Time has about run out for signups for RV dealers or anyone else interested in attending the 14th MBA RV Rental School, a three-day session set this year for Feb. 25-27 at the Tuscany Suites & Casino in Las Vegas hosted by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based MBA Insurance.
MBA President Bert Alanko, a former board member of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and the widely recognized dean of RV rentals throughout North America, says MBA’s rental school remains the only academic setting in North America entirely focused on the art and science of RV rentals.
“Yes, this is our 14th year, and, I mean, nobody else in the industry has ever done one,” Alanko told RVBUSINESS.com. “This is the only RV rental school in the industry. It’s the only one there ever has been. I mean at the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo we might put on a class, a little seminar, but this is a full three days, and, quite frankly, even though it’s three days, we have a hard time getting it all in.”
Perhaps because of the resurgent market, Alanko says its rental school — dealing with “everything it takes to run a rental business” from fleet acquisition to pricing issues to check-in and check-out procedures — was just about full by mid-week.
“We like to keep the school at a size that encourages class participation,” said Alanko. “We have had right at 100 previously and that is just too big a group. So, we shut it down at about 70. In fact, I was going to cut it off at about 60 this year, but then I got some people calling me wanting to join up. So, now we’re going to take it up to 70. And since we’ve had a great response to the school earlier than normal, we are closing in on that now. It’ll be sold out here probably this week.
“If we get about five more people, that will probably do it,” he added. “So we just sent out an e-mail telling people that if they’re coming, they better step up soon because we’re cutting it off.”
Among the instructors:
• Scott Krenek, of Krenek RV Supercenter Coloma, Mich., a noted RVDA Con/Expo guest speaker who in 1995 started the first international rental group.
• Martin Onken, of Expedition Motorhomes in Calabasas, Calif., another frequent RVDA Con/Expo speaker who has operated an RV rental business for 13 years and will focus on rental marketing and managed rental vehicles, formerly called “leasebacks.”
• Barry Raye, owner of 84 RV Rentals & Service and Rayewood RV Center, Sussex, N.J., who has an accounting degree and brings an insider’s acumen to the table after working for over 40 years in his family’s RV business.
• Leslie J. Pujo, a partner of the law firm LaPlaca Pujo P.C., Washington, D.C., who specializes in franchise law, with particular expertise in registration and disclosure matters as well as franchise relationship issues.
MBA Insurance will hold the 14th MBA RV Rental School Feb. 24-26 at the Tuscany Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. According to a press release, the event represents the “only motorhome- and trailer-specific rental school nationally, tailored to meet the needs of the dealers and individuals planning on starting a rental business.”
“We have students that come from all backgrounds and levels of RV rental experience,” said Bert Alanko, president of MBA Insurance and sponsor of the RV Rental School. “Some have been in the rental business for years and just want to learn some new stuff. Others have never been in the rental business and are just trying to figure it all out.
“What you can expect the school to provide is an understanding of what you should do to be successful in the rental business. Our instructors have been in the rental business for 20 years or more. They are successful and will share their knowledge of what it takes to achieve a profitable rental operation.”
Barry Raye, owner of 84 RV rentals in New Jersey, has been added to the staff this year while Scott Krenek, owner of Krenek RV Super Center in Coloma, Mich., and Martin Onken, owner of Expedition RV Rentals, Calabasas, Calif., return to the school. Each instructor offers a different emphasis in the market segment, including motorhomes, trailers and the leaseback concept.
Every dealership attending will receive an MBA RV Rental manual and three full days of discussion. “We will provide breakfasts, lunches and a terrific cocktail party,” Alanko said. “There will be plenty of time for networking and individual questions as the format is kept very interactive – purposely so. We all learn from each other and the school is truly a great experience. We have had some dealers attend multiple times.”
For those wishing to attend registration is now open and available at http://www.rentalschool.com/. The cost remains the same as in previous years and hotel room rates are reasonable.
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.
MBA Insurance will host its 11th Annual Rental School, which has been recognized as the RV rental industry’s most comprehensive training program, Jan. 27-29 in Las Vegas.
During this three-day event, instructors with almost 50 years of combined rental experience will impart knowledge of industry best practices and tips. Sessions will revolve around such topics as sales, marketing, accounting and fleet management. Attendees will receive new products and information from the event’s many sponsors, a CD of forms and documents to help aid in their rental business, and a comprehensive operations manual – the definitive how-to in the RV rental business, according to a news release.
Attendees can expect to learn numerous tips and tools of the trade, including how to wisely invest in and grow your fleet, how to create a pricing strategy, how to successfully advertise, and how to identify a quality renter.
“Our main objective with Rental School is to provide our client’s with a competitive advantage,” said Joshephine Johnson, MBA Insurance vice president. “Because our classes are led by experienced RV rental dealers, attendees will learn first-hand how to successfully grow their business.”
To reserve a spot at the school, go to www.RentalSchool.com.
Established in 1978, MBA Insurance has grown into the premier rental insurance agency in the country writing insurance coverage for motorhomes, motorcycles, ATV’s, scooters, snowmobiles, travel trailers and folding camping trailers. Today, MBA insures over 2,100 RV rental companies nationwide.
Active in the RV industry on a national level, MBA is a founding member of the Recreation Vehicle Rental Association (RVRA), a member of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), an associate member of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and a contributor to the Go RVing campaign.
Currently, MBA President Bert Alanko is chairman of RVRA and sits on the board of RVDA, a position that he has held since 1994. Under Alanko’s helm, the RVRA has grown from 25 to 440 dealer members.
To learn more, visit www.MBAInsurance.net.
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.”