glamping

31.07.2015

Glamping Hub, the “glamorous camping” startup

Image | Glamping Hub

When someone searches Google ‘tree houses for rent’ (tree houses for rent), the first result takes you to  Airbnb, the world’s second most valued startup and one of the unicorns of the decade. The second surprises us: Glamping Hub is a small company in Seville that has cornered the “glamping” market.

“Glamping” is a combination of two words: glamor and camping, a concept that goes back to the beginning of the century (associated with luxury safaris) but one that has seen a popular revival in recent years. And with the Internet, of course there is an open business opportunity.

“I studied tourism in Spain and it always struck me there was room for innovation in this sector,” said David Troya, its founder. “I knew about the concept when I was studying an MBA in San Francisco and I was surrounded by entrepreneurs. The combination of these things made me think: why not? Why not create a booking portal for this kind of accommodation?”

Glamping Hub is a marketplace specializing in glamping sites, which include tree houses in addition to cabins in the woods, caravans, yurts and safari tents. Started in 2012 (working on it full time since 2013), they now have 3000 accommodations worldwide. There are about 20 employees and the business model is clear (for each transaction, Glamping Hub takes 10% – 6% from the client and 4% from the owner) and after receiving their latest round of investment (one million Axon Partners) they are focusing on growth.

“We have a small bottleneck as 3,000 accommodations are not that many. The camps added include all the information, it’s not like providing a portal for hotels in which you must put thousands in at a time because it’s a very mature market,” continues Troya.

Cell phone use in remote areas

david_troya

David Troya – CEO y fundador de Glamping Hub

Glamping Hub began by calling the owners of “glampings” to ask if he could include their listings on the site, and this continues even today, as they report that Glamping owners increasingly arrive at the site through direct contact.

“This is an industry being created from scratch.” According to the company, there are about 45,000 glampings worldwide. “The operating costs are low, but if we want to grow we need to invest.”

That’s one side. On the demand side (customers of “glamping”) the strategy that has worked best so far is the SEO (such as “tree houses for rent”). However, as the market matures and people know about what  “glamping” is, there are more people looking directly through searches that include the term. “You’d be surprised: the percentage of visitors who come to the site through ‘glamping california’ or ‘new york glamping’ it’s between 50% and 60%.”

It doesn’t end there. Mobile is one of the ways you can use the service. Visits from smartphones represent 50% of the total visits, and Troya indicates that they are going to develop an app to improve the mobile site. Will you be able to use it to reserve glampings through the mobile? Yes, but it will also be available for people offering glampings. “Especially for owners and campsites, so they can manage their bookings. They’ve asked us to do this, because they are in remote zones, such as fishing or beach areas, and they connect more from the app than from the computer.” And many times we need to disconnect from everything and immerse ourselves in nature… but if we can have a phone with which to manage a reservation, everything is a little easier.