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!
During the final stretch of days leading up to the September 30 deadline, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several labor and employment bills into law. Two of those were concerning the expansion of Leave of Absence regulations in businesses with five or more employees.
AB 1041 expands the definition of who an employee can take a leave of absence to care for to include a “designated person”. The term “designated person” is defined though the bills as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship”. The change pertains to both the California Family Rights Act, and California’s paid sick leave law. The bill allows employers to identify the designated person at the time of the request and limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.
AB 1949 also amends the California Family Rights Act to include bereavement leave as a protected leave of absence. Under the bill, employees may take up to five days of bereavement leave following the death of a family members. Family members that are covered by AB 1949 include a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild. The leave of absence must take place within three months of the family members passing and employers may require documentation of the death to support the leave approval. Bereavement leave may be unpaid, but employees can elect to use their available existing leave such as PTO, vacation, or sick leave accruals.
Both of these newly signed bills go into effect January 1, 2023.
Recently CalOHA President and CEO, Dyana Kelley was invited to speak at a hearing regarding the California State Insurance FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Plan. Dyana presented to Commissioner Lara the challenges we are facing as an industry relating to affordable and equitable coverage.
Following the hearing Dyana spoke at a board meeting for the California Travel Association and presented those challenges. Cal Travel determined that these challenges could have a trickle down effect on tourism and therefore decided to pull together a task force of other associations who have been affected.
On August 30th, CalOHA, Ski California, and CABBI (California Association of Bed & Breakfasts and Inns) met with Commissioner Lara to discuss solutions.
The task force discussed with the commissioner the issues associated with underwriting based on zip code. Many businesses go to great lengths to protect their property with mitigation strategies and should be rewarded for their efforts rather than lumped in with all businesses and homeowners within a zip code region. Additionally, the limited perils of the Plan do not provide for equivalent coverage and in many cases at a much higher rate.
In some respects, the state Department of Insurance hands are tied. The department does not have the authority to force an insurance company to continue writing business in California or what risk classes the company chooses to accept. Additionally, the department does not have authority over the state FAIR Plan or the coverages it chooses to offer. The California FAIR Plan Association provides basic fire insurance to businesses that cannot get insurance through a preferred property insurer. The FAIR plan is not a state agency or a public entity. The FAIR Plan is an insurance pool comprised of all insurers licensed in California. The FAIR Plan issues policies on behalf of its member companies. Each member company participates in the profits, losses and expenses of the Plan in direct proportion to its market share of business written in the state. Unfortunately, the FAIR Plan has been the only option for many of our member parks.
However, Commissioner Lara felt that rebates and rate reductions for mitigation was an area in which the department could get involved and make a difference. Commissioner Lara has proposed a wildfire safety regulation that will help drive down the cost of insurance. The proposal would require insurance companies to recognize consumers’ wildfire mitigation actions in their rate filings. In particular, the rule incorporates the new Fire Risk Reduction Community designation from the Board of Forestry. We believe this regulation will aid all efforts to increase wildfire safety and provide rate decreases for those businesses who take extra precautions.
Along with rebates and rate reductions, the department is working with the FAIR Plan Association to increase the number of perils provided under the plan coverage however, there is an strained relationship between the FAIR Plan and the department so finding middle ground on an equitable policy could be a challenge.
While the process is slow, it is moving and CalOHA has ensured that our industry is on the radar and they are working on strategies to alleviate some of the burden. If you have an extreme case of a rate increase or inability to obtain coverage please reach out to our office. Commissioner Lara is interested in working with individual businesses who are finding hardship with their current coverage.
Have you been wondering if California’s National Forestland will close again this year?
CalOHA, President and CEO Dyana Kelley has been in contact with the National Forest Service to determine the likelihood of a shutdown before Labor Day.
Current fire activity is minimal, and the agencies have been able to successfully manage the activity thus far. Additional resources have made it possible for teams to react quicky and effectively. So long as fire conditions continue to be minimal a region wide forest closure is not likely however, any new fire start has the potential for large fire growth. Should resources become tapped, a statewide closure could occur.
Regularly check with your areas forest service and follow them on social media to receive the latest updates. Please see links below to find information on your district. Unsure which district you are in? Check here to find out.
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