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Sarah Dusek

Although glamping continues to be a popular travel trend, the word itself has been used to refer to everything from camping out in a tent on a king-sized bed to sleeping in a vintage trailer on a farm, according to Forbes.

To bring clarity to this fast-growing industry, Under Canvas CEO Sarah Dusek and Co-Founder & CSO of GlampingHub Ruben Martinez just launched the American Glamping Association with the goal of establishing and creating professional standards and ratings across this increasingly-important travel segment.

Here’s what Dusek and Martinez had to say about glamping and the reasons they spearheaded its first professional association.

Glamping has become the “it” word in travel lately. Can you give us an official definition for it?

SD: Glamping – short for glamorous camping – is an upscale and comfortable camping experience in a tent. It is about capturing the essence of camping while trading in the hassle of setup and sleeping on the ground for luxury amenities that are accentuated by taking them outdoors.

How did glamping start? What is its history?

SD: The word “glamping,” as we know it today, first appeared in the UK in 2005. However, lavish camping has been around for hundreds of years when royalty would set up palatial campsites for summits between leaders, celebrations of the state or for explorers on intrepid adventures across continents. I have even seen photos of Teddy Roosevelt glamping in Yellowstone National Park at the turn of the century in tents filled with beautiful furniture. The idea of glamping is really not new, but our rediscovery of it has made it currently a thing.

Why do you think glamping has become so popular in the past few years?

SD: I think the primary reason is that people want to connect in the outdoors and discover the beauty in those simple moments. As our culture becomes more and more attached to technology, glamping gives people a way to get back to nature and create unforgettable moments with their friends and family.

Glamping is easy, accessible and doesn’t require travelers to own gear or spend time packing, setting up, unpacking etc. Under Canvas glamping resorts provide king size beds with plush mattresses, luxury linens, morning coffee crate delivery as well as in-tent bathrooms and showers!

Who’s going glamping?

Ruben Martinez

RM: Baby Boomers and Millennials are looking for a change in the way they typically travel, and glamping fits well for both — Baby Boomers because they have a disposable income, are looking for comfort and they’ve already done it all; Millennials because they’re always looking for unique experiences.

We find a good number of people who are going glamping live in cities. They’re looking to disconnect from day to day life but don’t necessarily want to travel across the country or go to Europe. They want to be able to take weekend trips within driving distance. They want to be outdoors but they don’t want to rough it. Many Americans are very comfortable with the idea of camping, and glamping offers you everything you love about camping without everything you hate about it. You get to experience mother nature and have the experiences that are around it such as hiking and fishing but be comfortable in the outdoors.

What made you decide to start the American Glamping Association?

SD: Ruben and I have had this ongoing conversation about glamping becoming mainstream and the importance of developing industry growth.  As the speed of the glamping space picks up, it feels important to provide an anchor for it, to provide information, to provide standards and create more clarity for the consumer.

Creating an association that sets the bar and continues to raise it will help the glamping industry continue to remain credible and to mature in the best possible way. I believe standards are important, public health is important and, above all, incredible experiences are critical to the industry’s success.

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