04.11.2021 Views

October/November 2021

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

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

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

ISSUE 46 | October/November 2021 | www.openairbusiness.com

BUSINESS

BESPOKE GLAMPING

FUNCTION VENUES

› Shoot Styling

› Saying Thanks

/ /

GLAMPSITES

› Logo Protection

› Treehouse Builds

EVENTS

› Insurance

› Going Hybrid

CASE STUDIES:

ROKA BELLA ROSE WEDDINGS • THE MEADOWS AT POLEHANGER • BURRS LIVE


Take advantage of the growth in staycations and construct a luxury log holiday home.

Spacious, warm, welcoming and beautiful, a genuine log holiday home will generate year round income.

You’ll be able to provide holidays that your customers will remember, and book again and again.

0845 299 6337 / INFO@SCANDINAVIANHOMES.COM

WWW.SCANDINAVIANHOMES.COM/SELF-BUILD-HOLIDAY-HOMES


ISSUE 46 | October/November 2021 | www.openairbusiness.com

WELCOME

I LOVE it when the advice given by our contributing experts

pops up as real life examples in our case studies – you

know what they say about when a plan comes together!

Just as Amy Hatch makes her case for investing in the

right kind of styled shoot (pages 29-30), Carly Perry tells

us how she used the debacle that was 2020 to work with

suppliers and create imagery that would attract dream

clients to her launch venue Roka Bella Rose Weddings

Brenscombe (pages 22-25).

Similarly, as Kate Symonds shares a worrying story

about logos and why you usually get what you pay for (pages 43-44), so Charlotte

Foster explains how working with a professional paid off for her at Polehanger

Farm (pages 37-41). In fact, Charlotte could write a book on her learnings in

developing her beautiful glampsite comprising four unique cabins (see our cover

shot), and her journey resonates beautifully with that Kate Morel takes us on in

her look behind the scenes of major bespoke treehouse builds (46-48).

In events, it is great to have first hand insight into what it means to go hybrid

with a look at how Craft Festival has embraced digital (pages 62-64). And talk

about last minute – our case study Burrs Live explains how their team pulled

together to create six days of live events in just eight weeks! I believe a big

thanks goes to Ayre Event Solutions for pulling out all the stops and finding the

infrastructure when the whole world was running a festival – see pages 57-60.

Tally Rix

Editor / Publisher

PUBLISHERS

Steve Rix - steve@openairbusiness.com

Tally Rix - tally@openairbusiness.com

EDITOR

Tally Rix - tally@openairbusiness.com

ADVERTISING SALES

Marney Whyte - 01892 677743

marney@openairbusiness.com

ADMINISTRATOR

Kirsty Farrow – 01892 677740

kirsty@openairbusiness.com

DESIGN

James English -

www.jamesenglishdesign.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY

Coffee Shop Media Ltd

www.coffeeshopmedia.com

Milroy House, Sayers Lane,

Tenterden, TN30 6BW

01580 848555

Contents ISSUE 46 – OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021

UP FRONT

4 News

7 Product News

10 Farm Business

Innovation Show

Preview

13 Glamping Show

Review

16 Showman’s Show

Review

18 Entrepreneur’s Chat

– Jess Allen-Back and

Alice Derby, Home

Farm Glamping

FUNCTION VENUES

22 Roka Bella Rose

Weddings – a

glorious venue at a

Dorset activity centre

26 Thank You

– employee

recognition gets

noticed says Caroline

Cooper

29 Shoot Styling –

attract your dream

clients with the right

kind of shoot

33 Professional

services – Services in

action

34 Landscape &

Exteriors – products

in action

GLAMPSITES

37 The Meadows

at Polehanger –

Opening in December

with four bespoke

cabins

43 Logo Protection –

Kate Symonds warns

about copyright

46 Bespoke Treehouses

– design and build

advice from Kate

Morel

50 Factory Visit –

manufacturing

wind turbines with

FuturEnergy

52 Interiors – products

in action

54 Spa Facilities &

Cooking – products

in action

EVENTS

57 Burrs Live – a multiday

event pulled

together in record

time

62 Going Hybrid –

lessons from Craft

Fair organisers and

exhibitors

66 Covid Insurance –

a look at the finer

details and their

implications

68 Infrastructure –

products in action

70 Spotlight

71 Classifieds

73 Behind the Scenes

– Michael Owen,

Quality Unearthed

OPEN AIR BUSINESS IS

NO LONGER FREE

To start a paid subscription, please visit

www.openairbusiness.com/subscribe

Find more expert advice online:

www.openairbusiness.com

SUBSCRIBE

ONLINE

BESPOKE GLAMPING

/ /

FUNCTION VENUES GLAMPSITES

EVENTS

› Shoot Styling

› Logo Protection

› Insurance

› Saying Thanks

› Treehouse Builds

› Going Hybrid

CASE STUDIES:

ROKA BELLA ROSE WEDDINGS • THE MEADOWS AT POLEHANGER • BURRS LIVE

COVER PHOTO

The unique Polehanger cabin nestled in the meadows on a

crisp winter’s morning, available to purchase for your luxury

glamping experience. Sleeping up to four adults and two

children, this bespoke cabin design allows for a truly luxurious

experience. See pages 37-41 for more. 01480 589028

info@snuggeries.co.uk / www.snuggeries.co.uk/glamping

BUSINESS

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 3


For illustration - a similar

glamping silo conversion in New

South Wales, Australia

20 New Huts for

Soho Farmhouse

MELROSE PARK MUDGEE SILOS

Plans Approved for

Glamping in Silos

THREE FORMER grain silos near Llanwrtyd

Wells will be transformed into glamping

accommodation complete with reception. The

5.2m high buildings are on a site adjacent to the

Epynt Way with forest walks, national cycle ways

and mountain bike trails nearby.

Cllr David Price, of Powys Council, said: “As I

look around the countryside, most farms today

have either silos or bins to meet the needs

of bulk deliveries. As long as we have correct

conditions to ensure the landscaping and the

finish of those silos is managed appropriately

then I think they are something of great beauty.

Cllr David Selby added: “In another location

this is what I would call a brown field site; a

whole load of unattractive derelict buildings are

being re-purposed and brought back to life. In

any other location we would celebrate that, and

I celebrate it here.”

AS OCCUPANCY hits its peak,

Oxfordshire’s Soho Farmhouse has

been granted permission to add 20

more cabins. The single bedroom

contemporary structures will replace

existing bell tent glamping for year

round use.

An accompanying statement says

that Soho House has near 100%

occupancy for overnight stays and a

waiting list for membership to its gym,

pool, spa and wider facilities. The plan

also included expanding wellness

facilities by enlarging the millpond

spa area and adding additional

infrared sauna pods and hot tubs.

The statement also quoted: “The

investment by Soho House and Co.

of over £100m to date has directly

created over 400 jobs within West

Oxfordshire and many hundreds more

through the local supply chain for

goods and services”.

The proposed improvements will

create an additional 16 full time jobs.

Herefordshire

Venue Most

Popular in UK

BREDENBURY COURT Barns in the West

Midlands has been named as “Most

Popular UK Wedding Venue 2021” by

hitched.com after ramping up many five

star reviews.

The venue, which features a restored

1920s orangery, on site accommodation

and a multi-award winning wedding

team, was also nominated in 2020 as

‘Best New Wedding Venue’ for both

Hitched and Your Wedding Magazine

awards.

4 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Wales Loan Fund Helps Launch Shepherd Huts

A £50,000 micro loan has enabled the

completion of Brook Cottage Shepherd

Huts near Pwllheli. Offering luxury

boutique glamping, the five traditional

shepherd style huts have been

developed by co-owners Jonathan

Gooders and Mark Barrow with help

from the Development Bank of Wales.

Sion Wynne, an investment

executive with the bank, said: “Luxury

accommodation in the glorious

Welsh countryside is in big demand

as our tourism industry and the

wider hospitality sector recovers

from the impact of Covid-19. Our

clients Mark and Jonathan have

remained absolutely focused on

their vision of providing a unique

glamping experience and we are

really impressed with the high quality

accommodation that they now have

to offer.”

The £50,000 loan from the

Development Bank of Wales came

from the £30 million Wales Micro

Loan Fund that is financed by the

Welsh Government. Loans between

£1,000 and £50,000 are available with

repayment terms ranging from one to

10 years.

A Second Camp

Bestival at

Weston Park

ORGANISERS OF Camp Bestival have announced

a second festival to be held at Weston Park on the

Shropshire/Staffordshire border next year.

Co-curator Rob da Bank told BBC Radio

Shropshire: “The demand for Camp Bestival is

just so great from Shropshire and Birmingham

northwards but people are hesitant about making

the long journey south, so we’re trying to meet

that demand and give them a new show.”

The site, which has previously played host

to V Festival, was reportedly picked following a

recommendation from a friend.

“I'm not exaggerating,” said Rob. “It's one of the

best festival sites we've ever seen; beautiful trees,

beautiful woodlands... it’s absolutely stunning.

Camp Bestival Shropshire is planned to take

place at Weston Park on 18-21 August 2022, three

weeks after Camp Bestival Dorset.

MAC CABINS LIMITED

Modular • Artisan • Contemporary

Glamping Sites, Leisure Parks, Holiday Rentals,

Bed & Breakfasts (B&B), Hotels & Resorts, Golf Clubs,

Camp Sites, Holiday Retreats, AirBnB and Land/

Garden Owners.

Whether you are looking to start,

expand or diversify your own

existing holiday rental business,

MAC Cabins brings you the

perfect selection of the best

Timber Log Cabins, Glamping

Pods, Timber Lodges and Small

Homes Tiny Houses, collectively,

for you to choose from.

MAC Cabins actively supports and promotes the sustainable tourist industry.

0800 999 1564

maccabins.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 5


There has never been a better

time to invest with the UK’s

#1 Glamping franchise

visit us

FARM BUSINESS

INNOVATION SHOW

NEC, Birmingham

10 & 11 Nov 2021

Stand No 1040

6 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


PRODUCT

Unique and Luxurious

in any Landscape

EVENT STRUCTURE manufacturer Creative Structures has entered the

‘overnight market’, with the Crossover Lodge, which was showcased at the

2021 Glamping Show.

It was a journey through Morocco that inspired managing director Bas

Hoijtink who was stunned by a soothing luxury tent experience during

an intense journey through the desert. He investigated the possibilities

of developing his own accommodation structure and the result was the

Crossover Lodge, designed to elevate luxury camping to a hotel experience.

This permanent tent is the first TÜV certified lodging structure and is

weather- and storm proof. It can accommodate five people and features

a luxurious bathroom and stylish kitchen. It also has a partially covered

terrace with space for guests to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

+31 (0)76 2100 401, sales-uk@crossoverlodge.com, www.crossoverlodge.com

Introducing

MAC Cabins

WHETHER YOU are looking to start,

expand, or diversify a holiday rental

business, MAC Cabins has created a

comprehensive selection of timber log

cabins, glamping pods, timber lodges

and tiny homes to choose from.

Its team can also assist in all the

main aspects of setting up and running

a successful holiday rental business

including design and planning,

accountancy and business planning,

start-up/set up, tax benefits, approved

finance, website design and hosting,

online booking and social media.

0800 999 1564, help@maccabins.co.uk,

www.maccabins.co.uk/leisure

New from BCT Outdoors

BCT HAS turned its attention to developing a Nomadic range of tent

products especially designed for the commercial site operator. Designed

and manufactured in the UK at its factory in Bradford, BCT Outdoors

has had several years of great success with the Nomadic Yurt and the

Nomadic Bell Tent. Two new products have been added to the range for

2022 – the Nomadic Glamping Pod and the Nomadic Social Pod.

The Nomadic Glamping Pod is a tent designed around the idea of an

original wooden pod. Built on a heavy duty steel frame with a fabric

outer, the pod is easily assembled and remarkably robust. Ground

sheets and linings are available and pods can be fitted with bunk beds

that attach to the frame. As the beds have PVC hammock type covers

there is no necessity to provide a mattresses.

The Nomadic Social Pod uses the same framework as the Glamping

Pod. It is designed to provide a gazebo type shelter for dining,

socialising, cooking or even to house a hot tub. Quickly erected and

easily moveable, it still remains extremely robust. The cover can be

made in various fabrics including marquee grade PVC in various colours

or cotton fabrics to match tents or yurts.

01274 728469, info@bctoutdoors.com, www.bctshop.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 7


PRODUCT

Upgrade your

Bell Tents

THE FINMAN Sleeper Cabin brings

the unique style of the Finman BBQ

Hut to the glamping market. It has

become one of the most sought after

luxury glamping cabins due to its

cosy, Tolkienesque, hobbit-home

appeal.

Available in diameters of 4-6m, it’s

perfect for those that are wanting

to extend their renting season and

upgrade from bell tents or yurts.

As the cabins come as a kit, they

can be placed in those hard to

reach locations, inaccessible to

prefabricated glamping units.

Cabins are constructed from

spruce timber and are available

from £4,617 ex VAT. Options include

fully and partially insulated versions

with en-suites and lights.

01389 734572, info@logspan.com,

www.logspan.com

Industry Leading

Outdoor Saunas

IN FINLAND, saunas and hot tubs regularly sit side

by side; aesthetically they complement each other

perfectly and work in harmony to offer extreme

luxury.

Kirami’s FinVision sauna is a product of highquality

craftsmanship. The sauna is already surfacetreated;

it is made out of durable Finnish spruce timber and comes as a complete module.

It should be placed on a firm and level foundation made from gravel, decking or paving.

The sauna is extremely roomy on the inside but compact from the outside, making

it perfect for small spaces. Its base is 2.3m x 2.3m and with the roof it is 2.65m high.

Designed for four to six people, it’s perfect for smaller and larger parties.

The light grey benches and dark interior walls create contrast and the large tempered

glass wall brings nature closer to bathers. The sauna can be ordered with either electric

or wood-fired heaters and takes approximately one hour to heat up to optimum

temperature.

Kirami has recently been acquired by global-leader in the sauna and spa market Harvia

and FinVision saunas now include industry-leading technology.

www.thelogcompany.com, info@thelogcompany.com, 01748 889303

New Shepherd Hut Manufacturers

BRAND NEW to the market, Strawberry Hill Shepherd’s Huts provide professional, personable

huts primed with the best materials from the local area. Tailor made to your style, size and

specifications, huts are built to last whether for cosy accommodation or business space.

From doors to windows to floors, you get to select each element of your hut, so that each

finished product is unique to you. Options include solid oak stable doors, double doors,

solid oak windows and double glazing. Wooden steps and painted wooden floors add to the

traditional style of huts from years gone by.

Each hut is fitted with sheep’s wool insulation

and features corrugated metal cladding. Also

installed are 240V electrics, including three

double sockets, LED lighting (which can be

attached to a dimmer switch), and bulkhead

exterior lighting. Water heaters are also optional

if you’re looking for a hut that is the full

package.

07970 767 631,

info@strawberryhillshepherdhuts.co.uk,

www.strawberryhillshepherdhuts.co.uk

Traditional Log Cabins in the UK

REAL LOG Cabins is completing work on its show cabin available to view in

Stratford Upon Avon. The team welcomes viewings at any stage of the build at

Stratford Agri Park (CV37 8LP) to allow potential customers to see exactly how

cabins are assembled and whether they would prefer to purchase a kit or have a

cabin installed for them.

The company offers a consultancy service for bespoke cabins including full

drawings and a walk through visual file of exactly how cabins will look.

Traditionally constructed from sustainably sourced Eastern European Douglas

Fir, logs can be up to 300mm and 10m in length and are lined with lamb’s wool

which is anti-fungal, waterproof and deters any wood boring insects.

Services include a kerbside drop through to turnkey finish, with stocked cabins

available for delivery in seven to 10 days. A large, two-storey, four bedroom cabin

is already in the UK and ready for shipping, measuring 10m x 8m with a veranda.

Bespoke cabins can be delivered in as little as eight weeks depending on size.

01789 720312 / reallogcabins@gmail.com / www.reallogcabins.co.uk

8 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


HANDCRAFTED, QUALITY SHEPHERD HUTS BUILT

ENTIRELY TO YOUR PREFERENCES USING

LOCALLY SOURCED TIMBER

Options include solid oak doors and windows, painted floors, stable or double doors and

double glazing. Exquisite attention to detail, crafted with love by a highly

experienced team of craftsmen. Give us a call for a chat about your dream hut!

07970 767 631 | info@strawberryhillshepherdhuts.co.uk

www.strawberryhillshepherdhuts.co.uk


INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

Farm Business

Innovation Show

Chloe Jackson outlines what you can expect to see at

the UK’s biggest show for diversifying landowners

recognising the sector’s most sustainable

suppliers who will be showcasing products

and services, providing you with everything

you need ready to go green in 2022.

FREE TICKETS

The Farm Business Innovation Show takes

place at the NEC Birmingham on 10-11

November. Register for free tickets at

www.farmbusinessshow.co.uk

IF YOU haven’t already seen, the Farm

Business Innovation Show is back and

opening its doors at the NEC Birmingham

on the 10-11 November. The diversification

and innovation event for farmers and

landowners runs alongside the Holiday Park

& Resort Innovation Show, Family Attraction

Expo, Leisure Food & Beverage Expo, Leisure

Toy & Gift and Leisure Transport Show. The

event features over 1,000 exhibitors, 500

seminars and an incredible schedule of

keynote speakers.

LIVE DEMOS

See the most dynamic and innovative

products being showcased in the Live Demo

area. Be sure to make some time to visit this

area and possibly even get involved yourself.

PANEL DEBATES

This year the Farm Business Innovation

Show is launching its first series of panel

debates, where industry experts will be

discussing the latest industry topics. This

will give you the opportunity to ask any

burning questions and hear the answers

live and in person. From outdoor events to

renewable energy, you do not want to miss

this opportunity.

AWARDS

The Farm Business Innovation Awards will

be recognising the companies who have

gone above and beyond within the farming

and landownership industries, celebrating

those that are combining an unprecedented

blend of innovation, creativity and

uniqueness in their work and customer

offering.

BUSINESS GROWTH HUB

After the tough year and a half that the

industry has faced, the Business Growth

Hub has been designed to provide specific

products and services to help you prepare

for the resurgence of the industry after

Covid-19. Many rural businesses have

utilised this time to upgrade and perfect

their customer offering, which is why the

hub is bringing you masterclasses, videos,

news articles, podcasts and much more to

support you along this journey.

SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS

With sustainability becoming increasingly

important to members of the general public,

rural entrepreneurs are looking for new

ways in which they can be sustainable.

This is why the Farm Business Innovation

Show is introducing Green Route this year,

OAB’s Top Picks

Qorone

Stand 400

www.qorone.com

If you run a glamping or campsite,

or just want a unique structure on

your land, then the Qorone offers a

fabulous alternative to other forms of

accommodation out there. Grab the

attention of potential visitors with

this truly unique, beautiful, cosy and

welcoming space.

Handmade in Somerset using locally

sourced timber, Qorones have a quirky,

attractive appearance that will add

character in any surroundings. Solidly

built and very low maintenance, each

Qorone has a fireplace or woodburner at

the centre and comes in a variety of sizes,

from 5m diameter (eight sides) to 13m

diameter (20 sides).

10 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

Wildwood Ecology

Stand 980

www.wildwoodecology.com

Outdoor Living

Stand 984

www.outdoorliving.me.uk

Having worked within the rural sector for many years, the team

at Outdoor Living understands landowner diversification and

delivers turnkey glamping projects, managing every element. The

consultancy works with leading suppliers of luxurious glamping

accommodations and handles feasibility studies, finance,

planning and design.

From conception to completion, Outdoor Living’s dedicated

team of creative designers and project managers work

collectively focusing on the detail and managing every aspect of

a project giving you time to concentrate on other parts of your

business.

Wildwood Ecology helps people resolve their planning and

development issues where ecological surveys and expert

advice is needed. Each year they guide and support over 300

clients and have a 100% success rate in obtaining protected

species licences, such as for bats and newts.

Recognised by the industry as ‘Ecological Consultancy of the

Year’ in 2019, its vision is to reconnect people with their natural

environment, restore biodiversity loss and halt climate change

so that future generations may benefit and prosper.

