Outdoorsy participates in Collective Retreats $23m Series C round

US: Peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace Outdoorsy has participated in luxury glamping startup Collective Retreats’ $23 million Series C funding round, marking the former’s expansion of its outdoor experiences portfolio.

The round was led by private investment firm Fireside Investments and takes Collective Retreats’ total funding to date to $43 million since its establishment in 2015.

Outdoorsy and Collective Retreats, an experiential outdoor travel company, are partnering to provide ‘hybrid campground offerings’, which are designed to transform the rapidly growing outdoor hospitality market by developing new accommodations and services, and catering to road travellers and adventurous guests seeking an elevated accommodation experience alike.

The partnership will kick off on 15 June with the first elevated camping experience offered to Outdoorsy travellers staying at a Collective Retreats property on Governors Island, New York. Guests will be picked up from a designated docking station by a water taxi and given a private tour of New York City’s harbour, as well as offered the chance to access additional F&B and wellness experiences.

Similar experiences and offerings will be launched at Collective Vail and Collective Hill Country later this summer.

Outdoorsy co-founder and CEO, Jeff Cavins, said: “Outdoorsy has experienced strong growth in the past year, and we believe the world’s passion surrounding camping and outdoor travel is increasing even more as we enter the 2021 travel season and the reopening of the economy.

“One of the biggest barriers for RV travellers has always been the looming question of where to stay or camp at night. Keep in mind that, for the majority of people renting an RV or camper, this is their first time not staying in a hotel while on vacation, so that is the mindset they’re in.

“Travellers are seeking a bridge between camping somewhere convenient and camping somewhere they can anticipate a high level of quality, consistency and care. They’ll drive the extra mile if it means sleeping in comfort, and through our vision for new hybrid campground offerings with Collective Retreats, we are answering that question of ‘Where do I camp?'” he added.

Collective Retreats founder and CEO, Peter Mack, said: “We know that Outdoorsy and Collective Retreats’ guests have a very strong desire to maximise their time and experiences in the outdoors. Following the Covid pandemic and a year of isolation, now more than ever people are clamouring for a new type of travel where traditional hotel rooms and lobbies are swapped for fresh air, trees, and clear blue skies.

“Our goal is to introduce new destinations and products to our loyal customers that offer an elevated way for them to connect with people, nature, and themselves,” he added.

With a number of camping and glamping companies raising capital over the last year [Hipcamp, Autocamp, Glamping Hub, Tentrr], as well as RV companies [Outdoorsy, RVshare, RVezy], demand is surging for elevated outdoor travel experiences and Collective Retreats will be especially keen to reach new demographics, such as millennials which make up a significant portion of Outdoorsy’s community.

Cavins said: “With this new influx of travellers rediscovering the beauty of the American road trip, the traditional RV campground model is in need of a transformation to bring it into the 21st century, and we’re looking forward to unveiling these makeovers one campground at a time with a renowned player in the bespoke experiential hospitality space. These new accommodation makeovers will unveil a world where disconnecting in nature is synonymous with experiencing memorable moments that bring you a sense of effortless calm and comfort.”

Looking ahead, Outdoorsy and Collective Retreats will look to build out more hybrid accommodation offerings across the United States, including the opportunity for guests to stay overnight in recreational vehicles at Collective Retreats locations, which offer outdoor extensions featuring private climate controlled bathrooms with spa showers, covered terrace areas and soaking tubs.

Next year, both companies aim to launch a ‘transformative’ outdoor hospitality brand that provides locations which are designed exclusively for RV travellers. Collective Retreats has acquired three properties in Vermont’s Green Mountains, Sonoma County in California and Aspen in Colorado, and it plans to open a further 25 fully serviced retreats over the next four years.

Outdoorsy has raised $75.1 million to date. Founded in 2015, the company operates in the United States, Canada, Australia, France and the UK, and wants to mobilise the 54 million-plus RVs that currently remain idle.