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.
Tourism Holdings has reported a net profit of $3.8 million, following the successful 2012 merger of its New Zealand rental business with United Campervans and KEA Campers. Revenue from continuing operations in the 12 months to June 30 grew 12% to $225 million from $200 million in the prior year.
According to a report by Stuff.co.nz, the RV rental and tourism operator last year posted a net profit of $4.3 million for the 12 months to June 2012.
THL also announced Rob Campbell had been elected as chairman, effective Aug. 29, 2013. Campbell replaces Keith Smith, who signaled at last year’s annual meeting he would step down once integration of New Zealand rentals, KEA and United businesses was complete. Smith will retire from the board at the conclusion of this year’s annual meeting in November.
Smith said the merger with United and KEA had delivered on its objectives to position THL for the challenging market conditions it faced.
“It has linked our highly competitive international sales and service infrastructure with high-quality brands servicing complementary market segments, and is allowing the orderly reduction of the New Zealand motorhome fleet,” he said. “THL is a much stronger company as a result. The rationalization of the New Zealand rental fleet is on track. We have consolidated the three businesses’ back-office operations and service centres, and the capital invested in the business.”
Campbell said he was optimistic about the year ahead and looking forward to leading the company in its next phase of development.
“Motorhome bookings for the New Zealand summer season are shaping up well,” he said. “Our U.S. operation, now in the midst of its high season, continues to deliver excellent results and the New Zealand tourism operations including Kiwi Experience and Waitomo Caves are performing steadily. Our Australian business faces tough trading conditions, but restructuring programs are positioning it for the future.”
THL declared a final dividend of 2 cents a share taking total dividends for the year to 4 cents a share, the same as the previous financial year.
THL chief executive Grant Webster said strategic decisions made over the past two and half years to enter the United States market plus the New Zealand rentals merger were delivering the expected results.
When you think about the economic impact of the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, your first thoughts might turn to substantial increases in the sale of legal products like sunscreen, hats, bottled water and portable barbecues, not to mention a few products deemed illegal that just might make their way to the celebration.
Perhaps the hottest commodity for at least the more well heeled attendees, however, is RVs — thousands of them of all shapes and sizes. And Dublin’s area recreational vehicle rental companies are basically all sold out, the Contra Costa Times reported.
“It’s probably the busiest time of the year for us,” said Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV, which has a busy location in Dublin, Calif. “Basically, everything we have west of the Mississippi makes its way to Burning Man. We have almost a small army of drivers moving vehicles (to the West).”
Lane says the company will have rented between 750 and 900 RVs to Burning Man attendees. Those vehicles range from 22 to 35 feet long and sleep between five and eight people each. Depending upon how far out from the event people rented, and how far away from Northern California people were willing to go and pick up their RV, the costs range anywhere from $200 to $500 per day.
The 2013 edition of Burning Man runs from Monday (Aug. 26) through Sept. 2, with an art theme of “Cargo Cult.” Like most everything at the festival, themes are always open to interpretation, which is why Lane says they see all kinds of people come in to rent.
“It’s seemingly the most straight-laced people on the planet and then big extremes in both directions.”
In addition to the small army of drivers, there are also a large number of people who have to go through and clean the RVs post-Burning Man, and that usually means a treasure trove of strange and unusual items that get left behind.
“One day (last year) a full broadsword came back with the vehicle. I mean, what are we going to do with a full broadsword?” says Lane. The company tried to contact the renter to give the sword back, but got no response.
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.
RV rental firm CanaDream Corp. reported a slight uptick in revenue for its full year, ended April 30, while net income declined 44%.
Revenue for the year was $27.9 million, an increase of $1.4 million from the year prior. CanaDream reported that rental revenue increased 3% while revenue from the sale of guest fleet and fleet inventory available for sale grew 9%. Operating expenses increased 8% from the prior year and finance interest decreased 7%.
