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New Tourism

Unusual accommodation: an asset for tourist destinations

What if it was no longer a question of going to the other side of the world in a classic hotel but rather of going two hours from home in an idyllic setting? Unusual accommodation is becoming increasingly popular for lovers of romantic weekends and solo adventure holidays.

Hébergement insolite - atout pour les destinations touristiques

With the development of a strong environmental awareness on the part of visitors and the recent limitations on long-distance travel, the tourism market has opened up to new horizons.

Horizons that focus on discovery and the lifestyle to be experienced. Thus, the original setting offered by an unusual accommodation may be enough to attract travellers. In this case, the choice of destination takes second place. You can get away from it all in a holiday destination that makes you travel!

Unusual accommodation: an infinite range of possibilities

By definition, an unusual accommodation is original and/or innovative. It must offer new characteristics in terms of its architecture, activities and services. For example: a night in a tree house, in a transparent bubble under the stars, a floating house in the middle of a lake, a luxurious boat at the quayside, a yurt facing the mountains…

In Europe in 2020, there were 7,000 unusual accommodations*, and worldwide more than 30,000. (*Study by Alliances marketing touristique)

A strength for remote destinations

This new tourist offer, which responds to a strong and sustained demand, is a real driver of attractiveness for remote and sparsely inhabited areas. 

You have probably never heard of Puylaroque in France. However, this commune is a dream for a getaway for two. In the heart of the Quercy Blanc, the Domaine des Gouttes d’Eau offers its visitors the chance to admire the magnificent landscape and enjoy a hearty breakfast. All this from their room sheltered by a transparent bubble while contemplating a heart-warming sunrise.

Unusual accommodation is a sector that generates significant tourism dynamism in the regions where it develops. It creates jobs and promotes local producers and traders. For nearby destinations, it is a real godsend, a means of bringing in or returning visitors regularly. 

A sector in tune with the times

But how did this type of tourism develop in an already mature tourist accommodation market? Wonderbox, Smartbox, Vivabox, are at the origin, these companies specialised in the gift of experience were created in the early 2000s. The gift boxes include many proposals for unusual trips. The best known of these is the Wonderbox “Unusual Night”. There are also “Lovers’ getaway”, “2 days of well-being” and “Weekend getaway”.

Ten years later, in 2010, the arrival of Airbnb further boosted the unusual accommodation sector. The platform offers a space for individuals and companies who wish to rent out accommodation or parts of accommodation. It promotes unusual accommodation and plays an important role in democratising it. In 2020, the company launched a call for projects for unique accommodation: 1 million dollars for 10 innovative ideas.

Finally, Instagram has also played a major role in the development of unusual accommodation. How? By promoting the most surprising and aesthetically appealing places. Thus, many trends have emerged on this social network: tiny houses, tree houses, water bubbles, yurts, etc.

Lifestyle communication and unusual accommodation

There are two key steps to differentiating a property. Firstly, you need to have a place that offers an attractive lifestyle, and secondly, you need to learn how to communicate its potential. Photos are very important, they must suggest and allow future visitors to project themselves into a living environment that attracts them. 

Here are some examples of careful communication in this increasingly competitive sector. Every detail counts, both in their communication and in the design of the accommodation offered.

Be inspired by the trendiest tourist accommodation

  • Les Cocons d’Ardenne (Ardenne, Belgium) is banking on the tiny house trend. They offer accommodation in a wooden Igloo from the Iglucraft brand. Visitors are looking for a place that is both cosy and warm. The Estonian brand has understood that there is a demand for this.
  • Héloïse and Foulques have perfectly grasped the culture of unusual accommodation. By creating the Dôme des nids des marais (Wallonia, Belgium), within their property, they have designed a quiet natural setting perfect for a couple’s getaway.
  • Slow Cabins (Flemish Region, Belgium) communicates around its values: respect for nature and an autonomous lifestyle. They emphasise their ecological commitment and their desire to offer a totally disconnected experience.
  • Stay Ici (Wallonia, Belgium) is a very unique housing company, and their communication is focused on the structures they propose. Their photos are artistic, worthy of an architecture book. They offer three different types of housing for more experiences: glass cubes, flying farmhouses and towers.
  • The Souki Lodges and Spa (Occitanie, France) have a very pure communication which perfectly reflects the design of their accommodation. They are positioned on the market of luxury unusual accommodation with services and benefits (massages, treatments…).
  • The communication of Nomadsland (Ardennes, Belgium – French border) offers a good overview of the experience offered to visitors. Indeed, their communication emphasises both the accommodation and the warm experience to be had on site. The photos emphasise the atmosphere, the charm of the place and the authenticity of the lifestyle offered.

Follow travel influencers who favour unusual accommodation

You can also take inspiration from the many profiles of travel influencers to create a lifestyle shoot. It is even possible to ask them to come and do the shooting on the spot (for a fee of course). This approach makes it possible to combine branding and visibility. You benefit from the distribution of the photos on the influencer’s profile with visibility to their audience.

  • Bestjobers

This French travel duo became known mainly thanks to their book “Australie, nos 100 coups de cœur, l’aventure du Best Job in the World”. Two years later, they became full-time content creators and travel influencers. They have been very successful on social networks and on their blog with travel enthusiasts. At the end of 2021, Bestjobers published a book in collaboration with Lonely Planet that brings together all the unusual escapades to be had in France. This book offers a wide range of inspiration for unusual accommodation to readers. Today, they are followed by nearly 150,000 followers on Instagram.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par BESTJOBERS – Elisa & Max (@bestjobers)

Escapades insolites en France - Best Jobers
  • O2Discover

Nora and Cloee are two young Belgian women with a passion for travel. For the past two years, they have been promoting the most unusual accommodation in Belgium to their community. The idea is to offer tips on how to get away from it all. They share their experiences on Instagram and on their blog O2Discover. Surveying Belgium in search of nuggets has become their new favourite occupation. On their blog, you can find very detailed and beautifully illustrated reviews of the areas they have stopped in. Their Instagram profile is growing rapidly and currently has just over 6000 followers.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par N O R A & C L O E E. O² (@o2discover)

The Headerpop team is specialized in tourism and lifestyle communication, don’t hesitate to contact us for your craziest projects or simply for some judicious advice 😉


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