Campspace’s close-knit community of travellers and hosts share deep appreciation for nature and human connectivity
New funding will be used to rapidly expand offering throughout Germany and the rest of Europe
The Netherlands, 21 April, 2022: Campspace, the leading booking platform for local sustainable stays in nature, has raised €3 million in a funding round led by Swedish investment company VNV Global and including notable angel investors, former Booking.com board member David Vismans and former executive Andrea Carini. Campspace, which already offers over 2,000 unique places to stay in over 30 countries, will use the investment and acquisition to rapidly expand the company’s offering throughout Germany and the rest of Europe, with the ultimate goal of making sustainable outdoor overnight stays accessible for everyone, no matter where they live.
At its heart, Campspace is a platform that specialisies in unique outdoor stays be they in a personal tent, campervan, or in a cosy treehouse, yurt or cabin. But what sets it apart is a focus on supporting local tourism and - with 80% of tourism’s Co2 emissions arising from transportation - a desire to make the local outdoor overnight stay a key part of a sustainable lifestyle.
As more and more people rediscover the beauty of the great outdoors, interest in Campspace and the sustainable travel movement has risen rapidly. A recent study by Booking.com found that 81% of travelers say they 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.
Campspace has grown at a rate of 300% per year, with a focus on offering a variety of one-of-a-kind pitches and accommodations on the platform right across Europe. While the pandemic and its associated lockdowns were responsible for a surge in the popularity of outdoor stays during early 2020, global demand has yet to slow down, with Slovenia recording the highest increase in outdoor stays (76%), followed by Austria (32%) and Belgium (25%). Regions where camping was already a popular pastime, like the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, are also showing an increase in outdoor stays.
Despite this rapid growth, the company has ensured genuine human connection is the priority. Campspace encourages multiple interactions between the hosts and the guests ahead of the stay, prompting travelers to forge a bond and learn as much as possible about their new surroundings before arrival. Additionally, the vast majority of the unique locations offer overnight stays on the host’s land or with the host in the nearby vicinity, meaning the platform facilitates a more personal and authentic experience of the area for the guests.
In fact, one of the platform’s most popular hosts, Luc in the Belgian Ardennes, embodies this philosophy perfectly. Luc is the quintessential example of a Campspace host, who offers his land for camping, hosting small festivals and also has a small cabin called Chalet Rosée. For Luc, the platform has made him new friends and nourished his passion for nature, allowing him to show those who live in urban areas the beauty of his surroundings and impress on them the need to protect local habitats. Other interesting hosts with innovative and exciting offerings on the platform include: the so-called Pioneer of the Polder, a woman who builds guest houses out of recycled materials; a Dutch farmer, who offers guests the chance to pitch up among his farmyard animals; a former castle in the Alps and a stylishly designed historic 19th century tower fortress.
While the eye-catching and appealing locations are obviously important, Campspace’s team also prioritise cultural fit when vetting potential hosts. Another key part of the team are the 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.
The funding round is the latest show of support for Campspace’s philosophy, with the money going towards greater investment in the development team to scale the platform to serve more conscientious travellers across Europe.
Hugo van Donselaar, CEO and co-founder of 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. We’re delighted that our friends at VNV Global are supporting us on this journey.”
Campspace host Luc said:
“Campspace has allowed me to live out my dream, to meet new and interesting people and demonstrate the importance of protecting our local habitats. The best part about hosting for me is showing someone from the city how wonderful it is to pluck a carrot straight from the earth and eat it. Their eyes grow wide and they say ‘Wow!”
Daan Sanders, tech investor at VNV Global, said:
“The pandemic has greatly strengthened everyone’s connection to the great outdoors, particularly those areas on their own doorstep. But too often people are limited in their choices when it comes to local overnight stays. That’s where Campspace is making a real difference by unlocking previously inaccessible areas and connecting people. Their network of hosts, guests and scouts provides the opportunity to take many large steps in the area of sustainable travel and create a positive impact in communities right across Europe. We are excited to see where Hugo and the team go next.”
About VNV Global:
VNV Global invests in high-growth technology companies that have the potential to become global leaders, focussing on firms with strong network effects, high barriers to entry and potential for long-term returns. Actively investing in emerging and developed markets, from Europe to the Middle East and North Africa, VNV has particular strengths in mobility, marketplaces and digital health. Its portfolio includes digital health unicorn, Babylon; Europe’s largest e-scooter company, Voi Technology; BlaBla Car; Gett, Property Finder and more.
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