27 Jan 2020

Did you know? "Glamping" is a $1 billion market

Wood chalets for camping

Glamping is a big business in today’s America. According to the latest research, the US glamping market is growing at 15% per year and will be worth $1 Billion by 2024. From cabins to safari tents, tree-houses to yurts, more and more people are turning to the great outdoors for relaxing experiences - but they want to do it in comfort and style.

This represents an exciting new opportunity for companies that run open-air events, and festivals or that offer outdoor accommodation. At the same time, it’s crucial to understand that needs and expectations of these glamping aficionados are far removed from those of the families going on rugged camping trips in the past, or the old-school festival crusties happy to go off-grid for a weekend.

In this article, we’ll talk about what attendees of these kinds of outdoor and overnight events want and expect... and what challenges this creates for the organizers.

What is Glamping?

Glamping is basically camping’s more glamorous cousin. It’s like camping in that you’re outside, typically surrounded by nature, but the kind of accommodation and facilities you have at your disposal are much more luxurious.

The concept strongly appeals to the kinds of people who love the buzz of a festival or the recuperative implications of getting out of the city and the feeling of being in a natural environment, but don’t want to forego a shower or a working phone for three days to get it. 

As well as major music festivals like Burning Man and Glastonbury, glamping has really taken off as an option for corporate getaways and team-building trips, bachelorette and bachelor parties, wellness retreats and adventure holidays. Some couples have even set up glamping wedding villages as an unusual and affordable option for their guests!

What Do Today’s Guests Want?

As we’ve seen, people who opt for glamping are looking to retain the little luxuries that make them comfortable. Sought-after facilities include GPS and Wi-Fi coverage, proper showering or washing facilities, access to electricity, fans and refrigerators.

What Does That Mean for Events Organizers?

These kinds of extras put a lot of pressure on your team. 

It means finding ways to bring more electricity, water, and potentially other utilities for heating and cooling into your site, in order to make people as comfortable as possible. For music festivals and other large events, it’s scary enough to contemplate the damage or disruption if a power surge or failure knocks out key sound or lighting equipment. When you’re also responsible for maintaining thousands of individual connections, that’s an awful lot of people to please - and a lot that can potentially go wrong.

It means rolling out WiFi in the area, at a scale that can accommodate however many guests you have. Or potentially even bringing in a temporary cell tower to boost reception and stop the signal from getting jammed when you have thousands of people in one place. 

If you’re off-grid, this also means you need to set up generators or other temporary power sources - and to be confident that they’ll be powerful enough to cope with your attendees’ demands. 

Even if you are able to plug directly into the grid, at a really big event the additional power demands from so many people could overload local power stations. If so, they’ll also need to be kept in the loop so they can up their capacity and ensure there are no dips in electricity supply. Meanwhile, you need to trust that they won’t let you down.

How Can You Meet the Demand?

While these are significant challenges, with the right strategy in place, you’ll be able to step up to the plate while seizing the opportunity that comes with the rising glamping trend. 

Let’s start with power supply since this underpins the success of everything else. It’s absolutely vital that you work with a top temporary utilities partner who helps you figure out exactly what you need and how it will be managed, rather than just renting you the kit and disappearing until pick-up time. 

Find a vendor who will carefully analyze your requirements, right-size your equipment and help you to develop a contingency plan in case anything goes wrong during the event. Preferably, one that takes an active interest in keeping you within budget, developing a streamlined and cost-effective solution designed to minimize fuel costs. One with on-call experts that monitor generators and other units remotely, swooping in at the first sign of trouble.

When it comes to choosing generators, consider selecting stackable units that can be harmonized and effectively built up into temporary, on-site, dedicated power stations. This allows you to scale up your capacity when you need it and scale back when you don’t, again keeping your costs under control. 

Remember that safety is crucial here, too. By creating so many end-users for your electricity, it’s not just your core, carefully trained team who will come into contact with electricity points and so on. You need to be extra careful to ensure that there are no hazards anywhere on site.

When it comes to Wi-Fi, you’ll need to set up enough Wi-Fi devices/access points to serve your volume of attendees, taking into account the physical space used for the event. Calculate your required bandwidth carefully, based on the number of concurrent users you expect to be on the network at any given time. If you opt for too low a bandwidth, access will grind to a halt and you’ll have a lot of frustrated people accusing you of false advertising. Plus, you need to make sure you have a reliable electricity source to power your Wi-Fi network, of course. 

In fact, this is one of the key things to bear in mind when you’re moving towards a more upmarket glamping event. People don’t just expect more facilities, they expect a higher level of attentiveness to their needs overall. It’s not just the technical considerations you need to worry about - it’s the customer service angle, too.

Thinking about getting in on the glamping craze? Ask us about how Aggreko can bring life’s luxuries like power and cooling to your guest camping experiences.