“Camping Apps” Offering Income Streams for Landowners
Camping may well end up being the top vacation activity this year with options to “get away from it all” severely limited under the pandemic. It makes sense that tech entrepreneurs have taken notice and are trying to capitalize on the trend with apps that help find camping spots. While these “Airbnb’s for camping” didn’t necessarily start during the pandemic, they are definitely using the current moment to increase their visibility. One thing helping fuel their popularity is the fact that traditional campsites are extremely crowded this year. These startups offer campsites on private land, which also provide an alternative income stream for landowners willing to share their wide-open spaces.
Hipcamp: People who own +2 acres of land can offer to let campers setup on their site for a nightly fee. Hosts offer everything from tent campsites and full RV hookups to tiny houses, yurts, and cabins. Users can filter searches by location, type of camping, amenities, terrain, activities, and accessibility. Hipcamp also lists national, state, and regional parks, which is a nice feature for campers looking to mix things up. CNBC recently ran an interesting article about Hipcamp (click HERE ), that talked about a new feature that allows hosts to offer additional perks, whether it’s a picnic dinner, group horseback ride, yoga session, or an ecology tour. Or if you happen to own a vineyard, like several hosts on Hipcamp, wine tasting is proving popular. Mark Newman, owner of 99 Bottles Winery & Vineyard in Iowa, told CNBC that camping is now about 40% of his revenue, up from 20% a year ago. The rest of his business comes mostly from wine and beef sales. Learn more about Hipcamp HERE.
Tentrr: Hosts, called campkeepers, offer “backcountry sites” (where you need to bring all your own gear) and a mix of glamping-style options, with fully equipped campsites that are ready to go when campers arrive. Depending on the site, nightly fee sometimes cover amenities like picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, and showers. For an added fee, some campkeepers also offer extras like fishing poles, standup paddleboards, bikes, and other gear. Hosts who own 15+ acres of property can let campers set up their own tents or enroll in Tentrr’s Signature CampKeeper. Approved Signature sites get a canvas tent and wood platform installed, along with everything else needed to host campers, including insurance. The company’s website says with this turnkey model, “you’ll have the ability to manage your own micro economy, from adding unique amenities and extras to connecting campers with local activities and experiences.” Tentrr doesn’t list host rates but nightly camping rates start at $15, while glamping runs +$100 per night. Learn more HERE.
Harvest Hosts: Headquartered in Vail, Harvest Hosts is a membership program for people with self-contained RVs (read: your RV needs to have a bathroom on board). Members are able to camp for free — there’s no nightly camping rate. However, campers are limited to one night at each location (unless they get special permission for a longer stay) and encouraged to spend at least $20 at their host’s business. The hosts are primarily wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms, and golf courses. For the most part, hosts do not offer any services (no bathrooms, no showers, no firewood, etc). They might allow campers to hang out on the patio or at picnic tables, but they are generally expected to provide their own amenities. Learn more HERE.
Boondockers Welcome: Private landowners and renters — anyone who can legally allow an RV to park overnight on their property – can become a host on Boondockers. Hosts pay an annual membership of $25 and you can earn credits every time you host a guest. Annual subscriptions for campers start at $50. Though camping is free with a subscription, guests are expected to offer $5 to $15 to their hosts for using RV hookups. Learn more HERE.