airstream president, a position he still holds today). That was the beginning and the middle of this story … that gets better.
Move forward several years, and Dicky wants to do something on his own. He conjures up a brilliant plan.
Understand that the only way anyone could experience the Airstream lifestyle was if they went all in and bought one. It was a commitment to be part of a life enjoyed by many and envied by more.(Who among us, upon seeing a summer sun glint off that shiny carapace, has not breathed the sigh of a beckoning road?) Until now, there’d been no way to rent an Airstream to live this fantasy.
Dicky started Airstream 2 Go, the first and only factory-authorized Airstream trailer rental company in the States. He raised capital, bought a squadron of trailers and a fleet of GMC Yukon Denalis, and created a mobile destination getaway we all can enjoy. (Its soft launch is this month, but he’s booking clients for May already! Go to airstream2go.com to learn more.)
He’s made it simple — a concierge will plan stops, coordinate your adventure, plot your path and, of course, make reservations. Before you go, a full-blown ground school will walk you through how to care for the trailer. Or you can fly in, rent the rig and off you go. The level of engagement is customizable and fits every customer.
Have you dreamed of a roll through America’s purple mountain majesty? A 23-foot Airstream could fill your needs. A family of six can vacation to the Grand Canyon or the Pacific Ocean in a 28-footer. Each model is fitted with air conditioning, power awning, backup camera, lawn chairs, gas grill, available bike rack, generator, bathroom with shower, kitchen with refrigerator and microwave, duvets (!) and flat-panel TV.
You could float down a river, spelunk a cave or lie on a beach, but until you’ve enjoyed the openness this country offers, you’ve not lived. Dicky, like I said, has opened up America to many, and I can’t wait for my Airstream vacation.