Sawday’s Canopy & Stars’ Tom Dixon reveals the trends in glamping, including outdoor bathing, human-sized beehives and why Britain is best
The outdoor holiday trend shows no sign of slowing with 1.8 million google searches related to glamping in the past year. At Canopy & Stars, we saw a record number of visitors to our site in 2017, and a 50% increase in bookings since 2015.
Travel choices are being driven by a desire for enriching and authentic experiences and a real connection to nature and place, which is the very definition of a glamping holiday. We are seeing this trend continue to grow and become more evident, and the glamping industry is evolving to reflect this. We’re really keen to add even more immersive and holistic experiences to the Canopy & Stars collection, experiences that extend beyond the space itself and embrace nature and the seasons and play to all the senses.
Taking learnings and data from seven years of glamping expertise, and a bit of crystal ball gazing, here are our predictions for what the future holds for the industry:
The UK is where it’s at
Wider industry trends and the Brexit effect all point to staycations staying put. A huge 90% of our bookings are within the UK and 80% of the new places added to the site in 2017 were in Britain, many of these at existing sites looking to grow.
Brook House Woods in Herefordshire added three tree cabins and a brand new berry shaped treehouse, with more exciting projects planned. Hesleyside Huts in Northumberland added Rowan, an American inspired Wilderness Cabin. A brand new site, coming very soon, is Bucks Coppice, a lakeside eco-cabin in Dorset with that we predict will be popular with guests.
Treehouses still rule
‘Treehouse’ remains the top search term of the Canopy & Stars site, accounting for over 21,000 searches in 2017, and seven of the top 10 performing spaces in our collection are treehouses, some achieving up to £100k of bookings a year.
A firm favourite with our guests looking for luxury is The Bower Treehouse in Somerset. Exciting new additions include Netherby Treehouse, a hilltop treehouse on a beautiful Cumbrian estate and, opening for guests at the end of March, is the affordable Tawny Owl Treehouse at Knepp Wildland Safaris in Sussex.
Everyone’s loving an outdoor bath
‘Hot Tub’ has also become one of our top search terms, accounting for 7,500 searches in 2017, and pictures of outdoor bathing are our most popular on Instagram.
A picture of twin outdoor bathtubs at The Old Piggery in Dartmoor was one of our most popular social posts of 2017. The outdoor shower at Woodsman’s Treehouse, Dorset, is a regular on Instagram and has been shared by some of the most popular users in the UK. For a hot tub experience, nothing beats the view from the tub at Little Poro in Devon. We predict more like this in 2018.
Winter glamping; it’s a thing
Winter stays were up by over 50% in 2017 when compared to the previous year, showing a real increase in demand for year-round spaces. We are also seeing owners adding wood burners, heating and winter comforts to existing places to extend the season.
Added just in time for winter, part bothy, part cabin, Studio Hoose, is the perfect place for a wild winter stay in the Scottish Highlands. For an authentic Iron Age experience, grab a sheepskin, fire up the open hearth and lie back in a Devon roundhouse as the wind whistles through the trees. At Crafty Camping, heated towel rails, wood burners and hot water on tap makes canvas a year-round option.
Creativity is king
Our owners are a creative bunch and their constant innovations keep the collection fresh. One-of-a-kind spaces always attract attention, and for travellers looking to collect experiences not things, these places give them something to talk about for years.
We closed 2017 adding our very first human-sized beehive at Humble Bee in Devon. In the first month it had nearly 15,000 page views and the Instagram post reached over 50,000 people. A perennial favourite, The Beer Moth, constantly attracts attention from all corners of the globe, and nothing beats Sweden’s Treehotel for a photo opportunity. Watch this space for Ewok villages, underground houses and maybe another treehouse in a crane.
Canopy & Stars has claimed 2018 as the year of enrichment. A year to get out and collect memories and moments that’ll be with you for the rest of your life. For more information take a look at The Enriched List.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Dixon is managing director at Sawday’s Canopy & Stars, a collection of selected and inspected special places to stay and experience the great outdoors across Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Scandinavia. From humble beginnings in 2010, the agency has grown to more than 500 places; everything from treehouses, yurts, and converted horse trucks, to cabins, Gypsy caravans and Iron Age roundhouses. Championing the small and independent, and being an advocate of sustainable tourism, the team genuinely cares about what they do, and how they do it. 0117 204 7802 / www.canopyandstars.co.uk