Dragon Drilling (Water and Energy)

Stand 926

www.dragondrilling.co.uk

Dragon Drilling is one of the UK’s leading drilling contractors

specialising in water and ground source heating borehole

installations, site investigations and monitoring services. As chartered

environmental engineers, the team can provide extensive assistance

and expert advice on all land drilling processes and regulatory

requirements.

Operating a diverse range of 12 specialist drilling rigs, the fleet is

fitted with patented in-house modifications that make equipment

faster and with lower emissions.

VikingDome

Stand 813

www.vikingdome.com

VikingDome produces a wide variety of geodesic domes for

hospitality sector business needs. 20 years’ experience allows

the team to come up with unique structures depending

on a customer’s needs including insulated glamping or

garden domes, saunas, free form shelters and dome shaped

buildings, all offering a vast range of solutions for glampsites,

hotels, restaurants and other recreational resorts.

Viking’s Aura glamping domes are fully prepared for living

and include a climate control system. Part of the dome can

be opaque for privacy or fully transparent. Extra insulation is

also available.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 11


Need help marketing your

rural holiday accommodation?

Farm Stay has the answer!

0% commission

run by members for members

modest membership fee

training and support

member trade discounts

www.farmstay.co.uk

tel: 02476 696909

Join today

at stand

435

CALIFORNIAN GRILLS

OUR RANGE OF SANTA MARIA BARBECUES

The beauty of the Santa Maria

Grill is that the grilling grate can

be raised or lowered by a hand

crank mechanism to control the

temperature whilst cooking.

These steel barbecues are modular,

giving you a variety of different

ways to enjoy an outdoor fire.

Bespoke racks and standalone grills

can be made specifically for the

catering and hospitality sector

including outdoor built-in kitchens.

Visit our website

www.californiangrills.com

Phone 01732 321242

12 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


INDUSTRY NEWS

The Glamping

Show 2021

The Glamping Show represents the largest

collection of glamping companies available in

one place, writes Will Rusbridge

ONCE AGAIN, The Glamping Show has

come and gone, bigger and better than

the year before and instilling a sense of

excitement for next year’s event.

With 107 exhibitor stands, the exhibition

space was transformed at the NAEC

Stoneleigh into a sea of wonderful and

eye-catching structures. What started as a

quick stroll through the entirely outdoor

space, ended up a great pilgrimage of all

things glamping.

The explosion of interest in glamping

due to the pandemic was reflected at the

show with a large cohort of new entrants to

the business, but perhaps more important

was the number of existing operators

choosing to reinvest in their businesses to

enhance and expand.

Registration for the event was up 60%

on the last show with over 5,500 people

signing up. Attendance was well over

3,500, again, representing a 60% increase

on the 2020 show. Of the visitors in

attendance:

› 48% were in the early stages of

development (exploring opportunities

and looking for land)

› 20% were in the advance stages of set up

(planning/build/implementation)

› 25% were experienced operators (of

whom 69% were planning to enhance

and 89% to expand their businesses).

But it’s not just the number of people

that are looking to set up a site that

has increased, the number of glamping

manufacturers is also growing as well. Of

the 107 exhibitor stands present, 30% were

new for the 2021 event. As the popularity

of glamping increases, so too does the

number of companies who look to make

their mark and drive the industry forward.

Walking around The Glamping Show, it was

incredible to be able to see this change

and innovation first-hand.

The Glamping Show seminar

programme was also back and, for the

second year running, held entirely online.

42 industry experts gave a total of 58

sessions representing the largest collection

of glamping knowledge available. The

programme, which was available to view

over a period of a month, was very well

received with viewers from 27 different

countries. Gathering over 3,000 views, the

seminars were watched for a total of 610

hours.

Each year The Glamping Show proves

that glamping is far from a quirky fad, and

this year more than ever has shown that it

has not only established itself as a viable

long-term business opportunity but is now

firmly entrenched and bringing change to

the entire tourist accommodation sector.

OAB’s Top Picks

SteelPad

www.steelpad.co.uk

SteelPad offers bespoke shipping

container conversions by master

craftsmen, with each unit designed

according to a customer’s needs,

constructed and delivered almost

anywhere.

Comprising tough, durable Corten

steel and German engineered bifold

doors and frames, containers are fully

insulated with many cladding options

including timber, acrylic mirror and

paint.

The SteelPad 20 Glamping Pod was on

display at the show; a purpose designed

6m converted shipping container

with kitchen, bed and shower room.

Containers can be installed on or offgrid,

need no foundations and have a

50+ year lifespan.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 13


INDUSTRY NEWS

VRC Modular

www.vrcmodular.co.uk

Perfect for the retirement staycation market, and those who

want to offer year round accommodation, the 7.7x3.1m

self-contained Crofter’s Cabin from VRC Modular is

built on a rolled steel frame with galvanised steel

insulation panels and over 125mm of solid wall

insulation.

Fitted with a personalised shower wall

panel, electric hot water and shower (LPG

available), cabins also feature a pitched

roof and brass coloured gutters and

down pipes to set off the British red cedar

cladding. Cabins come complete with two

bedside tower wardrobes, a combined hob

and oven, fridge with ice box and a corner sink.

Priced at £24,888 plus 5% VAT and delivery.

Bond Fabrications

www.bondfabrications.co.uk

Bond Fabrications has been designing and manufacturing a wide range of bespoke

canvas structures and glamping tents in the UK for over 30 years. It offers a selection

of standard sizes as well as a bespoke design service, marrying a high-tech approach

with traditional British manufacturing and hand-finished detailing.

Bond’s safari tents are the only structures on the market to utilise a hidden boxsection

steel frame, resulting in a robust range of tents. It also offers premium frames

for sites that are particularly exposed giving even greater wind-load performance. All

of Bond’s glamping structures have full UK structural engineering reports and comply

with both UK and European codes.

Portable Power Technology

www.portablepowertech.com

Portable Power Technology (PPT) offers

a full range of off-grid power solutions

for your glamping site. Its entry level

powerpacks have been designed to be

user friendly all in one power systems.

Portable and lightweight, they have a

variety of ports including 230V AC and

multiple ways to charge, complete with

solar options.

PPT has over 15 years’ experience

creating power solutions for many

different markets. If you need a larger offgrid

kit, its highly experienced engineers

will create a bespoke solution for your

application – just tell them what you want

to power and they’ll do the rest!

These power solutions make it possible

to add beautiful lights to brighten up bell

tents, add phone charging points to your

pods, TVs to tipis or sound systems to

safari tents – all the while staying off-grid

and eco-friendly!

Solo Stove

www.lyon.co.uk

If you are looking for the ultimate fire pit, Solo Stove has you covered. Solo Stove’s

goal from day one was to produce the best performing fire pits on the market and

build them to last a lifetime.

The unique design takes the fire pit to a new level with a virtually smokeless

burn for added comfort, meaning no need to follow the wind round the fire or

worry about others nearby getting smoked out. Solo Stoves are super-efficient,

burning not just the solid fuel but also the smoke particles, giving superior warmth

for their size.

The range of three sizes and a BBQ grill means there is a Solo Stove to suit

everyone.

14 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


A family run business making beautiful pods,

shepherds huts, yurts and garden rooms.

Cedar Tree Pods is a family-run business based

near Wrexham in North Wales. Making

beautiful glamping pods and bespoke builds.

Each one of our pod designs can be

tailored to your exact requirements, fitting

perfectly with the needs of your business,

family or lifestyle.

From initial design to full realisation our

team will work closely with you to create

the unique space you’ve always wanted.

Get in touch to discuss your ideas.

info@cedartreepods.co.uk | 01978 804196 | www.cedartreepods.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 15


INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

The Showman’s Show

It was a welcome return to Newbury Showground for event suppliers as major

stakeholders gather at the 2021 Showman’s Show, writes Michelle Tayton

THE UK’S original and most

comprehensive exhibition for the outdoor

and special event world returned to

Newbury Showground this October. It was

the perfect opportunity for the outdoor

event industry to reconnect, showcase

products and services, share stories of how

they’ve navigated their way through the

pandemic, discuss best practice and look

forward to an incredibly busy 2022.

Commenting on the popular show’s

return, event director Jeremy Lance said:

“I think the sense of relief in being able to

get back together at the show, not only for

us as a team but the industry as a whole,

was palpable.

“Exhibitor and visitor numbers were

around two-thirds of what we usually see

at the show but, given what we’ve been

through as an industry since March 2020,

we are incredibly pleased with that. What

is more important is that we had the major

players attend, from the suppliers and

manufacturers exhibiting to high profile

event organisers such as All England Lawn

Tennis Club, Glastonbury, H Power, Festival

Republic, RHS, Goodwood and Roskilde.

It was wonderful to see people smiling,

chatting and ultimately doing business

throughout both days of the show. I don’t

think that we could have asked for more

than that”.

That sentiment was certainly echoed

by Showman’s Show exhibitors. Ivana

Shantilal of mobile catering ordering

platform NOQ, who were new to the

exhibition, said: “We had a really great

experience at the show – it was by far the

best networking we've experienced in the

industry, and there were a lot of relevant

stakeholders present”.

Temporary overlay specialist GL events’

Rachel Baker adds: “We were really keen

to be back at Showman’s Show in 2021 to

catch up with people, to share experiences

and to look forward with positivity and

optimism about the opportunities in

events over the next couple of years. We

were delighted to see so many familiar

faces and showcase the fact that, despite

the pandemic, GL events has very much

not taken a step backwards in terms of

market presence and appetite to deliver a

fresh and professional service. In fact, we

are more driven than ever to take things to

the next level”.

Long running exhibitor, Event Hire

Group’s Simon Wiser also commented:

“The Showman’s Show has always been,

and continues to be, a valuable and

permanent fixture in our marketing event

calendar. We’re already looking forward to

2022!”

OAB’s Top Picks

DCRS

www.dcrs.co.uk

Established in 1987, DCRS has become one

of the UK’s market leaders in the hire, sales

and service of two-way radio communication

products and body cams to the events

industry.

With technical excellence and

accreditations for quality assurance, health

and safety and product support, DCRS offers

exceptional client service by combining

technical and operational expertise,

resources and commitment throughout

product and system lifetimes. In recognition

of this, they have been awarded the Queen’s

Royal Warrant.

16 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

Biemmedue UK/Arcotherm

www.arcotherm.co.uk

Portable seating specialist Arcotherm is the sole UK distributor of the Biemmedue

product range and one of the UK's leading suppliers of portable heating

equipment. Its extensive range of both direct and indirect heaters are renowned

in the marquee and event industry, and its huge stocks means orders are

processed quickly.

The website contains detailed information on each heater, accessories, spare

parts and service kits together with exploded parts diagrams and instruction

manuals. Drop the team a line and ask about their marquee packages.

Elani Lighting

www.elanilighting.com

Elani Lighting provides decorative outdoor lighting

systems for marquees, glamping and terraces with

elegant and fun lamps suitable for use in all weather.

Offering a diverse range of stylish Italian designed

light fittings and cables, lighting can be assembled to

your exact requirements.

Combine natural finishes, coloured cables and

elegant and/or fun lamps with components that

are IP65 water resistant, protecting them from the

weather whatever configuration you create!

Top Cat Big Tops

www.topcatbigtops.co.uk

Top Cat Big Tops manufacture and hire out colourful temporary structures. Staffed

by a crew of highly experienced personnel with many years of experience in the

festival, local authority, educational and corporate fields, Top Cat can supply

small to large colourful structures that are built to withstand extreme UK weather

conditions.

A variety of different size tents are built every year in traditional and brand new

colour combinations. If you have a specific requirement, get in touch and Top Cat

will create a custom structure to suit your needs.

Burrow Venues

www.burrowvenues.co.uk

Supplying mobile venues as unique, versatile

and exciting environments for almost any

occasion, Burrow Venues offers flexible hire

and a full creative design and build service. The

fleet of venues and bars has been designed for

the differing needs of the event industry, from

boutique VIP to private events and high volume

pouring.

With a number of hire and branding packages,

including the option of dry hire or staffed and

stocked, customers can be as hands on or off as

they wish.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 17


PEOPLE

We talk to Jess

Allen-Back and Alice

Darby about creating

London’s closest

glampsite – Home

Farm Glamping in

Elstree – and Jess’s

plans as custodian of

her family’s estate

ENTREPRENEUR’S CHAT

Jess Allen-Back

& Alice Darby


PEOPLE

ess Allen-Back, a trained lawyer,

studied in Newcastle before moving to

London where she worked for a large

international law firm near Moorgate.

After six years of “being a grown-up” she

decided enough was enough. “I had very

little spare time for imaginings of any

kind,” says Jess. “As a farmer’s daughter,

there is really nothing like a 70 hour

week in a hermetically sealed office on

the 14th floor of a London tower block to

make you dream of the countryside!”

Seven years on and Jess has found her

work/life balance, having founded what

is London’s nearest glamping site on her

family’s farm.

Born and bred in Hertfordshire, Jess grew up at Home

Farm on the Aldenham Estate in Elstree. “The first of

my family line to settle in Hertfordshire was described

as a merchant of London, later of Bushey, later of

Aldenham Hall,” says Jess. “In fact, most of our family

were merchants and bankers, as well as being involved

in local politics, the law and the church.

“Henry Hucks Gibbs, who became the first Lord

Aldenham as a result of his service, was governor of the

Bank of England. Though our family had been here for

centuries, it was Henry Hucks who created the larger

Aldenham Estate, of which the Home Farm was an

important part. He designed and built our lake, Tykes

Water, out of a weird Victorian fake concrete construct

called Pulhamite (you can see a lot in Battersea Park,

it looks like rocks but is in fact entirely man-made), he built the

gorgeous red-brick bridge spanning the lake to lead to the main

house (now Haberdashers Boys School), and he also designed

the collection of streams and waterfalls that lead from Aldenham

reservoir into Tykes Water”.

Home Farm has some outstanding natural features, Lord

Aldenham having planted an avenue of horse chestnuts that forms

the northeast border of Jess’s glamping meadow and the huge

oak tree that now plays host to her evening Supper Under The Oak

events.

“His son Vicary, MP for St Albans from 1892 to 1904, lived at

Aldenham after him and created a world-renowned garden,

including the 100 Oak Wood, which was designed as a highly

organised ‘wilderness’ - apparently very popular with the late

Victorians! Even 120 years ago these city-based men were concerned

Build Your Own

Shepherd Huts

With Tithe Barn Shepherd Huts original parts.

Call 01262 470475 or

Visit www.shepherd-huts.com

and click on the ‘self build’ page

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 19


PEOPLE

“I COULD SUDDENLY SEE A WAY THAT I COULD WORK FOR THE FAMILY BUT CREATE A

BUSINESS THAT SUITED ME AND MY SKILLS, AND WHICH ALLOWED US TO MAKE THE

MOST OF OUR LAND AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS”.

with their home environment and creating a magical space in which

to achieve the perfect work/life balance”.

Jess’s great grandfather, and then grandfather Antony Gibbs,

lived further north in Hertfordshire and managed Home Farm from a

relative distance, until her parents moved into a small cottage on the

edge of the 100 Oak Wood in 1984.

“Home Farm was at the time farmed by my father and most

summer evenings Mum would pick us up from school and we’d

have a picnic sitting on the side of a field while Dad drove his tractor

making hay or (much more excitingly in my brother Humphrey’s

opinion) the combine, harvesting wheat, beans and oil seed rape.

Much later, when I moved into London and a career as a city lawyer,

these were memories that floated very close to the surface. I had

to face the fact that, love London though I do, I am by nature truly

a country girl, a farmer’s daughter, and the inevitable crushing

claustrophobia of office life in London wasn’t going to go away.

“I still live in North West London with my husband and two little

boys and, although working on the farm has allowed most of that

claustrophobia to subside, I still sometimes get an uncontrollable

need to be outside and I will run out of the door to breathe outdoor

air, even on my busy street in Kensal Rise”.

A SEED IS SOWN

While considering her options, in May 2014 Jess went on a friend’s

hen do at a glamping site. At her first ever experience of glamping, a

seed of an idea was sown.

“We were sitting round the campfire gossiping about how we

might improve the place if we were running it (as you do), and it

suddenly occurred to me that I could actually do this at Home Farm.

I’m not particularly spontaneous and I’m usually quite risk averse,

but this idea completely took root so that I couldn’t really think or

talk about anything else.

“There was no angle I could consider where it didn’t seem like

a good idea. We have a beautiful farm, wood and lake, the site’s

extremely accessible from London, I love being outdoors, I like

meeting new people, there was a field that was hopeless for crops,

the farm needed a new revenue stream and I didn’t know much

about farming but I knew a lot about hospitality (although in

hindsight by that I meant as a customer, in fact I knew nothing at all

about running what is effectively a small hotel in a field).

“I could suddenly see a way that I could work for the family but

create a business that suited me and my skills, and which allowed us

to make the most of our land and share it with others”.

Today, the glamping meadow at Home Farm has four idyllic yurts

and eight classic bell tents which can sleep a total of 52 guests. The

site, which is managed by Alice Darby, is also blessed with Michelintrained

caterers, Sainlo Events, who run the Meadow Cafe, feeding

campers with hearty BBQ boxes and cooked breakfasts.

Many of Home Farm Glamping’s guests are from London and

Hertfordshire. “We’re London’s closest glamping site, just 10

minutes from Stanmore, at the end of the Jubilee Line on the

London Underground, and Edgware on the Northern Line. Elstree

and Borehamwood station, 20 minutes from Kings Cross on the fast

ThamesLink train, is a half hour walk from our tents.”

“We’re actually far closer to London than your standard commuter

hotspots of St Albans, Harpenden and Tring. But although Home

Farm is so accessible, it feels a million miles from the non-stop city.

Something our guests who come from London always mention is

that strange sensation of stepping off the tube, into a cab, and within

less than a minute feeling like they’re in the countryside. This is what

the green belt was designed for, and we want to make sure that

we preserve our patch and make it even nicer with each summer

season”.

ADDING EVENTS

In 2021 Jess launched the ‘At Home Farm’ events programme with

the help of Events Programmer Tessa Clarfelt – an intimate season

of events ranging from music, theatre, gastronomy and wellbeing.

“We built a magical stage in our woodland area which this year was

graced by James Bay, Nick Mulvey, Freya Ridings and Jack Garratt,”

says site manager Alice. “Our new acts for 2022 will be revealed in

February. The events side of the business has been a big investment

but helps to create Home Farm as more of a destination”.

In the first couple of years of operation, Jess was still working

in the city from Monday to Friday so the site was only open at

weekends. Jess not only played host but also cooked all of the

breakfasts and made the beds. Since year two, the business has been

run by an onsite general manager and opens from April to October,

encouraging couples and young families to come and stay mid-week.

“The pandemic really saw the staycation market take off in a

20 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

massive way and brought glamping to the forefront,” says Alice.

“We’re hoping to ride the halo effect as international travel opens up

again next year”.

In the seven years the glamping has been running, Jess reports

that much of her success has been down to the importance she

and her team place on listening to and learning from guests. “In

order to create an experience that fuses the efficiency of home

with the simplicity of the country we have a whole team dedicated

to ensuring our glampers are well looked after and our tents and

grounds remain pristine,” she says.

“Our guests are always delighted by our snuggly duvets, kitted

out barn, genuinely luxurious bathrooms (yes, unlimited hot water!)

as well as the small gestures like Mallow & Marsh marshmallows in

our welcome boxes and a basket of hot water bottles in the barn. It’s

important to us that our guests sense the care and thought we have

put into their stay at every touchpoint, from booking through to

check out”.

BIG PLANS

The future of the Aldenham Estate is in Jess and her brother

Humphrey’s hand, who have grand and sustainable ambitions

for the land. The estate has submitted a planning application to

regenerate farmland into a solar farm and rewild parts of the estate –

a shipment of 1,500 trees is arriving in December.

A huge inspiration is Isabella Tree and her team at the Knepp

Estate in West Sussex (Open Air Business, issue 28).. “Isabella puts it

beautifully at the end of her incredible

book Wilding: ‘Our footsteps often feel

heavy… when we go for walks in the

countryside… chances are what we

notice most is the silence... we now

know what isn’t there’”.

Plans for next year include more

events, more trees and more glamping

– all this on top of the recent birth of

her second child! We salute you Jess.

