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What is Glamping and how do you go about opening your own site?

Tue 1st Oct 19

With the uncertainty of Brexit the UK has seen a rise in domestic tourism. New glamping sites are popping up all over the UK and with potentially good returns to be made from relatively little capital investment, they make good business sense. But what is glamping and how do you go about opening your own site? With the help of The Glamping Show we've put together some useful tips.

What is glamping or glam camping

Glamping allows customers to experience the joy of nature without the "roughing it" idea of traditional campsites. While we have been camping for as long as we've realised that throwing some material over some sticks engineers a makeshift shelter, glamping is the new kid on the camping block and it is evolving fast.

Planning your glamping business

Location is key, having an ideal location is one of the main factors to consider when setting up a new glamping business. Glamping has become a popular choice for many landowners looking to diversify, However, there are a number of considerations to take into account before setting up.

  • Planning permission - if the glamping activity occurs for more than 28 days a year, you will need consent for change of use of the land for temporary or permanent structures. Planning permission is also required to install utilities on the site. It is always a good idea to talk to a specialist Planning Consultant and engage with your local council as many local authorities encourage the development of tourism and support farm diversification.

  • Location is key - identifying a site that is accessible but in a quiet secluded area, with attractive views of the surrounding countryside, is essential to create the right atmosphere and setting. On the edge of woodland or by a lake are both locations that work particularly well. It is important to ensure good separation between units to give privacy while allowing for access to any communal services. You will need to consider a mains water supply, foul drainage and electricity (via mains or solar power). Infrastructure costs need to be calculated at an early stage especially if the site is remote.

  • Different types of glamping - there are many accommodation options on the market, from yurts and log cabins to geodesic domes and tree houses, it can be difficult to pick the right type of guest accommodation, so again take advice and look at successful operations.
    Glamping is a highly competitive market so it is important to differentiate your offer from those nearby. Research your competitors and do your homework.
    Yurts, bell tents and safari tents are seasonal products and will need separate kitchen/bathroom facilities located close by and will probably require a base or decking.
    Other alternative options include shepherd’s huts, pods and lodges. These offer self-contained facilities and as they are fully insulated, can be used throughout the year. Log burners, power and Wi-Fi can also be included. This type of product also has a longer life span than other options.
  • Adding extras - a high quality product and good-quality furnishings are essential to achieve high occupancy rates. Extras such as a hot tub, fire pit, barbeques, cycle hire, swimming and a games room will add value to the offer but don’t forget to cost these into the overall budget.

  • Consider the scale of your business - whatever you choose, it is important to assess the level of investment and likely returns. In terms of rates, those similar to holiday cottage prices can be achieved at a fraction of the investment. It is common for a 60-70 per cent average occupancy rate to be achieved within three years.
    It can often pay dividends from both a planning permission and investment angle to start small and expand when a satisfactory occupancy rate is achieved.

Don’t forget that you will need to review your business public liability insurance policy in case of injury or accidents. In addition, you will need to carry out a general risk assessment of the entire site. To find out more about insurance for your site, speak to our Hospitality Division on 01473 343330 or visit.