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Emily Hackeling

About Ironwoods Rental

A boundless desert of flat dusty trails and steep sandy dunes, the expansive terrain of Ocotillo Wells, CA, earns it a place among the top off-roading destinations in the country.

Inspired by the landscape and a love of off-roading, Gray Rentz and his team launched Ironwoods Off-Road Rental in the summer of 2016 with the goal of making the land and the activity more accessible to the masses.

Ironwoods Rental operates alongside Desert Ironwoods Resort, a motel and RV park, giving visitors access to the 85,000 vast, dusty acres of Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area—wide-open land designated for 4x4, motorcycle and ATV recreation.

Founded in 2016 | Off-Roading Vehicle Rentals | 3 Employees

Navigating An Obstacle Course For ATV Rentals

Gray, a representative of Ironwoods whose background lies in technology and business operations, set out to find the right online booking system to help the business succeed.

“It’s all about riding out there,” he said. “But there weren’t many easy rental options. We wanted to provide a great customer experience for people who want to ride.”

I had whittled it down to three or four options for booking systems, and when it came down to it, there were clearly two camps of operations: activities and rentals. A lot of companies cater to both, but not all do a good job with both like ZOZI does.
— Gray Rentz, Representative of Ironwoods Rental

He knew the rental booking system needed to have robust functionality: a seamless way to track inventory, reliable reporting and communication features, and an easy-to-use interface that let customers and employees alike spend minimal time digging around in the software.  

“You don’t want to be standing around for an hour waiting to get checked in,” he said.

Just three full-time employees manage everything for Ironwoods—from payments and bookings, to vehicle maintenance and safety training. They offer a variety of rental options, including fully-accessorized Polaris RZR XP 1000 UTVs seating two or four people. Tackling tough terrain means their vehicles require prep work between rides, so Gray sought an organized calendar to track which vehicles were ready to take on the desert each day.

Favorite Features: Ease of Use | Calendar | Mobile App

“Having integrated payment processing was definitely a big deal for us,” Gray added, noting that the 8 or 10 percent fee per booking required by some processors would add up quickly for large vehicles like ATVs and UTVs.

“I had whittled it down to three or four options for booking systems, and when it came down to it, there were clearly two camps of operations: activities and rentals. A lot of companies cater to both, but not all do a good job with both like ZOZI does,” he said.

Ironwoods Rental + ZOZI

Gray ultimately chose ZOZI Advance to manage bookings because he felt it had the robust features he needed to run a rental business—without having too many complicated options.

“We needed something with the right level of customization,” he said. “The guard rails provided by ZOZI’s system are really helpful for getting started and immediately having a quality process. I could tell employees that this is the best practice, so let’s stick with it.”

The guard rails provided by ZOZI’s system are really helpful for getting started and immediately having a quality process.
— Gray Rentz, Representative of Ironwoods Rental

Gray said ZOZI Customer Support made learning the system straightforward and painless for the whole team.

“In half a day’s training, the team was already comfortable with the system. It’s very, very easy to use,” Gray said. “The customer service has been excellent—that’s one of the reasons we chose ZOZI. I was really impressed with everyone I’ve spoken with.”

Off-Roads, For Anyone & Everyone

Ironwoods aims not only to let seasoned off-roaders explore Ocotillo Wells, but also introduce the activity to first-timers.

“Our goal is to make this activity approachable for people. The entire experience of finding the activity, learning about the activity, booking it and checking out is all a part of that,” he said. “ZOZI plays a big role in making it easy to book and making this an accessible experience for people who have never tried it before."

Ironwoods uses ZOZI’s automated email features to set the right expectations for customers before they arrive. They send directions, remind visitors of requirements for operating vehicles, and include helpful information like what to wear and bring.

“It’s absolutely helped people have solid expectations of what’s happening when they arrive,” he said.

Our goal is to make this activity approachable for people. The entire experience of finding the activity, learning about the activity, booking it and checking out is all a part of that. ZOZI plays a big role in making it easy to book and making this an accessible experience for people who have never tried this before.
— Gray Rentz, Representative of Ironwoods Rental

Ironwoods tends to see more weekend traffic, according to Gray, and the onsite motel has limited weekday hours. With the ZOZI mobile app, the team can take bookings anytime, even when they’re not present in the office.

“The team is really excited about that,” Gray said.

Reporting insights will drive all business decisions for Ironwoods in this first season and for years to come, Gray said. The team uses a series of custom reports generated straight from ZOZI Advance.

“It's our absolute source of truth for utilization of our rentals, keeping track of the mix of rental types, and information on our vehicles.”

Plans For Growth: Custom Reports | Promo Codes | New Locations

Creating A Premium Experience, End To End

Gray keeps in touch with fellow business owners in the rental industry, and after just a few weeks of using ZOZI, he’s already recommended ZOZI to others.

“The ease of use, the speed of getting started, and the strong rental methodology right out of the box are what’s been best,” he said.

For us it’s all about finding ways to elevate the experience and make it a premium offering. A premium machine, process, and experience—and ZOZI is really refining that process with streamlined bookings and payments.
— Gray Rentz, Representative of Ironwoods Rental

Ironwoods is looking forward to seeing more and more people going off-road, and plans to use ZOZI for their future off-road rental locations.

“For us it’s all about finding ways to elevate the experience and make it a premium offering,” he said. “A premium machine, process, and experience—and ZOZI is really refining that process with streamlined bookings and payments.”

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