Starting a Glamping Business in 2021

Glamping Popularity

Glamping is on the rise. Emerging in the late 2000s, it experienced gradual growth for around a decade, until the COVID-19 pandemic kickstarted a ‘staycation’ boom that has irreversibly changed the perception of holidaying in the UK. Just like Zoom calls and Joe Wicks’ Youtube workouts, glamping made a dent in UK culture in 2020.

Glamping Search Trends

Google search trends for the term ‘glamping’. Note the spike in searches in spring/summer 2020.

It’s not going to be a one-off spike, either. Glamping is here to stay. Much of the industry’s growth has been driven by millennials, keen to experience a connection with nature that is increasingly hard to come by in today’s digital world. This suggests that glamping is more appealing than traditional caravan or holiday park experiences to the younger generations. We can’t comment on the longevity of Joe Wicks’ YouTube workouts, but all the signs point towards the fact that glamping, like Zoom, will long outlive the pandemic. 

 

Image Source: 'Kampgrounds of America'

Glamping Generational Breakdown

A Glamping Business Is a Good Investment

It’s all well and good knowing that glamping is popular with guests, but is it a good business investment?

Absolutely.

ROI on a Glamping Site

The figures used in this graphic are based on the return on investment we saw on our own glamping site, built on a small patch of family land.

 

If you do things right and you’re prepared to put in the work, setting up your own glamping site makes far more financial sense than investing in property. The £12,000 monthly income figure on the graphic above might seem too good to be true, but it’s reflective of the returns we saw on our own site. Let’s break it down.

Let’s say you build five glamping pods on a pre-existing plot of land. You charge a fairly standard rate of £120 for each pod per night, which works out at a total of £18,000 per month at full capacity. Of course, expecting your site to be fully booked all year round is unrealistic, so let’s say you have an average occupancy rate of 60%. Your income is still going to be £10.800 per month. Our monthly income was higher than this because our occupancy rate was comfortably above 60%, and yours can be too if you get your marketing right. Assuming a monthly running cost of £400 per pod per month, the profit-making potential of a glamping site is huge. 

But, to turn a profit, you can’t just expect to walk into this industry and have it easy. It takes a lot of careful planning and consideration. One of the most important aspects of setting up your site in the right way is choosing the right people to supply your glamping pods (or shepherd huts, or yurts, or whichever form of glamping accommodation you choose). You can be sure that all the manufacturers we recommend are reliable and trustworthy, but that’s the bare minimum.  Every manufacturer is different. You should be looking deeply into which manufacturer is right for you and your guests, and how they fit into the wider experience that you want to provide. We hope this guide will help you in your decision.

How to Choose the Right Glamping Pod Manufacturer

Glamping Pod Types and Features

There are many different types of glamping unit. There’s the ever-popular classic glamping pod, which most people want on their glamping site; there’s the ubiquitous shepherd hut, which is the most common glamping unit in the UK; and there are other glamping units, such as yurts, tents, treehouses and cabins, all dotted throughout the country. Here’s a rundown of the main ones:

Classic Glamping Pod

Standard Glamping Pod

This style of pod is probably the reason you’re on this page. The classic glamping pod is what most people picture in their minds when you mention glamping. It’s modern and stylish, and it easily incorporates heating systems, bedding, kitchen units and everything else that glampers expect. There are also a growing number of variations on the classic pod, such as pods with decking (as shown in this image) side-entry pods, apartment pods and even star-shaped pods!

The Shepherd Hut

Standard Shepherd Hut

According to research by International Glamping Business and Crown & Canopy, the humble shepherd hut is the most prevalent form of glamping accommodation in the UK. While the classic glamping pod is ideal for a larger site with multiple pods, this quaint unit is perfect for a small scale site in the countryside

Glamping Tents

Standard Yurt
Adria Bell Tent
Adria Safari Tent

From left to right: A yurt (courtesy of Yurt Maker), a bell tent and a safari tent (both courtesy of Adria).

The three most common glamping tents are yurts, bell tents and safari tents. Yurts have multiple poles converging at a central point, meaning the canvas forms into walls and a pointed ceiling. Bell tents differ in that they lack walls and have one central pole. Safari tents are a little more complex, forming house-like structures made from canvas.

