How to start a glamping business

Glamping is becoming more and more popular as a holiday destination, especially in the UK. It gives people the opportunity to reconnect with nature without having to sacrifice their home comforts.

As a holiday that has a year on year increase of customers, there’s not a better time to set up your own glamping business. To help you with your research, we’ve compiled a quick guide on glamping and everything you need to know before venturing into this exciting area.

Choose a location

One of the most important, and possibly most fun, parts of setting up your glamping business is choosing your location. When looking for a site, you should be thinking about somewhere that’s accessible for tourists; has beautiful views of the countryside; and has a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Many people come for glamping holidays because it gives them a break from their usual, busy lives – it’s nice to experience some peace and quiet; while exploring the great outdoors. It’s also worth thinking about how many ‘glamping pods’ you want to fit on your piece of land beforehand.

For this, you’re more than likely going to need planning permission. You’ll need consent to use this land for temporary or permanent changes, as well as installing utilities on the site (which we recommend you do). It’s best to seek out a planning expert first; ideally someone who has planning experience of obtaining glamping sites. They will be able to direct you on what you need and what to do to get permission for your land.

You should also make early contact with your local council about the planning regulations and talk about the benefits that a glamping site could have on the development of tourism. Before, make sure you have a plan for your site – how many units do you want; what additional facilities will you need on site e.g. a kitchen area, communal shower and toilets; do you think you’ll expand in the future?

All of these are worth thinking about and  will be needed when speaking to the officials about planning permission.

Analyse the market

We recommend doing some competitor research into other holiday sites; think about what they offer; how close are they to your site; what makes them unique; what kind of prices are they offering? All of these are worth thinking about when you set up your own glamping site; doing this research will help you distinguish what makes you different from the other sites.

Richard Edwards, the owner of a glamping site in Herefordshire called White House Glamping recommends new glamping business owners to find their own angle; “It’s incredibly important to research what is out there in your local market. There are so many different types of glamping units available, from tipis to treehouses, and guests are looking for something unique. You need to see what will make you stand out against other businesses in your local area.”

Choose your structures

Once you’ve analysed the local area, you need to figure out how you will stand out from the other sites. This can be down to the location you’re in; the prices of your pods; your personal relationships with customers or the experience you provide. You’ll also have to think about the return of investment. It’s said that you can expect your return within 2 years; however, it can entirely depend on your own target market.

The cheapest form of structure are often bell tents and yurts where the set-up costs are low. This can have a high return; however, it’s often targeted by those looking for an economical experience and will need more ongoing maintenance than more permanent structures.

Whereas, a more luxury camping site e.g. lodges/cabins, will require a target market of high paying renters as these are often more expensive to build and look after. Ideally, you’ll want to find something in the middle which appeals to every user.

Marketing Platforms

Now you need to get your site out there. Set up accounts for different platforms where you can advertise your new glamping location. Include where you are; what activities people can do; what your site has to offer compared to the other sites. Social media is a great (free) way to market your site where you can regularly post images and explain where you are, what you do, as well as a ‘call to action’ at the end of the post.

You can either market it for free through all these different channels by creating pages for your business, or target specific people directly through Facebook and Google Ads. It does cost a little; however, you’ll have the chance to target your audience straight away and – hopefully – drive bookings.

You should also add your site on booking platforms; such as Booking.com, AirBnb, CoolCamping, so people can find you when they’re looking for a specific glamping holiday. These companies will allow you to promote your new business to those looking for destinations by adding pictures, descriptions and prices, as well as providing the ability for guests to book online. Don’t forget that you’ll need top quality photos if you want to stand out on these platforms.

Finishing Touches

Finally, consider the little touches that you can add to your glamping site that could attract visitors even more – whether that’s good-quality furniture, fire pits, games, hot tubs or anything else. These little touches can make the world difference for customers and really add value to your glamping site. Good luck on your journey to creating a wonderful glamping experience.