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KOA Report: Rising Demand for Exploratory Travel Fuels Growth in Camping and Outdoor Hospitality in 2024

The latest annual Camping and Outdoor Hospitality Report from Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) reveals a significant shift in leisure travel, with camping becoming a preferred choice for one in three leisure trips in 2024. 

Since the first survey in 2014, more than 41 million new camping households have emerged, drawn by a desire for enriched experiences and modern amenities in the great outdoors. This evolving interest has transformed camping from a simple pastime into a key segment of the travel industry, offering unique opportunities for campground and outdoor hospitality operators to expand and diversify their offerings.

The 2024 outlook suggests a robust growth in camping’s popularity, as travelers increasingly seek to disconnect and slow down in natural settings. This trend is driven by a greater emphasis on health and wellness, with 79% of travelers planning to include activities like forest immersion, meditation, yoga, and mindful strolls in their trips.

Travel goals for 2024 indicate a shift towards deeper, more enriching travel experiences. A majority of travelers are looking to slow down and enjoy their experiences, with many also aiming to recharge, seek variety, complete bucket list goals, and embrace spontaneity during their journeys. These preferences highlight significant opportunities for campground operators to cater to these diverse desires through tailored activities and amenities.

The growing interest in natural attractions and events presents additional prospects for the industry. Half of the campers surveyed expressed a strong interest in natural events, followed by food tourism, visiting small towns, and combining work with leisure travel. Campgrounds can capitalize on these trends by organizing themed events, offering local culinary experiences, and facilitating work-friendly environments.

KOA’s report also details the demographic shifts within the camping community. The rise in younger and more diverse camper profiles underscores the broadening appeal of camping. Nearly half of recent campers are under 35, and 39 percent are non-white, marking a significant change from a decade ago.

The report credits part of this growth to the rising popularity of glamping, which has introduced 15.7 million new participants to outdoor hospitality over the past five years. This luxury camping trend has not only expanded the market but has also elevated guest expectations, creating a demand for high-quality, comfortable, and unique outdoor experiences.

Campground operators are encouraged to adapt to these evolving preferences by integrating more human interactions into their services. According to the report, 87% of leisure travelers agree that a significant part of the outdoor hospitality experience should involve human interaction, suggesting that personal touches in service can greatly enhance guest satisfaction.

Additionally, the definition of outdoor hospitality now includes spending a majority of time outdoors and having access to amenities such as fire pits and outdoor seating areas. This shift underscores the importance of traditional camping elements alongside modern comforts, offering a combined appeal that campground operators can leverage.

KOA’s leadership reflects on the transformation witnessed over the past decade. Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO, notes, “Despite all the changes over the last 10 years, one thing remains constant: even more people see the importance of connecting with nature.” This enduring interest presents a continual opportunity for growth in the campground and outdoor hospitality sector.

The 2024 Camping and Outdoor Hospitality Report highlights substantial opportunities for campground and outdoor hospitality operators to thrive by adapting to the latest trends and evolving consumer preferences. This ongoing transformation promises to keep the sector vibrant and growing, ensuring its relevance in the broader travel and leisure market.

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Heath Cliff
Heath Cliff
May 8, 2024 4:03 pm

Did you catch wind of how some campgrounds are stepping up their game with cool offerings like outdoor yoga, forest bathing, and stargazing? It’s all about giving campers those unforgettable experiences to unwind and reconnect with nature. How awesome is that, right?

David Wilson
David Wilson
May 8, 2024 9:01 pm

Isn’t it exciting to see how the camping scene is really picking up steam in 2024? People are all about sustainability and tech upgrades in campgrounds – it’s like nature and modern convenience are joining forces. What’s your take on these trends shaping the camping experience?

PressScoop4g
PressScoop4g
May 9, 2024 2:14 am

Did you know that going green in campgrounds can make nature trips even better for eco-conscious travelers? Adding digital detox and wellness retreats can help us all relax and unwind in the great outdoors.

Brooke Valley
Brooke Valley
May 9, 2024 2:56 am
Reply to  PressScoop4g

Totally feel you on the digital detox and wellness retreats in the great outdoors. It’s like a breath of fresh air, you know? And going green in campgrounds? That’s a cool way to connect with nature and keep our planet happy!

Elizabeth King
Elizabeth King
May 9, 2024 3:31 am

Thinking about spicing up your campground in 2024? Go green with recycling and unique outdoor activities like stargazing to draw in eco-conscious travelers and create unforgettable experiences for your guests.

EnigmaWhiz135
EnigmaWhiz135
May 9, 2024 4:00 am

Step into the world of modern camping! Outdoor lovers seek unique adventures blending fun and relaxation. See how campgrounds go green to enhance your nature stay. What’s your favorite eco-friendly camping hack?

Swerve1234
Swerve1234
May 9, 2024 4:11 am

Isn’t it cool how camping spots are getting more eco-conscious in 2024? They’re all about reducing waste and saving energy. Plus, technology is spicing up the camping experience with online bookings and smart amenities. So neat!

Jeffrey Rivera
Jeffrey Rivera
May 9, 2024 5:18 am

It’s awesome to see the interest in exploratory travel driving camping growth! It’s a bit worrying though that some camp operators might not be ready for the evolving needs of guests. Let’s hope they catch up to keep the camping experience fresh and exciting for all of us!

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: KOA Report: Rising Demand for Exploratory Travel Fuels Growth in Camping and Outdoor Hospitality in 2024! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/koa-report-rising-demand-for-exploratory-travel-fuels-growth-in-camping-and-outdoor-hospitality-in-2024/