Traditionally, camping is the low-cost choice for holiday-makers but other, more unusual, glamorous, fancy or posh camping options are on the increase. Glamping holidays, boutique hotels and quirky B&Bs are in no short supply in Britain. But glamping holidays aren’t always as cheap as you might expect.
A couple of weeks ago I presented at The Glamping Show, the second annual exposition for the glamping industry. I gave seminars on Building Barnutopia, Choosing the Best Booking System and The WWW of Web Presence. There were exhibitors and speakers from every aspect of the glamping industry; accommodation manufacturers, equipment suppliers, eco toilet companies, insurers, marketers, planning advisors and upcycling experts. In many of the presentations, mine included, three factors were mentioned repeatedly.
- The expected growth of glamping in Britain.
- The importance of pricing correctly.
- Providing a great guest experience.
It seems that more Brits are choosing to stay in the United Kingdom for holidays than ever before. They’re looking for something a little different and they don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for accommodation. How much can you expect to pay?
Prices for Glamping Holidays, Hotels, Motels, B&Bs and Camping
A quick and very unscientific survey of prices for glamping holidays and other accommodation in and around the Oswestry, Shropshire area revealed the following price points for a room/accommodation for one night for two adults and two children, including breakfast:
- £170 Boutique hotel
- £130 Glamping
- £90 B&B
- £70 Motel/Inn
- £30 camping in your own tent and making your own breakfast
These prices don’t take into account the availability of rooms for 4 guests, any minimum-stay requirements, the quality of the accommodation and decor, guest conveniences, facilities and the precise location and setting in the Welsh borderlands. Nevertheless, they are representative of the nightly tariffs guests can expect for holiday accommodation in Shropshire and Powys. Is it worth spending nearly as much on a glamping holiday as a hotel stay?
Why are Glamping Prices Similar to B&B or Hotel Prices?
Small, quirky, well equipped outdoor accommodation providers do not benefit from economies of scale. It’s awkward and time consuming to clean and vacuum yurts and other accommodation located in a field or hillside. Lugging a vacuum cleaner over the grass between yurts is a tad more challenging than pulling it across the smooth carpets of a budget motel. The layout of furniture in outdoor yurts, tents, pods and huts, often smaller than hotel rooms, make it slower to clean and change beds. The cost of employing staff to clean a small number of units eats deeply into any profit. Bringing power, lighting, heating and free Wi-Fi to a field has a significant practical and financial cost, both initially and ongoing. Likewise ensuring adequate clean toilet and bathroom facilities off the beaten track incurs costs. In remote areas, every piece of equipment, supplies and groceries have to be brought in, maybe from miles away. All rubbish, recycled materials and waste has to be disposed of by carrying it off the property. Caring for animals, an integral party of many outdoor glamping or farm experiences, comes at a time and monetary cost. Does that mean a glamping holiday is worth more than other accommodation?
The Value of Glamping Holidays
Glamping is more than pitching a tent with a bed in a field. At least, it is if the accommodation and facilities showcased at The Glamping Show are anything to go by. Many campers kit out tents out very luxuriously and you can have fantastic camping holidays in Britain, a nation of campers. But while a good night’s sleep is essential to a great glamping experience, glamping in its entirety is a lot more than that.
Glamping is not just about the sleeping arrangements. It’s about having an experience. It is enjoying the adventure and excitement of camping but with the comforts and conveniences of a hotel. It’s being able to choose not to spend hours on social media, but being able to post pics of your glorious surroundings if you want to. It’s going for a nature walk directly from the site and not having to drive anywhere. It’s about not needing to flick through the channels because you’re sitting bored in a room, but having the option to watch Netflix on a rainy evening while the rain pitter patters on the canvas roof. It’s chatting around the campfire with like-minded guests and then snuggling up under the stars in a real bed with warm duvets. It’s reaching out to switch on the heating so the yurt is toasty warm before you get up on a cold morning. It’s making friends in a relaxed setting with comfortable communal spaces that invite friendly conversation and not nodding polite greetings in a hotel lobby.
Many glamping sites are located on working farms or small-holdings with animals and vegetable gardens, surrounded by beautiful countryside and stunning views. Glamping site hosts choose to run a glamping site not because they want to get rich, but because they want the quality of life that goes with it. Although a lot of work goes into providing a wonderful experience for guests, they don’t think of it as a “proper job”. As a glamping site owner, I can say that there is nothing more satisfying than seeing our guests cooking their supper over a campfire, children laughing and playing outside, our animals getting love and attention and, of course, receiving compliments and rave reviews about our site and accommodation.
Glamping holidays are a very reasonably priced alternative to good hotels or B&Bs. But the real value is in the unique experience and priceless memories you’ll create.