You’ve probably heard of Outdoorsy before – we’re one of the largest platforms out there for RV owners who want to safely rent out their rig to other people.
One could say we put the sharing economy on wheels 🙂
Since our start in 2015, we’ve hosted over 5 million RV nights, served millions of outdoor-loving guests, and have closed over $2 billion in total booking value.
While we’re happy about all of that, we think one of the biggest things that sets us apart is the outdoor-loving community that we’ve cultivated. The simple truth is, you’d be hard-pressed to find a larger, more targeted audience of outdoor enthusiasts than the guests who are hosted by our owner partners…
That’s why we knew it’d be a natural fit for us to launch our Stays platform – a brand-new offering designed to connect our outdoor customers with your glamping experience or other outdoor accommodation (e.g. tents, yurts, geodomes, vintage Airstreams, etc.).
From one glampground owner to another…
Before we jump in, let me take a step back to tell you a bit about myself. My wife Brittain and I were full-time RVers for 4+ years until we stumbled upon our piece of outdoor glamping paradise in Northwest Montana.
We’d been full-timing in a 1988 Airstream that we lovingly restored. Airstreams – it turns out – are very popular glamping vehicles. Before we knew it, we had five of those vintage birds placed as retro glamping experiences at Flathead Lake Resort in Bigfork, Montana.
That was two years ago – since then we’ve been growing roots in our new Montana home and sharing our glamping experience with travelers from all over the world.
We’ve also grown to have stays ranging from our vintage Airstreams to a mini log cabin to handmade teardrops and more.
So that’s the background I’m coming from when I talk about Outdoorsy’s new Stays platform.
I’m a fellow host who wants to share my honest thoughts with you about why I think Stays will be a game-changer for us…
What is Stays?
Outdoorsy is one of the largest peer-to-peer rental marketplaces out there – they’ve booked over 5 million RV nights and served millions of outdoor-loving guests on their platform.
Stays is Outdoorsy’s new offering that helps hosts like you and me put our outdoor accommodations in front of their outdoors-loving guests. So if you’re offering things like cabins, yurts, vintage Airstreams, treehouses, or any other sort of luxury camping experience – Stays is where it’s at for us.
That’s because other hosting platforms like Airbnb or VRBO feature so many different accommodation types that our outdoor experiences can get lost in the weeds when we try to compete with things like condos, whole homes, etc.
Listing your glamping accommodation with Outdoorsy Stays puts you in front of the right people at the right time. Stays also has built-in tools so we can monetize outdoor activities like kayak rentals, bike rentals, excursions, and more.
Stays is currently open to hosts in California. Outdoorsy is only onboarding 200 properties at first, so you’ll get lots of attention from the team if you list a California stay on the platform right now.
As one of these 200 properties, the Outdoorsy concierge team will even help create a high-performing listing for you – for free. Outdoorsy’s cut is just 4% of any stay they bring you.
Why would I sign up for Stays over Airbnb?
Signing up for Stays doesn’t mean you have to de-list from any other platform you’re currently on.
For example, at my Montana glamping property, we’re listed with a select few platforms that collectively help us fill open nights. It is good practice to carefully partner with a few booking engines to fill beds that would otherwise go unused.
We’ll list on Stays the second they open in Montana for these reasons:
- Low fees – Stays is only charging a 4% host fee for the first year (and just 10% after that). I don’t know of another platform out there that lets me keep 96% of the money for reservations they send my way, so that’s a win in my book.
- Hyper-targeted – When people search for a stay on Airbnb, they have 58+ filters they can choose from, meaning they can filter us out.
Outdoorsy has just one category – the outdoors. Everyone hitting their site is already tuned up to look for what we’re offering.
- The ground floor is a good place to be – If you’re hosting outdoor accommodations in California, I’m shooting jealous vibes at you from Montana because you’d be one of just 200 hosts that Outdoorsy is bringing onto the Stays platform right now.
That means you’ll benefit from an Outdoorsy crew who’ll help you build out your listing and will be super invested in getting you bookings.
And in some cases, they’ll even do a photo shoot of your property.
