New Zealand rental booking company Motorhome Republic is about to celebrate its 100,000th customer, as the Kiwi firm continues to punch above its weight in the extremely competitive international travel sector.
Originally launched in 2006 by brothers Paul and Mike Ballantyne, Motorhome Republic has gone from strength to strength as part of the Online Republic stable, which also includes Airport Rentals and Cruise Sale Finder.
A global campervan operation
Motorhome Republic has established itself as an industry leader, thanks to 300-plus depots in 27 countries, helping them reach 100,000 bookings in just eight years. They offer rental deals on more than 30,000 vehicles around the world, with an experienced, multi-lingual customer service team to support sales staff. Complementing the easy-to-use website is access on tablet, mobile and desktop, while the Motorhome Republic app is also simple to download.
It’s all a far cry from 2006, when Motorhome Republic general manager Rohan Marx had just a handful of staff alongside him at his Britomart office. “Mike was actually working as one of our reservations team. It was a real hands-on operation, but we were confident of success, even back then.”
Secrets of Motorhome Republic’s success
There were many factors behind this optimism. An investment in technology and creating a versatile operating system were key. Motorhome Republic quickly replicated different rating schemes and programs, bringing them all together in one place.
“We also concentrated on user-interface marketing and clever data-basing. Basically, in layman’s terms, what this did was allowed us to create a platform for anyone renting a motorhome to compare deals easily and quickly. We also nailed special deals on a global scale, something which hadn’t really been done before. Relentless innovation was the only way forward – and still is,” says Rohan.
“Another significant asset is running a reservations team 24/7. And while we have more than 25 staff today, that number is increasing all the time. From reservations to language translation and marketing, we are always seeking fresh New Zealand talent.”
Lord of the tourism destinations
This focus on Australasia remains strong, with New Zealand and Australia two of Motorhome Republic’s top-three markets – the other is the USA. And while UK revenue was substantial in the early years and is still a major source of income, this has levelled out slightly. However, domestic and Australian custom has increased exponentially. Impressive Tourism NZ campaigns across the Tasman and the success of Sir Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings films have all helped contribute to the increased attractiveness of NZ as a travel destination.
Changing demographic renting motorhomes
The product itself is also thriving, with more and more younger people hiring campervans and travelling around the world - New Zealand’s South Island is particularly in vogue. The idea of accommodation and vehicle all in one is certainly not old-fashioned anymore. High-quality designs, increased space and improved facilities such as DVD players are delivering a whole new demographic of business. Long-haul renting is particularly appealing, with tourists coming here and Kiwis picking up a campervan abroad.
But while 100,000 customers is great news for Motorhome Republic, Rohan is well aware there is no room for complacency.
“We work in a global business, so translations are the way forward. We are operating in four languages – English, Chinese, German and French – and will be releasing more. International long-haul bookings are a huge sector of our business and we want to stay at the forefront of global motorhome rental.”
Facts and figures behind 100,000 Motorhome Republic bookings:
The longest rental period was a mammoth 214 days by a Canadian couple travelling around Australia – a Brisbane round-trip.
Motorhome Republic has access to around 30,000 rental vehicles.
On average, customers travel around 1000km per week. Effectively, Motorhome Republic campervans have travelled 189,000,000kms. Further than from the earth to the sun!
Check out our Facebook page for more celebrations and find out who actually becomes our 100,000th booking.