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Starting your staycation business

Tue 6th Apr 21

Staycations have been on the rise in the UK for the last few years. According to Statista, 69% of Britons planned a domestic summer holiday in the UK in 2019, an increase of roughly 12% year on year compared to 2018. 2020 saw a dramatic rise in the number of staycations booked in the UK as soon as the first covid-19 lockdown was lifted and that trend is set to continue into 2021, with four out of five of us planning to holiday in our own country this year.

So, are there enough holiday lets in the UK to meet demand? Price hikes would, perhaps, suggest not, and a recent study by Which? suggests that holidaymakers face paying prices that have risen by an average of 35% for a UK seaside break this summer compared to last year. Those with land, or spare accommodation they’re not planning to use year round, may be considering opening their own holiday let business. But where do you start?

Locating your holiday let business

There are many options when it comes to setting up your holiday let business and you don’t need a lot of land to do it. The obvious choice is to buy a second home for short term letting, but this takes time and not everyone is in the enviable position to be able to invest in this way. If you have a field, spare land or a large garden space, you could also invest in glamping accommodation – high quality, thick canvas tents or a yurt, for instance. Or you could open your home to short term room letting, although this is not for everyone.

Remember, whether you’re buying a holiday let, setting up a camping or glamping site on your existing land, or renting rooms via a booking service, you will need to research any planning or special permissions you might need from your local authority, as well as the legal and regulatory requirements you’ll need to abide by.

Setting up your holiday let

More often than not, guests expect a home from home experience when away on holiday, so comfort and style, as well as extraordinary furnishings and decoration are key. Making sure that your holiday let is easy and quick to turnaround between guests is also important.

Additional features, such as an open fire inside, or a hot tub outside, can help to increase your bookings, too.

Setting up your glamping site

Before you invest in your glamping accommodation, it’s important to ask yourself whether your land – be it your garden, a field or anywhere else – is likely to inspire people to want to staycation with you. It may be that your site is in a popular holiday destination, an area of interest, or you may be marketing it as a remote getaway. Equally, you may be able to offer other activities (think farming, exercise or wellbeing retreats).

You’ll also need to create a business plan, making sure that your investment will pay off. Within your marketing plan consider financials, marketing, operations and health and safety.

Preparing your site

There will be some work to be done to the grounds around the glamping site, and you’ll need to prepare it before you erect your tent. First, you’ll need to trim grass, trees and plants that might interfere with your set up or cause hazards for your guests and you’ll need to ensure the ground is flat and free of any debris.

Once the space is clear you’ll need to think about the foundations for your tent. If you’re marketing your site as glamping, this may need to be on more substantial foundations, such as decking, which will also help to minimise water damage in the event of heavy rains.

Setting up for guest experience

Once you’ve erected your tent, you’ll need to breathe life into it, adding furnishings for comfort and decorating for character. One of the most important things you need to consider are the beds you’ll be adding – quantity, size and type are all key questions here and one of the deciding factors will be who you’re anticipating will stay – are you setting up for families, groups or one or two people max?

Remember, you’ll need to include some other furniture, too, including chairs, tables, a luggage rack and hanging space, a games chest (fully stocked with board games, playing cards, books and magazines for rainy days), a mirror, lamps and a waste bin, so make sure there’s plenty of room.

You’ll also need to run electricity into your tent, for recharging phones, lighting, a kettle, heating and any other appliances needing power.

The area outside your tents is as important as inside and creating a haven where your guests can spend time relaxing, star gazing and socialising is key. As well as tables and chairs, you could include a fire pit, a patio heater, lighting and even a hot tub.

Don’t forget the bathroom

Toilets and showers are essential to your glamping site and there are a range of options to choose from including a standalone, plumbed bathroom, a portaloo (with a sink and washing facilities, or you could make a bathroom available in your home.

Your staycation business requirements

If your holiday home is available to guests for short term rent for more than thirty weeks of the year, then it will be classified as a business and will need to be registered for business rates. You can, however, claim tax relief on furnishings and the like via capital allowances. Likewise, you will need to check the business regulations for your glamping site in a similar way.

You’ll also need additional insurance to cover you for the additional risks associated with your business, including public liability.

To find out more about insurance for your staycation business, please contact Ryan’s Hospitality Division today on 01473 343330.