Po­laris pow­ers into va­ca­tion rentals with fleet of ‘ad­ven­ture’ ve­hi­cles

Dayton Daily News - - BUSINESS - By Dee Depass

Three years ago, a cou­ple of Po­laris em­ploy­ees had a hunch.

If va­ca­tion­ers could rent the lat­est mod­els of Po­laris snow­mo­biles, all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles or Sling­shot three-wheel­ers, they would gain “an ex­pe­ri­ence” and be­come fast fans of one of Amer­ica’s top power-sports ve­hi­cle mak­ers.

With the bless­ing of their boss — and a bud­get — Jan Rin­ta­maki and Paul Vi­trano spent 2016 re­search­ing their con­cept of va­ca­tion ve­hi­cle rentals in Colorado.

They then tested the busi­ness model with equip­ment out­fit­ters at re­sorts in New Hamp­shire and Cal­i­for­nia and de­vel­oped a sys­tem that al­lows va­ca­tion­ers to rent the ve­hi­cles, sign waivers and buy a day’s worth of in­sur­ance us­ing a sim­ple com­puter tablet.

“To­day, we are in about 75 lo­ca­tions in 30 states. We have done over 25,000 rides,” said Bob Mack, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and strate­gies. “It’s ex­cit­ing.”

The new unit part­ners with lo­cal out­fit­ters and leases a fleet of GPS-equipped ve­hi­cles from Po­laris, whose main busi­ness is ac­tu­ally to man­u­fac­ture the ve­hi­cles — to the tune of $5.5 bil­lion in an­nual sales.

Po­laris cre­ated Po­laris Ad­ven­tures to both mar­ket and di­ver­sify its fleet of power-sports ve­hi­cles. By part­ner­ing with sev­eral va­ca­tion ve­hi­cle renters through­out the United States, the com­pany is now “in about 75 lo­ca­tions in 30 states,” said Bob Mack, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and strate­gies. “We have done over 25,000 rides.”

Po­laris CEO Scott Wine sees the ven­ture as a smart mar­ket­ing tool — and one more way to di­ver­sify. In re­cent years, the Me­d­ina-based com­pany has ex­panded its rid­ing-ac­ces­sories line, bought stores that cus­tom­ize trucks and ac­quired two big boat man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“Po­laris Ad­ven­tures arose from our pas­sion to in­tro­duce peo­ple to power sports and the real­iza­tion that we could ex­tend our reach by in­tro­duc­ing a new, premium op­por­tu­nity for off- and on-road day trips,” Wine said.

CON­TRIB­UTED BY PO­LARIS

The Po­laris Sling­shot SLR.

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