A portmanteau of the words “camping” and “glamour”, glamping offers guests a remote stay in nature without sacrificing creature comforts. And with some sites charging similar, if not the same, average daily rates as nearby hotels, the demand for luxurious outdoor experiences is becoming big business.
“Glamping is definitely the big trend right now,” confirms Michael Gast, Vice President of Communications at Kampgrounds of America (KOA). “People who don’t want to camp in a tent, or really like a comfortable bed at the end of the day, love the glamping option. I think you’ll see more specialised camping resorts offering glamping options, as well as companies including glamping options in their offerings.”
From safari-style tents to modern lodges, the definition of glamping varies from traveller to traveller. According to Kampground of America’s 2019 North American Glamping report, when asked what type of accommodation best fit their definition of glamping, the majority of travellers said cabins (64%), followed by tree houses (58%) and tiny houses (55%).
As a result, traditional campgrounds are diversifying their offerings to cater to the change in preferences. “Campgrounds [are] now offering glamping options that include plush deluxe cabins, basic cabins, safari tents, teepees, yurts and other unique offerings,” says Gast. “This has opened up camping as an option for many more families who would like a bit more comfort than traditional camping.”
What’s driving the trend?
The rise in glamping is being driven by higher levels of participation among younger travellers, namely millennials and Gen Zers, with 60% of leisure travellers who have glamped in the past two years being part of these generations.
“The growth among younger generations means that the camping lifestyle will be around for a long, long time,” says Gast. “That’s good for the outdoor industry as they won’t be as reliant on the Baby Boomers as we once thought. It also makes the construction of new camping facilities viable for the future.”
The rise in glampers also coincides with the growth of the adventure and wellness industries, as travellers increasingly search for a way to connect with nature. According to the same KOA report, 79% of travellers agree that being outdoors is a great way to escape the stress of everyday life, while 74% say while glamping they like to immerse themselves in nature. “I think that at the core this is how people prefer to travel,” says Ruben Martinez, Co-Founder of the American Glamping Association. “They want to leave the city and reconnect by disconnecting, and there really are a lot of great glamping options close by.”
And it appears that the trend is taking hold globally. “North America, Europe and Australia are seeing the most growth right now,” says Martinez. “But there are sites popping up every day all over the world.
“It’s exciting to see the number of new camps - small and large - that are starting. I’m talking to new business owners every week that are starting some really cool projects in areas that haven’t seen glamping yet. Also, a lot of these properties are figuring out how to say open year-round instead of closing down during the winter.”
The opportunity for hotels
With the number of glampers increasing year-on-year, hoteliers are starting to ask themselves what they can do to secure a slice of the market. One example of a chain entering the space is Tribute Portfolio, a Marriott International collection brand that recently announced the opening of its tented concept resort in Indonesia, Natra Bintan.
Featuring safari-themed tents complete with a four-poster bed, LCD TV and air-conditioning, no expense was spared in ensuring a glamping experience without sacrificing the brand’s well-known hotel comforts. “There is a big opportunity to combine glamping with international hotel standards to improve the guest experience and product awareness,” says Laurens Kritzinger, General Manager at Natra Bintan. “This will attract a different type of guest looking for experiential travel to the established hotel industry.”
In addition to creating a fun and authentic glamping experience unique to that sector, elements of the traditional hotel experience were adapted to maintain consistency. “When it comes to elements adapted from the traditional hotel experience, it has to be Marriott International and the Tribute Portfolio’s premium resort standards, luxury finishing and amazing service levels,” says Kritzinger. “The team works tirelessly to give all our guests the same resort standards they will find at any of our other properties.
“The best advice I can give potential glamping operators is to remember this is still a hospitality product. Using quality products during development and ensuring a detailed focus on guest comfort levels are key. Due to the nature of the product, be proactive in preventative maintenance and cleaning to ensure your product stays fresh and functional. In addition to this, find unique experiences for your guests, relevant to your location.”
*According to Grand View Research, Inc
- The global glamping segment is expected to reach a market value of US$4.8bn by 2025
- Millennials and Gen Zers are fueling the growth, with 60% of leisure travellers who have glamped in the past two years being part of these generations
- Traditional campgrounds are diversifying their products, now offering options including deluxe cabins, safari tents, cabins and yurts
- There is an opportunity for chains to create a glamping experience while adapting elements of the traditional hotel experience