European 'glamping' firm eyes Asia with launch of Singapore office

06 May 2019 Consultancy.asia

A European manufacturer of luxury tents, Luxetenten.com, is opening a sales office in Singapore. With the hub, the player aims to expand its reach into Asia, in a move that is part of the company’s strategy to conquer the global market for glamping.

People have been sleeping in tents for centuries, but in recent years a new type of camping has emerged. A portmanteau of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’, glamping most commonly refers to camping in a luxury tent – including the provision of furniture, sanitation, cooking options, and more – allowing for people to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, but without the hassles of traditional camping.

Luxetenten.com started in the Netherlands in 2009 with the design and production of luxury tents. The firm was at the time one of the pioneers in what was then a relatively new market, and today has around 140 employees with its range of tents found in over 40 countries. According to the firm, it is the largest player in Europe, with its closest competitor, an Italian company, generating around half of Luxetenten’s annual turnover.

Reaching revenues of between €10 and €15 million, Luxetenten.com has been recently expanding its sales endeavours beyond its particularly strong European footprint into the North American, Oceania, and Asian markets – now marked by the opening of the firm’s first international office in Singapore, with the city-state chosen for its strategic location in what the firm sees as a key growth region in the coming years.

European 'glamping' firm eyes Asia with launch of Singapore office

The expansion also coincides with a major financial injection. Having led the company for a decade, founder Patrick Damen has now sold the firm to two entrepreneurs, Hans van der Wind and Ivo van der Vlis. According to reports in the Dutch media, the pair paid more than €10 million for the company, in a deal advised on by M&A experts from the corporate finance arm of Baker Tilly, financial advisory firm Sincerius, and law firm DeBreij.

“The glamping market is still quite young and has enormous growth potential,” said Van der Vlis. Co-owner Van der Wind, who cashed in in 2016 when he sold his company Van Dijk to the British-American investment firm Towerbrook for around €300 million, added; “A special, but also carefree experience. That's what people expect from their glamping holidays. An adventure in nature, but also very familiar and comfortable. We cater for that combination with luxury tents.”

Not just tents; Luxetenten.com also manufactures the furniture and other accessories which can be found in its tents and sells its products to holiday resorts, tour operators and entrepreneurs. Here, the new owners will work together to further innovate the glamping concept and their products; “Smart ideas, sometimes from very different sectors, help us to keep renewing the luxury tent. As a product, as a concept and as a service to our customers.”

According to an estimate from a US market research firm, the US glamping market alone will be worth $1 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 15 percent from 2018 to 2024. Wealthy consumers and event organisers are the demographics with the largest demand, while the number of North Americans who camp three or more times per year in general has increased 72 percent since 2014.