How To Start Glamping Business | The Do’s And Don’ts Of The Business Model

March 23, 2024

How to start glamping business:

  • Pick a good location and choose your accommodation type
  • Come up with a unique brand name
  • Do market research and create a business plan
  • Comply with local requirements
  • Create a business bank account
  • Prepare your glamping infrastructure
  • Set your pricing
  • Start spreading the word about your business
  • Hire employees as your business grows

A glamping business can be an excellent idea for those who want to enter the vacation rental industry. You can even run this type of business with your family members. Plus the great thing is that glamping is a growing market and is currently a $2.89 billion industry. According to Grand View Research, experts anticipate the US glamping market to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% from 2023 to 2030.

To run a successful glamping business, you’ll have to make your location attractive, comfortable, and suitable for luxury camping. Along with that, you’ll have to be ready and available to work during holidays, weekends, and whenever you receive guest bookings.

Working in the local lead generation is another profitable venture. As with glamping, this is a business you can start and run from home. However, the advantage here is that lead gen doesn't require expensive startup costs, is fairly low risk, and is not as demanding. Besides, your work mostly revolves around ranking and renting websites. Using targeted keywords and locations, your goal is to help these sites reach top search engine results. Once you hit that, you offer the organic traffic and leads to business owners wanting to increase their customer base. Personally, I earn up to $52,000 per month by providing this service to several businesses.

9 steps for starting a glamping business

To start a glamping business, you should:

1. Pick a suitable location and choose your accommodation type

As with most businesses, location is a crucial factor for attracting potential guests and succeeding in the industry. Landowners can use their own properties for establishing their glamping sites, while non-property owners can instead rent land. It can be an advantage if you’re located near local tourist attractions. However, remote areas are also a favorite among avid glampers since they provide fun, outdoor experiences that allow them to be closer to nature.

With your location ready, it’s time to get tents for your businesses. Remember that you can’t use ordinary camping tents. Typically, tents used for glamping are bigger, more luxurious, and are of higher quality. Some of the most popular tents for glamping include bell tents, cabin tents, glamping domes, safari tents, tipis, and yurts. Alternatively, you can also use glamping pods, gypsy caravans, shepherd huts, and tree houses, among other options.

When buying tents, you can check out local sellers or browse online shops to find the best deals. Compare features, sizes, prices, and reviews to help you decide. It’s always a great idea to buy spacious and sturdy tents that can withstand the elements.

2. Come up with a unique brand name

Your brand name will help you build your business identity, so it should represent your company’s objectives. More importantly, it should be simple, easy to remember, and sets you apart from competitors. That way, satisfied guests can refer you to friends and fellow glampers. If possible, avoid having a location-based brand name because it can potentially limit opportunities for future expansion.

Forbes also reminds entrepreneurs about checking a name’s availability before officially using it. According to the business magazine, looking up websites and social media channels can help you avoid the headaches that come with using an existing brand name. In addition, performing a quick search on the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) website can also be an excellent solution.

3. Do market research and create a business plan

Connecticut-based insurance firm The Hartford defines market research as “a key component in developing marketing strategy by providing a fact-based foundation for estimating sales and profitability.”

As you conduct thorough market research, you will be able to make the best decisions for your glamping business. You can learn about its overall feasibility and even about your direct competitors. This will help you determine how you can position your brand in the market.

In an Operto feature, we read how Hospitality.FM founder and Recreation Vacation Rentals co-founder Will Slickers pointed out that having few competitors in an area can only mean one of two things. According to Slickers, “Either there is an untapped market that you are about to make the most of, or there are complications for creating a glamping business in your desired location that you aren’t yet aware of.”

Meanwhile, creating a business plan is also an important step you shouldn’t skip before establishing your glamping site. This will serve as your guide as you launch and operate your glamping business. Plus you can use the document to help prospective investors understand your vision.

