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Travel Trends: Camping

What makes a great vacation destination?

Unbeatable deals? Incredible sights? Unforgettable food?

When it comes down to it, a trip is about one thing: Getting away from it all. And if Kampgrounds of America’s latest study is any indication, Americans agree – the best way to wind down is to get in touch with Mother Nature. A few findings we think will affect the industry this year:

'Roughing It' on the Rise

Despite industry-wide shifts in travel trends, camping seems to be a solid bet that keeps travelers coming back.

According to the KoA’s survey, the number of households with campers has been rising steadily over the past few years – 61 percent of households now include one. And their owners don’t plan to leave them in the driveway. Campers who previously camped only once per year reported that they intended to take multiple trips in 2017.

The group driving this renewed interest in spending time outside should be fairly familiar to marketers: Millennials now compromise 38 percent of campers, compared to just 31 percent of the country’s population.

As the industry takes this generation’s interests more seriously, it should also note their diversity. The outdoors’ audience is more multicultural than ever, with campers of Asian descent turning out in the highest numbers.

A New Crop of Campers

You might assume Gen Z’s idea of the great outdoors would look like something taken from Tom Haverford’s playbook, but you’d be mistaken. It turns out “the connected generation” enjoys unplugging just as much as anybody.

Seventy-one percent of responders under 18 said they’d consider a trip without access to technology, versus just 6 percent who said they wouldn’t. As most of the tourism industry races to implement the latest innovations, the power of unplugging is important to keep in mind. The more tech is ingrained in our daily lives and routines, the more people could start to seek refuge from their constant connections.

Enjoying the Journey

Even the most outdoors-averse among us will admit spending a few nights in nature feels pretty great. Roasting s’mores and gazing at the stars provides a feeling you’d be hard pressed to find at any hotel. But most campers say the journey matters just as much as the destination. Many survey responders noted learning about travel options and destination selection as enjoyable parts of the process.

Agencies and tourism departments should make sure their properties’ materials are inspirational, informative and accurate.

Looking for a little help with that last part, or just want to stay up to date on the latest travel trends? Get in touch with us. We’d be happy to chat.

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