A group of friends at a glamping site

Have you considered starting a glamping business? If the thought hasn’t crossed your mind – it should. The “camping meets glamour” vacation style has become very popular and is showing no signs of slowing down. Glamping is expected to be a $1 billion industry by 2024. This blog post will break down what glamping is, varying styles of glamping, why you should start a glamping business, and how to begin.

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Glamping tent

What is glamping?

Glamping has become so popular that it was added to the dictionary. Webster’s Dictionary defines glamping as “outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping”. Glamping is a perfect option for guests who want the escape of nature without giving up modern amenities like running water, electricity, and a bed. 

This unique lodging style has become increasingly popular with Millenials and Gen Z’ers. Studies have shown that Millenials look for opportunities to be outside more than any other age group. As Millennials continue to age and have children, they are introducing their families to glamping experiences. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand for glamping as people are searching for unique experiences within 100 miles of their homes.

 Yurt at  night

Different styles of glamping 

Glamping is not limited to one type of property or tent. These are just some of the many unique lodging experiences that are considered glamping:

  • Bubble domes: The domes are transparent, and generally located in remote areas to allow stargazing and privacy.

  • Caravans: Caravans range from Airstreams to renovated vans, RV’s, and more.

  • Tent & Teepees: No two tents are created equal. There are many styles and qualities to creating a tent glamping experience. Tents and teepees are usually created with cotton and beams. 

  • Tiny homes: These compact homes are often placed on large lots and are built with eco-friendly materials.

  • Treehouses: Treehouses are one of, if not the most, diverse styles of glamping. These properties can be small and intimate or available for hosting large groups. 

  • Yurts: Yurts are a popular music festival fixture. They are circular tents often held together with wooden beams and animal skins. They are a popular option for groups of friends. Yurts are a more permanent structure than most tents and teepees. 

Why start a glamping business

Starting a glamping business opens your income possibilities to a whole new set of travelers. Glamping is attractive to many types of guests including couples, friends, families, and eco-tourists. Over half of current glamping guests are traveling with children. 

Firstly, creating a glamping business is less costly than purchasing or renting a home or apartment to use as a short-term rental. In your first year, you can expect to invest between $2,000-$3,000 in land, permits, and quality tents and furniture. You’ll likely break even (or better) after your first year of hosting a glamping stay between purchasing land and permits, but after that first year, the expenses of running a glamping site are significantly lower than maintaining a home or condo. 

 Advertising a glamping experience is arguably easier than promoting a regular homestay on Airbnb. Glamping within itself is a unique experience. It’s already “cool and different” from other properties from the moment the listing goes live. When done well, hosting a glamping experience offers a high return on investment.

 Glamping tent with a view

How to start a glamping business

If you’ve made it this far – you already think glamping could be for you. There are a few “ins and outs” to know when beginning your glamping journey:

Do it for the love of hosting

First and foremost, you should choose to host a glamping experience only if you’re committed to providing a quality, next-level stay. Guests will pick up on hosts who are more interested in profit over the guest experience. Be sure to make guests very comfortable and welcome

Loans

If you need to borrow cash to kick-start your glamping business, consider your loan options. Glamping properties are often classified under start-up loans, as lenders may recognize a glamping location as a business rather than property. You can also consider a business loan from your current bank. Banks that you already have a relationship with tend to be easier to work with requesting a loan. 

Zoning and permits

Due to local laws and restrictions, you’ll need to secure a proper permit to set up your camp. When purchasing your land, be aware of the easement clause. This is where you require the use of someone else’s land to access your property. For example, you may need to run a road through land that isn’t your own to access your property, or go through a neighbor's land to set up your septic system, etc.

Caravan glamping

Install electricity & sanitary disposal facilities

Think about how you’re going to get light on the property and provide water for bathrooms and showers. Installing electricity and sanitary disposal facilities will be a key expense in beginning your glamping business. Many glamping sites choose to have solar-powered energy for lights and other eclectic needs. Hosts should provide a recharging station for guests’ phones at the very least. 

Heated water for showers can be provided with a propane tankless water shower, solar shower bag, or consider partnering with a local gym to provide day passes for your guests to use their facilities. 

Furnish your property

A large part of the glamping experience is the aesthetic of the tent, yurt, treehouse, etc. Furnish your property with quality pieces, and take incredible photos to promote it on social media platforms like Instagram. When decorating your place, highlight the “local vibe.” If you’re a property in Moab, Utah you can decorate with desert flowers or cactus. If you’re near Rocky Mountain National Park consider faux animal skins or locally crafted wooden sculptures. 

And don’t forget the coffee! Guests expect to have coffee access wherever they’re staying. If you’re glamping in a remote camping area, the need for accessible coffee is even greater. Consider a propane stove for a kettle and french press. 

Woman on a bed in a glamping tent

Do a practice run

Due to its unique nature, we suggest giving your glamping business a practice run. Consider inviting friends over to spend the night and provide feedback on their experience. If that isn’t possible, stay at the space yourself for several days. This way you’ll have a first-hand account of what is working and isn’t working in the space before you dive in and start getting real guest reviews

Automate as much as you can

As with hosting any rental, you should automate guest messaging, pricing, availability, cleaner management and more with a PMS like Host Tools. Setting your listing on auto-pilot frees up your time so you can work on adding even more glamping sites to your short-term rental business. 

Glamping is an extremely unique and rapidly growing way of hosting. Starting a glamping business is a great way to market to new travelers, and build a business at a lower cost to you. As with anything, the first year will be the most financial investment, but after that, the upkeep and marketing of the property will produce great rewards if done well. 

When starting your glamping business remember to:

  • Do it for the love of hosting

  • Research business loans that are right for you

  • Be aware of required permits and zoning

  • Install electricity and sanitary disposal

  • Furnish your site with quality pieces

  • Give your glamping site a practice run

  • Automate management with Host Tools

We know when you follow this guide you’ll be set up to start your glamping business in no time!

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for Airbnb and Vrbo hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on both channels. Start your free trial today!

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