During an exchange of messages with a LinkedIn contact earlier this year, it was suggested that the glamping market in the UK had reached a plateau and the desire to get out of the country for holidays abroad eroded demand. I very politely, completely disagreed.
Check out Barclay’s May 2014 staycation report, or Visit England’s domestic tourism report. More people are staying in the UK for their summer holiday and more are taking short breaks. If they do take a main holiday abroad they have other breaks back at home too. In short – more of us are taking more frequent, if sometimes shorter breaks. Add the ‘back to nature’ leisure movement into the mix and all of a sudden glamping’s success starts to make perfect sense.
Given glamping’s global progress over the last few years and how I’ve see it develop, it’s obvious that the UK glamping market is only just gathering momentum. It might be a little behind some countries and ahead of others, but it’s not at a plateau, although sooner or later its growth will naturally slow down and stabilise. Given the level of interest I’ve seen at relevant exhibitions and conferences it’s obvious that for the next few years at least, a good number of new sites will open each year.
As the number of sites increases over time I wonder if the level of accommodation will polarise somewhat, from campsites that have diversified by adding a row of pods, to one-off designer luxury treehouses. There will obviously also be a whole spectrum of glamping accommodation in between and it’s going to be interesting to see which structures and types of site last the course, or more to the point, are still enjoying good occupancy rates and commanding decent fees in ten years time.
Whilst I can only take a guess at which types of glamping holidays will prevail, one thing I can be sure of is that it’s not going to go away. This isn’t a fad, trend or passing phase. These holidays weave together aspects of hotel, B&B and camping holidays to create something unique – an exciting nature based break – but in comfort. More people are searching out products and experiences that are congruent, wholesome even, and a good glamping holiday certainly delivers this.
If you’re still not convinced, consider the static caravan holiday parks that started in the 1950’s and 60s, love or loathe them, most are still going strong and still commanding surprisingly high fees. Glamping sites are far more attractive, interactive, sustainable and true to the land they are set on. If enough of us are still looking for this kind of holiday, and why wouldn’t we, they will surely be around much longer than the static caravans.