Glamping emerged in the early 2000s and has seen steady growth over the last 15 years. This niche in the vacation rental industry is exciting because it allows would-be vacation property owners and established rental businesses to create additional income with a smaller initial investment than what is typically required for a traditional property.
So, what is glamping?
Glamping is literally the blending of the word “glamor” and “camping.” What this refers to is an elevated, more luxurious camping experience. In some cases, glamping has become so high-end that it rivals some hotels while simultaneously offering guests the opportunity to explore and connect with nature, combining the outdoor market and the luxury vacation market in an exciting new way.
Glamping accommodation options
When most of us think about camping, we think of packing up a traditional tent that’s folded like an intricate piece of origami, poles, clips and pegs that need to be assembled before dusk (no pressure, right?!) With glamping, guests are free of the stress of setting up their “glampsite” and can choose from companies that offer options beyond the traditional pop-up tent.
Safari tents (aka Glamping tents)
Tents are very popular with glamping companies & resorts because of their low cost and ease of use, but they’ve had a serious upgrade. Constructed in the typical A-frame or the round bell-tent shape, they’re much more sturdy, made with durable weatherproof canvas and have room for amenities that one would expect in a luxury hotel, from king-size beds and chandeliers to kitchenettes with plumbing.
Tipi’s: Old school is cool again
For centuries the tipi has been a traditional form of shelter and has become another popular option in the glamping industry. Travelers are drawn to this type of shelter for its beauty and the offer of a vacation off the grid, where they can reconnect with themselves and the land.
Bubble & Geometric Domes
A bubble or geometric dome are incredible options, particularly in places with minimal light pollution, where guests can spend their evenings laying in bed stargazing through the glass ceilings. As eco-tourism and conscious travel continues to grow in popularity, this style of accommodation is not only ideal but has endless options for upgrades and customization, such as wood-burning stoves, ensuite bathroom modules, kitchenette modules, and even the choice of colors.
Yurt’s, the return to traditions
Traditional yurts have been a form of shelter for centuries in nomadic cultures. This round shape structure with a lattice frame covered in durable fabric to protect the travelers from the elements is another option for glamping sites and can be found for rent in national parks, glamping resorts and at festivals.
Tiny Homes & Cabins
Tiny homes come in many forms and can be made from shipping containers, a wooden cabin or with the purchase of a tiny home kit.
Popular shows such as Tiny House Hunters on Discovery+ and Tiny House Nation on Netflix and A&E have increased the broader public’s interest to look at living tiny as an answer to “doing more by owning less.” While many might not take the plunge to purge and purchase a tiny home, they are keen to try it out for a getaway with their partner or friends.
There are many benefits to operating tiny homes as a vacation rental property:
- Compared to a traditional property, they are cheaper to acquire.
- Cleaning and utility costs are much lower.
- Much cheaper to furnish which makes it possible to offer a high-end or luxury experience to guests.
- Fewer chances of bad bookings. You won’t have groups of 20 renting a tiny house for a party!
Treehouses and other custom structures
Treehouses are a fun, and creative option made popular in tropical locations like Costa Rica, offering guests a Swiss Family Robinson-type experience. In the USA, vacation property owners have built unique treehouse destinations on their personal properties, turning what was once unused land into an additional stream of income.
Beyond the tent – basics of the glamping business
As with any new business venture, to be successful, you’ll need to take the time to research, plan, and create an effective marketing strategy. We’ve put together a list of things to consider with some helpful resources to get you started.
The glamping guest profile
Glamping appeals to a broad range of people but is most popular with Millennials and Gen Z. These guests are referred to as “glampers.” They are typically interested in supporting a more sustainable version of tourism and value companies dedicated to leaving a minimal environmental footprint while also seeking a premium guest experience with 5-star amenities.
Why should you consider getting into the glamping business?
