Open Air Business August/September 2017


The UK's outdoor hospitality business magazine for function venues, glampsites, festivals and outdoor events

ISSUE 12 | August/September 2017 |




> Wedding Budgets

> Going the Extra Mile

/ /



> Problem People

> Green Products


> Event Promotion

Pre-Event Planning



ISSUE 12 | August/September 2017 |



IT’S SHOW TIME! The time of year when the leaves turn, the evenings

draw in and the team here gets excited because we are finally allowed

out of the office and off to meet you. Well, those of you who make it to

the industry’s excellent trade shows, which I hope will be many.

Kicking off the season is the Glamping Show on 21-23 September

at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Now in its third year, and promising

to be as fun and inspiring as ever, we’ll be there on stand 40. For those

of you in events, the new kid on the block is the following week; the

Festival and Outdoor Events Show (27-28 September at Sandown Park) is already making

a stir. Brought to you by the team behind the Event Production Show and excellent events

magazine Access All Areas, we are delighted to be media partners – come and say ‘hi’ at

stand B72.

Moving on to October – it’s the stalwart of the outdoor events calendar, the Showman’s

Show (18-19 October at Newbury Showground). If you haven’t been before, you must – it is

a sight to behold! And finally we have the Farm Business Innovation Show (8-9 November at

the NEC, Birmingham). Glamping, weddings, events and much more – it has something for

every landowner wanting to diversify. Michael Eavis is a keynote speaker and we’ll be there

too! Stand 1196. We are delighted to be continuing our media partnership with this show, the

team is fantastic and there is a real buzz about it.

Now, about this issue. Well, it’s a bumper edition. I’m not sure how we have managed to

cram so much in – way too much to start chatting about here. So, dive in and have fun. See

you soon I hope!

Not a subscriber? Sign up for FREE at

to make sure you continue to receive the magazine.


Steve Rix -

Tally Wade -


Tally Wade -


Marney Whyte - 01892 677740


James English -


Coffee Shop Media - 01580 848555

The House on the Hill, Friezley Lane,

Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2LL

t: 01580 848555

Contents ISSUE #12 August/September 2017


4 News

6 Product News

8 Show Previews – the Glamping Show,

Festival & Outdoor Events Show and

Showman’s Show


15 Ceridwen Centre – a Welsh wedding

venue with eco ethics

20 Going the Extra Mile – first class

customer service with Isabel Smith

22 Wedding Spend – an insider’s guide

with Kelly Chandler

26 OAB Loves… Flooring – temporary

event flooring products


29 Old Pine Yurt – peace and quiet

under an ancient Scots Pine tree

35 Problem Handling – Kate Morel’s

guide to this tricky area

38 Realising the Vision – creating a

glampsite from the bare earth up

42 OAB Loves… Green Glamping – a

conscientious choice


47 A New Day Festival – appealing to

the 50+ festival goer

50 Pre-Event Promotion – a marketing

toolkit for organisers

54 Fun with Furniture – Helen Lowe

asks ‘what if?’

56 Event Planning – the devil’s in the

detail says John Radford

60 Ticketing Advice – how to attract, sell

to and keep your audience

44 Industry Legend – glamping guru

Kate Morel

62 Spotlight

65 Classifieds

66 Periwinkle







Find more expert advice online:







> Wedding Budgets > Problem People

> Event Promotion

/ /

> Going the Extra Mile > Green Products

> Pre-Event Planning




Geodesic dome kits for business and pleasure

by F.Domes. 020 3695 4246



The latest news from the world of outdoor hospitality

Festout Partners

for Conference



Show (Festout) has confirmed a

number of partnerships that will

deliver two days of industry leading

conference content. The event

has partnered with the large scale

event agency The Fair, the National

Outdoor Events Association (NOEA),

and their Futures Supporter GL

events UK.

The Fair has two divisions; one

specialising in production and

the other in event H&S, and has

produced and supported large-scale

events and independent festivals for

over 17 years. This collaboration will

see Nick Morgan, CEO of The Fair,

curating a programme of content

with complimentary sessions

looking at subjects such as political

challenges, the future of the industry,

AFO Conference 2017

licensing, and health and safety on

the Main Stage.

NOEA will be convening its Future’s

Forum Leadership Group again,

discussing the main trends the

industry faces over the coming years

on the Futures Stage.

Additional sessions will include a

debate on how the industry markets

itself now and in the future, led by

Eventbrite, as well as subjects on

technology and health and safety.

Each session will present its findings

through the prism of how the

industry can adapt to a new future.

The Festival and Outdoor Events

Show will be held at Sandown

Park on 27-28 September.

Register for free tickets at www.

HOT TOPICS, GUEST speakers and networking opportunities galore! The

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) Conference is the place for everything

festivals and events. Over 250 delegates, both professionals and volunteers,

will be gathering to discuss the hot topics affecting the event industry today.

This year’s dates are 10-12 November 2017 at Ettington Chase Conference

Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Steve Heap, general secretary of AFO says “We are pleased to announce that

BBC Breakfast’s Mike Bushell will be joining us to talk about his experiences

of all kinds of festivals.” Other speakers joining the agenda with Mike include:

The Colin Irwin Interview - join the Guardian journalist as he shares the

famous AFO armchairs with a prominent personality; Copywriting to Improve

Sales with Al Best (Entsweb); Engaging Your Community: the links between

local venues and festivals with Mark David (Music Venue Trust); and Legal

Advice with Jon Payne (LSL Solicitors).

See for full details and to book.

A Greener

Festival Training

A GREENER FESTIVAL is making its

environmental assessor training available to

a global audience for the first time through a

new short course offered in partnership with

Falmouth University and CEG Digital.

The not-for-profit company helps festivals,

events and venues adopt environmentallyefficient

practices. The online course sits within

Falmouth’s flexible and part-time MA in Creative

Events Management, launched last year in

partnership with CEG Digital. It is now open for

student applications ahead of an October start.

For more information visit www.flexible.



GLAMPING CONSULTANT KATE MOREL - find out what potential your

land has as a glampsite or how to improve your existing business. Visit or call 07800 800199.


KELLY CHANDLER - book now for dates from 20 September to 17

November. Visit or call 01483



07831 437062 for qualified event safety advice. Chris Hannam will match

any 'like for like' quote from an equally qualified advisor.

Keep us Posted!

Please send us your news – good or bad.

Exciting new plans for your glampsite, venue or

event? New product to promote or award won?



HAE EHA’s Trade Fair

& Convention 2017


Europe & Event Hire

Association Trade Fair &

Convention 2017 will be

held at a new venue this

year; the Ricoh Arena in

Coventry on 11-12 October.

Among the 60 exhibitors

who have already confirmed their presence are a number of

market leaders and recognisable brands including: Arcotherm,

Altrad Belle, Bosch, Calor Gas, Hilti, Husqvarna Construction

Products UK, InspHire, Karcher, Legend Brands Europe, Marcrist

International, Morris Site Machinery, Point of Rental, Snorkel UK

and The Hire Supply Company.

Marketing manager Ann Harrison comments: “We’re all

working incredibly hard to ensure that this year’s HAE EHA

Trade Fair & Convention is representative of the hire, plant and

events industry. An impressive exhibitor list, strong conference

programme and cross-industry support will ensure that

this year’s event is an excellent opportunity to network with

colleagues, gain knowledge and share best practice.”

Michael Eavis at the Farm

Business Innovation Show


Innovation Show is returning

to the NEC in Birmingham on

8-9 November and is pulling

out all the stops to make

2017 the best event yet.

Keynote seminars include

the likes of Michael Eavis

of Glastonbury and Worthy

Farm, Geoff Sansome,

Head of Agriculture for

Natural England, and Tom

Amery from The Wasabi


You’ll also find

interactive workshops

from Amazon’s Digital

Rural Academy, live expert debates and

panel sessions, and over 500 world leading exhibitors.

Visit to register for your free




Tent meets Log Cabin!

North Coast Log Cabins

will be unveiling a new

edition to its popular

Glamping Range at

the Glamping Show.

Available in 12 colours,

this unique product

offers all the romance

of a tent with the

practicality of a log


External elements are

constructed using slow

grown Siberian larch for

minimal maintenance

and a long lifespan. Fully

insulated for year-round

use, the unit features double glazed windows and doors with

multi point locking.

See for you self at the North Coast Log Cabins stand - OSA 10.

01208 850376 / /

‘Have you Seen

our Dome?’

A fresh arrival into the field

of outdoor accommodation,

hosting and events, the

TruDomes team is excited to

be unveiling their muchanticipated

range of domes

at this year’s Glamping

Show following its ‘Have

you seen our Dome?’ teaser

marketing campaign.

Without giving away

all their closely-guarded

secrets before the big day, what is known already is that their

dome sizes reportedly range from ‘cosy’ dining or lounging spaces

and ‘comfortable’ living, working and glamping spaces, to a

‘colossal’ event space for wedding venues, outdoor classrooms and


TruDomes will showcase off-the-shelf, affordable packages as well

as bespoke solutions – all proudly designed and manufactured in the

UK. / 02476 326585

Boldscan Reveals the Contemporary Etosha

Glamping equipment specialist, Boldscan, will be exhibiting the Contemporary

Etosha for the first time at The Glamping Show (21-23 September - Stand

OSA35). The eight berth canvas structure is probably the largest single storey

lodge available anywhere in Europe. In addition, the flexible layout provides

good disabled access. With construction taking a day and half, the Etosha is a

quick and economical solution for adding flexible family accommodation to

holiday parks and hotels.

The internal living area is 90m2, plus front and side decks adding 15m2

per deck. There are options for en-suite bathrooms and three plus bedrooms

sleeping six to 10.

Part of Boldscan’s Albion Canvas Range, the tent is manufactured in

Boldscan’s Somerset factory using breathable polyester cotton for the internal

tent, plus added weatherproofing and insulation.

The Contemporary comes with white walls and the Safari with more muted

country shades. Both are available with a wide choice of interior finishes, liners,

insulation, lighting and carpeting. 01823 665849 /


Use Code OVEN10

at checkout for a

10% discount.

The Frontier Mini Oven

A new addition to the stove range at the

Canvas Tent Shop is the Frontier Mini Oven

– a portable, lightweight mini oven that

simply sits on top of any of its woodburner

stoves. Racking up temperatures of up

to 190 degrees, it is perfect for heating

sausage rolls, pasties and baked potatoes

or warming up a main meal.

There is even enough room for a kettle

or frying pan to sit on the front of the stove

while cooking in the oven. The Frontier

Mini Oven has two shelves inside and only

weighs 3kg.

From £75 with free next day delivery.

01234 740327 /


Blue Sky Thinking

Further reductions for multiple orders

The moduLog is a

modular pod designed

to suit your needs and

your budget.

.Fully insulated

.Anti-vermin mesh

.Oak joinery & floors

.Low Maintenance

.Home-grown timber

.U.K. made

.Placed anywhere

.Off Grid

.Multiple designs for

multiple uses.

.Ideal for woodlands

Glamping in style.

Tel: 01982 553022 / 07843322175



Glamping Show

The Glamping Show tells us why it's the place

to be for anyone involved in the industry

THE GLAMPING SHOW has grown and

evolved since its inception in 2015. It’s not

just a great source for glamping products

and services but it is also the leading

forum for essential industry intelligence.

Whether you are in the throes of planning

a new glamping site, are an established

operator or an event organiser planning

temporary event accommodation, you can

access expert advice, free of charge, at the

Glamping Show to ensure success in your


You will have the opportunity to meet

and listen to industry experts for tips and

advice on how to enhance your business,

clue yourself up on the latest legislation,

including data protection and seasonal

employment law, and find out about the

latest technology on the market to help

you run a slick operation.

Now in its third year the Glamping Show

has become a truly international event

and visitors can expect to see glamping

suppliers from all corners of the world

showcasing an extensive range of different

structures from luxury tents, pods and

shepherd huts to floating lodges and

treehouses plus everything in between.

A wide range of accessories will also be

on show, and all the services you need

to ensure the successful running of a

glamping business.

Glamping is now an established and

recognised part of the holiday and tourism

sectors and has enjoyed exponential

growth in the last few years. So, whatever

stage your business is at, a visit to the

Glamping Show will pay dividends. Make

the most of the opportunity to meet the

suppliers, planners and builders in one

place, and network with others who have

already made the leap and tap into an

exceptional knowledge bank.

Seminar Picks

A few of the talks taking place at the show:

TITLE: ‘Team Septic’ has the solution to

your pollution! SPEAKER: Wayne Clark,

The Septic Tank Store TOPIC: Are you

confused between using septic tanks, cess

pits, sewerage treatment systems or pump

stations? ‘Team Septic’ have the lowdown

and are here to help.

TITLE: What can you actually earn from

a glampsite? SPEAKER: Kate Morel,

independent advisor TOPIC: Examples of

real costs, and best/worst case scenarios this

seminar will give you the financial facts and

figures on glamping.

TITLE: Grants and funding in the countryside:

pre- and post-Brexit SPEAKERS: Tom Beeley

and Dr Charles Trotman, CLA TOPIC: This

seminar will provide an overview of the

present arrangements for EU grants in the

rural economy.

TITLE: How to get into glamping SPEAKER:

Mark Scott, Clear Sky TOPIC: Everything you

need to know about setting up a safari tent

glamping business from planning permission

and where to locate your units to marketing

and setting up a website.

TITLE: Glamping through the eyes of

an insurer SPEAKER: Stephen Bennett,

Towergate Insurance TOPIC: An exploration

of practical and achievable measures

that site owners can take to help reduce

insurance exposures and better protect their


TITLE: Legislation and regulation for

accommodation providers SPEAKER: Kurt

Janson, Tourism Alliance TOPIC: Join Kurt,

author of The Pink Book – Legislation for

Tourism Accommodation for an interactive

session that highlights your rights and

responsibilities as an accommodation


TITLE: Promoting your glamping business

SPEAKER: Emma Warren, Dimpsey

Glamping TOPIC: How to engage with

the right audience when marketing your


TITLE: Simple steps to increase your

glamping business income and secure

future success SPEAKER: Sarah Riley,

Inspired Camping and Inspired Courses

TOPIC: Want to boost your bookings while

spending less on adverts? Make sure you

attend this seminar and collect your show


TITLE: Up-cycled design and how to make

the most of your small spaces SPEAKER:

Max McMurdo, Reestore TOPIC: Max is

currently filming an ITV show on affordable

holiday homes, don’t miss him talking

about all things storage and multipurpose,

and general good design practice.

TITLE: What is a composting toilet?

SPEAKER: Jyoti Tyler, Centre For Alternative

Technology TOPIC: Learn how compost

toilets use little or no water, are not

connected to expensive sewage systems,

cause no environmental damage and

produce a valuable resource for gardening!


The Glamping Show

21-23 September

Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire,



Your one stop shop for all things Camping and Glamping

Take a look at our full range of canvas

tents, tent packages and accessories,

including wood burners, coir matting

and care products.

All tents in our range are made with

100% cotton canvas and include free

delivery within the UK.

Discounts on large orders,

please call for a quote!

