Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tourists Keep RV Rental Business Going

El Monte RV estimates that 85 of its 200 motor homes still leave the lot every week, a number holding steady since the economic downturn. (The company also sells vehicles at the end of their rental lives, and reports a 50 percent drop in that business since last year.) Both Cruise America, the nation's largest RV renter with 130 stores, and Road Bear RV reported only marginal rental decreases. (Neither would provide specific numbers or comment on sales.)

Most RV rental business in Las Vegas comes from European tourists, as it did before the downturn (El Monte estimates 95 percent of its customers, Road Bear 75 percent and Cruise America 50 percent).

"They're just really into it," says El Monte branch manager Roger Brewer. "They like the wide-open spaces we have here because they're not used to that."

And gasoline prices don't impede their plans, since Europeans are used to paying twice what we do.

Brewer also notes a "huge increase" in business over the past two summers from Americans who were forced to sell their RVs.

"They say they miss the experience," he says.
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