Building off the success of two glamping conferences in 2018 — one in Denver, Colo., and another in Long Beach, Calif. — the Glamping Summit/USA in Aurora, Colo., is set to bring together owners of traditional campgrounds with those of smaller glamping parks, according to David Korse, owner of Glamping Summit/USA.
Being held from Oct. 22-23 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, the Glamping Summit/USA is a part of the Global Glamping Summit family, which launched The Glamping Show in 2015 in the United Kingdom, it also publishes International Glamping Business magazine.
“We had dozens of people coming from North America to the show in the United Kingdom and they were asking why we don’t do something like this in the United States,” explained Korse.
In early September the conference had more than 100 confirmed attendees registered, with more than 50 slated to just attend the summit’s exposition. The summit had also signed up more than 30 vendors.
“Right now, the numbers look fantastic and we are finding a lot of enthusiasm is there for an annual trade event for the glamping sector,” Korse said.
On the education side of the summit, Korse mentioned that the summit has two tracks people can choose to follow when deciding which of the 14 sessions they want to attend. The “discovery track” is for people who are new to glamping or are just beginning the process of thinking about entering the sector. There will also be a “growth track” for people who have developed a glamping park and are looking to continue to grow their business.
Sessions are being led by people familiar to both traditional campground owners and those with glamping parks, including Toby O’Rourke, CEO and president of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA); Jeff Sims, senior director of public affairs and program advocacy at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC); and Sarah Dusek, founder of Under Canvas, a glamping park developer, and co-founder of the American Glamping Association.
“We’re so lucky with the quality of the speakers we’ve been able to recruit,” explained Kruse. “I think it says a lot about people’s enthusiasm.”
Below are the sessions offered at the summit:
• Home Truths: Things I Wish I’d Known When Starting My Glamping Business, Sarah Riley, Inspired Camping
• Events and Pop-Ups to Maximize Your Revenue, Kelsey Sheofsky, Shelter Co.
• How to Select the Best Structure for Your Business, Gary Flaks, Bushtec Adventure; Will Marquardt, Davis Tent
• Great Guest-pectations: Glamping Without Differentiations, Steve Hurst, The Resort at Paws Up
• Integrating Glamping into your Campground Offering, Toby O’Rourke
• Growing Unique: The Future of Alternative Accommodation, Steph Curtis-Raleigh, International Glamping Business
• Regulations: Getting the Basics Covered, Jeff Sims
• Winning Over the Millennial Customer, Kathleen Walsh, Advanced Outdoor Solutions
• Environmental Sustainability: Cornerstone or Afterthought, Sarah Dusek
• Marketing for New Business Owners, Robert Frisch, Firelight Camps
• Customer Attraction Strategies Nobody is Talking About…Yet!, Sarah Riley, Inspired Camping & Inspired Courses
• An Eye for Design: What it Takes to Create a Successful Site, Will Beilharz, Artistree
• Land Use Options, Michael D’Agostino, Tentrr
• The Evolution from Glamping to Outdoor Luxury Hospitality, Peter Mack, Collective Retreats
Korse mentioned that attendees are not locked into a particular track, but that they designed the track system to help guide individuals towards sessions that might be a better fit for them.
“We are really trying to find ways to make this a value for people regardless of the depth of their experience,” he said.
With more park owners incorporating glamping accommodations at their parks, Korse said the summit is really a way for individuals in the outdoor hospitality industry, no matter what type of business they own, to come together and learn from each other.
“It really gives established owners a chance to see what glamping is all about and how they can incorporate more glamping at their parks,” he explained. “They can come see the different ideas and learn why they need to be attracting these campers and what it takes to attract them.
“On the other side of the coin, for glamping park owners or people who are looking at becoming glamping park owners, this is an opportunity to learn from campground owners who have a lot of experience with campers,” Korse continued. “It gives them an opportunity to learn some new ways of looking at things and learn from other people’s mistakes.”
On the expo side of the summit, Korse said that attendees will be able to see a lot of the products the vendors are selling in person, offering individuals a chance to see accommodation units or other products before deciding on whether they want to purchase something.
“From the visitor point of view, if you’re thinking of buying or adding structures, this gives them an opportunity to look at a bunch of them in person over a few hours,” he explained. “If you did the research on your own, how long would it take you? You also are exposed to companies or products you may have never heard about, so it is also about discovery.”