Get 5% off everything use code CTS5 at checkout



The new kid on the outdoor event trade show circuit

THE FESTIVAL AND Outdoor Events Show

(FestOut) is launching this September

(27-28) at Sandown Park, Surrey. The

brand new event is brought to you by

Mash Media - the organiser of the Event

Production Show and the publisher of

Access All Areas.

FestOut has been launched to serve

the outdoor events industry and give

organisers the opportunity to network,

learn and do business with leading

suppliers. The venue is situated less than

30 minutes from central London, and

will have indoor and outdoor exhibition

areas, ensuring the vast range of industry

specialists are represented.

In its launch year, the event has already

made a big impact in the industry with

an impressive list of exhibitors signed up,

ranging from temporary roadway and

structure suppliers, to venues and event

production specialists to caterers. If you

are seeking an alternate supplier solution

for your next event, or perhaps you are

searching for that distinctive perfect

venue to host your inspired new festival,

then FestOut has it covered.

Event director Duncan Siegle

commented, “The level of support

we have received from exhibitors and

partners across the spectrum of the

industry is overwhelming and a direct

response to the successful relationships


and reputation we have built up with the

Event Production Show. We are looking

forward to FestOut and offering the

outdoor sector a new and vibrant event at

which to network and do business.”

The show’s inaugural edition sees a

number of partnerships coming together,

notably the collaboration with The Fair.

This large-scale event agency has two

divisions; one specialising in production

and the other in event health and safety.

It has produced and supported large-scale

events and independent festivals for over

17 years, and CEO Nick Morgan will be

curating a programme of content which

will run on the Main Stage over both days.

All educational content available at the

show is complimentary for visitors and the

Main Stage will tackle key issues faced by

the industry, such as political challenges,

licensing and health and safety.

“It’s great that we have secured a

partnership with The Fair and we welcome

them on board,” says Siegle. “We’re really

pleased with the sessions that have been

created and hope that our visitors will find

them engaging, informative and hopefully,


“With a strong balance of experience

from across all sectors of our industry, we

hope to ensure that FestOut becomes the

‘go to’ exhibition for news and views in

outdoor events.”

In addition, FestOut has partnered with

the National Outdoor Events Association

(NOEA) and GL events UK, for two days of

conference content curated to run on the

Futures Stage at the show.

As part of the agreement, NOEA will be

convening its Future’s Forum Leadership

Group again to discuss the main trends the

industry faces over the coming years and

beyond. The group will feedback latest

discussions to visitors of FestOut on day two

of the event.

Meanwhile, the opening session on day

one will look specifically at the future of

sporting events, with a high-profile panel of

leading events, chaired alongside GL events

UK, looking to their own futures. As part of

the NOEA’s Commercialisation Project, there

will be a further session on how the industry

can have better conversations between

organiser and supplier, again supported by

GL events UK.

“We’re already creating an incredible

atmosphere at FestOut, and we want good

education and knowledge sharing to be a

big part of it,” says Siegle. “These are really

good, contemporary and relevant sessions

that allow the industry to look to the future

and prepare for it. I know our visitors will

really enjoy them.”


The Festival and Outdoor Events Show

27-28 September

Sandown Park, Surrey, KT10 9AJ


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The Showman’s Show

The must-attend show for the outdoor event professional

HEADING TO THE Showman’s Show

at Newbury Showground on the 18-

19 October is a must for any serious

event professional. With more than 350

exhibitors and literally 1,000s of products

and services all gathered together in an

accessible location, the show delivers

practical solutions, handy hints and

inspiration in abundance. You can talk to

the experts in their field face to face and

interact with products and services in a

live environment, helping to inform the

planning, sourcing and decision making

for your entire events calendar.

The popular Campfire Sessions will

be making a welcome return as the

dedicated stream of workshops and

panel discussions held in an intimate and

informal setting provides an excellent

opportunity to deliver up to the minute,

thought provoking and interesting content

to all visitors. Organiser Lance Show &

Publications is delighted to announce that

the Event Hire Association (EHA) will be

lending its support to this year’s sessions

and will deliver two separate sessions

from 3pm onwards on Wednesday 18


Sessions and topics already confirmed

for this year’s Campfire Sessions include:

Are you an event freelancer? Tips and

advice on taxation, insurance and winning

work; How to successfully geo-clone your

event - as more and more event organisers

take successful events and repeat them in

different parts of the UK and around the

world, the panel will deliver handy tips for

getting it right; Activate All Areas – a panel

discussion on the numerous ways that

you can generate income by ‘activating’

the key attractions at your events; and

Innovation, what really counts - should

event technology focus on improving the

experience of the main event itself or work

in the background to enhance it?

The show will also be playing host to

60 festival organisers who have taken

the Festival Vision: 2025 pledge to cut

the environmental impacts of their

events with a dedicated workshop that

will be held on Wednesday 18 October

from 2-5pm. In a ‘speed-dating’ format,

organisers will quickly learn about the

new trends in power management and

new products from suppliers. Additional

round table discussions will expand into

other hot topics key to reducing festival

CO2 impacts.

Festival organisers interested in

attending and power suppliers who would

like to showcase their services can contact


The Showman’s Show

18-19 October

Newbury Showground, Thatcham,

RG18 9NU

Exhibitor Picks

Make sure to check out the following:

LOTUS BELLE - Lotus Belle, a glamping

tent manufacturer, is exhibiting at the

show for the first time with its new Lotus

Mahal. This small marquee is in the same

style as the popular Lotus Belle glamping

tent, but has a highly flexible design – the

walls can be removed in sections to create

varying open frontages, or completely to

form an open pavilion.

COFFEE BIKE - Coffee Bike makes a

welcome return with even more hot

beverages to choose from and a higher

level of expertise and ideas for your

corporate parties, festivals and events.

Although cyclable, the Coffee Bike

comes with a trailer which means that they

can readily access any location without the

need to pedal too far! It always remains

a bike and makes a striking attraction,

adding value and making visitors smile.


Temporary Fencing will be showcasing an

expanded range of white picket fencing.

It has also introduced white lattice

fencing along with accessories, including

pedestrian gates, and white planters with

topiary bushes to enhance entrance areas

or define corner junctions.

It will be proudly displaying its EHA

membership badge and welcomes the

opportunity to discuss how it achieved its

SafeHire accreditation.


Machinery has a number of exciting

initiatives planned for its stand including

the launch of one of its most exciting

lighting product innovations to date. The

company is promising it is something

genuinely revolutionary for the market

and eminently suitable for the events and

related industries.

Also on show will be its growing range

of mobile lighting towers, the renowned

super silent Denyo generators and its

brand new Inmesol range.

GIGLOO - The show is always a major

part of the GigLoo calendar and where

the company launches its new shower

trailers and toilet products. 2017 will be

no exception and GigLoo will be bringing

multiple new trailers and pods to add to its

popular range.

Also on show will be the Fivepeaks

range of portable toilets as GigLoo recently

became the UK distributor for the brand

which is one of the largest in the world.











Image courtesy of: Scott Prokop, for WE Day.

Don’t forget the floor!

Harlequin Floors are specialists in flooring for events,

concerts, festivals, high profile entertainment, fashion

shows and award ceremonies. From sensational

metallic Hi-Shine floors to high impact bespoke

printed floors, Harlequin’s unrivaled reputation and

close relationship with industry experts means we

are always able to meet your creative needs.

Red Black

Grey White Blue



Contact us now to discuss your requirements;

Freephone: 0800 28 99 32 •




LIVE 2017




The event for farmers, land owners and rural business

entrepreneurs to gain inspiration, resources and advice










Register for FREE tickets at











A multiple award winning wedding

and glamping venue with eco ethics

Simone and Roger Broome have transformed their small Welsh

farm into a multi-use venue that can operate whatever the weather. Weddings make

up 50% of their business and a dedication to ‘greeness’ has attracted conscientious

couples and multiple sustainability awards.

WHEN DID YOU start your venue

business and what is its history?

We moved down to this little farm

(40 acres) in rural West Wales at

the beginning of 2007 and started

some self-catering alongside our

renovation and development.

We didn't start offering weddings

until 2011 (licence for weddings

achieved on 31 March 2011).

Glamping grew gradually alongside

the weddings with our first Welshmade

yurt acquired towards the

end of 2011.

Tell us about your location

and site

Ceridwen Centre (and its

sister enterprise Welsh Green

Weddings) is located in North West

Carmarthenshire. We're about 12

miles from Carmarthen. We like to

think we're 'rural without being

remote' but many of our visitors

think we're really tucked away! This

part of Carmarthenshire is farming

country - dairy, beef, sheep; beef

mostly with some arable - and it’s

hilly. Apart from the farmyard itself

there was literally no flat land when

we started. We've had to flatten

two areas to create space for our

giant tipis and/or a small camping/

games space.

The other challenges I guess -

because we're on the west side of

the UK - are heavier rainfall and

wind. Our meadow tipi is up for

seven months of the year only. It

would be too blustery outside this


What we do have is lush

greenness, incredible views down

the valley, peace and quiet and











wonderfully starry skies. The Milky

Way is clearly visible here.

What facilities for outdoor

functions do you offer?

We have on-site accommodation

(for weddings, courses, retreats and

holidaymakers) for over 60 people

in a mix of converted and renovated

farm buildings and a variety of

glamping structures (including a

double decker bus!). The yurts were

constructed by a good friend in

South Wales, Steve of Wentwood

Yurts, but we maintain them and

have built the decks for them etc.

Every other structure on site has

been built or rebuilt and upcycled

by our team here.

The old slurry pit was cleared

out and made into a small walled

garden a few years back, and in

2014 we constructed a green oak

pagoda with a reclaimed slate

roof and sited it on the wall of this

garden overlooking the valley. This

has been licensed for ceremonies for

the last three years now and is very

popular. The couple, the registrars

and witnesses are under the cover

of the pagoda with guests sitting on

old pitch pine pews in the garden.

We now have two giant double

tipis - the meadow tipi for wedding

receptions from April to October and

a newer (but secondhand) farmyard

tipi which we bought almost a

year ago as back-up but also for

bad weather drinks and canapés

provision down in the farmyard. We

also use it for some workshops and

classes, and this year, for the first

time, for our three festive parties.



What services do you offer?

Outdoor ceremonies are what many

couples are looking for, but in the

UK there always has to be a Plan

B. Indoor ceremonies happen at

the moment in our converted Old

Dairy in the farmyard but may in

the future be possible in the open

pole barn in the yard - we built this

two years ago and have planning

permission now to enclose half of it

and convert it into an event space.

We have our own catering team

- the head chef is our son-in-law

(yes, a real family business) – and

we work with our couples to plan

their events. Some need a lot of

assistance, some just a few local

supplier recommendations. In the

seven years we have been offering

weddings here we have met and

established good relationships with

many fabulous local suppliers!

How did you research and source

your marquees?

Our USP has always been our eco

ethics. Greenness is incredibly

important to us, so when we

started looking for our own 'canvas'

event space at the end of 2011 it

was important to us to buy Welsh

if possible but definitely British.

British-made tipis were not an

option then so we designed,

commissioned and made our own

using 50% organic flax and 50%

canvas. The poles we collected

from a local forest and debarked

ourselves, and the metal fixings

were made by the blacksmith in the

village. This was definitely not the

easy option!

Our second tipi was made by

The Tipi Company - there is now a

British-made alternative.









How do you work with your

customers to make their event


The service we offer is personal and

we do not perceive ourselves in any

way, shape or form as a 'wedding

factory'. Obviously, there are

common elements to all weddings

but we do allow space

for couples to add their own


How do you publicise yourself?

Initially, by our own websites and by

joining 'Green Union'. We have only

ever attended one wedding fair and

realised this was not for us! We've

had a few lucky breaks in terms of

publicity, and many of our couples

now have either followed us online

and/or come to us by personal


Because our offering for

vegetarians and vegans is good (we

ourselves are veggie) we attract

many couples through the veggie,

vegan and organic press who are

vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian but in

any case very conscious of where

their food comes from.

How would you describe your

‘style’ or unique selling point?

Local, Welsh, organic and fairtrade,

as green as it's possible and

practical to be.

What challenges have you faced?

Many. Poor rural broadband

and mobile reception due to

the 'rationalisation' of masts as

telecoms companies have merged -

our service over the last 10 years has

deteriorated hugely.

The weather - but we're as

prepared now for all eventualities as

we think we can be!

The official stuff - local tourism

departments and the government

are totally in favour of rural

diversification like ours but not

all council departments are as


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was all you had to protect

your big event?




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One of the most ridiculous issues

we've had is getting a recycling

contract with a local company - we

are just out of area for several local

commercial waste and recycling

businesses, and despite the fact

that council domestic waste and

recycling trucks drive up and down

our lane weekly with no issues,

commercial companies are wary

of businesses ‘off the beaten track’,

and tend to rely on outdated Google

Earth coverage of our lane. Our

planning permissions have required

us (at considerable expense) to

widen entrances, create lay-bys

and move hedges so the images

recycling companies look at do not

reflect the real situation now.

What are your plans for next


The plans are for this winter -

enclosing one half of the huge pole

barn in the yard and completing the

landscaping and tidying up to make

the whole visitor experience better.

It's a delicate balance - we've gone

from rundown and scruffy but want

to stop well short of manicured. The

farm's soul is rural and natural and

we do not want to look contrived or


Describe your average day midseason

There isn't an average day really. We

live on site with all the advantages

and disadvantages that brings,

and are hands on in the day to day

running of the business.

Why do you enjoy the business?

The fact that it's growing organically

and that things evolve in a rarely

predictable way. We love the

interaction with people and














exceeding couples' expectations.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors do you operate in and

how do they integrate with your

function venue operation?

Glamping and regular wood-fired

pizza nights. Weddings are probably

over 50% of our business now but

we still have and value highly a lot of

non-wedding related business, and

many wedding couples or guests

return for a holiday, course, retreat

or short break at a future date.

What are you most proud of?

Our awards - Sustainable Tourism

Gold from 2013 to 2016 inclusive in

the local Carmarthenshire Tourism

awards; our 2nd place in the

Bridebook Welsh Venue category in

early 2017 and, more recently, being

shortlisted as one of five UK tourism

businesses shortlisted in the CLA

Rural Business Awards.

Our happy couples - there's

nothing so satisfying as a delighted

couple's personal email or card

thanking us and our team for their


What advice could you give

to someone coming into the


Do not expect an easy ride. Your

work surroundings may be scenic

and idyllic but you are still in

business with all the inherent

practical, personal and financial

problems of any business.

Do not expect things to stay the

same - just because it worked last

year is no guarantee of this year

or next year. Expectations and

competition are increasing all the


Our belief is that the wedding

venue market and the glamping

venue market round here are

becoming saturated - with supply

starting to exceed demand. Not

all will survive and reinvention is

probably essential!



Home-made and The Tipi Company


Dandy Dura from William Armes


Green Union - www.greenunion.

