Glamping Business: 10 Key Steps to Start-Up Success

By February 16, 2016Business, Glamping

Planning a business can give you headaches. But not this time (and not this business!). Ever heard of the glamping business? Some say it’s the best job in this world. This little guide here will fill you in.

There is something dreamlike about the glamping business. The whole idea of glamorous camping is simply formidable in terms of potential gains (owner satisfaction, profits and customer feedback), but also in terms of downsides which are scarce. No wonder, glamping is a win-win situation for glampers and owners. Glampers, who seek luxury time in the wild, and owners, who offer them hip outdoor hotel rooms, while staying close to who they are, and enjoying every second of it.

Okay, they call the business ”luxury’. And okay, it might look like the owners invested their seven-figure nest eggs to get those luxury camping sites rolling, but no. Hundreds of glamping sites already out there, and still more popping up, are a living proof that the business pays off and is here to stay. Read on to see how to land yourself the best job in the world.What drives you towards glamping business

Problem: I don’t know where to start.

Tip 1. Start With Yourself

Be true to yourself and begin by checking what you find attractive about glamping business. From now on, let this motive become your drive and something to hold on to. Come back to affirm it any time you have second thoughts or problems dealing with further steps.

Problem: What now?

Tip 2. Think About Potential Customers

Your glamping site will be visited by people. Define them. Who are they? Where do they live? What do they expect from glamping with you? What type of accommodation do they look for?

In other words, create your buyer personas. You will need them later on, when you will be planning your site in more detail. It’s good to have your personas before everything else, because they usually impact your further decisions: the choice of your location, type of extra activities your site will follow and even the type and size of your tents.

Your possible customers may include: families, couples, individuals, business groups, VIPs, schools. Consider the sizes of customer groups while working on the next steps.

Also, try not to mix too diverse groups. Families and couples on honeymoon will have different needs and might be a challenging combination to cater for, but for instance, families and activity tours might be a perfect match.

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Problem: What’s the next step?

Tip 3. Pick a Location

Now that you know who your potential clients will be, it’s time to find the location.

Ideally, you already own a farmland, a vineyard or an orchard. Or maybe someone in your family does? A plot of vacant land away from traffic but with good access roads would be a perfect starting point.

Otherwise, you can always look around: maybe there is a resort near you that has an adjoining land to sell or you can rent out a few acres from a local farmer? Maybe you can take over an existing campsite and upgrade it into a luxury camping destination? Or maybe there is a landowner who is actively seeking glamping partners via the internet? Sometimes a small checkup will do the trick!

Bear in mind that you will need a well-drained piece of land with space for car parking and facilities. Consider wind protection screening too.

Problem: What to consider when planning budget?

Tip 4. Create a Glamping Business Checklist

In this step, you will have to enlist all the things needed to set up your deluxe camping site. This includes: electrical installation, waste disposal facilities, fire safety, gas storage, sanitary facilities and glamping amenities including furniture, lighting and heating.

Don’t have time to do that? Make use of this free PDF copy of a Glamping Business Checklist that covers all the glamping business essentials!

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Problem: Any law-related issues that I need to consider?

Tip 5. Apply For Permissions

Generally, rules and regulations for setting up a camping site are different for each country. Hence, it is always best to seek advice directly at the source: your local planning authority.

Many local councils outreach to prospective businesses to help them in the development of eco-tourism and diversification. Check how much they encourage tourism in your region and try to apply for any rural development grants available.

Since deluxe camping business is a new and still developing concept, regulations might not be clear in every case. Local authority will advise you on any planning permissions you might need in order to start construction.

Nowadays, councils offer a pre-application advice (at a fee which varies wildly from council to council) which may provide you with accurate and objective information about any relevant planning policies, timescales and procedures.

A site license will cover various conditions. It will depend on the number and type of units, spacing between the units, washing and sanitary facilities, drainage, water and waste systems, gas storage and fire safety, access roads and footpaths, electrical installations.

Problem: What should I do before setting up a glamping site?

Tip 6. Choose Your Structure

When deciding on a glamping tent, you should consider your budget carefully and translate it onto the existing market options. There are many glamping structures out there, some better than others. Most certainly, look for a structure that will be a complete solution in terms of hardware and trim.

