Bringing an Airbnb-style business model to outdoor stays, US platform Hipcamp has bought British brand Cool Camping.
Cool Camping’s 25,000 listings will now appear on the American-owned website in what is its first European acquisition. Hipcamp, which has raised tens of millions of dollars including investment from the musician Jay Z’s venture capital firm Marcy Venture Partners, already has half a million listings in the US, Canada and Australia.
Listings on the website are free, but Hipcamp takes 15% from each booking. Only those in rural locations with an acre or more of available space can sign up and will also be eligible for Hipcamp’s liability insurance, which protects them for up to £1m.
Alyssa Ravasio, who founded Hipcamp in 2013, said: “I realised that given how crowded our public campgrounds are, the only way to achieve our mission was to create new places, which we started doing on private land. We leverage data to understand what specific destinations are likely to book out months ahead, then reach out to landowners in that area.”
Jonathan Knight, founder and former managing director of Cool Camping, said that he hadn’t been looking to sell when approached by Hipcamp, but was “struck by the similarities between the two brands. Not only the types of places we feature – small, independent campsites and glamping sites with something a bit special about them – but also our philosophies. It feels natural to combine everything.”
Jonathan will stay on as Hipcamp’s UK manager.