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Old 08-27-2012, 07:03 PM   #29
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I really and truly hope this works. There are lots of places where I'd like to travel with my trailer, but the time to get to the other side of the country (or even the middle) is prohibitive.

I'd gladly pay $1500 a week to be able to fly in, rent a rig, and then return it after a week. That's about the going rate for a Sprinter-based moho rental and isn't horrible given that it's both your hotel room and rental car...

Tom
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:17 PM   #30
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This wet lease idea might be a big hit in Nevada!!

I think I will patent this idea.

Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
Aircraft owners often "wet lease" their aircraft, meaning the pilot goes along with the plane.

This would solve a lot of the problems already discussed -
but what do you do with your "pilot/driver" after you're set-up at the campsite?
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:37 PM   #31
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We actually started our Airstream experience with renting a trailer from Airstream Chicago back in '06. They offered 30 nights of new Bambi usage for $3500. As we had no experience with RV's or camping, we went for it. Yes, it seems like a lot per night, but we wanted to try an Airstream before committing money to buy one. We did take two weeklong trips before the dealership burned down, and I negotiated a credit for the balance that we use for parts when needed (they reopened, and we bought our Bambi-used-in '08). They wanted to sell units, and the idea was that you could use your balance against a purchase at any time. So, there is a market for people like me. Maybe there are more people like me than I think. Oh, I don't know if that's a good idea.
If he gets a deal with Ford, or Dodge, or whoever, to get people into their vehicles, that would help make it feasible. The RV's rented by national companies are strippers, and maybe these will be Airstreams with reduced content. With his connections, they could be built to a special spec.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:48 PM   #32
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It should be interesting to watch this evolve. I've seen countless posts at AIR over the years by folks who wanted to rent an Airstream or who were asked if they would lease out their Airstream. I think there's probably a market both here and especially overseas. There is good precedent for this. It's not unusual to lease other expensive and finicky stuff. You can rent a 200K sailboat or a diesel pusher so it stands to reason that you should be able to rent an Airstream ...
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:55 PM   #33
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Maybe... if the rental is a delivery-type service... premium-priced... so you call up, want to go 'camping' in Jellystone for a week, you show up and your Airstream is all setup and ready to go.
I've heard of SOB rentals like this!
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:25 PM   #34
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KOA Airstream - Opportunity Missed

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Several years ago Airstream worked with several campgrounds to supply them with 25' FB's specially designed as a sort of park model (emphasis on "sort of") and that effort seems to have been less than successful. We saw the 25's in Las Vegas at the CG next to Circus Circus and at the KOA on the way to Key West. I didn't see anyone renting the Airstreams at these CG's when we were there. I can't recall the exact nightly fee in Vegas but I was surprised how high it was.

Why would Reigel give up the lucrative corporate post for such a risky business? Was he eased out with a promise to help him with a new business? Was he bored at Thor?

Now that he will be an Airstream consumer, I wonder how he'll feel about Airstream QC?

Gene
Gene,

When my wife and I were starting to consider purchasing an Airstream we read an article in a newspaper or magazine article mentioning the KOA Airstream program. We were intrigued enough to do an internet search and learned that four or five campgrounds had them (2010). We first tried to rent one at Key West but they were booked months into the future. We did find availability at Bar Harbour so we planned a trip to Maine and booked a trailer for two nights to see what it would be like to stay in an RV at a campground. The very positive experience in a beautiful setting helped us make the decision to buy a trailer and specifically purchase an Airstream.

Today there are rental Airstream units at 13 KOA locations and the KOA website does have a page featuring "unique accommodations" with Airstreams and Yurts. Check out: Unique Lodging and Accommodations | KOA Campgrounds . I could not find any mention of the Airstream rental units on the Airstream website which is a real shame. I've never seen any mention of the rental program at any Airstream dealer nor have I seen it in advertising. It seems as though Airstream is no longer engaged in this program.

One of the most effective techniques in marketing is "sampling", i.e. giving the potential buyer the opportunity to try and experience the product before buying. For example Apple has become a consumer electronics giant largely because it designed the Apple stores as an environment for prospective purchasers to try their premium priced products before buying. The concept of trial for a high dollar purchase makes a lot of sense (think test driving an automobile). Given the number of companies running successful trial programs if Airstream found the KOA program to be unsuccessful, it is most likely because it was poorly executed.

It was by chance my wife and I learned about the Airstream trial opportunity at KOA. Had we not taken advantage of it, we might not have purchased an RV, much less an Airstream. I suspect the fundamental flaw with the Airstream/KOA trial program is prospective customers have no way of learning about it. It begs the question; Why would Airstream go to the expense of placing trailers around the country for people to try and then not tell prospective buyers at dealerships, on your website, or in advertising about the opportunity?

