The pandemic and its associated lockdowns were responsible for a surge in the popularity of outdoor stays during early 2020. Regions where camping was already a popular pastime, like the Netherlands, Germany and the U.K., have witnessed an increase in outdoor stays.
Betting big on the segment, Dutch overnight stays platform Campspace has raised €3 million in funding. The round was led by Swedish investment company VNV Global and included notable angel investors such as former Booking.com board member David Vismans and executive Andrea Carini.
The platform has also acquired German competitor Pop-Up Camps, taking on hundreds of new campsites and hosts in the process.
Making sustainable outdoor overnight stays accessible for everyone, Campspace will use the investment and acquisition to rapidly expand the company’s offering throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. The startup currently offers over 2,000 unique places to stay in over 30 countries.
Founded by Alexander van Nimwegen, Hugo van Donselaar, Merijn Straathof and Jeroen Wielaards, the Dutch platform specialisies in unique outdoor stays ranging from personal tent, campervan, cosy treehouse, yurt or cabin. But what new does it bring on the table. The company claims it is making local outdoor overnight stay a key part of a sustainable lifestyle and it also focuses on supporting local tourism. Campspace’s team also has over 400 plus scouts, often guests in their own right, who help the hosts with photography and understand the human-centred approach the platform is focused on providing.
A recent study by Booking.com found that 81% of travellers want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the next 12 months, a notable increase from 62% in 2016. Alongside this, 73% of travellers want to have authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture when they travel. Campspace solves both these issues by allowing guests to book previously inaccessible spots in nature, often located on privately-owned land or on little-known campsites, and cultivating a close-knit community of travellers and hosts that share a deep appreciation for nature and human connectivity.
Hugo van Donselaar, CEO and co-founder, Campspace said: “Currently, the travel industry accounts for about 10% of global CO2 emissions. Due to continued population and prosperity growth, the number of tourists and the negative impact on our environment is only set to increase. By opening up hidden outdoor stays closer to home, we make tourism more sustainable and meet the needs of the next generation of travelers. We live in the most well-connected time in human history but on a person-to-person level we remain incredibly unconnected. Our platform provides people with unique experiences and memories, but not at the cost of the planet and local communities.”
Jobst von Paepcke, founder, Pop-Up Camps concluded: “We can only tackle the climate crisis if we leave old ideas behind and are open to innovation when it comes to reducing the carbon emissions associated with tourism. Since the inception of Pop-Up Camps, the focus has been on local, sustainable tourism and I am delighted that we have found like-minded people within the Campspace team who share our mission.”