Here’s Mikeala, our Business Relationship Consultant, talking about what you should consider when choosing between the three main types of glamping unit:

Other Structures

Other popular glamping units include cabins, treehouses, roundhouses and gypsy wagons. Glamping cabins are quite similar to glamping pods in that they’re wooden structures with all the required amenities, though they tend to be more rectangular in design and have fewer curves and arches than glamping pods. Roundhouses resemble tipis but are made from materials that are more permanent than canvas, while gypsy wagons are based on the traditional, beautifully decorated wagons that Romanichal Travelers used in the mid-to-late 19th and early 20th century. 

Note: We’ll generally refer to glamping units as ‘pods’ for the rest of this piece. So, if we use the term ‘pods’, take it to include yurts, tents, huts, etc, unless otherwise specified.

Your Glamping Pod Purpose

If you’re buying a glamping pod for your own personal use, the choice is easy. Just scroll down to the bottom of this page to our recommended manufacturers list, pick the manufacturer who produces your favourite pods within your budget, and enjoy!

However, we’re assuming that you’re here because you want to buy glamping pods to turn your glamping dream into a thriving business. In that case, you’re going to have to put a little more thought into it.

You shouldn’t opt for a pod style that you don’t like, as it’s much harder to ‘sell’ your site to potential guests if you wouldn’t want to stay there yourself. Nonetheless, your main priority should be to provide pods that your ideal guests will be happy to pay money to stay in. Would your ideal guests prefer a classic glamping pod, or a yurt, or something completely different? How much importance do they place on having toilet facilities inside the pod? Is your site going to be based in an area with high winds, necessitating an extra-strong structure? 

All this and more needs to be considered before spending potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds on your chosen pods. This guide should help you with a lot of your questions, but you should speak to a range of manufacturers to ensure that they’re the right fit for your glamping aspirations before you pull the trigger.

Consider Glamping Planning Permission

A quick aside before we move onto discussing how much glamping pods cost - have you ever considered speaking to us about guiding you through your planning permission application? The planning process is lengthy and difficult, and it will likely throw up all sorts of obstacles that you didn’t anticipate. We’re the experts, with years of experience in getting planning permission for ours and our clients’ sites. As our planning expert, Paul, explains in the video below, we understand planners and what makes them tick. If you want to learn more about this, just get in touch and we’ll see how we can help.

How Much Are Glamping Pods?

 

Classic Glamping Pod Prices

It’s difficult to put a figure on the average price of a classic glamping pod, as they vary so much in size and style. But as a rough estimate, for furnished pods, you’re probably looking at around £15,000-£20,000 on the lower end of the scale, £20,000-£30,000 as a mid-range figure, and £30,000 upwards on the higher end. 

The larger, more luxurious, more unique pods tend to cost the most, while those on the lower end are usually smaller with more basic interiors. ‘Eco pods’ also tend to fall into the higher-priced category because of additional costs associated with solar panel installation and the like, but this additional expense might pay for itself if you promote your passion for the environment in your marketing.

 

Shepherd Hut Prices

The lower end for shepherd huts starts at around £5,000, but these tend to be very basic units without furnishings. If you want your hut to come fully furnished (we highly recommend this), the price will likely be somewhere between £16,000 and £30,000, generally depending on the individual manufacturer’s pricing model. Prices can go well over £30,000 once you start adding additional luxuries, such as skylights, or if you decide to go super eco friendly. 

 

Glamping Tent Prices

Again, this is heavily dependent on the manufacturer you choose and the level of luxury you desire. As a rule of thumb, you’re looking at around £8,000 for a yurt (though larger, exhibition-style yurts cost more), £1,000 for a bell tent and £15,000 for an ensuite safari tent. 

 

Consider a feasibility study

Clearly, glamping pods, shepherd hut and canvas structures (with the exception of bell tents), aren’t particularly cheap. They’re certainly not things that you should be rushing into buying. That’s why we’d highly recommend you conduct a feasibility study first. After inputting your ideas for your site (location, type of glamping pod, etc), it will give you a clearer picture of how much it will cost to set up your glamping site (including the hidden costs that you probably aren’t aware of), the potential returns you might see on your investment, the issues you might face, and much more. We’ve got a team of feasibility experts on hand to guide you through the process, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask for their help.

