'We are seeing almost unlimited demand for travel': Getaway CEO

·3 min read

While some folks look forward to reuniting with families and friends, others are searching for quiet vacations to disconnect and recharge during this summer's travel season.

Getaway, a privately-owned hospitality company that offers sleek cabin rentals in remote locations, has grown about 600% since 2018, said John Staff, its founder and CEO, during an interview with Yahoo Finance Live (video above). Its occupancy rate across the nation significantly hiked amid the pandemic — increasing 92% in 2020 and another 93% in 2021.

“I am happy that our revenue is up, our profit is up … Our occupancy is stronger than ever … so we are happy about where the business is today.”

The strong rental demand for secluded cabins reflected many city dwellers’ need to withdraw from their busy lives and limited spaces. Staff explained that many guests are looking to unplug and be with nature, family, or both.

“We are seeing almost unlimited demand for folks to escape to nature to really disconnect and find more time with those they care most about, to find more time with themselves to reconnect with what really matters, and to escape the craziness of our everyday lives.”

New locations

In order to supply growing demand, Gateway expanded its market to nine new locations: Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Greenville.

Getaway cabin
Getaway cabins are up to 200 square feet and can accommodate up to four people. Source: Getaway

However, the company’s expansion was challenged by economic volatility and inflation pressure in the last 12-18 months. Staff pointed out that rising construction costs interrupted new outpost developments. “Fortunately, demand remains strong for what we do, and we have a healthy business model that can absorb some of this,” he said.

The Getaway "camping" experience provided to consumers is anything but basic. The cabins are built to provide convenience and comfort for urbanites. Outposts are located within a two-hour drive from their respective city and are equipped with private hot showers, kitchenettes, and a s’mores kit (upon request). But for an authentic isolated experience, WiFi is not available and there's a “cell phone lockbox.”

Staff explained the team’s vision: “We’ve built these cabins where there is no Wifi, where you lock up your cell phone, and where we try to really get you to do nothing, to just be in nature, to be inspired by the trees, to have a campfire, to have nothing on your schedule, to have a deep conversation with your partner or your kid.”

To further meet growing demand, the company recently introduced Gateway Campgrounds. The new series provides more traditional outdoor experiences at developed camping grounds, at which guests can request tents or bring their own. Staff said that the campground experience offers similar comforts to the company’s cabins, “but [guests] sleep under the stars.”

Rebecca Chen is a writer and reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @RebeccaChenP

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