The latest Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) Monthly Research Report, has brought to light a significant shift in holiday travel preferences, with camping emerging as a primary choice for many during key holiday seasons.
This trend, as outlined in the report, underscores a growing inclination towards outdoor experiences during Thanksgiving, Hanukah, and Christmas.
The report, a part of KOA’s continuous research into outdoor hospitality trends, reveals an exceptionally high enthusiasm for holiday travel among campers. Notably, 90% of campers are planning trips during Thanksgiving and Christmas, a stark contrast to just over 60% of non-campers.
Thanksgiving has been identified as the holiday with the highest camping participation, with 45% of travelers planning to camp. Following closely is Hanukah, with 36% of travelers expressing their intention to engage in camping activities. These figures represent a significant shift in how holidays are being spent, moving away from conventional indoor gatherings to more outdoor, nature-centric celebrations.
Whitney Scott, senior vice president of strategy at KOA, commented on the trend, highlighting the growing appeal of camping during the holiday season. Scott’s statement, “We’re witnessing a remarkable surge in interest for camping during the holiday season,” reflects the changing dynamics in holiday travel preferences. She emphasized that outdoor experiences like camping are becoming integral to holiday traditions, offering tranquility and a unique way for families and individuals to connect with nature.
The report also sheds light on the winter camping trend, which is witnessing a substantial rise. Thirty-six percent of campers have indicated a definite plan to camp this winter, marking a 19% increase from the previous year. Over 60% of campers are likely to engage in winter camping, with 60% of these being first-time winter campers.
Scott’s insights into the winter camping trend are particularly noteworthy for the outdoor hospitality industry. She views the increasing interest in winter camping as a golden opportunity for the sector to expand and innovate, catering to a new market segment and extending their services beyond traditional seasons.
For campground and outdoor hospitality operators, these trends present a unique opportunity to adapt and grow. The increasing popularity of camping during holidays and winter months suggests a need for enhanced facilities and services that cater to cold-weather camping and holiday-specific activities. This could include the provision of heated cabins, winter recreational activities, and special holiday-themed events.
Moreover, the report’s findings indicate a broader shift in consumer preferences towards outdoor and nature-based experiences. Campground operators can capitalize on this trend by offering unique and immersive nature experiences, aligning with the growing demand for outdoor recreation.
The KOA report’s insights are not just a reflection of changing consumer behaviors but also a roadmap for the campground and outdoor hospitality industry. By understanding these trends, operators can strategically plan and innovate, ensuring they meet the evolving needs of their customers.
KOA’s Monthly Research Report for November 2023 highlights a pivotal shift in holiday and winter travel trends, with camping taking center stage. This shift is not only reshaping how individuals and families plan their holidays but also opening new avenues for growth and innovation in the campground and outdoor hospitality industry. As the landscape of travel and recreation continues to evolve, KOA stands at the forefront, offering valuable insights and opportunities for industry stakeholders.