Glamping short term rental property

15 Replies

I am fairly new to the short term rental side of real estate, I've mainly been a long term buy and hold investor.

In the past couple years we have done a few small scale short term rentals out of our principle residence (with great success).

Looking into trends in the industry (and conversations with friends who run a successful str business) the idea of short term rental glamming came up.

It looks like there are all forms/styles from pods to yurts, cabins to tree houses or retro trailers...something for every type of person it seems.

Has anyone on here ventured down this path?

I have an acreage in a quite a desirable tourism area - minutes to a large lake, amenities and tourist attractions all around and the property has amazing lake views.

The thought here was to setup a glampground essentially - as the zoning allows for 10 fully serviced sites and provide renovated units in a private, comfortable setting.

For example, a modern updated travel trailer, hot tub, fire pit, great cooking amenities in individual private areas . The property also link to a mountain trail network for hiking, riding, motor sports etc.

I am trying to gather information to see how viable this type of STR is/can be and and info from more experienced folks in this field.

It seems to me that with Covid and lack of travel/shift in what people are looking for it seems (a place where all the amenities are there and not having to go out for entertainment for example) looks to be popular - a destination location.

Any info/opinion etc would be great from other members of the community here.

@Paul Sandhu

I’m not sure what your comment is meant to insinuate, but there are multiple locations around the province that I live in that provide similar types of experiences and generate excellent gross revenue.

@Chris Muller whenever there is something like that in my market, there are problems.  You are wearing a suit and tie in your picture.  I think we deal with completely different clientele. 

@Paul Sandhu

Being a destination location here in Kelowna/Okanagan Valley nice STR properties will generate $700-1000/night and be booked for 4-5 months straight.

Even decently updated properties in a good location will generate $350-550/night.

Some of the more remote locations (pseudo-off grid) cabins will be $500/night and campers are $250-350.

@Chris Muller I get $400 to $600 a week for a 3 bedroom house that costs me about $11,000. That's the purchase price of the foreclosure, plus the 4 appliances and furniture. I live in a crappy refinery town.

Have you looked on HipCamp to see what the competition charges, and how booked they are?  Airbnb also has filters for unique stays, including RVs, yurts, tents, etc.  It sounds like you're in a desirable area for this kind of venture.

I go to a resort in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, where besides cabins, they have Shiftpod2's on wooden platforms.  They have queen beds, ac and heat, and my friends who have stayed in them really like them. There is a shared bathroom.  If you want to see them on Airbnb, google "Meadow Glamping 4". There are bears in the area, so there is a rule of no food in the pods, and they do not rent in the winter, because this is a ski area with snow.  The pods cost $1300, plus the ac/heater and platform costs.  Travel trailers in newer condition will cost much more of course.  

Hey @Chris Muller , sounds like a fun thing. It would be a job if you go the full 10 units. It might be considered some kind of full service thing but with you being in Canada, I really don't know how the taxes would go.

One thing to consider it waste management, site development for access, water for the hot tubs changes, plus creating trails and roads to the forest system.

There could be some complications with those things. I have spent quite a bit of time in the Okanogan and personally I would never pay $500 a night for glamping.

Nightly rates for the area are all over the board. There is also a lot of commercial owners with many units in service. Those are homes and condos.

Now glamping rates that I can find in the area are under $200 a night. Actually there are some nice looking that are under $100 US. I just did some simple searches and that is what I came up with so I would wonder about that data showing that high of a nightly rate for a yurt.

I still think it is a cool thing but you really want to run down those numbers to be sure. 

There’s a lot to discuss on this topic and many different angles to cover.

However, what I’d recommend is to check out some of the companies who are doing this and doing it really well: (slightly different model)

I think you can get a lot of inspiration from this sort of competition and better frame what you’re looking to do.

@Chris Muller

I’ve camped a number of times on private property, and I love it. Have you checked out The CA state park camping reservation site is a total pain in the *** and often all the sites are booked. Hipcamp provides an alternative. You can find anything from basic plots of land to high end structures.

A few of my buddies and I have spoken about this. There is a guy in Lake Lure, NC that has a parasidic dome cost him about 20k to build it, and he is charging 200 a night.... He already owned the property. He has a few you tube videos on it. Honestly the cash on cash return is just outrageous. I have called a few of the companies and looked into it, not sure i will do it but its a possibility. Below is a link to his Ad.

More info here:

That is a great idea, Chris!  Start with a couple of airstreams, with all the amenities.  Post it on AirBB, and add as you wish.  You need to take into consideration both water and sewer.

Go get em, tiger!

@Chris Muller This concept is fairly popular in my area (very tourist based as well), and I had a 1962 Airstream set up on my property for 3 years.  While the cash on cash return was amazing, it was a maintenance nightmare (parts are hard to find and things tend to break a lot in RV's).  I have since replaced it with a 20' shipping container which has been a huge upgrade in maintenance issues.  From your property description I would recommend Yurts, there is very little that can wrong with the structure and you can use all standard building items on the inside, which is similar to what we did with our shipping container.  Just my opinion but to me it was about reducing pain points, and the specialized nature of repairing RV's and the lack of ease getting parts overrode the profit, there are probably counter points to this train of thought but this was my experience.  

@Kyle H. I have rented RVs in a more long term model over four years. If you use modern RVs, your repairs and maintenance shouldn’t be bad. I don’t believe it was any worse than say, a house.

If you’re going for vintage, that might be much harder as in finding parts, like the previous poster said.

@Chris Muller

Forgot to add that RVs would be an extremely easy thing to try. You find one advertised. Go over. Buy it. Hook it up to your truck. Park it. Get it ready. Boom. You’re done.

If your experiment isn’t successful, place an ad and sell it.

I recommend buying one that’s already in great condition. You think, well, I’ll fix it up myself. But RVs are a lot harder to fix up than you would think by their small size. We’ve done quite a few and if I ever do it again, I’ll buy one already nice.