Flexibility of RVs drive sales

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ANCHORAGE -- "Going mobile" with a motorhome rental might be the most flexible way to see the 49th State.

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in Reston, Va., the rental segment of the RV market grew by more than one-third nationwide last year.

Most companies focused on RV rentals in Alaska said they don't expect to have as strong a year this year, but still recommend booking at least three months in advance.

Paul Crowther, general manager of Alaska Experience RV Rentals, and Luda Gashenko, president of Clippership Motorhome Rentals, both based here, each estimated 60% of their summer capacity is booked.

At Alaska Travel Adventures in Juneau, agents bring in nearly half the bookings of the Alaska Motorhome Rentals division -- "an industry high, I believe," said Gary Odle, senior vice president, marketing and sales.

Alaska Travel Adventures also includes an Alaska Highway Cruises division, which integrates RV rentals with Holland America cruises.

Agents account for 95% of bookings in that operation, Odle said.

Clients traveling via recreational vehicle are free to enjoy Alaska's national parks at their own pace. The most popular RV tour route, according to Shelley Sweet, office manager at Sweet Retreat Motorhome Rentals here, starts in Anchorage, heads 240 miles north to Denali National Park and then explores the Kenai Peninsula and Kenai Fjords National Park.

During summer peak season, July 5 to Aug. 5, rates for a typical motorhome average from $160 to $220 per day for seven days or more.

"Generally, the high-season rate is $170 per day and 15 cents per mile for a 24-foot, medium-size motorhome," the most popular, Sweet said.

For more about RV vacationing, visit the RVIA's Web site, at www.rvia.org, or an RV industry coalition site, at www.gorving.com.

Revving up the 10% pay

ANCHORAGE -- A handful of motorhome rental companies focused on Alaska work with travel agents to varying degrees.

The following motorhome rental agencies pay 10% commission on their daily rental rates:

Alaska Economy RVs
Phone: (800) 764-4625
Web:www.goalaska.com

Alaska Experience RV Rentals
Phone: (888) 242-4359
Web:www.alaskaexperiencerv.com

Alaska Motorhome Rentals/Alaska Travel Adventures
Phone: (800) 254-9929
Web:www.alaskarv.com

Clippership Motorhome Rentals
Phone: (800) 421-3456
Web:www.clippershiprv.com

Sweet Retreat Motorhome Rentals
Phone: (800) 759-4861
Web:www.sweetretreat.com

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