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Open Air Business February 2018

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

The Answer to the

The Answer to the Off-Grid Question Boutique Outdoor Showers & Toilets www.showershacks.co.uk info@showershacks.co.uk 30 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM

GLAMPSITES What’s your back story – your life before glamping? I was a group marketing director in the education travel sector promoting 11 educational adventure centres throughout the UK. After the company was sold to private equity I decided to leave the rat race and look for a new idea. What made you decide to start offering glamping accommodation? After 12 months I had five ideas for a new venture. Glamping appeared to be the least rubbish “THIS WAS A PLACE WHERE WE HAD WILD CAMPED AS A COUPLE AND LATER WITH A YOUNG FAMILY. IT IS REALLY QUIET, REALLY BEAUTIFUL, HAS LOTS OF WILDLIFE AND THE BIGGEST SKIES IN ENGLAND” idea of them all. We applied for planning in November 2010, and achieved it on 27 February 2011. We opened on the day of the royal wedding - 29 April 2011. It was quite hectic! How did you research the business before entering it? We took the kids on a glamping holiday and then designed a lodge that overcame all the things that my wife didn’t enjoy about the stay, particularly the kitchen and bathroom arrangements. What was your vision? Our vision really came from first of all looking back a couple of generations before looking forward. We had a young family who we used to take wild camping in a bell tent so we really understood the benefits of unplugging from the world and often reconnecting with each other. The hassle of moving a family thousands of miles for a summer escape often destroys the benefits of getting away together before you have got there. We set out to create a holiday experience that was easily accessible, had a spirit of adventure and provided a level of comfort that meant even the most ardent non-campers would still want to be included. We found sites that made you feel you had really escaped from the world. It was very important that you couldn’t see any light WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 31