Tent lodge with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms

Glamourous camping or “glamping” is an upward trending industry in the hospitality sector that has only seemed to accelerate during the pandemic. Glamping as an industry is relatively new starting around 2015, but luxury tent and cabin camping has been around for many years. Many African safari operations have been using luxury tents for decades and cabin resorts in the U.S have been around many years. Glamping has taken these types of businesses to another level.

What Defines Glamping?

Glamping is defined as camping with modern conveniences. Glamping gives the traveler the experience of camping without the experience or knowledge of setting up a tent, sleeping on the ground or a cot, or the expense of renting or buying a recreation vehicle. Accommodations typically include cabins, tents, yurts, or treehouses.

Many accommodations include heating and air conditioning, full bathrooms, electricity, and regular beds.

Who is Glamping and Why Has It Become Popular?

The vast majority of people who are glamping are under 55 years old and Millennials are the largest and fastest growing demographic.

Source: KOA 2019 Glamping Report

One defining characteristic of millennials is they value experiences over owning things. Also, they are thrifty with their money and take more vacation days than other generations. The majority of their vacations are budget conscience road trips close to home rather than expensive destination vacations (source: Expedia, CNBC). Glamping fits well into this mindset.

According to Lynn Gallimore, owner of Sinya on Lone Man Creek in Wimberley, she is seeing the same trend. “Recently, I have noticed that my visitors are getting younger and most are coming from Austin and San Antonio”, says Ms. Gallimore. Sinya was one of the first resorts in the U.S. that offered tent accommodations. Opening in 2009, even before glamping was an industry, Gallimore has seen the industry evolve to where it is today. She adds, “During Covid-19, people want to get out of the cities, find isolation and connect with nature.”

Most glamping resorts exist in a natural environment such as on a guest ranch, near lakes or rivers, or in a natural scenic location. Many offer outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and nature watching. People are flocking to these locations to be in a natural setting, relieve stress, and relax, away from the busyness of city life.

Glamping is Growing Despite Covid-19

According to a study by Grandview Research, the glamping industry had revenues of $2.1 billion in 2018 and is projected to grow at 12.5% per year. By 2025, glamping will be a $4.8 billion industry. Although there are no industry wide figures during the pandemic, there are some numbers that show accelerated growth of glamping in 2020.

  • Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts is the largest chain of glamping resorts in North America. They have reported that revenues are up 11% in 2020 over 2019, despite many of their resorts were closed until June.
  • Tentrr, a booking site that books reservations for campsites around the country. They report reservation bookings are up 400% in 2020 over 2019. The biggest increase was for sites within 2 hours of a city.
  • Glamping Hub, a booking site that books reservations for glamping properties, reports record sales months in May, June, and July of 2020. Some areas have seen 100% growth over 2019.

Overall, outdoor industries are up tremendously during Covid-19.

Source: Outdoor Industries Association

How To Capitalize On This Growing Trend

There is no doubt that the hospitality industry has a taken a huge hit due to the pandemic. If you are in the hospitality industry, here are some tips to take advantage of this new growing trend.

  • Build a relationship with glamping resorts’ owners/managers. Many times their customers will ask them about businesses in the area. Leave brochures at the front desk. Many times there are bulletin boards in the common areas. Ask if your can post a brochure or a business card.
  • Build your online presence on Google, YouTube and social media. Once visitors arrive at the resort, they may be looking for things to do and places to eat. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, people are going to be searching on their phones, not their desktops. Make it easy for them to find you and do business with you online. Remember that millennials are the dominant demographic group in this industry and they use the internet over radio or television to find businesses.
  • Run Facebook/Instagram and Google display ad campaigns to promote your business to glampers. Create audiences in Facebook and Google that are targeting your potential customers then run ad campaigns to get in front of those people. These channels are the least expensive and most targeted forms of advertising.
  • If you run a traditional resort style hotel, winery, RV park, or campground, consider expanding with cabins or luxury tent accommodations. In this time of Covid-19, visitors will feel safer in the isolated environment.
  • Get on Travel Sites – If your hospitality business is not on Tripadvisor and Expedia, I would highly encourage getting listed there. These are the top tourism related websites. It is not only for hotels, there are “attractions” and “things to do” listings where other types of hospitality businesses can be listed. The Expedia network has 750 million visitors per month and includes the websites CarRentals.com, CheapTickets, Expedia.com, HomeAway, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, trivago, and Venere.com. Tripadvisor has 390 million visitors per month and reviews are a prominent part of the site. Tripadvisor also has a Q&A section where people can ask about the business. Monitor and answer questions promptly.

With all of the doom and gloom associated with this pandemic, it is nice to see that there are some bright spots in the hospitality industry. Use this information to put your hospitality business in front of this growing audience. If you are unsure how to marketing to this industry, let us know. We are here to help.