DETAILS

Home Farm Glamping

Aldenham Road, Elstree

Hertfordshire WD6 3AZ

0208 243 8872

www.homefarmglamping.com

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 21


FUNCTION VENUES

CASE STUDY

Roka Bella

Rose Weddings

A flexible wedding venue run by

a husband and wife team with

immense creative flair

Charged with launching a

wedding venue business

at a Dorset activity centre

in Autumn 2019, stylist,

celebrant and artist Carly

Perry went all out on styled

shoots when Covid put pay

to her plans. We talk to her

about the importance of

building relationships with

suppliers and how creativity

is at the heart of everything

she does.

When did you start your venue business

and what is its history?

My husband Luke and I have run a marquee,

styling and prop hire business for four years.

In Autumn 2019 I was asked to organise and

promote weddings at Brenscombe Outdoor

Activity Centre, Dorset, and so Roka Bella

Rose Weddings at Brenscombe was born –

obviously our first year didn’t go quite to plan!

Rather than do nothing in 2020 I gathered

lots of local and very talented suppliers

together and designed some styled shoots

to be able to give couples some visual

inspiration. I have been a wedding stylist for

four years so it was great fun bringing visions

to life at Brenscombe.

Tell us about your location and site

The venue is part of the Rempstone Estate

in Dorset, situated on the road between

Studland National Trust beach and Corfe

Castle, on the edge of the newly designed

Purbeck Heaths Nature Reserve which the

venue overlooks. It is a disused pig farm, and

also has a private woodland. The stone arches

above the entrance to the farmhouse are old

window arches from Corfe Castle, so there’s a

lot of character.

It also has a woodland. Whenever I get the

chance I like to go up there at dusk and sit

quietly and watch the owls fly around. You

often get deer roaming through too.

What facilities for outdoor functions

do you offer?

For weddings couples can utilise all of the

space so events can be truly unique and

personal. We have two barns with a split

level courtyard between them. The upper

barn, which is Brenscombe’s dining room,

our couples and I have lovingly named ‘Disco

Barn’. It has a high ceiling, beams, and a

mezzanine floor, which has proved to be

a great place for the DJ to play from in the

evening so that music can be played inside

until 12am.

The upper courtyard has been where our

couples have had their mobile bar and picnic

bench seating, and my husband and I have

created a fairy light and festoon light star

installation to illuminate the area. The lower

courtyard is the perfect size for our Little Hat

Tipi which has been used either as a lounge

area or for buffet food. Also on the lower

courtyard we have a fire pit with benches.

The lower barn has proved popular as an

area for children to play and a company called

The Wedding Crecherz has been hired in to

provide soft play.

We have a big field which has lots of space

in the middle for marquees. There’s a wooden

archery shelter which has poles in the ground

opposite for an outdoor cinema screen to be

attached to, perfect for couples staying longer

than just the Saturday night and making a

holiday of their wedding.

22 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

At the top of the field there’s a big

campfire area which we put festoon

lights around, it’s a great place to

chill out and has far reaching views

of Poole Harbour.

At the bottom of the field there’s

a big two sided barn and another

field which contains Brenscombe’s

tipi village. These big tipi tents can

be booked out by guests to stay in.

Our couples have used this space

for tents and camper vans too.

There’s a separate courtyard with

all of the toilet and shower blocks.

Alongside camping there is also

accommodation for guests in the

Farmhouse, Dairy House, and four

different barns.

Guests staying longer than

just the Saturday night can also

book activities with Brenscombe

including raft building competitions

and tours of Poole Harbour by big

canoe.

What services do you offer?

The three barns and our archery

shelter are licensed for legal

ceremonies. Until April, if couples

choose to get married in the field

or the courtyard they don’t have

to duck under one of the buildings

for the legals. We are hoping

these changes will stay in place

beyond April as it makes outdoor

ceremonies easier. Celebrant-led

ceremonies are also welcomed.

We want couples to have as much

choice as we can give them to make

their special day a true fit for them.

We are able to offer lots of

different recommendations for

caterers and bar companies to help

“OUR OTHER

TEMPORARY

STRUCTURE

IS OUR 7M

LITTLE HAT

TIPI FROM THE

TIPI COMPANY.

THEY’RE A

VERY FRIENDLY

AND HELPFUL

COMPANY

AND YOU

GET A VERY

PERSONAL

SERVICE

WHEN YOU

BUY FROM

THEM”

make choices easier – we aren’t

tied to anyone in particular. This is

important for our venue as we want

couples to have the freedom to plan

their day just the way they want it.

Those that choose a festival-style

wedding are often after a very

relaxed and very personal wedding

and we want to help achieve this.

Describe how you researched and

sourced your structures

Our big traditional canvas marquee

has been named ‘Rustic Rose’.

She’s an original vintage marquee

made by Yeo Bros Paull in Martock,

Somerset. For the last four years I’ve

been lovingly restoring her. We’ve

replaced all of the main poles, and

I’ve stripped all of the outer poles

back to bare wood and re-stained

them. I’ve turned 50 odd new

wooden finials on my lathe by hand

and eye, and I’ve replaced all the old

blue and orange ropes with hessian

ones. My last restoration job for her

is to replace the canvas, but this is

around the £15k mark so is going to

have to wait a bit longer.

Our other temporary structure is

our 7m Little Hat Tipi from The Tipi

Company. They’re a very friendly

and helpful company and you get a

very personal service when you buy

from them. Next on my purchase

list are two of their big tipis. This

will also allow us to work with

other local companies to be able

to provide tipis for larger numbers,

and it’s always good fun to work

with other local suppliers. We’ve

got a great network in Hampshire

and Dorset so we are very lucky and

are always recommending each

other when we are booked up or it’s

a service we don’t provide. It feels

good to be able to help take care of

each other.

Brenscombe, as an outdoor

activity centre, offers activities that


FUNCTION VENUES

utilise the surrounding landscape

so people are immersed in the

environment, from the sea cliffs,

chalk down lands, heathland and

Poole Harbour. It also specialises

in school residential outdoor

programmes.

How do you work with your

customers to make their events

unique?

We listen to them describe their

vision, then we offer ways to help

make it become a reality and follow

their lead helping with logistics

and organisation along the way.

Planning and designing is always

the fun bit, it’s always everything

else that can be a bit overwhelming

so we are there as a hand to hold

throughout the process.

It’s a very versatile venue as you

have lots of areas to utilise. Most

couples like to make use of the field

in the day time, then as the sun

goes down and the temperature

drops they like to move over to the

barns and courtyard where they

can dance in one barn, chill out

in the other, and drink, chat and

toast marshmallows on the fire in

the courtyard in between. It keeps

everyone in the same place, but

allows people to mooch around a

bit too, and it works really well.

How do you publicise yourself?

Most of our enquiries come from

a Google search which pulls up

our website, and from Instagram,

as pretty photos sell weddings.

Couples like to be able to imagine

themselves with a day that looks

like what they’re seeing.

How would you describe your

style or unique selling point?

Artisan Bohemian. As a creative

designer and artist I make a lot of

our props and backdrops myself.

We build all of our own tables and

benches that we hire out too.

What challenges have you faced

historically?

This season has been particularly

challenging as everyone has

planned everything so last minute.

Our first child turned two in January,

five days after his little brother was

born. So this year has had to be a

pretty impressive juggling act and

couldn’t have been done without

the help of our wonderful family.

How has Covid-19 impacted you?

I still needed to launch the venue

side of the business as well as

continue to grow the styling

and hire side, so going all out on

styled shoots has really helped

“AS A

CREATIVE

DESIGNER

AND ARTIST

I MAKE A

LOT OF OUR

PROPS AND

BACKDROPS

MYSELF. WE

BUILD ALL

OF OUR OWN

TABLES AND

BENCHES

THAT WE HIRE

OUT TOO”

do that, and I’ve got to know so

many more suppliers personally

and build relationships as we all

had the gift of time. Styled shoots

cost money though so I had to do

weekend care work throughout the

pandemic to bring in some money.

I also undertook a lot of artwork

commissions to bring in some funds.

How large is your team – any

special people you’d like to

mention?

We are a husband and wife team.

I run the business and Luke helps

on build days as I couldn’t put the

marquees up and move all of the

tables by myself. He is my chief

muscle man. I call him the build or

engineering director on most forms.

Within the next year or so we are

hoping to be in the position to have

a small team working with us.

Have you worked with any

industry bodies or consultants?

My main source of support is from

fellow wedding suppliers. We all

chat a lot and know that we can

contact each other for help or

advice. Having that industry safety

net of friends who understand is so

important and keeps us all going.

What are your plans for next

season?

Hopefully next year we will have

time to plan an open day as this

summer was just too crazy busy to

be able to.

24 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

Describe your average day midseason

I wouldn’t say it’s an average day

with any wedding, it’s more an

average week to 10 days. Once all

the planning and design work has

been done, table runners have been

dyed, custom backdrops made,

and all suppliers have been liaised

with, you then have all of the build

prep. Making sure all the hire stock

is clean, getting everything out and

loaded that’s needed, transporting

it, unloading it at the other end,

erecting any marquees, putting

all of the tables and anything else

that needs building up, decorating

everything, and adding all the

finishing touches.

On the wedding day itself you’ll

often see me running around

making sure suppliers are OK.

Luke and I will be on the walkie

talkies directing guests where to

park, lighting fires, moving items

to the marquee for dining after the

ceremony has finished, and the

night ends standing at the entrance

of Disco Barn making sure that the

door remains closed so as not to

disturb any neighbours.

The day after is takedown.

Wedding season feels like moving

house once or twice a week for

the duration of the season. Once

everything is back to base there

are then countless days of washing

and cleaning everything. Our first

wedding at Brenscombe consisted

of four 18 hour days in a row running

about constantly, and that’s without

taking into account the prep to get

it to that point or the cleaning time

after. So I am very much looking

forward to being in a position where

we can employ a small team!

What do you enjoy about the

business and why?

Creativity. Creativity feeds your

soul, and I need a creative outlet.

Being able to get creative with

couples and help their dreams

and visions become reality is the

biggest buzz for me, I love it.

What other outdoor hospitality

sectors do you operate in?

We have two halves to our

business, the venue side of the

business, and the hire and styling

side of the business. I’m also a

holistic therapist, I work by myself

as Roka Relaxation, soon to be

ADDRESS BOOK

MARQUEES

Roka Bella Rose Weddings

www.rokabellaroseweddings.com

The Tipi Company

www.thetipicompany.com

FLORIST

Maia Sellen Floral Designs

www.dorsetflorist.co.uk

PHOTOGRAPHY

Oliver Whillock Visuals

www.oliverwhillockvisuals.co.uk

Roka Sanctuary, and also as part

of the collective that is Temple &

The Moon putting together holistic

experience events.

Luke and I have a big dream of

having our own wedding venue

and campsite one day. I’ve already

planned every aspect of it out in

my head down to the very last

detail.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I’ve built this

business up from scratch over the

last four years, and that for the last

two and a half years I’ve done that

around taking care of our sons.

What advice could you give

to someone coming into the

industry?

Take part in styled shoots and

get to know other suppliers. It’s

a chance to show off your brand

and who you are without working

to a client brief. That way you will

attract the clients that make your

soul sing and you’ll get to do more

of the type of work you love the

most.

INSURANCE

Hiscox www.hiscox.co.uk

DETAILS

Roka Bella Rose Weddings

Brenscombe Outdoor Centre

Studland Road

Wareham BH20 5JG

07834 060662

weddings@rokabellarose.com

www.rokabellaroseweddings.com

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 25


FUNCTION VENUES

GETTY IMAGES

Employee recognition gets noticed, says Caroline Cooper

I

believe it’s all too easy, while businesses

and their teams are working so hard

to get back to any kind of normality

(particularly when they are struggling

to recruit staff) that some of the softer

elements of leadership get forgotten.

I remember reading a statistic from UK

research pre-pandemic that stated that

78% of employees didn’t feel recognised!

That to me is a pretty shocking – and sad –

statistic.

I doubt it’s much better now.

Yet employee recognition can have

a massive impact on productivity, on

customers’ experience and on staff

retention. As employee retention is so

important right now, you surely want to do

everything you can to help team members

feel appreciated and valued.

There’s a perception that everyone is

motivated by money. There’s no doubt

cash is a contributing factor. Pay them late,

mess up their overtime or deny them the

pay rise they were promised and you’re

probably going to have an unhappy person.

And unhappy team members invariably

lead to unhappy customers.

But how would you feel if on your

birthday your nearest and dearest just

gave you money? Unless it was a ton of

cash or you’re saving up for something

really special, it’s not very exciting. It feels

as if no care or thought has gone into it.

It’s impersonal. But if someone’s taken the

trouble to find that something special and

buy it for you, that’s going to have far more

impact, right?

Money is a very short-term motivator.

And let’s face it, unless your team members

are on performance related bonuses, few

businesses can be doling out monetary

rewards every five minutes. So, what

can you do to show your team they’re

appreciated?

1

SAY THANK YOU

The most obvious and easiest

thing you can do to show your team

you appreciate them is to make a point

of thanking them, especially if that’s a

heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy

shift or hectic day, when they’ve made

an extra effort, used their initiative or

gone out of their way to help a colleague

or customer.

A thank you will have more impact

if it’s spontaneous and in the moment,

not just as a routine passing comment.

Go out of your way to thank individuals

when you spot them doing something in

support of a colleague or that will delight

your customers. Bring the team together

at the end of that busy event when

everybody has pulled their weight to

make sure everything went smoothly.

Saying thank you will have far more

meaning if you’re specific; what are you

thanking them for? What impact that has

had on the team, for your customers, for

the business, etc? A follow up thank you

card can really reinforce this for when

they’ve gone the extra mile – a physical

note or card will have 10 times more

impact than an email.

If you are genuine in your

appreciation, and choose it for the right

moment, it can work wonders. A simple

but honest appreciative remark can go a

very long way.

26 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

2

INVOLVE EVERYONE

Ensure your thanks extends to

those beavering away behind the

scenes. Your grounds and building

maintenance teams, your housekeepers

or cleaners, your finance team. All

these people have an impact on your

customers’ experience, either directly

or indirectly, and ultimately on your

business success.

Recognition doesn’t just come from

the top. Make it easy for team members

to show recognition for one another

– when a colleague has stepped in to

help someone who is struggling, when

another department has muckedin

to support on a big event, when

someone’s made a personal sacrifice to

cover sickness.

Encourage your supervisors and

line managers to show recognition.

Recognition doesn’t have to be

rationed, so encourage them to give

this freely. Help them identify how

powerful recognition can be. This, of

course, starts with you and how you

recognise them; be their role model!

And if you are going to praise an

individual, don’t just leave it until you

are on your own with them. Find an

opportunity when they are with their

colleagues, and your praise will create

a buzz!

Make sure it’s genuine and specific

for the task carried out, or the person

might be seen by their colleagues as

‘teacher’s pet’.

3

TOKEN GESTURES

Is it really just tangible rewards people love? Well, I know I’d rather be given a bunch of

flowers any day over a tenner to go and buy my own!

When you’re aware of your team members’ hobbies and interests, when you are out and

about and see something that has to do with that particular interest, pick it up for them.

Coming into the business and saying: “I really appreciate what you do, and I got this for you

as a small token of my appreciation”, will make them feel they are recognised for a great

job.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth, just a token. But the thought it evokes will make a real

difference.

4 A TREAT

Give your team the

occasional treat. No need to

be a lavish; look at ways to

reward that create a win-win

– maybe a visit to a sister

business or somewhere

where they will be on the

receiving end of outstanding

service and are motivated to

bring back more ideas that

can be implemented in your

business.

When your team has

worked long or unsociable

hours that had an impact

on members’ personal

lives, extending the treat to

be shared with their loved

ones not only makes your

team member feel good but

shows your appreciation of

the support given by their

friends and family. This

paves the way for future

good deeds too.

7

KNOW WHAT’S

IMPORTANT

Make your thank yous personal and appropriate

for the individuals. The golden rule is to treat

others how you would wish to be treated. And

that’s certainly a good start. But the platinum

rule is to treat others how they wish to be

treated. What would they appreciate most?

Understand each of your team members and

what’s important to them. Not everyone values

or is interested in the same things. Recognise

there are things which may seem insignificant

to you, but can mean a lot to others.

What are the things they enjoy? What are

the things they’re proud of, be that in or out

of work? Express an interest in what they do

away from work. Whilst some love the sense of

achievement or recognition, others get a buzz

from supporting others. Some love to have their

say and see their ideas put into practice, whilst

others are happiest when they’re learning or

being stretched.

Once you understand what’s important, and

with a little bit of creativity, there are plenty of

ways you can say “I appreciate you”. And your

customers will feel that appreciation too!

5

TIME OFF

For some people a little free time could be the most valuable gift you can give them.

Allowing flexibility to go home early to attend their children’s sports’ day or on the day

before their holiday, have a lie in, take the evening off on their birthday, or take an hour

out to attend to a personal matter.

Allow the freedom for having fun too. This doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but

looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to work. Simply a rest

or just having a bit of fun can work wonders for someone’s state of mind.

6

CELEBRATE AND SHARE SUCCESSES

Celebrate what’s gone well so far since re-opening, so everyone gets the

recognition they deserve for the effort that’s gone into it.

Update your team on your business successes; new business won, milestones you’ve

achieved, the highlights of the past six months, and the team’s contribution to these.

External awards are a great way to give recognition for the whole team. Keep your

eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being

nominated is a great booster – it demonstrates to your team you feel they are worthy

of it.

TAKE ACTION

If you only do one thing, make a point of

saying a sincere and personal thank you to

everyone in your team at some point today,

or if you don’t see them every day, then at

least once this week.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caroline Cooper is the

founder of Naturally Loyal

and has over 30 years' training

and development experience

in hospitality.

Recognising that managers in

hospitality often get promoted into

positions without much training, her key focus

is on developing newly promoted and junior

managers to lead and engage their teams

effectively.

Caroline has a number of free resources and

guides you can access at www.naturallyloyal.

com/free-resources

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 27


S2T GRASS

REINFORCEMENT

PERFO

interlocking tiles - effective

protection for soft ground

glamping pods

perfect for even

the most remote locations

Ideal for the reinforcement of

parking areas, access tracks,

pitches etc. at:

- camping & glamping sites

- open air event venues

- country & leisure parks

Tel. 01992 522797

www.perfo.co.uk

free design plans

bespoke build

off-grid solutions

low maintenance

fast return on investment

contact us for a free no-obligation quote

premium quality amazing value

www.podzrus.com

07767733044

01453 767171

www.bondfabrications.co.uk

enquiries@bondfabrications.co.uk

British Design & Manufacture of Unique Canvas Safari Tents & Bespoke Structures

From our Gloucestershire factory Bond have served the British outdoor hospitality industry for over 30 years. With an emphasis on

client-led design we use only high performance technical fabrics, traditional British workmanship and structurally engineered frames

meeting British & European codes. Bond offer an unrivalled custom design process to create unique, beautiful structures. From high

luxury glamping locations to exclusive tents for outdoor event venues, we can offer full CAD design support, exceptional quality and a

personal service to create the vision and identity your location requires. Call us to discuss your own project.

28 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Shoot Styling

Stylist Amy Hatch explains how curating the “right kind” of editorial

shoot helps venues attract their dream clients

CLAIRE GRAHAM

HANNAH DUFFY


FUNCTION VENUES

EDITORIAL SHOOTS, styled shoots

– whatever you call them, everyone

is doing them right now. But are

they doing them the correct way?

It’s a chicken and egg scenario

– you want to get the dream

bookings that are right for your

venue and that you can share

on socials and your website, but

you haven’t had anything like

those ideal weddings to show the

possibilities of your venue to your

couples.

Couples can have limited vision

when it comes to venues, so you

need to show them what can be

achieved at yours through your

imagery. So again, how can you

show them this if you haven’t had

the right weddings? Well, you

produce an editorial shoot, but not

just any – one that is going to show

your venue at its very best, that is

going to attract the couples with

the right budgets, and one that

pushes the limits when compared

to other shoots out there.

WHAT TO SHOW

When planning an

editorial/styled

shoot, you need to

go about it the right

way. The first task is

to know what those

dream couples want

to see. What kind of

wedding would they have

that would sit with the style

of your venue? That has the right

flowers, uses the right furniture

and décor? That has the ceremony

in a beautiful and unique way? The

possibilities of what you can create

on a shoot are endless, as you do

not have a couple’s restrictions.

