SPONSORED FEATURE: Do you have a beautiful site and want to get in on the wedding venue action? Kata Tipis provide a turnkey solution with minimum fuss, writes Tom Burnell
Over the years we have become more and more aware of farmers and landowners who have beautiful scenic landscapes and are looking to diversify their businesses. They are concerned that the traditional glamping market is maturing and are worried about investing in a saturated market, or they may already have an established glamping enterprise and want to add to their outdoor hospitality offering.
At the same time, there has been a significant growth in the outdoor wedding market. Driven by the likes of Pinterest (the online image sharing website) and social media, couples are looking beyond traditional hotel or draped marquee weddings for something alternative. More often than not a tipi wedding fits the brief perfectly!
Speaking with customers through our core business – manufacturing event tipis – we have learnt that many landowners love the idea of running a venue but haven’t got a clue where to start. This got us thinking. The team behind Kata have a background in event management and running successful wedding venues. We knew the pitfalls, issues and teething problems associated with the industry. We also have a background in digital, understanding multi-channel marketing and how to drive exposure of an offering. Combined with our expertise in manufacturing tipis we decided to partner with like-minded people and create magical event spaces throughout the UK. A match made in heaven!
We also believe that a partnership dilutes the risk of simply doing it on your own. The investment is less but the returns are higher than with many other diversification options.
We decided to create an offering that we believe is unique to the industry. Our venue partnership model takes the stress and hassle away from setting up a wedding venue on your own and making it a success.
We support landowners throughout the process, from planning consultation, site preparation, choosing and negotiating with potential catering suppliers, as well as managing successful open days through to arranging the first event. We have checklists for everything, and clients receive support from our team 24/7.
We supply and set up everything needed to make guests speechless on arrival. This includes: four linked Kata Tipis of varying sizes, fully furnished with hand crafted wooden tables and benches covered in reindeer skins; a beautiful hand built beer barrel bar; chesterfield sofas; a dance floor; a fire pit; and glimmering lights to create the perfect ambience for up to 120 guests. We put it up at the start of the season and come and take it down at the end (typically the summer wedding season runs from May until September). We will then store, service, repair and refurbish any worn out items.
Essential in this day and age is digital presence. Therefore we provide our partners with a bespoke website, full of functionality. This shows live availability, enables revenue management, payment processing and links to nearby accommodation, ensuring they have the best and most professional digital presence. We also use our expertise in national and local marketing, along with social media campaigns, to drive leads to the venue, giving our partners maximum exposure for a full season of bookings.
We will also take care of the administrative burden, providing the insurances needed under our group cover, deal with maintenance and repair of the equipment, and help with operational issues. We try to take care of the little things so our partners can concentrate on the important things – happy brides and grooms, and their guests!
What we look for in potential partners? First and foremost, we want to find the most stunning venues. This could be a magical space on a farm, an area of woodland or forest, or a position with a wonderful view. Secondly, we look for partners who share the same passion and commitment to making a successful venue. In return we share our knowledge, experience and any innovation.
Once we have interest from a potential partnership, our first steps are to meet them and access and assess their site. We will then complete a review of the local market, the competition and define the market price for the offering.
Return on investment
The level of investment the partner is able to make determines their share of the venue revenue. The more the partner invests, the greater the percentage of the venue revenue they receive. We treat each case individually and can offer solutions for as little as £35,000 initial investment, which can be affordably financed via our partners GTF Asset Finance. However, typically our partners could expect to receive anywhere from £60,000 to £120,000 per year from the venue rental alone.
On top of the rental share, they have the opportunity to increase their revenues by offering additional services. Anything they make in addition is theirs to keep. This could come from running the bar internally or negotiating a percentage profit share with an external provider. There is commission to be made by using a select number of caterers, as well as offering accommodation on site, via camping, glamping or commission from local hotels. These and other additional revenue streams can significantly increase a return on investment.
Once we have agreed our partnership, our partners will be responsible for the site preparation; drainage, utilities supply and planning. We have an extensive network of advisors and consultants we can recommend to make sure the process runs smoothly.
Our side of the partnership is the turnkey set up and the website and marketing. This will generate the leads to be passed to the venue. Our partners will then take these leads and be responsible for initial enquiries, showcasing the venue and the meet and greet on the day. They will also liaise with the clients and suppliers in the lead up to the event to ensure every wedding runs smoothly.
Inkersall Grange Farm
Our first tipi partnership has exceeded everyone’s expectations, including ours! Set on Inkersall Grange Farm just north of Nottingham, is a stunning tipi wedding venue, overlooking Sherwood forest and away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Weddings typically have a 12 month lead time; however, even though we launched in April 2016, eight weddings still took place this year. 2017 is already nearly filled up, with 35 weddings booked, and counting! This means our partner will receive £87k from venue hire fees alone, not bad for a £40k investment! We have helped our partner hone their event skills and master the art of marketing the venue. There have been challenges along the way, but that’s all part of the learning process. We have made the mistakes, so our partners don’t have to!
Helping people realise their dreams on one of the most of important days of their lives is certainly a rewarding and privileged position to be in. To find out more, visit the website at www.inksersallgrangefarm.co.uk
About Kata Tipis
Tom Burnell is the founder of Kata Tipis, which supplies stunning events tents to the UK rental, venue and festival markets. He left his life as a chartered accountant at one of the top four firms to embark on a new adventure with his partner Linzi Hardman. Their vision was to create tipi products with a sustainable ethos at their core, utilising UK craftsmanship and championing British quality. They wanted to ensure only local suppliers were used, who in turn support numerous businesses and families across the UK. They and the rest of the Kata team are driven to help as many people as possible experience the wonder and magic of tipis.
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