According to Franco, the master tent-builder, hoteliers who invest in tented projects can expect to generate 20 percent to 40 percent more in revenues than their six-star bricks-and-mortar counterparts, and construction costs can be as much as 50 percent lower—particularly in cases where the tents are just one part of an existing resort that has already established the necessary infrastructure. Still, this doesn’t make these camps affordable or easy to build.
“We are in the luxury or beyond-luxury categories,” explains Franco, “so everything has to be truly custom.” When one leading hospitality brand asked him to design a tent that could be replicated in Turkey, the Bahamas, Marrakesh, and Mexico, he said no: “All these places have different climates. There’s no wind in Turkey, but in Holbox, Mexico, the wind is very strong; in the Bahamas, you need tents that can be completely removable for hurricane season; in Tulum, you need something fit for the jungle; and in Morocco, you have extreme heat to deal with.”
Catering to these varying weather patterns—plus consumers who might need family-friendly setups—can add up to a lot of costly customizations. Some are moveable, as you’d tend to think when it comes to tents; others aren’t. Some have permanent decks with in-ground plumbing, and others don’t. As a result, Franco’s tents can cost from $50,000 to $1 million each. Plus, exposure to the elements means they need to be carefully maintained and replaced every few years.
Of course, you can spend less (and charge less). Look no further than Collective Retreats, a brand built on simpler glamping principles, with locations in Yellowstone National Park and Governor’s Island, with views of Manhattan’s Financial District. Its tents start at $150 per night.
“We wanted to do something completely different and immerse guests in the environment without taking away the luxury,” says Cameron D’Arcy, co-founder of Sierra Escape, a three-tent camp in New South Wales, Australia. As a marketing professional, he says the concept is a no-brainer: “Thanks to the Instagram appeal, the product almost markets itself.”