Generally, a business plan should include the following:

✅ Company description
✅ Executive summary
✅ Products and services
✅ Market analysis and marketing strategy
✅ Competitive analysis

✅ Financial highlights 

4. Comply with local requirements

Laws and regulations usually differ from one location to another, so it’s always best to check with local government offices. Visit their official websites and look up information about the required licenses and permits for glamping businesses in your area.

Before you can officially operate your glamping business, you may need to:

✅ Form a legal entity (such as sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited liability company (LLC), etc.)
✅ Register for taxes
✅ Understand local zoning laws and secure a planning permission
✅ Obtain business insurance

5. Create a business bank account

Opening a separate bank account for your business brings several advantages. For instance, it makes your business trustworthy and legit. More than that, it can help you stay legally compliant and can simplify the tax preparation process. You get to track the flow of your business income and expenses with greater ease. Also, you get to protect your personal assets by keeping it separate from company finances.

6. Prepare your glamping infrastructure

With the business requirements out of the way, you can proceed to preparing your glamping site. Your goal is to keep the area tidy and equip it with modern amenities and facilities.

Start cleaning the spot where you plan to pitch your tents. Get the landscaping done and install electricity in the area. Provide power outlets and extension cords for appliance usage and recharging gadgets. Prepare private bathrooms and toilets to ensure guests a comfortable experience during their stay. For best results, hire professionals to handle most of these tasks.

7. Set your pricing

Glamping businesses usually charge guests per night, so decide how much you want to earn for your services. Try to come up with an attractive yet reasonable price range. You can do your research and check out the rates of other local glamping sites to get an idea. As with most vacation rental businesses, you may have to charge differently on weekdays, weekends, and holidays.

8. Start spreading the word about your business

Create pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other relevant social media channels. List your business with glamping platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, FlipKey, Glamping.com, GlampingHub, Hip Camp, Pitchup, The Dyrt, and Vrbo. By doing so, you get to attract attention from your target market.

9. Hire employees as your business grows

Hiring people can be a big advantage. It can help you achieve greater work-life balance plus you get to focus more on growing your business.

Case in point, solopreneur Kenny Young founded Pitched Glamping in Minneapolis in March 2020. He opened a second location in Phoenix several months later. In a Business Insider interview, Young shared how he eventually decided to hire his first staff member to handle day-to-day tasks. The employee’s primary responsibilities were to “visit the storage facility, gather the supplies, and deliver the supplies.”

By tapping professional help, you get to delegate many routine duties that may potentially consume much of your personal time.

What is glamping?

Glamping literally means glamorous camping. What sets it apart from traditional camping is that glamping takes advantage of modern conveniences such as classy tents, comfy beds, and other luxury amenities.

Who is the target market for glamping?

The target market for glamping are nature-loving travelers looking for luxury outdoor accommodations. According to online data, most glampers are from the middle to upper-class category. Up to 70% of the glamping market range between ages 18 to 50. These customers love staying in glamping units because they are trendy, romantic, and comfortable. Business travelers, couples, groups of friends, and young families are often among the most common glamping guests. They usually book glamping accommodations during family vacations, romantic getaways, special occasions, or when visiting nearby tourist attractions.

Statistics also indicate that social media platforms play a big role in the growth of the global glamping market. According to a report, "64% of Instagram users under the age of 34 and 45% of TikTok users age 18-24" create and/or share content about glamping.

How much does it cost to start a glamping business?

Starting a glamping business can cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $27,000. On average, a startup cost may be around $18,000 or more.

Generally, initial expenses will include business licenses, insurance, furnishings, maintenance, utilities, and more. Also, take note that glamping tents can cost $1,000 to $10,000 each, depending on its type, size, and features.

Here’s a sample breakdown of glamping startup costs from Step By Step Business:

How much do glamping businesses make?

Glamping businesses can make $150 to $300 per night, depending on their location and the amenities they offer guests.

In some areas, glamping entrepreneurs may charge bell tent users $130 to $190 per night during low season or up to $175 to $300 during peak season. Safari tent rates can cost from $160 to $195 per night during low season and up to $260 to $330 during peak season. Domes may cost $300 to $450 per night during low season and $450 to $600 during high season.

