Glamping occupies a privileged position in the travel market, not only having appeal for those in search of a peaceful retreat or a connection with nature, but also the visual cachet to attract customers searching for the perfect social post. Recent work with Jon Moore consultancy has given us a clearer picture of how, for companies such as ours, this broad demographic necessitates a commensurate breadth in marketing strategy, specifically with regard to social media, which has gone from being a sharing and review platform to one which many now search for travel inspiration. TikTok is our fastest growing channel (up 25% to Instagram’s 4%) and the youth of its usership, as well as its effectiveness as a source, is being reflected in our site data. In 2019, visits from 18–24-year-olds made up 4% of our overall traffic. In 2023 this has increased to 16%.
However, site traffic is one thing, conversion is another. It would be reasonable to assume that price point would be an issue for younger travellers and that the traffic from social sources would not result in substantial bookings, but this is not the case. Younger generations are using cost-saving tactics like travelling off peak, booking last minute stays and using the savings on transport from staying in the UK to justify more expensive accommodation. Our bookings from the 18-24 age group are four times higher in 2023 than they were in 2022. The social generation cannot be ignored.
What this means for companies in the glamping sphere, is that there’s a clear need to react to the motivations and requirements of the younger generation without losing sight of the wider audience. The importance of a presence on social media, with a heavy focus on video content across all platforms, might be nothing new, but the tone of a company’s social offering is increasingly vital. With AI and automation encroaching more and more as big-budget companies enter the market, travellers are looking for humanity and authenticity, for brands they can trust. Our focus groups and audience research have shown that an ethical stance, brand values and most importantly personal customer service are big differentiators, but those involved in glamping also need to tread the fine line between “inspiration” and “sales”. Social media, whilst becoming a major platform for travel searches, is still somewhat charmingly positioning itself as a place to find recommendations, not adverts.
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