Glamping is taking the world by storm. The perfect blend of glamour and camping, travellers have experienced a higher class of outdoor living and fallen head over heels for it. With various glamping abodes to choose from, ranging from the cosy and cute shepherd huts to luxurious and grand cabins, all tastes are truly catered for with a glamping holiday. It’s, therefore, no surprise that many entrepreneurs are wondering how they can get in on the glamping action.
Why Should I Start a Glamping Business?
Perhaps what has cemented the popularity of glamping is that it is not just a holiday but a unique and memorable experience, set in beautiful locations. This fact has seen glamping stand the test of time, despite some first believing it would be a passing trend in travel.
A changing world has turned glamping into a thriving and viable business venture, especially as many travellers become scrupulous with their money after the recession (shaping a habit seen in today’s consumer) and nervous of holidays abroad due to continuing political unrest. Research conducted by the Family Break Finder (FBF) indicated the majority of their users would opt for a glamping staycation over a holiday abroad. Commenting on the findings, the FBF said: “We’ve noticed a surge of interest in domestic holidays and short breaks.”
Furthermore, holidays that can combine travel, wellness and sustainable tourism are proving to be profitable ones. According to findings by the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness travel industry grew by 6.8% from 2013 to 2015, with further indicators that the growth will continue for years to come.
Starting a glamping business comes with plenty of benefits; however, there are also many considerations for anyone wanting to get into the industry.
A glamping business can help to generate income from an attractive piece of land and can perfectly complement an existing venture. With various business models and types of abodes to choose from, you can make quite the successful business! Unbeknown to many, some models can return on investment within the first two years of their launch, which is an impressive feat for a start-up.
Not only can glamping bring positive returns in business achievements, but it can also transform your lifestyle, allowing you to spend more time outside, reduce stress, and gain more control over your finances.
If you’re serious about getting into the glamping business, our check-list will give you a helpful direction on how to start your venture:
The Glamping Business Checklist
1) Are You Committed?
Try talking through your ideas with family, friends and company connections you may want to work with to see if other people believe your glamping venture is a viable plan. By talking with others from the offset, it can help you make realistic goals and consider things you may not have thought about in your original thought processes.
2) Research: The Audience Profiles and Business Plan
Start your business plan. As you go through these check-list steps, you may have to revisit your plan and revise before looking for funding (if required). Even if you don’t need external investment, it is essential to make up a business plan so you can keep on track of goals and expected timelines. There are many useful and free resources online to help you through this step.
Your business plan should cover:
• Rent or purchase of land
• Building costs (inclusive of labour)
• Marketing costs
• Running cost
Next, consider your audience as they are the major component of whether your business will be a success or not. To ensure your plans are useful and efficient, you should analyse the market to identify where your glamping business will “sit” and the opportunities you can utilise. (Search for SWOT models to help you).
Make profiles of the audience types you will want to attract to your glamping abode, as this will have a significant bearing on the kind of abode you build, the interior design, and how you market it to them. Consider thinking about their expectations and how this will shape your decisions along the process.
Remember that you will not be able to target everyone. Different audience groups will have varying tastes and requirements and it can become challenging to cater for them all. For example, a family of four will have different needs to a couple on their honeymoon.
3) Location, Location, Location
When you’ve thought about your audience, it’s time to find a location for your structure. Ideally, you already own a piece of land where you would like to put your glamping abode (this can make the process easier). Otherwise, you will need to spend some time viewing plots of land where your glamping business could operate. If this is the case, you will need to figure out whether you will be buying or renting the plot, and the challenges and benefits of these options.
The location is a big selling point for your glamping abode, so you will need to make a further checklist to make sure the plot is in a marketable area.
Consider the following to start with (you may find more as you research the marketplace):
• Is the land away from traffic but with good access?
• Is the land well-drained?
• Is there room for car parking and facilities?
• Is the plot close to amenities, towns/villages or the sea?
• Is it within budget?
4) Regulations and Permissions
Contact your local planning authority to find out more information concerning the permissions and regulations around building a glamping property in your proposed location. They will be able to advise you on all the necessary planning permissions you will need before you begin to develop (keep in mind that some consultations could result in a fee). You may even find that your local councils are keen to promote eco-tourism, with some offering development grants for the right projects.
5) Strengths and Weaknesses
Understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are is crucial for the successful development of your glamping business. Identify the areas where you will need to outsource to specialists and start compiling quotes that will feed into your business plan.
Areas where you may need help include:
• Building and construction
• Interior design
• Business and marketing strategy
6) Building and Design
Deciding what glamping structure to go with will depend on several factors including the audience, building budget, marketplace evaluations and planning permissions. Consider and plan out your structure carefully to ensure you are meeting the expectations of the above criteria.
There are many options to choose from, including shepherd huts, wagons, yurts and safari tents, for example.
Some find the following questions useful before making their decision:
• Is it well-priced and within budget?
• Does it make the best use of space?
• Is it unique?
• Would the structure make the best use of the views?
• Can it be set in the location?
• Will the construction be durable, and is it suitable for all climates and seasons?
• Do you plan to utilise the structure year-round?
• Is it easy to clean?
• Can it facilitate the mod-cons you, and your audience, want to include?
Owners of glamping sites typically try to keep set-up costs as low as possible per unit, allowing them to make a return on investment quicker. This, however, does not mean you should skimp on your structure or its design. Typically, most glamping accommodations will range between £10,000 and £12,000 in costs. However, you may consider structures with luxury touches, such as glamping with hot tubs, that will increase your budget margins but also allow you to charge higher booking rates.
When thinking about the structure, don’t forget to consider how it will operate. How will you include kitchen and sanitary facilities? How will your structure operate the list of mod-cons you want to add?
Lastly, think about your audience when designing the look and feel of your abode to ensure you create a space that appeals to them. Look toward magazines and internet sources to create a mood board of colours and designs you and your potential customers will like.
Unique glamping abodes are the ones that people will recommend to friends, review highly and will get coverage in newspapers, magazines and blogs.
When planning your glamping business, start to think about what your USP could be. For example, glamping properties that are highly rated usually have one, or more, of the following:
• Great location – usually by a lake, woodland or sea
• Fantastic views
• Unique structure
• Luxury amenities
• Discounts and special offer deals
• Activities or events
To be successful, you must market your glamping abode properly to reach your intended audience. Here, competition analysis can help you identify what other glamping sites do well, and where they could improve. Your notes from this type of analysis will help to inform your marketing plan.
Don’t forget the power of social media to get the word out about your property. You may also benefit from dedicated glamping directory sites who have committed and experienced teams to market the properties in their portfolio.
How Can Quality Unearthed Help?
We’re always looking for new and fabulous glamping structures that we can represent. We help glamping business owners reach their intended audience and get those all-important bookings flying in! We’ve featured in countless newspapers and blogs because of our excellent reputation and portfolio, and we would love you to join us! For more information, visit our owners’ page. Alternatively, get in touch via our online form or phone us on 01348 830922.