KOA/Airstream Venture Launched in Vegas
Airstream Inc. and campground franchisor Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) will roll out their new partnership Jan. 22 with the launch of an Airstream rental component at KOA Las Vegas/Circus Circus.
Las Vegas showgirls will help unveil 10 Airstream Flying Cloud travel trailers that KOA Las Vegas eventually will rent on-site for more than $100 a night. An introductory rate of $45 is currently being offered on the KOA Las Vegas website.
"We had a soft launch with five trailers before Christmas," said Airstream President Bob Wheeler. "They have a great deal of (consumer) interest, all of it generated by their website. It hasn't been promoted yet, but they already are in high demand."
KOA's Airstream rental program was announced in November during KOA's 2008 Jamboree in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Initially, KOA will purchase 25 Airstream trailers for company-owned properties in Sugar Loaf Key, Fla., Bar Harbor, Maine, and other locations.
After launch, Airstream intends to approach KOA's 432 franchised campgrounds about buying the iconic silver trailers for the on-site rental market, which is anticipated to grow substantially. These units are not for off-site use, but strictly for guests – especially newbies to the RV mark – who prefer an Airstream as an overnight, destination-style accommodation.
Wheeler said the Jackson Center, Ohio, manufacturer benefits from the partnership in two ways. "There's the immediate sale of a trailer, obviously," he said. "But the exposure of the trailer to a broader audience could potentially have an exponential effect on our business through sales to consumers. People will get the Airstream experience without the risk of taking it on the road."
A benefit to KOA is that travel trailers can be moved more easily than recreational park trailers between KOA's properties, depending on the season, Wheeler said, noting that the trailers also will have a high residual value when KOA retires them.
The rental units are production-line Airstream trailers that have been "ruggedized" for heavy use with linoleum floors and more stain-resistant fabrics. Also, unit systems such as water heaters and furnaces have been secured so that renters can't fiddle with them.