Major companies offer pre-fabricated glamping kits to let you assemble the structure yourself, thus saving your money on hiring assembly crew and reducing the overall costs of the logistics. Such standardized glamping options may be less customizable, but enable you to save a lot of money and carry out the process your way and at your own pace. Also, many such DIY structures include heating systems (usually wood-burners) and insulation, which make them year-round solutions.Criteria-for-pitch-perfect-structure-F.Domes

There are many types of glamping to choose from. Glamping tent is normally a yurt, a tepee or a dome, mainly due to their attractive prices. Less often, owners decide on converted caravans, bubble tents, log cabins or even tree houses, but these usually cost more and some of them require more advanced preparations.

Owners of glamping sites try to limit the total set-up costs per unit. Their glamping accommodations include insulation, furnishing and amenities and rarely exceed the price of £10k – £12k. Each unit has a floor area between 20 sqm to 100 sqm. The main focus is put on making the tents unique, introducing cozy glamping themes and luxury touches. This way higher rates can be charged.

If you want to cater for upmarket accommodation, make your glamping structure unique and inspiring. For this, glamping owners charge a daily rate comparable to a luxury hotel room. A small investigation we once made on Glamping Hub, one of the biggest online booking platforms, had shown that average price per night spent in a glamping tent is €180, while maximum prices can get as high as €1,400.00 — €1,500.00.

Problem: What about the site planning?

Tip 7. Plan the Infrastructure

Once your structure is sorted and so is your idea of a site, its location, themes and size, you should start planning the services and facilities that you will offer.

How will you arrange your field kitchen and sanitary facilities: toilets and bathrooms? Will you provide a range of onsite services straightaway or leave it for later, when you see initial return on investment? Will you have a reception area and a laundry room? A game room? A social zone or a lounge for guests? A hot tub or a swimming pool? Plan ahead!

Problem: How to do a low-cost check up on the glamping business idea?

Tip 8. Set Up a Small Glamping Site

You do not have to rush and spend all your money at once. It’s OK to go slow and practice conscious spending when starting a glamping business. Many beginners in luxury camping decide on a small checkup on their business idea: two or three glamping units and not more. It’s hardly a high-risk investment and in some cases no planning permission is even required.

In UK, for example, there is a 28-day trial period where owners are allowed to use their land without planning permission for any purpose (’for not more than 28 days in total in any calendar year (…) and the provision on land of any movable structures for the purposes of the permitted use’ — The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995). Check out if similar laws apply to your region.

We encourage you to start small. Invest in a couple of durable structures, add furniture and insulate them if you feel they might need additional protection during cooler months. Create sanitary facilities and a reception area. Off you go!

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Problem: How to make my glamping site busy and a top choice for people?

Tip 9. Add the G Factor

We will insist to call the unique element to your glamping site its special ”G” factor. In fact, it’s probably the most important point of your entire business planning. Unique and inspiring glamping sites are the ones people rave about, recommend to each other and love most. When in this business, you just got to have your own G factor, full stop. What can your unique concept be?

Glamping sites that are highly recommended usually rely one of the following:

  • great location or views
  • unique glamping structures
  • deluxe amenities
  • upscale services
  • attractive discounts and special offers
  • natural assets: lake, woods, sea
  • exotic cuisine
  • spa or yoga treatments
  • side events or festivals

The list is open-ended!

Problem: How do I rent out the accommodations?

Tip 10. Promote

Glamping site can land you money to afford a comfortable life and much-desired freedom, but first you need to put it out there, in front of people, so that they know it exists.

It’s not as difficult as it seems. If you have no previous experience with site promotion, check out how other glamping sites spread the word about their offering. What channels do they use? Internet? Community radio? Local or national press? Do they have a dedicated website? Do they have real recommendations from real people and publish them on their websites? Do they invest in sponsored articles? Do they use highly pleasing visuals to promote their glamping? Are they active in social media? Try to get in touch with owners, they are often very supportive and friendly!

Think about promotion channels that you would like to include in your marketing. Identify your competition and find ways to outrun it. Always keep in mind your buyer personas for which you’re starting the business in the first place.

The channels which are working wonders for the owners include:

  • glamping business listings: Airbnb, GlampingHub, CoolCamping, Booking.com, etc.,
  • social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram,
  • sponsored articles and features in media,
  • own dedicated website,
  • web directories promoting glamping.

Remember, the more people hear about your fabulous glamping spot and the more established your business is online, the bigger the chances they will consider your offer!

That’s all for now. Make sure you sign up to be part of our glamping business network! It’s a great way of staying up to date with latest industry news, especially if you’re thinking of becoming a glamping business owner, need a little side income or simply a break from your 9-to-5 job.

Best of luck with setting up your new business!