Podcast episode 004 – An interview with Bert Alanko

This week’s RV Industry News podcast features an interview with Bert Alanko, the president of MBA Insurance, and one of the RV industry’s foremost experts on the rental market.

The interview is timely following a big story earlier this week in Travel Weekly, a trade publication serving travel agents and others in the vacation business. The article noted that, “with tens of thousands of RV renters hitting the road each year, vacations on wheels constitute a massive travel marketplace that remains relatively untapped by domestic travel agents. Paradoxically, agents in other countries are selling RV travel in the U.S. en masse.”

So, the RV industry can expect some renewed interest in the RV rental market among travel agents who are looking for ways to profit from their recommendations of affordable vacation opportunities to families in the United States. Already, as the article noted, the American RV rental industry is a thriving business for overseas travel agents.

Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV, noted in the article, “We actually have international travel agents who are giving us hundreds of thousands of dollars from domestic clients. It’s already happening. It’s always driven me crazy, why domestic travel agents haven’t done it.”

To read the article in Travel Weekly, click here.

In the podcast interview, Alanko talks about the success of the 2014 RV Rental School and why so many dealers are interested in jumping into the rental market. He describes dealers who make between $500,000 and $1 million in states where they have only a six-month rental season. He describes the advantages for dealers to rent RVs, as well as some of the common pitfalls that dealers can avoid to improve their profitability.

When it comes to renting RVs, Alanko outlines why people need specialized RV insurance to protect them on the road, and why companies need that type of insurance to protect their investments as well.

A veteran of the RV industry, Alanko explains how he got into the RV insurance market, then stumbled into the rental business, and why he continues to be passionate about the RV market. “How can you beat this? We are in a fun industry and putting smiles on people’s faces,” he explained. “How can a dumb kid from Minnesota who sold ceiling tiles at one time get so lucky as to end up in this business working with all these nice people and having this much fun — and get paid to do.”

For more information about the RV Rental School, click here. The information provided is about the 2014 class, which concluded in February. But the link offers insight into the extent of training provided at the RV Rental School.

For more information about MBA Insurance, call 800.622.2201 or visit www.mbainsurance.net.

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at editor@rvdailyreport.com.

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