Farming News - How to set up a successful glamping or holiday let

How to set up a successful glamping or holiday let

22 Jan 2021
Frontdesk / Finance

Barns, stables and outbuildings offer shelter and storage space but can often lie derelict on farms, while spare farmland can sometimes go unused or perhaps isn’t always put to its full potential. 

One option for making use of these spaces could be to venture into the world of UK travel, by either setting up a glamping business or by undergoing a bigger building renovation project to generate additional income – otherwise known as farm diversification.  

Britain’s staycation market is preparing for a busy year ahead, with many travellers turning to holidays on home soil after a year of restricted travel abroad that looks set to continue into 2021.

Even for some time prior to the pandemic, at Sykes we’ve been noticing strong demand for UK staycations and, in particular, glamping or farm-based holidays are proving incredibly popular amongst British holiday-goers. Customers are always looking for a different type of holiday experience and something niche.

The growing popularity of this type of holiday – and clear investment potential it offers to farmers or landowners – means that many are coming to us with questions on how to unlock the potential of their previously disused land.

If you’re interested, now could be the perfect time to learn all there is to know about setting up a holiday let business. Here are our five top tips to help you along the way, with maximising returns in mind.

Calculate your budget

As exciting as the prospect of getting started on a project like this is, it is important to take the time to determine how much money you have to kick start your business. 

Make sure you understand the time and costs your plans will entail and think through any building, restructuring and decorating in detail.

Renovation projects can be timely and expensive, while running a successful glamping business is going to take a lot of careful planning and maintenance, so don’t rush into it.

Although there may be major costs, the revenue and profit you’re likely to generate through holiday letting will make it more than worth it in the long-term.

 Getting permission

Whatever changes you’re thinking of making to your farm, make sure you have a look at the holiday planning permissions regulations.

Contact your local council for an initial conversation and, once you have a plan from speaking with design teams or architects, submit this to the council.

The type of permission required can be dependent on what sort of holiday let you are considering. For example, a ‘Change of Use’ permission may be required for any alterations to your outbuildings. However, for temporary structures like a shepherd’s hut or yurt, permission is not always necessary.

Either way, do your research into permission guidelines at: www.gov.uk/guidance/when-is-permission-required

It’s all in the detail

Remember that guests are looking for a home-away-from-home – with added luxury – so you need to think carefully about who your target visitors are likely to be and kit your property or glamping site out accordingly.

Many farms have histories scanning back centuries, with original features in outbuildings to match. If you’re converting a building, keeping and exposing period features is a great way to attract holidaymakers.

Simple tricks like leaving barn beams and brick exposed, or keeping a stable door, are easy ways to showcase the character of your holiday let. Meanwhile, finishing touches such as robes or a welcome pack containing local produce are always well received and add to the glamping experience. 

Remember, the higher the standard, the greater the booking value and potential earnings. Plus, by making sure your guests have the best possible experience, you’ll also secure repeat customers and great reviews.

Guarantee year-round appeal

Additionally, think about whether your accommodation has year-round appeal to ensure a steady flow of bookings. There are lots of features you could add fairly easily to ensure this.

For example, properties with hot tubs, on average, earn over 50% more than those that don’t. And a glamping site needs to be enjoyable for guests even if they get unlucky with the British weather, so installing a wood-burning fire to your yurt or shepherd’s hut could be a great way to keep things cosy.

Another point to consider is that owners who accept short breaks in winter earn 30% more over the winter period, with people more likely to book long weekends away during this time.

Marketing your glamping site or holiday let

Contact an agency as soon as you’re considering entering the market. It can be a daunting process, so getting expert advice from the outset will help to avoid any potential pitfalls.

Getting your pricing right is also crucial, so research the competition and speak to experts to understand how to flex your pricing based on seasonal demand.

If you choose to go through an agency like Sykes, you’ll benefit from access to over 500 different websites that market your property, industry-leading pricing systems and professional photography to help show your property at its best.

You can find out more about holiday letting on Sykes Holiday Cottages website:  www.sykescottages.co.uk/letyourcottage