HELEN WARNER

CREATE YOUR TEAM

After you have considered what

you want to show within your

venue, you need to consider the

team. There are various options for

this. You can work with a planner

that you trust to execute your

brief. Personally, I would ask to

work with them in such a way that

they are bringing your vision to

life – as it is your venue and your

marketing. The other alternative is

to invest in an expert who is able to

tell what kind of shoot you should

CAMILLA ARNHOLD

produce to get the right kind of

reach for what you want to achieve.

Consider what you have missing

from your portfolio and what will

elevate it. Perhaps you need a

shoot to act as the entire new set of

imagery for your website – this is a

wise investment as you can consider

the exact images you need when

planning the shoot. Or perhaps you

need new images for a directory

listing or a new brochure.

Whoever you choose to

work with, and whatever

you decide regarding

the images you need,

your team needs

to be a pleasure to

work with, style your

venue impeccably

with taste and in a

timeless way that is not

going to date, and provide

you with the right imagery,

so you don’t need to do endless

investment shoots.

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

The photographer you work

with will be the most important

decision you make. Consider their

photography style and how it suits

your venue, their experience of

capturing not only the details of the

shoot but the details of your venue

– to tell a bigger picture for you. And

you could go one step further and

have a videographer too. The same

rule on style and experience applies.

KNOW YOUR BRAND

The key to all of this is knowing your

venue’s brand inside out and what

kind of team you need to showcase

it at its very best. And I promise you,

editorial shoots are worth it when

HANNAH MCCLUNE

HANNAH MCCLUNE

“THE KEY TO

ALL OF THIS

IS KNOWING

YOUR

VENUE’S

BRAND INSIDE

OUT AND

WHAT KIND

OF TEAM YOU

NEED TO

SHOWCASE

IT AT ITS VERY

BEST.”

they’re done the right way. They

provide a huge amount of content

for all platforms, allow you meet

wonderful suppliers with whom

you can build relationships and,

of course, elevate your website’s

imagery.

If you have done your homework

right and focused on the type of

couple you want to attract then

you will be demonstrating to those

‘dream clients’ exactly the scope

of your venue, and you may even

attract an editorial feature along the

way! This is the icing on the cake

and will extend your reach into your

target market with the right kind of

press and attention.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Louise Hatch is a wedding and event

designer, stylist and creative director at The

Timeless Stylist. Using a team of planners and

designers, her signature use of antique and

heirloom pieces provides layers of history to create

distinctive, deeply personal design that stands the

test of time and enhances a venue’s natural beauty.

www.thetimelessstylist.co.uk

30 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Award Winning

GLAMPING

- YURTS -

excellent

payback potential

WEWASH

REPAIR

&PROOF

www.bctoutdoors.com

T: 01274 728 469

Trust us to deliver your innovative,

sustainable and tailor-made

outdoor diversification project

GLAMTAINERS

EARTH PODS

EYE PAD SAUNAS

We are the UK’s leading provider of rural diversification projects

supporting landowners and country estates to offer exceptional

outdoor experiences all-year round. There’s no need for you to be

overwhelmed by managing a diversification project by yourself.

Let Outdoor Living do it all for you.

SHEPHERD’S HUTS

Contact us today and turn your outdoor living vision into a reality

explore@outdoorliving.me.uk

01284 771568

outdoorliving.me.uk

utdoor

living

Creating Memories

Distributed by Lyon Equipment Ltd

Tel 01539624040

info@lyon.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 31

OL 1/4 page ad B 2021.indd 1 16/06/2021 ss21 trade 10:18

as quarter page.indd 1 06/07/2021 16:19:21


CWC Advert (Open Air Magazine).pdf 1 23/02/2021 12:04:51

Expert

advice to help you

achieve the most

from your venue

business.

nick@wild-hart.co.uk

www.wild-hart.co.uk

07971869058

W I L D H A R T

PLAY CABINS HOME

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

• Increase

profitability

• Reach your ideal

customers

• Maximise sales

opportunities

• Streamline your

processes

www.charlottewinship.com

07493 350303 / charlotte@charlottewinship.com

Tel. 01474 761051

Keeping you

powered

wherever

you

are

INNOVATIVE

DESIGNS

R E M O T E

LOCATIONS

S O L A R

BASED

Off grid power specialists

Innovative off grid solar based power solutions

www.portablepowertech.com

32 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Professional

Services

KATHRYN CLARKE-MCLEOD

Upton Barn & Walled

Garden, Devon

Supplier: Charlotte Winship Consulting,

07493 350303, charlotte@charlottewinship.

com, www.charlottewinship.com

Service supplied: Marketing consultancy

Details: Upton Barn and Walled Garden

is a well-established and award winning

wedding venue in Mid-Devon. After

struggling to find the perfect venue for their

own wedding in 2013, Claire and Richard

Down set about restoring an old kitchen

garden into a stunning walled garden

complete with lavender scented pathways

and rose-lined walls. They also incorporated

an oak-framed arbour which was licensed for

outdoor wedding ceremonies.

Claire and Richard are both hands on

in the running of their venue but as it has

developed with the transformation of two

NOVA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

barns into an indoor ceremony/reception

space for up to 120 guests and a dining space

with increased capacity for up to 156 guests,

they recognised that they needed some

more help and support with marketing.

Charlotte Winship spent time working within

their team, getting to know the business

and understanding their audience. This

helped her to compile and deliver a robust

marketing strategy to help build brand

awareness including online and print

advertising, social media engagement and

web development.

Specific projects included the launch of

The Stable Barn, developing social media

engagement, improving the website and

online listings, producing editorial for

online and print publications, creating a

timely online virtual tour and working with

the team to produce promotional events

including an opening party for The Stable

Barn and a wedding salon.

Feedback: The marketing activity and

corresponding reactive sales led to a 100%

increase in sales in just one year.

PRODUCT

SNAPSHOT

Diversification from Conception to Completion

Outdoor Living

01284 630248

jason@outdoorliving.me.uk

www.outdoorliving.me.uk

Whether you are a landowner, farmer or country estate either

operating an existing customer facing commercial enterprise or

are yet to take that first step, sharing your land with guests and

diversifying with Outdoor Living is the way forward.

Having worked within the rural sector for many years we

understand and are experts in the arena. We recognise the need

to build on your current successes and most importantly we

understand what motivates consumers.

From conception to completion our dedicated team of creative

designers and project managers all work collectively focusing on

the detail and managing every aspect of your project – giving you

time to concentrate on other parts of your business.

Outdoor Living was designed to captivate your customer

audience and provide a service to both the local and the wider

community. We’re very proud of this industry, and very proud to

be in it!

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 33


FUNCTION VENUES

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Landscape

& Exteriors

Kew Gardens, Christmas

at Kew, London

Product: Temp-A-Path for

pedestrian walkways

Supplier: EFS Europe, 01509

768252, sales@efseurope.co.uk,

www.efseurope.co.uk

Netherby Treehouse,

Cumbria

Product/service: Treehouse design

and construction

Supplier: Castles Carey, 07714

754378, sales@castles-carey.co.uk,

www.castles-carey.co.uk

Details: The owners of the Netherby

Estate had been welcoming guests

to their venue for some years and

were looking for a treehouse to allow

them to offer exclusive glamping

accommodation that would make

the most of their beautiful rural

grounds. Being located in a very

private spot amongst the oak trees,

it was important for the treehouse to

be totally self-sufficient.

Castles Carey’s initial design

was liked by the client for creating

a cosy and compact layout which

completely blended with the

environment. The off-grid structure

is accessed by a raised walkway and

features two double bedrooms, logburning

stove, hot tub and fire pit.

Being high off the ground

gives guests a special feeling of

excitement and adventure, enabling

the magnificent views to be taken

in from inside and out. The covered

balcony provides a dry area for boots

and coats, plus storage for the log

burner, as well as a lovely place to sit

on a warm day.

At first the clients employed

the services of a London-based

architect to apply for planning

consent but it became clear that

a local architect would have more

success, benefiting from knowledge

of the local planning policy and

personal contacts in the planning

department.

Once planning permission had

been granted and building control

signed off the plan, construction

took about six weeks to the point of

second fix electrics (supplied by an

on-demand generator), plumbing

and interior furnishing.

Feedback: The client was

completely delighted with the

treehouse, the professionalism

and efficiency of the team and the

very high occupancy rate since

completion. This is supported by the

great reviews on their website.

Details: The 2020 Kew Gardens

enchanting winter trail took

a magical new route, leading

visitors for the first time through

the beautifully illuminated Rose

Garden. Old favourites and

brand-new light installations

brought festive cheer, as Christmas

revellers made their way through over one million lights

via EFS's temporary pathways. 25 different walkways and

viewing pods were installed by the EFS team including a

775sq m catering pod.

This is the second time EFS has been commissioned

by Kew Gardens to provide the pedestrian flooring for

this very special event. 2,385sq m of Temp-A-Path was

installed, double what was installed in 2019. The install

took just two and half days and pathways were doubled

in width to 2.4m due to the Covid-19 pandemic and social

distancing regulations. Pedestrian lay-bys were also

incorporated for enhanced visitor safety.

Christmas at Kew will take place again this year from 17

November to 9 January with EFS once again installing over

2,600sq m of walkways and viewing pods . In addition,

EFS has been invited to supply its Hex Road flooring again

at the Royal Botanical Garden's Wakehurst venue for its

Christmas event. 1,146sq m will be installed to serve as a

temporary car park.

Feedback: EFS’s managing director Jeremy Simpson

said: “We were delighted to be asked to work with Kew

Gardens again and Wakehurst for the first time on these

very special events. Our Temp-A-Path was required for

the thousands of visitors to enable them to navigate the

event safely and adhere to social distancing regulations.

Walkways and viewing pods were installed around the

illuminations and the food areas.

“At Wakehurst, we installed a temporary car park with

our Hex Road. There has been a huge strain on the events

industry during this global crisis, so to be able to assist

Kew and Wakehurst was an absolute privilege”.

34 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


FUNCTION VENUES

PRODUCT

SNAPSHOT

Festival-proof Qorone Seating

Qorone

07798 902209

info@qorone.com

www.qorone.com

Qorone has developed a range of

outdoor furniture using the same

construction techniques as its Qorone

structures, for the same look, feel and

durability. Handcrafted in Somerset,

the furniture sets comprise tables and

bench seating that are designed to be

festival-proof!

Coated in the same high quality

varnish as the Qorone walls, mud is no

problem and the furniture can be easily

wiped clean. And like the benches built

into the Qorone walls, the seating is

angled just right for optimum comfort.

The idea for the furniture arose from

a desire to expand Qorone’s offering

at events. While the structures draw

people inwards with their welcoming

circular space and central fire, the

design team wanted to create a seating

area outside that fits perfectly with

the aesthetic. As standalone items,

the natural wood finish will enhance

any setting, providing comfort and

practicality.

Available to purchase, or to hire

alongside The Magic Teapot or one of

the larger Qorone structures.

Instant, Porous, Reusable

Hardstanding

Mudcontrol

01536 669630

sales@mudcontrol.co.uk

www.mudcontrol.co.uk

Mudcontrol supplies high quality, heavy

duty 100% recycled plastic products,

specialising in the ground-breaking

Mudcontrol slabs. Revolutionising mud

control in the UK, with 5-star reviews

across the board, slabs are certified to

over 60 tonnes and suitable for vehicle

use. Designed to be the base and subbase

in one, the ground underneath is

protected, with grass growing up through

the holes giving a totally natural look.

Ideal for managing any muddy areas,

for livestock and other purposes – if

you need instant, porous, removable,

reusable hardstanding for a prefab

building or static caravan, or as a

pathway, track or roadway, Modcontrol

can help.

The company also supplies 100%

recycled plastic fencing and associated

products with a commitment to customer

service and sustainability at the forefront

of its ethos.

Nomadic Social Pod

BCT Outdoors

01274 728469

info@bctoutdoors.com

www.bctshop.co.uk

A new addition to BCT Outdoors’ Nomadic Range, the Social Pod

is ideal for alfresco dining either at a glampsite or in a pub beer

garden. It is even happy at home on a patio.

The social pod is made in the UK. The frame comes in 1.3m

sections which are 2.6m wide so pods can be 2.6m, 3.9m or 5.2m

long. The height at the centre is 2.6m.

The frame is manufactured from 32mm diameter bright zinc

plated steel tube with a 1.5mm wall thickness. The cover is a

marquee quality PVC coated polyester, fire retardant to all UK and

European fire regulations, anti-fungicide treated and lacquer coated

for easy cleaning.

Available in a variety of colours, the pod also features large fire

retardant picture windows down each side and a movable front and

back panel. A wash and reproof service is available.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 35


Quality Glamping

Cabins and BBQ Huts

Finman

Sleeper Cabin

For all year round bookings, upgrade your bell tent or

yurt to a Finman Sleeper cabin. Available in 4m, 5m and

6m diameters. They are assembled on site so perfect

for hard to reach locations.

EN-SUITE AVAILABLE • OFF-GRID OR ECO OPTIONS

BESPOKE SOLUTIONS • FULLY INSULATED AND HEATING OPTIONS

01389 887205 info@logspan.com www.logspan.com

Composting and off grid toilets,

shower rooms, and many other

unique products, designed for

camping, glamping and off grid

locations. Specialists in remote

installations.

Handmade in Wales with a huge

emphasis on recycled and

sustainable materials.

www.reworkshopwales.co.uk

reworkshopwales@gmail.com

Tel: 07714 719441

FAMILY BUSINESS WITH

10 YEARS IN THE FIELD

All products handmade.

Modular mix and match

Low investment with high returns

Speak to us and let's see what

we can do for you

Join our dynamic portfolio of

unique glamping structures

Visit www.qualityunearthed.co.uk

or call 01348 830922

07776 263163 | james@unidome.co.uk

www.unidome.co.uk

36 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

CASE STUDY

The Meadows

at Polehanger

Ready to launch – four brand new

bespoke cabins in central Bedfordshire

Charlotte and Andrew Foster are

about to open their glampsite,

part of a farm diversification to

mitigate reduced revenue from

farming activities. Their cleverly

designed cabins are the result of

hours of painstaking research and

the couple are itching to welcome

their first guests this December.

We talk to Charlotte about tackling

planning, interiors, homeschooling

and more!

What’s your back story – your life before

glamping?

My husband Andrew is the third generation

of Fosters to run Polehanger Farm. Previously

an award-winning dairy farm, it went arable

in 1991 and now 122 hectares are contract

farmed. We have eight hectares of Countryside

Stewardship wildflower and winter bird food

margins and 21 hectares of woodland, which is

both private and publicly accessible. The farm

also features 7km of public and permissive

footpaths that connect three local parishes of

Meppershall, Shefford and Campton.

Andrew started learning the ropes of

running the estate in 2017, working at the

farm for several years alongside his job in IT

consulting. He finally left his London job two

weeks before lockdown in 2020.

I trained and worked as a solicitor in

London for several years before moving out

to Bedfordshire more than 10 years ago with

the hope of starting a family. This took longer

than we had hoped, but after a round of IVF,

we were lucky enough to have twins. I gave

up work to look after them but when they

started school in September 2019. I was ready

for a new challenge and did not want to return

to the legal world, so I joined Andrew at the

farm and we started looking at diversification

options.

We held our own wedding reception at the

farm in 2007 (as had Andrew’s parents in 1973),

so we knew it would be perfect as a venue.

When a feasibility study indicated that turning

our barns into a purpose built wedding venue

was prohibitive, we focused on planning an

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 37


GLAMPSITES

OJ FILM& MEDIA

outdoor venue instead.

We were raring to go and started

working with a local wedding planner,

White Button Weddings, on our launch.

We also started researching glamping

– summer 2020 was going to be a big

year for us but Covid had other ideas!

Lockdown started and six months after

I returned to work I was back home

with the children – with the bonus of

having to home school two five year

olds!

What made you decide to start

offering glamping accommodation?

The impending removal of the single

payment scheme following Brexit,

the unknowns of upcoming ELMS

regulations, unpredictable weather

patterns and rising input costs, means

that the returns from the farming

operation are reducing each year.

Andrew identified our current

glamping paddock back in 2018 – it

would provide true agricultural

diversification and support the

reduction in income from farming as

well as help fund the development of

our barns.

How did you research the business?

We went to the Glamping Show in 2019

and it provided an absolute wealth of

information. I remember coming back

and looking for many hours through the

various brochures and magazines that

we were given, one of which was Open

Air Business. I loved the case studies

and stories of people who had taken

on the challenge that we were about

to embark upon. It was, and remains,

a fountain of knowledge – not only for

the glamping side, but also outside

wedding businesses.

“I SPENT MANY

HOURS ON

THE INTERNET

LOOKING AT

SIMILAR SITES

TO SEE WHAT

OTHERS WERE

DOING. I FOUND

SITES THAT WE

WOULD ASPIRE

TO BE LIKE AND

NOTED WHAT I

LIKED AND

DISLIKED

ABOUT

HUNDREDS

OF OTHERS”


GLAMPSITES

Andrew took on research for the

infrastructure side of the project –

structures (cabins/pods etc), power,

water, sewage treatments plants,

parking, landscaping, fencing, tree

planting and more.

I researched what was in our local

area that may offer something similar –

there was nothing, so we really felt we

could fill a gap in the market. I spent

many hours on the internet looking at

similar sites to see what others were

doing. I found sites that we would

aspire to be like and noted what I liked

and disliked about hundreds of others.

I also read as many articles as I could

– if there was something written about

glamping here or abroad I read it!

I joined many Facebook groups of

people who ran sites – they are fantastic

for advice. We also visited some

glamping sites and treehouses so that

we could see how these things worked

first-hand. We created our own focus

groups, talking to friends and family

about what they would and wouldn’t

want from a glamping experience. We

OJ FILM& MEDIA

“WE ALSO

HAVE THE

POLEHANGER

RIVER

WOODLAND

(WHICH WE

MANAGE)

ON THE

DOORSTEP

OF THE FARM”

chatted with owners of other glamping

sites that were offering similar things

(but sufficiently far enough away from

us that we were not their competition).

We also met with Kate Morel, who

is a glamping expert, to discuss our

ideas further with her – just to check

we weren’t embarking on something

completely mad! She was brilliant, and

we were glad we spoke with her early

on.

Tell us about your location and site

The glamping site is accessed along a

tree lined driveway and the glamping

paddock is surrounded by fields, native

trees and hedgerows.

While central Bedfordshire is not

your typical holiday destination, it is a

perfect ‘mini break’ at just 40 minutes

on the train to London and 20 minutes

to Cambridge. We’re not far from the

A1 and M1, and Bedfordshire is a good

stopping off point on a long journey

north or south.

Having been to every single child

friendly place within a 45 minute drive

(several times), I knew there was a

lot to do with a young family. We also

have the Polehanger River Woodland

(which we manage) on the doorstep

of the farm. We had already run some

Christmas and Halloween trail events

in 2019, which had been very well

received. We have brass rubbing posts

and a picnic area, so we knew the river

woodland would be an asset.

How did you tackle planning?

We investigated certification through

an exemption organisation but felt

that it would be too restrictive. We

therefore sought to obtain full planning

permission – applying for the glampsite

at the same time as permission for a

car park, and to extend the 28 day rule

on structures for the wedding venue.

We drafted this ourselves, researching

other similar applications and looking

in detail at the local plan and both local

and national planning policies.

We used a rural consultant for

coaching and advice, which was

considerably cheaper than asking

a planning consultant to draft the

document. The biggest challenge

we faced was being at the mercy of

the local government in terms of

timing with two extensions imposed

upon us. We had a good relationship

with our planning officer, but the

department was busy and there were

understandable delays. We had no

trouble with the planning for the

glamping site – it was the wedding

venue and car park that proved more

problematic, and some conditions were

placed on us in respect of this.

How did you finance the project?

We looked in detail into an RDPE grant

for the glamping site and filled out

the initial application form. Despite

making it through the initial selection

process for the final round of funding

(this was the last RDPE grant available

before they were withdrawn), the

administrative burden of completing

the next level of requirements in a short

space of time, securing funding, running

the rest of the business, completing

planning matters and not to mention

home-schooling in a pandemic, we

opted to take our time and proceed on

our own.

