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How to Start a Glamping Business

Glamping Business

Glamping is a combination of “glamour” and “camping”. It is a type of campground that is fully fitted with luxurious and comfortable facilities.

According to industry reports, the global glamping market size was valued at $1.88 billion in 2020. However, it is expected to reach $5.4 billion by 2028. Note that this impressive growth is propelled by the quest of travelers to stay in unique accommodations that have access to amenities and services that are not always provided by traditional camping businesses.

Owing to this demand, starting a glamping business as an alternative to traditional vacation rental homes can be a very lucrative and viable business opportunity to consider in the next few years.

Steps on How to Start a Glamping Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

When starting any type of business, it is recommended that you first carry out detailed market research. Note that to have a comprehensive idea of what your glamping business will look like, you must research your market and other glamping sites and holiday accommodation in your local area.

How close to you are they? What sort of accommodation do they offer and what’s their unique selling point? Do they stay open all year and what is their pricing like? Take your time to carry out extensive research as it will help you to properly distinguish yourself from your competition.

a. Who is the Target Audience?

The target market for glamping is getting broader. Reports have it that about 48% of glampers are Millennial, 28% are Gen X, 12% are Gen Z, 9% are Baby Boomers, and 3% fall within mature travelers. But while the 18-32 years age group tends to dominate the glamping market, it is believed that older audiences are also growing. However, when you choose to start a glamping business, you can decide to target the following audience:

  • Families: They will more or less want larger accommodations and entertainment for children
  • Couples: These people will always want privacy and romantic extras, although they do not require as much space as families
  • Luxury market: This market tends to need high-quality facilities and meal services
  • Budget market: This audience will always aim for simpler furnishing with the option for self-cater
  • Pet-friendly: This will involve offering inexpensive extras such as dog bowls or treats;
  • Eco-friendly: You offer recycling facilities and choose sustainable construction materials.
b. Is Glamping Business a Profitable Business?

Yes. Glamping businesses can be very profitable as long as you can find the balance between having low expenses and charging high nightly rates (and having high occupancy). Have it in mind that this will most often depend on numerous factors such as your location, your property type, and the persuasiveness of your marketing strategies.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No. Glamping is a niche market in the travel and tourism industry.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • The Ranch
  • Collective Governors Island
  • Little Raccoon Key
  • Under Canvas
  • AutoCamp
  • Sinya
  • The Resort
  • Bellfire Tipi
  • Ventana
  • Asheville Glamping
  • Safari West
  • El Cosmico
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Glamping Business?

Yes. Every location is different and that entails that the permissions required will also vary. This may include health and safety regulations and potential concerns about gaining permission for your new holiday rentals. Each state or county may review the site using a different set of criteria.

These may include the type of accommodation, your location, road accessibility, traffic flow, topography, the economy size of the site, impact on infrastructure, etc. Many zoning regulations could stop you from building your glamping business on some plots of land.

If you’re leveraging the expertise of a realtor or real estate site, ensure you’re filtering out zoning options that wouldn’t let a glamping site be built. Approach your local authority or council to find out the things to do. Also, contact your local authority and apply for any planning permissions you might need to start.

Permissions are most often required but when you consider using semi-permanent tents for your accommodations, the paperwork should be much easier than in the case of permanent structures.

However, note that failure to obtain the necessary permits or licenses can result in high fines and even the termination of your glamping business. The whole procedure to obtain the right permits might take from 6 months to 2 years.

f. Is There a Franchise for Glamping Business?
  • OneGlamping: From $125,500
  • Timberline Glamping: $67,000
  • The Wigwam Holidays: £7500 – £67,000
g. What Do You Need to Start a Glamping Business?
  • Market Research
  • Solid Business Plan
  • Financing
  • Glamping Site and Land Permissions
  • Glamping Tent
  • Equipment and Décor
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a glamping business are;

Creative Glamping Business Name ideas
  • Glamping Paradise
  • King’s Lane
  • Western Glampers
  • Ready Camp Resort
  • Trinity Campers
  • Rest and Bliss
  • Seaside Camp
  • Roman Huts
  • First Camping
  • Outer Space
  • The Camp Zone
  • Above and Below
  • The Forest Pride
  • Love and Camp
  • Pure Bliss Camp
  • 8thWonder
  • Illuminated Wilderness
  • Y6 Camping
  • Sheltered Zone
  • Glamp Palaces
  1. Register your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Glamping Business?

There are four main business entities to select from, and they include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Note that the type of structure features its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.

However, while you can choose to register your glamping business as a sole proprietorship, note that it comes with certain liabilities if you are sued. But for extra protection, speak with a business lawyer or your accountant on how to register as an LLC because it offers personal liability protection, tax flexibility, an easy startup process, and less compliance paperwork.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Select a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Pick a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Establish an LLC operating agreement.
  • Adhere to other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Glamping Business?
  • State Licensing
  • Local Licensing
  • Entity Formation
  • Business Name Registration
  • General Business License or Permit
  • Federal Employer Identification Number
  • Sales Tax Permit or Business Number
  • Resale Certificate
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Glamping Business?

