After two decades of service, RV Rental Association (RVRA) Chairman Bert Alanko of MBA Insurance has announced he will step down from that position following the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) board meeting in March.
According to a press release, Alanko is a long-time contributor to RVDA and has served as chairman of the rental association for 19 years. His years of service have been marked by multiple RVDA/RVRA awards for membership recruitment, the RVDA Chairman’s Service Award in 2004, and in 2011, RVDA’s highest honor, the James B. Summers Award.
“It has been my honor and a lot of fun to have been allowed to serve as the RVRA chairman, sit on the RVDA board and work with the dealer board members for all these years,” said Alanko in announcing his departure. “The dedication that board members exhibit toward the progress and success of the RVDA and our industry is truly inspiring. This opportunity has allowed me to see our RV industry from a whole different viewpoint than one would normally experience. The friendships that I have made have enriched my RV career. I only hope that I have been able to make a positive contribution.”
MBA Insurance, Alanko’s company, is a consistent sponsor of the RV Dealers Convention/Expo along with contributing to the development of the rental educational track at the event and providing financial support to the RV Learning Center.
“Bert Alanko has provided excellent leadership and outstanding guidance to the RVDA board over the years,” said RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch. “He is a passionate advocate for RV rentals and the important role they play within the RV industry. We will miss his enthusiasm, candor, Midwestern values, and his humor on the board.”
Nominations are now being accepted for RVRA leadership positions. A new chairman and board members will be elected by RVRA members in early spring. RVRA, a subsidiary of RVDA, is the national association of companies that rent RVs including dealers and rental-only companies.
Bert Alanko of MBA Insurance in Scottsdale, Ariz,, received the James B. Summers (JBS) Award during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo on Oct. 5.
According to a press release, Alanko was honored for his long-time commitment and wide-ranging involvement in the RV Dealers Association (RVDA) the RV Rental Association (RVRA).
Alanko has served on the RVDA board as RVRA chairman since 1991, making him the longest serving board member in the association’s history. He currently co-chairs the RVDA Membership Committee and has served on the Convention/Expo Committee. His company also supports the association through contributions to the RV Learning Center, advertising in RV Executive Today magazine and as a convention/expo exhibitor and sponsor.
“Not only has Bert attended nearly every convention in the last 25 years, he has actively supported them in every way possible,” said RVDA President Mike Molino. “He is an active membership recruiter for the association and a valuable member of the RVDA board.”
The JBS Award, created in 1986, is named in honor of RVDA’s second chief staff officer James B. Summers, who passed away in 2010. It is the highest award a member can receive for consistent and outstanding service to the association. The board of directors selects the winner each year by secret ballot from among nominations submitted by association members.
Bert Alanko, left, president of MBA Insurance Inc., has announced a new program for his agency’s clients that rent RVs.
In an interview he had these comments about the new program:
“We have begun an association with Point Data Solutions who owns Ultimate RV Rentals.com. What we are going to do is enable our dealer customers to list all of their rental units on this website. The rental customer can go search by ZIP code, by city, by state, and locate rental vehicles. So, anybody that we insure – right now that is about 2,500 dealer policies- can place their units on the site.
“If a rental customer sees a unit they like, they can click on it and if the dealer has say 10 units on the site, the other 9 units will also be displayed. Our goal is to drive business to our dealer’s place of business. We are going to do this for $1.99 per unit per month. We feel that this is a good value for our customers.
“All we want our dealers to do is to help us help them; populate the site.
“They can’t go out and get that degree of web presence on their own. It would be too costly and the ranking on the sites is done by linkage. With the cooperation of our dealers, we believe that we can get UltimateRVrentals.com up there on the web where it can compete with any of the rental listing sites that are out there now.
“So, we are going to be able to do something for our dealers that they can’t do for themselves – good positioning on the search engines, Google, Yahoo, places like that; we are going to drive business to them. Someone who goes to the site, makes a vehicle request, the dealer receives a SMS right to their cell phone plus an email. Speed it’s speed. We know that the first person to get to the rental customer gets the booking.
“He can be anywhere, at the kid’s ballgame, wherever, and call the rentaer right back saying, ‘Hey I understand you just made an inquiry on my site for unit x, yes that is available.
“And, if they are using the eWebRenter, our booking program to produce contracts, he can get a contract back to the renter in just seconds. All of a sudden we’ve taken this rental shopper a made him a customer, in a couple of minutes.”
How do people find this site?
“They go to one of the search engines, say Google, and search RV Rental. Eventually our search engine optimization will have our site right up there near the top. We are going to be doing webenars seminars with our dealers; dealer participation is going to be the key to make this service work for the rental community. It is going to take some time to get the UltimateRVrentals.com site highly ranked. But, it works, we know that, we just want to do it better more cost effectively.”
What kind of rental year are you anticipating?
“We at MBA think it’s going to be a great year for the rental business. Dealers are having a tough time selling vehicles. It’s tough for the consumer to make that commitment to buy the RV right now. But, its not tough to commit for a week or two to rent. That’s easy. Based on what we are hearing from our customers their advance bookings are fair to very strong. So I think that once again the rental business is going to be good. Rentals are good in the good times and good in the bad times, and right now we are definitely in the latter.”