Organic Holidays

Green Traveller


Nicholas Insurance (Haverfordwest)



Ceridwen Centre

Pen-y-banc Farm, Drefach-

Felindre, Llandysul, SA44 5XE

01559 370517



...and see where it leads you

21 st - 23 rd

September 2017

NAEC, Warwickshire

Register now to visit


Going the

Extra Mile

Strive to provide first class customer service and

reap the rewards down the line says Isabel Smith


lots of bookings and happy clients.

Not only for our own satisfaction (and

revenue figures) but, if you cast your

mind back to my sales funnel article

in the last issue, because a flawlessly

run event makes for clients who will

advocate your venue - essential in

an industry where there is no repeat

business so the marketing machine

never stops!

Now we all know that some brides

can be a right pain, but we can’t really

blame them. Think about the pressure

they are under, between parental

expectations, budget limitations,

the weight of wanting everything to

look gorgeous and run flawlessly etc.

This pressure is bound to spill over

onto you, your venue and the other

suppliers involved. This is where

going above and beyond to put your

couple at ease and take some of that

pressure off really turns each client

from ‘satisfied customer’ to ‘singing

your praises’.

Here are some things that you can

do to go that extra mile:





The idea is to inform your clients

of all the wonderful suppliers you

work with and the special contacts

you have available at the drop of

a hat, thus proving you readily

have to hand whatever the

client may need.





Your clients need your input

and support more than

anything. Develop some

wedding planning tools that

you can share with them

such as a wedding budget

calculator which shows how

most of your clients spend

their overall budget, or a

planning schedule which

guides them on which

elements of the wedding

planning they should be

focusing on each month

between booking with you

and the big day.

Get involved in design

Adapt to the

way they work

We all have our favourite ways to

work and it is a pain when a client

works a different way. If you are all

about emails but your client wants

lots of face-to-face time, it can be

frustrating. But adapting to their

preferred communication method can

really reduce their stress levels. Most

couples are working 9-5 themselves

so making yourself available outside

of their normal working hours (within

boundaries of course) can also go a

long way to ensuring a great working


Over time, you’ll have seen many design ideas take shape at your venue

so when you get a client who perhaps doesn’t have quite as much vision,

help them out by showing great (ideally, professionally taken) images

of what has come before. Show passion for each client’s ideas, gently

advising if something won’t work for some operational reason and

suggesting alternatives. Figure out each client’s style and throw a few

wild card ideas that they might never have thought of into the mix – this

is where you can really begin to impress them by demonstrating how

versatile your venue is.


Look out for opportunities to wow

When you work with a client for a year or so, you share a lot of time

together on the phone or in person. You will be amazed at what

little titbits of information you pick up. If you normally put flowers

in the bridal suite, make them the bride’s favourites. You might

hear that it is the groom’s birthday so send a card. You don’t need

to spend a fortune – it is the little things that build an outstanding




Your clients are not going to be your biggest fan if the only things

that come out of your mouth are “I’m afraid we can’t do that “or “we

don’t allow that here”, or worst of all “we’ve never done that before”.

There are always going to be things you just can’t allow like having loud

music outside your licensed times or letting 100 cars park in a field that

fits 50, but if there is one thing consumers hate, it’s hearing a ‘no’ and

not understanding why. Where you have to say the ‘n’ word, offer

your reasonable explanation. Simply saying, “because we said

so/that’s just how it is” isn’t going to be well

received by your client!



Bending your usual terms and conditions where

possible is a great way to go the extra mile for your

clients. You might not usually allow a marquee to go

up until Friday but, if there is no real impact expected,

why not allow access on Thursday? Assuming it won’t

interfere with any other clients, taking deliveries of

booze or decorative items and storing everything for

an extra day or two can also make a huge difference.

It isn’t about letting your clients walk all over you, it’s

just about listening out for any particular needs and

accommodating them where possible.


Getting your clients fully engrossed in your offering has never been

about reducing prices or throwing in extras which sacrifice your

profitability. It’s all about flawless customer service. We want you

to reach a point where your clients don’t even realise that you are

going above and beyond for them because that’s just who you are.

Raise your standards and let it become your benchmark. Make every

project you work on and every client you work with experience first


Reaching this standard isn’t all that difficult. Where basic customer

service is about fulfilling the needs of the client, exceptional

customer service is about meeting their needs before the client even

knew they needed it. Not everyone is going to be specific about what

they want so it’s your job to read between the lines. Being there for

your clients in more ways than one doesn’t necessarily mean you

have to spread yourself thin, you just need to do what you do with

extra involvement.

At the end of the day, customer service is what this business is

all about, so why wouldn’t you want to excel at it? Don’t settle for

mediocre, strive for greatness and always go the extra mile for your

client. It’s an admirable quality which they are unlikely to forget!



An Insider’s

Guide to



Kelly Chandler explains the importance

of finding out a couple's budget

DO YOU FEEL you sometimes

don’t quite get it spot-on for your

wedding clients? Or are you not

getting the right weddings for your

venue, or not achieving enough

revenue for your hard work? There

may be numerous reasons for this

but one I come across time and

again is where a venue is not truly

understanding the demands and

needs of its couples and reflecting

these in its offering.

While it’s certainly not all

about pounds and pence, the

level of spend on a wedding is a

huge indicator of the style and

requirements of clients, yet very

few venues seem to know their

overall wedding spend so can

be doing a lot of guesswork.

Venues need a better grip on

what their couples are investing

overall. There needs to be a much

more open approach towards

budgets and costs, and much

more discussion about it. So,

I’ll be sharing some facts and

figures in this feature based on my

considerable experience putting

together hundreds of detailed

event budgets for my independent

planning clients at The Bespoke

Wedding Company.

You might well ask, what is the

point? Our venue hire is what it is

and we leave the clients to plan

their event details and extras,

and set their overall budget

accordingly. Why do we need to

know their budget?

This might be partly true, but

particularly if you offer a ‘blank

canvas’ venue (with an element

of ‘create your own wedding’ via

marquee structures and more),

you will find that budgets, size

and scale of weddings will vary

enormously, and it’s not always

guest number related - I’ve

planned weddings with bigger

budgets for 40 than for 200. While

a lot of places and spaces tend

to attract a certain client with a

certain budget, that is not always

the case and I see venues that offer

a bespoke approach right from

the outset achieve a more luxury

(and higher spending) client base

as a result. This is worth thinking

about before you fix yourself to a

finite venue hire fee and keep your

involvement set to that.



By having some idea of a couple’s

budget, you can direct them to the

best suppliers at the most suitable

price point to meet their needs,

and this does reap its rewards

for you as a venue. Couples are

often very time short and your


recommended supplier list can

be like looking for a needle in a

haystack. While some wedding

professionals are able to adjust

what they provide according to

budget, there are quite a few

companies who have minimums,

appeal to a luxury budget or, on

the flip side, are not geared up for

jobs of a certain size or complexity.

Be sure to ask your supplier

partners for typical and guideline

pricing for the sort of services a

client would choose at your venue

and see if you think it’s a good


There should still be choice so

you need to have an interesting

range of suppliers on your list.

The smart money is on your team

really knowing which company to

recommend for which client.

Your suppliers will be a lot

happier with the relationship

if they are getting the ‘right’

enquiries coming their way and

your couples will be much more

satisfied and less anxious if they

are seamlessly referred to the



particularly if you are matching

your couples to caterers, florists

and so on. If a client really wants

to get the best service from you,

they need to share their vision

with you and you need to put

this point across in a friendly,

professional way.

A lot of wedding couples are

naturally inexperienced about the

cost of a wedding so sometimes

the approach I take is to give

them example budgets of what

things cost and provide them with

guideline figures. While they still

might not be able to give a definite

budget we can narrow it down this

way. It’s quite common as well

for those at the luxury end of the

market to take the view that they

want to see what X gets them as

they can extend their budget – in

these cases I try to get parameters

to proceed with.

perfect suppliers that tick their

boxes. Obviously, happy suppliers

are good for you in that they are

much more likely to support your

marketing events, in-house team,

social media efforts and more –

this collaborative effort is hugely

important in the wedding business

these days. Happier, more content

couples during the planning is

also a big bonus; you’ll find them

less demanding if they are being

well served by the right wedding

professional teams.


The further added bonus of

delving more into couples'

budgets is you’re able to look at

gaps or products and services

which are perhaps desirable but

outside of budget. These could

be items you look to bring into

your venue offering either as a

new, ‘included’ but highly coveted

feature, or as a very popular paid

for add-on that you can develop

and delight your clients with.




As an independent wedding

planner working with couples right

from the outset of their wedding

planning and putting the puzzle

together with and for them, the

budget question flags up early on

and is key to setting the framework

of what we do. I won’t get started

on a planning job before I have a

pretty clear idea of what a couple

intends to spend on their wedding.

Some people don’t understand

this and I’m often reassured that

“budget isn’t an issue” when they

don’t wish to commit, but that

is highly subjective. I’ve planned

weddings with budgets of £25,000

and with £500,000; they require

entirely different approaches right

from the outset, entirely different

teams of wedding professionals,

levels of service, time and

expertise. I have to have some idea

before I start researching venues

and more for them. I believe that

this applies to you as a venue too,
















Surveys do vary a little but one of

the largest independent surveys

I know and rate is conducted by

Splendid Insights. Despite being

a US consultancy, its 2016 survey

was conducted from 328 couples

(heterosexual and same sex)

living in the UK. The 2016 survey

revealed that:

› 25% of couples spend up to


› 51% of couples spend from


› 17% of couples spend from

£23,280 to £73,722

› 7% of couples spend from

£73,822 or higher

Interesting stats I think.



The 50% rule is not a surveybased

one but a formula that I’ve

developed and applied over time

with pretty much all clients I’ve

worked with over more than 14

years in wedding planning. The

optimum is where 50% of the

wedding spend should go towards

a combination of venue hire and

food and drink. This allows a really

balanced wedding celebration

that has given thought, care and

attention to all the different areas,

without splurging in any area or

running out of funds. Naturally ›



different choices (and may

increase their budget slightly

as the planning advances), as a

general guide, for 120 guests on

the £40,000 budget level, they

would typically need to spend:

› On Photography – from £2,500

› On Flowers – from £2,500

› On Live Music – from £2,500


With a £40,000 overall budget,

we often find that there isn’t much

room for the luxury extras, such

as sophisticated production and

hired furnishings, or a fully paid

cash bar. A wedding film might

be a luxury for the ‘very keen on

film’ rather than a necessity for


this then leaves the remaining

50% for all other elements of the

wedding planning for the day.

I use this as a very reliable rule

of thumb for the calculation of

all of my wedding budgets, no

matter how big or small. So if a

couple intends to spend £40,000

on their wedding day overall (note:

day, not including honeymoon),

then they should allow no more

than £20,000 of the budget for

venue hire and food and drink.

This might be made up of around

£8,000 for the venue hire and

£12,000 for the catering, or

something similar based on say

£100 per head for 120 guests for

food and drink.



You should be aware of just

how much has to go into the

remaining £20,000 - clothing

for the bridal party, celebrant

costs, flowers, stationery and

paper goods, transport, the cake,

photography and film, music

and entertainment, production,

décor, furnishings and possibly

accommodation too.

I know that in some cases

couples really stretch themselves

to afford a venue and spend a big

proportion of their budget on the

location, leaving little for anything

else. Whilst this is their decision

and not yours (why should you

care, some might say?) over time

you will find that your weddings

become less attractive, lacking in

detail, décor etc. due to budget

shortages, and this can have a

negative effect on the image that

you’re able to portray and on the

morale of the team delivering the


A smart business will have an

eye on doing its best to attract

weddings that are a good match to

the style of the venue, as visually

‘wow’ as possible, remembering

that galleries, film and images

shown on social media are vitally

important to keep ahead of the

game and bring in more of what

you want.



While every couple will make


Kelly Chandler is a longterm

preferred service

provider for exclusive

venues such as Syon

Park, Highclere Castle,

Spencer House and

Stoke Park Club. Kelly’s

consulting services to

wedding venues draw

on prior experience in

international conference

and event planning,

over 13 years of business

management, and

working directly with

discerning couples

planning their weddings

in diverse locations

and forging successful

relationships with all

components of the

wedding industry. A

former director of trade

body, the Alliance of

Wedding Planners,

Kelly is a well-regarded

innovator, mentor,

trainer and industry

spokesperson on and in

the wedding business.

www. kellychandler




While it’s more awkward for you

as a venue to ask than for an

independent planner, it can and

should be done particularly if you

want to offer couples an in-house

planning or co-ordination service

and/or for the reasons already


Why not start with obtaining

some general stats? For example

by conducting surveys of your

past clients, where you can add

some budget questions in? You

can then obtain your own venuespecific

information on what your

customers are spending alongside

asking new clients what their

budget expectations are so you

can help match your suppliers to


I hope you’ve found this

useful and I’d be keen to hear

your thoughts and questions

on wedding budgets. You can

always email me at enquiries@

and I’ll do my best to answer each



I talk a lot more about

budgets, among other

topics, in my group training

sessions written especially for

ambitious wedding venues –

take a look here for Autumn

2017 dates




Come and see us on stand B50 at the Festival and Outdoor Event Show


OAB Loves…


What the Open Air Business team

loves about these flooring products


The Liberty sprung floor

panel system from

Harlequin Floors



for a semi-


or permanent dance floor,

or performance surface?

From professional dance

floor specialist Harlequin Flooring,

this sprung dance floor panel

system joins together with a

rounded tongue and groove, and

is secured using a ‘one turn of the

key’ latch and lock mechanism. A

range of vinyl performance floors

can be used to add a finish in some

amazing colours!

Quick and easy installation

can be carried out either by the

customer themselves or by the

Harlequin team, and a short

term hire option is available.

This ‘springy’ floor has good

elasticity and provides a great feel

for all types

of dance -

perfect for



but also for venues

wanting a luxury floor for indoor

and outdoor weddings, festivals,

corporate and dance events. The

whole system can be stored away

on Liberty panel carts for safe



Harlequin Floors

0800 289 932


Mulitlok portable dance

floors from Portable Floor



This is an all-weather


portable dance floor

that doesn’t need tools or screws thanks to it

locking system. It is manufactured in the UK and

features a coextruded baseboard onto which a

commercial grade vinyl surface from Karndean is

adhered for extra durability and ease of care and


Available with an anodised silver or black

edging as standard, a complete 15’ x 15’ (4.5m

x 4.5m) floor is housed within a purposedesigned

storage and transport trolley with

sliding tray for easy access to the edging


A range of vinyl surface finishes is available

for a truly multi-use, portable dance floor.


Portable Floor Maker

01332 814080


Natural coconut matting for marquees

and more from the Coir Store


Eco friendly and 100% natural woven

coir, the mats from Coir Store provide a

fantastic, hard wearing flooring option

for marquee venues and glampsites.

Fully reversible with a bright golden

appearance, Coir Store can supply rolls

of matting suitable for marquees, party

tents and any temporary event flooring

requirement. It also stocks a selection

of half moon matting diameters to suit

bell tents, yurts and tipis.

