BROOKLYN, NY—Camping has become glamorous with Glampique, which touts stylish decor, a higher nightly rate than traditional hotels, and economies of scale with existing hotel operations—all under fully furnished luxury tents.
David Levine, CEO of Glampique, which combines the words glamping and boutique, has been in the glamping industry for six years. He began in 2014 with a seven-day bike and adventure tour that offered glamping tents and a sous chef. The company pivoted to offer a hotel model, with check-in at 3 p.m. and checkout at 11 a.m.
“Beautiful tents with great furnishes run like a hotel is a market that is growing, with way more demand than supply,” said Levine. “I realized that people wanted to do glamping—a business or individual—and they’d ask me where to get a tent and how to do this. It looks simple, but there’s a lot of factors involved. You’re running a hotel. People don’t really understand, whether you have one tent or 100, it’s a hotel.”
Through trial and error and experience, Levine learned the ins and outs of glamping. For example, not all tents are waterproof. He also learned from the now infamous Fyre Festival, which illustrates what may happen with poor logistics.
“It’s important there’s a provider that can provide with everything set up, so you don’t have to worry about making headlines for the wrong reasons,” he said.
In the marketplace, Levine sees the demand for glamping growing among three groups: campgrounds, individuals seeking to provide vacation rentals, and hotels.
“The furnished glamping tents cost $20,000 installed,” he said. “You can sell it for 100 nights a summer, charging $400 and profiting $200 per night. It can pay for its first year, and you have a higher ADR. Some venues charge up to $800. I find it’s better to cater to a higher-end client who wants a higher end experience.”
Levine sees the potential reach; he has been talking to hotel groups and believes there’s an advantage to being first to market. “The hotels are evaluating it. They know they want to get into it, especially the higher-end boutiques,” he said.
Levine also offers a consulting service to companies, brands and individuals looking to get into the glamping business. “I’ve learned so many things, and I want to make sure it’s a great experience,” he said. “I handle questions that run the gamut from talking about ADR, keeping tents dry, site selection, etc. I most love finding amazing sites, and even a diamond in the rough could be a great site for glamping. There are a lot of locations where you can’t get a permit for a hotel, but you can for glamping. I can find unforgettable vistas guests will want to stare at all day. It’s such a great way to help immerse people in nature and lower the barrier to entry to camping by making it comfortable and luxurious.”