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.
Rental firm Cruise America announced that it recently took delivery on its 30,000th Class C motorhome, acquired over its 40 years of operation. According to a press release, the Mesa, Ariz.-based company has 4,000 Ford-powered rental recreational vehicles operating throughout the United States and Canada.
Cruise America reported that one of the reasons for its growth over the last 40 years, despite slowdowns in the economy, is the fact that the company enjoys a heavy percentage of repeat business.
“I believe that our unparalleled repeat business is due to the fact that we really do care about our customers and we show it through our commitment to top-notch service,” said President Bob Smalley Jr. “This, combined with the fact that we care enough to provide the best motorhomes on the market, has made us the leaders in the industry.”
For 25 years, Cruise America has teamed up with Thor Motor Coach, which manufactures all of the company’s Class C motorhomes – each designed and built to Cruise America’s specifications. These motorhomes, wrapped in attractive scenery, have become iconic along the highways of the U.S. and Canada, according to the release.
In addition, as new inventory comes in, the used coaches are reconditioned, refurbished and sold to the public at affordable prices. Over the last 40 years, Cruise America has sold 26,000 of used Class C RVs to customers.
Cruise America offers its inventory of fully equipped, self-contained Class C rental RVs and used motorhomes for purchase on its website, as well as an extensive list of rental and sales locations. For more information visit http://www.cruiseamerica.com/.
Companies that rent recreational vehicles in Maine are trying to get a bill passed that would tax the renter of the RV instead of the actual owner, just as people who rent cars or movies are taxed.
WLBZ TV, Bangor, reported that a law that’s currently on the books states that any recreational vehicle that is in Maine for more than 24 hours is subject to a 5% tax. It’s a law that Maine Revenue Services has told businesses it doesn’t plan on enforcing. Yet a recent audit revealed that an RV rental company in Vermont owes nearly $300,000 to Maine in taxes for its rentals. RV rental company owners like Kit Coty are trying to get LD 1809 passed to tax the rental stream and not the product.
“Because people expect they’re going to pay a tax on a service they’re getting,” Coty said. “To charge a business tax up front for doing business is not feasible.”
WLBZ tried to contact Maine Revenue Services, but didn’t get a response. The bill was recently passed 10-1 by the Taxation Committee and is not waiting to be approved in appropriations.
Half of the households planning to become first-time RV buyers recently told researchers from the University of Michigan that they’ll rent an RV first. So should RV dealers focus more on rentals in order to expand the number of RV owners? Opinions are divided, according to a report in RV Executive Today.
Although no more than 5% to 10% of the renters at United RV Center in Fort Worth, Texas, become buyers, dealer Kevin White believes that percentage will grow. United RV rents both towables and motorhomes and has a program allowing customers to apply their rental fees toward an eventual RV purchase.
The dealership only rents what it sells and competes with rentals-only operations in the Dallas- Fort Worth market by “not nickel and diming rental customers with a generator fee” and other add-ons, says Bill White, Kevin White’s brother.
But John Myers of Myers RV Center Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., believes converting rental customers will always be a challenge. “We were in the rental business for about 20 years, and although a lot of people said they were interested in renting first before buying, we saw very few examples of that happening,” he said.
“It sounds good in theory, but when customers find they can’t necessarily rent the same configuration of RV that they want to buy, they change their mind,” says Myers. “For the most part, rental customers are rental customers, and buyers are buyers.”
Nexus RV will be hosting an Open House for rental dealers Sept. 19-25 at its facility in Elkhart, Ind., according to a press release.
Hours will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will include a comprehensive factory tour and review of the rental program for those dealers “looking to add value to their rental fleet.” The event coincides with Elkhart County’s 4th Annual Open House, running Sept. 19-23.
“We are excited to go into our second year of supplying major rental customers with their units,” said Dave Middleton, vice president of Nexus RV. “We learned a great deal about what will separate our units from the pack. A big part of our product is giving more features for less money and we feel we have designed the best product for customer usage.”
Nexus RV is a factory direct manufacturer that also supplies rental customers with Class C and Class B-plus units. The company is located at 3400 Reedy Drive in Elkhart, one block north of CR 6 on CR 13.
Find out some of the best practices that make for a profitable RV rental operation at the upcoming RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, Oct. 3-7, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Topics will include:
Advanced Rental Topic 1: Lot Operations
Oct. 5, 2:45- 4 p.m.
This workshop will cover best practices for everything that happens on your rental lot. Walk-throughs, maintenance, Pre-rental prep, check-ins, service calls, cleaning, and repairs, will be among the topics that the three instructors, and the participants, will explore. The instructors for this 75-minute workshop are Martin Onken, Expedition Motorhomes Inc., Tom Zielstra, Pierce RV Supercenter and Donn Kaebisch, RV Rental Outlet.
Advanced Rental Topic 2: Office Operations
Oct. 6, 2:45-4 p.m.
This workshop will cover best practices for everything that happens in your rental office. Procedures, paperwork, phones, counter, website, customer appreciation, profitability and pricing, will be the topics that the three instructors, and the participants, will explore. The instructors for this 75-minute workshop are Martin Onken, Barry Raye, 84 RV Rentals & Service, and Brad Bacon, PleasureLand RV Center Inc.
How to Run a Successful Rental Department
Oct. 6, 1:15-2:30 p.m.
Led by Randall Jeremiah of Adventure on Earth, this workshop is geared for dealers considering rentals. The first half of the session will examine profitability. The discussion will include specific examples and possible fleet configurations. The session will then turn to RV rental myths, including debunking the myth that rental units are often returned in poor condition. You’ll also learn about turning a fleet for a profit. The goal of this workshop is to provide attendees with a enough information on RV rental operations that they’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether rental is right for their dealership.
The convention will also feature special sessions designed to help you make the right decisions regarding your business in the coming months. Click here for more of the convention workshop and general session schedule and to register. Register by Aug. 6, stay at the Rio and you could win a special golf or spa package.