Matt Johnson

Glamping on a Budget: Tips for Start-Ups with Limited Capital

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Jan 17, 2024

Embarking on the journey of creating a glamping business with a limited budget can be both a thrilling and challenging endeavor. 

Glamping, or glamorous camping, is a growing trend that combines the beauty of the outdoors with the comfort of luxury amenities. Who wouldn’t want to host their own glamping destination?

Although luxury is a cornerstone of glamping, it doesn’t have to break your bank account as a new glamping destination owner.

Understanding the glamping market.

The first step is to understand the glamping market

Glamping appeals to a wide range of customers, from adventure-seekers to those looking for a peaceful retreat. 

Research your target audience and tailor your offerings to meet their preferences. This will help you create a unique glamping experience that stands out.

Keep in mind that your localized market may be different than another market. For example, glamping is a massive industry in the Pacific Northwest. However, it hasn’t taken hold nearly as much in the Midwest states.

Sure, you can change that, but it’ll take a bit more effort.

Location selection: Beauty on a budget.

Perfect Location for a Glamping Resort

Choosing the right location is crucial. We’re not talking about geographically throughout the US, but instead, a location near you.

Look for naturally beautiful land that doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. It’s hard to find, but if you work with a reputable real estate agent, you can find an off-market hidden gem.

Another idea is to lease land instead of buying or considering partnering with landowners for a revenue-sharing model. Reach out and contact the owners of the gorgeous land, but they are not currently doing anything with it. Many will be overwhelmed to make some money on land they already have.

Lastly, ensure the site is accessible yet secluded enough to offer a genuine outdoor experience. We know you’re excited to get started, but don’t jump at the first great deal if it’s not what you envisioned.

Budget-friendly infrastructure.

You’ve found a place and got the land, but now it’s time to build the dream. We’ve even had some tips for saving money when building out the infrastructure of your glamping business.

  • Eco-friendly and affordable tents. Opt for tents that are both eco-friendly and budget-conscious. Canvas bell tents or yurts are great options. These tents offer durability and can be sourced at reasonable prices.
  • DIY furnishings. Embrace a do-it-yourself approach to furnishings. Use recycled or upcycled materials to create unique, rustic furniture. Pallets, for instance, can be transformed into beds, sofas, or outdoor seating. A little sweat equity will go a long way into making your dream destination a reality.
  • Natural landscaping. Use the natural landscape to your advantage. Minimize landscaping costs by incorporating the existing flora into your design. Of course, clean up areas that need cleaning, but don’t invest too heavily here.
Upscaled Glamping Furniture

Once you have the foundation of our Airbnb or destination down and you’re generating some revenue, you can start to consider upgrading the basics. 

Cost-effective amenities.

Amenities and glamping go hand in hand. So, you’ll need to build out some amenities, but you don’t have to go broke doing so.

  • Solar power solutions. Implement solar-powered lighting and charging stations. They are sustainable and reduce ongoing electricity costs.
  • Communal facilities. Build communal kitchens and bathrooms. This saves on construction costs and fosters a sense of community among guests.
  • Local Partnerships. Partner with local businesses for amenities like guided tours or adventure activities. This reduces the need for in-house resources and supports the local economy.
  • Sustainable water solutions. Consider rainwater harvesting and efficient water recycling systems. These solutions align with eco-conscious travelers’ values and cut down on water bills, making them a cost-effective choice.
  • Eco-friendly transportation. Promote environmentally friendly modes of transportation for guests. Encourage biking with bike rental services or set up shuttle services to nearby attractions. This reduces your guests’ carbon footprint and adds to the overall glamping experience. Plus, it’s a win-win for the environment and your budget.

Marketing and branding on a shoestring budget.

Creating a solid brand identity is vital. 

Use social media platforms to market your glamping site. Engaging content, stunning visuals of your site, and guest testimonials can attract a wider audience.

You can also spice up your Airbnb listing or even on VRBO to get some extra attention and drive visitors to your location.

Pro Tip: Utilize social media platforms and engage your audience with beautiful visuals and compelling stories about your site. This will create followers and ultimately get more visibility for your destination.

Maximizing revenue and guest experience.

While keeping costs low is important, it’s equally crucial to focus on maximizing your glamping site’s revenue and guest experience. After all, happy guests are more likely to return and recommend your destination to others.

  • Dynamic pricing strategies. Implement dynamic pricing based on seasons, demand, and local events. Higher prices during peak seasons and events can significantly boost your revenue.
  • Add-on experiences. Offer additional paid experiences such as private bonfires, romantic setups, or outdoor movie nights. These enhance the guest experience and provide an additional revenue stream. Little things like these add up over time.
  • Personalized packages. Create customized packages for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, or group retreats. Tailored experiences make guests feel special and are often worth the extra cost.
  • Feedback and continuous improvement. Actively seek guest feedback and make continuous improvements. This helps refine your offerings and shows guests that you value their opinions, fostering loyalty.
  • Loyalty programs. Introduce a loyalty program or referral incentives to encourage repeat visits and word-of-mouth marketing. Small discounts or special perks for returning guests can go a long way.

Remember, enhancing guest experience doesn’t always mean high costs. It’s about creating memorable moments and personal touches that make guests feel valued and eager to return.

Leveraging technology.

Use online booking systems and glamping-specific management software to streamline operations. 

This reduces the need for extensive administrative staff, cutting down costs.

Of course, some of these tools will cost you, but it’s generally on a per-booking basis, so you don’t pay unless you get bookings.

Building a community.

Develop a sense of community around your brand. 

Host events, workshops, or retreats that align with the interests of your target audience. Remember when we mentioned partnerships? This is a great area to leverage those.

Don’t just stop with the workshops, but leverage the online communities. Join Facebook groups, but don’t spam them. Simply be helpful, and people will start following you. 

This adds value to your guests’ experience and helps in word-of-mouth marketing.

Build your dream destination with minimal cash!

Starting a glamping business on a budget requires creativity, resourcefulness, and a deep understanding of your market. 

By focusing on sustainable practices, innovative solutions, and community-building, you can create a unique and successful glamping destination that doesn’t break the bank.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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