Ever dreamed of being treated like a real rock star?
Business partners Ben Erickson and Katie Tye can help turn your dreams into a reality through the new small business they recently launched.
The two entrepreneurs proudly oversee RocknRoadtrips, LLC. The company is based out of Austin, Texas, but Erickson and Tye can serve clients nationwide. While they started putting the pieces together for the business over the summer of 2014, they formally registered their LLC with Texas in January 2015.
Erickson explains how the small business can provide a totally unique transportation service to its clients.
“We are a one-of-a-kind road trip party planning service that allows our clients to travel in style on a rock-and-roll tour bus. Your chauffeured tour bus takes you to diverse locations in a matter of days. While you sleep, your bus driver is taking you to your next location where you wake up for another day of adventure. Let’s say a group wants to see the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Sedona over a 3-day weekend. Instead of having to fly and secure multiple hotel rooms, we can take them in a luxurious tour bus to each location; the celebration never ends, and our clients experience VIP treatment from start to finish.”
Tye says clients feel like VIPs when riding on their tour buses, which are literally used by well-known bands who travel the country to perform. The buses are decked out with luxury lounges in front and back, TVs, cable, DVRs,, sleeping bunks with their own TVs, DVDs, power, light, wireless Internet access, a kitchen area, and a bathroom. Food, alcohol, and other items can also be provided on board.
“We really want our clients to feel like rock stars on their trips,” Tye says.
In addition to providing a very convenient mode of transportation, the company will handle the first step of planning a trip right up to ensuring everything goes off without a hitch – and all of the logistics in between.
“We act as a single point of contact,” Tye says. “We’ll deal with vendors, negotiating pricing, VIP access at concert venues, campsites, setting up barbecues, planning tours, and anything else that needs to be done. We also send a tour manager with each group, and this person will roll out the red carpet for our clients without getting in their way.”
While the company offers pre-planned packages perfect for bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays, and even family trips, clients can fully customize their trips to suit their group’s needs and leave the planning and logistics up to RocknRoadTrips. The enterprise currently has buses based in Phoenix, Nashville, Philadelphia, and the Orlando area. However, a bus can be provided to start a trip in any location.
The two entrepreneurs found startup success with this small business after Erickson planned a successful bachelor party for one of his friends. He used a tour bus and discovered how great of a concept it could be for others. Erickson maintains a day job as a tour manager for the band Chromeo. Over the past decade he has also worked on tour with bands such as Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Dr. John.
Tye has a background in the marketing field with lots of experience in mobile marketing. She plans to set up a mobile site for the duo’s small business after seeing success with its regular site at www.rocknroadtrips.com. In addition, the startup has pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The entrepreneurs are also partnering with other sites, and they say free advertising is readily available if you look hard enough for it.
“Today, there are so many blog and website publishers looking for fresh content, which we’re happy to give them if it means introducing RocknRoadTrips to a new audience. For example, we’re able to partner with travel websites that aggregate other companies’ travel resources, and we can be promoted there. We can also trade web exposure with our partners, including bus companies and venues we feature in our ‘Ready to Rock’ packages,” Tye says.
Challenges to Startup Success
Like fellow entrepreneurs, Erickson and Tye have endured a number of challenges in starting a business like RocknRoadtrips.
“It’s all about getting the word out there about something that is new,” Tye explains. “We have to educate others that this is something new and really cool. Some people don’t understand how it works or if they can afford it, so we try to communicate all of this information as best as we can.”
Erickson adds his perspective on the challenges of informing others about how different the company is.
“A lot of people say to me, ‘Oh, I wish I would have known about this years ago’ after they hear about our concept,” he says. “We’re just constantly asking ourselves how to find the right audience for what we offer. We try and target groups like birthday parties, bachelor parties, or large groups of friends. People get very excited about riding on a tour bus and all the cool things you can do on it. The good news is that if everyone contributes to the cost, it’s a cheap alternative to other forms of travel.”
Advice for Small Business Owners
Erickson offers some tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners who are either looking into starting a business for the first time or those who have already taken the plunge.
“Testing your idea is so important,” he says. “Lots of people talk about their ideas forever, but eventually they fade away. You just have to do it because if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Also, leverage the resources out there like angel investors or crowdfunding. The lean startup approach is a good idea as well.”
Experience as 1-800Accountant Clients
According to Erickson, he and Tye have had a terrific experience as clients of 1-800Accountant.
“I have been very impressed with our services from 1-800Accountant,” Erickson says. “What I appreciate most is that we were put with an accountant who specializes in our specific industry, not just a run-of-the-mill accountant. Having a professional who is knowledgeable about our industry is great so we can maximize our tax deductions and savings.”
Photo credit: The photographs included in this blog post were provided by RocknRoadTrips, LLC and are used with permission.