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Finding Land And Achieving Planning or Zoning Quickly For Your Glamping Business #34

Finding Land And Achieving Planning or Zoning Quickly For Your Glamping Business #34

Two of the biggest barriers to setting up a unique holiday rental or glamping business is finding the land and achieving the planning or zoning permissions. So what if you could avoid these issues and set up your project with ease?

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Finding Land And Zoning For Your Luxurious Glamping Business

In this episode, I discuss two of the biggest barriers to setting up a unique glamping business or a holiday rental or a luxury camping business.

Today’s episode is brought to you by The Start Up And Grow Club, which offers an accelerator program for those who want to set up their unique holiday rental or glamping businesses quickly.

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The biggest barriers to setting up a unique holiday rental or glamping business is finding the land and achieving the planning, zoning or permits. So what if you could avoid this? Find more in the Glamping Academy:

Sarah Riley: Two of the biggest barriers to setting up a unique glamping business or a holiday rental or a luxury camping business are obtaining the land and obtaining the planning permission or zoning. So what if you could avoid all of these issues by finding a specific type of land. So how do you do it? Where do you find the land? How do you go about it? And what do you need to consider? Welcome to episode 34. Glamping and unique holiday rentals are surging in popularity with the growing desire of customers to book holidays that deliver an experience. They are also the new business of choice for those wanting to improve their work-life balance. How do you build a strong business like this that gives you the life you need and a great investment? I’m Sarah Riley. And I want to share what I’ve discovered after being immersed in this industry for over 20 years, to inspire you to find out more about what’s going on. Welcome. This is the business of glamping and unique holiday rentals.

Sarah Riley: Hello, and thank you so much for joining me today. It’s fantastic to have you here. I’ve been really busy recently starting up a new club called the Start-Up And Grow Club. And this has been designed to really help people understand the issues quickly, overcome the barriers, and to find some kind of accountability to really accelerate the progress they make to set up a new glamping business or unique holiday rental. And it has so far surpassed all of my expectations. People have been joining in sharing knowledge and really have been doing all kinds of amazing things for other people in the group. We have, as a part of that process, been getting together weekly face to face, talking about issues that are important to us overcoming the barriers that really are keeping us stuck. And, so this is what’s got me really looking at the issues that are coming up for lots of people.

Sarah Riley: And actually it turns out when I’m looking at the success path, the path that people go down whilst they’re setting up their businesses, it’s really becoming quite obvious to me that there are specific points along that path that people constantly get stuck on for various reasons. So it could be around certain permissions and zoning and things relevant to a certain country, but they are usually very common sticking points. So this got me thinking, I started realizing that actually what we need to do is to really try to find solutions around those key areas that keep getting people stuck in their business development, finding solutions. And this will really help people make progress when they’re setting up their businesses. So one of the things that I did while I was at figuring out the success path and figuring out where the barriers were, was looking at planning and zoning because planning and zoning is a huge issue.

Sarah Riley: And so many people get really stuck with this. So I started asking around finding advice from others who had actually set up in different countries about what they’ve done to overcome these specific issues. And one or two people have come back saying that actually if you look at buying a campsite, this is a really great way of overcoming those permission and zoning issues that keep getting us stuck and meaning that we can actually launch a business much quicker. So already there’s been a number of people who’ve been interviewed on this podcast, and they’ve done exactly that. And they’ve actually found those campsites in very clever ways, ways that maybe you haven’t thought of. So I thought I’d share a few tips here and ideas about how you can do that, how you can find land. That’s already been zoned as a campsite and converting it into a glamping site because it is one of the easiest ways to do it.

Sarah Riley: You don’t have to go through the lengthy process of seeking planning permission and obtaining the zoning because it’s already there. You may have to update some amenities. You may not even have any amenities in place. It might actually be land with the right zoning, but actually, to the outsider, you have no idea that it’s actually a campsite. This has happened to quite a few people that I’ve been in contact with, who have actually stumbled across the land that already has the right permissions in place. So how do you, or what do you need to think about firstly, what do you need to think about if you’re buying a campsite and, you are doing this to overcome the barriers or finding that permission and getting the zoning in place of what do you need to think about? Well, one of the number one things to think about is looking at what structures are currently in place on the land because there are all kinds of issues around those structures.

Sarah Riley: So have they actually got the zoning that they are supposed to have, and if those structures are owned by anyone else, in terms of having lease ownership. For example, maybe people are paying rent on it already. So in the UK on a lot of campsites, there are static caravans. These static caravans are basically large caravans, but without wheels, they’re on stands and people basically pay to lease these caravans over a period of time and they continue to pay annual rent. It’s a really good regular income for the campsite owner, but it does mean that people do have some kind of agreement in place to continue to rent those structures and to continue to visit them. And you can’t actually change them in any way without their permission because they often own the actual caravan. They’re just renting the land from the campsite owner. So this is something that really has to be thought through. If you found land and you’re considering buying it, and it’s already got some kind of campsite permission on it is to think about what buildings and structures already existing on the land.