The glamping niche continues to grow and is predicted to grow at an exciting rate over the next decade. According to Grandview Research, the glamping industry was valued at 2.35 billion USD in 2021 and is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 10.9% from 2022 to 2030.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also boosted glamping’s popularity, providing guests with an opportunity to vacation while still social distancing, spending more time outdoors, and experiencing unique accommodations without the additional stress of traveling overseas.
Business considerations and costs
When deciding how to position yourself in the market, it’s good to determine what your business will offer to ensure you stand out from other glamping companies.
Popular glamping segments in the market are:
- Eco-tourism – travel to protected or conservation areas with activities like bird-watching, hiking, rafting and swimming.
- Adventure tourism – travel to remote or exotic locations with activities like mountain climbing, white water rafting and sky diving.
- Wellness tourism – travel to increase one’s overall wellbeing with activities that include fitness, nutrition, relaxation and spiritual guidance.
- Events & Festivals – travel for the purpose of attending a festival, event or a personal event like a destination wedding or family reunion.
Land & Building Costs
The cost of land to build your glampsite will vary greatly depending on where you are located, how remote you plan to be and whether you’re positioned near a beach or popular tourist attractions.
When choosing which accommodation to use, one of the critical factors must be your climate. If you’re located in all-year-round warmer weather, then a tree house or tent could be an excellent choice for you. Glamping tent prices can vary greatly depending on the size, quality and customization you desire, but can start as low as $1500.
Permits & Zoning
It’s essential to do your research before moving ahead and building your glampsite. Depending on your state and the type of structure you intend to develop, you’ll need to know what type of zoning and permits are necessary. An excellent resource for this will be your realtor if you’re purchasing a piece of land so that they can clarify any issues for you like road access, plumbing and what type of business the land is zoned for. If you’re considering building tiny homes, you’ll want to check the laws in your particular state. If you live outside of the United States, be sure to check with your local municipality for any restrictions.
As with any traditional vacation property business, you’ll need to put a system in place to manage your availability calendar, sync your distribution channels, cleaning schedules, track guest communications as well as all the other tasks that go with ensuring the administration side of the business runs smoothly. Hostfully offers a property management software system that manages all of this so you can spend time working on your business instead of being stuck behind a computer trying to keep up with the paperwork.
Once you’ve secured your land, the proper permits, ensured you have the correct zoning for the type of glampsite that you’ll be constructing, you’ll need to start booking your calendar. Because the largest portion of guests are millennials and Gen Z, leveraging social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram will be key to your success.
Other advertising methods will be to utilize online travel agencies like Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com, and niche sites that cater specifically to camping and glamping like The Dyrt, Glamping Hub and Hip Camp.
When you first launch, we recommend running a soft launch and inviting local influencers to come and stay and promote your property on their socials and blogs. A soft launch will also allow you to get some experience running your glampsite before opening it to the general public.
Additional streams of income
With a new glamping business comes the opportunity to create additional services that will complement your new business and generate additional revenue.
Some ideas are:
- Renting out glamping tents, domes or yurts to individuals or event companies hosting festivals or weddings
- Hosting events such as festivals, weddings, or family reunions on your property
- Providing guest experiences to add on to their stay like horse-riding, mountain climbing
- Food truck or food services like s’mores kits, grilling packages etc
- Wellness and health packages
Amenities to make your glamping tents stand out
When asked, “what is glamping”? The answer is clearly camping plus luxury. Your amenities will need to reflect this as a vacation rental property management company.
Here’s a list of amenities to consider.
- Electricity (solar paneled and a generator for backup are great options)
- Shower (indoor and outdoor)
- High-quality beds and linens
- Outdoor furniture
- Bedside tables
- Coffee maker
- Running water
- Toiletries (local, natural products are a great idea)
- Full Kitchen
- Private Ensuite
- Hot tub
- Watersport equipment
To sum things up…
The glamping business is here to stay. Travelers continue to become more eco-conscious and place a high value on sustainability while still prioritizing luxury, wellness and adventure. Glamping perfectly integrates these interests and values, which offers vacation rental owners an exciting opportunity to become part of this growing niche.