What about other platforms like Hipcamp, The Dyrt, etc?
These are all cool platforms, but why wouldn’t you want to add another channel of customers for those unbooked nights?
Especially a channel like Stays that’ll help you build out your listing. And Outdoorsy knows how to support their hosts too. They have over 30k RV-owning hosts on their platform who are supported by regular webinars, a vibrant Facebook owners group, uber-helpful customer support, and a team that’s really invested in your success.
I know all this from personal experience because I’m an RV owner on the platform myself.
The point is I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a platform that’s more tailor-made to support glamping stays like the ones we offer. Why not try Stays out?
What about insurance?
Much like Airbnb or other platforms, Stays provides industry-leading insurance for every booking. That means you’ll be covered for liability and protected in case of damages to your outdoor accommodation.
Outdoorsy has an excellent concierge team (I know because I’ve used them) who’ll jump right on the line with you or your guest anytime you need them. Outdoorsy also already has strong ID verification, background checks, and a highly secure payment verification system as part of their booking process, so that’ll all carry over to your glamping stays too.
Our resort is called Flathead Lake Resort because it’s on a massive glacial lake that’s a huge draw for guests. We made about $5k in revenue in 4 months from renting out 5 non-motorized watercraft for our guests to launch from our beach (e.g. kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards).
Those of us who host outdoor accommodations have unique opportunities to share experiences with our guests and get paid for them. Whether you offer bike rentals, guided excursions, S’more kits, boats, or any other form of outdoor adventure – Outdoorsy Stays comes built-in with all the tools you need to easily market these experiences to your guests.
When you build your listing in Stays, simply build out these offerings as add-ons so they’re offered to your guests before checkout.
It’s nice to be supported.
Outdoorsy offers 24/7 support from the absolute best humans around. I know this from personal experience.
Along with hosting my glampground, I also rent out two campervans through Outdoorsy. Anytime I’ve ever needed help, I’ve been able to immediately reach support both via chat and phone to find a quick solution.
And the Outdoorsy support crew has come through for my guests too. It gives me tremendous peace of mind knowing that during the few times my renters had trouble on the road, Outdoorsy answered and helped out right away.
Super serving our customers is key to creating a 5-star outdoor adventure. It’s nice knowing we hosts will have a partner who gets it with Outdoorsy Stays.
Outdoorsy’s mission is to bring the outdoors in.
One of my favorite memories is the night we hosted a pop-up S’more party and beachside bonfire for our guests. I’ll never forget sitting around that Montana fire with a crew of city slickers who were gushing with appreciation for the way we’d just helped them breathe in nature.
That’s why I do what I do. I love seeing the restoration that our nature-focused stays provide for people. And Outdoorsy gets that. They live that. They built themselves on the idea of restoring our relationship with the outdoors.
So aside from all the tactical reasons that cause Stays to make sense for us – I say that it’s ultimately Outdoorsy’s heart for the work we do that makes Stays a real winner for hosts like us.
Questions you might be asking yourself (I know I did)
- Is Stays integrated with any property management systems or calendar sync programs?
It will be! But for now, the focus is on giving tons of personal attention to the small group of early adopters in California. Outdoorsy will help them build a listing and keep it easy to manage by making sure you know when bookings happen so you can block off other calendars.
- I already have calendars with Airbnb, Hipcamp, and/or others. How can I make sure I don’t get double booked with Stays?
We get it – that’s why we’re actively working to integrate with a calendar sync system that’ll prevent this.
In the meantime, we’ll help you to start bit by bit with your listings so you can test the waters with Stays in a way that you can manage. And remember, we only take 4% so you’re making more off any booking we give you – that’s worth a bit of extra effort!
- Keeping 96% of my bookings sounds great, but how long will you only charge 4% for stays you send me?
The first 200 hosts in California will be locked into the 4% for a year. It’ll go up to 10% after that – which is the same low rate they’ll likely charge when Stays opens up to other areas.
- What if I’m not a host in California?
You’ll soon be able to list stays across the U.S. Sign up to get email updates about hosting a stay outside of California.