CanaDream recorded net and comprehensive income of $608,000, a 44% decrease from the prior year. Cash flow earned from operating activities was $13.9 million, a 6% decrease.
At April 30, investment in guest fleet and fleet inventory available for sale was $28.6 million, a $1.5 million decrease from the prior year, due to fleet purchases less unit sales and guest fleet transferred to fleet inventory available for sale and depreciation. As a result of a decrease in guest fleet and fleet inventory available for sale, fleet financing was $20.1 million, a decrease of $1.8 million from April 30, 2012.
The company’s core business is seasonal in nature with the majority of its revenue being earned during the May to October period, the first and second quarters of its fiscal year. The majority of the company’s cost of services expenses before employee compensation, benefits and depreciation are incurred in that same period.
CanaDream noted that as a result of ongoing depreciation, interest and other operating expenses, the last two quarters of the fiscal year normally produce operating losses. Losses incurred in the last two quarters may exceed profits earned in the first two quarters of the fiscal year.
Mesa, Ariz,-based RV rental firm Cruise America reported that 2 million visitors have viewed its YouTube channel where the company offers over 100 videos.
Cruise America representative Michael Smalley noted, “We are very pleased with the number of viewers who have watched our videos on YouTube. Many of our customers have found us as a result of these productions. We want to get the message out to the world that RV travel is the most convenient and relaxing way to travel. By placing these videos online, our customers and potential customers get to know us a little better; it’s like giving them a peek into the world of the RV lifestyle.”
Cruise America YouTube videos can be viewed on desktop computers, laptops, phones, tablets, TVs and even the new technologically advanced refrigerators. Each month, one of the videos is placed on Cruise America’s Facebook page, which has drawn a very positive reaction from followers. The large number of people tuning in evidences the popularity of the videos, both on YouTube and on Facebook.
In addition to a high-volume YouTube channel, Cruise America offers their inventory of fully equipped, self-contained class C rental RVs and used motorhomes for sale on their website, as well as an extensive list of rental and sales locations.
“This enables the public to research, review and make their selection according to their needs,” said Smalley. “On the site, there are informative videos, featuring the many accommodations and convenient amenities that come with each model.”
UVS Junction LLC has released its new “RV Rental Platform,” according to a press release.
“This platform is probably the most efficient available,” said Angie Cellucci, director of Winter Springs, Fla.-based UVS Junction. “We designed it to be simple by eliminating all the unnecessary layers while keeping our three-click logic in mind. I’m so pleased with our development team and the results of this program.”
Cellucci said that RV dealer clients can utilize the platform within their consoles. After logging in, dealers can view pending rental applications, process credit card payments, or view a map of all rentals scheduled or pending.
“We are often asked by our clients about various products and in all cases it’s just easier for us to build the software ourselves,” she said. “Taking action to write this software keeps our clients in control and everything is within reach once they are logged in.”
The rental platform is free to all UVS clients. To learn more and watch a video, click here.
Apollo’s new RV relocation program presents an innovative way for RVers to travel across North America this summer for a rental fee that’s as low as $1 per night.
As reported by Examiner.com, the relocation program, which features brand new Class C RVs, enables Apollo to move newly minted motorhomes from Decatur, Ind., to U.S. rental locations in Las Vegas, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Apollo RV utilizes the same relocation program to adjust North American RV inventory that’s out of position, so RVers can also opt for shorter rental trips like Las Vegas to Los Angeles (and vice versa), L.A. to Denver and L.A. to San Francisco.
The four Apollo RV models include the Euro Tourer, Sunrise Escape, Cygnus and Wanderer, which range in size from 25 feet to 31 feet in length. Units also come with a set rental period (in some cases up to 14 days) and up to 2,500 free miles. According to Apollo, the RVs are provided “ready-to-go” and come with a full tank of gas, complete kitchen items, including pots and pans, dinnerware, silverware, plus two sets of bedding items, including bed coverings, sheets, pillows and towels along with a full tank of propane.
