Glamping: a rapidly maturing hospitality segment

For a long time, glamping stood on the sidelines of the mainstream hospitality sector, but prominent partnerships and deeper integrations in recent months show that this once-niche industry is here to stay. Glamping has moved past its humble beginnings to firmly establish itself as a mainstream phenomenon.

This was made very clear with Hilton’s announcement in February 2024 of an exclusive partnership with the well-known glamping operator AutoCamp, which will allow guests to book their iconic Airstream trailers, tents and cabins through Hilton’s direct channels.

AutoCamp Zion. Photo Credit Matt Kisiday © 2024 Hilton

The partnership will also enable Hilton Honors members to earn and redeem Points with Autocamp as well as enjoy as-of-yet unknown “exclusive member benefits,” according to a news release.

“We know today’s travelers are craving adventures when planning their next trip, and that’s why we look for innovative and like-minded partners like AutoCamp,” said Chris Silcock, president, Global Brands and Commercial Services, Hilton. “This is the first time a major hospitality brand and outdoor lodging company have come together in this way to create even more choices for travelers while redefining the outdoor hospitality experience.”

The move makes complete sense when you consider that Hilton’s own travel trend report found that almost half of travelers “will prioritize exploration and adventure” in 2024.

For Autocamp, the novel partnership seems to offer a fantastic opportunity to introduce glamping to a new, high-spending segment of the travel market that may not otherwise give it a second look.

“By partnering with an incredible global brand like Hilton, we’re able to introduce Hilton Honors members to a new hospitality experience rooted in nature… without sacrificing the highest caliber of hospitality and comfort they expect,” said Neil Dipaola, founder and CEO of AutoCamp.

AutoCamp Joshua Tree. Photo Credit Matt Kisiday. © 2024 Hilton

And this isn’t the only major collaboration of the year so far. January saw one of the sector’s biggest platforms, GlampingHub, announce a partnership with KAYAK, allowing travelers to discover glamping sites through KAYAK.com and the associated brands. And, just like Hilton’s partnership, this prominent collaboration comes out of strong in-house trends.

According to KAYAK’s data, there has been “a significant increase in search interest for alternative accommodations.” This is especially true of “unique lodging,” with searches for options like farmstays and boats growing 85% year over year, according to a news release.

“With tons of unique accommodations for travelers to choose from, our goal is to continue giving travelers even more choices, and teaming up with GlampingHub introduces a new variety of accommodations to our already diverse offerings – something our users have been explicitly searching for more recently,” said Paul Jacobs, GM & VP of North America for KAYAK, in a news release about the partnership.

In addition to these partnerships, we’ve also seen deeper integrations of glamping sites on major platforms. Notably, Campspot announced in February a new direct integration with Airbnb that offers operators full control of their listings, which builds on existing connections with them and other major OTAs such as Booking.com.

What’s more, there has been a growing trend for these OTAs to include dedicated glamping options, putting everything from tiny homes to yurts front and center of their platforms.

Airbnb lists glamping offerings prominently on its site.

Two major partnerships in as many months and deeper integrations with global booking platforms mean glamping has fully entered the mainstream in 2024. With big brands betting on this once-niche industry, operators could see new market segments opening up and further professionalization in an industry that has developed at an astronomical rate.

These partnerships and integrations show that established brands are starting to recognize the evolution of glamping from a fringe concept to a lucrative and sought-after segment within the hospitality industry.

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