Polished to a mirror sheen and reeking of nostalgia, the Airstream camper has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years as food truck operators, Airbnb landlords while others have embraced the classic American brand. Now a San Francisco-based company called AutoCamp has raised $115 million to build a nationwide network of hotels fashioned from the trailers.
Bloomberg reported that AutoCamp announced a deal with manufacturer Thor Industries Inc. in December to become the exclusive developer of Airstream hotels, and will use the new capital to buy land and customized trailers to open new sites, Chief Executive Officer Neil Dipaola said in an interview. The fundraising deal, led by real estate private equity firm Whitman Peterson, includes a follow-on provision that could double the investment and allow AutoCamp to expand to 20 new markets.
“We want to build an authentic American outdoor experience with the consistent quality and comfort you expect from boutique hotel,” Dipaola said.
Dipaola and cofounder Ryan Miller launched AutoCamp in 2013 with six refurbished trailers on a site near downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. They opened a second, larger, property in Sonoma County wine country in 2016, and started laying plans to open new sites within driving distance of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.