This year the range has been

extended with mats suitable for

smaller structures such as gazebos

and party tents. The mats come in a

3m width and a choice of Panama or

Herringbone weaves and 3m or 6m


The team personally visit the

coir mills in India and guarantees

its products are only made from

premium grade Anjengo and Vycome

coconut coir yarns.


Coir Store

07884 303082





Photo reproduced by kind permission of

0800 334 5742


Club Lodge Safari Tent

the perfect safari lodge with a

spacious veranda & internal space

Shepherd’s huts

designed specifically

for the glamping

We supply:

• Flat pack kits

• Accommodation huts

• Off grid solutions

• Wet-room en suites

• Catering huts

• Bespoke solutions


For more information: Tel: 07903313922


Clear Sky Safari Tents

Tel: 0845 299 6484

6 Alexander Road, Tonbridge, TN9 2AA




Old Pine


A single yurt offers peace and quiet

under an ancient Scots Pine tree

Donald and Fenella Corr have lived in the foothills of the Cairngorm

mountains for over 35 years, although Donald’s family history can be traced back to the

area from the mid-18th century. We talk to Fenella about their secluded hillside glampsite

and the ‘fun’ they had with the local planning authority.

What’s your back story – your life

before glamping?

Donald has lived in this area for

most of his life. He had a small

woodcarving business in our local

village, Tomintoul, before changing

direction into building and restoring

stone walls.

What made you decide to

start offering glamping


About 15 years ago Donald fell heir

to this piece of land, which has been

in the family for over 80 years now.

It troubled him that he couldn’t

think of a use for the ground,

which is part woodland, part rough

grassland, and not suitable for

much, especially as it lies at about

1,100 feet up in the hills.










Many years ago Donald’s father

erected a wooden hut, on the

hillside behind the old barn that

is now our house, as overspill

accommodation for family holidays.

One day, about five years ago, a

visiting friend, standing at the door

of the hut and looking out at the

fabulous view, remarked casually

that people would love to come

and stay here. The idea of offering

glamping accommodation was

born in that moment and, after

many trials and tribulations, the

Old Pine Yurt was declared open in

mid-July 2014.

Tell us about your location and site

We’re located on a hillside, on the

northern fringe of the Cairngorm

mountains, and within the

Cairngorms National Park. The yurt

is situated beneath the spreading

branches of an ancient Scots Pine

tree, hence the name. Although

not far from our house, the yurt

occupies a sheltered position

amidst young trees, so it is almost

completely screened from view.

It’s this privacy and seclusion that

so many people appreciate, along

with the fact that we have only

the one yurt, so they don’t have

to share the site with strangers. As

for challenges, the biggest one is

probably the number of times we

have to run up and down the hill

between the yurt and our house on

changeover days!

How did you research the

business before entering it?

The first step was to start looking

at other glamping sites online,

particularly those which were local

to us, to see what occupancy rates

were like in this part of the world,

and whether there seemed to be a

demand for glamping facilities in

this area. Having ascertained that

there was, we then had to decide

what form of accommodation we

were going to offer. Plans to base

the business in the hut were quickly

blown out of the water.



How did you tackle getting


Initial plans to base our glamping

business in the hut were

abandoned after discussions with

the local council; they wanted

insulation, they wanted double

glazing and a ramp – the list went

on, and compliance with all their

requirements would have cost

a fortune, which we didn’t have.

Eventually, we decided that a more

viable option would be to erect a

tipi instead. The council asked for

plans; Donald sent them a sketch of

a triangle!

After further consideration,

we decided that a yurt, although

more expensive to buy, would be

more durable, more comfortable,

and roomier, so Donald wrote to

the council to inform them of the

change of direction. The council

again asked for plans; Donald sent

them a sketch of a Victoria sponge.

We have heard that Donald’s

drawings are still pinned to the wall

in the planning department office!

Following further lengthy

discussions over water and

sanitation, the council eventually

passed our plans, although

they had to go out for public

consultation first. The whole

planning process took the best part

of a very long year.

Describe how you researched and

sourced your glamping units

Having decided on a yurt, we were

very lucky and found what we were

looking for almost straight away,

on eBay of all places! ‘Bob the Yurt’

and Ali couldn’t have been more

helpful, and gave us so much useful

advice; they even drove all the way



of the accommodation. As well as

housing the kitchen, toilet, and

shower facilities, it offers a warm

and welcoming living space with a

woodburning stove, armchairs and

a settee, a dining area, a writing

room, and a wide selection of books

and games. It also has basic Wi-Fi

and a socket for charging phones

and laptops, for those who really

can’t live without technology!

from Wales to the north of Scotland

to deliver and erect our new

purchase. They also installed a little

woodburner, which they had made

themselves. We still keep in touch.

How do you publicise yourself?

We looked around for someone

who would help launch us into

the glamping market, and found

Alistair Sawday’s ‘Canopy & Stars’,

an agency dedicated to glamping,

particularly of the ‘eco’ kind.

After a rigorous inspection, they

passed us and added the Old Pine

Yurt to their glamping collection.

We started to receive bookings

almost immediately, and have

been with them ever since. They

promote us from time to time in

their campaigns, and VisitScotland

recently recommended us as one of

the ‘best places in Scotland to get

away from it all’.

Other than that, we have found

that our happy guests have kindly

recommended us to others; word of

mouth is a very powerful tool. We

have a presence on social media

(Facebook, Twitter and Instagram),

but haven’t so far taken any paid

advertising; we’ll research the best

way to do that when we retire from

the day jobs.

How would you describe your

‘style’ or unique selling point?

Apart from the fact that the Old

Pine Yurt sleeps only two people

and is our only unit, meaning

that exclusive use of the site is

guaranteed, our USP is undoubtedly

the fact that the original hut is part











How did you choose your interior


We didn’t really – it chose itself. We

didn’t try to be authentic with the

yurt (it was made in Wales, after

all!) but just chose comfortable

furnishings, using surplus bits

and pieces, recycling where we

could. Somewhere along the way,

although we’re not quite sure how it

happened, a red theme developed

– our old wooden trunk was once a

dowdy yellow, but is now a stunning

pillar-box red – but that’s balanced

out by cosy fleece throws and

blankets in more natural colours.

What challenges have you faced?

If we’re honest, having overcome

the initial planning hurdles, we have

had little in the way of challenges.

Hope we’re not speaking too soon!

What are your plans for next


Other than to maintain our already

high standards, we have no

particular plans for next season;

we really do strive for perfection

though, and every so often one



of us will have a brainwave about

something we can add, or improve

upon. We get very excited when that


Describe your average day midseason

Although we’re always contactable

if required, we try to ensure that our

guests enjoy a private and peaceful

holiday, so our only duty when the

yurt is occupied is to refresh the

cold storage facility daily with fresh


Changeover days, however, are

full on; glassware, cutlery, crockery,

pots and pans, all are cleaned and

buffed, towels and linen changed,

kitchen and bathroom cleaned

thoroughly, floors vacuumed or

mopped, chimneys swept, fires set

and firewood barrowed in, bread

baked, welcome basket arranged –

the list is endless!

Why do you enjoy the business?

We really do enjoy what we do, and

we’ve met so many lovely people

through our little business, from all














over the world. There’s no doubt

that it’s hard work, but our reward

is seeing guests depart relaxed and

happy after a chilled out break away

from the stresses of their everyday

lives. That’s a good feeling.

What advice could you give

to someone coming into the


It’s hard to generalise, as no

two glamping set-ups are the

same; some make use of existing

facilities, while others are purposebuilt

luxury units. Budget is a

consideration – everything ends up

costing more than you originally

planned for! If you want to cater

for a particular market, perhaps

couples, or families, or groups,

tailor your offering accordingly.

Be prepared for hard work;

glamping is seen as a short-stay

holiday, usually of two or three

nights’ duration, so there will be

frequent changeovers and much

laundry! Most importantly, set a

standard and stick to it religiously;

be the best you can be.



‘Bob the Yurt’ - somewhere in mid

Wales! 07813 682418


Linen and towels from Mitre, throws

from Dunelm


Canopy & Stars - www.canopyandstars.


Naturesave -


Walkers Shortbread (biscuits), Angus

Dundee Distillers (Tomintoul malt

whisky), Alba Chocolate (Fairtrade



The Barn, Fodderletter, Tomintoul,

Ballindalloch, AB37 9HL

07895 051238

Setting up

a Glamping


Here’s some expert advice

from Niche Brands

There are so many things to think about

when you’re starting a glamping business.

For a start, what’s the accommodation

to be – pods, yurts, bell tents, vintage

caravans, shepherd huts? Who are you

targeting? Are you a glamping venue for

couples or families? Do you take dogs?

What facilities are there? Do you offer meals

or is it all self catering? Are there activities

on site?

There are so many options, but that’s

where Niche Brands comes in - we’re

glamping experts in marketing.

We can help with all the questions you

may have, such as, will you be exclusive

hire, or open to everyone? Will your

weekends be taken up with hen weekends

or wedding bookings? Can your land

accommodate extra marquees? Will you


host events and festivals? Are you yearround

glamping or season only?

And collaboration! Is there a farm shop

that can offer local produce? Do your guests

receive a discount at the local pub? Is there

a place to hire bikes? How can you work with

these local businesses to benefit the both

of you? Do you take two nights maximum?

What are you going to charge? What is the

turnaround time? What do your interiors

look like and what bedding will you use?

What’s your style and unique look? What

features in your glamping accommodation

make you stand out? Will you take press

reviews? This is our niche area, and we can

get you in front of the right people and press

to make your business shine.


There is so much to think about when

running a glamping business, no matter

what stage you’re at! These are the sort of

questions a lot of our clients ask, and that’s

why we’re here! We can help and advise on

all these questions, because they are all

integral to how your business operates, and

ultimately will shape how successful it will


At the heart of all this is how you promote

your business, and this is what we specialise

in. We utilise the answers to all these

questions to shape your PR and marketing,

and tell your story.

PR, marketing, social media, and

storytelling are an instrumental part of your

business plan; they should not be a mere

add on! When we look at your glamping

business we bring your unique selling point

to the fore through all types of media.

If you’re interested in finding out more

about glamping business advice, and PR,

marketing, and social media strategies,

then please do get in touch via press@


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Problem Handling

Kate Morel guides us through the tricky area of pre-empting

and handling complaints and problem guests

SUN-FLARED PHOTO’S of kids holding fluffy

chickens, friends laughing around a twilight

campfire, a cosy couple chinking glasses on

a sunset porch. Ahhhh – glamping, dreamy

isn’t it?

These idyllic photographs portray the

perfect country break because we are selling

(and hopefully delivering) ‘the dream’.

However, if you’re considering running your

own glamping business but haven’t any

experience in self-catering holiday rental,

you might be unaware of the less dreamy

issues that go on behind the scenes. So, this

month Tally has asked me to write about

some of the situations we might encounter

(and offer a few tips), although as any

holiday accommodation provider will tell

you, there are many, many more.


Most bookings go without a hitch; the guests

are lovely, they leave the place as they

found it, and everyone is happy. However,

sometimes, just sometimes, this isn’t the

case. I recall a hotel manager once joking

that ‘it would be a great business if it wasn’t

for the customers’, and indeed, some of

them aren’t the respectful, reasonable

people we’d hope for, but then, neither are

some accommodation providers.

It’s quite an eye opener

working in hospitality because

you see a side to humanity

that can be quite baffling. When

some people leave home for a

break they behave in ways they

wouldn’t usually dream of, or leave

their common sense behind, and

glamping provides a dazzling array

of opportunities for this to become

apparent. But, it’s all part of running

such a business, and it will save us

much exasperation if we accept that

it comes with the territory. A practical

mindset, discernment and good

interpersonal skills will certainly help

when dealing with them.


Sometimes a disgruntled customer

isn’t being unreasonable, they simply

feel that the accommodation doesn’t

live up to the promises or meet their

expectations. It’s obviously important

to present our offer in a positive but realistic

manner and ensure we can deliver what our

marketing is promising. I could be wrong,

but I think this is becoming more difficult

as glamping increases in popularity. It’s fast

becoming a mainstream holiday option with

hyped-up press reviews and articles that can

unreasonably raise the public’s expectations.

Given that it is, in essence, a holiday in a field

and that varying standards apply, there are

bound to be repercussions.

Some of the issues that we will face

can’t be avoided, no matter how much we

manage expectations, communicate, make

allowances or install precautions. All we can

do, is our best to minimise the opportunity


for them to occur, as well as fulfil our legal



Sometimes, we could make things easier on

ourselves. One thing we can do to minimise

some issues is to ensure our T&Cs are clear

and help guests understand what isn’t

acceptable on-site, and how to operate

facilities. T&Cs must be displayed on the

website, and points pertinent to on site

matters and safety could be reiterated as

‘house rules’ in the booking confirmation

letter and within the guest information folder

in the accommodation. That might seem

a bit over the top, but the more times it is

presented, the more chance it has of being


Where facilities require special operation

such as a hot tub, show guests how they

work and leave written instructions for when

you are not around.

Modern life is busy and guests might be so

snowed under that they don’t always read

the things they should. Depending on the

site in question, T&Cs/house rules need to be

concise, clear and can include some of the

following points:

› Man’s best friend: Muddy

paw prints on white bedding,

poop littering the site or fleas in

your rugs and furnishings – there’s

nothing glamorous about those.

Some glamping sites won’t accept

dogs at all because of this, or due to

the level of accommodation or the

proximity of stock. However, if the

accommodation does accept pets,

insist that dog parasite treatments

are up to date before the start of the

holiday, and that owners must clear up.

Clearly state what is/isn’t acceptable and

outline ‘excess cleaning fees’ as


› Excess cleaning:

Occasionally you might

find the accommodation

in a terrible state.

Maybe there’s mud

or post-party debris

everywhere, the hot

tubs lined with ›


some sort of goo or glitter, the

shower is blocked with dog hair

– or any other number of things

that unreasonably increases your

cleaning and change over time.

It’s down to individual discretion,

but in these cases some owners

will charge an ‘excess cleaning fee’

and it can be a deterrent worth


Add a note in your T&Cs/rules

about leaving the accommodation

and facilities in a reasonable

condition, and if you intend to

charge for excess cleaning, state

what that charge will be and how

you will retrieve it.


› Damage and breakages: Another

T&Cs/house rules subject, and

dealing with them can require

discernment. Accidents occurring

in routine use of a structure and

facilities are usually classed as

‘wear and tear’ and not charged to

guests. These things are going to

happen and we don’t want guests

to feel bad about dropping some

crockery. However, damages due

to irresponsible behaviour and

negligence are another matter and

how they are dealt with depends on

the individual owner. A charge can

be passed to the guest and most will

pay it, but sometimes they won’t

and it’s then a case of deciding if the

damage value is worth the hassle

of taking the matter further. Some

owners set a value and if the cost of

the damage goes over that they ask

the guests to pay for all of it, or a


Outline your policy on damages

caused by negligence, and if you

have a value limit on reimbursement

state what it is, but do reassure

guests about minor accidents.


› Unreasonable behaviour on

site: I’m going to group things

like excessive/late night noise,

alcohol induced incidents, and

inter-guest disputes here because

they all boil down to people not

behaving in a fair and reasonable

manner. Sites with multiple units

can have noise issues and groups

can be problematic, especially

stag and hen parties, as a result

some sites will not accept them.

