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What’s the state of play?

A sector by any other name. Glamping is now being grouped under USTLs (unique short term lets) in some places, a more accessible term arising to reflect its mainstream status.

The glamping industry is in an extremely robust state of health, with global value forecast to reach just under six billion dollars at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 10.2% over the next four years. Demand for short term lets has returned to pre-2019 levels, dispelling any notion that glamping had “peaked” during Covid and would experience a subsequent crash. The continued growth is put down to several factors, with the Global Glamping Market Report citing, “ethical awareness and consumer desire for greater ethical consideration” as prime drivers, alongside the maturing of Millennials into customers with disposable income and an appetite for travel that emphasises mental health and local experience over big-ticket, “bucket list” trips.

What’s perhaps most striking is glamping’s crossover to the mainstream, which is now so complete that it almost warrants re-examination of the term itself. AirDNA, the world’s most accurate and comprehensive source of vacation rental data, lists 26,000 short term lets under its “unique” category, more than 5% of the total short term let market in the UK. What was once a niche interest has become a standard option for anyone seeking some time away but also keen on going beyond the standard selection of bland cottages and hotels. The growing mental health crisis and the increasing sophistication of glamping spaces means that glamping, through providing exactly the balance of character, nature and comfort that people are looking for, will continue to thrive.

The industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum of course, and wider economic trends are playing their part. Overall consumer confidence in the second quarter of 2023 is seeing its longest period of sustained improvement since 2018, according to Deloitte, although confidence in the UK economy specifically has fallen to -66.9%. As we’ll see elsewhere though, it appears people are adapting their spending habits to new circumstances and discretionary spend on travel remains prioritised. Glamping seems to meet at the perfect junction of affordability, flexibility and indulgence for the modern traveller.

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