Sarah Riley: Does anyone have any ownership over those Is there any income linked to them and other issues like that. So that’s number one. The other thing is to check the utilities and to think about is there electricity on the land? Is there water? Are there other utilities you need to know about such as the sewage and so on? Now there are loads of glamping sites, which are totally off-grid and they use all kinds of ingenious ways to get past the need, to have to be on-grid and using those national utilities. But it can be quite expensive to set this up. And certainly, if there’s something that already exists on a piece of land and they’re not right, or they’re not up to a certain standard for what your planning for it can actually be quite expensive to change it. So that’s certainly something you need to look into if you’re considering renting or buying land with those things in place.  Then there’s access and roads and paths across the site.

Sarah Riley: This is super important and should have been agreed with the highways authorities when the zoning was being put in place as highways are actually one of the biggest issues that you’ll have linked to planning and linked to any zoning that currently exists because it’s important for emergency services to get access and for people to have safe access across the actual areas. So they will have been certain agreements put in place when the planning was originally agreed in the zoning was originally agreed. And this may have been adjusted over time, historically, especially if you’re buying a very, very old site. So it’s really important to check at what was originally agreed, seeing how it’s been maybe adjusted and looking at what impact that will have on the plans that you have for the land, but also look at the recreational facilities. Now from my own experience, if there are any recreational facilities in place, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, playgrounds, child facilities, play facilities, anything like that can be really expensive to keep them up to a certain condition because it’s actually a health and safety issue if they’re not of a certain condition.

Sarah Riley: And so this is something to be really, really mindful of when you’re looking at land like this because of the safety of your guests, the legality of your site. So really big issues and definitely something worth getting an expert in to give you advice around those, but also be aware of the local issues that might be in place. So your land feasibility testing that you must do at the beginning is to look at local issues that exist that may affect your services. So are there things in terms of wildlife, is there anything in terms of structure and infrastructure of the area, how about local competition and anything else that might be impacting on what you want to do and your plans. This is all really important stuff to look at while you’re doing your initial feasibility tests around your land. And certainly, if it was a campsite before you came along and it’s maybe no longer a campsite or you’re actually buying as a campsite, it will have had certain star ratings from guests who stayed there before, even under different ownership.

Sarah Riley: These are still really important for you to consider. So if you’re taking on a campsite with immensely bad reviews, that will impact you when you’re trying to launch your own business and you really do need to build a PR plan around how you’re going to tackle that history of bad reviews. But also if you’re looking at something with really good reviews, then that’s going to add immense value and that should make the land more attractive to you when you’re taking it on serve. It’s not really something to consider unless you actually investigate these reviews across all the platforms. So it’s certainly something worth doing, putting a bit of time into that. You can also if it has been operating as a campsite, you can actually look at, even if it’s no longer trading, you can look at historical records of income that it previously generated. And this could give you an idea about whether the area is attractive to tourists.

Sarah Riley: Whether that particular area was attractive, that the campsite is situated and the types of income potential there could be. Although you’re going to be setting up something quite different from what they would have been before, and this will require some adjustments. It is a good baseline to look at certainly worth having an idea of what your guests, what was attracting your guests into the area, because this is something that you could really focus on, and it will certainly help you look at your cash flow forecast and other projections. You need to have an idea before you actually purchased the land. But also it, as I mentioned before briefly, it will also give you an idea of the existing market, but also competitors within that market, because that’s also really important for you. What kind of competition exists in the area and what impact will that have on you

Sarah Riley: Now I’m always telling people, don’t be afraid of competition. Competition is actually good. If there’s no competition, then there’s no way of you finding out and testing your idea to see if it will be successful in your area. A bit of competition that’s doing well, shows you that you can do similar. And the market is still big enough to take you and the other competition and to keep all of your businesses going. But no competition may highlight an issue that maybe you can’t actually run that type of business successfully in the area. This again could be something that you test a bit more thoroughly, but having a bit of competition in an area is a good thing. It means that people are interested in visiting it. They’re interested in staying in the type of accommodation you’re going to offer, and that’s good because it means others have already tested your idea and you’re coming along and hopefully providing something better.

Sarah Riley: So a better service and more unique service. And that means that you will jump ahead of the competition very quickly. So how do you find land like this Well, there’s a number of ways of doing it. Obviously, there are land agents and they will help you seek the land. But one of the most interesting ways of doing it is to the, going to the authorities that agree to these permissions and looking at what zoning they have given to certain areas and see if those areas are still operating. So a number of people that I’ve worked with have found the land that they were attracted to initially because of the land and the highways and everything else going into the area, they didn’t actually realize that then they were looking at already had the planning permission, the zoning permission that they needed. So they actually stumbled across this and their thoughts, their summary, their conclusion to me was actually, if we just approached the landowners in the local area or the village or people of authority in the area or the local authority, and just ask the question, what land in this area actually already has this zoning permission in place.

