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How To Set Up a Glamping Site - Tips from an Expert.

setting up a glamping site Feb 13, 2022
setting up a glamping site

How to set up a glamping site...?   Where ever you are in the world, these tips will help!

Do you have a patch of land you are currently eyeing-up with the idea of setting up a glamping site, but don't know where to start?

Would you love to set up a glamping site as your next career move but unsure of how to begin?

Read on... here we present some of the tips from the book 'How To Set Up a Successful Glamping Business and Get Fully Booked'.

There are three main phases:   Setting up:  Running and then Growing a Glamping Business

 

  1. Set UP the glamping site - the nitty gritty from planning, land suitability, unit choice, identifying your target market and nailing the branding and online presence.
  2. Running a glamping business - the day to day operations will ensure you get great reviews.  The key is to be super organised and over-provide whilst remaining value for money.  Building up to getting fully booked - how to get traffic to your website to book, and make your offering irresistible.
  3. Growing Bigger (more units, another site, or franchise your concept?)

In this blog post we will look at the initial stage of setting up a glamping business and the factors to consider.

 

Setting Up a Glamping Business

Step one - whether we like it or not the first step is to initiate a relationship with your local planning department.  Change of use even from rough scrubland, that is currently unused, will necessitate  planning permission, even if you are planning on canvas units. The price of £470 ish is relatively low compared to  the security of knowing you are legally setting up a glamping business and far outweighs the hassle of trying to do things on the sly.  There is a chapter in the book 'How to Set up a Successful Glamping Business and Get Fully Booked' on how to present yourself to the planning department to enhance your chances of success.   It is also possible to go down the route of getting planning permission by joining the Woodland Champions scheme.  For more details on this method of getting around planning read our other blog HERE. 

Will you live on-site, or close by, or in a different area from your land altogether?   The realities of running a glamping business mean that you will be called out regularly, don't think you can set up a site far from where you live unless you have a manager present for a chunk of each day and someone on-call when they are not on site.  Glampsites fall under the Hoteliers Act meaning legally you have to be available to your guests at any time to deal with emergencies.  When we take money off people we have a duty of care regardless of any disclaimer you may think of adding.

Step two - Assess the land itself and any other existing resources (ie. you and other assets).  Is the land suitable for setting up a glamping site on?   Does it flood or get boggy, does it have access for vehicles (planning departments always consult the highways department who in turn look for things like safety of access and egress.  They don't like new turns off single track roads or access on bends.   They also like you to have enough space on-site for parking at full capacity.  They need to see that parking provision equals or is greater than the number of potential guests cars PLUS your own and your staff vehicles.  Have you got space for adequate parking within your own boundary?    Is it super windy site, open and exposed on one or more sides?    You may need to think about planting a quick-growing wind break or going for more solid glamping structures with a rounded shape.  We offer phone or video consultations and even site visits if you are unsure whether your patch of land has potential to set up a glamping business on.  As qualified Permaculture Designers we can assess the natural layout of your land; the weather effects using indicator plants, shape of trees, and soil samples, help you plan access and egress and develop the best land-use strategy. 

In addition to assessing the suitability of your land for setting up a glamping site; you will also benefit from assessing upfront your other existing resources (staffing, time, skills, finances, tech and practical skills)  in order to identify the 'needs gap'.   In other words what have you in-house already and what will you need to 'buy-in'?   We have an 'Assets Exercise' in the above book to help you identify what you have and what you need to secure in order to set up a glamping site.

Step three - who do you envisage using your new glamping business?   Couples without kids?  Families?  Party groups?    Ascertain the demand for glamping in that area from the type of customers you envisage there.  Would you be willing to change the type of customers you aim at if no demand is there for your desired niche?   Or if a more lucrative niche presented itself?  What about filling an unusual niche, so that you are not competing with thousands of other accommodation providers?  Single night bookers, stag parties, pet owners all find it harder to secure glamping accommodation.  Aiming for a niche that is less provided for could provide a way to quickly get customers and become a market leader.  Once you have worked out your target market you need to create a business name, a brand feel, and get some photos that will appeal to your target market.  Note, you need to have identified your ideal customer before you begin to brand your glamping site.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to cater for everyone, it's all about the niche.  Find a lucrative niche and design your brand around that, rather than aim for a website and a glamping site that is trying to appeal to everyone as this just doesn't work and puts more off than it attracts.

We have a full chapter all about branding, plus a video presentation 'How to brand your glampsite' in our online ebook platform.

Step four - Identifying your niche and brand feel will in turn determine your unit type/size.  It may be that you have already accessed some units... so decide if they will suit the needs of your expected target market.  Does your niche have any needs or preferences that you need to consider when choosing units?  Eg. couples on a romantic break will expect a certain level of comfort and privacy so your units and placing need to reflect your users needs and preferences.  In the book 'How to Set Up a Successful Glamping Business and Get Fully Booked' there is a section comparing canvas and wooden units and the return on investment for each, over time.

Keywords: How to set up a glamping business.   Setting up a glamping business.  Glamping business

 

Coming soon articles:

  • Which Units to choose for a glamping site
  • Planning permission for a glamping site
  • Glamping businesses for sale

 

Author of 'How To Set Up a Successful Glamping Business' and Glampsite Owner Di Hammill Page (Pen name Wood) has ran Wild Harvest Tipis and Activities for 17 years and speaks on stages around the country on topics to do with glamping, at shows such as The Glamping Show, and Farm Business Innovation Show.  She is also regularly  featured in  articles and online 'glamping business' conferences as an expert speaker.

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