The Hospitality Sector Sees the Entrance of a New Competitor: Upscale Glamping Hotels

Neil Dipaola, of outdoor lodging brand AutoCamp, talks about the company’s plans for a nationwide network of upscale trailer hotels.

Outdoor lodging brand AutoCamp recently raised $115 million through a partnership with real estate private equity firm Whitman Peterson to open a nationwide network of hotels created from Airstream camper trailers manufactured by Thor Industries Inc. The firm plans to use the money to buy the land for the sites and customize the trailers. The agreement with Whitman Peterson includes a provision for potential expansion funding of another $115 million in the future.

In the developers’ vision, this new hotel network, built around the recently emerged concept of “glamping,” will combine a full-luxury hotel experience with high-end trailers in a natural environment, with all the attractions of camping without any of the fuss.

At the moment, demand for innovative travel experiences is trending high, according to Peter Nichols, national director of the hospitality group with real estate services firm Marcus & Millichap. “We don’t think glamping is going away. It’s a major segment of the hotel market now.”

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