It’s an accepted policy to terminate

any guest/group stay if they are

persistently too noisy, messy or

disruptive, and no refund is given.

If guests are behaving in an overly

anti-social manner, or there is any

suggestion of violence, a last resort

would be police enforcement.

T&Cs/house rules should cover

unreasonable behaviour and the

consequences. Ask guests to be

considerate of fellow glampers

and neighbouring properties, and














clearly outline the course of action

if they are not. Add a note specific

to group bookings if you accept

them. Ensure noise curfew times

are clearly communicated and




Other issues that we can’t always

foresee or prevent are those which

aren’t intentional but can, at

worst, be dangerous, and at best,

inconvenient. Things like wine and

coffee spills, hair-dye on towels

and lipstick stains on pillows.

Or children doing things they

shouldn’t, like feeding chocolate to

the goats.

One particular area which

requires close instruction and

sometimes supervision is fire -

candles, paraffin lamps, log burning

stoves, campfires and fireboxes

on wood-fired hot tubs. Despite

being given clear instructions, I

know of several incidents where

guests have lit a wood-fired hot tub

without adding any water, tried to

light an LED lamp with a match,

and nearly set the place on fire by

drying clothes on the fireguard. I

never thought I’d say this but some

new glamping sites are not even

including log-burners or campfires


We can never anticipate

everything that might go wrong,

and as such these things are often

dealt with or removed as necessary.

Common sense, as they say, isn’t

always common practice.





Occasionally, objects belonging

to the accommodation might

somehow end up in guests’

suitcases as they head home. This

is a tricky one, because a towel

could have genuinely been packed

by mistake, or an ornament could

have been dropped somewhere

in the woods by a child. Short

of asking for the towel back or

scouring the site for lost ornaments

(have you really got the time?) it’s

easier to note the value of losses

and work into costs.


The thought of charging a security

deposit for each booking might

have crossed your mind by now,

and if you’re offering a particularly

exclusive experience with

expensive furnishings it might be

worth considering. It’s common

practice in self-catering property

rentals which contain valuable

furnishings but not in glamping,

perhaps because most glamping

isn’t furnished that way. Having

said that, I do know of a couple

of glampsites that take security

deposits, but before doing this bear

in mind that the frequency of major

damage/loss is rare. Also, charging

deposits will add to administration

and could put guests off, driving

them to stay elsewhere.


Complaints can be unpleasant,

especially with increasing incidents

of guests trying to leverage a

complaint with the threat of a

bad online review, or social media

shaming. Online review sites and

social media have given customers

unprecedented power, but then

they have also made a lot of

companies up their game. If the

guests have a genuine reason for

complaint we obviously need to put

it right. However, if a complaint/full

refund claim is unreasonable and

threats are being made, it can be

frustrating and hard to handle.

Some owners don’t like

confrontation and give in to keep


Kate Morel provides

a completely

independent advice

and design service to

individuals, estates

and companies

looking to create a

successful glamping

business. She is

well qualified and

connected to provide

advice on every aspect

of creating, operating,

marketing and

upgrading glamping

accommodations or

developments. www. / info@ / www.


the peace, others negotiate a

compromise, and some will take a

hard line. Either way, it’s important

to maintain a professional, calm

and consistent manner throughout.

Include a section on complaints

procedures in your T&Cs and how

they will be dealt with, and always

outline your liability limitations

for eventualities in and out of your


Genuine complaints aren’t

always bad news, sometimes they

provide valuable feedback and

highlight an issue that has gone

unnoticed. They can provide an

opportunity to take a fresh look at

things and indeed for us to make


So, there we are, a quick gallop

through a few of the less positive

aspects of operating a glampsite.

Matters like this, and many more,

get queried and answered in my

Glamping Business Link group,

so if you have an interest, and a

Facebook account, do feel free to

send a request to join.

Till next time, Kate.

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0 1 4 5 3 7 6 7 1 7 1





the Vision

Edward Busby shares his approach to

creating a glampsite from the bare earth up

WHEN IN THE early fledgling

stage of setting up a glamping site

on your land it is a good idea to

take a step-by-step, methodical

approach. Sometimes it can feel a

little overwhelming starting out on

projects, so if you can break it down

into a six point process you will

have somewhere to start and, most

importantly, somewhere to finish.

However, don’t get bogged down;

a new venture is exciting and fun,

and so is the business.

If I were to list that process, it

would be in this order:

› Appraising a piece of land

› Establishing a philosophy and


› The planning and funding


› Landscaping, earthworks and


› The build/commission of
















› Use of media and marketing



When you are appraising a piece

of land the first step is to identify

its best features, or unique selling

points. What does it have? Beautiful

views, water, veteran trees, grazing

livestock and so on. If you can

locate a point that can encompass

all of these elements, you may have

found your ideal spot. If you have

more than one site in mind then

create a list of the pros and cons,

then you can analyse each site

and make a decision. You can then

establish an access route and if it is

feasible for a build or not. Try and

picture your guests’ arrival at this

stage; is it too far to walk? Is it safe

and practical?





Next, you can begin to visualise

how you can create the

environment and experience

you want to deliver. What sort of

structure will work on this site and

what had you envisioned creating?

The founding themes of glamping

are back to nature, the great

outdoors and luxury camping. How

are you going to truly integrate

your site or structure within its

setting and the great outdoors?

In order to do this, you need to

have a clear picture in your head

of who your target market is and

what the customers are buying

into when they book a stay. What

type of structures suit this type of

customer? How many people will

you be accommodating in it?

Once you have gone through

this process and picked your ideal

structure, whatever it may be, you

can then commission designs and

get the ball rolling. At this stage

make sure your structure suits its

purpose. If you intend to run this

site up to 12 months a year then be

sure it is capable of doing so. For

instance, when intending to run a

site all year round then you may

rule out canvas dwellings and so






You should now be at the point

where you have a clear vision of

what you intend to create, where,

and with your designs in hand.

This is now an ideal time to put a

business plan together; this will

play a crucial role when applying

for planning permission and/or


Once you have a plan in place

you can set up some initial

meetings with the relevant people,

such as the local traffic and

highways officer and a planning

consultant (if needed). If your

land is in an LPD (land protected

designation) zone then you will

need to set up a meeting with the

environment agency. If in a national

park then contact your local

national park office and establish

a dialogue with them. The above

is all pre-application work and

to be done before you meet your

planning officer and proceed with

an application.

If you are going for grant funding,

or intending on drawing in outside

investment, then there are some

key points below that you will need

to include in the financial section of

your business plan.

> Occupancy rates and projected

profits: When projecting your

occupancy rates for a business

plan, it is crucial to remain

conservative and realistic. You

can get a good idea of occupancy

rates for different site styles by

visiting glamping agency websites

and seeing how similar retreats

to the ones you intend to build

are performing. This way you can

create a set of projected figures.

Glamping agencies will typically













look to charge around 25% of

turnover plus VAT. These occupancy

rates play a large part of the

financial projections for your

business, so it is important to get

the best information you can.

If you are looking to expand your

business, rather than starting out,

then you should have good access

to figures and therefore a good

platform to build on.

> Payback schedule and annual

net profit: In order to create your

investment payback schedule, you

will need to work out the projected

or actual net profit. This is achieved

by working out initially how much

you intend to charge per stay and

combining it with your occupancy

rates to come up with a monthly

or seasonal figure. Amounts vary

depending on structures, but

£80-£140 per night for two to four

people is common.

Seeking advice from someone

in the industry is the best source

of information as they can draw

on their own experience. Failing

that, you can go about costing this

yourself, however, be careful to

think about everything from agency

fees to toilet paper as these costs

will add up and eventually create

your bottom line.

It may be wise to seek

professional help from an industry

specialist if you feel less confident

with the topics above, however,

you can also do background and

market research yourself in order

to get a good idea of the business






With a structure design in mind you

can now picture its orientation and

position on your site. If you need to

run services in then now is the time

- pre build.

Working on level ground can save

a lot of time so creating a platform

for your structure to sit on is a good

place to start. This can be done

accurately with an excavator, a

decent operator and a laser level


If you are undertaking earthworks

on site then try to work with the

existing contours to obtain a natural

finish. If your site is overly exposed

or looked upon by neighbouring

ground you can create earth barriers

or plant up natural screens to create


We find the best time of year for

ground works is in the winter, even if

a little damp and muddy. Obviously,

you have to pick the right time to

work but in the winter you can see

where the water runs, collects and

pools. This will give you a good idea

of where you need drainage. If you

undertake this work pre spring then

your ground will recover quickly

when the temperature picks up and

plants begin to grow.


5 We find when building a site it

is best to do 90% of the work in the


workshops, especially if you are

going for a custom structure, rather

than an ‘off the shelf’ unit. This

is the most efficient way to build

and this work can go on while the

other initial site work is happening.

Again, the winter is a great time for

this, ready for a spring installation

and a summer run. Be mindful in

this process of the final installation

and how it will take place as you

will still need to transport your


When building platforms, board

walks and creating pathways, think

about your guests’ safety and the

usability of the areas, do they have

enough space, and have you taken

care of any potential hazards? Is

the site livestock proof and fit for




Sometimes the best way to get your

site out there, especially if you need

to draw some immediate money

back, is to sign it up to a glamping

agency. It is good to do your

homework here; most agencies

charge a similar commission rate

but they all have slightly different

target markets. Find one that

suits your ideal customer, site

and philosophy. Read the small

print in these contracts as this will

define how you can operate with

guests from your agency, repeat

customers and guests you have

drawn in yourself. Some agencies

with exclusive rights written into

the contract will try and cap the

number of owner bookings per

year, so clarity is the key here.

In the last few years sites like

Airbnb have really come on; now

you can book some amazing

places worldwide, and if you have

an exciting place to stay you can

now ask a reasonable rate. Unlike

the general glamping/holiday

agencies, Airbnb take a commission

of 5% but how does this compare

to other agency occupancy and

rental rates? It is now worth doing

these calculations, and a bit more

competition out there for the

agencies can only be a good thing

for owners.

If you already have a farm

website or social media set up

then you can launch and market

your new build. These can become

handy tools for you to promote

your own site through select

pictures, experiences and offers.

Whatever way you plan to market

and sell your site professional

photography is key. You can really

undersell yourself by not capturing

your site and its surroundings

well, and make sure you have that

number one photo up first.

If you are an estate or large farm

and intend to set up a glamping

business on a larger scale, such

as an outdoor hotel or club, then

other marketing options become

more viable. At this point you can


Edward Busby grew up

in rural Herefordshire

where he developed a

passion for nature and

the great outdoors.

After travelling and

experiencing other

countries and cultures

he built his first unique

home on wheels,

closely followed by

his first yurt. This was

his introduction to the

world of outdoor living

spaces. After gathering

knowledge and

experience building, he

then teamed up with

two like minded friends

and craftsmen, and

together they set up

Crown and Canopy.

As well as running

their own retreats, the

Crown and Canopy

team specialises in

designing and building

complete glamping

sites and bespoke


It also provides a


consultancy and design

service to farms and

estates, providing

feedback reports and

full appraisals based

on the potential of

their land. www.

employ a marketing firm to create

your brand, website and booking

engine. These firms also tend to

offer long term deals on an annual

or monthly basis for a fee based

on target occupancy rates. They

will then send customers to your

website and offer high occupancy

rates. The difference between these

firms and an agency is that these

firms charge a lump sum each

month rather than a 30% share of

your turnover. This, when applied

to a site with 10 or more retreat

spaces, can create significant


On a more local level, linking

up with tourism-based businesses

around you can be a very good

way to source your own customers.

Mutually beneficial relationships

can be struck up with established

companies that can feed you

clients. This can be very positive

for both parties as the addition of

your accommodation can enhance

and expand their client experiences

and therefore increase potential for


All in all this is a fantastic

business to be involved in. People

are beginning to revalue our

beautiful country and nature. We

are falling back in love with our

countryside, and glamping and

outdoor hospitality deliver this

experience to people best. You

can experience nature from the

warmth of a bed or bath tub in

all its glory. This industry is a win

win for landowners and guests.

The tide has turned and now the

preservation of our countryside

has a new value that outweighs its





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T: 07804 243 565 E:




OAB Loves…


Finds for the ecologically conscious

glampsite owner


The Egloo pods from Ecotoilets


Off-grid pods that don’t need

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This moulded structure consists

of four sections of natural plant

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They lock together to give

an attractive and

extremely durable


toilet pod with

a solar vent

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Financially, the Ecotoilets

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big benefits; no sewage pipework,

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within a day. What’s more,

Egloos are guaranteed for 30 years

and available in a range of colours

to blend in or enhance any site.



01327 844442


100% handmade in Staffordshire by father and son

team Steve and Jake Watson, these low impact timber

glamping pods have a range of clever features such

as all terrain legs and platform that allow them to be

built anywhere and without costly foundations.

Fully weatherproof with a choice of a blackout PVC

cover or timber roof, these pods are quick and easy

to set up, allowing them to be moved around a site

easily – and they don’t require planning permission!

Landpod has released three models. The Cosy

Cocoon sleeps two adults in a hobbit-style pod and

is ideal for a woodland setting. The Pod Father is

a family size cabin sleeping four adults and two

children; inside is spacious and features sunken

LED lights, double beds and carpet. The Alfresco

Pod is the newest design. It seats six adults in

a private, weatherproof eating area for cosy

outdoor dining.



07804 243 565 / 07715 728 967


Wood-fired hot tubs with an

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Wood-Fired Hot Tubs


A simple, eco-friendly way to enjoy

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The UK-based team has rengineered

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Guests need simply fill the tub

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and light a wood fire in the totally

submersed firebox. The water

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varying airflow into the

firebox using the attached


We also love that they are

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before you buy!


Forestflame Wood-Fired Hot Tubs

01298 84467


NB Open Air Mag_HP.indd 1 05/07/2017 14:21

The Star Pod

The Star Pod offers 6x6m of comfortable self-contained living.

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We use long lasting larch cladding and coated aluminium

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01208 850376 / /




A regular contributor to Open Air Business and a favourite

Industry Legends

on the seminar circuit, but did you know about her swords?!

What is your background?

In a nutshell: sales, marketing, hospitality,

design, tourism. I’ve also organised

workshops, camps, conferences and

festivals, and restored several properties.

For the last seven years it’s been in holiday

rental, cottages and (predominately)


How did you get started in the glamping


I was with holiday cottage agency Quality

Cottages in 2010 when director Tim Rees

started the glamping equivalent, Quality

Unearthed. He asked me to help develop

the new business, so a big thank you goes


Name: Kate Morel

Role: Glamping and ecotourism


Contact: 07800 800199

Favourite tipple: Oscillates between gin

and bubbly

Last holiday destination: Wales –

staycations rule

Cats or dogs? Dogs: more loyal, better


Current boxset / TV must watch: Not a

fan, but winter is coming so that might


Something people may not know

about me: I own more swords and

bushcraft knives than skirts

out to Tim. I left QU, which is based in Wales,

earlier this year to move back to England

and subsequently decided to offer my own

advice and design service.

