By Erin and Dan Thiem, Inn Town Campground
The fifth annual Glamping Show in Aurora, Colorado happened earlier this month. It was a great to opportunity to welcome professionals, vendors, dreamers, and everyone in between in as we all talked about the Glamping industry and its future. The California Outdoor Hospitality Associate was on-hand to represent California campgrounds, RV park owners and everyone else interested in Glamping in the state. This fast-growing segment of outdoor hospitality is burgeoning in California and beyond and we’re happy to welcome them to our association and all of the benefits membership provides.
What were some of the key takeaways from the show? Here are our top 8!
8 Take Aways:
-Glamping isn’t just “up-and-coming“, it’s here and it’s growing fast.
While some of our members have been in the glamping space for a while, the show highlighted that Glamping can provide some great opportunities and unique additions to your campground.
-Glamping is an evolving segment.
Ask any two campers what glamping is, and you’ll likely get two different answers. That means operators need to be clear about defining what their unique glamping experience is. It may not be like other place’s your campers have stayed, but it can still be cool and unique to your park.
-Know your audience.
Following on from the previous takeaway, knowing who your market is and how they want to experience your area and campground is very important. Many of the attendees at the show were doing unique things in the glamping space. Some are renting bell tents for parties, while others have pop-up accommodations for festivals. Some spots were very upscale, and some had only basic amenities. Whatever direction you want to go, as with all business decisions, make sure it fits your customer profile.
-Get to know the tech options.
This is a similar insight to many other shows and conferences in outdoor hospitality. There are a lot of technology solutions to make your operations easier and your customer experience better. There are custom apps, virtual tours, property management systems and a lot else to help you be a better operator.
Sometimes we all just need to meet people who do what we do. The show was a great place to do that. Not only do you get new ideas on how to run your business, but you get energized by all the creative energy that new ideas provide. The California Outdoor Hospitality Association wasn’t the only association represented; there were also other state associations present, plus the Glamping Association. These state-level organizations help people connect to others in their own backyard. The glamping industry is a friendly space, so get to know the folks who are putting their own spin on it, whether it’s across the country or one county over.
-One size doesn’t fit all.
The diversity and range of different types of glamping tents, bell tents, safari tents, covered wagons or state of the art tiny houses was astounding. It was a great reminder that the industry is unique and the experiences you create can be very curated to your particular geography, preferences and interests. Maybe your customers would love a dome, or maybe a yurt is a better fit for your terrain?
-Pay attention to the details.
It’s important to consistently recognize that the details mater. It can come down to the outdoor furniture, the pedestal engraving, the personalized mugs, but all of these small details make a difference to stand out in the market. A little extra time, thought, (and yes, money) will pay dividends later as customers appreciate the uniqueness of their experience at your property.
-Marketing, marketing, marketing.
The conference really conveyed the need for a commitment to the long view of marketing and public relations. Investing the time to build and maintain your social media presence will pay dividends over time, not just immediately. Remember, consistency is king in your marketing. Set clear, attainable goals for yourself and follow through on meeting them. Ask for help when you need it and admit (even if reluctantly) that sometimes we’re not experts at everything.
Keep an eye out for more content from this years Glamping Show in the next issue of the Spotlight Newsletter!
Check out more blog posts!