“You don’t have to make every outdoor adventure, this epic expedition,” says Alyssa Ravasio, CEO and founder of the camping booking platform Hipcamp. “It can just be a really nice weekend at a peach farm.”
Her platform offers travelers a variety of options that inspire people to get outside and become stewards of the land, from public campgrounds and RV parks to private ranches and recently, farms and vineyards. In 2019, the company partnered with Recreation.gov to allow Hipcamp to list real-time availability for national parks and forests—a first for an outside platform. In 2020, the company turned its attention to growing its platform by bringing on local landowners across the U.S., especially ones with commercial agricultural property. Today about half of its hosts run some sort of commercial agricultural property—ranches, farms, orchards, and wineries—and are looking to diversify their revenue stream, especially during the pandemic.
As the pandemic changed travel habits, inspiring people to get outside and stay local, Hipcamp developed a system to forecast demand in different regions. To keep up with bookings in what it deemed would be popular areas, the company reached out to both existing hosts to see if they could add more listings and other local landowners to bring them online. Hipcamp also invested in enhancing the back-end tool these hosts need to seamlessly list their land on the site. One new feature, called “Extras,” allows hosts to sell additional offerings, including rentals, food, firewood—and even experiences, like a chef-cooked meal with farm fresh ingredients.
Throughout the summer, the company sent hosts three times the booking revenue than it did in summer 2019. In August, it acquired Australia-based landsharing startup Youcamp, marking its first expansion into an international market. With the new business, Hipcamp took over Youcamp’s 50,000 listings, bringing its total to 420,000 listings.
It’s all part of founder and CEO Alyssa Ravasio’s mission to show people that getting outside is easier than it may seem: “People are starting to understand the nature that is around them and closer to home.”
For more on Fast Company’s list of the top 10 Most Innovative Companies in travel, click here.