We were lucky enough to be in a

good financial position to be able to

secure a large loan. We had hoped to

obtain this from our business bank, with

which we had worked with for many

years. Having given us an indication

that the loan should not be a problem,

we were advised they ‘didn’t have an

appetite for it’. However, we applied for

funding with the AMC, via Brooks Leney,

putting up some of our agricultural

land as security. This was to cover not

just building the glamping site (which

was a fraction of the loan), but also a

major power upgrade and additional

infrastructure improvements, which

were essential for our future vision.

We’ll admit that we didn’t breathe a

sigh of relief until the money was firmly

in the bank!

What glamping accommodation do

you offer and why did you choose it?

We will have four luxury cabins at the

Meadows at Polehanger – each is selfsufficient

with kitchen, bathroom, king

size bed, sofa bed and bunk beds (in

three of the cabins). They each have a

decked area and a private garden with

fire pits, and two of the cabins have hot

tubs.

We wanted glamping

accommodation that would be available

year-round. It needed to be heated and

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 39


GLAMPSITES

OJ FILM& MEDIA

cosy in winter and light and airy in

summer. It needed to have a luxury feel

of a hotel inside and a rustic camp site

outside. We didn’t want to completely

fill the space in the paddock with

cabins – we wanted people to be able

to enjoy their surroundings without

feeling overlooked.

Our ‘focus group’ research from

friends and family told us that it was

important to cater to larger families, so

we wanted our cabins to have a king

size bed, sofa bed and bunk beds. But

we also wanted parents to feel like the

children weren’t in the same space

as them once they were in bed – so

the bunk beds have been carefully

positioned.

While the cabins have infra-red

heating, kitchens with hobs and

fridges, and bathrooms with electric

showers (as we wanted them to feel

like a home from home), we made the

decision to not install televisions. We

feel in today’s world, it’s wonderful to

have the excuse to switch off but we’ve

installed a lot of plug sockets and USB

charging ports, as we know as well as

anyone the lure of the tablet! We’ll also

have Wi-Fi internet access.

In addition to catering for families,

we wanted couples to feel welcome

too. We hope to run couples only

weekends in the future. Our “couples’

cabin” has a freestanding bath and is

set at the end of the rows of cabins, to

give couples privacy in their garden

with their wood-fired hot tub.

How did you work out your brand

and how do you publicise yourself?

We worked with a local graphic

designer for our logos for our wedding

and glamping businesses. They were

great and took time to understand our

long-term vision in order to design

logos which could be adapted for our

various future products. We used the

same company to design the website

and worked closely with the copy

writer to get across what we wanted to

offer to our guests – time to relax with

friends and family, to breathe, to take in

the outdoors and get away.

We started social media accounts

for the Meadows at Polehanger at the

start of this year. We wanted to be able

to show the cabin build journey. We

perhaps started a little too soon as

the money took longer to come in and

the build couldn’t start when we had

hoped, so we feared running out of

content! We also had a blip in recent

weeks when we all caught Covid and

so social media had to take the back

burner.

We have publicised on local

Facebook groups and the response

has been great. Once we have a firm

opening date and website launch,

we will increase our social media

advertising further afield, but we are

currently in a difficult place where

people are interested, but we cannot

take bookings. We do not have a

marketing or PR background, and we

will no doubt seek professional help

in this regard in the future, but at this

stage we are researching and reading

everything we can.

How would you describe your ethos

and USP?

We just want to offer people a fantastic

place to stay. Neither of us trained in

hospitality, but we want to be able to

provide the facilities for people to have

a fantastic break and make memories.

If the pandemic has taught us anything,

it is that life is short and people are

busy, so if we can help carve out a short

amount of time and space for people

to connect with their partner, friends,

family, loved ones, then we have

achieved our goal.

We are very conscious of trying to

be as sustainable as possible. Our

wood-fired hot tubs will not contain

chemicals, so we can use the used

water for plants and trees around the

site. The infrared heating is low energy,

and we are trying to use as little plastic

as possible. The main items in the

cabins are brand new (mattresses,

sofas etc.), but we have sourced a lot of

other things second hand.

How did you choose your interior

decoration?

For the interiors, we would have

loved to have worked with an interior

designer to source all the items for

each cabin, but budget did not allow

for this. We therefore worked with

Sarah Wetherall-Morris of White Brick

Studios to discuss our needs and put

together some mood boards to work

from. She had some wonderful ideas

as well – such as for the bunk beds and

NIKKI WATKINS PHOTO AND FILM

40 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


ADDRESS BOOK

CABINS

Snuggeries www.snuggeries.co.uk

INFRARED HEATING

Astectherm www.astectherm.com

the ‘screen’ between the bed and the

living area.

We want each cabin to be slightly

different. The kitchens will all be

different colours, and this colour

scheme will continue throughout the

cabins. We love bringing together old

and new to create a home from home

and a beautiful, relaxing space. We’re

planning to use weird and wonderful

things that we find on the farm for

planters outside – not only is this more

sustainable but we love things to tell

a story and link the cabins back to the

farm in its previous life.

What challenges have you faced?

Other than starting up a business

in the middle of a pandemic, home

schooling, us and contractors getting

Covid, material prices increasing, the

bank not having an ‘appetite’ for a loan,

unavoidable delays with deliveries, all

meetings having to take place on Zoom,

flooding, leaks and planning delays –

it’s all been smooth sailing! Oh, and

working together when married…

“WE WANT

EACH CABIN

TO BE

SLIGHTLY

DIFFERENT.

THE KITCH-

ENS WILL ALL

BE DIFFERENT

COLOURS,

AND THIS

COLOUR

SCHEME WILL

CONTINUE

THROUGHOUT

THE CABINS”

The Meadows - Interior Concept Board 2

ref: 2104 Polehanger Farm, Shefford Road, Meppershall, SG17 5LH.

What are your plans for next season?

We’ll open just in time for Christmas

(my favourite time of year); we can’t

wait to welcome people and put all our

plans and ideas into practice.

We have lots of ideas too, from yoga

days to dinner clubs. We’re keen to

work with charities to provide stays for

those affected by cancer and respite

days for carers.

What are you most proud of?

We were rather proud of our planning

application work! It was a long

process, but the result was obviously

a good one, and we were pleased to

do it ourselves as it saved such a lot

of money. We are proud that we are

creating a space in Central Bedfordshire

which we hope people will want to

visit again and again and bring in

additional tourism revenue for the

local area. We know we are providing

a location where people can hopefully

leave their worries behind while they

submerge themselves in the peaceful

surroundings the glamping area offers.

HOT TUBS

Naked Flame Eco Tubs

www.nakedtubs.com

FIRE PITS

Fire Pits UK www.firepitsuk.co.uk

INTERIORS

Whitebrick Studio

www.whitebrick.studio

BOOKINGS

MotoPress Hotel Booking and Stripe

FINANCE

Brooks Leney/AMC Finance

www.brooksleney.co.uk/services/

amc-finance

INSURANCE

NFU Mutual www.nfumutual.co.uk

LOGO & WEB DESIGN

Allen Creative

www.allencreative.co.uk

DETAILS

The Meadows at Polehanger

Polehanger Farm

Shefford Rd

Meppershall

Shefford

The Meadows -

Bedfordshire SG17 5LH

ref: 2104 Polehang

www.themeadows.polehanger.co.uk

• Super hygienic LDPE interior lining for quick handovers.

• Durable and classic Thermowood

exterior complements the glamping setting.

• Choice of Internal or External wood fired heaters.

• Two sizes available 4 person / 8 person.

Snowford Hill, Southam CV47 9QE t 01926 504067

e sales@glamptubs.com www.glamptubs.com

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 41


PORTABLE 12/24 VOLT

MAINS POWER SYSTEMS

GLAMPING | PODS | DOMES

YURTS | LOG CABINS | HUTS

Portable air cooling

Cools the ambient air

temperature by upto 45%

that’s 30ºc down to 16ºc

Directional air flow

over 7 metres

Just add 1.5 Ltr of tap

water plug in and cool

Made in britain

2 year warrenty

Call Suzy for a demo

07767 262466

m 07767 262477 | e suzytotalcool@aol.com

v suzytotalcool | b @suzytotalcool20

42 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

GETTY IMAGES

TRADE SECRETS

Logo Protection

A victim of

potential copyright

and trademark

infringement,

Kate Symonds shares

her story and tips

for creating and

protecting a logo

A RECENT situation with our Norfolk glampsite

has highlighted the importance of having a

business logo created specifically and originally

for us and subsequently taking the right

measures to protect it. Round the Woods has

been the victim of potential copyright and

trademark infringement on two occasions and

we wanted to share our experience in the hope it

can help other glampsite owners.

A logo can be a key part of creating a brand

identity as well as representing the first

impression and communicating the values of a

business. After two years of running Round the

Woods, using an initial logo designed by a friend

and feeling our way through what we wanted our

brand to represent, we decided to embark on a

rebrand.

In 2017 we worked with a graphic designer,

via People Per Hour, to meticulously create a

new logo for Round the Woods. We looked for a

designer who had great testimonials and who

demonstrated early on with his initial sketches

that he understood our business and would be

able to bring original design ideas to the logo

creation. The process was lengthy, with over

80 messages back and forth, beginning with a

rough sketch we’d hand drawn, deciding on the

key elements, narrowing down the design from

many iterations and then focusing on colours,

fonts, and the finer details. This process resulted

in a logo and brand elements that we absolutely

love and believe clearly represent our family run

glampsite.

You can imagine our surprise and concern

when in April 2021 our friends came across a

glampsite called The Secret Garden in Lancashire

using the Round the Woods logo as the

background to their logo, having simply placed a

pod and hot tub on top to make it represent their

business.

My first step was to contact my local council

who put me in touch with a trademark solicitor

offering a free 30 minute online meeting about

our situation. Her advice was to contact the

owners and to inform them that they had

breached copyright and potentially trademark

as well through the use of our logo and that

they needed to promptly remove our logo from

it’s association with their business. She also

suggested we begin the process to register the

trademark for our logo as this would provide us

with a stronger level of legal protection.

Having used People Per Hour we knew that

we held the copyright for the finished design

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 43


GLAMPSITES

“THE OWNER OF THE SECRET GARDEN GLAMPSITE

SUBSEQUENTLY CAME ACROSS THE LITTLE YURT MEADOW

ON THE WELSH BORDERS USING OUR EXACT LOGO TO

REPRESENT THEIR YURT GLAMPSITE, APPARENTLY ALSO

HAVING DOWNLOADED IT FROM A STOCK IMAGE WEBSITE”

but to be honest we hadn’t even considered

registering the trademark for our business.

Without the registered trademark there

was still a potential copyright infringement

however for “passing off”, which involves

misrepresentation of products or services as

being associated with another business, which

would be more challenging to fight in court if it

had to go to that stage.

On investigation we discovered that The

Secret Garden had opened their glampsite

after lockdown in 2020 and had been using our

logo for almost a year, having commissioned

it using the Fiverr website. They were very

surprised to hear it was our logo, having not

intentionally copied it and, on investigating,

they discovered that their designer had

downloaded it from a free stock image

website.

The owner of The Secret Garden glampsite

subsequently came across The Little Yurt

Meadow on the Welsh borders using our

exact logo to represent their yurt glampsite,

apparently also having downloaded it from

a stock image website. He assumed this was

a sister company to Round the Woods, as

anyone else would do on discovering the exact

same logo for two similar businesses.

I was shocked to discover that genuine

business logos can be found freely

downloadable online and that some designers

falsely use these logos to create a design for

another business, although it is probably

not so surprising when you see how little is

charged for logo creation on some platforms. A

logo or design can be uploaded to a free image

website by anyone, highlighting why legal

protection is so crucial.

We discovered our logo on several PNG

and clipart websites and thankfully it was

promptly removed, although interestingly on

each of these websites the logo was tagged

as both Round the Woods and Norfolk, and

in some instances it even had our business

name as part of the image, all of which was

clearly ignored by the logo designers who

were passing off these designs as available to

be used. This highlights the importance of the

business owner to check that they are not in

breach of any copyright or trademarks when

using an image for your business.

We have been in contact with both

glampsites and have asked them to remove

our logo and all elements of it from their

branding. Fortunately both have cooperated

having been informed and have apologised

for the mistaken use of our logo. The Little

Yurt Meadow quickly replaced our logo with a

different one on their website and social media

channels. The owner of The Secret Garden is,

understandably, quite attached to elements

of the logo they had been using for almost a

year, and have redesigned elements, adapting

the trees and removing a few details so it is no

longer as similar.

After these experiences, we now have the

registered trademark for our logo as well as

our business name, which provides us with

a stronger position legally and would make

any potential future legal challenges more

affordable. This is a step we would recommend

all businesses apply for once you have a logo

or business name that you feel represents your

business as it will provide protection against

anyone who copies your brand identity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Symonds is co-owner of Round the Woods,

a glampsite in Norfolk with yurts and a unique

roundhouse constructed from strawbales. www.

roundthewoods.co.uk

TIPS FOR CREATING

AND PROTECTING

A LOGO

› Work with a reputable designer

to create original artistic work

to represent your business

and ensure that you own the

copyright of the completed

design. Ensure you are paying

the designer for their time and

creative ideas as well as the

experience required to create

something that will portray your

business. Do not expect someone

to create a logo from scratch for

very little money.

› Ignorance is unfortunately

not an excuse – it is the business

owner’s responsibility to ensure

that they are not in breach

of copyright or trademark

infringement through the use of

their logo or business name, and

due diligence is required – make

sure your designer is not copying

another business’s design.

› Register the trademark for

your logo with the Government

Intellectual Property Office (www.

gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trademark)

to give you protection

from trademark infringement.

Each registered trademark costs

around £170 and lasts for 10

years.

› Do a search online periodically

to see if your logo appears

on free image websites or if

other businesses are using it,

and promptly request that it is

removed. You can easily do this

on Google by visiting Google

Images, clicking the camera icon

in the search bar and uploading

your logo. You can then search for

similar images.

44 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

REAL LOG CABINS

Bespoke traditionally

constructed log cabins

Douglas Fir logs sourced from Eastern

Europe up to 300mm and 10m long. Each

log is lined with lamb’s wool which is

anti-fungal, waterproof and deters any

wood boring insects.

Let us know your requirements – we can also

provide full drawings and a walk through visual file

of exactly how your cabin will look.

We offer every service from kerbside

drop to turnkey finish. Stocked cabins

are available for delivery in 7-10 days.

Phone 01789 720312 or 07870 781069

email reallogcabins@gmail.com

www.reallogcabins.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 45


GLAMPSITES

Building

Treehouses

Treehouse designer Kate Morel explains the process

behind the commission and build of a bespoke treehouse

WELL, WHERE did that year go, and ‘hello’,

I must say it’s great to be back writing for

Open Air Business once again! In this article

we’re going to go through the bespoke

treehouse process which is a little tricky

to be fair as every project presents its

own challenges and requirements. Some

of the steps I cover can run concurrently

and one or two can happen in a different

order. Unfortunately, I can’t cover every

eventuality here so, as always, do feel free

to get in touch if you need clarification on

any points.

In essence, there are two routes one

can take when creating a treehouse

development. One is to find an experienced

designer or architect to create the treehouse

design itself, and then find a construction

contractor to build it (some architects might

be able to recommend an experienced

construction company, too). Another

route would be to approach a company

that specialises in the design and build of

treehouses; this keeps the whole process

under one roof, and for me at least, allows

for direct and continued communication

between design and construction. I’m

finding this to be preferable as it controls

architectural design which is especially

important at the moment due to

unpredictable build costs.

If you don’t have the time, resources or

experience to deal with or manage such a

project, a design and build company might

be the best route. After all, these are, in

essence, timber frame houses, a few meters

up in the air, amidst mature trees in off-grid,

inaccessible and ecologically protected

locations.

At this stage, either way, we’re all fact

finding to establish if there’s a good fit

between what you, the client, wants, and

what we, the supplier can deliver. There are

two things I would check during our initial

discussion – firstly, the location of the build

so we can evaluate planning viability, and

secondly the proposed project budget. It’s

worth bearing in mind that some design

and build companies have a minimum

build value to which they can work, and it’s

often underestimated how much treehouse

developments cost and what’s involved,

so the budget is something we need to

establish straight away.

I’d also want to know what your overall

goals are for the project and the business

– does it need to replace a salary or two,

diversify your accommodation mix, attract

new customers, increase your business

profile, fulfil a specific need such as a

wedding suite, or generate X amount of

additional revenue for your core business?

I’d also want to know if you have any

design ideas, because at this stage I’m

already thinking ahead about the story, the

guest experience, and how we could craft

something that works for your business

model as well as being unique in the

marketplace.

On the other hand, as the client you will

want to know:

› What the design/build fees are and an

outline of the process/schedule

› What can realistically be produced for your

budget

› Return – what treehouse rental experience

does your designer have because it’s this

knowledge that will add revenue value to

the development

› Does the builder use experienced

treehouse joiners? These builds can pose

their own specific challenges and not

every construction company is aware, or

capable, of dealing with them

› Finally, if you have a particular design

requirement, does the designer empathise

with it? Creative people have their own

style and you want your designer to

naturally tune in to your ideas, vision or

brand identity.

Morel & Co project,

The Hudnalls Hideout

treehouse, Gloucestershire

46 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

I don’t call treehouses ‘divas’ for nothing!

Yes, they’re beautiful and can certainly

‘perform’ well, but the process can be

demanding and unpredictable. Commercial

treehouses have their own unique set

of requirements, so if you want a top

performing business it pays to work with

experienced people.

SITE VISIT

Moving on, let’s assume that planning and

budget look viable, the next step is a site visit

from the designer/supplier to talk through

the project concept in more detail and

check out the potential build location for

practicalities, as well as that all-important

guest experience. I’d be looking at access

and potential issues and cost implications,

we’d also look at guest parking and

footpaths as well as aesthetics – it’s not just

about designing a stunning treehouse, the

development has to function as a whole.

We'd also talk about set up costs, utility

quotes, and respective responsibilities

because you might have in-house resources,

such as groundwork capabilities, which

would make financial sense for you to use.

WRITTEN PROPOSAL

Your supplier will then provide you with

a schedule of how they would approach

the project, costs and timeline in a written

proposal, which could include the following:

› The services they will provide for you

› The responsibilities you might have

agreed to take on eg. maybe you’ll be

digging the utility trenches

› The process that their services will take

› The respective costs

› Third party services and indicative fees

› Payment terms/T&Cs.

This will inform you of the process that

that company will take, what or who else

might be involved, and what their fees will

“SURVEYS CAN CATCH YOU OUT IF YOU’RE NOT AWARE OF

THEM AND, DEPENDING ON THE SCALE OF THE PROJECT,

CAN RUN INTO THOUSANDS OF POUNDS”

be. It’s worth noting however, that long term

build costs are difficult to predict right now

as they are increasing all the time.

SECOND SITE VISIT

Now we’re diving deeper into the

practicalities of design and installation and

getting a better handle on the overall project

costs. There are fixed costs in a project

that we can’t change, such as electricity

and water, or installing a waste treatment

system, and various surveys which will be

required for the design process as well as the

planning application.

Surveys can catch you out if you’re not

aware of them and, depending on the scale

of the project, can run into thousands of

pounds. As such, it’s vital to get costings

pinned down as soon as we can to establish

if the project could deliver the required

return. Sometimes I prefer to do all this

before we even send the proposal and have

a simple but effective Excel spreadsheet

that, once accurately populated, works it all

out.

Depending on the location and any

planning constraints, we will now either put

in a pre-app or move straight into the design

process so we have a finished design to

submit with a full planning application.

DESIGN PROCESS

We should now have a good idea of the

project design concept and be ready to

create a design brief with you which outlines

the key features and style of the treehouse

development. We then create a design

concept, or two, and this is where we begin

to shape the wow factor – that X factor for

your treehouse business. Personally, I feel

it’s a crucial stage; if we don't have a clear

vision of the experience that we’re going to

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 47


GLAMPSITES

“THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF APPLICATION. WE

USE A PRE PLANNING APPLICATION TO TEST

THE WATER IN LOCATIONS WHERE WE FEEL

WE MIGHT BE UP AGAINST SOME PLANNING

OBJECTIONS”

create right now, the final product is going to

fall short of what it could have achieved, so

let’s get this right.

