Something strange is happening in the camping industry. In Europe and the United States, new park and campgrounds are popping up with amenities more typically associated with upscale hotels. King-sized beds (with maid service) are The Standard. Designer furniture and full liquor cabinets are promoted alongside guided helicopter tours of nature’s own vibrant excursions. Fax machines and steam rooms are becoming as expected in certain circles as indoor plumbing was a generation ago. It’s called Glamping…and it might be here to stay.
The allure of glamping, a word association of glamour and camping, comes from the age-old pleasure of having your cake and eating it too. For a growing number of people, glamping offers the escapism and adventure of the wilderness alongside the conveniences of refined, urban living. You get to hunt your dinner, and have a chef prepare it. The effect is less classic rustic campground, and more upscale bed and breakfast.
Such a win-win used to only be available to high-end travelers. Though the word “glamping” only appeared for the first time in 2005, it’s idea of luxurious tent-living has existed for centuries. English lords brought their furniture and wine cellars on hunting trips. Ottoman sultans required whole teams of artisans to maintain their living quarters while out on military campaigns. In the 20th century, no business tycoon would safari without a few crates of champagne and his dinner jacket.
But today, a similar experience can be had for as little as $50 per night. Reflecting broad global retail trends, camping consumers are demanding increasing levels of quality while shifting buying preference from tangible goods to “experiences.” It might be a solid idea for any potential campground owner to get involved in this burgeoning niche. Within two hours of a major US city there will probably be at least one luxury camping resort, eco-park, or boutique country cottage. However, the competition will be significantly less than with a standard campground. The barriers to entry and cash flow required will be significantly higher. But, the larger investments catering to these luxury travelers might be rewarded times over with significantly higher profits.
Interested to hear more? Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll be going deeper into the actual mechanics of starting such an adventure.
Until next time and as always, Let’s Bonfire.
- JACK from THE BONFIRE TEAM