Canopy & Stars’ Tom Dixon reveals 2022’s glamping trends.
2021 has been another bumper year for holidays in the great outdoors. As one of the UK’s leaders in ‘nature breaks’ we can reveal that the number of stays for the year were up over 60% on 2020’s record levels. That’s a 50% rise in people taking holidays in nature since 2019, and the trend shows no signs of slowing.
April 2022 is currently our most popular month, and more people than ever are planning ahead as we’ve seen an increase in forward bookings as far in advance as summer 2023. We’re spending more on staycations too; Canopy & Stars average booking value in 2022 is already tracking 50% ahead of 2021.
So how will we holiday in 2022? The Canopy & Stars team have deep dived into the data and pulled out the biggest trends for the year ahead.
Low impact reaches new heights
Fuelled by COP26 and the worldwide focus on the environment, searches for ‘sustainability’, ‘the impact of climate change’ and ‘how to conserve’ reached an all-time high in 2021 (according to Google Trends). Sustainable ways to travel are more important than ever, and more and more owners are taking ‘low-impact’ to new heights.
At The Carn in Herefordshire, top sustainability standards have been combined with beautiful design, and it’s proved to be one of our most popular new spaces in 2021. The timber is locally sourced (from the same Herefordshire woodland that the owners got married in), with sheep’s wool and recycled paper insulation. The lights, sockets and water all run off solar power and freshwater comes straight from a bore hole.
Furnace Brook Lodge in East Sussex is a lakeside cabin which is run as a CIC (Community Interest Company) by sustainability expert Alistair Gould. Every part of the design has been considered to help people connect to nature; there’s even a tree growing through the deck.
We’re making up for missed celebrations
2022 looks set to be the busiest year for weddings in decades, and there are also missed birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations to make for after two years of restrictions and challenges. Booking a getaway is one of the most popular ways to celebrate, with over half of Canopy & Stars bookings being made for special occasions.
One of our most popular spaces for special occasions, new for 2021, is Silva Treehouse in Cumbria – a mammoth treehouse sleeping six, complete with everything you need to get the party started, from a pizza oven and firepit to hot tub and secret games room, reachable via the slide.
Or round up a group and head to Box Barn in Wales, where families and friends can reunite at the outdoor bar, with a bunk room and plenty of space for everyone.
For more romantic celebrations for two, Lark in Yorkshire is a cool Scandi cabin; close to the pub but you’ll be hard pressed to pull yourselves away from the duo of outdoor rolltop baths.
Pushing the boundaries of pop-ups
Summer 2021 saw the ‘56-day rule’; the extension of temporary uses of land without planning permission, resulting in a summer of pop-up accommodation and experiences around the UK.
As we await news of whether this will continue in 2022, various reports of ‘disappointing’ experiences in 2021 will see pop-up glampsites needing to be much more creative and quality-focussed in order to keep up for the summer ahead.
Canopy & Stars inspects and selects every space in its collection (and reject 80% of places that apply), and some standouts from 2021 include the Instagrammer’s dream ‘Midsummer Meadow Bed’; a unique outdoor bed in a wildflower meadow on Dartmoor which sold out over the summer season.
Partnering with other brands can also enhance the pop-up experience, such as the Canopy & Stars Camp Out collaboration with Oliver Bonas, which saw bell tents kitted out with summer interiors from the high street favourite.
The battle of the baths
Outdoor bathing is consistently a top experience for Canopy & Stars guests, with our Hot Tub Collection being a long-standing favourite collection. But an internal battle has long been brewing amongst the team; should outdoor baths be included in the hot tub collection? We reached out to our guests to help us settle the debate, and the results were unanimous: Baths are not hot tubs.
But our guests still love them so we created an Outdoor Bath Tub Collection, which has fast become a favourite. Some of our most-loved outdoor baths include The Old Piggery in Devon, where twin outdoor tubs overlook Dartmoor National Park. Or back at The Carn, guests can choose between the indoor rolltop tub or the sunken outdoor bath.
If you build it they will come…
A whopping 145 new spaces joined the Canopy & Stars collection in 2021, with some of our most innovative and exciting places yet.
An evergreen favourite, treehouses remain the top-performing spaces. Cabins also had a great year, with over 60 new cabins joining the collection, making the most of the trend for year-round stays and a growth in travel in shoulder-months.
In 2022 we are planning to add a similar number of new spaces, with a focus on quality and creativity over quantity. Through our consultancy service, we are helping to develop new ideas from inception to market.
Some of our most inspiring new places to join Canopy & Stars this year included Hinterlandes Hidden Hut in the Lake District which taps into the latest trend for moveable spaces. A cabin built on wheels so that it can move around the area to the most unique, hidden spots.
Another trend is for owners to inject a shedload of their personality into their space; take Ursabear in Devon where owner Val has filled the cabin with treasures from her adventures, including a huge life-sized bear to welcome you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom DixonTom 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