Insights

Integrating Unique Operations into a Campground/Glamping Business


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Glamping is a booming trend in the hospitality industry, attractive to people who want an outdoors experience but do not want to live the RVers’ life or own a garage-full of camping equipment. They may not have ready access to a natural environment, and they want to enjoy it and share their outdoor experiences with their social media circles. As more campground/glamping businesses rise to meet the needs of glampers, each has to find a way to be distinctive.

A business can make itself distinct in many ways. Often we are seeing businesses share a passion with guests. “Farm stays” are a perfect example, in which guests can participate in the rural life for a weekend. Other operations emphasize place and infrastructure. Another option is to provide a unique experience unrelated to the exact place, such as axe throwing or an escape room. Insurance companies can enable or restrict these operations, so matching a business’ operations with the right carrier or mix of insurers is a vital part of building a risk management strategy.

Sharing a Passion

Glamping attracts business owners for its lifestyle just as much as it attracts their customers. Some owners use it as an opportunity to share an activity or lifestyle that motivates them to endure the expense and effort of starting and maintaining their business.

The most successful take one unique endeavor and focus their business on making it work, instead of spreading their efforts broadly. One farm stay operation offers llama hikes and exposure to these unusual animals to enhance a mountain glamping experience. Another teaches fly fishing skills and hosts fly tying classes for interested glampers in a lodge. A third offers intimate trail rides for just two or three visitors at once to enhance a ranch visit.

Using the Environment

Creating attractions from the local landscape and history makes for an authentic experience for guests. Lodging types, such as tree houses, tepees or wall tents, can mirror historic activities and building types in the area. Glampers want authentic outdoor experiences but may not want to own the gear these require. Renting inflatable paddleboards that glampers can fit into backpacks and hike with to hidden waters typifies this approach. It requires additional planning, rental agreements and waivers, upfront equipment costs, maintenance, and storage. It also requires insurance.

Insurance products applicable to adventures like this include general liability, property and inland marine (or mobile equipment) coverages. A complete insurance program may also include other coverages determined on a case by case basis. Since not all policies are written the same, especially when it comes to unique exposures, it’s important to examine what risks are included and excluded in a specific coverage proposal.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Sometimes an attraction is based on novelty alone. The sport of axe throwing is an example that has expanded rapidly in the past few years. As a new and relatively uncommon activity, it can attract visitors but concern insurers. The more predictable the risk, the more likely an insurer will offer coverage, so for an inherently more unpredictable attraction, an insurer will likely require more documentation of effective risk management. They may require a business to provide details that do not appear on any application, such as pictures of safety structures, posted rules, orientation/training procedures and emergency management plans. The more detailed the risk management design, the more likely an insurer will offer coverage.

Protecting Glamping and Camping — And a Whole Lot More

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