Although you can start and run this business without any form of certification, here are top certifications to consider in this line of business;

  • Biosphere Camping Certification
  • CPR Pro certifications
  • ACA Day Camp Director Certification
  • Camp Director Certification
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Glamping Business
  • Federal tax identification number
  • Business plan
  • Zoning permits
  • Business name registration certificate
  • Insurance certificate
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

No. There may be no need for a patent, trademark, or copyright to protect the services you provide. However, note that your company name and the logo you use can do with some sort of protection. Since your brand name and logo are a very crucial aspect of your brand, consider applying for copyright and trademark.

  1. Do your Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Glamping Business?

The average cost of starting a glamping business ranges from around $5,000 – $50,000. If you already own the property, acquiring a glamping tent with basic furnishings will be on the low end, while acquiring permits and property will be on the high end.

b. What are the Costs Involved? 
  • Land purchase or rent: $2500 – $18,000
  • Equipment like glamping tent, fire pits, pots and pans, an outhouse, etc.: $3,000 – $20,000
  • Licenses and permits: $1400 – $7,500
  • Setting up a business name and corporation: $150 – $200
  • Business cards and brochures: $200 – $300
  • Website setup: $1,000 – $3,000
  • Legal and management fees: $2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Glamping Business?
  • Services Offered
  • Location
  • Business Size
  • License and Permits
  • Branding, Promotion, and Marketing Plans
  • Insurance
  • Supplies and Ongoing Expenses
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility?

No. In the US, the typical areas to “glamp” are the woods, beaches, and deserts. Depending on space and demand, you may find there are numerous options for your glamping campsite, but you still won’t need a facility to cater to the needs of your clients.

However, note that your construction is going to vary depending on some factors. No two glamping businesses are the same or even created equal. Glamping is most renowned for its uniqueness, so each build is going to be entirely different.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses for Running a Glamping Business?
  • Property taxes
  • Maintenance costs
  • Employees’ wages
  • Utilities
  • Other miscellaneous expenses.
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Campground managers: $43,271 per year
  • Campground attendants: $21,010 per year
  • Cook and Maintenance staff: $18,164 per year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Glamping Business?

There are different ways to seek financing for your glamping business; however, it’s necessary to think through every option because each decision will have a financial impact on you and your business. Options to consider include;

  • Raising money from friends and family
  • Bootstrapping by tapping into your own savings account
  • Sourcing investment from outside investors
  • Obtaining a bank loan
  • Getting money from a hard money lender
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

8th Wonder is a premier glamping site for all travelers visiting Tongass National Forest and other enticing sites in Southeast Alaska.

We offer a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the region’s natural beauty while experiencing alternative living in its simplest form. 8th Wonder provides one of a kind camping experience that enables travelers to experience the Tongass forests in a camp setting with a hostel-like atmosphere.

All our visitors will be able to immerse themselves in an off-the-grid lifestyle where they can test their limits by participating in both group and independent outdoor activities and sustainable practices in an authentic setting.

b. Products and Service
  • 24-hour Room Service
  • Café and Lobby Bar
  • Concierge Service
  • Baby Sitting Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Laptop and Computer Rental Service
  • Conference Meeting and Private Dining Service
  • Massage, Manicure, and Pedicure Service
  • Airport Pick-up and Transfer Service
d. Mission Statement

Our mission at 8th Wonder is to provide travelers an enjoyable camping experience that is customizable from how guests want to reach us, the activities they intend to partake in, and how they decide to share their compass with others during the rest of their travels. All through the processes and stages, our knowledgeable staff will be available to share the experiences with guests.

Vision Statement

Our vision at 8th Wonder is to create a strong presence in Alaska by partnering with other wildlife centers and also create working relationships with hostels, local bloggers, and other tourism-related entities. We also intend to fill all the positions required to run the campsite efficiently.

e. Goals and Objectives
  • To become the best glamping resort in southeast Alaska within 5 years of our launch
  • To attain a net profit margin of $15,000 per month by the end of the first year, $22,000 per month by the end of the second year, and $35,000 per month by the end of the third year
  • To balance the initial cost of the startup with earned profits by the end of the first year.
f. Organizational Structure
  • Campground managers
  • Campground attendants
  • Cook and Maintenance staff

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Tongass National Forest location
  • Proximity to other wild wildlife centers like the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and Steep Creek Bear Viewing area in Juneau, Anan Wildlife Observatory in Wrangell, Fish Creek Bear Viewing Area in Hyder, or Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area on Admiralty Island.
  • Human Capital­ Specialist skills
  • Ability to provide camping gear
  • Volleyball and soccer courts
  • Presently unable to offer year-round lodging
  • Rainy season­ undesirable, decreases accessibility
  • Transportation difficulties
  • Minimal wifi
  • Unique campsite
  • The tourism market in Southeast Alaska
  • Working with Locals
  • Development of sustainable practices
  • Increased awareness of other wildlife centers
  • Intern/campsite divide
  • Campers hiking alone
  • Competitors increased offerings e.g. hot springs, volcanoes, coffee farms
  • Events cause closure
  • Lost business due to accessibility
b. How Do Glamping Businesses Make Money?

