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Meet the Professionals: The Motorhome Holiday Company

11th March 2024

North Somerset is home to many wonderful and unique businesses and organisations. This month, we’re delighted to introduce Matt Sims from The Motorhome Holiday Company

How did The Motorhome Holiday Company start and how has it developed?

Over many a campfire and a bottle of red wine with two good friends and our families, we discussed the idea of working together in our own business. We spent many weekends away together in our respective motorhomes. A pastime I had enjoyed with my family for many years. 

In 2008, I [Matt Sims] sold my international Corporate Events business and launched a motorhome dealership with the same friends. We went from strength to strength winning lots of awards for customer service and after-sales. But, our visions changed over time. 

In 2015, I decided to sell my share in the business back to my partners and friends and part company. I launched Motorhome Holiday Company in December 2015 with a focus on motorhome hire and sales. My vision was to make motorhome holidays affordable and more accessible. Hiring a motorhome was quite a new idea at the time with little competition in the local area. My initial idea for the business was that of a boutique style which would run for 8 months of the year.

My father offered to help and the two of us started with just three motorhomes. This quickly grew to seven motorhomes prompting a move from the back of the original motorhome dealership in Bristol to a site in Winford on the Cattlemarket. 

Motorhomes are high-priced assets and scaling up the business became a real option with the evolution of our MotorhomeEarn model. We work closely with a motorhome owner and add their asset to our hire fleet. We do all the hard work of marketing, booking, cleaning and maintenance. The owner benefits from free servicing and storage whilst being able to use the motorhome whenever they choose. They get a 50% share of the income without doing any of the work. 

The business model was a hit. We quickly scaled to twenty motorhomes in the following year and this prompted the need to move again to our current site in Hewish where we had more space to grow. Eight years later in 2023, we ran a fleet of over thirty motorhomes all of which are privately owned as part of our MotorhomeEarn programme. 

Post-pandemic we opened a shop at the site called That Leisure Shop selling motorhome and caravan accessories, spares and essentials. The bricks and mortar side of the shop is growing steadily but our online presence has taken off really quickly and is growing at a very fast rate. We have just recruited an eCommerce Manager to take us to the next level of turnover and growth. 

In 2021, we also launched ‘Motorhome Matt’, a weekly podcast featuring me and former BBC Bristol news presenter Keith Gooden. We discuss all things around motorhomes, caravans, provide industry insights and feature audience Q&A’s.

I launched it to promote the shop but it has taken on a life of its own. It is regularly in the UK Top 10 Chart for Automotive and Leisure and has beaten Top Gear in the rankings many times! With nearly 500,000 downloads it has seemingly hit the spot with our niche audience and continues to grow. The Podcast will be a significant income source to the business in 2024 and beyond. You can listen to it on all podcast platforms and watch it on YouTube. 

Why did you decide to base yourself in North Somerset?

We are based on the busy A370 in Hewish really close to Junction 21 of the M5. Along that road are a couple of established motorhome sales businesses and it is the ideal location for heading off on holiday in a hire motorhome. Easy to get to, quick and easy to get to the M5 and very visible. 

We are still a family run business and we live in North Somerset. I love driving to work and not getting stuck in lots of commuter traffic. In fact, this morning I had to deal with the cows wandering free in Burrington Combe as part of my commute! Love it. 

How do you attract talented staff?

Initially, our team were all family and friends. This started to change as the business grew. We have been incredibly fortunate to have recruited some local and very talented individuals using a recruitment agent based in Bristol. 

Our own marketing means we are very visual online and this does attract interest from potential employees. However, we have always taken huge pride in our job descriptions and our ‘offer’. We very much recruit on personal values and ensuring that the individual would be a good cultural ‘fit’ with our existing team and vision. 

What have been your biggest challenges?

Post pandemic our hire business was massively oversubscribed. In fact we did not cope at all. 

We returned to work just before lockdown was lifted in June 2020 to get ready for the restrictions lifting in July. We recall being overwhelmed with people seeing our gates open and walking in clambering over bags of bedding and vacuums trying to get in the motorhomes to have a look and demanding to book a much needed holiday. 

At 2.30pm the same day I announced to the team, “Thats it! Close the gates! Creep around and don’t let anyone see you or we will never be ready!” Thankfully we had spent the previous few months building our online booking system which saved the day as it meant prospective customers could book online from home. 

Subsequently, things have calmed down and we have had a very different couple of years. The cost of living crisis and poor weather over the last couple of summers have had their impact on the business. That coupled with significant investment into our growth of the shop and podcast have meant huge cashflow challenges. 

Supply chain issues have also been a challenge. Motorhomes have risen in price in the last few years by up to 40%. This has meant a challenge to find stock to sell and also to add to our hire fleet but is driving a demand to hire instead of buying. We are perfectly placed to meet this fresh demand. 

We remain an industry in growth  We anticipate a pandemic recovery timeframe of five to seven years and remain very optimistic about the future.  

What are your plans for the future?

We will run a slightly smaller hire fleet in 2024. In the first six weeks of 2024 we have doubled performance in 2022 and again in 2023. Bookings are up. People still have an appetite to discover the UK in a motorhome. Plus this year we are lifting our restriction to go to Europe for a holiday in one of our motorhomes. This restriction was implemented post-Brexit due to complications and delays around the repatriation of a motorhome in the event of a breakdown. The relaxing of this travel restriction is having a really positive impact on the business. 

Our shop continues to grow and has huge potential to grow online. Our retail team are more focussed than ever and we are experiencing real growth in this side of the business. 

The supply of used motorhomes has improved in the last year so the sale of motorhomes is an activity we expect to see grow again too. 

The podcast remains unique in the UK and is a very attractive opportunity for brands looking to partner with it to reach our affluent and loyal audience. We are in negotiation with some global brands who wish to work with us in 2024 and beyond. 

What have been your proudest moments?

The element of the business that gives me most pride is our team. A bunch of ordinary people that deliver extraordinary levels of passion for what they do over and over again. I am proud of them every day. 

Looking back on how the business has evolved over the last eight years is also a great source of pride. From those early days of me and dad working out of a small shipping container with very limited resources to today where we have a very different setup including our own TV and recording studio!

I am also incredibly proud of the commitment the team have to our future. It is only with them all can we take this business forward and into the next chapter. 

To find out more about The Motorhome Holiday Company and the fantastic range of services they offer, please visit

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