What has been your most fantastic

glamping experience?

It’s all been fantastic, but working with the

Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador last year was

something else. I was flown over to conduct

a feasibility study on glamping as part of a

post-earthquake tourism regeneration plan.

I had 10 days to cover the coast looking

for potential sites, gather information and

familiarise myself with the destination,

and was subsequently asked to create

three glamping developments. It was a

challenging project on many levels, and a

unique and incredible experience.

You have a holistic approach to site design

– explain your interests in permaculture

and sustainability

‘Holistic’ really does sum it up. I take

everything into account, evaluating input

vs. output across the board so I can create

glamping solutions that are functional,

guest-centric and profitable. My interest in

sustainability and permaculture probably

stems from a semi-feral, rural childhood; it’s

not just the memories that I treasure, it’s the

countryside itself.

What one thing would you change about

the industry if you could?

The name itself – glamping. I’ll confess to

have given much thought to a replacement.

You are well established on the seminar

circuit - what do you want people to take

away from your talks?

Three things: Impartial, solid information;

to feel inspired and enthused (whenever

possible I include new concepts and ideas);

and to have a better understanding of what

I can do for them, and why I do it. This is the

first year I’ll be giving seminars representing

myself so you might notice a difference.

What are your predictions for the future

growth and shape of the glamping


Different glamping sectors are at various

stages of growth and demise; resort

developments are gaining momentum

while others are losing favour. I think

specialist models are more likely to grow as

businesses seek to differentiate, and more

corporate leisure and hospitality businesses

will start to include glamping. Overall, I

believe that the industry has some way to go

before it reaches peak saturation in the UK.

Are you working on any exciting projects

you can tell us about?

They are all exciting, and quite varied,

some are in Europe and I’ll be heading

back to Australia this winter. In particular,

two projects offer exciting opportunities

for glamping innovation – one is a

fabulous waterside location, and another

is associated with a distillery. I’m also

doing interior design work for a structure

manufacturer, which is fun, plus projects of

my own.

How can readers make use of your


At the ‘fact-finding’ stage they could

attend one of my workshops or exhibition

seminars. If they already have ideas or a

potential location it’s best to have a chat on

the phone – there’s no fee for this. The next

step would be for me to visit the site (I’m

told my site appraisals are ‘enlightening’),

which is an is an affordable way to get a

practical, honest opinion on potential. If

the landowner wants to pursue the project

to the next stage, and with my support,

we take the process forward from there.

Confidentiality is important to most of my

clients and is assured from day one.


Earth closet design and manufacture bespoke bathrooms for all of your glamping needs.

With our pick and mix approach your bathroom will be unique to you & your site.

With a choice of 4 closests & flushing or modern composng toilets the possibilies are endless.

Happy to share our knowledge we have gained from running our own 5* glamping site.

07528 343881



A1 Loo Hire is the portable toilet division

of the A1 Group of companies – one of the

UK’s leading integrated Waste Management

Suppliers. Our extensive range of units are

available for both hire and sales from our

depots in Wokingham, Coventry and Bridgend,

South Wales for any outdoor event

or construction project.

A1 Wet Waste embrace new technology and the

very latest equipment available in order to deliver

real added value to our clients. As well as working

extensively on events for our Loo Hire operation,

we also work closely with many other leading

toilet and water companies throughout the event

industry, meeting our client’s individual needs with

a fleet of specialist equipment and vehicles to

transport and dispose of all liquid waste.

Call us: 0118 989 4652

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A New Day


Following a break-even launch year, this event

looks to have secured its position in a niche market

Appealing to the 50+ festival goer, the New Day Festival team

knows how to make the live music experience accessible, comfortable and affordable.

We talk to festival director Dave Rees about keeping bar prices down and making sure

stewards turn up!

Describe your event and how

many people it attracts?

It is a three day music festival,

aimed primarily at a mature adult

audience. Last year (our first) we

had an average attendance of

approximately 2,000 people and

we expect to increase to 3,000 this


How did you find the venue, and

how does the relationship with

the landowner work?

Our venue is Mt Ephraim Gardens

in Faversham, Kent. We attended

a music festival there in 2003

and when looking for a venue

ourselves we remembered it as

being perfect. Fortunately the

owners, particularly the site

manager, were enthusiastic from

the start and have been a great

help and support. They had hosted

other festivals in the previous














decade so they knew roughly what

to expect, and the relationship

has been a mutually beneficial

one; our festival goers loved the

beautiful venue and no doubt

many have returned as day visitors


What is the event’s history?

This is only our second year. Two

of our team helped run another

festival in Surrey for 10 years but

left following disagreements -

mostly over musical policy. We

decided to launch a new festival

with a new team largely to

continue where we had left off in

the previous project.

Because we are all veterans

of festivals ourselves, either as

punters or organisers, we know

what people like at a festival and,

particularly, what they don’t like.

Our aim is to deliver an enjoyable

event at reasonable cost, both in

terms of ticket prices and on-site

catering and bars.

How did you find applying for

permission to run the event?

The land owner has a standing

license for events, but obviously

we had to satisfy the local

authority regarding safety,

nuisance, noise levels etc.

The council, as is their wont,

insisted on rigorous event

planning, medical cover and traffic

management systems but, for the

most part, were very enthusiastic

and helpful, and we have had a

good working relationship with

both the council and the local


Local residents were given free

tickets and most of them came

along, and feedback from them

has been unanimously positive.

How have you planned the

layout of the event and what

structures do you use?

The venue is largely self contained,

but we set up temporary

structures such as stages,

changing rooms, toilets, bars and

food stalls etc, with fencing around

the venues and campsites.

Temporary structures are

mostly marquees, plus a couple

of portacabins back stage and

several mobile toilet units

throughout the venue.



the sometimes outrageous prices,

coupled with horrendous queues

caused largely by incompetent

bar staff. Our prices are actually

lower than most pubs in the south

of England and we are happy to

know that our punters leave the

festival knowing that they have

not been ripped off.

Because our clientele is almost

entirely 50+, many 60+, the layout

is such that there are no long

walks involved to reach either

stage, car park or campsites.

We have designated disabled

parking and camping areas, and

disabled viewing platforms in both


How did you research and

source your marquees and other


We have previous experience

in the industry and used many

suppliers that we know and trust.

Others were sourced via internet

searches and recommendations.

Three of our team have

extensive experience running bars

so we run our own at the festival,

using local suppliers. This is

fundamental both to our financial

structure and basic philosophy; we

prefer not to outsource if we know

we are capable of doing things

ourselves, and having complete

control over the bar means

we can hire professional

bar staff who know what

they are doing, hand

pick beers and ciders to

sell, and keep prices at

a reasonable level, which is

rare at a music festival.

A major gripe at most festivals is

What entertainment do you offer

and how did you choose and

source it?

It is a music festival. We are all

music lovers and have all attended

many festivals over the years.

Bands are booked that appeal

initially to us, and we hope they

will also appeal to our customers.

We realise that we are operating

in a crowded market, but our

targeted audience differs slightly

from the usual music festival.

Our music policy is centred on

progressive rock, classic rock,

blues and folk music, largely from

the 70’s but also with a nod to

new, younger bands in the same


Having booked bands for

festivals since 2005, we have an

extensive network of contacts

in the industry and most of our

bands are sought out. We do also

get many hundreds of applications

and try to check out all of them -

but it does take time.

What provisions do you make for

power, lights and sound?

We use two sound companies that

we have worked with previously,

and lights are provided by our

stage suppliers. We bring in four

generators to power stages and


How do you manage admissions

and visitor safety?

We have fully trained SIA security

on duty 24 hours, stewards,



medical staff and a fully equipped

ambulance on site. We have two

stages but use only one at a time,

therefore we do not sell tickets

to more people than we can

comfortably accommodate in any

one arena. This avoids a crush in

the audience and long queues at

the bar and food stalls - and more

importantly, the toilets!

What ground protection do you

use for cars and footfall?

We haven’t used any yet but are

looking into it this year in case of

bad weather.

How do you publicise the event?

We advertise in local newspapers,

music magazines and various other

publications, and last year we

used a licensed poster campaign.

Our main promotion is done via

Facebook and e-flyers. We are also

looking at radio advertising this


What challenges have you faced?

Just the obvious ones associated

with launching a brand new festival

in an already crowded market. We

needed to convince enough people,

with a limited budget to spend on

such things, that our unknown and

untried festival would be worth a

visit. Fortunately we were able to

put together an impressive and

ambitious line-up and we achieved

enough sales to break even, which

is remarkable for a new festival.

We also found that, despite the

best laid plans, you can’t always

depend on outside contractors

to deliver services as promised.

We had problems due to half our














expected stewards not turning

up and, more catastrophically,

it quickly became clear that we

had hired the worst possible toilet

suppliers who let us down very,

very badly. They delivered the

wrong toilets, to the wrong areas,

and flatly refused to service them

properly throughout the weekend.

Numerous calls to their ‘emergency’

hotline went unanswered. Toilets

were actually our #1 priority

because we have all seen first hand

terrible examples at festivals and

we were determined to have a

very high standard at ours, so we

were extremely disappointed to be

let down so badly. I would love to

name the company but we don’t

have the time or money for a legal


Then there are the problems of

spiralling costs as you proceed,

and having to pay upfront in full

for almost everything. Established

festivals can operate in the

expectation that ongoing ticket

sales will provide sufficient cash

flow, but as a new venture we

needed to invest our own money

at the outset to cover many of the

upfront costs. We have no sponsors

so it was a case of raiding our own

savings and having faith in what we

were trying to do.

What are your plans for next


We have a license for 5,000 and

our aim is to reach that figure

within the next couple of years.

As we continue on our learning

curve we should be able to identify

what advertising works and what

doesn’t. We seek opinions from

our customers as to what we can

do better and we act accordingly.

Of course, different toilet suppliers

have been booked!

Looking further afield, we would

like to run another festival in a

different area. We think we are

doing a pretty good job with a good

team and it would be interesting to

try something slightly different, but

along the same lines.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors does the landowner

operate in?

Their main business is weddings

but they have plans to host a major

(non-musical) event each month in

the summer.

What advice could you give to

someone coming into the outdoor

event industry?

Don’t do it expecting to make






Barry Cogger


Barry Cogger / Banana Audio


Skiddle -


Mount Ephraim Gardens, Staple

Street, Hernhill, Faversham,

ME13 9TX



Event Marketing Toolkit: Part 1



The first in a series on best practice in event

marketing. Event Insurance Services shares its

event marketing toolkit, starting with pre event

promotion. Read on and make sure your event gets

noticed by the right people in the right places!


Industry Report by Eventbrite,

77% of event organisers in the past

year had a dedicated budget for

promoting their event, with the

average budget increasing year on

year by 13% to £4,914. With this

much money being spent on event

promotion, it’s important that you

use the most effective strategies

to ensure a valuable return on


The report also revealed that

53% of event organisers use

three to four different marketing

channels when promoting their

event, with a further 32% using

over five. It’s clear that the more

marketing channels you use, the

further the reach of your event


While there are no set rules

for promoting your event, there

certainly are some best practices

which will ensure you are on the

right track. The key to success is

to be organised well in advance

so that you can start promoting

as early as possible. But event

promotion doesn’t stop when the

day of the event arrives. You want

as many people as possible to be

talking about it on the day, and it’s

just as important to follow up with

attendees afterwards to maximise

your data and ensure future events

are even more successful.

If you want a decent turnout to

your event then you need to invest

time and money into your preevent

promotion. As soon as you

have decided you will be hosting

an event, it’s time to start trickling

information to your audience to get

them excited. You’ll want to assign

an official budget to promotion,

spend some time researching the

best place to target your audience,

whether that’s online, via print or

at their local clubs, and think about

which channels would best be used

to target them.




According to the 2017 Eventbrite

Event Industry Report, email

is ranked as the most effective

marketing channel when

promoting an event. For email to

really work, you need to have your

own database of people to email.

These will be your ‘warm leads’

and should have a personalised

email sent to each person (eg.

including their name in the email).

Personalisation can be automated

with most email software.

To build your database, you

will need to implement some sort

of data capture strategy within

your marketing. This should be

an ongoing process and you can

use several strategies to capture

this data, including competitions,

content downloads and using the

data captured from previous event

attendees. There is the option to

buy an email list, however these

‘cold leads’ will be less responsive

and they may interpret your email

as spam.



No matter what the nature of your

event, social media will be a critical

tool for getting your message out

there to the masses. Whether it’s

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or one

of the many other social media

sites, your audience will probably

be there. Developing a social media

strategy will help you to promote

your event in a highly responsive

environment. Social media also

offers the opportunity for paid

advertising with some very specific

targeting options. You can advertise

to people of specific ages, genders,

locations and interests through paid

social advertising which can really

improve your return on investment.

If your company, business or organisation has its own website, this is a

great place to start. If you want to invest in search engine optimisation

(SEO) to encourage attendees to find you through the search engines

such as Google, you’ll need to start optimising well in advance of your

event. This is a great way to get more eyes on your event online. One

SEO technique you can use is to publish blogs and other content about

your event during the build up to the big day.

Another way to promote your event through your website is to

use pay per click (PPC) advertising. This allows you to promote your

event at the top of the search engines to people searching for topics

relating to it. You will pay money every time someone clicks through to

your website so make sure the page they land on is fully optimised to

encourage the user to come!




Of course, there are plenty

of traditional marketing

techniques which you might

decide to use to better

reach your audience. Print

advertising or sponsored

content in magazines and

newspapers can be very

successful, depending on the

audience you are targeting.

The success of this type of

advertising can be harder

to measure than online

advertising but it’s important

to grab your audience’s

attention from all angles.

There is also the

opportunity to promote your

event via direct mail. This is

quite an old-school approach

and you must be careful not

to post advertisements to

people who have registered

their wish not to receive

unsolicited material by

mail. You can purchase data

from The Mailing Preference

Service which will identify

residents who do not want

to receive direct mail. Other

than direct mail, you can try

leaving flyers at shops, clubs

and other places used by the

public to get your message

out there further.




It is likely that you won’t be running your event

completely alone. You may have guest speakers or

entertainment playing at the event. You may be hiring

equipment from external businesses or working with

other organisations on content. This gives you a great

avenue for promotion if you simply ask them to help

spread the word about your event, whether that help is

via a blog on their website or flyers in their shop.

You can also seek sponsorship, which will not only

help lower the overall cost but will mean another

organisation will be proactively promoting your event.

Sponsorship gives you the opportunity to get it in front

of a whole new audience and is mutually beneficial for

you and the sponsor


To really spread the message of your event, you

might want to consider creating a press release to

send out to relevant publications and newspapers

in your local area. When sending your press

release to newspapers, try to have a newsworthy

spin to encourage them to publish a story.

