Glamping – short for glamorous camping – has fast become popular amongst those eager to experience rural getaways without having to completely submit to the adversities of traditional camping.
With the rise of domestic tourism in a post-Brexit UK, more and more people are turning to the beauty of the British countryside, especially when it can offer a sense of luxury, Glamping is one way that offers landowners a potentially exciting opportunity to maximise their income. Looking beyond the traditional idea of farm bed & breakfasts, the concept of self-contained holiday accommodation may be a good fit for those wanting to expand into the hospitality sector but are uncomfortable with opening-up their family home to strangers.
Whether you’re looking to diversify or simply looking for inspiration, we’ve gathered some of our best advice to help you along the way, and as always, Rural Solutions are here to guide you with our expert knowledge and vast experience.
Glamping has shown to offer a reasonably fast return on investment, if done correctly. As it’s a potentially lucrative opportunity for diversification, you will most certainly need a considerable amount of forethought, and whilst permitted development rights associated with temporary uses of land and caravan and camping club exemptions may apply to some forms of camping activity, most forms of Glamping require planning consent either for the structures themselves, the land use or the ancillary facilities that may be required to support the activity
The ease of gaining planning permission depends on a variety of factors including the permanence of the structures, the sensitivity of the landscape within which they are sited, the impact of the use on amenity and the local highway network, the sustainability credentials of the development and its associated economic benefits to the rural area.
Make sure to look in depth at local and neighbourhood development plans as they will most likely affect your own proposal. You will need to be open to dealing with your local community and your local planning authority with full transparency. Glamping is relatively low impact and a good form of eco and rural tourism and dependent on your location, could have a positive effect on other local business.
Why should people visit you? What have you got that another site doesn’t? Look carefully at your resources and delve deep into your skill set as there will, almost certainly, be something you can offer visitors to make their stay memorable. For example, are you able to offer people horse riding lessons or an equine tour of the property and surrounding areas? Can people pick their own fruit and veg during their stay?
If not, feel free to think smaller – as to what can you provide guests to make their stay easier or more comfortable; a roaring fire on arrival or a simple BBQ ready for use. Even if it sounds like a simple task, you need to ensure that whatever you offer is a sustainable exercise. The goal is to ensure that people feel as though they received a great service – word of mouth is vitally important, especially if you’re starting out. Think about and research people’s needs and then find a deliverable way to fulfil them.
If you’re heart isn’t completely in it then it will be a wasted effort. While turning a profit will always be the ultimate goal, you will only do so by providing people with a positive experience that exceeds expectations where possible. It will take a lot of dedication, time and attention.
You will be a part of the service industry, which will involve interacting with customers and enquiries on a regular basis, it’s vital you feel comfortable doing so, or be willing to employ someone to do it for you. You will also be relationship-building with suppliers, so it will be vital you put the effort into making and maintaining connections. Look at ways in which you can improve your skills and knowledge by really studying your business and even look into hospitality courses and relevant industry events and conferences. You will be able to learn a lot from others’ success stories.
According to Nielsen (a global measurement and data analytics company), 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. That’s why the level of service you provide is of the utmost importance. In this digital age however word of mouth is no longer enough. Along with planning the logistics of your glamping site, it’s vital you also work on creating an in-depth branding and marketing strategy.
Create a logo that really resonates with you and your business and be sure to use it everywhere possible, whether physically or digitally, it’ll help to promote brand confidence. Work on creating an endearing and informative website to help potential visitors see exactly what you have to offer and be sure to utilise social media to the best of your advantage. If you’re not comfortable with social media, there are plenty of free courses available to help build your confidence and skills, alternatively you can hire people to manage this for you.
Another important part of your strategy should involve advertising. Due to the growing nature of the glamping movement, you will have plenty of online outlets on which to advertise your business or to list within camping directories. Look at other ways you can promote your business such as through competitions or offering travel bloggers & writers a free stay to inspire their next article. Every bit of coverage will help.