To help with travel expenses from Fort Wayne International Airport to Decatur, Apollo RV also provides a cab allowance of $100.
To read the entire article click here.
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.
RV rental firm Cruise America has been named as the official Oscar carrier for the 2013 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards show.
According to a press release, for the first time in the history of the Academy Awards, which began in 1929, Oscar will be taking a 21-day social media publicity tour across the United States.
The road trip will travel from New York to Hollywood, visiting several cities along the way.
Cruise America representative Michael Smalley noted, “Cruise America feels it a privilege to be associated with a time-honored event such as the Oscars. These awards are given as a merit for distinctive achievement in the film industry, so it’s only fitting that Oscar would be treated to a ride in a top-of-the-line Cruise America RV.”
On Feb. 4, the Oscar-carrying motorhome will depart from New York, and head west. While there are 11 designated cities that will be visited, the majority of the trip’s stopping points will be determined through input from fans on social media.
As Oscar rolls into their towns, fans will be able to see the iconic statuette and have their picture taken with it. They will also be able to track the journey on Cruise America’s Facebook page.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is surveying RV dealers and RV rental companies to create a “snapshot of current rental market conditions and gauge rental outlook for the future,” according to a press release.
The results are deigned to serve dealers as they assess their existing rental programs and plan for 2013 and beyond. The survey is being conducted for the RV Rental Association (RVRA) by RV Assistance Corp.’s Retailer Intelligence Program.
“The data we gather will help demonstrate to industry stakeholders and the media that RV rentals are an important and vibrant segment of the RV business,” said RVRA Chairman Bert Alanko of MBA Insurance. “RVRA members provide a variety of vehicle choices to fit the needs of consumers looking to rent an RV.”
The short, informal instrument will gather data on rental fleet size, composition and length of contracts, in addition to the outlook for the RV rental market in 2013.
RVRA is the national association of companies who rent recreation vehicles (RVs). Visit www.rvra.org for a list of members and for more information about renting an RV.
Steve Franklin, president of Benefit RV Services Inc., announced today (Nov. 16) that another American Dream Vacations store will be opening soon in Mission, Texas.
“The addition of the Mission, Texas, store gives us almost complete coverage of Texas,” Franklin said in a press release. “This store will service all of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and will be popular with the traveling Mexican nationals that have had to go all the way to San Antonio to pick up a rental RV in the past.”
With the addition of the new outlet, Franklin said that American Dream Vacations now operates 11 stores in six states.
“I expect to add at least one more before years end,” he said, noting that Benefit RV Services is parent to American Dream Vacations. “We have experienced tremendous growth this year and I see that trend continuing into 2013. Companywide, we are up over 28% this year over last year.”
The first American Dream Vacations store opened on Oct. 1, 1996, in Boerne, Texas. “In the beginning, we focused solely on renting RVs and that is our main thrust today,” said Franklin. “However, our stores are making real progress on the sales front.”
For more information visit http://www.americandreamvacations.net/.
Allstar Coaches, a national RV rental dealer based in Florida, announced that it stands ready to assist in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.
According to a press release, Allstar provided more than 30 RV rentals to government agencies, the Red Cross and various utility providers following Hurricane Katrina. “As a Florida-based company we understand what is needed after a storm and we’ll do what we can to help,” says Rob Tischler CEO of Allstar.
The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), the Red Cross and various insurance carriers used the motorhome rental units in a variety of missions following Katrina and are expected follow suit after Isaac. These units are self-contained with generators and large fuel tanks designed to allow extended use in areas where power isn’t available.
The RVs can be used as mobile command centers, as a base for rescue and repair operations and as temporary housing for emergency personnel brought in to deal with this catastrophe as well as those displaced by the storm.
“Government agencies, utility and insurance providers have priority; however additional units will be made ready for individuals and businesses as they become available,” Tischler said.
He advises that displaced residents check with their insurance carriers to see if temporary housing is covered by their policies, indicating that most insurance companies will cover these costs if it becomes necessary.
