If you haven’t already heard, there’s a new worldwide trend fast emerging that’s pulling us away from holidays abroad and pushing us towards more interesting staycations at home, in unique and often quirky structures. So what can farmers and landowners do to make the most of this rising trend and use it to help manage income fluctuations throughout the year?
Since 2007 we have seen a steady increase in the portmanteau ‘glamping’. It’s an alluring mix of glamour and camping that’s doing a great job of attracting both those who love camping outside, together with those who don’t.
Glamping is rapidly becoming a celebration of style, creativity and eco-tourism, where sometimes even the most humble or rejected, such as an old caravan, campervan or canvas tent, can be elevated into something even the most discerning traveller adores. In these spaces, the camper can find a unique and luxurious sanctuary where the expression of environmental ethics, individuality and our history as travelling nomads can be remembered.
As a nation, we are increasingly demanding a different style of vacation to take us away from our pressurised daily lives. However, within this, we are also demonstrating our desire to buy locally, rest-fully and experience unique family time without rapidly increasing our carbon footprint by jumping on a plane.
The interesting thing about glamping is how it’s attracting an entirely new group of customers into the outdoor hospitality market. People who have never before considered traditional camping – and never will – are exploring the possibilities of glamping. This is opening up opportunities and prospects for farmers to get involved in this growing niche market.
Unsurprisingly as the glamping trend grows the popularity of starting a glamping business does too, as it offers an exciting new opportunity for farmers and landowners who want to diversify the use of a piece of land and broaden their income portfolio to help with fluctuations caused by bad weather, failed crops and market dips.
Previously this may have been bed and breakfast, but the impact on everyday life with strangers wandering around the family home isn’t for everyone. It may also have been possible to develop self-contained holiday accommodation within an unused space, but for many, the early development costs prove to be too much. As a result, the low cost and high-income benefits of starting a glamping business for farmers and landowners are being explored.
One of the best-kept secrets in this industry is that some glamping business models can achieve a return on investment and pay for their set up costs within the first two years and sometimes even before that, which is quite a bold claim for any new business.
This is great news for vacationers too as their choice of luxurious yet affordable family holidays are set to improve with the increasing number of glamping options being offered. This is because to survive in this market a business has to offer a lot more than just a bell tent in a field for it to be successful. Customers are getting smart about what a good service should consist of and their expectations are higher than they’ve ever been.
So what exactly can farmers and landowners offer as a glamping experience today? Here’s a summary of some of the most popular options.
Shepherd huts are portable sanctuaries fixed on wheels, allowing nomads and shepherds to move with their flock. Today vacationers love to stay in these historic huts, which have been adapted to include hot and cold running water, double beds and ensuite bathrooms facilities.
Romani Wagons were the first horse-powered caravans for Gypsy travellers as they were perfect vehicles for a nomadic lifestyle. Today they remain very popular, but for very different reasons.
Tipis were developed by American Indians to suit their nomadic lifestyle and were designed to be warm, comfortable, sociable and easy to pack away. Now their adaptable sizes and overall character make them very popular for a unique experience.
Bell tents were first used by the military in 1855 and have a central pole, a canvas outer and can be fitted with a wood-burning stove to really make them cosy. These are a popular option for campers who enjoy DIY glamping.
Safari Tents were developed to give African safari tour guests a safe place to rest away from the hot climate, as all the sides could be lifted giving a cool breeze and shade.
Yurts originated from Asia in the 13th Century and have been designed to withstand high winds and low temperatures.
Pavilion Tents tend to be elaborately hand-made and decorated to represent the affluence of its owner, with flowing silk and cotton fabrics. Inhabitants of these tents were often the most powerful and noble from India.
Vintage Options such as VW campervans, Airstream caravans and other vintage models, offer a great up-cycled form of glamping, which is popular amongst eco-tourists.
Tree Houses come in many elaborate shapes and sizes and can be made of wood or canvas. They also have the ability to draw a large crowd to their unique position in the canopy, giving any new business a huge boost from the start.
Each of these examples has different income potential for farmers and landowners, and suit a variety of business set-ups and planning restrictions. So the question is, have you thought about the possibility of setting up your own glamping campsite on your land?
About The Author
Sarah Riley is a professionally qualified coach, trainer and mentor supporting and inspiring the glamping and camping industry through tailored programmes designed to nurture new businesses. If you would like to explore the activity of glamping and luxury camping further visit the previous Inspired Camping articles. If you are a farmer or landowner and you want to understand how quickly you can get a return on your investment if you offer a glamping service, you can visit Inspired Courses.