Have in mind that glamping businesses make money by charging guests for the use of their ground. A good number of glamping businesses have nightly and weekly rates, and they charge varying rates for differently sized tents.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Run Ads on Social Media (such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram)
  • Create a Website That Will Attract Visitors
  • Create a Listing on Airbnb
  • Create A Promotional Video Tour
  • Hire A Professional Photographer
  • An effective guest management solution
  • Reseller relationships with local travel agents and popular online travel agencies (OTAs) such as TripAdvisor, RedBalloon, and Adrenaline
  • Marketing across channels such as social media paid search, radio, and print
  • Capital outlays in new guest experiences or infrastructure where relevant
  • Follow-up marketing after the guest experience, and more.
  • Offer new or exclusive destinations
  • Create local fishing guides to establish yourself as a campground authority
  • Offer discounts on repeat bookings.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?

According to industry reports, rates in the US range from $50 to $3,000 per night. At the low end, sites are basic and may feature few amenities. At the high end, rates are for massive lodges or extravagant tents. They tend to also include activities!

b. How Much Profit Do Glamping Business Owners Make a Year?

In this line of business, you can make about $4,000 gross income in the first year. Have it in mind that nightly rates are typically $125, but you can make as much as $5,400 per month depending on your location and amenities. However, since you may not need another tent (your biggest expense) and furnishings in the following year, you can genuinely make higher annual revenue and gross income after you’re up and running.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • Size of business and number of tents
  • Season
  • Business management style
  • Services offered
  • Marketing and advertising plans
  • Branding and credibility
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Glamping Business?

According to industry reports, businesses in this line are recommended to aim for a profit margin of within 25 – 40%.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year: $590,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $1,340,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $2,560,000
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Glamping Business

If you already own some land, then you have to consider what makes it attractive for guests and buttress this feature. However, if you do not have any land, you must carry out extensive research and find out what is missing from the local area.

For instance, it might be a luxury accommodation near some natural tourist attraction. Nonetheless, always ensure you choose a flat, private, and picturesque location to put up your tents. You should remember to keep your distance from trees to make it easier for you to maintain cleanliness.

Also, select spots from which water drains away well to avoid mud and puddles. Ensure that the glamping backyard will be attractive and exciting so that your guests take more pictures of the place. Howbeit, when choosing the location, look for these:

  • Away from traffic/other noise
  • Easy to reach & with enough parking space
  • Well-drained and flat to put up tents
  • Appealing to guests
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Glamping Business?
  • Canton, Ohio
  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Juno, Alaska
  • Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Miami, Florida
  • Auburn, California
  • Billings, Montana
  • Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Fenwick Island, Delaware
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate?

Outside the bed and linens, below is a quick checklist of other necessary furnishings to consider including the tent:

  • Chairs
  • Rugs
  • Lanterns
  • End tables
  • Mirror
  • Wastebasket
  • Recycling basket
  • Welcome mat
  • Luggage rack
  • Coat rack
  • Garment rack (short)
  • Boot tray
  • Towels
  • Extra blankets
  • Throw pillows
  • Hangers
  • Plants (succulents!)
  1. Hire Employees

A good number of glamping businesses start with a partner or employee. When it comes to glamping, cleaners have an easier job as guests don’t always expect things to be perfectly spotless in a camping environment. Although laundry is not always done on-site, swapping out sheets is easy, and sweeping/dusting is more or less the only additional task that needs to be done.

Howbeit, manual labor primarily to maintain the landscaping is a must to ensure that your location is attractive, conducive, and safe. If you don’t want to do this work yourself, you can hire someone to routinely take care of the grounds and tent.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

Truth be told, it is relatively easy to start a glamping business due to its lower start-up cost and the minimal build time. However, note that a successful glamping business still requires some strategizing. Have it in mind that your potential clients have a good radar for what makes a glamping site different from a typical campsite, therefore you have to thoughtfully plan out your site if you’re going to attract guests.

a. What Makes a Glamping Business Successful?

To be successful, businesses in this line tend to diversify their revenue by adding activities to bookings. Note that these may be on-site activities or activities provided through other companies. On-site activities come at an additional fee, while other companies’ activities may result in a commission. Tours, outdoor activities, and romantic events are all activities that people who go glamping may be willing to pay for.

b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Glamping Business?

Note that the primary aim of a glamping business is to ensure that guests are happy. To achieve this, a typical day at a glamping business will include:

  • Responding to inquiries from guests
  • Welcoming new guests
  • Checking in and recommending activities for current guests
  • Cleaning tents after guests leave
  • Helping guests in any other feasible way

Have it in mind that a good number of these activities are only done during the glamping season. During the off-season, a glamping business may close for vacation or due to weather. In a situation where winter weather would damage tents, the tents will have to be taken down at the end of the season and then put up once spring comes.

c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Glamping Business?
  • Familiarity with the area
  • Camping experience
  • First aid experience
  • Outdoor knowledge
  • Carpentry and repair skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Customer service skills