The next stage is to take a concept and

work it up, tweak it, move things around and

play with it until we get to a finished design

that works. Now we can create a final set

of drawings ready to submit with your full

planning application.

The last stage is the production of

structural calculations and construction

drawings, but I wouldn’t produce these until

we know that the project has been granted

planning permission. There can be quite

an investment involved in these drawings,

so I don’t see the point in asking a client to

pay for them until we’ve actually got that

planning permission in our mitts!

PLANNING APPLICATION

By their nature, most treehouses are built

in sensitive ecological areas which often

brings us up against planning issues, and

quite right too, because we can’t have

unregulated glamping and treehouse

developments popping up all over our

beautiful countryside.

There are two types of application. We

use a pre planning application to test the

water in locations where we feel we might

be up against some planning objections. It’s

an initial, less involved application to gain a

response from the local planning authority

that will highlight where the project might

not meet planning policy, and ideally give an

indication of the possible planning decision

outcome.

A full planning application is a much

more involved submission requiring a set of

exact design drawings, ecological surveys

and a site plan – plus any other supporting

documents or information that the location

may require; in short, everything the

planning officer should need to fully assess

the impact of the development and if it

meets policy.

Once you’ve submitted a full planning

application with the required plans and

surveys that might not be the end of it; you

could be asked to provide more information,

drawings, or surveys, all of which will incur

additional costs.

THE BUILD

Let’s assume that planning permission has

been granted (hurrah, crack open something

chilled and bubbly!) it’s now time to instruct

the build itself, and your design and build

company or chosen contractor will now slot

your project into their schedule and give

you a proposed start date, they will also ask

for a deposit. Note – if you use two separate

companies for your design and build, should

your build contractor be unsure about any

aspect of the design and need architectural

support during construction, the design

company will charge you an hourly rate for

build support, plus additional fees if they

must visit the site.

There are obviously many, many phone

calls, video meetings and emails throughout.

It can be a protracted process with various

complications, setbacks and additional

costs along the way. In essence though this

is the process a bespoke treehouse should

take. It’s been something of a gallop, but

I hope it has at least given you a better

understanding. If you have any questions

or would like to talk to me about your

treehouse project, please get in touch.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Morel is one of a

handful of people with

over a decade of glamping

industry experience,

possessing a genuine

understanding of the sector

and how to create successful

developments. She now channels this

knowledge into her design company which

specialises in experience-led alternative

accommodations, becoming a creative

force in the industry with projects such

as Hudnalls Treehouse (one of the top

performing UK treehouses) and Mallory

Meadows Roundhouses. Kate’s input has

been instrumental in the success of many

developments and she is regarded as a

leading ‘go-to’ industry specialist and

ambassador.

www.morelcompany.co.uk

www.linkedin.com/in/katemorel24

48 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


POP-UP, MOVEABLE HARD-STANDING SOLUTION WHEREVER YOU NEED IT

UN-LIMIT YOUR ACCESS

POP-UP, MOVEABLE, HARD-STANDING WHEREVER YOU NEED IT

HAVE LAND BUT NO DEPENDABLE ACCESS? DO YOUR

GATEWAYS LET YOU DOWN? DO YOU NEED A TEMPORARY

TRACK FOR SUMMER TRAFFIC OR A PATH TO THE SHOWERS?

Mudcontrol slabs are a revolutionary, sustainable & green

solution wherever you need to expand hard-standing or

create roadways, pathways, parking or access.

An eco alternative to concrete with simple D.I.Y. installation,

these engineered, reuseable heavy duty slabs are suitable for

temporary or permanent placement - ideal for camping or

glamping sites who wish to rotate land useage year on year.

DON’T BURY YOUR INVESTMENT

REVOLUTIONISE THE WAY YOU USE YOUR SITE!

BELIEVE THE HYPE! FOLLOW US:

CERTIFIED TO OVER 60 TONNES, CAN BE LAID STRAIGHT ON TO GRASS

OR MUD, PROTECTING THE GROUND UNDERNEATH - GRASS GROWS

THROUGH. MADE FROM 100% RECYCLED, PLAYGROUND CERTIFIED

PLASTIC. CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE FOR REVIEWS AND MORE INFO.

TEL: OFFICE 01536 669630, KERRY 07941 961496 OR JAMES 07826 398096

• Sewage Treatment Systems •

• Sales • Installation •

sales@theseptictankstore.co.uk

01295 236 101

www.theseptictankstore.co.uk


A twin toilet & shower block to

satisfy your glamping bathroom needs

bear@theseptictankstore.co.uk www.theseptictankstore.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 49


GLAMPSITES

FACTORY VISIT

FuturEnergy

Behind the scenes making the Airforce1 micro

wind turbine in Warwickshire

FUTURENERGY IS a ‘Made in

Britain’ manufacturer, designing

and producing the Airforce1

1kW micro wind turbine and

Airforce Control in Warwickshire.

Established for over 15 years,

FuturEnergy’s aim is to provide

customers with a product that

is capable of harnessing energy

from the wind efficiently, quietly

and cost effectively.

The 1kW wind turbine

is perfect for rural off-grid

locations to supply battery

charging for power for remote

sites, and is ideal for the energy

requirement of glamping or

open air events, providing the

location has an adequate wind

resource.

The small, dedicated

manufacturing team all live

locally to the FuturEnergy

factory which hand builds

turbines on site, including their

permanent magnet generators

(PMGs) and Airforce Control.

Any components that cannot be

made are sourced as locally as

possible.

1

Winding and

Manufacture of PMGs

The process starts with the permanent magnet

generator (PMG), the heart of the wind turbine.

The casings are aluminium cast and e-coated by

companies in the West Midlands. Copper wire is

wound around bobbins depending on whether

a 12V, 24V or 48V 1kW (1000watts) generator is

being produced. This then creates the stator

which is pressed into the casing.

The magnet rotor is made up and fitted into the casing followed by seating and sealing the lid.

The generator is then tested to ensure is has the correct output including a high voltage

insulation test to prove long-term durability.

The 24V and 48V PMGs are then ready to be made into wind turbines. The 12V generators are

normally sold to customers for hydro projects (water wheels).

50 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

2

Main Turbine Body Construction

Laser cut components are TIG welded together to fabricate the turbine chassis.

FuturEnergy manufactures the chassis from high quality stainless steel to prevent

corrosion so that the turbine is suitable for environments including coastal areas.

4

Packing and Boxing

Supplied in 24V and 48V, systems

comprise a ready to mount wind turbine,

controller, anemometer and manual stop.

Turbines are also compatible with solar for a

hybrid combination.

3 Assembly

The parts start to

immerge into a wind

turbine and as the

electrical parts are

connected the hub is

affixed to take on the blade

assembly and fixings for

the tail assembly are put

into place. The design

is simple and robust to

provide a 10 year plus

service life with virtually no

servicing required.

At the base of the turbine

is the lower tube which

the turbine is mounted on

(this fits over a standard

size scaffold pole). The

lower tube and many other

exposed parts are also

made from quality stainless

steel for durability and to

protect against corrosion

as it’s exposed to the

elements of torrential rain,

freezing snow, burning sun

and especially sea salt at

coastal locations. Many

FuturEnergy turbines are

actually mounted on oil

and gas rigs around the

world.

Over the years

FuturEnergy has developed

the Airforce Control so that

customers can have peace

of mind that the turbine

and connected batteries

(which may be lithium) are

automatically protected

from stormy weather. The

controller stops the turbine

with an electrical brake

when high wind speeds

are measured or when

batteries are fully charged

and then automatically

restarts when operating

conditions permit. Using

the Airforce Control mobile

phone app, the owner

can view data from the

controller and turbine and

stop and start it if required

whilst away from the

location of the turbine.

Whilst various

components for the

controller are sourced

from suppliers, the

development, assembly

and testing is conducted in

FuturEnergy’s factory.

5

Tower Kits

The FuturEnergy tower kit (8m

high) is strong and designed for ease

of assembly. By using special ground

anchors no concrete or foundations are

required and this allows for the tower to

be relocated if required. The anchors meet

the required loading capacity calculated

from EN-61400 and are designed to

withstand 50-year maximum wind speeds

when installed in most ground conditions.

The tower is raised and lowered using

a gin-pole of standard scaffolding tube

dimensions. The scaffold poles required

can be purchased from a customer’s local

builders’ merchants to save on transport

costs.

FuturEnergy

01789 450280

sales@futurenergy.co.uk

www.futurenergy.co.uk

Unit 12, Ettington Park Business Centre,

Alderminster, Stratford-upon-Avon,

Warwickshire CV37 8BT

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 51


GLAMPSITES

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Interiors

Dimpsey Glamping,

Somerset

Product: Blackdown Turnkey Hut

and Blackdown Brace Hut

Supplier: Blackdown Shepherd

Huts, 01460 929774, info@

blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk,

www.blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk

Details: Dimpsey Glamping is a

luxury glamping escape that has

been delighting guests since 2015.

Set on a small historic farm on the

Blackdown Hills in Somerset, it

is home to two (soon to be three)

opulent Blackdown shepherd huts.

Created in Somerset by market

leading Blackdown Shepherd Huts,

these handcrafted spaces have offered Dimpsey the opportunity to create

luxury sanctuaries in the middle of nature. Dimpsey’s brief was to build

supremely comfortable and flexible living accommodation combined with

a laid-back country interior. This resulted in Blackdown’s first Turnkey

Hut design which has been delighting guests for the past five years as the

Dimpsey Hither Hut.

The Dimpsey Yonder Hut incorporates finer interior design details

with a touch of luxury including a decadent William Holland copper roll

top bath placed at the foot of the bed. Subtle up lights installed in the

floor illuminate the sumptuous tones picking up on all the warm hues

throughout the rest of space.

These discerning spaces incorporate all the creature comforts Dimpsey

requested, including locally sourced interiors to connect guests to their

nature immersed location.

RACHEL BRAGG PHOTOGRAPHY

Bristol Beer Factory, Bristol

Product: Oak Barrel armchairs and tub chairs

Supplier: Reworkshop, 07714 719441,

reworkshopwales@gmail.com,

www.reworkshopwales.co.uk

Details: As well as manufacturing composting toilets

and products for off-grid locations and campsites,

Reworkshop has for many years designed and built

furniture and homeware for domestic and commercial

customers.

All of its products incorporate reclaimed elements

and a huge emphasis is placed upon sustainable and

environmentally friendly materials. Reworkshop is

currently working with designer Emily Pearson to

provide oak bourbon barrel seating at the Bristol Beer

Factory.

This oak bourbon barrel furniture is perfectly suited

to a glamping interior and, unlike some, is finished to an

extremely high standard, and never fails to be the centre

of attention.

Specialising in one offs and bespoke furniture with

a reclaimed element, from pet beds to armchairs and

tables, to tub chairs and clocks, it’s amazing to see what

Reworkshop can create from old, reclaimed items.

Customer feedback: Dimpsey’s owner Emma Warren said: “The

quality and longevity of Blackdown Shepherd Huts’ designs speak for

themselves, and we have many customers comment on them. The

fact that I could then inject my own vision and work with Blackdown’s

designers to achieve something that was truly Dimpsey, was a real bonus”.

52 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

PRODUCT

SNAPSHOT

Bespoke Furniture

and Interiors

Wild Hart

07971 869058

nick@wild-hart.co.uk

www.wild-hart.co.uk

Making your cabin or

glamping unit unique

will add pleasure your

guests won't forget.

Bespoke furniture is

one way to create a very

special place. We can

tailor designs to suit your

requirements and, using

sustainable local timber,

make something that will

be remembered. From

solid wood beds to feature

shelving, we can help

create something amazing

that not only looks great

but functions well.

Cool Air Anywhere

Total Cool

07767 262477

suzytotalcool@aol.com

Instagram: suzytotalcool

There are few products on the market that will give instant

portable cooling. Sue Hodge introduced the Total Cool 3000

at the Glamping Show this September for comfort cooling.

British made, this cooling unit delivers 7m of directional cool

air. Off-grid, this powerful unit gives cooling from only 22watts

or 1.8amps; that’s a super low power draw. It’s equally happy

plugged into the mains or run from a handheld super powerful

lithium-ion powerpack that can be charged and swapped over

for constant off-grid cooling.

Choose the bigger 500watt power pack for more off-grid

power solutions to run the air cooler, a laptop, charge phones

and give you power for the TotalFreeze range of portable

fridge freezers. These practical top loading compressor fridge/

freezers will give you the chill to supply your guests ice and

cold drinks. Call for a demo

Luxury Faux Fur Rugs and Hides

Marquee Floors by Likewise Matting

01787 372988

info@marqueefloors.co.uk

www.marqueefloors.co.uk

Marquee Floors by William Armes supplies luxury high quality

products at affordable prices. Its range of glamping products ensures

the perfect finishing touch for accommodation structures and

includes luxury faux furs. Crafted from acrylic yarn they are super soft

to the touch and a great way to add warmth and texture. This year the

collection has been extended to include a grey colour option as well

as a larger size of 180x60cm in both white and brown colourways.

Four brand new faux hide designs have also been added to an

already strong collection. Made from 100% polyester, these faux

hides are produced using the latest manufacturing technologies and

are a lovely addition to all interiors, available in a range of beautiful

designs.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 53


GLAMPSITES

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Spa &

Cooking

Tinywood Homes,

Warwickshire

Product: Hot tubs

Supplier: Glamptubs, 01926 504067, sales@

glamptubs.com, www.glamptubs.com

Details: Glamptubs has been supplying

Tinywood Homes with its range of log-fired

hot tubs for nearly 10 years. Tinywood

Homes has several unique units designed

for couples up to six people, as well as

a pair of luxury barn conversions. The

weatherproof thermowood exterior of

Glamptubs’ hot tubs complements the look

of these accommodation units and the

deep fill and hygienic LDPE interior linings

are a practical and enjoyable solution for

customers.

Glamptubs can supply both internally

and externally heated log-fired hot tubs

in two different sizes. Sales manager

Adrian Beaumont said: “Our mission is to

provide the sector with what we believe

are the highest quality and best value

products available on the market today. We

understand that getting the right hot tub

will not only draw customers to you, but

will also provide many years of hygienic,

low maintenance service”.

Customer feedback: Site owner Aidan

Reeves said: “We realised that when we

set up our site we needed to find a way to

stand out from our competitors. Fitting a

wood-fired hot tub to each unit was a great

way to gain extra business and extend our

season into the later months. We tried

several different tubs when we started

out, but found that Glamptubs’ products

were ideal for the customer and great for

us; they are a breeze to clean and turn

around and give excellent service with no

downtime. Our customers love them and

our staff love how easy they are to use and

clean.”

Swinton Bivouac, Yorkshire Dales

Product: Kirami FinVision sauna and Kirami wood-fired hot tubs

Supplier: The Log Company, 01748 889303, kirami@

thelogcompany.com, www.thelogcompany.com

Details: Swinton Bivouac is part of the 20,000 acre Swinton

Estate, one of the largest privately-owned estates in England.

Diversification of revenue streams is paramount and Swinton

Bivouac is an off-grid complement to the opulent Swinton Park

Hotel, Country Club & Spa, recently renovated Coach House, and

luxury holiday cottages. The glamping site is situated on the edge

of the moors, nestled in woodland, and is home to tree lodges,

meadow yurts and a quirky café.

To enhance the tree lodges and make the most of the

spectacular location, a wood-fired sauna and new wood-fired hot

tubs were developed by long-standing supplier, The Log Company.

The Log Company stocks the largest range of Kirami wood-fired

hot tubs and saunas in the UK. Finland-based Kirami has over 20

years’ experience in the wood-fired hot tub industry and is now

the largest manufacturer in Europe selling 10,000 units annually.

Kirami has recently been acquired by Finland-based global leader

in the sauna and spa market, Havier. This exciting development

has enabled industry-leading technology in Kirami's FinVision

saunas.

To deliver a practical yet memorable experience The Log

Company took the time to understand Swinton Bivouac’s

vision and objectives and tailored products to match. Its direct

relationship with Kirami's design and build team meant it could

provide the most suitable layout and specification. A site visit

was conducted with Swinton's chief executive, Iain Shelton, then

planning and product selection commenced.

Once the FinVision sauna had arrived from Finland an

experienced delivery and installation team worked around the site

in order to reduce disruption time.

Customer feedback: Sophie Goodyear, operations manager, said:

“Our relationship with The Log Company started in 2015 when

they delivered our first wood-fired hot tub and from the very

beginning Mark and the team have proved to be knowledgeable

and supportive, ensuring we had the right products for our

requirements. They are the UK resellers for Finland-based Kirami

and have a close working relationship.

“Mark has always been available and very responsive to any

questions or queries we have had. From start to finish The Log

Company’s service was reliable and organised and we would

recommend them to anyone looking for wood-fired living

products”.

54 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


GLAMPSITES

BBQs with a Twist

Californian Grills

01732 321242

info@californiangrills.com

www.californiangrills.com

Californian Grills is a British company

fabricating steel barbecues based

upon The Santa Maria style grill. The

key feature of this grill is that the

grilling rack can be raised or lowered

by a hand crank mechanism to control

the temperature whilst cooking. What

makes Californian Grills different is

that its grills are modular, comprising

a fire box, grilling rack, and stand/legs,

giving the user a variety of different

ways to enjoy an outdoor fire.

Santa Maria Grills originated

in California and date back to the

mid-1800s, when the land was still

owned by Mexico. Ranchers in the

Santa Maria Valley would host feasts,

barbecuing meat over earthen pits

filled with hot coals of red oak. These

barbecues are one of the greatest

legacies from that era and have

become California’s signature style of

cooking meat over fire.

Californian Grills also makes large

bespoke grills for outside catering

establishments.

A Pleasure to Install

Kraft Leisure

01245 976331

sales@kraftleisure.com

www.kraftleisure.com

Kraft Leisure supplies compact

living kitchens, bathrooms,

furniture and flooring with

a wide range of options and

price points. Perfect for use

in glamping pods, shepherd

huts, yurts, log cabins, garden

rooms, lodges and more, the

design team believes in making

life easy for the installer.

From the initial design brief

right through to delivery, Kraft

Leisure believes in providing

a total turnkey solution that

arrives at its destination ready

to be installed as efficiently as

possible. Get the detail right at

the start – and the rest is easy!

G

TM

COMPANY.COM

Kirami UK supply the nation with leading, wood-fired hot tubs. Finland-based Kirami have created and distributed their

innovative ranges for more than 20 years. Offering bathers a unique, luxurious wood-fired hot tub experience.

Contact the team for more information or to arrange an appointment at one of our showrooms

E: kirami@thelogcompany.com T: 01748 889303 W: www.thelogcompany.com


56 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

CASE STUDY

Burrs Live

A multi day event pulled together in record time thanks

to the help of excellent suppliers

Organised in just eight

weeks by performing arts

venue The Met, Burrs Live

took place in Burrs Country

Park, Bury, on 27 August – 5

September, with artists

including the Bootleg

Beatles and The Magic of

Motown. We talk to The

Met’s chief executive officer

Victoria Robinson.

Describe your event and how many people

it attracts?

Our event, Burrs Live, was a completely

new venture this year, combining six days of

live events in a large country park in Bury,

Greater Manchester. The event incorporated

our annual festival, Head for the Hills, and a

completely new festival, Happy, celebrating

the life of Victoria Wood, which we coproduced.

Explain a bit about your venue and its

history

The Met is an innovative and rapidly growing

performing arts venue and organisation

situated in the 2021 Greater Manchester

Town of Culture, Bury. We have two theatre

spaces as well as the Edwin Street recording

studio. There is also a café bar that provides

refreshments. The centre is operated by Bury

Metropolitan Arts Association, a registered

charity. We are unique in the breadth of work

we present and our ability to nurture artists

and develop audiences. We present a mix of

live music, theatre and comedy alongside

running community workshops, the recording

studio and a creative business hub within our

venue. Our restaurant, Automatic, welcomes in

excess of 100,000 visitors per year.

Our digital programme has grown

significantly during Covid. We’ve had almost

seven million viewers across 2020 and we’re

proud to have been the partner of United We

Stream to entertain Greater Manchester during

the pandemic.

