Five Ways to Make Your Glamping Operation a Success

These days, camping doesn’t always mean pit toilets and a slowly deflating blow-up mattress. Glamping (glamor + camping) has taken off with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 8.1 percent from 2023 to 2032. It’s a great option for guests who want to see the woods and give themselves a little TLC, including elderly people, people with disabilities, or those who simply want to sleep on a featherbed (much better if you have back issues). Here’s how to make your glamping operation succeed. 

Offer Basic (and Not-so-basic) Amenities

Your glamping operation should come with the comforts of civilization (that’s why it’s called glamping, not camping). Start with the basics. Your bathroom facilities have to be top-notch; outhouses are definitely out. Comfortable beds are a must. Guests should be sore from hiking—not because they slept wrong!

As for cooking, make sure there’s a kitchenette as well as a barbeque. Some nights, guests won’t feel like dealing with semi-charred hamburgers. They’ll want to pop something in the microwave and call it done. 

Wi-Fi is a plus too. If they need to, guests can answer a few emails. Or they can play the “no-signal” card with their boss and binge a few episodes of their favorite show under your down comforter instead. 

However, Wi-Fi isn’t the only thing you can use to entertain your guests. Include board games and books. The kids will have something to do on that one day when it rains, and the parents can read an old John Grisham novel by the campfire. 

Consider your outdoor area as well. How can you make lounging on the porch or by the fire as appealing as possible? How comfortable are the chairs? Additions such as fairy lights, hammocks, and picnic tables can all make your guests want to sit and stay a while.

Bring out the big guns. Saunas, hot tubs, wine packages, and other unique features can reel in those guests and add to your unique selling proposition. Our client, Rocky Valley Glamping, even has an outdoor movie theater. What can you offer that your competition can’t? 

Even a tent can offer a luxurious stay!

Choose a Stellar Location

An ideal glamping location should be far away enough from any urban areas that guests can’t hear the traffic but close enough that it won’t turn into a 127 Hours situation. In a perfect world, guests would be able to shop or pick up a meal in town one day and go on a waterfall hike the next.

But even imperfect locations can still offer a great guest experience. It’s all about highlighting what makes the area special and marketing it to the right people. Our client, Klarhet, is located in a “food forest” where people have gone out of their way to plant edible shrubs, herbs, and vegetables. They use ingredients from this forest in their culinary tasting packages, attracting nature lovers and foodies from near and far. Think about how your location looks on social media and highlight any Instagramable features in your marketing. 

Sites should have plenty of space between them so that neighbors don’t bother each other. Alternatively, trees, trellises, or strategic site positioning can help create private retreats and a sense of seclusion.

A stellar location is also one that’s appropriate to build on. Make sure all the practicalities are in place. How flat is it? Is it legal to use? Are there any landscape hazards?

Plan for the lowest common denominator and assume your guests are outdoor novices. Are there any precautions you need to tell them about? Do they need to be careful how they store their food? Not knowing things in nature isn’t even the worst issue; it’s when you don’t know what you don’t know. Keep your guests informed! 

Have Strong Customer Service

You can still have strong customer service even if you aren’t there for your guests’ vacation. You can show up to welcome them and demonstrate any special features, then make yourself scarce so they can enjoy the sauna. This gives you a chance to smile and introduce yourself.

Or you can take the less is more approach and opt for convenient, contactless check-in where guests can sign their agreement and receive their digital key and/or arrival instructions by SMS or email. 

Either way, ensure that you’re reachable if they need you. Your website isn’t the only place you should put your phone number. Consider implementing a guest messaging app, such as Akia or Duve. These apps enable you to keep in touch with your guests 24/7 via SMS from any location (provided they have their phone and phone service). Send automated messages to let guests know about your amenities and upsells and/or create a digital guide with this information (this would also be a good place to tell them about any safety concerns). Travel tips, local attractions, and property history are all great ideas to include in your guide as well. 

It goes without saying that your tents or geodesic domes or eco-pods should be as clean as a hotel. Yes, dirt will get tracked inside, but it should be the guest’s own dirt and not dirt from the previous person. 

Invest in a Quality PMS

That contactless check-in (see above) won’t work without a quality property management system (PMS) that integrates with your keyless solution so that information flows freely between both systems (don’t leave your guests stuck outside with the howling wolves). Your PMS should connect to other tech solutions you wish to use (including guest messaging platforms and online distribution channels) as well as offer its own set of robust campground-specific features

WebRezPro’s commission-free booking engine offers an interactive map from which guests can view and book specific sites. It also enables property owners to set seasonal rates and access the system from any device. You won’t need to set up a server in the woods! 

Put the Word (and Photos) Out

To make a profit off your gorgeous geodesic domes, people have to know about them. Set up a high-quality website, make sure you’re listed on the appropriate OTAs, and have an active social media presence. Your glamping site should automatically lend itself to beautiful photos, so take full advantage of that to draw guests in. 

Know who your primary audience is and go where they go. Your property management system helps you again here by enabling you to gather guest data. You can also take a peek at your reviews to see what features your guests like best, then emphasize those features in your marketing.

Use these tips to set your glamping operation up for success and offer guests the experience they dream about: something truly special, complete with star gazing, smores, and premium hot coffee in the morning!