Glamping Show Demonstrates Popularity of Glamping

ben quiggle Oct 07, 2021

If there was one thing that The Glamping Show USA confirmed this week it is that the glamping sector is hotter than ever.

That probably isn’t too much of a surprise to those who work in the outdoor hospitality industry.

The show’s first run in 2019 drew a large crowd, but the general sentiment at the time was that there were a lot of people in attendance that had ideas but were in the very early stages of planning.

Basically, there wasn’t a lot of movement for vendors at the show on purchasing accommodation units or other services.

The virtual show in 2020 drew a large number of people, but let’s face it, it is harder to gauge the success of a virtual event. David Korse, the organizer of the show, didn’t know what to expect when he started putting together the 2021 show.

He quickly realized that the 2021 version was going to be his largest show yet, with more than 1,000 people registering for the two-day event. That figure does not include the employees of the more than 70 vendors at the show.

Perhaps the surprise factor was the level of interest had changed among attendees. They weren’t just window shopping anymore, attendees at this show either already owned parks or had serious investment cash and were ready to move forward.

For vendors, that meant they were gaining some serious prospects and even selling services or products at the show. Some in fact ran out of printed collateral — business cards, flyers…etc. — on day one and had to ship more for the second day of the event.

Glamping has turned into a real investment opportunity for many of the attendees at the show and Korse, along with many vendors, were amazed at how the atmosphere had changed over the last two years.

“I don’t know if it is pandemic related because people are looking for a change, but people are looking at glamping as a real career or investment opportunity,” said Korse. “They are spending the time and the money to be here and to look at what the industry has to offer.”

Glamping park developers are also bringing a unique vision to the outdoor hospitality industry that includes creating experiences for their guests. I ran into a number of people at the show who had parks that included animals — goats, horses, llamas, even a Zebra — and ways for their customers to engage with the animals. Others had their eyes focused on spiritual retreats or on offering other ways for their guests to connect with nature.

Some offer journals for guests to share their experiences at the park with other guests and the park’s owners.

These types of services and experiences are tapping into the experiential nature of travel at the moment. Campers are looking for something unique and glamping park operators are using their creativity to give them what they want.

Vendors at the show also demonstrated the creativity in the space at the moment, with more than 50 accommodation structures on site, from wagons to tipis, bubble structures and more. There was no shortage of creativity that went into designing structures to help park owners bring their visions to life.

Glamping park operators are also savvy business people. Many of the attendees at the show who had already established parks were taking the next steps to expand their businesses — some were even in franchise mode after interested parties had expressed a desire to work with them on expanding their brand.

All of this bodes well for the glamping industry as it continues to spread its wings and gain a larger foothold in the outdoor hospitality industry.

After a successful 2021 event, Korse is now faced with putting together the 2022 event. One which could be even bigger.

“I think we are good at our current location for a number of years still unless it gets silly,” he explained. “At that point, we will have to work on a Plan B, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.”