Glamping is getting its own conference, as did hostels just a few years, and a few frightening comments made by Google and Expedia executives.
Glamping, that is, glamorous camping, has been around for a while now.
I first came across this accommodations option via Canopy & Stars, which offers “a great collection of treehouses, yurts, cabins, Gypsy caravans and other outdoor, glamping places in the United Kingdom and Europe,” according to its website.
I stayed in a yurt in the countryside of Norfolk just outside of Norwich, and I remember it was fun and expensive to try to light wet wood and wash in a wet room that was also where I stored my cutlery and supply of things with which to cheat—matches, flints, cut wood—that kind of thing.
The yurt stood on its own, the farm owner only having the one. That was cool, too, but glamping has now entered the big time, I see, with the inauguration of the Global Glamping Summit, which takes place at the end of this month in Long Beach, California.
Is glamping going to become an asset class, as hostels threatened to do so recently?
Hotels and brands evidently have incorporated many of the innovations and attitudes displayed by hostel brands and the entire experience economy, not only as part of their brand offerings, but also as new brands.
And the metrics seem to me to be very good. Here in the U.K., glamping is most often priced high, with guests paying the extra rate for the experience, novelty and perhaps the sense of youth that returns from frying sausages, emerging from tents (even if they are very glamorous tents) and sitting with a glass of wine as the sun goes down.
Last year I tried to book a glamping experience only for failure to ensue. Some require three-night minimums at certain times of year, which might mean a day off work or at least an early start both on Friday evening and Monday morning.
Besides, nearly everything that I liked the look of had sold out.
Issues to be discussed at the glamping conference sound very familiar, such as how to “hire, train and retain the very best staff,” and how to “promote your property to attract high return-on-investment guests.”
I assume some hotels already have perhaps an oddity accommodations option in their rooms portfolio, which attract higher rates, but here is an opportunity to see how much these experience-based ideas can add to the bottom line.
I smiled a little at seeing that the official accommodation partner for this glamping exercise is a Westin hotel, although I then did see the second official option is the Golden Shore (Recreational Vehicle) resort, which is more aligned.
It is cruel to point out misspellings, if only because such a stance effortlessly returns to bite you, with thousands of worker bees told to scour all your written output, ever, for similar violations, of which I am sure there were many.
At last week’s Deloitte European Hotel Investment Conference, the very able Google executive on stage displayed a slide on which was written “accomodation.”
Oh, how I inwardly smiled, only for that smile to disappear when Paul Godman, senior industry manager, hospitality, Google, then told us in terms of online searches Airbnb is now the most searched-for accommodations brand, replacing Booking.com.
And my grimace turned to one with widened eyes when at the following panel on hotel and brand relevancy, Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia partner solutions, Expedia, said that “44% of U.S. travelers said they would book hotels on Amazon if such a service existed.”
Of course, we all know that even if potential guests type in “ahcomodayzhoon” into a search engine, chances are anyway that popping on top of the search list will be Airbnb and Expedia.
After all, guests do not come to hotels to improve their spelling.
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