Frequently Asked Questions
How much is it likely to cost to get up and running?
There’s no doubt that starting a site is a significant investment. How much you spend will vary depending on how much infrastructure you need to put in at your end. If you start with six cabins, you’d be looking at spending between £200k -£260k to get up and running.
What are the biggest setup costs?
The 3 numbers we advise you to find out early on in your Glamping journey are:
- The costs of access infrastructure to the site.
- The cost of bringing water to the site.
- The cost of providing the requisite levels of Electricity supply.
All can be very significant and will have a real impact on site choice and potential profitability.
What does the Franchise cost?
The Franchise costs £7500 +VAT for 6 Wigwams or more. If you start with less than 6 then the fee is prorated accordingly. This fee provides you with Franchise status and the associated benefits, including territory, for a period of 5 years. The only other cost is the highly competitive 10% Booking Commission payable on all bookings - to put this into context booking.com charges a massive 18% + VAT and you don’t get any of the support provided by Wigwam® Holidays!
Is there a renewal fee after 5 years?
If you choose to remain part of the Wigwam® network once your initial Franchise license expires there will be a small renewal fee to cover administration and IT update costs. It is worth noting that to date we have not had a Franchise site not renew, why would you change things when you are making great returns on investment!
What sort of occupancy can I expect, how much is each cabin likely to make?
We can go through detailed projected Cash Flows if you choose to schedule a Virtual Site Visit with us. This will show setup costs, fixed and variable costs, potential borrowing costs, and income levels at varying occupancy levels. However, to give you an idea - Our busiest site reaches in excess of 85% occupancy per year at an average of £160 per night for a Running Water Wigwam® with a Hot Tub. On average a new site will achieve over 30% occupancy in Year 1 rising to at least 50% by Year 4. With annual revenues varying between £10,000-£20,000+ per Wigwam®.
What other sources of revenue are there?
Most of your guests will be arriving in small cars and therefore, are very limited in what they can bring with them. This provides a great opportunity to up-sell ‘Extras’ to your guests, from bedding, towels, outdoor lanterns, firewood, fairy lights, breakfast packs, etc. The opportunities are only limited by the amount of time you can put into the business. To put it into context, most sites earn between £1000-£1500 per year per Wigwam® from firewood sales alone!
You could also earn additional revenue from the introduction of paid-for activities, such as fishing, fairy trails, Halloween events, onsite cafe/shop, quad biking, Lama trekking...the opportunities are endless. 1 site even offers gold panning!
My site is just a field, we do not have other activities, will people still want to come?
The majority of our sites are located in fields with beautiful surroundings and views. Very few have extra activities when they 1st open and many never choose to add them. The secret to site success is providing a calm, relaxing, safe environment where your guests can totally unwind from their hectic day-to-day lives. If your site looks good in photo and video the bookings will follow.
We are not in a tourist hot spot, will people want to visit?
Many of our sites are located away from traditional tourist hot spots. As long as you have access to large urban populations within a 3-hour radius of your site then guests will travel. It’s all down to how attractive you can make your site look through photos and video so that you stand out on social media and through our booking channels. We will help you achieve this!
Would you recommend the addition of Hot Tubs?
Definitely, whether they be wood-fired or electric. Hot tubs can add a massive £35-60 per night revenue to your bottom line. They also extend the out of season ‘shoulder months’, as guests love a hot tub when the weather is cold. In other words, you will achieve more bookings and a significantly higher nightly rental with a Hot Tub Wigwam®.
Do Hot Tubs take a lot of work?
Yes, both wood-fired and electric hot tubs will add to your workload. Every guest changeover will require the hot tub to be cleaned, refilled, reheated, and appropriate chemicals added.
How hard is it to get planning?
Planning is often the biggest challenge our new franchisees face when they start to plan their site. For some people, it is very straightforward and for others, it can be a major challenge. We work with a team of architects in Edinburgh that have had great success in getting planning permission through for our sights. The first thing we would always recommend though is to phone up your local planners and have a conversation with them about your site to ascertain what is permissible. Also, talk to your neighbours and tell them what you are planning so that you can proactively overcome any unfounded objections.
My site is in an environmentally sensitive area, can we get planning?
We do have sites in National Park, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (ANOB), SSSI, or near Historical Landmarks - whilst harder to win, planning can be achieved in sensitive locations through the production of a detailed, well thought out Planning Application. Furthermore, letters of support from local businesses, environmental groups, and local figures of authority can help sway Planners' decisions in your favour.
How much time does it take to run a site?
Most of our site owners are farmers looking to diversify and therefore, already have full-time jobs! However, there is an inherent time commitment to running a Glamping Site - from answering guest emails to arranging cleaning rotas, to delivering excellent customer service to your visitors. Nevertheless, a lot of this can be scheduled and done in the evenings. During the Summer when you would be predicted to be almost 100% full you may want to have someone on-site permanently during opening hours...as your guests will want to have a point of contact for local information, the sale of extras, and to solve any issues.
Can you help me with funding and finance?
We have an in-house Funding expert - if there is Grant Funding available Carron will find it for you and can even help complete the application, Additionally, we have close links with a number of banks and finance houses that we can put you in touch with...High Street Banks especially, like the right Franchise as it is a proven Business Model and therefore, less risky for them. We are here to help.
How long does it take to get a Cabin?
All our cabins are hand-built in Perth by skilled craftsmen and as such we can only build 2 per week. As a result, lead times tend to be between 3-6 months depending on the time of year. If you would like to visit the factory I am more than happy to set up a meeting.
How does your business work?
We do manufacture and sell cabins and we are very proud of this because they are among the highest quality ‘pod’ like cabins available. However, this is just part of our focus, the larger part of our business is marketing those cabins for holidaymakers through our brand and supporting our sites through our franchise. We offer support from the beginning with help in securing planning and funding. We advise our sites on how to get the most out of their land and we support them in running their business through our online booking channels, quarterly seminars, conferences, our Wigwam® Academy, and by always being on the other end of the phone to offer support and advice as required.
Of course, it is possible to set up a successful holiday site on your own but it is not easy to make this a success, and there are no blueprints on how to do it. Our turnkey solution is designed to reduce the risk of opening up a glamping site and help maximise your profit potential. We have over 80 sites all operating successful businesses. We are experts in getting sites up and running and busy with customers, and with our website ...we are the number one glamping brand in the UK. We have a proven franchise model and we can support you right from the start.