116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
While the pandemic may have closed some businesses, forced temporary shutdowns and had people reconsidering how they travel, one local couple spotted an opportunity to start a new business and help people escape day-to-day life.
“COVID-19 made us reconsider how we were spending time with our loved ones, in nature, and traveling — our three favorite pastimes — and we began exploring pandemic-safe alternatives to traditional vacationing,” said Kate Connell, co-owner of Away in an Airstream.
“As a husband-and-wife team, we’ve owned several local businesses, so turning a hobby of RVing into a side business happened out of habit.”
The couple created Away in an Airstream, a luxury trailer rental business based in North Liberty.
“We offer local delivery or towable rental experiences within 40 miles featuring our fully outfitted 2021 Airstream Bambi 19cb,” Connell said.
Co-owners: Kate Connell and Matt Potts
Address: North Liberty
Phone: (978) 660-6615
Connell and her husband, Matt Potts — who co-owns the business — started renting the camper in May 2021 after officially starting the business with the order of the trailer in October 2020.
“People have loved the concept of the cozy, but stylish Airstream and we’ve been fortunate to generate word of mouth referrals through social media,” she said.
They have accounts on Facebook and Instagram to share about their business.
Through the last several months, Away in an Airstream has been quite busy. So far, the camper has traveled out to Vermont and will head to Maine next in late September.
Its first out-of-state adventure took it to the Badlands, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone.
“Our renters have loved staycationing at Sugar Bottom and Wanatee Park and taking it for extended trips on the road,” she said.
When it’s not booked, Connell said her family enjoys sneaking away and getting inspired, too.
“We adore traveling in the Airstream. So far, we’ve camped locally, at Devils Lake in Wisconsin and have plans to head to the (Upper Peninsula) in Michigan this fall.”
Connell said it also helps them consider the experiences their customers have when they rent with Away in an Airstream.
“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking of each items needed to have a memorable trip and the all-in-one service appeals to a lot of folks who have similar travel styles as our family,” Connell said.
The work of owning a vacation rental on wheels is not as passive as it may seem, Connell added.
“Our communications, orientations, deliveries or hand-offs, and post-rental cleaning sessions add up,” she said.
“We love the nature of renting but did pivot early on to three-night minimums to maximize our efforts and streamline our system.”
The pair has gotten into a groove of duties related to running the business as well.
“True to our personalities, my husband is hands-on with the repairs and maintenance items, runs the renter orientations and handles our deliveries and setup,” Connell said.
“I’m ‘front of house’ with communication, the sole member of our marketing team and lead decorator and cleaner.”
Starting their business has not been without its challenges.
“RVs can have steep learning curves,” she admitted.
“Renters are learning in real time and as new owners and renters so are we. This rental season has taught us a lot of ways to refine our communication and orientation for renters.”
And while there isn’t a ton of time left in this year’s camping season, Away in an Airstream is posed for an exciting season two.
“We’re growing our fleet,” Connell promised. “We’re so excited to add a Bambi 16rb to the Airstream family for spring 2022.
“A shorter and lighter Bambi means more folks will be able to tow it with their travel vehicle.”
She added that they are looking forward to sharing the names of Bambi 19cb and our new Bambi 16rb in early 2022.
“It’s a tradition for Airstreams to have nicknames, and now that we’ll have two — it’s time to get brainstorming,” she said.
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