If you’re considering the rental returns of commercial hut ownership, you’ve come to the right place. We’re proud to build bespoke huts, cabins, and wagons for some of the UK’s leading country hotels and unique staycation venues.
Guest Demand for Glamping Staycations
Guest demand for unusual holiday accommodation shows no sign of slowing. Search trends for “glamping” have continued to rise during lockdown, with searches over the past 12 months peaking in the height of summer, between 19-25th July 2020.
With travel restrictions still in place, and customer demand for staycations growing stronger by the day, we wanted to find where the most popular staycation locations were, specifically related to glamping. Using Google Autocomplete suggestions as insight, and analysing the search volumes for each location suggested, the top 5 glamping locations in the UK were revealed as:
- Lake District
To add to this, we also analysed our own customer sales data to decipher where the biggest “glampreneur” hotspots were – based on our entrepreneurial customers who have purchased a commercial shepherd hut over the last two years.
According to our sales data, the top 5 “glampreneur” hotspots include:
- Dorset (20%)
- Kent (8%)
- Oxfordshire (7%)
- Devon (6%)
- Hampshire (6%)
Dorset stormed the top spot, with a whopping 20% of our sales coming from entrepreneurial customers in this location – that’s 1 in every 5 sales we make! Kent, Oxfordshire, Devon, and Hampshire made up the remainder of the top five.
This spread shows that no matter where in the UK you live, there will likely be some demand for glamping facilities near you. Shepherd’s huts are infinitely flexible and portable – we’ve helped manoeuvre Plankbridge huts into some beautiful rural locations that provide the perfect tonic to our busy urban lives - so location is no excuse to not give it a go!
The Hut Calculator
Well-built shepherd’s huts can provide a prudent investment that will be around for many generations to come. Our sales data also revealed the cabin style huts are our most popular, with 49% of our sales since 2018 being for this design. Snug (43%) followed close behind, and the remaining 8% were made up of custom orders.
When comparing the investment to a holiday cottage, the nightly rental yields are generally higher, and the capital outlay is considerably lower. If you’re starting your own “glampreneur” journey, our hut calculator and checklist can help.
Simply input the cost of your hut (new or second hand), nightly rate, annual running costs and occupancy level, for an idea of how long it will take to get a return on your investment.
To help calculate your running costs, we recommend considering the following checklist. Add up the costs for a year and you’ll have an approximate running cost figure to drop into the calculator.
- Maintenance and repairs (well-built shepherd’s huts should require little maintenance above that which you’d expect to carry out in any holiday cottage)
- Utilities (water, electricity, oil, or gas. And don’t forget wood if you have a wood burner)
- Consumables (for example, toiletries and hampers)
- Booking site fees (remember, companies like Airbnb charge a booking commission)
How to Get Started
Swallowtail Hill Farm, a glamping site based in Sussex, features custom-built Plankbridge huts (including a specially designed ‘round house’), so we spoke to founder Sarah Broadbent to discuss her experience of setting up a commercial site, also offering her top tips for someone starting out in the business:
“When we began offering places to stay at Swallowtail Hill the glamping industry was in its infancy but now there’s a huge industry to support the sector. Spend time on the detail, do your homework and most importantly get the numbers right!
“It’s very easy to get carried away with your creative vision for a beautiful glamping space but unless you’ve worked out exactly what you’re going to provide, who your target audience is, and what the place is going to cost not only to build and kit out, but more importantly to run – you won’t have a clue whether your vision matches up with market reality. Will your guests pay the price you need to charge in order to get a return on your investment? If not – rethink your design!”
Depending on the layout, décor and location, shepherd huts can be enchanting, romantic, and even luxurious; suitable for families and couples alike.
It’s not just “glampreneurs” getting excited about these opportunities – broadcasters are also getting in on the act, with a new BBC show in development featuring “aspiring B&B hosts keen to earn a bit of extra cash by transforming their spare outdoor spaces into exceptional holiday rentals”.
If you’re looking for a commercial hut partner to help realise your vision, why not get in touch?