I don’t know if there’s a better recipe for wellness than traveling together on motorcycles in the great outdoors with fellow adventure-spirited souls. Experiencing not only the beauty of the landscape along the journey but being blessed by meeting the interesting people and cultures that inhabit our historical destinations. To me, that’s the American Dream on two-wheels!
As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris McIntyre.
Chris McIntyre is EagleRider’s co-founder and Chief Experience Officer, overseeing strategic relationships and growth initiatives. Chris developed a passion for motorcycles, travel and adventure at an early age and graduated with a B.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin — Madison.
During a successful career working for NCR Corporation, Chris met his future business partner Jeff Brown. They decided to take time off from their jobs to rent motorcycles and tour the world but quickly discovered no such service was available. This shocking realization led them to found EagleRider in 1992 and quickly pioneered the motorcycle tourism industry. Starting with just four bikes in a small Los Angeles garage, they built EagleRider into the premier purveyor of motorcycle experiences for adventure travel enthusiasts around the world.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve been a motorcycle enthusiast ever since I can remember. My first motorcycle ride was a short ride, I lived in Wisconsin and at 5 years old our Cub Scout troop leader let us ride a 50cc mini-bike. I jumped on the mini-bike, road it for about 50 feet through the neighbor’s yard, and lightly crashed into some rose bushes. Crazy as it sounds, it was exhilarating, and I was hooked on motorcycles from that moment on. In college at the University of Wisconsin, I rode a Suzuki PE185 and then upgraded to a Honda 500cc Interceptor. I always dreamed of owning a Harley and that didn’t happen until I was 26 years old and working at NCR Corporation in California. Riding with my co-founder on our Harleys up the Pacific Coast Highway the EagleRider dream was hatched from our passion and the magical experience of riding up the coast. We founded EagleRider in July 1992.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We started the EagleRider dream with 4 Harleys in a garage, a couple of thousands of dollars in cash, and lots of entrepreneurial passion. We all did every job required to make it work… but quickly learned that not every job is suited for everyone. I thought I was going to be a spectacular Tour Guide leading one of our first guided tours. I think I lost the entire group within the first hour and made the wrong turn after the wrong turn. Everyone ended up being very forgiving and we ultimately had a great time. I quickly learned a valuable lesson that success depends upon hiring the right people for the right job and experts tied to any job relating to the customer experience.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Jeff Brown and I founded EagleRider on his Newport Beach, California kitchen table in July 1992. We were very fortunate that a friend introduced us to Peter Wurmer, an expert in operating travel-related rental companies. Peter became our first partner we gave them significant stock shares and became our first employee (owner/operator). I can honestly say without Peter, EagleRider would have never grown to be the world’s largest motorcycle rental, tour, and travel company. He was simply a brilliant operator and entrepreneur!
Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?
EagleRider pioneered global motorcycle rentals, tours, and travel. Innovation has always been our secret weapon to success. We showcased our innovative culture by rolling out CLUB EagleRider in 2016, the world’s first motorcycle membership program where ownership isn’t required to access the motorcycle experience. In 2020, we rolled out EagleShare which quickly became the world’s most trusted power sport and motorcycle rental marketplace. Think of the world’s first Airbnb of motorcycles and power sports!
Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
Motorcycle ownership is no longer a requirement to experience the American Dream on a motorcycle! CLUB EagleRider membership starts at $29/month and provides hundreds of locations and power sports models to choose from around the world. It’s truly the most affordable way for adventure-spirited travelers to experience the world on a brand-new motorcycle (street or off-road) in their suitcase. The pain point we’re eliminating with CLUB is providing our members affordable access to ride the most prestigious motorcycle brands anytime and anywhere. EagleRider isn’t a “disruptor of the status quo” but instead an innovative listener. CLUB membership was born through simply listening to our customers’ wants and traveling needs. The future of America, Millennials and Gen Z embrace low-cost membership and subscription business platforms. CLUB was a natural evolution for EagleRider and should be for any serious experience-based company that wants to effectively and successfully do business in the future.
You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?
The perfect vacation experience for me is an authentic, social, and liberating outdoor adventure and journey that provides my soul with memorable experiences of freedom.
Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness-driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.
Great question. I don’t know if there’s a better recipe for wellness than traveling together on motorcycles in the great outdoors with fellow adventure-spirited souls. Experiencing not only the beauty of the landscape along the journey but being blessed by meeting the interesting people and cultures that inhabit our historical destinations. To me, that’s the American Dream on two-wheels!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.
The quest for Freedom is at the heart and soul of every living creature and is EagleRider’s purpose. It’s been over 30 years since my partners and I founded EagleRider. During that time, we have watched our rental fleet of four bikes in a Los Angeles garage grow to multiple thousands in over 250 locations on every continent in the world. We have been both fortunate and blessed to give the “Freedom of the Road” to over a million adventure travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts. Our mission is to enable every guest to live their Dreams by producing memorable experiences of Freedom, this is our recipe to success, our “pixy-dust” that creates a great travel experience and keeps bringing people back for more.
The five most important ingredients for EagleRider are:
People. EagleRider is a company built by Riders for Riders. We don’t hire employees, we find family members that are passionate about what we do; motorcycles, travel, and architecting experiences that bring joy to our customers.
Authentic. A motorcycle trip is a most intensely authentic and unfiltered way to connect with the country you are traveling in. Taste, smell, and see the raw beauty of the destination up close and meet the real people along the journey.
Liberating. This is at the center of our guests’ quest for freedom. We are masters at architecting liberating experiences of freedom and in doing so help our guests escape the narrow confinements of normal life.
Social. We care about our guests and their needs. When they experience an EagleRider journey, they are making new friends for life.
Reassuring. We are in the business of providing fantastic adventures and experiences. We make it safe, easy, and effortless for every guest.
Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Success is never earned alone and bringing goodness to the world is surely a team effort. Team EagleRider has been a catalyst to bring together literally millions of people from all corners of the world, all walks of life, for the sole purpose of traveling together to spread experiences of freedom to extraordinary people and cultures.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!