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RV Rental Firm CanaDream Creates iPad App

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Calgary-based CanaDream Corp. has been renting out recreational vehicles for more than 15 years, with locations in six provinces and territories. Although there are various high-tech aspects to the company’s business, including the software it uses for booking and reservations, it was a recent digital endeavor that got customers buzzing – an iPad app.

The Globe and Mail, Toronto, reported that six years ago, CanaDream began working on a project to develop a GPS-based tool that would offer RV users access to nearby points of interest, CEO Brian Gronberg says. CanaDream initially designed the software for GPS navigational units, which at the time were still growing in popularity. But that all changed in 2010.

“We were all set to launch (the software) a year ago on GPS screens,” Gronberg explains. “And then they announced the iPad, and we went ‘stop’ – the technology has caught up with the idea.”

The company quickly reworked the software for the larger tablet screen, and it soon signed deals with its carrier partners to give RV customers access to data through cellular or Wi-Fi connections, making the CanaDream app accessible on the road.

The idea is simple. The app essentially picks up a user’s location and offers information about nearby points of interest such as camping sites. The almost 3,000 options are collected from CanaDream’s 700 or so partners. In addition, customers get access to special discounts from those partners.

Just as they rent RVs, customers can now also rent iPads from CanaDream, or bring their own and download the app from the company’s website or on Apple’s iTunes store. A version of the app is publicly available for anyone to use, but only the RV rental customers get access to the discounts feature.

The explosive growth of consumer tablets has proven to be a boon for many small businesses, from restaurants that now use them as menus, to traveling salespeople who can do video displays of their products on the spot. Unlike major technological investments, tablet apps often cost relatively little, and they are easily distributed through various app stores.

But there’s another advantage. Unlike the somewhat more fragmented smart phone market, the tablet industry is still essentially a one-device arena. Because Apple’s iPad still dominates sales, small and medium-sized businesses can usually get away with designing an app specifically for that device, rather than paying extra for a presence on multiple platforms.

For now, Gronberg says CanaDream is focusing on adding more destinations and discounts to the app, in the hopes that the location-specific information and discounts it provides RV users will distinguish it from the competition.

“Yes there’s all kinds of guidebooks out there,” he says, “but sifting through it all to make the information applicable is always a very tedious job.”

 

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CanaDream Reports Record May-July Quarter

September 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Recreational vehicle operator CanaDream Corp. has posted its strongest first-quarter profit ever, despite a 6% decline in revenue.

The tourism company earned $2.1 million or 10.6 cents a share in the May-July period compared with $1.9 million or 11.8 cents a share in the same quarter last year, Canada Business reported.

CanaDream saw its revenue drop to $9.6 million from $10.2 million, due to a decrease in fleet sales which was offset by an increase in rental revenue.

The recently concluded quarter is one of its busiest periods due to increased travel in the spring and summer. Since the business is seasonal in nature, the majority of its direct expenses are incurred in that period.

The company had cash and cash equivalents plus accounts receivables and short-term deposits of $5.9 million, a significant improvement from $760,000 at the end of April.

CanaDream operates in Vancouver, British Columbia, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Calgary, Alberta, Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. It has a partnership with Apollo Motorhomes in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

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CanaDream’s First-Half Sales Fall 5% from 2008

December 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

CanaDream Corp. today (Dec. 10) announced financial results for the six months ended Oct. 31.

Revenues of $18.8 million were 5% lower than last year, cash flow from operations of $7 million (37 cents per share) was 8% lower than last year and net income and comprehensive income of $3.7 million was 7% lower than last year, according to a news release.

CanaDream is a Canadian tourism company that maintains six company-operated RV rental locations in Calgary, Alberta, Vancouver, British Columbia,  Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, and and Halifax Nova Scotia. The company also has two dealer franchisees in Kelowna, British Columbia, and Edmonton, Alberta.

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Forest River Inc. Allies with RV Rental Firms

December 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Forest River Inc. logoForest River Inc., Canada-based CanaDream Corp. and Australia-based Apollo Motorhomes announced Monday (Nov. 30) the emergence of AmeriDream — an RV rental venture positioned to capture significant market share and further promote the growth of RV tourism in the U.S.

“The venture provides an enormous benefit to our dealers and travelers here and abroad,” said Peter Liegl, Forest River president and CEO, in a news release. “Dealers within our network will be able to better manage their domestic booking and gain exposure to the lucrative international market virtually overnight. AmeriDream dealers will be able to seamlessly integrate the advanced systems and access the extensive international wholesale network behind the continual growth of CanaDream.”

Brian Gronberg, president and CEO of CanaDream Corp., said, “Being able to take advantage of the rapid growth of international RV travelers coming to America is the only way to maximize both utilization and nightly rates. Our systems, networks and Internet strategy will make AmeriDream the preferred RV vendor for the international audience.”

According to a study by Ypartnership titled “National Travel MONITOR,” 66% of U.S. leisure travelers now use the Internet to plan some aspect of their travel (versus 35% in 2000).

Industry forecasts indicate Forest River’s entrance into the RV rental market is opportune. In what is considered to be a down market, the Recreational Vehicle Rental Association (RVRA), reports rental activity will be up 12% this year.

