The travel industry might never be the same as it was before the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t eager to get out of their houses. Safety protocols will have a lasting impact on the way we travel, encouraging more people to choose destinations that are close to home and outside in the fresh air.
With these changes come new opportunities. If you’ve ever considered running an Airbnb, a treehouse company is offering an easy, relatively low-maintenance way to do it. “Treewalkers” by O2 Treehouse is “a treehouse hospitality franchise” with beautiful modular treehouse structures that can be erected as single units or “treehouse villages,” so you can turn a chunk of vacant land into a money-making paradise.
First of all, the structures are beautiful, providing an experience that’s a few notches above tent camping — more in the realm of “glamping.” They can either be strung up among trees or installed on the ground, coming in modular kits that are customizable to adapt to the final location. They consist of O2 Treehouse’s “tetra truss” wooden structure system, a wooden platform, built-in furniture, tension cables, and a canvas canopy. Each unit can also contain all the furniture you’d normally find in a hotel room, including a queen-size bed, built-in benches, bookcases, and a dining bar.
Aiming to capitalize on both the ecotourism and home-sharing markets, “Treewalkers” is a franchise network that enables investors to start their own mini getaway businesses for about $35,000 to $50,000 per glamping treehouse (plus the cost of whatever land you’re putting it on). The company recommends renting them out for $150 to $200 per night with 30 to 60-percent expected annual occupancy, potentially earning buyers a fast return on their initial investment.
The ecotourism industry was valued at $265 billion worldwide in 2018, and while it definitely took a hit this year, it’s still projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 14 percent. O2 Treewalkers founder Dustin Feider believes that his company’s unique treehouses are exactly the kind of thing travelers are going to be looking for in 2021 and beyond.
“We offer the ideal product both for potential franchisees looking for a unique opportunity to invest, and for consumers looking for a chance to get away from their fast-paced, concrete-filled life and enter a more tranquil and beautiful world,” says Feider.
“Our vision is to create stunning and inspired architectural forms that delight heart and soul and bring people together in unique natural settings. In this way, we believe that the disconnect between humans and the natural world may begin to heal.”
O2 Treehouses has built about 85 treehouses since Feider built his first geodesic structure in a Wisconsin poplar tree in 2005, many of which have been featured in over 100 design publications. Their portfolio is full of stunning custom treehouses, including geodesic domes and the unique (and appropriately named) Pinecone Treehouse.
If you’d rather just buy one exclusively for your own use, you can definitely do that, too. And hey, if the project is successful, maybe there will be a Treewalker treehouse for rent in a desirable area near you sometime soon.