Many online news sites, especially local

news sites, will have a section on their

website where you can upload

an event to their events

calendar. This is free to

do in most cases, and

if you invest a small

amount of time

doing this you will

be able to get your

event out there

to people within

the relevant




Established in 1996, Event

Insurance Services is a specialised

intermediary offering competitive

event insurance. Its policies provide

affordable, reliable insurance,

tailored to fit the scale and style

of the occasion – from school fêtes

and small ceremonies to high

profile weddings and events.

Event insurance is the safety net

for anyone organising an event. It

can cover a policy holder against

public liability, employer’s liability,

damage to event equipment,

cancellation of events (including

cancellations due to adverse

weather conditions) and much


As well as the support of 2,500

insurance brokers throughout

Great Britain, Northern Ireland

and the Channel Islands, Event

Insurance Services also has a

valued network of more than 1,000

UK venues, outlets and support

services in the wedding and event

industry. 01425 470360 /


■ Decide on your promotion


■ Audience research – where/

how can you target them?

■ Create your promotion

plan (a Gantt Chart will

help you to stay on track)

■ Get any physical

promotional branded

materials printed/created

■ Organise your


and supply them with

promotional materials

■ Book any printed


■ Create your ‘event page’ on

your website and publish it

■ Write and schedule blogs

surrounding your event

■ Send out your first email

invitation to your guest

list – include links to your

website event page

■ Announce the details of

your event on your social

media channels

■ Create a social media

schedule so you are

sending out updates and

relevant information on

your event often

■ Set up and schedule paid

social advertising

■ If you are using flyers/

posters send these out to

consenting businesses

■ Prepare and send out your

press release to relevant


■ Send out reminder emails

to your guest list

Next up, we’ll look at marketing that can be done

during an event. You are going to be busy, so the more

preparation you can do beforehand the better – watch out

for Part 2 of our Event Marketing Toolkit in the next issue!

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Fun and Frolics

with Furniture

Make your next event stand out from the crowd with the

help of Helen Lowe’s ‘what if’ approach



events and

marketing manager

Helen Lowe is

what one might

call a ‘seasoned

professional’. Seasoned, in the sense that

she’s managed countless events spanning

every single season in the calendar for a

good number of years now (official count

remains strictly confidential, mind).

Weddings in winter, fiestas in fall,

sporting showdowns in summer and

sophisticated soirées in spring… she’s

been there, done that, and loved every

single second of it!

And whilst the outside world may

continue to be kept in the dark about

what happens behind the scenes at

events of all kinds, Helen is undeniably ‘in

the know’ with what can be achieved with

a ‘can-do’ attitude and a clipboard!

But where did such a vast knowledge

and an air of confidence come from,

you may ask? Well that would be from

her rather unique ‘what if’ approach,

apparently... And here she tells us just a

little bit more about it.

FOR THOSE OF you who blinked and

missed it, the British summer – officially

the period between 1 June and 31 August,

according to the meteorological authority

that is the Met Office – is now over.

The festival goers are rinsing off their

wellies; the VIP headline acts are retiring

to their Mediterranean-moored yachts;

the tennis players and cricket enthusiasts

are packing away their balls; and event

organisers across the country are breathing

a sigh of relief as the last of the hay-bale

fueled, allergy-inducing extravaganzas

come to an end.

But as many of us industry stalwarts

take little more than a deep breath and

a weekend off to recoup from everything

that’s been and gone, before looking to the

future and all that the autumn and winter

months have in store, perhaps it is worth

taking a minute to think ‘what if?’.

Now, let me be really absolutely clear

before there is any confusion! I am not a

looking-back-kinda-gal. Oh no! In fact, I

am so much of a look to the future sort of

person that people often have to politely

plead with me to slow down and fill them

in on my thought process in order to get

the general gist of where I am coming from.

In which case, you may well ask, what

on earth am I bleating on about?

Well, the ‘what if’ approach to event

planning is one I like to adopt when

entering any new era. What if, for example,

it had been possible to match the

furniture in the VIP suite with the specific

colour of M&M’s requested by the headline

act (blue, for the record, and no I won’t

name names).

Perhaps said act would have posted out

to their 350k followers and the hashtag

#awesomeeventorganiser would have

been trending!

What if guests had been invited to sit

on plush, cushioned seating instead of

the cold hard ground to watch the annual

village Duck Race? It’s possible that they

would have stayed just a little bit longer,

donating just a little bit more money and

buying just a tiny bit more from the funky

champagne bar that was committed

to giving 10% of its profits back to the


And what if a little ‘zoning’ at the

famously epic corporate annual knees

up - using cleverly placed furniture items,

perhaps - had encouraged guests to move

throughout the venue as the evening

wore on; resulting in just a little bit more

use of the oh-so-cool props and products

including the photo booth, the inflatable

sumo wrestling ring and the now

infamous lip sync battle area?

You see, it’s really not a case of ‘shoulda

woulda coulda’ (in the words of popular

noughties pop act Beverly Knight)…

After all, the guests had fun, the client

was happy and the atmosphere wasn’t

compromised, right?

But what if next time you could do

things just a little bit differently and

achieve just that little bit more?

Some of my usual tick list ideas include:



Just because an event is out in the open,

or taking place in a temporary structure,

it doesn’t mean we need to compromise

on comfort or style. Think about the poor

bottoms of your many delegates before

committing wholeheartedly to a ‘standing

only’ affair, or to embracing the latest

quirky trend such as replacing traditional

chairs with water-borne canoes.

Similarly, if you are hoping to make

the most of the sunny weather but are

equally mindful that the heavens could

open at any moment consider a range

that is 1. Elements friendly and 2. Easily

transferable from out-to-in at a moment’s



If your event does

revolve around a certain

amount of standing,

it may be worth

considering exactly

what your attendees are

going to be doing while

standing and what might

be needed as a result!

If, for example,

guests are expected to

exchange business cards and network over a glass of

wine while chomping on a canape or two, have they got

somewhere to rest their drinks in-between sips?

Furthermore, do bear in mind that there might be the

odd person (be that someone who is heavily pregnant,

or that one person who always turns up to such affairs

overly excited by the prospect of free booze) desperate

to take a pew whilst remaining part of the conversation.

To that end, it is worth considering what options are

available for them during the planning stages (a wellplaced

bar stool or 10 and some well positioned lounge

chairs may well fit the bill!).


Unless it’s a very formal affair where everyone is expected to do the

same thing at the same time, chances are you will be looking for

people to move fluidly from attraction to attraction, room to room or

zone to zone.

With that in mind it’s certainly worth considering providing guests

with multiple options so that they can move to suit their moods.

Think cool, sophisticated bar areas for a bit of prosseco sipping;

chilled out lounge areas for, ummm, chilling and lounging; and, if

the audience and needs of the client dictate, more clinical businessorientated

areas where exhibitors can talk shop with potential



Probably my favorite section - which won’t surprise anyone that’s

familiar with the Europa International ethos which, although 100%

dedicated to customer service and delivering excellence, is undeniably

driven by fun and frolics – there is always the opportunity to add a

little pizzazz to any event.

Think zebra patterned stools and framboise coloured carpet (yep,

we were commissioned to deliver that once to a star studded event in

that there London!).

Once the theme is set have a think about what might add that ‘wow’

factor that will help your event stand out from the crowd.

Ultimately though, whether you choose to stick to the status quo

or try something just a little bit different next time around you will

no doubt want to ensure that you surround yourself with similarly

dedicated suppliers who can help you achieve your vision.

And whilst a huge amount of that comes down to ensuring that they

deliver what they should at the right time, to the right location, you

may also want to partner with people who are as dedicated as you to

going the extra mile to ‘make it happen’.

And as we enter one of the busiest periods for the average event

planning expert – with winter a veritable smorgasbord of corporate

parties, Christmas concerts, industry conferences and foody

markets - a supplier with more than 30,000 items in stock including

illuminated bar tables, slim-line linking chairs that can be used inside

and outdoors, access to more coloured carpet options than you can

imagine and a whole host of products primed for branding might also

come in handy!


Helen Lowe is the events and marketing manager at Europa International. For over 50 years, Europa has been supplying furniture and floor coverings for hire

to the events industries. It specialises in chair, sofa, stool and table hire at affordable prices, and carries a stock of items for those who want ‘something a little

different.’ A truly independent furniture and event hire company, it is family run, with family values. Other services include floor covering, registration desks,

panel hire, electrical, graphics, conference seating and shell scheme hire. 08454 303015 / or Tweet @Europa_Int



The Devil’s in the

John Radford runs though the essentials of pre-event planning

“If you fail to plan, you are

planning to fail.” This classic

quote is attributed to Benjamin

Franklin, but many wellknown

leaders both past and

present have highlighted the

need to plan carefully and

comprehensively in order to

achieve the goals required.

It is no different in the event

industry, yet do we really plan

effectively and comprehensively

or are we simply paying lip

service to this key requirement

in the vain hope that “it will

be alright on the night”? If we

get it wrong the results can

be devastating, so planning

appropriately is a critical part of

event management.

As an event production

















company, we often become

involved with events where the

end product has been clearly

defined but the roadmap hasn’t

been properly considered or

clearly communicated. The

devil is in the detail; don’t come

unstuck. Planning makes an

event successful, so consider it



For many, the goal is to develop a

profit-making event, while others

just want to break even or maybe

create a charitable fundraising

model for many years to come.

Whatever the goal, the need to

create a comprehensive budget

is vital. Have you really looked

at what is needed for the event

or have you become blinded by

the more exciting ‘wow’ parts and

forgotten the mundane elements

such as litter picking, way finding

signage or fencing?

It’s easy to focus on the creative

and exciting aspects and lose

perspective on the need for a

holistic approach to the event by

considering every aspect – some

of which will not be seen by those

attending the event but are vital to

its success.

As a starting point, create a

list of everything that you would

want to have on site or that you

will need to make the site operate

effectively. Think about what you

need in advance of the event,

such as licensing, venue plans,

site visits, and what you may need





post-event as well such as litter

picking, remedial work on access

points and venues or cleaning up

roadways. These elements can

have a major impact on the budget

but are often forgotten as they

don’t constitute the core of the

event in the minds of some. Create

that checklist and make sure all

those elements are covered.

Manpower quickly eats into

budgets so make doubly sure

that any human resources have

been costed effectively. Are we

taking shortcuts and not allowing

for safety provision, medical

staff or sufficient toilets for

the numbers expected?

Have we considered the

ramifications of these

shortcuts on the

overall event if they

are omitted?

Contingency – have you

included a contingency figure

in your budget? Be honest with

yourself and your ability to cover

every eventuality. Be realistic and

allow a decent amount so that you

know you can bring in that extra

toilet unit or additional walkway

lighting without a big impact on

your cost control. Remember

though to include those elements

the following year so they don’t

appear in your contingency again

but are planned for properly. It’s

understandable to make errors

in learning but unforgivable

if repeated time and time


Use event experts - they

may cost in the short term

but they can ensure that

your budget is appropriate

and may save you

money overall through their



contacts and industry network

to the benefit of your project.

Use professionals with the right

qualifications and experience in

key roles such as a safety advisors

or site managers. The short-term

cost gain can be vastly outweighed

with potential very costly failings

later in the day, which can also

have potentially costly and

damaging effects on your longterm

branding and reputation.

Think long term; it is rare for any

event to make profit in year one.

You need to plan for a three year

cycle with the aim of financially

breaking even in the first year

while you establish the event

brand to customers and potential

sponsors alike, which will then

allow you to look towards profit

for years two, three and beyond.



There is no substitute for learning

and experience. Get out there and

look at what other people do and

what makes their events unique

or unforgettable – is it the venue,

the staff, the creative elements? Go

with an open mind and sometimes

simply taking the time to sit and

watch how a site layout works can

pay dividends in your planning

phase. It’s certainly not about

copying or repeating, but by

understanding what can work - or

maybe doesn’t work.

The wonderful thing about

events is that you never stop

learning and developing

innovative solutions that assist

in evolving your event into

something truly amazing. Many

staff in the industry started as

volunteers on events, building

up experience and a network

of knowledge that can then be

brought to bear in their roles as


Visit industry exhibitions and

consider what products or services

are available to assist you. Don’t

be afraid to ask questions and

listen to those industry panels

that discuss topics such as wet

weather contingencies or crowd

management. Use all that learning

to ensure your plans add up.


Taking all the above forward, you

can now develop a more detailed

plan of what you will need to

generate from income sources in

order to cover all the elements.

Are ticket prices too low or will you

need some financial sponsorship

support in order to cover all those

needs? Have you remembered

to account for VAT on goods and

services and the impact it will have

on ticket revenue?

Have you looked at the

competition within the market for

the same guests? Both location

and date will play a part, or are

you creating something so unique

that you are creating a new

customer base? Outdoor events

take place 52 weeks a year so take

time to do in-depth research on

who else is running similar events

and when. Research their prices

and determine whether there is

a need in the market place for

another event; what can you do to

differentiate your event and really

engage with the audience?


Is there a rush to get your vision to

market or would an extra year in

planning prove beneficial? Taking

that extra 12 months may allow

you to plan and develop a better

overall event or allow avenues

of funding to be developed and

managed. Is there a deadline

you need to meet or do you have

flexibility in the timeline?

How much time do you have? It’s

a common theme that promoters

often try to produce an event while

simultaneously holding down a

day job. Commendable, but ask


John Radford runs JR

Event Services and

has worked in the

event industry for over

20 years. He provides

event management

and event safety

consultancy services

for a broad spectrum

of events from single

day and city centre

cultural events to

week long music and

dance festivals. Visit

www.jreventservices. or call

01275 406760 for an

informal chat.

yourself if it really is realistic to

plan effectively when you may

have so many other issues pulling

on your time.

Two minds are better than

one. In any case, it may be ‘more

minds’, so if there is a team sitting

behind the event then share the

workload. Allow others to take

on some of the responsibility and

planning. Distributing the labour

will not only help keep things

moving but will also give you an

opportunity to share thoughts and


Plan regular meetings across

the project life cycle and utilise

technology to ensure everyone

involved has access to the

planning process and information.

Collaborative working will pay

dividends with individuals able

to question the rationale behind

certain decisions or ideas and

ensure that your planning can

stand up to investigation.

With the right amount of

planning your event will be safe,

successful and memorable for

all the right reasons. Don’t be

afraid to ask for help from the

right people and try to remember

the original reasons behind your

event. It can be easy to lose sight

of those early creative visions

that first led you down the event

road, but persevere and add

something special. Do something

extraordinary and be remembered

for bringing something fresh and

exciting to what is already a truly

amazing industry.




Services we offer include:

• Event Management and Production

• Creative Event Solutions

• Technical and Site design and Procurement

• Event Safety

• Event Safety Training

• Licensing & Stakeholder Liaison

See us at




• PMR446 Licence

Free Walkie

• Built in Torch

• Transit Carry Case

• Re-chargeable

batteries (incl) or AAA

• Ideal for Camping and

Outdoor useTalkies

ONLY £87.99

Incl. FREE delivery and VAT.

Tel: 01275 406760


You can also find us on

order online:

Two Way Radio Specialists


Tel: 01582 481114 / 481115



Ticketing Advice

How to attract, sell to and keep your audience with top tips from Paul Luck


Advice from: Paul Luck,

director, Red Box Tickets

and Events

Specialism: Ticket sales

Contact: 0344 7767777

What advice could you give to an event

organiser on managing online ticket sales?

