The popularity of the Airstream brand has given rise to a boutique business model in the outdoor accommodations sector — high-end, Airstream-exclusive RV parks
While several such campgrounds exist to various degrees around the world, one making headlines lately is AutoCamp, which offers luxury amenities in all three of its California locations including downtown Santa Barbara, in the Russian River Valley in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, and the newest property in Midpines outside Yosemite National Park, which opened June 10. Each AutoCamp location offers a variety of Airstream travel trailers; six in Santa Barbara, 23 in Russian River and 80 in Yosemite.
The accommodations are targeting travelers who appreciate the finer things in life. Each unit is referred to as a suite, and rates range from a little more than $200 for an early-week rental in the off-season to nearly $500 for a Friday night stay during peak season.
“Our goal is to make getting outdoors easy and to connect people to the outdoors and each other. So, we came up with the idea of renting out Airstreams for nightly stays to guests when we opened our Santa Barbara property in 2013, and we found out just how successful we can be by making this a plug-and-play Airstream experience and taking the guesswork out of towing a trailer,” said AutoCamp Partner/Co-Founder Ryan Miller, who acknowledged its business model has proven out.
“I can’t share numbers, but I can tell you that the business model is proving successful judging by the variety of metrics, financial included,” he continued. “But I think what’s really interesting is just seeing the customer demand and just the sheer interest in staying at an AutoCamp at any of our three locations. How many reservations are actually coming through? Thousands per month.”
In fact, buoyed by $115 million in equity commitments earlier this year from Whitman Peterson, a real estate investment management company, Miller added that AutoCamp is “rapidly expanding at this point.” He preferred not to disclose any more expansion details including potential locations, but mentioned the company is “looking for development partners nationwide to help expand AutoCamp.”
Related to this, AutoCamp in June expanded its executive team with the hiring of Anjali Agarwal, as chief operating officer, and Todd Wynne-Parry, as chief growth officer. AutoCamp Founder/CEO Neil Dipaola said “with their leadership, we’re excited to take AutoCamp to the next level in bringing an innovative outdoor hospitality experience to travelers across the nation.”
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