Q. What drives your passion and enthusiasm for the Glamping industry?
I’m an ardent ambassador for the glamping segment of the hospitality industry because this mashed-up world perfectly embodies my passions: unexpected design + off-the-charts-guest experiences + outdoor stewardship. As evidenced by the first Global Glamping Summit in Denver earlier this year, my glamping gusto is shared globally. Connecting with passionate trailblazers collectively energizing a timeless experience is what makes these Summits, and this industry, special.
Throughout my career as a General Manager, Owner, Operator, and Consultant, I’ve always been the best example of a hotel geek. I’m well-known for obsessing over small details that make a big difference. After all, details are what most differentiate a lacklustre experience from an inspired experience.
Sure, there may be standardizations or arbitrary classifications looming, but the environment that every glamping host carefully crafts is interpretative. That’s the magic of outdoor hospitality. Taming the wild to create a wonderfully comfortable environment that a big audience is excited to engage with.
Better than creating these environments is sharing them. From tenured packers, to wide-eyed rookies, glamping attracts a massive audience. Welcoming guests to the unique outdoor lodgings that I helped to create is unbelievably rewarding. Our guests’ palpable excitement adds to my passion. Enthusiastic guests are undoubtedly an endless energy source that motivate me to continually enhance our offerings.
Beyond the satisfaction that comes from creating and hosting, glamping is the perfect way to spotlight the great outdoors. We’re all too connected these days. Almost everyone needs to spend more time in nature. As a fresh industry segment, it’s incumbent on us to continually engage a new audience in outdoor experiences. More guests seeking-out outdoor lodgings means more guests stewarding natural places, and treasured resources, for future generations.
As the Stateside Glamping Industry attracts entrants, my hope is that we don’t stray from the design, experience, and stewardship tenants that have moulded this dynamic segment. Additionally, we should continually acknowledge, appreciate, and glean energy and insight from the established segments that helped blaze the trail.
Q. What can we expect on your session on ‘Before Sh*t hits the Tent: Strategizing for Low Season’?
Most businesses are seasonal – and glamping is no exception. Feast and famine cash flows combined with dramatic weather, team, and guest fluctuations make for an adventurous model to manage. Let alone plan for. That said, ongoing strategic, operational, and contingency planning are essential for seasonal operators. Beyond positioning businesses for growth and innovation, proper planning helps owners and managers develop and maintain a stable and intuitive operation regardless of how busy things get.
My session should challenge seasonal owners and managers to contemplate where, within their cyclical business, folks on their team, as well as themselves, should be the “too busy to tie their shoes” sort of busy we may know too well. I firmly believe that the quiet season only gets as quiet as you let it, and the busy season only becomes unbearable if you let the quiet season get too quiet. Further, I’ll share actionable insights that will help owners, operators, and managers determine where they want to get, and define the steps to get them there.
Q. Do you think the term Glamping can be easily misunderstood? If so – why?
The term glamping isn’t necessarily misunderstood as much as it is interpreted lots of different ways. The same is true for camping. Everyone camps differently. From huge motorhomes, to solo backpacker tents, to a cabin, to a travel trailer, these wide-ranging accommodation styles all reflect how a person chooses to camp. Introducing a term like glamping just helps travellers realize that they’ve got the option to demand more from outdoor lodgings.
I’ve written plenty of blogs and have had lots of discussions all largely focused on perfectly defining ‘glamping.’ It’s in our industry’s best interest to forget about trying to define a manufactured term and, instead, focus on organically defining exceptional guest experiences. Guests won’t care how their experience is classified so long as it’s everything that they were after – plus a bit more.