*As seen in The Logbook
Listing everything from Mom and Pop enterprises to management company rentals, Glamping Hub is the world’s leading portal for unique outdoor accommodations across the globe.
With a reputation for offering one-of-a-kind accommodations and experiences and with over 30,000 accommodations in 120 countries, they are proving that there is a glamping site perfect for each and every traveller. As Co-Founder Ruben Martinez says, “It’s all about collecting memories, not things.”
BLOG SITE TO INDUSTRY MOVER
For those bloggers with big dreams, it’s inspiring to know that Glamping Hub was founded in 2013, primarily as a blog. The following year it launched as a booking platform with 200 accommodations listed.
Today what separates Glampinghub.com from other listing websites is that all represented accommodations must be unique in their offerings and structure, offer a-one-of-a-kind experience and hotel-quality comfort, as well as be located in the outdoors.
“We work with hosts to curate and create hand-written listings that perfectly and accurately describe their site and offerings, and with guests to be able to have the experience of a lifetime at their desired glamping site,” Ruben says.
Ruben explains that Glamping Hub started with David Troya from Sevilla Spain and himself, from Albuquerque New Mexico. Two friends who met in Spain years before.
While they both were obtaining MBAs, David at University of San Francisco and Ruben at Regis University in Colorado, David first heard the term glamping in one of his classes and knew this was something he wanted us to explore.
“After discussing the potential, we started putting together ideas and brought on another friend, and third Co-Founder, Talal Benjelloun,” he says, “Glamping Hub was built on the foundation of friendship, and some of the very first investors were close friends and family.”
THE EARLY SITE
In the early stages, Ruben explains that after they relaunched their blog into a booking platform, Glamping Hub was a listing service, where hosts would pay to have their glamping site listed.
“Since then Glamping Hub has become fully transactional with a global focus,” he says, “Working with growing markets in the industry that have great potential like Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as others.”
Right from the start relationships have been very important to Glamping Hub. Some of their hosts are very small business owners who have incredible pride for the businesses they have created. Pouring their hearts and souls and often their life savings into their properties, creating their businesses and getting them off the ground into a territory and industry that is still quite young and is not fully understood.
The properties and their businesses are very personal to them, and for Glamping Hub it is very important to cultivate the relationships with these hosts and these small business owners because they are hopefully providing them with a stream of revenue that they may not otherwise receive.
“This allows them to carry on their dream of having a successful business and site,” he says, “You cannot do this without having successful relationships, so it is very important for us to continue to build these relationships with the hosts on our site.”
A HUMAN COMPANY
Glamping Hub is very much a human company, offering 24 hour 7 days a week support, so that when someone needs to contact them, they are provided with human interaction and assistance. It is very important to Ruben and his co-founders that every individual with their own needs can come to them and have those needs met and supported.
A CULTURE OF LEARNING
Ruben reveals that he keeps up to date by trying to read as much as possible. Consuming information on business, the glamping and hospitality industry as a whole, travel and other peripherals. Reading the newspaper from front to back each night before bed is a ritual that he is committed to. However, self-education aside, he admits that the biggest lessons often come from unexpected and painful sources.
“We really try to learn from past failures,” he says, “Things we thought were going to take off and do really well that did not. We also set up early indicators so that we go down a path that is really working. Sometimes pivoting away from the projects and ideas that are not working can be very painful and hard to do, but we strive to do a good job at keeping close to the data and understanding what is working. We make those tough decisions when we have to so we can focus on what comes next and part of what we did to future proof was to get in super early and be these early adapters.”
Even though they defied expectations by entering the glamping market super early and reaching their current position as a market leading voice of the industry, Ruben still believes they’ve scarcely scratched the surface.
One of the main challenges Ruben reveals, is wearing all the hats. When you do not have a team of people that specialize in all of the departments, you really need to do everything all at once. In that challenge comes the challenge of staying focused on what matters and what is important.
“It is easy to get distracted and turn your attention to something else when something looks like it’s going well,” he says, “It becomes dangerous to focus on too many things at once.”
To overcome these sorts of negative mindsets, they have a very strong mentor network and are fortunate to work with extremely talented individuals. Thanks to this Ruben believes that as a business they’re are smart enough to know that they do not know everything, and that it is extremely beneficial to bring on those incredibly intelligent and smart individuals to help them overcome these big challenges.
“Because at the end of the day we cannot overcome these challenges on our own and need the help of our team to do so,” he says.
You can’t be afraid to make waves or take a risk, Ruben says. For businesses to be successful in the long haul you cannot be doing what everybody else is doing. You have to reinvent, you have to innovate, you have to try new things, and more importantly, you have to fail.
“One of our business philosophies is having a high level of comfort with failure,” he says, “Not continuous failure but taking a risk and trying something new and if it fails being able to understand why and then move forward in the right direction, quickly.”
For long term business strategy if you are not innovating and taking risks or not hiring the right set of people and taking the time to set them up on the right course, then your strategy will fail. Your business strategy has to be built on those principles.
Even with their global presence, Ruben says that they feel very excited about the potential of other global markets. They now have a fully functioning Spanish website, so are very excited about working with additional regions, languages and markets.
Leveraging the strength of social media is something Ruben credits much of their success with. Creating and curating compelling content is an absolute priority, as it’s their objective to deliver what their audience loves to see and where they would like to stay. He says that being able to provide their audience and guests with real life glamping sites that are both bucket-list-worthy and attainable contributes to their core principles of being a human company and providing their guests with the best of the best.
With a highly active presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, they partner with a number of incredible brands and influencers to expand their audience and attain new potential customers and glampers. Whether they are there to learn more about the industry or to book accommodations, their digital platforms are crucial and necessary in order to give their guests an idea of who they are and what they offer.
“By engaging in different collaborations and partnerships we are also able to connect with our audience on a deeper level and further add to our community,” he says.
THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
In one of the first phone calls Ruben had with David about embarking on this journey, he said ‘Well hey, even if this fails, at least we get to talk to each other every day.’
Ruben remembers this and says, that Glamping Hub is truly a business built off of friendship.