Start a Glamping Business

Glamping (a combination of glamour and camping) describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Start your own business offering glamourous camping trips.

Opportunity
Many people would like to encounter the outdoors where they are one with nature, where the only noise is the sounds of birds chirping and without being bitten by mosquitoes and other hazards that come with traditional camping. Glamping trips offer the ability to be able to be able to look up at a clear sky in a luxurious setting usually only found in holiday resorts. A place where you can melt marshmallows over hot coals, enjoy a braai without the need to chop wood and at the end of the day to rest your head on a comfortable mattress and pillow.

Requirements
In order to start this business you will need comfortable camping equipment, spacious tents, air mattresses and other luxury amenities. There are many camping venues in South Africa, some are very basic, others a bit more comfortable. There are various business models in this industry. One is to purchase a property such as a smallholding or farm and turn it into a permanent glamping site (most expensive), others is to rent space in a farm or bush resort (second most expensive) and lastly (cheapest) is to turn an existing camp side into glamping experience by using your own tents and related equipment.

How you create a luxury camping destination depends on the amount of capital you have. But the requirements won’t change: you will need a well-drained piece of land with space for car parking, bathroom facilities and wind protection. People who use this service want to camp but don’t want to shiver or get rained wet.

You need to be able to turn what your clientele would consider to be miserable conditions into a comfortable experience. To do this you will need various things: furniture, lighting, heating etc.

Structure
The dwelling that your clients will stay in will need to be able to accommodate soft beds and bedding, glamping companies usually use tents such as a yurt, a tepee or a dome tent but log cabins is a better option for a luxury experience (some even use treehouses). Other options include a converted caravan or even a bubble tent. This is what a bubble tent looks like:

A bubble tent is a transparent dome tent that allows you to sleep under the stars

At the end of the day its irrelevant what configuration you go with so long it resembles upmarket accommodation for nature lovers looking for  elegant outdoor events.

Planning the infrastructure and facilities
Once you have your location, structure and theme sorted out, next you have to plan your infrastructure and facilities. Kitchen to prepare nice means, bathrooms with warm water etc. Will there be an indoor social area with fireplaces, heated swimming pool or spring or will you go with a jacuzzi etc.

This is a really interesting business, which will allow you to charge holiday resort prices without the investment of setting up a resort.

Resources
Business Model Service
Guides Glamping Business: 10 Key Steps To Start-Up Success
Industry Accommodation

Image credits: innovationessence, inflatablebubbletent