Choose a ticketing company that will work

with you in partnership to achieve all of your

objectives. Some key factors include:

› Brand awareness: your brand and that

of the event should be the only one on

display to the customer; you don’t want

all your hard work and marketing spend

to take them to a site where there are lots

of competitive events that may tempt

them away. Ideally your ticketing partner

will give you a white label solution, totally

branded to you, that seamlessly links from

your website. The purchase process should

be simple and intuitive; it’s normally the

first contact the customer has of your

event so you want it to be as easy as

possible. Avoid any supplier that requires

the customer to login as people often forget

their login details and drop off rates are high.

› Data ownership: make sure that you

and only you have 100% ownership of

the data. The last thing you want is your

ticketing provider sending your customers

emails about competitive events. Also,

many people instantly opt out from such

communications which means they don’t

get to hear about your event in future


› Where’s the money? Ticket monies should

be paid directly to you, not to the ticketing

company. If they go insolvent that money

will be lost and in many cases puts the

event in jeopardy. Choose a supplier that

will transact using your merchant number,

that way the contract is between you

and the customer giving you total data

protection rights over the use of the

customer’s details.

How important are pre-event sales?

In a word, critical. Advance sales not only

create a positive cash flow prior to the

event but they provide a real time

barometer on the success of various

marketing campaigns. This allows

for positive and strategic

adjustments during the run up to the event

to maximise sales. Do more of what is

generating sales and less of what is not. Make

sure your online ticketing supplier is able to

provide you with the tools to track the source

of sales in extreme detail.

Advance sales also protect against bad

weather, competition for the leisure pound

and build the all important contact database

for next year.

Don’t just limit advance sales to tickets,

they can include parking, dining packages,

merchandise, show programmes and much


What is the secret to getting ‘on the door’

ticket sales right?

Ideally you want to minimise door sales as

much as possible by driving sales online. Not

only does this keep the cost of a box office to

a minimum but you get the contact details

of the customer for future years. It’s worth

offering an online discount even during the

show to achieve the online channel shift.

Advertise the higher gate price prominently

so that customers are aware of the online


How can organisers maximise pre-event

marketing to drive ticket sales?

Most events have three audiences: dedicated,

repeat and transient. Target your marketing to

each type separately.

The dedicated audience will come year

on year without fail. You’ll almost certainly

have them in your email database so let

them know well in advance when the event

is taking place and give them a loyalty

discount such as an early bird offer, free

parking or some other reward for their early


The repeat audience will come some

years and not others. Remind them of

the event content, why they will enjoy it

and what’s new for this year. Discounts

are useful tools but usually it’s content

that will attract them back; make the

most of any news or what’s different to

catch their attention. Social media plays a

critical role here; try and get the dedicated

audience to share that they are coming to

the event, some of these posts will reach

the uncommitted repeat audience and

hopefully get them to book.

The transient audience is the hardest

but can make the difference financially

between a good show and a great show.

Use anyone associated with the event such

as artists, exhibitors, local authorities or

sponsors to promote the event to their

databases. It’s a low cost way of reaching

a wider audience that you may not have

been in contact with previously.

Please mention an event where your

product was used and how it helped


The Royal Bath and West Show is one of the

oldest surviving agricultural shows. It was

formed in 1852 and found its permanent

home in Somerset in 1965. Red Box started

working with the event in 2012 and the

success of the online platform was soon

realised but seemed to plateau in 2014.

In 2015, Red Box introduced a new API

integration with Facebook and Twitter that

allows customers to seamlessly share to

their timeline that they are attending the

event with a link to purchase tickets.

In the first year over 17% of customers

shared, reaching over 250,000 friends

and family. Tickets sales increased by

over 54% in 2015 and have continued to

rise. Red Box has continued to add new

features and functionality and this year will

be providing advance sales for The Dairy

Show at the Bath and West Show Ground

for the first time.



Do you organise outdoor events? Are you

looking to better them? Make it count, attend

the Festival and Outdoor Events Show

Join us if you are looking for a fresh approach

to planning, organising and implementing your

outdoor events.

Suppliers • Venues • Technology • Education



Media Partners

Content Partner


Spot light

A roundup of products for the outdoor hospitality industry



Acorus Rural Property Services

Acorus Rural Property Services

Ltd was founded in 2002. The

company trade as specialist

Chartered Surveyors and

Planning Consultants. We

operate nationwide from various

strategically located offices.

Services range from planning

consultancy, architectural

services, project management

and property sales. Therefore

we are one of the few companies

that can offer a ‘one-stop-shop’

service from inception of your

project to completion and sale if

so desired. Whether you want just

an hour of planning advice or a

full scale package of services, we

will be pleased to talk to you. Our

consultants are experts in how

permission may be achieved even

in Green Belt areas and ANOB.



020 8133 2588

A leading global manufacturer

and supplier of DIY geodesic

dome kits, F.Domes offers deluxe

outdoor lodging at an upscale

and ritzy standard. Portable,

en-suite and attractively priced,

they are a phenomenal choice

for landowners, estate managers,

holiday park, resort, campsite and

hotel owners to diversify and boost

their business. Custom-design

your dome using pioneering 3D

software to free your creativity

and choose from dozens of colour

combinations for membrane,

insulation, curtains and bathroom

module coverings. All-year, allclimate

and all-weather, F.Domes

Glamping Domes are remarkably

stable and exceptionally durable;

they can be safely used in harsh

weather conditions, even in heavy

snowfall and high wind areas.


Plastic Solutions

0800 334 5742

For both festivals and the

glamping market, our products

allow decent sanitation to

the most remote or off-grid

glampsites, and the collection of

waste and grey water at events.

Our Tuff Tank waste storage tank,

for example, can be positioned

under a shepherd’s hut or event

toilet/shower unit to collect

waste for later removal by septic

tank emptying services.

With the ability to link tanks

together to create exactly the

waste collection volume you

need, the robust yet lightweight

nature of our products makes

delivery, positioning, servicing

and collection a simple matter.

We’ve got tankology!


at Festout!



Red Radio

01582 481114

The SITEM8 Call Point improves

safety and response times for

emergencies at events and

festivals, and is equally useful

for any site where remote

assistance may be required.

The self contained IP67 rated

wireless Call Point can last up

to three months without charge

and links over radio to staff, with

programable alarm functions

and voice annunciation.

If a person requires assistance,

simply pressing the CALL button

activates the unit, sending

its identity over air to control

staff. The unit has a two-way

intercom allowing full voice

communication while help is

on its way. The system can be

purchased or hired.




Portable Power


01474 761051

The fantastic NIWA Home

200 X2 is the perfect

modular solar system. With

two ceiling lamps, it offers

an easy start into off grid

energy independence and

is fully expandable to suit

your needs. Each of the

lamps has an impressive 100

lumen brightness, more than

enough for a glamping pod,

tent or off grid building. The

system includes a liFePO4

battery with a huge life cycle

of 5+ years and can be used

to charge smartphones,

tablets and all devices

via USB. Want to discuss

NIWA or any off-grid power

solution? – please call us.


Plain Huts

07903 313922

Plain Huts shepherd’s huts

offer comfortable, spacious

accommodation for your guests.

The company’s concept is to

provide a space that will provide

a base for a holiday rather

than that ‘one off’ weekend

‘adventure’. The spacious, sun

filled space with en-suite toilet

will attract a broader age range

for longer stays and repeat


Over the last five years Plain

Huts has steadily developed

its range and is able to offer

solutions for a wide range of

situations. Plain Huts offers kits

that allow huts to be built in

more inaccessible spots, huts

that combine to offer family

accommodation, on-grid and

off-grid solutions, and bespoke




PKL Group

01242 663000

PKL Group is the UK’s leading

supplier of modular commercial

kitchens. With 27 years in the

industry, we have hundreds of

temporary kitchens and 10,000

items of catering equipment

available to hire. We work on

around 500 events each year,

including festivals, sporting

events and pop-up restaurants in

all sorts of weird and wonderful


From stand-alone catering

equipment for use in marquees

or existing buildings, to complete

modular kitchens and coldrooms,

we supply events of all sizes. We

are CDM Regulations compliant

and offer a complete turnkey

service, from design and project

management to installation and

24-hour technical support.


Smallwood Treehouses

0800 044 3869

We build stunning treehouses

for private individuals and

businesses across the UK. Using

the finest quality, sustainablysourced

materials, we handcraft

the finest treehouse structures.

Capturing the very essence of

traditional British craftsmanship,

our experienced joiners will deliver

you a stunning centrepiece,

creating memories that will last

a lifetime. We pride ourselves

on our commitment to excellent

customer care. From the initial

stages of your project, we’ll

guide you through the design

and installation, and provide a

full aftercare package. We’d love

to show you some of our recent

treehouse projects, so get in touch

today for a complimentary at

home survey,

design and estimate.


Event Kitchens

Busy planning your summer events?

Whether you need to hire temporary kitchens or stand-alone catering

equipment for use in a marquee or existing building, we can help.

Choose from our range of over 10,000 items of catering equipment and

600 temporary kitchen units to make your event kitchen amazing!

Give us a call for a chat with our events team, or visit our website for an

instant online kitchen estimate!

Have fun planning your events this summer, but

whatever you do… Don’t forget the kitchen!

• Event kitchens

• Catering equipment

• Pop-up restaurants

• Marquee kitchens

• Crockery, cutlery and glassware

• Instant online estimate



Classified Directory

FOR SALE Suffolk shepherd hut

available from the end of September

Made by Riverside Shepherd Huts, the quality is simply excellent and has a

steel frame. Clad in cedar wood, with an electric heater, hot water, electric

towel rail and shower. Offers IRO £17,000 Tel: 07871 191042

Innovative off grid pods, quick and

easy setup, all terrain legs and

platform, handmade in Britain


Tensile structures:

facilities, camp, glamp & event


design & planning application

01297 444416

Sewage Treatment Systems

For all residential, commercial

and industrial applications

01295 236101 •





0345 409 0280




O7917 457 820 |







“There is a tide in the affairs of

men, which taken at the flood,

leads on to fortune.” This might

have applied to Woodstock Plus,

had my edition of Life’s tide

tables not been out by a fathom

or three. Because Fortune

wasn’t exactly the harbour

Woodstock Plus sailed into.

Ms Meadow Flowers had

engaged a moonlighting

employee from a Liverpudlian

outfit, Scratch & Dent, Furniture

Removers, to act as roadie to

the star turn. The Gallagher

Brothers - ‘Low class food at

high class prices!’ - had the

catering. To avoid painful

flashbacks I’ll let my diary take

up the story from here.


Chuffer’s Chinese tent is reerected

for the main act - The

Beach Boys. “The Beach Boys?”

I enthused over the phone to

Meadow. “Wow, just wow!”. I

was even talking like Ms Flowers


Ms Flowers went on to

argue that her genius helped

finance a flash lifestyle. She

had apparently converted her

Tooting pied-a-terre into an

‘Internet of Things’ style home

in which all her appliances

chatted incessantly to each

other all day long. Life as a

George Foreman Grill must

have been sooo boring before

all this carry on started. Her

success, she said, demonstrated

her worth. It explained how

she could do so much for

her customers, for so little. I

thanked her profusely.

“It’s what I do, it’s who I am,”

she said. The line from her cell

phone crackled, but hadn’t she

said, she’s engaged the Red

Arrows to do, like, a fly-past


“I’ll be with you by eight,” she

said and rang off.

Unbelievable - The Beach

Boys and the Red Arrows! And

all for £4,000!


A What’s App message

proclaims that Scratch &

Dent’s moonlighting furniture

remover cannot get the Beach

Boys to my paddock on time

because he first has to deliver

a sideboard to an attic flat in

Chipping Sodbury. This delay

agitates the 200-strong crowd

of Beach Boy fans waiting in the

Chinese tent.

Ms Flowers has gone AWOL.

I offer ticket holders free lunch

to keep them onside. A trestle

table is erected from which

the elder Gallagher hands

out platefuls of the paella his

brother is rustling up behind a

tent flap. Plate after plate after

plate of the stuff is fed through

the flap at speed. I comb the

site for Ms Flowers.


What’s App tells me that

Scratch & Dent’s moonlighter

is reported to have twanged

several vertebra out of

alignment while lifting the

sideboard up six flights of stairs,

causing further delay. There’s

only so much paella a festival

goer can eat so I resolve to track

down Meadow, pronto.


I find Ms Flowers howling her

eyes out in one of the site’s

unisex portaloos. “Whatever’s

the matter?” I ask.

“It’s no good,” she sobbed.

“It’s all just, like, a sham. I

mean, I’m a sham. I’ve never

organised an event in my life,”

she wailed.

“What’s brought this on?” I

ask, beginning to panic about

this eleventh hour confession’s

potential to destroy Woodstock


“The phone call from Social

Services,” she said.

“Social services?”

“I emailed Quinoa’s school...”


“My daughter, Quinoa. I

declined the school’s offer for

Quinoa to join their after-school

under-fives pilates class. The

fridge must have intercepted

my email and passed it to the

microwave which shared it

with the Soda Stream which

called social services. Damn

the Internet of Thingy-ma-jigs.”

Meadow boo-hoo-ed with


“Social Services said they

wouldn’t prosecute...”

“Isn’t that good news then?”

I said.

“...but they said I wasn’t

middle-class enough to bring

Quinoa up properly and that

I’d three months to teach her

Mandarin, show her how to

juggle with mah-jong tiles and

get her a pet Alpaca or they’d

name and shame me in the

Sunday Times magazine.”

“Meadow, I...”

“It’s Helen,‘ Meadow

interrupted, “My real name’s

Helen Splatt.” And off she went



So many plates of paella

have been shuffled from one

Gallagher to the other that the

ancient canvas flap through

which this traffic passes,

falls off, revealing to all, the

backroom Gallagher shoveling

paella ingredients into a cement

mixer with a shovel. Many of the

diners immediately fall prey to

the dry boak.

Scratch and Dent’s removal

van roars onto the site. From

it decants, not the Beach Boys

but the ‘Waikiki’ Beach Boys,

a Hawaiian tribute band. The

delay in the Beach Boys’ arrival

assures the prematurity of

the Red Arrows fly-past. Only

these are not the top guns of

aerobatic legend. Turns out that

Ms Flowers has actually booked

the Red Barrows, an agricultural

entertainment outfit normally

offering light relief at flower



The crowds disperse on the

promise of a full refund. I lose

Ms Flowers-Splatt, and set off

in search of her again. I find

her high up in the Chinese tent

swinging from a trapeze, and

threatening to let go.

I scale the ladder opposite,

grab her trapeze’s counterpart

and gingerly swing out into

space. With trapeze artistry,

timing was all, and mine

was off. As she reached the

extremity of her arc, I was

already swinging away so that

only a couple of words at a time

fell within the range of the girl’s

hearing before we swung out

of range again. I did the best I


“Can I...”

“Have my...”


“Pounds back...”



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