How to grow your business – top tips from Tom and Tessa

The glamping industry has been growing for the last 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Google trends reported 1.8 million searches last year in relation to glamping. A weak pound, consumers becoming more environmentally conscious and the need for more escapism from cities as anxiety levels increase means nature breaks are continuing to rise. In a recent Barclays report, 52% of people said they were planning to take either most or all of their holidays in the UK next year.

Our co-founder Tom and Business Development Manager Tessa were asked to give their expert opinion at The Glamping Show, providing their top ten tips on things to consider when expanding your glamping business.

Breathtaking locations
When looking for a new space, either explore your existing land for an amazing view or expand an outdoor area to incorporate amazing scenery. Your space is your brand. An incredible location or brilliant outdoor photography of the area can really sell your new site. Carswell Beach Hut, with its unique coastal location, has nightly rates from £275–475 per night and high occupancy. Ditchling Cabin achieves from £350 per night due to its position on a lake.

Year-round bookings
Glamping has definitely evolved from its canvas early days, and we’re seeing a wider trend for people to take more year-round holidays. We have seen a 30–40% increase in bookings for winter stays over the last two years. Opting for weatherproof structures allows you to increase occupancy and improve your income.

Be bold
Be adventurous with design. More and more guests want ‘Instagrammable’ experiences. Being unique means you’re more likely to gain press opportunities, which really help when launching a new space. When we launched Humble Bee we managed to get it featured in Stylist, Metro, Good Homes, The Times, Red Magazine and more. We’re increasingly building relationships with unique build partners we can introduce you to – or better still, design and build yourself.

Affordable luxury
Although demand continues to rise for the more high-end, creative and extreme, there is also a need for the more affordable, rustic and beautiful. However, quality should not be compromised. In a recent survey to our audience, almost 70% of participants said the reason they buy from their favourite brands is because they value their high quality.

There is a market for being high quality yet affordable. When we launched Puckshipton Treehouse this year, it was the fifth most-viewed space on our website this year. Affordable choices still continue to be popular with our audience, and ‘On a Budget’ is one of our most viewed collections.

Experience features
With people staying close to home, they want more excitement, more than just a place to stay and elements of play that connect them with the outdoors. ‘Hot Tubs’ remains our most popular experience collection onsite, seeing over 17,000 searches each month. Other outdoor experiences include open-fire cooking, outdoor bath tubs and showers, Dark Sky Reserve stargazing, pizza ovens and animal interaction. These are all part of the extended experience and can really sell your space.

Occasion vacations
Make sure your space is occasion ready. Analysis of last year’s data showed that 52% of all Canopy & Stars holidays were booked for an occasion. Of course, these experiences can be monetised, but we do recommend thinking about the complimentary small touches such as a local bottle of wine or some homemade chocolates.

Consider welcoming pets
The number of Canopy & Stars pet stays has grown by nearly 60% in the last 2 years and shows no signs of slowing. Allowing pet stays opens up your audience and can significantly increase your occupancy rates. To make your space really pet friendly, don’t just accept pets – welcome them with hampers and treats.

Wellbeing in nature
Wellness tourism is growing twice as fast as global tourism. According to a recent Barclays report, 91% of the people surveyed cited ‘escapism and distraction’ as their primary goal for a holiday.

Connecting people to nature has always been an key part of our ethos, and it’s now more important than ever. Professional therapies such as yoga, massage and meditation are currently very popular. You could also consider self-led experiences – we have a site that has a reflexology walk in the woods, made from pathways and signs with different textures underfoot.

Future growth
We act as business partners with all of our owners, giving advice and support to grow your business in a sustainable way. One third of owners have now launched new spaces since joining Canopy & Stars.

We always recommend getting in touch early if you’re planning to expand. Using our data and insight, we can help you every step of the way. This year, we officially launched our Canopy & Stars consultancy service, meaning we have a dedicated team to help you grow your business.

Meaningful partnerships

Throughout expansion, it’s important to set up meaningful partnerships that will help you to grow in the right direction. Developing these relationships will allow you to choose partners that reflect your values.

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