AmeriDream enters a market dominated by Cruise America and El Monte RV. 

Forest River is a leading manufacturer of leisure vehicles in the United States, based in Elkhart, Ind. Founded in 1996 by Liegl, it has grown into a company of 5,500 employees and 71 facilities throughout the nation. In 2005, the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Berkshire Hathaway is headquartered in Omaha, Neb.

CanaDream is one of the largest RV rental companies in Canada. The company operates a fleet of approximately 700 units from nine gateway cities across the nation. CanaDream’s leadership position has been achieved through a combination of substantial investments in proprietary technology related to its operations, its extensive international wholesale network and the upgrading and maintenance of its rental fleet. CanaDream is publicly traded (symbol: CDN) on the Canadian Venture Exchange.

Apollo is the largest privately owned leisure vehicle operator in the Southern Hemisphere with a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles and 300 employees. It has 10 branches in Australia, two in New Zealand and three in the U.S.

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CanaDream Notes Decline in RV Rental Revenue

September 11, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

CanaDream Corp. today (Sept. 11) reported financial results for the three months ended July 31.

The Calgary, Alberta-based RV rental chain reported income before income tax of $2.8 million for the three months was 7% lower than last year. Revenues for the three months of $10.2 million is 6% lower than last year, while cash flow from operations of $7.8 million  is in line with last year.

Income before income taxes of $2.8 million decreased $224,000 or 7% from the prior year first quarter. 

Decreased revenues of $645,000 is due in part from a 16% decline in fleet and available rental nights resulting in an 11% reduction in booked rental nights.

Direct expenses for the three months decreased by $78,000 or 2% compared to last year’s $5.2 million. As the decrease in revenues exceeded the decrease in direct expenses the gross margin decreased $566,000 or 10%.

Investment in rental fleet was $26.8 million at July 31, a decrease $1.9 million from July 31, 2008 and an increase of $2.0 million from April 30, 2009, year-end levels. The investment in fleet inventory available for sale was $1.3 million at July 31, a decrease of $3.6 million from July 31, 2008 and $1.4 million from April 30, 2009 year-end levels.

Fleet capital asset and other financing decreased $6.0 million or 21% to $23.3 million from the prior year’s first quarter of $29.4 million.

The company’s core business, rental of recreational vehicles, is seasonal in nature with the majority of its revenue being earned during the May to October period, its first and second quarters. The majority of the company’s direct expenses are incurred in that same period.

The company sold a minority share in its business earlier this month to Apollo Motorhomes, an Australian RV rental firm which also conducts business in New Zealand and the U.S.

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CanaDream Aligns Rentals with Australian Firm

August 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

apollo-motorhome-unitCanaDream Corp., a Calgary, Alberta-based tourism and RV rental firm, announced today (Aug. 25) that it has entered into a binding agreement with Apollo Motorhome Ultimate Holdings Pty Ltd.  in connection with an equity investment commitment of $1,971,669.

Apollo is the largest privately owned leisure vehicle operator in the Southern Hemisphere with a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles and 300 employees. It has 10 branches in Australia, two in New Zealand and three in the U.S., in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

 The investment shall consist of the issuance by CanaDream of 3,286,115 common shares of the corporation and warrants to purchase up to 1,975,816 common shares of the corporation for $1,971,699. The warrants are exercisable at an exercise price of 60 cents per share, according to a news release.

CanaDream has received verbal confirmations of support from a sufficient number of shareholders to obtain this requisite level of approval and expects to obtain approval in writing from such parties via written confirmations of consent. If, however, sufficient consent is not obtained via written confirmations, the corporation will seek approval of the investment by way of ordinary resolution at the next annual general and special meeting of shareholders of the corporation  in October.

The investment is subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval and is expected to close on or about Sept. 1.

In announcing the investment Brian Gronberg, CanaDream president and CEO, said, “This is an exciting development for CanaDream. By aligning ourselves with Apollo we are joining forces with a company that is a global RV solution. Both companies share a philosophy of exceptional customer service, quality vehicles and competitive rates.”

Luke Trouchet, Apollo CEO, said, “We feel very privileged and honored to have been able to invest in and align ourselves with such a well respected business as CanaDream. Our expansion to Canada answers the call of many travel industry partners who are looking for global RV rental partners.”

CanaDream is a Canadian tourism company that is utilizing its proprietary business-to-business web-enabled system, www.canadasbest.com, and its business-to-consumer online Internet reservation system, www.canadream.com, to operate and expand its network of RV rental locations in Canada.

CanaDream maintains company-operated locations in Calgary, Vancouver, British Columbia, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The company is also leveraging its proprietary technology to build a franchised network of associate dealers that are fully interconnected to CanaDream’s e-commerce systems. CanaDream currently has one associate dealer franchisee in Kelowna.

Apollo’s first international expansion was in 2003 when it opened in New Zealand. In 2008 Apollo opened in the U.S. after acquiring Los Angeles based Happy Travel Campers. Demand was so great that the company opened in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

The Edmonton Sun noted that  Apollo could become the largest single shareholder in Calgary-based CanaDream Corp. If Apollo decides to exercise the warrants, it would hold 27.1% of CanaDream’s shares, thereby becoming its single largest shareholder.

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