Attract more demo, rental reservations with Reserve My Ride

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Reserve My Ride is a web-based rental and demo ride reservation system dealers can use to help increase customer traffic, attract more qualified leads and help boost profits.

We spoke with the company's president, Phil Zegarek, about the program and how it works. Ostensibly launched as a tool for signing up demo riders, Zegarek says that the rental reservation element has really taken off.

Zegarek, owner of Yamaha, Suzuki, Can-Am, Victory of Mineola in New York, launched the program this year and has signed up 10 dealers. He's looking to have a total of 25 by the year's end, and projects a lineup of 150 to 200 dealers in another two years.

Dealernews: How can dealers benefit from Reserve My Ride?
Phil Zegarek: Our three primary objectives are to increase customer traffic, increase dealer sales and increase profitability. The tag line for Reserve My Ride is "Ride before you buy." Offering customers the option to rent often winds up driving customers into the dealership that originally were not necessarily in the market for a new motorcycle. However, what we have found is if you can get a customer in the saddle for an extended period of time on a rental bike, they often wind up talking themselves into a new motorcycle purchase. For those customers that don't wind up purchasing a bike, a dealer still winds up generating a profit from the rental as well as profits a dealer makes on sales of glasses, jackets, helmets and other riding gear that rental customers often purchase prior to their ride.

DN: How can Reserve My Ride help dealers identify more qualified buyers?
PZ: If a customer is on the fence as to whether to make a purchase or not the rental program sales workers can now offer customers the option of renting the bike for the night. As often happens, once the customer has that bike in their garage for the night, it's often difficult for the customer to give the bike back. If the customer is not interested in a one-night rental, chances are the customer wasn't that interested or wasn't financially qualified to purchase a bike in the first place.

DN: Reserve My Ride allows dealers to both schedule test rides and rentals. Which has proven to be more popular?
PZ: The rental component has proven to be far more popular than the basic test ride program. As mentioned before, a smart dealer can actually turn a rental program into a paid "test ride." We're seeing this as a paradigm shift in how dealers can now better qualify all customers and generate more profits for their dealerships.

DN: Liability is a key concern with test rides and rentals. What kind of insurance options are available?
PZ: We knew liability is a big concern with dealers in terms of protecting their business and personal assets. That's why we partnered with the most trusted name in the rental insurance business, Zurich. Zurich offers dealership rental/demo liability coverages up to $5 million, and a variety of deductibles for vehicle comprehensive and collision.

DN: Other than insurance options, are there any add-ons/coverage to protect riders?
PZ: Yes, all riders will have the ability to add roadside assistance coverage to their rental through Reserve My Ride's partnership with Rider Rescue. Most dealers are charging customers $5 per day for this coverage, which enables dealers to generate additional profits through their rental programs.

DN: How do dealers connect with riders interested in rentals or test rides?
PZ: First and foremost, dealers are putting a Reserve My Ride link on their website to let all visitors to their sites know that they now rent bikes from their dealership. We are also recommending they promote their rentals as "extended test rides" to help better convey the "ride before you buy" mindset with their customers. We are also recommending to Reserve My Ride dealers that they train their service people to now offer repair customers the option of renting a new bike for the day or the night. This is a great way for dealers to generate additional profits, make a new sale and take in more used bikes on trade-ins.

DN: How is Reserve My Ride advertised?
PZ: As more dealers join the Reserve My Ride network, we will be promoting their dealerships and enabling customers to make local reservations at ReserveMyRide.com. Additionally we'll be working with many motorcycle affiliate websites to drive more motorcycle rentals to local dealers. Affiliate partners will include online magazines and other motorcycle related businesses that will receive a commission for all reservations that are referred from their sites.

DN: What are some of the perks on the back-end for dealers (capturing customer prospect info, contact data, etc.)?
PZ: Clearly the best perk for Reserve My Ride dealers is increased sales and profits. Our goal with Reserve My Ride is to help create a paradigm shift in how customers are qualified and how motorcycles are sold. With Reserve My Ride, if a customer is truly qualified, there should be no reason why the customer won't either buy a bike or make a reservation to rent a bike on the spot. The Reserve My Ride program enables dealers and customers to reserve the date and time of the reservation, collect all of their contact info and reserve that reservation with a credit card. If the customer is making that reservation online, the customer is also asked if they currently own a bike now, if they are interested in purchasing a bike and when are they interested in purchasing.

DN: What kind of national or local marketing does Reserve Your Ride do to support its network of dealers?
PZ: As the Reserve My Ride dealer network grows, we'll be expanding our efforts to promote local dealers and book local reservations at ReserveMyRide.com. Additionally we definitely plan to make smart use of social media to promote local reservations through Facebook, Meetup.com and other online social media channels. Lastly, we also plan to work aggressively with our affiliate and magazine partners to have a Reserve My Ride link on all their websites to help drive even more rental and extended test rides down to our local dealer partners.

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