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The RV rental market “has tanked” during the past month as people have become glued to their TVs watching coverage of the war on Iraq instead of planning their summer vacations.
But Cruise America Inc. executives are confident the market will rebound once the public becomes adjusted to the new international political environment, according to Bob Caldarone, director of marketing at the major RV rental firm.
“November and December were great for future bookings, so we’re still ahead of last year at this time,” Caldarone said. “But the last month, it’s tanked, so we’re looking for a strong start, then the (current) doldrums, and then a surge in late bookings by Americans and Europeans.”
One bright spot is Canada, where RV rental reservations by Europeans “are way up,” Caldarone said.
This month, Cruise America also postponed several cable TV commercial-time purchases for its “Be Your One Captain” ad campaign. However, the company now plans to double its air time purchases during April and May over what it had originally scheduled, he said.
The Cruise America ad campaign was originally scheduled to appear in conjunction with the Go RVing Coalition’s national TV ads. The Cruise America ads have and will appear on The Discovery Channel, CNN, CNN HeadlineNews and on several satellite TV systems, Caldarone said.
Prior to the outbreak of war, Cruise America canceled some previously scheduled Discovery Channel spots and switched to CNN and CNN HeadlineNews because those cable networks were drawing more viewers at that time, he said.
Cruise America’s ad budget is “tiny” compared with Go RVing’s $15 million for this year. Cruise America’s ad budget is equivalent to 1% of its annual sales revenue, Caldarone said.
Unlike the Go RVing campaign, there is no print media component to the Cruise America ad campaign, he added.