Glamping, glamping, glamping! When we attended the Farm Business Innovation Show in 2019, it felt like everyone we spoke to was looking at glamping as a diversification project. And with so many glamping pod providers in attendance, it was easy to see why so many had been convinced this was the perfect solution to improving the finances of their farm.
But when we asked attendees why they felt glamping was the right option for them, most couldn’t answer. Think about it, do you think there is a good reason why someone would want to stay at your farm compared to the hundreds of other glamping locations now in operation?
So, let’s look at this diversification option in more detail.
When considering if glamping is a good fit for your farm, you firstly need to consider if you can attract customers. Ask yourself the following questions:
None of the above questions should mean you can’t do glamping just that you need to consider what the draw will be for customers.
If you are based in the Scottish Highlands with incredible scenery, access to countryside pursuits, and a tranquil setting then it might not matter that access is limited to serious 4x4s or completely non-existent during winter.
By contrast, if you find you are unable to offer tranquillity, local attractions, or beauty spots you might need to reconsider. We spoke to one farmer at the Farm Business Show last year who wanted to do glamping but was based near a very busy and loud motorway that was on a commuter route. We suggested a farm shop using their produce instead, as they could attract drivers commuting to the city.
Let’s be honest here it is inevitable that having holidaymakers on your land will likely affect your farm practices in some way. Whether it’s considering installing self-closing gates to ensure the cows don’t escape when walkers leave them open or having to plan disruptive farm activities around guest bookings.
Depending on your target market and your location it is likely many of your customers will not be countryside savvy and therefore might not understand the unsaid rules of the countryside, as well as you, would like. This is potentially an even greater issue if you are targeting families, if this is the case you will need to consider how best to ensure the safety of children who are not used to large agricultural machinery, or who may be unaware that not every sheepdog is as cuddly as their bouncing cockapoo.
So, if you have read all of the above and still feel glamping is the right fit for you, let’s think about the work and skills required. You will need to think about the following:
Ensuring you have all of the above covered before you proceed is key to a successful project. Glamping sites live and die on reviews so it is imperative that you have a smooth and clear process for guests and you to follow before you even consider taking your first booking. This is particularly true if you are looking to hit the higher-end market.
The answers to many of the above questions will not only depend on your specific situation but also the target market of your glamping business. We look at this next.
Glamping has become a huge market in recent years but where once this market was easy pickings the sheer number of locations means that newcomers now need to stand out from the crowd to be successful. To be able to stand out from the crowd you need to target a specific niche with the glamping market.
For example, you could target families by offering an interactive farm experience with plenty of activities. Or you could target child-free couples with an adult-only offering that focuses on privacy, tranquillity, and relaxation.
Think carefully about what your location can offer guests and consider what type of guests you want to be walking around your farm.
You also need to consider what other glamping sites are offering near you. Make sure your offering targets a clearly different customer, this will help you to reduce competition and attract more customers. And even better, with a specific and clearly defined ideal customer, your marketing will be much more effective, from your social media marketing to your SEO and everything in between.
Once you have made a clear decision on your ideal customer this can help you to choose the type of glamping pod you want to offer and the structure of your site. If you are targeting families then a larger number of cheaper units may be best suited as then the children can play together and you gain more customers but at a lower price point.
If you are considering a higher-end or an adult-only site you are likely to be better choosing a pod that is unusual and offers intrigue and romance. This type of target market will be looking for tranquillity and privacy so a small number of spread-out units is likely to be a better fit. But this does mean you can charge a higher price per guest.
If you are unsure about what price point to choose, then check out other glamping sites with a similar target market from other parts of the country. You also need to work out your return on investment for the pods.
If you like the idea of setting up a glamping site but feel the cost of buying high-end pods is prohibitive, consider how else you could offer stays. Many older farm sites will have disused stone barns or cottages on the site. You may be able to turn these into holiday lets. You will need to consider the cost of renovating the barns and requiring a change of use planning permission.
All of the questions in this blog may seem trivial but they make a huge difference in which diversification project will suit your farm best. Knowing the answers to these questions also helps professionals such as us to give you the best possible advice and service.
If you feel confident about these question’s then you are ready to consider how best to market your business. That is where we come in, our job is to make sure that you have consumers lining up for your products in no time.
We can take care of all your marketing needs so you can focus on producing the best possible products. To find out more and take the first steps towards a successful Agri-business book a free initial consultation