A California company that’s turning Airstream trailers into a new kind of hotel has grabbed the attention of real estate investors. AutoCamp announced a new strategic capital partnership and $115 million in equity commitments to expand its “glamping” operations across the nation. Glamping is a more luxurious form of camping that often refers to five-star tent camping. The Airstream trailers offer additional benefits, including heat for winter stays.
First Airstream Hotel in Santa Barbara
AutoCamp got its start in 2013 with six Airstream trailers in Santa Barbara. The iconic trailers were placed in a location near the downtown area and were apparently popular enough to inspire a second location. The founders expanded to Sonoma County near the Russian River in 2016. They are in the midst of finishing up a third location near Yosemite that’s scheduled to open this spring. And from there, they are going coast-to-coast.
The company said in a press release that the new partnership deal will pay for a “rapid expansion” to as many as 20 new cities. Locations include California and the East Coast along with “other iconic outdoor travel destinations across North America.” CEO and co-founder Neil Dipaola says of the concept, “We want to build an authentic American outdoor experience with the consistent quality and comfort you expect from a boutique hotel.” (1)
AutoCamp Partners with Airstream
The company announced an expanded partnership with Airstream last month along with plans to purchase hundreds of custom Airstream trailers for this national build out. Dipaola says, “For years, the allure of an Airstream vacation was only possible for a small subset of enthusiasts. Together, AutoCamp and Airstream are changing the way people experience the outdoors and bringing this enduring piece of Americana to the masses.”
Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler expressed delight at the partnership, saying, “We are excited to be part of the Yosemite project and other new properties as AutoCamp expands to additional beautiful outdoor locations across the country. The Yosemite location will be the largest location yet, with more than a hundred Airstream suites on 35 acres just outside the park entrance, near the town of Mariposa.
Mid-Century Modern Upgrades
Trailers will be elegantly upgraded with a mid-century modern design, as they have been in the other two locations. That includes hardwood floors, soaking tubs in the bathrooms, pillow-top beds, and spacious, minimalist interiors. Curbed reports that the Yosemite site will also include 15 luxury tents, and three cabin suites, along with many amenities such as fire pits, a 4,000-square foot clubhouse, a rooftop deck, a swimming pool, and some meeting space. AutoCamp says on the website that the goal is to blend the “traditional camping experience with the elegance of a luxury boutique hotel.” Each Airstream suite is also equipped with bicycles. (2)
The Cost of “Glamping”
It will cost a bit more to “glamp” than it does to “camp.” Prices start at about $225 a night and can rise to almost $500 a night during peak season. And, those prices don’t include daily housekeeping or people to carry your luggage. Dipaola says, “We provide iconic red Radio Flyer wagons and you pile your bags in those.”
Dipaola also told Bloomberg that guests are provided with fresh orange juice, but “in true AutoCamp fashion, you have to squeeze it yourself.”
Experiential Travel Creates Investing Opportunity
The project is a prime example of cutting edge real estate investing. AutoCamp cites a Skift report in its press release that says the demand for experiential travel shows no signs of slowing down. It says the AutoCamp model has become “wildly popular with millennials and other travelers looking for unique, experiential travel.”
Real estate private equity company Whitman Peterson lead the funding raise. Co-managing partner Wes Whitman says that, “AutoCamp is a natural fit with our investment strategy of helping great real estate entrepreneurs and companies take advantage of their biggest growth opportunities.” (3)
As you may have heard, Real Wealth Network partnered with a NY City developer to build a luxury spa resort in Costa Rica. But the spa and resort won’t be open for a few years. In order to get things up and running before construction, we built a glamping resort called Kinkara on the site — complete with a gourmet chef, organic foods, outdoor showers and comfy beds. I interviewed the developer on my other podcast, The Real Wealth Show, episode #675.
Real Wealth Network is hosting a tour to the Rise Costa Rica site March 28-31st, so save the date! Investors in the project are earning a 18% preferred return — which you can learn more about at www.RealWealthCrowd.com
(2) Curbed Article