in

Want to travel like a rock star? One celebrity RV company’s Covid pivot lets you do just that


The Hemphill Brothers Coach Company is aware of a factor or two about how celebrities stay on the highway. The Nashville-based RV firm, run by brothers Joey and Trent Hemphill, has been constructing and outfitting luxurious tour buses for 40 years, touting an A-list shopper roster starting from mega stars like Taylor Swift, Oprah, Dolly Parton and Beyonce to former U.S. presidents.

“2020 was going to be our best year yet. It was already booked as our biggest year in the history of our company,” mentioned Trent Hemphill, when CNBC first caught up with Hemphill again in October.

But when the coronavirus pandemic led to abrupt live performance cancellations throughout the nation in early March 2020, $30 million {dollars} in booked RV leases for musicians on tour went out the door with them. “My brother and I, we’ve been through a lot of things together in this business, but nothing like this,” Trent Hemphill mentioned.

Data from the American Bus Association estimates that between 75%-80% lower of tour bus journeys have been cancelled since mid-March 2020 due to the pandemic, a almost $5 billion greenback loss for the U.S. leisure coach trade, which incorporates motor-coach operators and tour firms.

The Hemphills grew up touring as a profitable household gospel group earlier than borrowing cash from their dad in 1980 to purchase their first bus to hire out. Now, they’ve over 100 buses. The Hemphill Brothers Coach Company is positioned in Nashville, Tenn.

Brothers Joey and Trent Hemphill bought into the RV enterprise in 1980 with just one bus. Their Nashville-based fleet now consists of greater than 100 coaches and over 200 workers and boasts a lengthy checklist of A-list celebrity shoppers.

Hemphill Brothers Coach Company

During the primary 5 months of 2019, enterprise was booming: 95% of the Hemphill fleet had been on the open highway. But in early 2020, “not a single RV left the lot for three months,” mentioned Joey Hemphill. “We were deemed essential transportation for the government. But there was no business to be had.”

“The most painful thing we’ve ever had to do was lay off employees. We had to be very nimble and cut costs immediately and figure out a path through this so that we get to the other side,” he added.

So the brothers put their heads collectively and determined to do one thing they’d by no means executed earlier than: Create a social media presence and start advertising their buses to the lots.

“We deal with tour managers. Dealing with the general public is something we’ve never done in our 40 years. So it was all new to us,” mentioned Joey Hemphill.

“We said, our equipment can be used by the general public that doesn’t even know we exist. We just got to get the message out there,” added Trent Hemphill.

To drum up buzz, the brothers got here up with phrase “travel like a rockstar” to market their luxe RVs to American vacationers and vacationers who had been searching for another to air travel through the pandemic.

“It was a way for us to not only generate revenue for the company, but for our employees and drivers as well,” mentioned Trent Hemphill. The “rockstar experience” went viral — and the Hemphills mentioned they’ve accomplished dozens of vacationer highway journey leases final 12 months and into 2021.

The buses are a lot like being in a rolling a five-star lodge and riders can select from between a number of ground plans. The “star bus” can sleep up to 12 individuals and even pets, and every a part of the bus may be closed off for privateness. The brothers mentioned that each bus is “extremely customized” and “no two buses are the same.”

The Hemphill Brothers’ celebrity RVs are outfitted in top-of-the-line supplies and trimmings like real leather-based, hardwood flooring, granite, marble and quartz. The elaborate buses cater to luxurious vacationers who search the last word consolation on the highway.

Hemphill Brothers Coach Company

In true celebrity trend, Hemphill buses provide vacationers a trip within the lap of luxurious: Every RV is outfitted in upscale finishes, together with real leather-based, hardwood flooring, granite, marble and quartz.

Cost to hire the campers begin at $1,200-$1,500 {dollars} a day relying on mileage. Drivers, gas and incidentals are included, and drivers can meet vacationers at their houses wherever within the continental U.S. 

Trent Hemphill mentioned the advantages of touring on the highway versus a airplane are plentiful. “You only have to pack once,” and passengers get up at their subsequent vacation spot within the morning whereas the bus travels in a single day,” he added. “Our drivers are so good at giving you such a clean trip. You do not even know you’re transferring.”

“I personally sleep higher on a bus than at residence,” said Joey Hemphill.

So who else has slept in a Hemphill bus? The same company that made superstar Taylor Swift’s first tour bus crafted country legend Merle Haggard’s last.

The coach buses are sterilized before every trip and drivers are Covid tested before any trip and stay in pre-arranged lodgings between destinations. Prices can vary based on an individual’s schedule and itinerary, or travelers can choose to have a trip route tailor-made for them.

The Calderon family said when their South Africa trip was derailed due to the pandemic, renting a Hemphill bus for the same amount of money and going on a cross-country road tour was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.

“We’ve been everywhere in the world and we have had some wonderful holidays. I feel we had no thought that we might come again and say of the entire journeys that we have taken in our lifetimes, that this was our favourite,” said Karla Calderon.

Karla, her husband Rafael, and their two young children took their Hemphill bus out west for a 12-day trip, starting in Nashville and ending in Yosemite National Park. “We all the time need to travel exterior the U.S. and see all these items. This [trip] jogged my memory that this nation is unbelievable,” said Rafael Calderon.

The Hemphill Brothers said they have also increased other revenue streams by selling used equipment and doing custom interior modifications and conversions for outside clients. The company said that this has helped to offset a portion of the loss of rental revenue during the pandemic and has allowed them to bring employees back to work.

Even when live concerts return, the Hemphills said they plan to keep a portion of their fleet for tourists.

“We hit a storm and we had to take management once more of the corporate. And we realized that we will nonetheless do it.” said Trent Hemphill. “It’s been a problem, nevertheless it’s additionally been invigorating a little bit for he and I to, to see that the choices we make on a day by day foundation can have an effect on the result of our enterprise. Just like they did to start with. It makes you really feel younger once more.”



Source hyperlink

What do you think?

Written by Business Boy

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading…

0

How to watch the 2021 Golden Globes without cable

CDC director warns recent decline in U.S. Covid cases may have stalled as variants spread