Ahead of their presentation at the Global Glamping Summit in California this month, our friends at International Glamping Business caught up with AutoCamp to discover how they started and how they’re taking the boutique stay to the next level. This article was originally featured as part of the International Glamping Business US Special – you can read the full issue here.
Read more below on how AutoCamp’s first property in Santa Barbara gained popularity with it’s concept of using Airstreams as hotel suites …
Can you give us a brief history of how the company came about?
AutoCamp’s mission is to connect people to the outdoors and each other with beautiful design and welcoming hospitality.
AutoCamp was founded in 2013, at the forefront of the Outdoor Hospitality industry. AutoCamp’s first property in Santa Barbara gained popularity due to the novelty of the concept of using Airstreams as hotel suites, and it’s unique blend of nostalgia and modern design.
In 2016, AutoCamp opened its second location in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County which quickly became the go-to outdoor hospitality destination for the Bay Area!
In February 2019, AutoCamp will open up its next location just outside of Yosemite National Park… and there are plans to open additional locations throughout California and the United States in the coming years….
How has the concept changed since the first site was established?
With each property we open, our team has been iterating on the concept to make each and every experience unique to the AutoCamp brand.
Our first property in Santa Barbara has six trailers and after opening the property, our team quickly realized that we had a new and unique concept on our hand. The luxury Airstream trailers were so well received that we began our search for a second property.
Our goal was to expand the concept with more luxury trailers, offer well designed and comfortable glamping tents, build out a luxurious ADA unit, and create a mid-century modern lounge and reception area that would wow guests as they arrived on the property and also serve as a space for people to gather.
As we’ve evolved we’ve put more of a focus on outdoor destinations, which has helped us better deliver on our mission of making the outdoors more accessible for people.
What kind of demographic are your guests and does this change from one site to another?
Our core audiences include young professionals (many who come from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley), young families, and baby boomers.
Our Russian River property is more adult focused, because of the proximity to wine country and we anticipate Yosemite having more of family focus, because of the overall surroundings, blend of activities, and iconic destination.
How is the perception of this kind of vacation changing in the US?
Sparked by the need to escape from urban areas, access to outdoor activities, and rejuvenating effects of being in nature, the sector has positioned itself as an alternative way for travelers to get away. Enter outdoor hospitality and luxury camping.
Research conducted by the ‘Family Break Finder’ website questioned 1400 of their members and revealed that 50% intended to stay in a local campsite or holiday park next year, while nearly a third specifically said they wanted to try luxury camping.
The survey also revealed that 1 in 3 families expected to see their vacation budget shrink. Since outdoor hospitality is considered to be a more affordable travel option amongst those questioned, this points to a boon for the glamping trend.
There is a growing trend around authentic, experience-based travel as evidenced by rise of Airbnb and other alternative lodging platforms. Additionally, outdoor recreation is also gaining ground, because of increased urbanization. We also know that many people want to camp, but don’t know how to camp and luxury camping makes it easy for people to get outdoors.
What makes AutoCamp unique?
AutoCamp has reimagined the outdoor lodging experience for the modern adventurer. One of our core differentiators and what makes Autocamp so unique is our design-first approach to each of the properties we build on.
What does the future hold for AutoCamp?
National expansion and new properties – stay tuned!