Business View Magazine interviews Hannes Rosskopf, General Manager of Road Bear RV, as part of our focus on the RV and motorhome sector.
Why see the USA through a car window when vacationing, staying in motels and dining in restaurants, when you can enhance the experience by enjoying the more up-close and personal view afforded by traveling in a motor home?
The choice is an obvious one, especially for families, in the opinion of Hannes Rosskopf, General Manager of Road Bear RV, part of one of the world’s largest motor home rental and sales companies. Especially since Road Bear RVs provide travelers with the opportunity to add pleasure to their journey by enjoying a luxurious motor home’s many comforts and amenities, while taking in the sights through large windows and preparing meals in, instead of dining out.
“If you go with a rental car, normally you eat breakfast out, you eat lunch out, and you eat dinner out and you don’t really meet anybody,” observes Rosskopf. “That’s what the big advantage is. If you go to a campground, normally there are other families with kids. Your kids can run around, you meet other people, it’s very social. This way, you learn more about the country than you would just driving through as a tourist. And that’s what a lot of people really like about it: that you get in touch with people along the way.”
Founded by a Swiss in Los Angeles in 1980, Road Bear RV has gone through two ownership changes, the most recent occurring in 2010, when it was purchased by the New Zealand-based, publicly held company, Tourism Holding Limited (THL). “Tourism Holdings is the largest motor home rental company around the globe, with operations in New Zealand, Australia, a joint venture in the U.K., and El Monte RV and Road Bear RV in the U.S.,” Rosskopf explains.
Based in Agoura Hills, California, Road Bear RV has rental and drop-off locations in Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle, with Dallas to be added in the spring of 2018 as drop-off location. Roughly 35-40 percent of Road Bear RV’s U.S. customers rent a motor home at one location, return it to another following a trip exploring the beauty of the U.S. along the way, and then utilize other transportation to return to their homes.
The THL Company provides service in Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand, and Europeans, particularly German speakers, comprise a significant portion of the Road Bear RV customer base. In fact, about 75 percent of customers hail from somewhere other than the U.S., which is why the company’s rental paperwork comes in English and German, and staff who speak Spanish, Portuguese, French “and other languages to attract customers from abroad is available,” Rosskopf adds.
Road Bear RV’s three U.S. markets include: people who travel to the U.S. from abroad; the domestic traveler – people taking long trips, such as from Orlando to LA; and the regional market, which Rosskopf defines as people living and traveling within two hours of a Road Bear RV location. “These customers are more of a long weekend type, like Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend – picking it up on a Thursday afternoon and bringing it back on Monday morning. They don’t drive it very far, but they want to enjoy it, as well.”
While there are similar national brands that also have rental RVs and coast-to-coast locations, Rosskopf believes that Road Bear RV beats the competition because of its superior rolling stock. “Road Bear RV was always about high-end quality,” he states. “So we’re considered to be the premium fleet and not just because of the time we take with our vehicles. You really get a brand new fleet. Any vehicle you get now will not be older than January of this year, so they’re less than nine months old.”
The company purchases its motor homes – several hundreds of them in 2017 – direct from industry leading manufacturers, Coachmen RV and Thor Motor Coach, both based in Indiana, and puts them on sale within one year of use. “It’s all about the vehicle quality,” he asserts. “It’s not only about the rental but also about the service we provide to our dealers in terms of delivering on time and delivering in the quantities that they need. As I said, all our customers, from near and far, expect a premium experience.”
Road Bear’s RVs are highlighted by:
- Extra large windows to maximize views, especially for small children
- Optional WiFi device working almost everywhere in the U.S.
- A living room and a kitchen
- Bed safety nets and child seat tether anchors
- Retractable awnings, generators, a TV/DVD, the largest beds, fresh water tanks, and mega- outside storage (important for a one-way trip cross-country)
- Exterior camping tables
- Hardwood-style floors
Also included are:
- Personal vehicle orientation provided by a multilingual staff
- Optional high-quality convenience kits and Satellite Navigation System (GPS)
- Complementary transfers from specific airport hotels and to airports and airport hotels
- 24-hour emergency assistance
- An online booking engine – Web service and online VIP check-in
Road Bear RV’s vision for the next several years is centered on maintaining the quality of its equipment and services, and continuing to grow its wholesale business. “For the rental as well as the sales business, the focus is on service to the customers; that they come back and that they like what we do,” Rosskopf avers. “When a rental customer talks about their experience with Road Bear RV, I want them to say, ‘It was great. I loved the travel and the vehicle because there were no issues with it. The bottom line is enabling customers to have a stress-free, enjoyable vacation. That’s something we strive for and so far, we’ve been able to accomplish that, even with our huge growth over the years. That’s something we’ll continue to focus on.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Road Bear RV
WHAT: A motor home rental and sales company
WHERE: Agoura Hills, California