A new survey of RV Rental Association (RVRA) members indicates RV rental companies anticipate 2009 will be better for RV rentals than 2008, despite a slow economy. Those responding to the association’s annual survey report RV rental activity will be up an average of 12% this year, according to a news release.
“The survey results show that even in a tough economy, people still plan to go on RV vacations,” said RVRA Chairman Bert Alanko of MBA Insurance Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. “People value their vacation time, and renting an RV is still a very economical way to travel.”
Unlike previous years, gas prices are less of a concern for those responding to the survey. Most RV rental vacations will be about the same length as previous years, RVRA members report. The survey shows that only about 10% of RV rental customers are booking shorter trips, while 71% are booking their rental for the same amount of time as the previous year.
For anyone looking to plan an RV rental vacation this year, information and resources are available at www.rvra.org. This site offers an online directory that has a state-by-state listing of more than 300 rental companies across the U.S. and Canada. The site features consumer tips on renting, including advice on selecting the proper unit.
RVRA is the rental division of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), the national association representing RV retailers. The association’s members include RV dealers, RV rental operations and RV aftermarket locations.
Warren Keely, right, owner and operator of Road Trip Rentals in Broad Run, Va., provided a travel trailer for the national “Get Outdoors Day” event at Kingman Island in Washington, D.C., on June 13. With him is Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). A consortium of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations including ARC and the U.S. Forest Service organized the annual event to encourage health outdoor fun across the nation. The Washington event was one of 62 local Get Outdoors Day events held across the nation. Prime goals of the day are reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting youth to the outdoors. Keely is a member of the RV Rental Association (RVRA), a division of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), the national association representing RV retailers. The association’s members include RV dealers, RV rental operations and RV aftermarket locations.
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.”