The outdoor hospitality industry is witnessing a transformative shift, with a burgeoning interest in fall and winter camping. According to the latest research report from Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), a staggering 85% of campers are gearing up for fall adventures, while the enthusiasm for winter camping has seen an unprecedented year-over-year surge.
The KOA’s September 2023 Research Report unveils that not only are a majority of campers (85%) planning trips during the fall, but the allure of winter camping has also captivated a significant portion.
A robust 38% have expressed unwavering intent to camp during the frosty months, a figure that has more than doubled from a mere 17% the previous year. When combined with the 27% who are toying with the idea, we’re looking at a potential 65% of the camping community eager to embrace the chill.
Whitney Scott, the senior vice president of Strategy at KOA, insightfully remarked on the evolving trend, “The period between September and February presents a continued growth opportunity for camping and outdoor hospitality.” Initially, the draw was the allure of less congested locales, but the tide has shifted. Campers are now enticed by the unparalleled experiences that the fall and winter landscapes offer.
For private campground owners and RV park operators, this trend is not just a statistic; it’s an invitation to innovate and expand.
With 63% of new campers planning their debut winter expedition, there’s a clear demand for amenities and experiences tailored to cold-weather camping. Whether it’s heated cabins, winterized RV spots, or guided snow treks, there’s a plethora of opportunities to cater to this enthusiastic demographic.
Moreover, the report sheds light on the diverse winter camping activities gaining traction. Backcountry camping is leading the pack, drawing interest from 34% of all campers. Close on its heels are hunting trips intertwined with camping, RV escapades, and the thrill of camping at ski resorts, each garnering attention from roughly a third of the camping populace.
Peering into 2024, the horizon looks promising. Over half of the campers have already locked in at least one camping trip for the forthcoming year. This proactive approach starkly contrasts with the more cautious 13% of leisure travelers who have cemented post-December plans. Scott attributes this optimism to the buoyant economic sentiment among campers, with 39% expressing confidence in the economy’s trajectory.
The camping landscape is evolving, and with it, the opportunities for campground owners and RV park operators.
As Scott aptly put it, the numbers don’t just speak; they resonate with optimism and potential. With advanced bookings witnessing a near 10% uptick compared to yesteryears, the future of camping and outdoor hospitality beams with promise.
For those in the industry, it’s time to harness this momentum, innovate, and deliver unparalleled experiences to the ever-growing community of campers.