We talk to the founder of glampsite agency Quality Unearthed about his passion for ‘nurtured by nature’ spaces
Name: Tim Rees
Role: Founder and MD
Contact: 01348 830922 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.qualityunearthed.co.uk
Favourite tipple: Honey mead or a good WPA (Welsh Pale Ale)
Last holiday destination: Heli snowboarding in Italy
Cats or dogs? Both, although cats are much better at keeping mice out of yurts!
Current boxset / TV must watch: Through the Wormhole
Something people may not know about me: I was once the freeride snowboarding champion of India
What is your background?A wall. Wait, that’s not what you mean is it… I’ve been part of a family business representing self-catering cottages (Quality Cottages) and villas (Quality Villas) since in utero. I spent a number of years living and working abroad, including building eco houses, living in forests, caves and monasteries, and then a yurt in the UK, which led to the creation of Quality Unearthed.
How did you get started in the glamping industry?
When I moved back to Wales in 2010, despite representing 400 cottages, I didn’t have a place to stay, so bought a yurt following inspiration at a festival. It soon became clear that there were lots of folk who had set up incredible funky places to stay, but they were often not experiencing the levels of occupancy and income I felt they deserved. So we applied the principles of letting other self-catering properties, and with appropriate tweaks Quality Unearthed was born.
What has been your most fantastic glamping experience?
Staying in a treehouse in France, where breakfast was delivered in a basket and hauled up on a pulley system. I didn’t tell my girlfriend at the time, and she thought I was super romantic by going out to get her breakfast in bed every morning. The secret is out!
What do you look for in a glampsite when deciding to represent it through Quality Unearthed?
We look for structures that are a bit quirky, high quality and with a high level of provisions. Privacy and en-suite bathrooms are important too.
What are your predictions for the future growth and shape of the glamping industry?
All signs point to continued growth in glamping. I often refer to France, which is at least five years ahead of us in terms of glamping, and secondly to static caravans – if they can still be a popular and successful industry 50 years on, it’s fair to predict that quality glamping structures will be too.
I expect we will see more structure types come online that will be suited to letting year-round.
What one thing would you change about the industry if you could?
The term ‘glamping’. All of us involved in the sector feel intuitively that this term doesn’t represent the sensational experience that we provide. It is not about being glamorous, but more about being nurtured by nature while in the comfort of an inspiring structure.
Are you and/or Quality Unearthed working on any exciting projects you can tell us about?
We do have some exciting projects coming down the line soon! We have secured planning for seven tree houses within one and a half hours of London. This has been a long journey but the learnings are also helpful for our owners. We are currently open to investors who wish to get involved with this project.
We also run Unearthed Festival in Pembrokeshire which is now in its sixth year – well worth checking out at www.unearthedfestival.co.uk
If you were going to set up your own site what would it look like?
It would be within two hours of a major conurbation. Each unit would be high spec and en-suite, they would be quirky, possibly architect designed, and the structures themselves would either be elevated in trees or earth-sheltered.