Our work outside the building, such as

Burrs Live, helps us to challenge and develop

audiences and artists. In non-pandemic times

we present Head for the Hills Festival each

September, a three day 5,000 capacity music

festival, and a beer festival celebrating the best

of Bury brewers each November.

What is the event’s history and what made

you decide to run it?

Burrs Live was a completely new event

incorporating our annual festival, Head for the

Hills. We ran it as a celebration of our status

as GM Town of Culture in partnership with the

Arts Council, Bury Council and GMCA. We ran it

to show off really; Bury is amazing for culture

and we wanted to invite everyone to the party!

How does the relationship work with the

venue you hold the event at?

We ran the event at Burrs Country Park which

is a Bury Council owned park. We hired the

location but the staff team were exceptionally

helpful and went above and beyond to help us

make the event happen.

It was a new location for us and we had

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 57


EVENTS

to pull the event together in eight

weeks, which was really tough. We

also worked closely with the Friends

of Burrs, a voluntary group who look

after the park. They do an amazing

job and are extremely passionate

about keeping the park as beautiful

as possible for us all to enjoy.

How did you find applying for

permission to run the event?

The location already had an

entertainment license. We applied

for a temporary events license to

allow us to serve alcohol.

How have you planned the layout

of the event?

There was a plan which was tweaked

as the structures started to be

built. There were two fields; the

main field contained the entrance

marquee, main stage, workshop tent,

independent caterers and a marquee

containing the bar. Backstage we

had a large greenroom marquee and

smaller gazebos for changing rooms.

The second field had a large festival

marquee for the second stage which

was quite open so had plenty of

standing room outside too.


EVENTS

How did you research and source

your marquees, flooring, bars etc?

We largely used the partners we had

worked with in the past on Head for

the Hills. Our bar was supplied by a

local brewer, Brightside, who we’d

only previously worked with at beer

festivals. They were great as our

festival bar.

What entertainment do you offer

and how did you choose and

source it?

We programmed music for the

majority of the week with Happy

Festival focusing on comedy. There

were also workshops throughout

the Head for the Hills weekend for

the family audiences.

What provisions do you make for

power, lights and sound?

The main stage was a whole

package from DBS that included its

own power. Ayre Event Solutions

provided the rest of the site

and general lighting, sourcing

generators, fencing panels and

pedestrian barriers plus providing

over 400 meters of festoon lighting

and 400 meters of fairy lights. They

also supplied four lighting towers

and had a member of their team

onsite each evening to support with

any technical problems.

The project was on a very tight

timeframe but Chris from Ayre was

able to ascertain our needs and

provide what we needed really

quickly.

How do you manage admissions

and visitor safety?

All visitors booked in advance and

had scannable tickets on entry. We

emailed visitors before turning up

to let them know what to expect

on arrival so they knew how things

would work. We conducted bag

searches on entry in an entrance

marquee and then people were let

onto the site.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 59


EVENTS

Please detail the measures

you have taken specifically for

Covid-19

We brought our learning from our

venue with regard to Covid. As it was

an outdoor event it made the event

very comfortable, but staff were

encouraged to wear masks and both

staff and visitors were encouraged

to complete a lateral flow test before

entry. All visitors were encouraged

to check in. We had sanitising

stations throughout the event and

marquees were all very open to

allow air flow and lower the risk of

transmission.

What ground protection do you

use for cars and footfall?

It was very dry at the time of the

event – we were extremely lucky.

We used some woodchip at the

entrance to deal with footfall but

the ground was otherwise dry and

manageable.

How do you publicise the event?

We had a very tight turn around for

marketing. Acts were announced

four weeks ahead for the first three

events and three weeks for the

festivals. That made marketing very

difficult. We used largely press and

socials because of the timescale.

There was some, but not much,

local presence with banners and

posters.

What challenges have you faced?

The largest challenge was the eight

week turnaround time which was

due to the funding confirmation.

This led to other problems;

everything was in short supply

because there were a lot of outdoor

“ALL VISITORS

WERE EN-

COURAGED TO

CHECK IN. WE

HAD SANITIS-

ING STATIONS

THROUGHOUT

THE EVENT

AND MARQUEES

WERE ALL

VERY OPEN

TO ALLOW

AIR FLOW

AND LOWER

THE RISK OF

TRANSMIS-

SION”

events this year for obvious reasons.

Staff also take leave in summer as

it’s usually the time when we cease

events, and of course we had the odd

Covid case that took a couple of staff

members out for a few weeks.

It’s tough for events at the

moment as we all know. We were

building towards quite a large

event, not really knowing if we’d

get the audiences or the weather

would be good or if it would be at

all successful… I personally wasn’t

at the first weekend because I had

booked annual leave and it was the

same for other staff. So some of us

were working towards something

that we didn’t even see and that’s

really tough!

How did you finance the event?

This project was financed by Arts

Council England, Bury Council and

Greater Manchester Combined

Authority as part of Greater

Manchester’s Town of Culture. The

event largely broke even, which is

a great success for a first outdoor

event working with these partners.

We learned a lot during the summer

that we can apply to other events

and will do some things differently to

cut costs.

What are your plans for next year?

We’re unsure at the moment but we

are discussing running something

similar in 2022.

What advice could you give to

someone coming into the outdoor

event industry?

I think there’s a perception that this

is a very glamourous career. It’s really

very hard work and it’s very stressful,

particularly the higher up you get!

The majority of calls I got over

the weekend were about supplies

running low (toilet roll! Water!).

But you know it’s so enormously

satisfying to see something amazing

created from nothing and for me

it was really lovely to work closely

with the Met team again after such

a long time working from home and

not really seeing each other.

Seeing audiences having the best

time at something you’ve created

makes the hard work and stress

worth it – I can say that now after

two months!

ADDRESS BOOK

MARQUEES & FLOORING

Smiddereens

www.smiddereens.com

SNS Marquees

www.snsmarquees.com

STAGES & AV

DBS Stages

www.dbs-solutions.co.uk

MTS Live www.mtslive.co.uk

LIGHTING & POWER

Ayre Event Solutions

www.ayre.events

HEATING

Crown Oil www.crownoil.co.uk

BARS & CATERING

Brightside Brewing Company

www.brightsidebrewing.co.uk

Power to the Pizza

www.addtoevent.co.uk/woodfired-functions

TOILETS

PAL Hire www.palhire.co.uk

TICKETING

Spektrix www.spektrix.com

CONNECTIVITY

Avoira www.avoira.com

SECURITY

Churchill Group

www.churchillgroup.com

INSURANCE

Tysers www.tysers.com

60 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Hire, Sales and Service of voice and data radio

communication systems, bodycams and applications

By Appointment to

Her Majesty The Queen

Supplier of Two-Way Radio

Communications and Paging Systems

Direct Communications Radio Services Ltd

St Ives

TWO-WAY RADIO HIRE, SALES AND SERVICE

SPECIAL RATES FOR 2021/22.

Book with confidence as we offer

a no cost cancellation policy.

Terms Apply.

A simple solution for those who need

temporary communications. This solution

has proven to be invaluable for such sectors

as; event organisers, council teams, TV and

film crews, security and parking to name

but a few, with both short and long term

contracts available.

Organising any event or general on-site

communication requires total dedicated

support and at DCRS, there is always a

team on-call or on-site ready to assist you.

Call FREE: 0800 043 2688

email: sales@dcrs.co.uk

www.dcrs.co.uk

WE BOAST A COMPLETE HIRE

SERVICE INCLUDING:

Bespoke radio solutions for large,

wide area events

Motorola digital and analogue radios,

mobiles and repeaters

Wide area Nationwide coverage

WAVE and ICOM hand portables

A full range of audio accessories,

radio allocation systems and

voice recording available

Free radio licence or free programming

to your own frequencies

Delivery and collection to your

specified addresses

On-site support and out of hours

call-out, 24/7 if required

TOPCAT

BIGTOPS

T E N TS & MA R Q U E E S

TOP CAT BIG TOPS manufacture & hire

out colourful Big Big Top Top style style Marquees.

Staffed by a crew of highly experienced

personnel with many years of in experience the

festival, in the festival, local authority, local authority, educational educational &

corporate & corporate fields. fields. We We can can supply supply small small

to

to

large

large

colourful structures built

built

by

by

our

own craftsmen, that can withstand

our own craftsmen, that can withstand

extreme UK weather conditions.

extreme UK weather conditions.

01654 700030/07599 882654 Email: info@topcatbigtops.co.uk Web: www.topcatbigtops.co.uk

t: 01654 700030

07956 878157

e: info@topcatbigtops.co.uk

w: www.topcatbigtops.co.uk

First Class Cleaning

for Your Event

DCRS Open Air Business Magazine Advert-90x132mm.indd 1 24/05/2021 18:05

STAgE • Sound • LighTing • LEd VidEo WALL

Site Cleaning | Recycling

Toilet Hire & Servicing

Compostable Food Packaging

01443 844492

07841 120411

info@eventclean.co.uk

www.eventclean.co.uk

A complete production service for your next event

T: 07811 137 790 / 07899 038 763

E: andy@epsevents.co.uk

W: www.epsevents.co.uk

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 61


EVENTS

RIGHT: Ceramic lighting maker Amy Cooper

took her business online during lockdown

Going Hybrid

Susan James talks to the director of Craft Festival,

Sarah James, about how Covid-19 opened up a

world of digital opportunity

Sarah James, director of Craft Festival

ESTABLISHED IN Bovey Tracey, Devon,

in 2003, Craft Festival was created as a

not-for-profit enterprise, originally known

as The Contemporary Craft Fair. Its aim,

using start-up funding from the European

Union, was to create an event to stimulate

rural regeneration in the local area, a small

town on the edge of Dartmoor with a rich

heritage in pottery making.

Craft Festival brought together existing

local craft businesses, extending the

shoulder periods of the traditional summer

season whilst celebrating British handmade

products. Bolder, longer-term aspirations

were to create a national platform for craft.

Today, it is a multi-award-winning events

production business, curating both craft

and food events across the South West

of England. Most recently it achieved

Champion of Champions and the Gold

Tourism Event of the Year in the South West

Tourism awards 2018.

Craft Festival events comprise an

independently curated selection of Britishbased

designer markers exhibiting their

work direct to the consumer, live craft

demonstrations, workshops for visitors,

free children’s craft making workshops,

music, street theatre and artisan food.

Driven since its formation by Sarah

James, a passionate entrepreneur,

campaigner and former ceramic artist, it is

led by a small, dedicated team of event and

marketing professionals.

Its flagship event is Craft Festival Bovey

Tracey, where over 200 of the UK’s finest

designer makers showcase their work in

a beautiful parkland setting. The event

typically draws 10,000 affluent visitors over

three days each June. But as the impact

of the pandemic struck in spring 2020, this

demanded some agile and radical thinking.

CREATING NEW RETAIL PLATFORMS

In response to the pandemic, Craft Festival

thoroughly embraced hybrid technology

to extend and connect its audience in

new ways. Building upon its strong social

media platform of over 30,000 followers

on Facebook and Instagram, and a rich

customer database of both consumers and

designer makers, curating events online

was the natural next step.

“We’re always evolving Craft Festival,

but the impact of the pandemic demanded

an immediate change of strategy,” says

Sarah. “Thankfully we were well placed to

innovate and create new digital platforms.

“With just 10 days to go to our third Craft

Festival Cheltenham in March 2020, we

had to pull the plug. It was devastating.

Over 100 small businesses were ready and

prepared, and of course we had all our

commitments in place and the budget

spent. Like so many other event directors, I

was unsure if we’d survive. The future was

bleak.

“We started experimenting with

Instagram Live, and in those early sunny

spring days of 2020 our online live

broadcasts and interviews with craft

businesses were receiving some terrific

engagement and feedback. Our customers,

the hundreds of designer maker businesses

across the UK, valued the community and

connection we created online – a shared

experience during very uncertain times.

From the feedback I received, our online

broadcasts provided some reassurance

that we were all in this together. It also led

to me creating our podcast, The Capital of

62 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

ABOVE: Print maker Niamh Geraghty Morris

has joined Find A Maker

“I SEE LIVE AND DIGITAL EVENTS

COMPLEMENTING EACH OTHER

GOING FORWARD. I THINK THE

FORMAT WILL DEVELOP STRONGLY,

BUT I NEED A MIX OF OUTLETS –

FACE-TO-FACE AND DIGITAL”

Craft, talking to makers about their work

and reasons for making.”

EMBRACING HYBRID TECHNOLOGY

In June 2020, the first new format

launched. Digital Craft Festival was

delivered free for makers and consumers

alike. Live demonstrations, pre-recorded

workshops and educational films, and a

series of live interviews with makers and

influential commentators proved popular.

“The makers who got on board early

and embraced digital marketing, creating

engaging and attractive content, reported

a surge in interest and purchases during

our first Digital Craft Festival,” says Sarah.

“We’d created a retail platform we knew

we could improve and build upon.”

The Arts Council Culture Recovery

Fund, supported by The National Lottery,

enabled the team to invest in a new digital

platform and create a commercial online

event. The grant application process was

rigorous, but as a viable not-for-profit

business model operating for over 18

years, they were successful and progressed

in November 2020 to launch the second

Digital Craft Festival online.

The format now combines live Instagram

interviews and craft demonstrations with

pre-booked virtual technical workshops

so consumers can meet makers and try

their hand at making alongside experts.

The event showcases selected makers

with all content directed to a dedicated

website which aims to re-create the live

festival vibe online. Makers showcase their

work with website visitors directed to their

online stores.

EXHIBITOR PROACTIVITY IS KEY TO

EVENT SUCCESS

“I’d exhibited at Craft Festival Bovey Tracey

previously; it’s very well run and they take

a professional approach,” says exhibitor

Jeremy James, a sculptor and print maker

from Derbyshire. “They know how to

publicise and how to network – that’s the

key to success. I knew the Digital Craft

Festival could work.

“Digital Craft Festival offered me direct

sales. I get a lot of repeat custom so

in finding a new customer I hope they

become one for life. The digital event,

my database and social media enable

me to target customers and, importantly,

enables me to build a relationship with

them directly.

“I see live and digital events

complementing each other going forward.

I think the format will develop strongly,

but I need a mix of outlets – face-to-face

and digital”.

Jeweller Cathy Newell Price from

Berkshire loves live events but recognises

that online events also offer a great way

to reach customers. “I’ve always built my

customer database and had a website but

hadn’t really put the time and effort into

driving online sales,” she says. “My sales

approach was face-to-face events. But

Covid changed all that. Digital is now a

crucial element of my business.

“I’ve achieved sales and found new

customers online from Digital Craft Festival

and I’ve worked hard to make it work by

improving my website and learning to

take better photography. It’s worked for

me. I could see from Google Analytics the

impact it had on visitors to my website,

as well as click-throughs from my email

marketing. I’ll be taking part again.”

The online events have drawn over

30,000 visitors from across the UK, Europe,

Australia, US, Canada and India. Digital

Craft Festival also welcomed its first few

international exhibitors.

ESSENTIAL CUSTOMER

COMMUNICATIONS

The importance of communications with

exhibitors couldn’t have come into sharper

focus throughout lockdown. Craft Festival

has always prioritised regular direct

communications with both its makers and

its consumers (the public who attend its

events).

“We don’t rely upon social media to

connect with our audiences,” says Sarah.

“We continually build our customer

database, carefully obtaining permission

to keep in touch”.

Ceramics maker Amy Cooper from

Cornwall agrees: “I built my mailing

list and regularly communicate with

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 63


EVENTS

Designer maker

Jeremy Jame

customers. I built my first e-commerce

platform to sell direct and Digital Craft

Festival gave me focus to get my business

online – its profile drove visits and

purchases”.

CREATING AN ONLINE DIRECTORY AND

BUSINESS SCHOOL

Craft Festival’s second online initiative was

‘Find a Maker,’ a curated online makers

directory and business advice service for

craft businesses. Over 400 designer makers

applied to join, and 190 were accepted into

the launch programme.

“I see being accepted to join ‘Find a

Maker’ as a quality standard,” said Devon

print maker, Niamh Geraghty Morris. “I

love the business school workshops,

they’re brilliant. They’ve had a big effect

on my personal confidence and have

“I LOVE THE BUSINESS

SCHOOL WORKSHOPS,

THEY’RE BRILLIANT. THEY’VE

HAD A BIG EFFECT ON MY

PERSONAL CONFIDENCE

AND HAVE OPENED UP NEW

OPPORTUNITIES FOR MY

BUSINESS”

opened up new opportunities for my

business”.

Find a Maker was also supported by

the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund.

Its dedicated website and marketing

programme promotes selected designer

makers throughout the year. It also

hosts monthly online business seminars

providing advice to craft businesses to

help them evolve and improve sales plus

monthly Family Gatherings for more

informal chats about any burning issues.

LIVE EVENTS AND DIGITAL WORKING

TOGETHER

The Craft Festival Cheltenham and Craft

Festival Bovey Tracey live events returned

later in summer 2021. The early September

event in Devon demonstrated increased

visitor confidence with over 6,000 tickets

sold over the weekend.

Visitors were drawn not just from the

South West, but from across the UK and

included a BBC TV crew who featured the

event on local TV and radio.

Carefully planned, socially distanced

queuing, crowd management and a oneway

system with mask wearing in each

marquee, plus enhanced cleaning and

cashless transactions, helped reassure

visitors.

Craft Festival’s live and digital event

programme continues. Its next Digital Craft

Festival takes place in November, and

applications for its live events for 2022 are

now open.

DETAILS

Digital Craft Festival, 13-14 November 2021

Craft Festival Cheltenham,

11-13 March 2022

Craft Festival Bovey

Tracey, 17-19 June 2022

www.craftfestival.co.uk

www.digitalcraftfestival.co.uk

www.findamaker.co.uk

64 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


10 & 11 NOV 21

NEC, BIRMINGHAM

RUNNING

ALONGSIDE:

DIVERSIFY YOUR LAND

HARVEST YOUR REWARDS

1,000

EXHIBITORS

500

SPEAKERS

18,000

VISITORS

REGISTER FOR FREE TICKETS FARMBUSINESSSHOW.CO.UK | #FARMBIZ


EVENTS

Reinsurance

Scheme Gaps

Adele Redmond looks at the details behind the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme

INDUSTRY LEADERS welcomed longawaited

details of the governments Live

Events Reinsurance Scheme launched in

September as providing “an opportunity to

rebuild”, but warned that gaps in it could

hamper the sector's recovery.

The £800m scheme won't cover

cancellations caused by a return of capacity

limits and costs incurred due to nonappearance

of acts – a distinct possibility if

they test positive for Covid-19.

“I think we all know if things got really

bad in terms of hospitalisations and deaths

that the government is not going to default

to a national lockdown,” says Association of

Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed.

“That’s the nuclear option – but we could

see restrictions.

“Social distancing is unmanageable

for festivals, on an economic level and a

management level. It’s about viability rather

than profitability.”

National Outdoor Events Association

(NOEA) president Tom Clements said the

scheme reduces the risk and increases the

incentives to restart events. “Unfortunately,

we do need to underline that we’re not out

of the woods yet,” he says. “We’ve lost a

lot of people, a lot of skill and talent, and

we also have businesses that still have had

no income for the last two years. We need

government to look after these businesses

until summer 2022.”

An ‘outline’ of the scheme was quietly

published in early autumn before it went live

on the 22 September. It will run for a year

with a review scheduled for the spring. Cover

must be purchased at least eight weeks

before an event, although this requirement

won’t take effect until next year.

PREMIUM PRICE

The government insurance covers events

that must be cancelled, abandoned,

postponed or relocated as a direct result

of restrictions – national and regional

lockdowns included.

However, organisers must pay a 5%

premium to the government, either up

front or in arrears monthly. They are also

required to have standard cancellation

cover, for which premiums have ballooned

to 2%-2.5% over the past 18 months.

“Frankly, the margin [of profitability] on

some festivals can be 10% or even less,”

Reed said.

There is also an outstanding question

around who can take out cover too – the

new document only specifies organisers

and it is unclear whether individual artists

are eligible.

66 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

Quotes for Cover

“THE REAL RISKS THAT WE’RE FACING. THERE ARE

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WORKERS WHO

RELY ON LIVE ENTERTAINMENT BEING OPEN AND IT’S

IMPORTANT THAT THEY'RE PROTECTED AS WELL”

Most claims will be subject to an

excess of 5% of the insured costs or

£1,000, whichever is greater.

