The steep rise of the camping range

The number of 1- and 2-star campsites gave way to 3-, 4- and even 5-star campsites popular with holidaymakers. Free pitches continued to decrease in campsites in favour of mobile home or chalet accommodation. There has been a real shift in facilties within campsites towards a higher-end offering.

A constantly changing market

To assert its position as the leading European country in terms of outdoor accommodation, and as the second largest in the world behind the United States, with its 7,592 campsites and 872,647 locations, the outdoor accommodation market in France has continued to evolve. It has undergone profound changes in recent years, moving from a highly fragmented market to a market boosted by a few strong players. Whereas previously the majority of campsites were non-profit, more than three-quarters of them are now private establishments. This is explained by the emergence of the “glamping” trend and by a clientele that it is younger and more affluent than previously. Indeed, when we were children, we would visit the campsite we always went to as a family every year, and subsequent generations would consider the camping offer as a whole and compare different accommodation on the basis of concrete elements such as price, equipment available, services offered and the level of the range on offer. While you might think of a trend in camping disappearing as soon as it appears, these factors show that this is not the case. The camper of today enjoys a camping experience that is like staying in a hotel.

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Hotel requirements for holidaymakers

These changes are leading to an evolution in the positioning of campsites, and we are seeing a "premiumisation" of the offer. A few years ago, it was the basic pitches that performed, now it is the more high-end accommodation. Offers are being modernised, campsites are developing premium areas, the services offered are worthy of hotel clubs and facilities are just like those in traditional hotels. This dynamic means that there is a growing number of listed establishments: today, only a quarter of French campsites are not listed.

Adapting to a new type of customer

Camping is changing because customers have changed. According to Nicolas Dayot, president of the Fédération nationale de l’hôtellerie de plein air (French National Federation of Outdoor Accommodation), one-third of campsite customers are in the socio-professional+ category. Camping is increasingly appealing to affluent families who are looking for comfort, "fully equipped" facilities and comprehensive entertainment and fun activities for children. It’s important to note that children and teenagers are the leading influencers when it comes to family holidays! The water park that once merely made a difference has become a must-have, and campsites are expected to offer more atypical offerings to differentiate themselves. There is an increasing appetite among tourist customers for unusual accommodation. Beyond its accommodation function, holidaymakers see it as a way of having disruptive immersive experiences as part of everyday life. Whether it’s staying in a treehouse, relaxing in a lodge tent or sleeping in an inflatable bubble, unusual accommodation captivates with its fairytale side that takes us off the beaten track.

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