2020 Travel Trend Outlook from Luxury Frontiers: Tented Designs are Here to Stay

International firm specializing in design and development of high-end accommodations in the great outdoors has its eye on tented and light-on-earth architecture.

December 18, 2019 (San Francisco/Johannesburg)

The call of the wild is louder than ever these days, and travelers longing to experience the beauty of the wilderness without leaving creature comforts behind are heeding it like never before. Around the world, opportunities for glamping – i.e., “glamorous camping” – are on the rise as resort owners and operators tempt affluent, adventure-seeking, eco-conscious travelers with tented architecture dressed up with amenities that would have once seemed more suited to traditional hotel stays than overnights in the great outdoors.

Luxury Frontiers, the San Francisco/Johannesburg-based international firm specializing in design and development of upmarket tented camps, treetop suites, and light-on-earth building concepts, has kept a keen eye on the market – and the wilderness. “Glamping is much more than pitching a fancy tent,” notes Luca Franco, CEO of Luxury Frontiers. “Glamping is booming worldwide and on track to be a $1 billion industry by 2023. People are craving off-the-grid, eco-sensitive travel and the most important lesson we’ve learned is that it’s vital to attach meaningful, authentic experiences to the tent. Developers are looking at a wealth of opportunities to attract high-end travelers.”

Here are some the key trends Luxury Frontiers has seen taking shape as alternative, highly experiential architecture continues to grow:

Architectural styles of glamping accommodations run the gamut from classic African safari designs to wild-west pioneer tents and modern Asian pavilions. Tents have been designed as permanent, semi-permanent, and fully dismountable structures. To accentuate their tented architecture, these camps have memorable amenities such as freestanding bathtubs, outdoor showers and plunge pools, and decks with al fresco lounging areas.

Leading tented resorts are appealing to active travelers with activity programming oriented around wildlife, nature exploration, wellness, and/or culture. Various design elements such as wildlife observation decks, star beds, outdoor spa suites, and discovery centers are supporting guest discovery and immersion in nature.

Tented resorts are consistently ranked among the best properties in guest surveys, such as the Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Discerning travelers are willing to pay more for the experiences, with such rooms generating 20%-40% premiums over traditional rooms at luxury properties. Moreover, when genuine conservation programs complement tented architecture, those hospitality enterprises are often more profitable. Examples for this successful approach to conservation include Singita and Wilderness Safaris.

The luxury travel market, of which glamping is a part, shows no sign of slowing down. According to Allied Market Research, the market is projected to be the fasted growing segment of the global travel industry, growing at a compound annual rate of 6.4% to reach $4.5 billion by 2025. The international adventure travel segment, worth $683 billion in 2017, now accounts for 44% of the entire global luxury travel market.

Embracing a “live fully, tread lightly” philosophy, most leading tented resorts range from four to 45 units, and about half of those offer at least one multi-bedroom unit. Average daily rates (ADRs) tend to range between USD $500-2,000, and on average, resorts with 25 or less units experience double the ADR of larger resorts. The takeaway: the more “boutique” an experiential concept is, the higher the demand.

For more information about Luxury Frontiers, please email team@luxury-frontiers.com or visit www.luxury-frontiers.com

About Luxury Frontiers

Luxury Frontiers turns locations of remote beauty and wilderness into luxurious and experiential destinations. Often aiming to craft the seemingly impossible, Luxury Frontiers contextually designs and develops upmarket tented camps, treetop suites, and light-on-earth building concepts, constantly pushing the envelope of the hospitality frontier without sacrificing comfort, style, or a sense of place. The pioneering firm specializes in developing all-encompassing turnkey solutions, including architecture, interior design, and procurement and project management, always with the guest experience at the center of each project and experiential programming as the focal point. Architectural design, adherence to the strictest environmental standards, and operational requirements are masterfully fused with a meticulously scripted guest journey that seamlessly connects high-end hospitality and the adventure travel market. Luxury Frontiers is working with leaders and visionaries in the hospitality and real estate industries, including Four Seasons, Aman, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Belmond, Abercrombie & Kent, and Wilderness Safaris. For more information, please visit www.luxury-frontiers.com.

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