QUESTION OF COST

With the average major UK festival

costing £6m, there is a question of how

far the £800m can stretch. Applicants

to the scheme will be broken down

into three tiers. The highest, Tier 3, is

for events seeking cover of more than

£267m; Tier 1 insures events for losses

up to £100m. Once a policy is allocated

to a tier, it cannot be shifted.

At the time of writing, the

Government Actuary’s Department

has refused a Freedom of Information

Act request from ArtsProfessional to

release modelling for the scheme,

saying it could jeopardise events’

financial security.

The Business Visits and Events

Partnership estimates the value of

music events and festivals alone at

£23.6bn. Other arts and cultural events

are worth £5.6bn.

Speaking to the BBC, Greg Parmley,

CEO of industry collective LIVE said

it’s crucial the reinsurance scheme

protects the events sector from “the

real risks that we’re facing. There are

hundreds of thousands of workers

who rely on live entertainment being

open and it’s important that they're

protected as well.”

First published at www.artsprofessional.co.uk

GETTY IMAGES

NME has reported concerns saying that a

“a growing number of event and festival

organisers have been unable to obtain

quotes for cover despite the scheme

officially opening almost a month ago.”

In a comment piece, it writes: The

Association of Independent Festivals’

(AIF) CEO Paul Reed has told IQ that

the scheme doesn’t cover “a festival

needing to reduce capacity or cancel

due to restrictions being reintroduced”,

adding: “It’s clear from the government’s

winter ‘Plan B’ that restrictions will be

reintroduced long before there is any sort

of national lockdown.

“The scheme only covers you in the

event of a civil authority shutdown at

either local or national level, so it is

extremely limited in scope.”

Reed said that the AIF had recently

surveyed their members on this issue

and found that 58 per cent of responders

were ‘not likely’ to pursue quotes from

the UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme

– which, he says, “isn’t indicative that the

scheme is going to be widely used by the

sector”.

“At the moment, you can’t obtain

actual quotes, so that’s another issue.

Until this is properly in play, we won’t

know the full extent of these issues and

whether it is a viable scheme or not. So

they need to get on with it and get it

in a position where it can be rolled out

properly.”

While the scheme is “going to take a bit

of work from government” as it doesn’t

currently apply to artists or the live

events workforce, Reed added that he

remains hopeful that the scheme “could

well change in some ways”.

“I appreciate government has put a lot

of work into this. There are still details

being thrashed out around the scheme

and questions that the sector has put to

government, so the scheme could well

change in some ways.

“But I think the fundamentals aren’t

going to change and it’s not going to

cover anything other than some sort

of shutdown – that’s basically a trigger

point that the government has agreed

with the insurance industry.”

Open Air Business

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 67


EVENTS

PRODUCT IN FOCUS

Infrastructure

The Country Brocante, Gloucestershire

Product: Several ITA 35 and 45 indirect oil fired heaters and white

insulated tower distribution outlets

Supplier: Thermobile, 07850 988382, andy@thermobile.co.uk,

www.thermobile.co.uk

Details: Thermobile’s heaters were used by Cotswold Marquees

(www.cotswoldmarquee.

co.uk) at this annual event

in the Cotswolds on the

Daylesford Organic Farm

Estate. The event is open

to the public and traders

arrive from all parts of

the country to sell their

vintage mirrors, chairs,

fabrics and jewellery.

The heaters supplied

are indirect fired heaters from

Thermobile’s ITA range. They provide clean

fume-free heating, good air flow, a low noise level and

simple operation (basic remote control). Also supplied was high

temperature flexible ducting with white powder coated, fully

insulated tower distribution outlets. Heater options include bulk

tank connection, fan only (for summer use), hour clock, twin

outlet ducting kits, and a variety of distribution hoses and outlets.

Thermobile offers a wide range of marquee heaters including

five oil fired ITA models (including standard and robust 240 volt or

dual voltage versions), four IMA models (single-phase) and three

IMA models in three-phase, oil or gas fired versions.

Customer feedback: Cotswold Marquees said: “Thermobile has

been our heater company of choice for indirect marquee heaters.

We have a number of ITA 35/45s that have proved to be effective

and reliable”.

The New Forest Fairy Festival, Hampshire

Service: Production management – mobile trailer stage, sound

systems and site power

Supplier: EPS Events, 07899 038763,

wayne@epsevents.co.uk,

www.epsevents.co.uk

Details: The New Forest Fairy Festival is

held at Burley Park in the heart of the New

Forest. Based around all things magical and

mythical, the event attracts people from all walks of life to a space

where they can feel at ease.

The festival has over 80 workshops each day which are all free to

attend. Circus skills, eco crafts, belly dancing, theatre, live open air

shows and so much more. The event runs in early August over

two days.

EPS Events provides a production management

service, installing and managing the temporary site

power for the weekend for up to 100 stall holders and

venues, including catering. It also supplies a mobile

trailer stage for the main stage where its in house

stage manager is on hand to liaise with live acts,

leaving its sound and lighting team to do its work.

There are a number of fringe venues across the site

that EPS also provides AV equipment for including head

worn and wireless microphones for the theatre and a sound

system at each venue. The EPS fringe production manager is

on hand to assist users in the operation of the equipment and can

handle everything if required.

Customer feedback: Organiser Holly Norman said: “We have

worked with EPS Events for a number of years now to deliver an

exceptional experience for our visitors.

“With the festival constantly growing, and with the additional

equipment and technicians required to run the stage and the

fringe venues, it made absolute sense to employ EPS Events as

our production partner. Their whole service has streamlined the

production side of the event, allowing us time to focus on other

aspects of the festival”.

68 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


EVENTS

PRODUCT

SNAPSHOT

Creative Furniture

Creative Structures

+31 (0)76 2100 401

sales@creativestructures.nl

www.creativestructuresworldwide.com

Creative Furniture from Creative Structures is more than just furniture.

The unique click system offers quick installation by one or two people

with a classy and solid result, and the inventive transport box makes it

ideal as a temporary or semi-permanent furniture solution.

Including Lounge Boxes, Bar Boxes, Table Boxes and High Seats

Boxes, the range is unique in its compact transport packaging and

click together system (meaning no tools or screws required for

installation). Available in natural impregnated, white or grey pinewood,

the weatherproof cushions are also available in different colours with

custom printed panels and printed/embroidered cushions an option.

Solar-hybrid Generators and Lighting Towers

MHM Plant

0808 168 9099

sales@mhmplant.com

www.mhmplant.com

MHM is a leading supplier of solar-hybrid-generators and

lighting towers for both purchase and rehire. The company has

developed its product range with emphasis on sustainability

innovation including the increasing use of hybrid technology,

LED lighting, solar power, clean fuel storage and emission

efficient diesel engines.

MHM undertakes to pursue the use of renewables to power

equipment wherever and whenever possible. All MHM products

are manufactured in a purpose built facility near Milan.

Master Craftsmen and Marquee Hire

Top Cat Big Tops

01654 700030

info@topcatbigtops.co.uk

www.topcatbigtops.co.uk

Top Cat Big Tops is both a colourful marquee hire company as

well as a team of master craftsmen manufacturing marquees

with expertise and love in our workshop.

One of our private commissions was featured on a Channel

Four show where the proprietor rigged the marquee himself in

his chateau grounds, next to his orangery!

We concentrate on manufacturing over the winter months

with our core local crew, expanding the team during the hiring

festival months. Our clients vary widely, from the well-known

festivals, smaller niche events, corporate dos as well as funky

weddings and private parties.

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 69


Spot light

A roundup of products for the outdoor hospitality industry

BEN SHEPHERD PHOTOGRAPHY

NEW 1121 BRACE HUT

Blackdown Shepherd Huts

01460 929774

info@blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk

www.blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk

Market leading shepherd hut

makers Blackdown are recognized

globally, however they design,

craft, and display their high-end

luxury living spaces in Somerset.

Duly inspired, many buyers add

their own unique touches to their

bespoke hut, delighting their

guests and earning an excellent

return on investment.

This year at The Glamping Show,

Blackdown showcased a new

design of their signature double

shepherd hut, The Blackdown

‘1121’ Brace Hut, which included

a dining/cinema booth that could

transform into a family bedroom.

This new design and so much more

is now available to view at their

display garden in Somerset by

appointment only.

EVENT EQUIPMENT HIRE

GT Trax

01487 823344

info@gttrax.co.uk

www.gttrax.co.uk or call

Established in early 2005, GT Trax

is one of the UK’s leading suppliers

of temporary roadways, walkways,

flooring, seating, fencing and

structures. They offer a complete

delivery, install, uplift and collection

service, with fully trained and

experienced site personnel.

Their range encompasses heavy

duty trackway and hardwearing

non-slip walkways, alongside

picket and Heras fencing. They also

have a line-up of single and double

Starshades, with seating provided

by the unique Foldtable.

So, for your next event, get in touch

with the GT Trax hire desk and see

how their equipment can enhance

your visitor experience.

GLAMPING IN A REMOTE FIELD?

The Septic Tank Store

01295 236 101

sales@theseptictankstore.co.uk

www.theseptictankstore.co.uk

Congratulations, you have invested

in a new sleeping unit which you

intend to install in a stunning but

remote location in the middle of

a field – now what to do with the

sewer waste? We have the solution

to your poo-lution. From toilet to

tank we can supply and install a

luxury twin toilet and shower unit

together with a sewage treatment

plant providing our clients with a

one-stop-shop for all their toilet

needs.

With over 40 years in the drainage

and services industry, The Septic

Tank Store has launched Bear

Habitats to supply a truly end-toend

solution for clients.

PERFO GROUND

REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM

S2T Group

01992 522797

www.perfo.co.uk

S2T Group’s PERFO range of

ground protection products

comprises a system of

interlocking, self-anchoring

permeable plastic tiles which

are embedded into an existing

surface, eg. a mature grass area

or prepared base consisting of a

layer of crushed stone chippings,

depending on the application.

A number of light to heavy duty

solutions are available to suit

varied ground conditions, traffic

profiles and loading requirements.

Unlike other geogrid systems,

PERFO tiles are usually installed

without the need for excavation,

being compacted directly into

the existing surface using rollers

or compactor plates. Installation

is therefore rapid and planning

issues less problematic.

70 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


BRITISH MANUFACTURE &

BESPOKE DESIGN

Bond Fabrications

01453 767171

enquiries@bondfabrications.co.uk

www.bondfabrications.co.uk

Whether our clients are looking

for beautiful luxury glamping

accommodation or a unique outdoor

event structure, we are passionate

about creating, high quality,

British-made, beautiful canvas

structures. Using a variety of frame

styles, high performance technical

materials and collaboration with

structural engineers we can offer a

personalised CAD supported design

service for all manner and sizes of

structures. With an emphasis on

client-led design and 30 years of

experience manufacturing bespoke

tents at our Gloucestershire factory,

we proudly offer a traditional design

and supply service throughout the

outdoor hospitality industry.

Classified Directory

TWO-WAY RADIO

SUPPORTING

YOUR EVENTS

Call FREE:

0800 043 2688

sales@dcrs.co.uk

www.dcrs.co.uk

DCRS Open Air Magazine Classified Advert.indd 1 06/12/2018 09:36

Finman

Glamping

Cabins and

BBQ Huts

From

£4,992

UNIQUE • QUALITY • CUSTOMISABLE

01389 887205 www.logspan.com

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 71


Classified Directory

www.gardenman.co.uk | 0333 2008 333

d Your Own

pherd Huts

Call 01262 470475 or visit

www.shepherd-huts.com

• Sewage Treatment •

• Sales •

• Installation •

TEAM

SEPTIC

01295 236 101

sales@theseptictankstore.co.uk

Wood fired hot tubs and saunas available to buy

Keeping Things

Together

Probably the largest selection of textile fasteners in the UK

01453 767171

www.bondfabrications.co.uk

enquiries@bondfabrications.co.uk

01654 700030

07956 878157

www.topcatbigtops.co.uk

Colourful

BIG TOP STYLE MARQUEES

MANUFACTURE

FOR SALE OR TO HIRE

www.opas.co.uk

72 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


PEOPLE

Behind the Scenes with…

Michael Owen

ABOVE RIGHT ‘Polly’ a unique

lorry and horsebox stay in Devon

ABOVE LEFT Pheasant’s Roost, a lakeside

treehouse in Lincolnshire

We learn what’s involved as acquisition manager at glamping agency Quality Unearthed

NO TWO days are ever alike in my role as

property acquisition manager at Quality

Unearthed. Working in one of the leading

glamping-focused agencies in the UK, my

role is to bring exciting and unique structures

into our growing portfolio. In this process,

I help and advise both established and

budding glamping site owners on how best

to bring their amazing structures to the

marketplace.

I’m a family man and my day begins at

home (mostly), unless I am travelling long

distances to meet with prospective clients

as Quality Unearthed covers the length and

breadth of the UK. Family plays an important

role in how I approach work, because

Quality Unearthed was founded as a family

firm. My team and the supporting cast of

sales, operations and support teams are all

interlinked like cogs in a wheel. We’re a close

team at Quality Unearthed – affectionately

known as QU – and this aspect is part of what

makes us a special agency.

INSPIRING INDIVIDUALITY

Being the manager of property acquisition

puts me in a privileged position at the start

of each owner’s journey, and typically myself

and colleague Polly Lovegrove get to see the

amazing structures that we bring on board

before anyone else.

One of the things I most enjoy about

working at Quality Unearthed is that we are

not a company who are paralysed by rigid

processes. Yes, we have certain necessary

procedures to ensure we treat every meeting

and each new take-on equally, but they are

all geared around being customer-centric.

I’m given the authority to do what's best

for the business and our prospective owners.

But just as each day or meeting is different,

our driving goal is to bring out the best

characteristics of each unique space. We do

this by allowing room for each new owner

to showcase their maximum potential when

bringing their labour of love to the market

and we find that, in most cases, each new

quirky place tends to flourish. The structures,

locations and owners we meet are all

different, each with their own amazing ideas

and dreams, and we want to make sure we

LEFT Gareth

Robinson (L),

general manager of

Quality Unearthed,

and Michael Owen

(R) manning the

Quality Unearthed

stand at the 2021

Glamping Show

capture that individuality.

The glamping market is continuously

evolving, with real imagination driving the

design of glamping structures and unusual

spaces, and we are very lucky to help guide

that evolution. Consumers are demanding

more and more from their stay, and as such,

the growth we have seen in recent years and

the structures we have brought on because

of this increase in expectations have been

exceptional and inspiring.

There's no secret that there's been a lot

of change within the travel industry during

recent years and while that does bring

challenges, it also brings new opportunities

and excitement about what might be around

the corner. Getting the industry back on

its feet and playing our part in that for our

owners has been a very big challenge, but

one we have gladly accepted, and we are

seeing the benefits of a strong bounce back

and unprecedented demand for holidays

within the unique spaces sector.

MAKING THINGS SIMPLE

As a premium glamping provider, it's our job

to offer quality holidays for our guests and

world-class marketing and management for

our owners. Our team are experts at what

they do and strive to ensure that we create

the perfect marriage of guest and owner

satisfaction.

Any glamping site owner's dream is to

build or install structures and have guests

come and enjoy them. It’s a simple concept

and one that we feel owners should be able

to fulfil. The reality is more ‘swan-like’; lots of

unseen effort below the surface to ensure a

graceful and elegant experience.

In a growing and highly competitive

WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 73


PEOPLE

RIGHT Polly Lovegrove, who is part of Michael’s team,

meeting Countryfile’s Adam Henson filming for

Channel 5’s ‘Our Family Farm Rescue’ where a Quality

Unearthed geodesic dome was featured.

BELOW River Hideaway shepherds hut in

Pembrokeshire

“WE WANT GUESTS TO FEEL THE FULL EXPERIENCE AND

PASSION OF THE STRUCTURE ON ARRIVAL, AND THE MORE

WE CAN DO TO UNBURDEN EACH OWNER OF THE MORE

ARDUOUS PROCESSES, THE MORE ENERGY AND ZEST THEY

CAN PUT INTO OPTIMISING THIS”

marketplace it is hard to become recognised

when you are starting out, even with the

recent massive increase in demand, so

effective marketing is critical. Marketing is

often mistakenly understood to be simple

and non-skilled, but the reality today is

quite different. There are many marketing

sources and digital skills that need to be

expertly understood to ensure that you

effectively channel demand to your website

or telephone. We are very good at both

acquiring new customers and building repeat

business.

Guest liaison also plays a large and timeconsuming

role – answering questions,

queries, booking enquiries for dates and

answering individual and non-standard

requests, taking payments, sending arrival

details and directions, discounting for lastminute

bookings, sending refunds or security

deposit returns – and is often not properly

considered.

We want guests to feel the full experience

and passion of the structure on arrival, and

the more we can do to unburden each owner

of the more arduous processes, the more

energy and zest they can put into optimising

this. An example of the little things we do to

make it easier for guests is a text message

which provides directions and check-in

details for where they are staying on the day

of arrival, which helps them and the owner.

This converts to positive experiences and

excellent customer review scores which help

our owners even more.

A TIME FOR WELLBEING

Connecting guests to hosts and places set

within nature and the outdoors lends itself

well to each traveller’s mental health and

wellbeing, often allowing for a full or partial

digital detox. Being immersed in a brand

that makes the most of outdoor spaces

and their relationship with mental health

and wellbeing means we encourage and

understand the importance of ‘switching

off’ too. The wellbeing of staff is key to our

business.

No matter how busy I am I make sure I

have a daily lunch break and time away from

my screen and encourage my team to do

the same. It's counterproductive otherwise

and I often have my best ideas while tucking

into my sandwiches. Life is busy and we are

currently in a particularly manic bubble of

productivity for our industry, such is the

nature of the return to travel post-lockdown.

Ultimately I'm very much a person who

likes to be out and about meeting people so

this is a great job for me. I particularly enjoy

getting involved at the start of glamping

projects, where the fields or spaces are

empty and the dreams and ideas are flowing

out. Getting to go back after the work has

been done to see what was achieved, what

wondrous structures have been made and

what the final offering has become, gives me

a real sense of achievement.

I feel really proud, especially when I’m

able to help our customers achieve their

objectives. I'm lucky enough to meet

hundreds of people every year who have

similar goals but unique objectives in mind.

The fact that my team and I are able to assist

them in making their ideas become a reality

is something that keeps me energised and

feeds my soul! Furthermore, the fact that

we then get to participate in these journeys

and share them with the wider world truly is

a gift.

And so, on to the next magical, unusual,

quirky space...

PROFILE

Michael Owen is the property acquisitions

manager at Quality Unearthed. Overseeing

the entire acquisition process, he advises

new and existing owners who want to

bring unique structures to the glamping

marketplace under the Quality Unearthed

brand.

Michael has over 15 years’ experience in the

sales industry, and specialised in business,

leisure and tourism. A keen family man and

runner, Michael enjoys spending time with

his wife and daughter around his hometown

in Pembrokeshire and taking in all that is

good about the outdoors.

QUALITY UNEARTHED

Quality Unearthed was founded in 2011

as a sister brand to the long-standing

Quality Cottages and set about bringing

glamping to the mainstream market,

showcasing the outdoors and natural

environments, whilst also providing the

comfort and luxury aspects of traditional

hospitality stays. Becoming one of the

largest glamping-specific agencies in the

UK, Quality Unearthed became part of the

Awaze Vacation Rentals family in 2021 and

continues to bring exceptional, quirky and

quality glamping experiences to thousands

of guests. www.qualityunearthed.co.uk

74 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM


Blackdown, discerning makers

of inspired spaces ...

blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk

info@blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk | 01460 929774

Shrubbery Farm | Catherine Wheel | Ilminster | Somerset |

Huts for home | Huts for business | Huts to build yourself


Glamping Pods

House Boats

TORP

Manufacturing slots

available during 2022

Luxury Living

Jans Offsite Solutions designs and manufactures

high specification, bespoke buildings. The company

has an unerring focus on design incorporating the

latest material advancements and technology not

only in the build, but in the electronics and exterior

and interior finishes we use.

T: 028 9433 9370

E: info@jansoffsitesolutions.com

W: jansoffsitesolutions.com

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!