We’ve had some great conversations with our customers after publishing our last blog, as well as being interviewed by Gramersi. A lot of people have asked how the pandemic has affected Lotus Belle in particular, so please allow me to fill you in!
At the beginning of the pandemic we actually saw a decrease in sales because no one knew what was happening. All of our pre-orders got cancelled because all glamping sites had been told that they were going to be shut.
We were worried about what this would mean long term for the business, and then once the UK government announced the roadmap that would include camp and glampsites opening again, all of the pre-orders got made, with many more besides! We’ve long known that Lotus Belle Tents have an incredibly fast return on investment, so glampsite and venues with good outside spaces have not waited in expanding their offerings.
We were reading headlines as early as October 2020 that the season of 2021 would be a bumper year for glamping, from the high level of pent up need for a break. I know this frustration intimately as I tried to organise a holiday with my family, and after endless cancellations and the ‘shutting’ of France just gave up!
It’s been obvious to millions of Brits that the best option for their breaks is staying outside in a tent where you can have social distance, but your kids can still have the benefit of being on holiday in a campsite and have all that social time.
2020 saw a rise in glamping primarily because of the pandemic, but glamping has already been on an upward trajectory, because I think what people really want from a holiday is something that's different to what they have at home. Most people live in square houses, in a city or in a town, whereas if you're staying in a tent, you're getting that back to nature experience.
The benefits of glamping over straight up camping is that glamping is lush and easy, and camping can be a pain! Logistically, you've got to pack EVERYTHING you need, put your kids in the car, drive there, unpack and set up,have your break, break everything down and pack it up, drive home and then wash all that stuff. And I think particularly for short breaks, glamping adds to much of the ease we associate with holidays.
What’s exciting for the industry is that people have now got the idea that you don't have to stay in a hotel or a holiday park, you can stay in so many spaces. With Airbnb we have the sort of platform for people to rent out their shed, or a tent or their caravan or whatever, and we’ve seen many people with their Lotus Belle tents fill that gap a little bit as well.
As we realised 2021 was going to be a busy year, we ordered double what we'd normally order, and we have sold out over and over. We’re now ordering triple what we would normally make because the demand is international! People have been buying tents privately one at a time, but also numerous hotel companies and wedding companies who have realized that the pandemic's around for a while, and so they're buying tents in bulk as this is how they can make a guaranteed income this year.
It’s interesting to see that it’s not just the hospitality business buying luxury tents, we’ve seen them used for yoga courses, massage spaces, meditation lessons, whiskey bars and outdoor dining spaces. Our tents are so versatile with the ability to remove walls that we’ve also seen them used as outdoor kitchens and musical performance space, because the ventilation is so good.
I think something that connects all the people and companies with Lotus Belle is the inescapable connection we have with nature, and getting away from our normal habitation spaces. There's something exciting about staying in a beautiful and different structure, especially with children. Kids really love outdoor space and that freedom that you get only at a campsite, and the kind of interaction with other guests you would never get at home or in a hotel.
I’m excited to see all the sites in the UK and further afield have such high numbers of bookings, and I am hoping for their sakes that the weather allows for an extension of the normal season dates. We’ll be working hard to make sure we have stock, especially of our Air Buds! Those things are so handy when you need an unexpected extra bedroom!
Read our previous blog here, view Air Tents here, and return to the main blog page.
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