Meanwhile, average monthly earnings can be up to $5,400, depending on occupancy rate and the number of tents available in the glamping site.

The do’s and don’ts of starting a glamping business

DO's

DO make your campsite Instagram-worthy. Remember that glampers will want to take a lot of photos and videos during their vacation. That’s why it’s crucial that the overall atmosphere of your location looks Instagrammable.

DO offer entertainment options. This is entirely optional but guests will appreciate it if you can keep them entertained during their spare time. For example, you can provide them with fun board and card games, such as backgammon, checkers, chess, Monopoly, Scrabble, UNO, and others. You can also add a small library of books and magazines. If you’re catering to families, you may also want to throw in some children’s storybooks and comic books.

DO provide a satisfying glamping experience for your customers. Ultimately, what’s most important for you as a glamping entrepreneur is to ensure that your guests leave happy and satisfied. So provide the best amenities and facilities. Be prompt in responding to inquiries. Listen to customer feedback.

DO offer additional services. Aside from providing accommodations, you may also want to offer services that can make the glamping experience more memorable for your guests. Glampers love fun adventures, relaxing activities, and exploring nature, so check out which ones are available and popular in your location. For example, you can offer guided hikes, tours to local attractions, massage services, scuba diving, and spa treatments, among others. Promote these packages on your listings and on your social media postings.

DO market your brand aggressively. Startups in the glamping industry need to promote their brand in order to be found by their target audience. That said, having your own website and social media pages can be a big advantage. You can reach most of your potential guests online.

DON'Ts

DON’T buy unnecessary things. A common mistake among new glamping entrepreneurs is that they tend to purchase items that they won’t really need for their business. This can result in unneeded expenses that could eat up on your budget. So think twice before taking advantage of sale items you find online if they will only end up piling in your storage room.

DON’T try to do everything yourself. Managing a backyard glamping site can be time-consuming if you do it all yourself. Involving family members can be the key to minimizing stress. As mentioned, you can also outsource certain jobs to professionals. For example, you can hire virtual assistants to handle customer support or social media marketing duties on your behalf.

DON’T ignore market trends. While running your business, you also want to pay attention to glamping market trends. Check out what local competitors are doing to attract more guests and see how you can incorporate their strategies into yours. What new services and experiences are they offering? Also, what digital marketing tactics are they using? You can always learn much from others so don’t be complacent, even if you think you’re already doing well in the industry.

DON’T ignore negative reviews. Sooner or later, you will receive reviews from your customers - and not all of them will be positive. When you do get negative ones, it’s important to respond in a polite, respectful manner. Ignoring them may only damage your reputation in the glamping community. Admit if you’re at fault and apologize, if necessary. Ask for a second chance, assuring them you’ll do better. Remember that other potential guests will be reading their reviews and your response, so choose your words carefully. Whether you get booked or not by other glampers in the future will likely depend on how you address criticism.

What is the cheapest glamping structure?

The cheapest glamping structure is the bell tent. Usually, tents are among your initial investments as you establish a glamping business. A high quality bell tent can cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000 on average. As an example, here's a KingCamp canvas bell tent currently available on Amazon for $719.99:

Meanwhile, a safari tent usually sells in the market for $8,000 to $30,000. Glamping domes and yurts have an average price tag of $15,000 to $30,000.

You can purchase glamping tents from local outdoor gear specialty shops. In addition to Amazon, you can also check out Costco, Craigslist, eBay, Home Depot, Walmart, and other major online stores. In any case, you’ll want to buy products that are made of durable material.

How to decorate and furnish your glamping tent rental

To decorate and furnish your glamping tent rental, you can use:

Ambient string lights

Ambient string lights not only supply some much-needed illumination for your campsite. They can also be a simple yet effective way to complete the outdoor experience. Simply hang them from tents and trees to achieve the festive and stylish vibe. Moreover, string lights are perfect for outdoor settings, plus they consume 70% less electricity and last up to 10x longer than incandescent bulbs. Other than that, you can also use candles and battery-powered lanterns.

