Advice from professional service suppliers to glampsites
Advice from: James Whilding, rural planning director, Acorus
Specialism: Rural planning
Contact: 01392 873900 / firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the planning climate like for landowners looking to diversify into glamping?
National Planning Policy seeks to ensure that the planning system provides sustainable development, incorporating three dimensions: an economic role, a social role and an environmental role. Diversification of land and buildings continues to be popular with many landowners, even at a time of uncertainty over Brexit, in generating additional income streams and enhancing asset values.
Proposals which can be shown to be contributing to the achievement of sustainable development should be considered favourably, however it is important to consider the planning implications very early in the thought process as having the right site is key. Consideration must be given to any local planning policy that applies, impact of designated areas such as National Parks, and other environmental issues. Despite being a niche market, glamping continues to be popular, and could be a suitable land use and diversification option for many landowners.
More and more glampsites are wanting to offer unique structures, how can your architectural and planning departments help?
Our business is principally concerned with advising and assisting clients with land use considerations primarily in rural areas where development is in many cases restricted. In most cases diversification requires planning consent and this in turn requires both planning and design elements to be considered. Regardless of planning consent, design advice can assist in the production of schematics to develop a project, for budgeting or at the build stage and the setting out of a scheme.
There are a huge number of options available from the sublime to the ridiculous. Acorus has dealt with a great range of glamping cases including camping and caravan sites, log cabins, yurts, geodesic domes and shepherd huts. It is important for proposals to be designed properly, and in some cases specialist input from structural engineers, for example, may also be required.
How can you help a landowner wanting to diversify or an existing glampsite wanting to expand?
Whether a new or existing glamping provider we have a range of services available to our clients including initial planning advice and the gathering of a brief, designing buildings and other structures, obtaining planning permission and overseeing construction. We tailor a package to meet an individual client’s needs.
Please mention a case study
We gained planning approval for 12 geodesic domes for a client in Devon. The development site was in a parcel of woodland on a working farm, so it was perfect for a restful holiday making the most of the countryside surroundings. The client requested a specialist architect to design the dome structures and Acorus submitted a planning statement, design and access statement and planning drawings for the application. During the planning process issues concerning the impact these unique structures may have had on trees and other ecological features had to be considered, as well as ensuring suitable and safe access.
Advice from: Leona Mills, marketing manager, CampManager
Specialism: Bookings systems
What advice can you give glampsite owners on the booking process?
Your online booking process should be quick and simple, making it extremely easy for customers to book. Some of our customers are seeing up to 90% of their bookings being made online so your booking pages should be seamlessly integrated with your website design.
Customers should never be presented with a “no availability” message when trying to book. You don’t want a potential customer leaving your site frustrated and you missing out on a booking. To avoid this, present all the available choices by showing alternative dates and all accommodation options available in one view.
What absolute “no no’s” should they watch out for?
Don’t choose a system that charges you commission for taking bookings via your own website. Hidden costs also include providers charging for additional users or for having the software on multiple devices.
Don’t perceive that a system is going to ‘break the bank’. CampManager customers have been pleasantly surprised by the cost and immediately generate more bookings, quickly earning back their return on investment.
What can CampManager do over and above other booking systems?
Experience matters and we have over 10 years of it. We are an established company with a proven record and a reputation for quality. With over 350 customers we provide not only a superior product but exceptional service, advice and support. One way we go the extra mile is by proactively marketing our customers’ glamping accommodation via our glampsite booking website Glampsites.com. This helps our customers to reach more guests, boost their bookings and grow their business. Glampsites is fully integrated with CampManager so bookings and allocation can be managed from within the one central system.
How do you work with glampsite owners to make their booking system bespoke?
We work closely with our customers, listening to their needs and developing a system tailored to suit their specific requirements. Our flexible system can be customised in many ways. Booking confirmations, balance reminders and welcome emails are all personalised to the individual glampsite. CampManager is modular so you can tailor the system to your needs, paying only for the modules you require. You can bolt on additional features and functionality as required, as your business grows.
Please detail a glampsite that has used CampManager
Julia from Woodland Tipi and Yurts has a small glampsite consisting of three tipis and six yurts. She comments: “CampManager does all the work and automates many of my time-consuming daily tasks such as invoicing, booking confirmations and balance reminder emails. I now manage my glampsite with increased efficiency which saves me time and money and allows me to focus on other aspects of the business.”
Advice from: Tim Rees, founder, Quality Unearthed
Specialism: Unique accommodation
Contact: 01348 830922 / www.qualityunearthed.co.uk
What is the main challenge for new entrants into the world of glamping?
Glamping is an ever-evolving industry that, due to it’s rapid expansion and myriad of possibilities for both owners and guests, has become a worldwide phenomenon. An increasing number of budding entrepreneurs have turned to creating their own fantastic spaces and imaginative sites as an alternative to the more traditional campsite or as a more naturalistic substitute for a hotel stay. But with a surge in UK alternative accommodation, it can become increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. At Quality Unearthed we work with sites to help them become both striking and successful.
What is it about glamping that has made it such a popular holiday choice?
Glamping sits in the multi-faceted medium of self-catering holidays. It allows people to connect with nature and the natural surroundings of coastal and upland Britain as well as themselves and each other, while still allowing them comforts they cannot have if they went camping. To be able to have a hot shower at the end of a day of adventuring through woodlands or on beaches with your family creates smooth edges to the idea of roughing it. The ability to capture a video or picture of a sunset, waterfall or beautiful building with your loved ones on social media because your glamping structure has Wi-Fi and charging points for your technology only enhances the experience… as long as you remember to capture the moment with your heart as well as your iPhone.
How can a glampsite differentiate itself in today’s market?
With the rise in popularity and volume of glamping structures comes a demand by guests for more unusual and unique stays. Our company tagline is “Stay somewhere different” because we feel it really resonates with our guests – the more unusual your structure, the more it will grab potential clients’ attention. And in a world where it’s becoming increasingly easy to buy an eco-pod or shepherd’s hut, we feel that throwing a little personality and character at that structure can make the world of difference. Why not hang your tent from a tree? Or paint your shepherds hut bright blue? What if your cabin floated on a lake? Or the inside of your safari tent looks like the set of an Indiana Jones movie? Think outside the box to see your bookings increase.
What services can you offer a prospective glampsite?
As a glamping agency we offer comprehensive services, from initial consultations and planning support right through to our sales team taking bookings on your behalf and creating an ongoing PR and marketing package just for you. We pride ourselves on our mixture of competence and professionalism, as well as a personal service – we like to sit down with a cup of coffee and get to know the vision and dreams of our clients, so that we can do the best job possible for their venture. You put the kettle on, we’ll bring the biscuits! For us, it’s about us understanding each other and having a great working relationship, so that you know that you can pick up the phone and speak to a team who understand your site and can be flexible with what you need from us.