Buying Land For A Campsite Or Campground For A Glamping Business

Have you been investigating camping businesses with the idea of updating them into glamping sites? This is one of a number of growing trends and ideas for campsites to make them more profitable and relaunch tired facilities to a new market segment, attract new customers and boost the overall income from campsites.

Glamour camping, also known as glamping, is one of the best ways to turn an old camping ground into something new and exciting. Glamping combines the nature-loving properties of camping with modern comfort and style. It’s an activity that people of all ages can enjoy, no matter where they’re from and it's becoming popular around the world.

Buying a campsite and converting it into a glamping site is a very sensible idea. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to set up a new glamping business because you won't need to go through the lengthy process of seeking planning permissions and obtaining the necessary zoning. It will also have the amenities and structures you can repurpose into the ideal service you are aiming for.

The key is assessing the land and judging if it will suit luxury camping before you decide to purchase.

Buying A Campsite And Land Feasibility

If you’re thinking of buying and running a campsite or campground for glamping, here are some pointers:

1. Investigate existing structures in the campsite

The current infrastructures in the camping ground can either help your glamping site or become an additional expense. You should first check the status of the existing structures in the camp. Pay particular attention to whether they are owned by others with a ground rent paid to the campsite owners. These may be in the form of buildings or static caravans and you will need to assess if you can or will need to upgrade or demolish them. If any of the materials are not fit for use, you will have to deconstruct these and this may incur additional funding.

2. Check utilities like electricity and water

The glampsite will need to have water and power, although many of these can be of-grid. If the site doesn’t have an existing water or electricity connection, you will need to set a budget for these. Sewage facilities and electricity can be particularly expensive if the right systems are not in place. 

3. Assess roads and paths to the site and on-site

The streets and highways are crucial to the experience of your clients and maintaining your emergency access for fire and health regulations are essential. Make sure that you check the paths leading to the area before buying an old camping ground. No matter how beautiful your development becomes, you will lose out on potential glampers if the roads are inaccessible. 

4. Quality check recreational facilities

If there are swimming pools or hot tubs you will need to check for evidence they have been maintained and there are no major leaks or maintenance issues. If you identify issues these will need to be included as conditions to be fixed in the sale. Never underestimate the time, effort and money it takes to keep these facilities safe and legal for your guests.

5. Be aware of local issues

While you are in your land feasibility assessment stage you must investigate any local issues that will impact your services. This could include drainage, protected flora and fauna, issues with insects and so on. 

6. Investigate star ratings and reviews

Before you purchase a site, which has at one time been operational, it is wise to pay attention to any existing reviews. Star ratings usually take into consideration the number and type of facilities you have on-site and if you want to improve these then you will be able to increase this in the future. This may not be as easy for reviews and this is something you will want to consider when planning your marketing and re-brand.

7. Ask to see the income from the campsite

Even if the campsite is no longer trading, there will be a historical record of the income it previously generated. This will help you to assess if the asking price is worth it. Although checking the income from campsite is an important step, don't feel too negative if it's not quite what you hoped for. With the right service, branding and guest attraction marketing you will soon be able to generate an increase in the campsite income, especially if your land feasibility assessment is looking positive. The key here is to spend time on your business plan, set-up costs and complete a 3-year cash flow to assess if you can make the campsite work in terms of future income.

8. Know the existing market and competitors

The primary purpose of buying the camping ground is transforming it into a glamping business, so it’s essential to know if there is a demand for it. Aside from knowing the kinds of people who would be interested in glamping at your site, you also have to know if other places in your locality offer the same type of experience.

Your target glampers and your glamping competitors are important things to consider before buying a campsite. If you purchase land where there are too many competitors, you might have to spend more to develop a more unique service to that already offered nearby and to attract attention quickly when you launch.

Summary

Buying land for a campsite and developing it into a glamping business is a big decision so you should take all necessary steps and precautions to make sure your investment won’t go to waste.

As with every business that operates from buildings and land, it's essential you complete a thorough feasibility study, which will give you confidence in your purchase. Your next task will be your business planning, set up costs and cash flow projections. Businesses that neglect these essential elements will experience problems further down the purchase path, so it's definitely worth putting the time in here.

With the right planning and business choices, you can turn that tired old campsite into a luxurious glamping site and if you play your cards right, you could have a great tourist destination in your hands and a lifestyle business you can be proud of.

For more support with your glamping business planning and cash flow forecast, click here for the start-up guide.

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