Fire pit

A glamping experience would just feel incomplete without the campfire. You can build an in-ground fire pit where your guests can gather to cook s’mores, grill steaks, sing songs, and just warm themselves. Alternatively, a propane fire pit can be a good option but a wooden one can be better - especially if you’re aiming for a nature-themed vibe in your campsite. Also, make sure to have chairs and/or benches in the area surrounding the fire pit.

Hammocks

Having a hammock or two in your glamp site can make it more conducive for rest and relaxation. They provide a great spot for quick naps. Have some throw pillows and warm blankets at the ready for your guests, too.

Picnic tables and chairs

Portable picnic tables and chairs are always useful for enjoying outdoor meals, so make sure you have them for your glamping guests. When buying these furniture, look for those that match the overall theme you’re going for. You can use a simple tablecloth and a flower vase as your centerpiece to upgrade the look of your table.

Woven rugs and tent carpets

Rugs and carpets not only help you manage dust and dirt, they can also make your campsite look vibrant and colorful. They also provide additional insulation and cushioning layers to protect your glamping tent.

How to start backyard glamping business

You have two options for starting a backyard glamping business. You can either 1) use your own backyard to establish a glamping site or 2) start a mobile glamping business rental where you offer to bring backyard glamping facilities to people’s homes.

With a backyard glamping business, you can follow the similar steps outlined in this article. The main difference is that you’re doing business from home and so you will have to deal with guests directly. You also need to be available to provide help, whenever necessary.

As for the mobile glamping business, you operate like a pop-up shop as people hire your glamping equipment and facilities. You bring and set up everything in people's backyards, campgrounds, and wedding venues for family nights, special celebrations, and other events.

Related Articles on Glamping and Vacation Rentals

  • Glamping Business Income - How much can you earn from establishing a glamping business? We show you the figures on how much you can charge per night and earn per month. We also share several proven pointers on how to grow your revenue.
  • The Pros & Cons Of The Glamping Business - In this blog, we outline the advantages and disadvantages of running a glamping site. Additionally, we discuss the industry’s market growth potential and the platforms where you can list your business.
  • How To Build An Airbnb Empire: Owning vs Renting Homes - Another profitable vacation rental business model, the Airbnb platform can be a great option for those who want to enter the real estate industry. Whether you are a property owner or someone who wants to use the rental arbitrage model, listing with Airbnb can be a good source of extra income.
  • Top 8 Airbnb Courses To Maximize Your Profit - What are the best Airbnb courses out there? And how do you make money in low profit areas? We point you in the right direction as we cover free, cheap, affordable, and expensive course options that will help you establish your own Airbnb business. We even share top courses that focus on Airbnb automation and Airbnb rental arbitrage.

Conclusion

Glamping can be a great business opportunity, especially if you have popular attractions and activities in your area. However, earnings may also be seasonal since your business will mostly rely on peak season to get steady bookings. This also means you'll have to be ready to work and handle guest bookings during weekends and holidays. Moreover, startup costs can be expensive, so you'll have to invest a significant amount to get started.

These are some reasons why I still prefer to run my local lead generation business. In many ways, it's definitely not as stressful and as costly as maintaining a glamping site. With lead gen, you only need to create keyword and location-based websites from scratch (such as Grand Rapids Tree Care) and then work on ranking them on search engines.

Once your site achieves top rankings and starts attracting traffic, you can offer them for rent to local entrepreneurs who need leads for their businesses. As long as you can deliver quality leads, business owners will gladly pay $500 to $3,000 per month all year round. Plus, the best thing is you can create multiple sites for this rank and rent business model. For example, I provide this service to several clients and I earn up to $52,000 per month. I also teach a lead gen coaching program where we teach our students how they can achieve the same results..   

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Ippei Kanehara
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$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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