A key observation during our stay was the absence of anything in the Airstream unit we rented at Bar Harbour to connect us to Airstream or its dealer network if the experience was positive and we wanted to buy. Imagine if there was a brochure or marketing flyer I could have taken home with us after the stay! To really stretch the imagination, what if there was a coupon in the trailer for a $500 rebate from Airstream if we purchased a trailer within 30 days?!!!! Suppose at checkout we had been offered the opportunity to have someone from Airstream call when we returned home?

Effectively engaging Airstream dealers in the program could have resulted in more sales. Wouldn't a salesperson like to be able to offer a strong customer prospect the opportunity to spend a free night or heavily discounted night in a trailer before buying?

It is difficult for me to imagine a company selling a $70,000 product not maximizing any opportunity to get potential customers to actually experience the product. To invest in placing trailers at locations around the country and not utilize every possible communication opportunity to tell prospective customers about the opportunity seems a tremendous waste of resources.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:28 PM   #35
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I (probably all of us) wish Dicky well.

Last year or the year before we traveled out to Utah and visited a number of the national parks. The thing that was amazing to me was the number of rental RV's at those parks. So I suppose you could begin an Airstream rental business in a place like Vegas, Phoenix or SLC that is close to a large RV rental base.

There are a lot more moving parts to a TT rental than one of the self-contained units, though. Can the renter back up, disconnect, reconnect; not like this is rocket science, but it does take some getting used to.

The commercial side might be a lot more interesting. Probably a lot more custom services, much greater revenue potential and less price sensitivity. This will be interesting to see unfold!
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:32 PM   #36
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When I was stuck in Torrey Utah in May, the CG owner told me that 50% of their customers are European in rented MH's. The sheer numbers of Europeans in the Four Corners during the summer is astounding. High dollar rental cars and HD's plus the Class C MH's are commonplace. The old KOA on the Animas River is getting $80 per night for a 50 amp site on the river. A fly and drive out of Albuquerque makes sense and it has instant appeal to customers that want to experience the real west with another American icon;
an Airstream towed by a real American truck or SUV.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:35 PM   #37
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This is a great idea if you want to lose money. He must either be bored or dilusional. It is fraught with problems. Towing a trailer is just not easy. You rent cars to people because they know how to drive cars. You rent motel rooms to people because they live in houses and "everything is the same." Trailers are just different. You can't call from the cg to get help when the lights go out or there is no hot water because there will not be any cell phone service where people really want to camp. One dent in an Airstream and chaching- that will be $5,000 please to replace that panel.

It may be good for the limited partners if they are looking for a tax writeoff from the losses. I give them one year at the most.

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Old 08-27-2012, 09:36 PM   #38
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Quote:
This wet lease idea might be a big hit in Nevada!!

I think I will patent this idea.
You hustler, you!
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #39
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It's brilliant!

Taking advantage of the rising interest, popularity by introducing the product to a customer that are willing to spend what a weekend will cost rather then the serious commitment of a purchase. Marketing at it's best. Air Stream will pay for that!

The truck, hitch and tire manufacturer will be clamoring for that exposure. Can you say FREE product!

Finally the cost of the units will be depreciated over a five year period of time, Then sold off. The losses are written off and it's a win! The marketing provide sale and it's a win!
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:39 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
Aircraft owners often "wet lease" their aircraft, meaning the pilot goes along with the plane.

This would solve a lot of the problems already discussed -
but what do you do with your "pilot/driver" after you're set-up at the campsite?
Hi, well if you are single, and your driver is a young cute chick, you could share the trailer.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:40 PM   #41
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Hate to be the fly in the ointment, but I would be worried about rentees using a stolen credit card and fake ID, then scurrying off to a remote location to set-up a self-contained meth lab.

Bob, so that's why you're smiling!
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:24 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida 55 View Post
...
It is difficult for me to imagine a company selling a $70,000 product not maximizing any opportunity to get potential customers to actually experience the product. To invest in placing trailers at locations around the country and not utilize every possible communication opportunity to tell prospective customers about the opportunity seems a tremendous waste of resources.
Good observations, Chuck. It seems Airstream could have used you on their marketing team. If I recall, the way I found out about the Airstream/KOA project was here on the forum, and it was announced by a forum member. I wouldn't have likely even been here if I didn''t already own an Airstream, or was looking for one. And, now that you mention it, other than the trailer itself, there wasn't any connection or conduit to Airstream the company at Circus Circus. When we rented the AS in Vegas, we were pulling our own, and were with family and friends who either already owned Airstreams, or had a good knowledge of them.

I think, with better promotion, this could have been one of their better strategies. It certainly got my attention more than any of their latest marketing schemes like, Victorinox, CCD, Eddie Bauer, etc.
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