As recently as two years ago, the question would have seemed nonsensical. The portmanteau of “glamour” and “camping” was only recently fashioned to describe a type of “camping” at a lodge where the guests pay $150 a night to sleep in luxury travel trailers, cushily appointed tents, or yurts and spend time in the “wild” outdoors. Glamping was new and not for RVers or serious campers, and would likely never seriously threaten to supplant them.
But wait—flash forward to 2022. Glamping has become mainstream and is attracting serious investment from hospitality entrepreneurs. For instance, AutoCamp, a company that created the first “glampground” in Santa Barbara, CA, in 2016, offers luxury overnight accommodations in Airstream travel trailers in natural and glamorous settings. The company now has nine locations across the country, with plans for twenty more. They are partnered with Thor Industries, manufacturer of the Airstream line of travel trailers.
Glamping industry revenues
The glamping industry currently has an economic impact value approaching $3 billion and growing at 10.9 percent annually and increasing. Glamping is forecast to reach $6 billion in revenues in 2030.
However, the nouveau cache is no match for the more traditional camping and recreational vehicle industries. The RV industry currently represents a $140 billion impact on the U.S. economy; the non-RV camping segment of the economy has reached $21.58 billion and is growing at a rate of 3.17 percent annually.
While carpeted tents and premade s’mores are not likely to eclipse RVing and camping as we know it, there is a robust and growing demand for a luxury interface with nature without the costs and demands of camping. Viewed from an economic standpoint, using very basic figures, a couple owning and camping in an RV might spend, say, $15,000 on the RV, maintenance, insurance, and fuel. If it is used only four weeks out of the year, the cost equates to $3,750 per week. A person could “glamp” for those four weeks for roughly $4,200.
All this data aside, glamping may not appeal to campers and RVers that enjoy the more natural and rustic aspects of camping. It will not substitute for traveling at your own leisurely pace, choosing your own favorite campsite, building your own fire, boondocking, solitude, spontaneity, and self-sufficiency.
Keep an eye on “glamping” as the latest fad in the outdoor industry, but don’t expect it to overtake the joy of independent self-actualized camping anytime soon.