Von Isanogle, Allstar’s fleet operations director, noted, “All our locations have implemented emergency action plans and are standing by, ready to start moving vehicles in as soon as it becomes safe to do so.”
Allstar operates a fleet of luxury motorhome rentals which are available nationwide from their strategically located offices in nine states.
New Zealand-based campervan rental firm Tourism Holdings Ltd. (THL) said its annual earnings had recovered to pre-global financial crisis levels, driven in part by a pick-up in motorhome rental activity during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the company said the cup, tight cost control, operational improvements and the first full-year contribution from its United States motorhome business, helped drive the 2011-12 annual net profit to $4.3 million, which compared with a loss of $27.3 million in the previous year. The prior year’s loss included a non-cash goodwill write-down of $26.1 million.
The company said the broad macro-economic factors for tourism worldwide were still of concern, especially as its primary market opportunities are centered in Europe and the United Kingdom.
“Other market opportunities such as China and East and South East Asia are appealing to many tourism operators, but they do not yet have strong traditions for self-managed itineraries that are the focus of THL’s operations,” the company said. “New Zealand still holds a strong positive reputation internationally, however, this needs to be balanced against the price expectations of the customer when comparing alternative destinations.”
The United States market was benefiting from a lower U.S. dollar but the Australian market held some uncertainty, the company said.
The RV Learning Center is developing a series of workshops for RV rental companies during the 2012 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo Oct. 1-5 in Las Vegas.
According to a press release, attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of RV rental agreements, updates on RV rental law and how to choose what products to offer.
Topics and presenters include:
• New Developments in RV Rental Law: Trends and Update for 2012, Leslie Pujo, LaPlaca Pujo, P.C.: This interactive session will discuss new developments in rental vehicle law during the past year, including rental contracts and insurance. The discussion will focus on legal rules as well as best practices for RV rental companies to adopt.
• Five Ways to Kill Web Leads, Bob McCann, ARI: In this educational seminar, Bob McCann will go over the five most common mistakes he sees RV retailers making when he teaches online lead management best practices. He will explain what not to do, what to do, and why, so attendees can implement proven tactics designed to inspire positive change at their companies.
• What’s Hot & What’s Not: Roundtable and panel discussion featuring Martin Onken, Expedition Motor Homes Inc. (moderator), Brad Bacon, PleasureLand RV Center Inc. and Tom Zeilstra, Pierce RV Supercenter: Practical, proven ideas that work and can immediately improve a dealership’s operation for profit, efficiency and safety will be the focus of this annual gathering of both top and new rental dealers. Discussion will include a review of product features and services that have proven to put a rental department at risk, or lose them money and how to plan ahead to determine what to offer customers in 2013.
• Key Performance Indicators: How to Measure if You’re Really Successful, or Just Pushing Uphill, Martin Onken, Expedition Motor Homes Inc.: A handful of key numbers tell companies how they are really doing in the rental business. In this session, attendees will learn how these numbers help identify weaknesses and opportunities and how to immediately take steps to strengthen the rental department.
• 7 Low Cost/No Cost Marketing Tools, Evanne Schmarder, Roadabode Productions: Schmarder will offer seven valuable guerrilla tactics including Google Places, Foursquare, photo stamps, QR codes and more. This session will be interactive with audience participation. Attendees will walk away with a new appreciation for imaginative, low or no cost marketing and PR techniques as well as a number of ideas that can be quickly and easily implemented.
The convention is sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center. The 2012 convention will feature an exhibit hall filled with the RV industry’s top companies offering products and services to help dealers improve profitability. RVDA’s Partners in Progress Brand Committees will also meet to work on important dealer/manufacturer issues.
Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities and exhibitor information can contact RVDA at (703) 591-7130 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.rvda.org and www.rvlearningcenter.com to register for the convention and receive regular updates. You can also get convention updates on LinkedIn professional networking services, Twitter and Facebook.