Sarah Riley: And if they’d asked that sooner, they, they may be, would have been able to make decisions around the land quicker. And in fact, a lot of people who have purchased land, haven’t done that through the normal systems, but once they’ve approached a landowner and float the idea about whether they would be interested in selling their land or leasing the land, renting the land, that’s actually worked out quite well too. So what I’m saying is you don’t necessarily have to just assume that someone who wants to sell their land is going to put it up with the land agents. And actually, if you find the zoned land first through various authorities or various other means, and then approach the landowner, they may well be interested in selling to you. And this could actually be land that doesn’t actually at the moment looks like it’s a campsite, but you have the historical permission they’re already in place that will allow you to upgrade it very quickly with the least amount of fuss from having to go through the legal process that they’ve already gone through and they’ve already secured.

Sarah Riley: So it’s a really good way of jumping ahead of the game. And I thought you might find it useful. So this is something, as I said, that came out from me, just looking into the success path and looking out what barriers normally exist for people trying to set up sites in this industry. And actually, once you see the barriers and where the barriers are, you can preempt them. You can come up with ideas of how you can get around those issues quickly. You can speak to your network of contacts and ask them, how did you overcome those issues? How did you get around this problem? Is there something you can share with me that can help me with my journey? And inevitably there always is. There are always so many people out there willing to share their ideas.

Sarah Riley: And of overcoming the barriers that are in place. And this is something that I’ve realized is absolutely something we can do together to help each other. And so what I do all the time is I never work on my own. I always seek the generous support of others to help me in my own journey. And this is something I felt was really lacking in this industry. And that’s one of the reasons why I decided to set up The Start-Up And Grow Club. So this Club is a really high-quality community. Everyone has skin-in-the-game in this group. This is not on social media is absolutely and utterly behind closed doors where people can talk openly and privately about their business. What I was finding from a lot of people I was speaking to was that actually social media groups are great, but they can be really overwhelming to get involved with.

Sarah Riley: They can be really overwhelming to raise issues about a specific business and problems maybe being experienced within a specific business or indeed solutions that people were looking for because there are so many people giving their opinions and on social media, that always seems to be a little bit of conflict, a little bit of, you know, niggling. So people kept asking me if there was a place that they could go to talk about these issues with others, that wasn’t on an open social media platform. So there wasn’t, and then I kept getting requests for certain training. So around PR how do I get my business into magazines? How do I get some valuable PR for what I want to do next year for the launch of my business? Or how do I find land to be able to get my business running? Or how can I raise funds for my business?

Sarah Riley: I really need to raise funds because I can’t get a mortgage. I only have a certain amount of money that I can put in at the beginning. How do I do that? So these are all questions that people are asking me, and these are all questions they did not want to ask in an open forum. So a lot of this can be dealt with, through training from the experts. You know, how do I actually approach investors? How do I get people to invest in my idea? What do I need to have in place? What’s the process for making that happen? So one of the things I realized I needed to do was to provide some kind of platform where a community of people with skin in the game could come together. A high-quality place where everyone there is serious about what they are trying to achieve.

Sarah Riley: And so what I did was I built a community, a community, a high-quality place where people could go to get face to face time with me and other people within that community, business owners, serious people who really want to get this done and to launch their business. An accelerator program, if you will, something where, and somewhere where people could go to really get the answers they needed at the time that they need it. When you’re starting a business, questions come up regularly, not just once in a year, but every day something comes up. And as you overcome, one thing, something else comes up. So having a place to go, to get face to face time with me and a whole group of people in a high quality behind closed doors, private forum, it suddenly became obvious to me that this was important. So that’s what I decided to set up.

Sarah Riley: It’s only open to a few people at the moment. And if you want to find out more about it, then you can go to So with what’s happened in the year 2020, I felt that the mission of the club really had to be to keep you supported, inspired, motivated, and informed of the best techniques that you can use to build your business the way you want it for your lifestyle priorities. So this is a place you can get pure insider knowledge. And in fact, from some of the early conversations we’ve been having, we’ve been talking about the most profitable and the least competitive business models in this industry at the moment. And we’ve also been talking about the next big thing and sharing some projects that are going live at the moment in Australia and the US and they are really exciting because these businesses are trailblazing.

Sarah Riley: And there’s another couple of things in the pipeline at the moment that we can’t talk about it. It’s so exciting. And I think that when you are taking it very seriously in this industry, and when you really start investing in a great community of people around you, who are also taking it seriously in this industry, this is when things start to really happen. Connections start to really be made networks start to be built. And it’s when things get really exciting. So I’m really, really happy with the way the club is progressing at the moment. And if you want to be a part of it, if you want to be part of the journey, then just go to So I’d really like to end this by saying, thank you for joining me. It’s fantastic to have you here. It really has been a roller coaster of a year so far, and I think we need to take confidence in the fact that this industry is really well placed to ride the wave of this turbulent time.

Sarah Riley: If you are struggling, don’t struggle on your own, come and get in touch. We can help you out. If you want more inspiration or motivation, again, just get in touch. That’s what we’re here for. We’re happy to support you in any way we can. In the meantime, I hope you found this episode helpful. And if you did, I would love you to leave a review. And even if you have any ideas about some content you’d like to hear in the future, again, drop a message into the review. And I would love to hear from you and I’ll do my best to be able to answer your questions. So take care, stay safe. And I hope you join me again.

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