Camping and glamping industry grows beyond popularity of pandemic: Travel Weekly

Campgrounds, glamping sites, RVs and anything that offered fresh air, physical distance and decreased chances of cancellation due to Covid-19 regulations saw a significant increase in bookings in 2020.

Internally, companies offering these products believed that it would be difficult to sustain rapid growth until 2021, but the upward trend in the industry has continued and more equipment-rich camping products are entering the market for respond to the request.

“In 2020, as people shifted to domestic and car travel, it was great for us,” said Jon Gray, CEO of RVShare. “We were wondering how we could exceed this growth, and we did. We have continued to see business accelerate and have experienced strong growth this year with dynamic growth in 2020. ”

A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research for RVShare found that 45% of travelers included RVs in their top three types of accommodation, a 13% increase from 2020. It also found that when planning in 2022, half of all travelers plan to take outdoor activities.

Almost half (45%) of travelers in a recent survey conducted for RVShare included RVs in their top three accommodation types. Photo credit: Courtesy of RVshare

Toby O’Rourke, CEO of the KOA Network of Private Campgrounds, said the company has seen an “explosion” in bookings that continues to defy their expectations.

“We expected a slowdown as the kids returned to school and the adults returned to the office in the fall, but we were surprised by the continued growth,” O’Rourke said, adding that activities after the fall. Labor Day were up 17% year over year.

HipCamp, an online marketplace for outdoor stays and camping experiences that includes a range of campgrounds, cabins, yurts and other alternative accommodation, currently has twice as many future bookings as at the same time in 2020.

“We are now in the position where we need to create supply as bookings arrive. We are reaching out to more landowners and working to create more partnerships with campgrounds to meet the demand. interest, ”said HipCamp Founder and CEO Alyssa Ravasio. “This is the continuation of a very big long-term paradigm shift. I think you see consumers hopefully moving away from wanting to consume so many items and move on to meaningful, unique, and memorable experiences. And the outdoor travel industry is positioning itself beautifully as this continues. “

Outdoor travel agencies say upgraded camping, or “glamping,” with additional amenities or upgraded sites with unique accommodations or features, is particularly popular.

“We saw so much interest in treehouses, we could add a million treehouses and they would all be booked all the time. I’m sure,” Ravasio said.

Businesses are seeing the outdoor travel boom tap into several trends. The growth of teleworking and “workcations” means more flexibility for travelers but also, with longer stays, a desire to keep costs under control. O’Rourke reported that KOA is seeing an increasing number of guests working from their campgrounds, and she is now telling franchisees that WiFi has become a utility rather than a convenience.

Plus, families are looking to campgrounds to reunite again after pandemic closures.

“There are a lot of family reunions that take place in the campgrounds,” O’Rourke said. “People are looking for unique experiences, and I think this has led to the rise of unique accommodations. At KOA, we have cabins, we see treehouses, we see yurts and a variety of glamping accommodations. going into the campgrounds. Much of it is driven by this family market looking for unique experiences. ”

T1213GLAMPTREEHOUSE_C [Credit: Courtesy of HipCamp]

Outdoor travel companies like HipCamp have seen a resurgence of interest in unusual accommodations, such as treehouses and yurts. Photo credit: Courtesy of HipCamp

Companies that are both firmly entrenched in the outdoor travel space and more traditional hotel businesses are investing in the growing market.

This year, AutoCamp opened its first location on the East Coast: a Cape Cod site with an 8,100 square foot clubhouse that includes a living room with an indoor fireplace, a general store, and restrooms with showers. There are now three of the company’s amenities-laden sites where guests stay in custom Airstreams, glamping tents and cabins nationwide, with three more slated to open next year.

Margaritaville launched its own luxury and RV campgrounds in 2019. Now, following the success of the first two Camp Margaritaville RV resorts in Lake Lanier, Ga., And Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the The company plans to introduce between 30 and 50 campgrounds over the next five years, with five sites slated to open in 2022. The resorts accommodate recreational vehicles in addition to offering glamping sites and cabins, and they have amenities such as dog parks, playgrounds, restaurants, and shows.

As the outdoor travel market continues to grow, companies increasingly believe that growth is sustainable.

“We expect another great year in 2022,” Gray said. “During the pandemic, people went to domestic and car tourism, and what they found was they had a better time than expected. We saw the plane tickets come back, we have saw the hotels come back, and we didn’t see any material slowdowns outside the business of the trip – in fact, we saw it pick up.

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