One of the few travel winners from the Covid-19 pandemic has been the RV industry, at least for the short term.
And as upscale and budget travelers alike have flocked to this option for escaping pandemic lockdowns, interesting players continue to emerge for the luxury sector.
Among the new players: coach companies like Storm Trooper Coaches and Hemphill Brothers that normally take rock bands and other celebrities on tour.
When the pandemic brought the concert scene to a halt, these companies, like so many businesses, made a quick shift in their business plans and put the luxe buses that brag past clients like the Rolling Stones and Beyonce out for vacation rentals.
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After all, what better way to rally the family than to promise a road trip like a rock star?
The coaches can sleep up to 12 people, are equipped with a TV, WiFi, gaming systems, kitchens and a bathroom with a shower.
And because the drivers are used to driving all night, guests can sleep while traveling, then wake up at their new destination ready to explore.
A Storm Trooper tour coach.
Storm Trooper, based in Colton, Calif., near San Bernadino, currently works through two wholesalers, Overseas Leisure Group and Ultimate Jet Vacations. A spokesman said they are also open to working directly with advisors.
Hemphill Brothers of Nashville says it, too, will pay commissions on bookings referred by professional travel advisors. It is currently promoting an $18,500 Road Trip Rockstar experience that includes a weeklong road trip across the U.S. to Arches, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks in one of Hemphill's 115 RVs. But because that is a Groupon deal, the company said, it is not eligible for commission.
Among the sample experiences being offered by Storm Trooper: being picked up in Newport Beach and driving all night to Zion. After spending the day at the National Park in Utah, heading down to Lake Tahoe for two days. Then off again for an overnight drive to Pebble Beach on the California coast for a round of golf before heading home.
Or how about a weekend drive from Los Angeles to Big Sur, then wine tasting in the Napa Valley?
The cost is about $1,500 to $2,000 a day, plus $1.50 a mile, a $500 cleaning fee and hotel rooms for the driver.
The coaches can be rented for travel anywhere in the U.S., although there is a "deadhead" fee for getting the vehicles to and from Storm Trooper's coach yards.