Äkäslompolo Sportshop is one of the largest bicycle rental operators in Finland. They operate in the village of Äkäslompolo, right next to the Ylläs fjeld in Finnish Lapland. In addition to the full service sport shop a significant part of their revenue comes from renting out fat-bikes and mountain bikes during the summer and alpine and cross-country skis during the winter. Äkäslompolo Sportshop has used Rentle for one summer season. We interviewed Jari Ahola and Jarno Helassalo to find out their first experiences about Rentle.
Rents: Alpine skis, cross-country skis, bicycles, other outdoor sports equipment
Number of annual rentals: approximately 4500 individual rentals (2018)
The number of advance bookings have multiplied
Äkäslompolo Sportshop took Rentle into use for the summer season 2019. Before Rentle, they took reservations via phone and email but didn't have online sales or booking system. Rentle enabled Äkäslompolo Sportshop to start taking online bookings and the impact has been instant - compared to last year the number of advance bookings have multiplied.
Furthermore, while the number of summer visitors in Äkäslompolo Sportshop have increased approximately 30% compared to last year, the shop has doubled their rental revenue on the same time period. Jari Ahola points out that even though the popularity of mountain biking is growing fast in the area, Rentle has helped the company a lot to achieve these growth numbers.
According to Ahola and Helassalo their clients have been very satisfied with a few exceptions and even older people have found online booking fast and easy. The benefits of online booking have also been noticed in the progress of internal processes.
A clear benefit that has been recognised in Äkäslompolo is that advance bookings enable better usage of time. Helassalo says that if clients make their bookings online and fill their information in advance it saves a lot of time in the rental shop. The saved time can be used for example to prepare the orders before the client arrives and provide more personal customer service.
🚴♀️Bicycling has increased its popularity in Lapland during the recent years. Äkäslompolo Sportshop doubled their rental revenue in the summer 2019 compared to summer 2018. Photo credit: Äkäslompolo Sportshop
Easy to get started
Äkäslompolo Sportshop was looking for a rental software and decided to give Rentle a try because the leap of faith was quite small.
"The usage-based pricing and no starting costs made testing risk-free while there was always option to continue with the old ways. Rentle proved out to be a good service and the product developed constantly to the right direction, so we didn't see any reasons to go back to the old systems and the pen and paper." – Jarno Helassalo
In the beginning there was some nervousness in the air but with the use the nervousness disappeared. However, the change has required Äkäslompolo Sportshop to think new ways to operate with the new software.
Learning and developing together
Äkäslompolo Sportshop didn't have a rental software before, so the beginning of the journey with Rentle have required making adjustments to the daily routines. However the adjustments have been small and related to very practical issues, such as, where to place check-in and admin terminals. The increase of advance bookings have required making some changes to the daily routines as well but the changes have been mostly for better and made the everyday life easier and more organised.
Rentle is still only one-year-old company and constantly learning from the customers and their needs. Every once in a while there are situations where Rentle doesn't have a feature to solve some problem. However, according to Äkäslompolo Sportshop, these situations have always resolved somehow and eventually the desired feature has been added to Rentle.
Äkäslompolo Sportshop considers speed, ease-of-use, and flexibility as the most important features of a rental software. So far Rentle has been able to answer their needs and Jarno Helassalo would encourage also other rental shops at least to try Rentle.
"Rentle is very easy-to-use and the service scales for different size of companies and for different equipment. Rentle has worked well for us and based on our experiences we would definitely recommend it also for other rental shops." – Jarno Helassalo
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