Best Glamping Pod Manufacturers To Consider

Choosing your glamping pod manufacturer is a serious investment decision. And like any other investment, there are people out there that just want to take your money and run. You don’t want to be giving potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds to a manufacturer that, at best, is unreliable, and at worst, is a crook. That’s why we’ve partnered with the good guys to ensure that your money is safe. All of the manufacturers below have received the Glampitect seal of approval.
Regent Luxury Lodges Interior

As well as manufacturing beautiful lodges, Regent Luxury Lodges make their own unique glamping pods. Based in Lincolnshire, their interiors are particularly eye catching, and they place emphasis on their ability to provide bespoke designs for their customers.

Anthropods Bleriot Classic

There aren’t many pod manufacturers as unique as Anthropods. The level of quality and originality in their designs is simply outstanding. We also love the fact that you can customise your dream pod on the website, allowing you to play around with the features you might want for your site.

Glamping Pods UK

Glamping Pods UK offer something a little different to your classic glamping pod. As you can see from the image, their pod design is unique, which could help set you apart from other glamping sites. They also offer completely bespoke pods for those who want to design their pods from scratch.

Liffin _The Diamond_

Liffin are a Dutch business that offer a variety of accommodation options. The pictured unit is ‘The Diamond’, which is like a portable hotel room. They also supply a multitude of different tents, so they may be the business to choose if you want to offer multiple glamping units on your site.

Yurt Maker

Based in Shropshire, Yurt Maker offer yurts of all sizes, from the ‘Tiny Yurt’ to the ‘Massive Yurt’. The founders of the company are passionate about the traditional nomadic lifestyle that yurts were originally made to accommodate, and their carefully handmade products reflect this.

Ribble Valley

Ribble Valley are new entrants into the manufacturer market, and we’re fans of their pods already, particularly the black finish on their ‘Whitewell Pod’. We’re really excited to see how far this growing business will go, so keep an eye out on their website and social media pages for updates.

Enchanted Creations

Enchanted Creations are a team of designers, engineers and craftspeople that come together to create the most unique offerings on this list of manufacturers. They don’t really have any standard offerings, as they’re resolutely against the ‘cookie cutter approach’.

The managing director of Enchanted Creations, Jason Devenish, featured in Episode 2 of The Glampitect PODcast, and was also quoted in Glampitect’s 2021 Glamping Industry Forecast. If you need some inspiration on creating an experiential destination, you should take a look at both the podcast and the forecast. 

Snuggeries

Snuggeries are an established garden office manufacturer that are moving into the glamping space. The pod in the image is their first premium, completely bespoke pod, called ‘The Polehanger’. Snuggeries are another growing business that we expect great things from in the future.

Hawkshead Bespoke Pods

Hawkshead Bespoke Pods are also new entrants into the glamping market. We’re huge fans of their classy and spacious interiors, which have received a lot of interest since they started promoting their pods towards the end of 2020. The pod manufacturer market is getting increasingly crowded, but we believe Hawkshead Bespoke Pods are distinctive enough to stand out from the rest.

Odd Pods

Odd Pods are among the best manufacturers of the classic glamping pod. Their use of a CE certified steel chassis ensures that their pods are particularly sturdy. Keep an eye out for special offers as well - in January 2021, they included a free hot tub for anyone ordering a pod of 7.5m x 3m or above.

Alba Bespoke Cabins

Alba Bespoke Pods have an excellent range of classic glamping pods for you to browse through. Our favourite offering of theirs is the beautiful ‘Plantation Pod’ (pictured), which features a side entryway that will set your glamping pods apart from the crowd.

Adria Boutique

Adria’s glamping wing specialises in a beautiful selection of glamping tents, including safari tents and bell tents. If you’re after a canvas structure that isn’t a yurt, Adria should be the first place you look. 

Conclusion

If you’ve made it to this point, well done! It suggests that you have enough diligence and attention to detail to be a successful glamping site owner. We hope that this guide has answered plenty of your questions, but also given you a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the correct form of glamping accommodation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we’ll be more than happy to help. If you’re interested in learning more about the services we offer, you can follow the links below.

Feasibility studies

Glamping planning permission

Websites and marketing

Glampitect Visuals

A button with an image of a glamping site - text saying book in a call