As glamping continues to grow across the United States, one of the biggest opportunities is for agri-tourism, where farmstays allow guests to stay overnight and experience life on a working farm. One of the latest farms to join the flock of U.S. farmstays is the Florida-based Rooterville, a 20-acre farm that cares for hundreds of rescued farm animals, including pigs, chickens, cows, goats, and more. Rooterville has added two PlainsCraft Covered Wagons to its offerings, allowing potential visitors looking for ways to experience what it’s like to stay on a farm an opportunity to be inspired by the stories of the animals that have been rescued here.
Rooterville is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to rescuing, caring for, and providing a permanent home to farm animals of all types. Founded by Elaine West in 2004, Rooterville was born when a breeding sow named Stella was rescued from a factory farm and nursed back to health on its 5-acre farm.
“This farm is truly a labor of love for me,” West said. “While we believe it’s already an incredibly serene and wonderful place to visit, we think the wagons are perfect for this beautiful space. The wagons will be near our pastures, where a horse and several cows graze, so they can go to sleep and wake up feeling the peace we’ve intentionally created here at Rooterville. We are working to make this a truly special experience for our guests.”
Rooterville continues to grow as it provides a home to animals and gives guests an unparalleled experience. West recently moved the farm to a new location in rural Melrose, FL, which is east of Gainesville. Visitors are welcome at the farm and tours include a chance to feed snacks to pigs, capture photos, and more. And now, visitors can go glamping on its grounds—thanks to Elaine’s addition of two PlainsCraft covered wagons at Rooterville—for an unforgettable experience. These wagons will be available for overnight stays in the spring.
“We are thrilled that Elaine chose our wagons as an opportunity to give her visitors a high quality glamping experience,” said Dennis Steinman, Founder and CEO of PlainsCraft Covered Wagons. “We know this was a major purchase for a non-profit like Rooterville, but we know the wagons will be a worthwhile investment. We’re seeing agri-tourism continue to grow in the glamping community as campers look for unique experiences to enjoy alongside their overnight stays. An animal sanctuary like Elaine’s is going to be a massive draw for the new age of campers who support and live by the same ethical practices Rooterville follows. We’re excited to see her farm continue to grow and are proud to be a part of its success.”
Interested in adding covered wagons to your business? Get in touch and let’s build something together.
If you’re considering adding glamping to your campground or land for 2022, it’s likely you already know it’s a prime time for this style of camping. The great news is it’s predicted to double in growth by 2028. What’s even better is the fact you still have time to plan your budget for next season to take advantage of glamping’s growth.
There are specific things to consider if you’re interested in a glamping business, however. It’s more than just the structure itself. You’ll need to consider all the costs involved to successfully start your glamping endeavor and plan for it in the way that makes the most sense. Here are three recommendations to help get you started when planning a glamping budget for the upcoming season.
The kind of infrastructure you have—or don’t have—can make a huge difference in what is feasible on your property. A location that already has power, septic, and water lines installed can add luxurious glamping options with few problems and without needing a separate line item for infrastructure within your budget.
If you don’t have that infrastructure in place but want it installed, you’ll need an estimate for the costs involved with putting that plan in place. Keep that in mind as you consider installing a septic system, adding power lines, or choosing to install full hookups like RV parks offer. These hookups may make it easier for you to add certain types of glamping accommodations to your property.
You may need to work directly with local contractors and the city to determine what type of budget you’d need to put in place for that type of work. It’s likely you’d even need to work with the state or municipality to obtain permits, which might add costs to your budget. Be sure to ask your contractor about whether permitting costs are included in their estimates.
There are also alternatives that can keep those infrastructure costs low if yours isn’t pre-installed. Off-grid solutions like solar power and composting toilets can prevent major costs for infrastructure but will still have an overhead. Keep that in mind as you plan and be sure to ask any of your glamping resources if they have those options available.
What types of structures are you most interested in adding to your land? They all have pros and cons, depending upon what you’re looking for. We always recommend you add more than one glamping option to your property to keep people coming back and wanting to try out all of your structures. But for the time being, if it’s just one type of structure you want to try, weigh those benefits closely to make your determination.
For example, a cabin may seem like a profitable structure, but keep in mind you’ll need to plan to work with your local municipality to build a cabin and it’s likely you’ll have to hire contractors. Meanwhile, a luxury tent or yurt might need a platform, but can be set up with less work and cost than a cabin. A PlainsCraft covered wagon comes with a day’s work of assembly and can be tied down, hooked up to power, water, and sewer, and ready for rental within the week.
If these structures don’t come with a bathroom option, you may want to begin looking into a separate bathroom facility as well. In fact, a 2021 study by the Kampgrounds of America says that 29% of first-time campers claim clean and well-maintained restrooms are part of their top considerations when staying at a campground. It’s why our wagons have bathroom upgrades—to provide guests with the clean, private bathrooms they want, which means our wagons are a turnkey glamping system.
To determine your glamping budget, contact the individual structure companies and be sure to ask about upgrades, including heat or A/C, bathrooms, furniture, and insulation packages to extend your rental capacity for the entire year and ensure an outstanding return on investment ROI). You can calculate your ROI on a covered wagon on our website to get a head start.
The more amenities available at your glamping location, the more guests will be drawn to stay. After all, the concept behind glamping is that it allows guests to enjoy luxury accommodations while in nature. In other words, they want the “roughing it” experience without sacrificing the comforts they desire most.
Simple glamping additions include some of the amenities and accessories that make these structures feel cozy and comfortable. While not everyone will want WiFi or a TV on their glamping getaway, if you think they might help be a draw, you’ll want to investigate what those options would add to your overhead.
The addition of a fire pit and grills could be an easy, low-cost addition as you’re planning a glamping budget. So, too, could coffee makers and microwaves. It helps to even think about any welcome packages you might want to include, such as a bottle of wine or coffee from local vendors as your guests look for a unique experience. Ask yourself: would adding a salt pool or hot tub increase the value of your offerings? If so, consider that for your budget as well. In short, the more amenities you add, the more you can create a stay that is Instagrammable (which translates to free marketing!).
Don’t forget to ask about what comes with your structures, too. PlainsCraft Covered Wagons offers interior design packages that include furniture and bedding. But don’t forget to add in a budget for comfortable mattresses to ensure an incredible experience.
While it might seem like a lot to think through, the more you’re prepared and willing to invest, the better return on investment you’ll be able to enjoy. Just make sure you’re considering all of the options you’d like and weigh it against what you’d like to charge for overnight stays to ensure you’re making an informed decision as you plan.
Interested in learning more about how PlainsCraft Covered Wagons can help your business grow? Get in touch and let’s build something together!
The days of pioneers heading west by covered wagon on the hunt for gold may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean travelers still can’t experience those bygone days. Banner Ranch, a 62-acre property located just east of Main Street Julian in California, is surrounded by everything a pioneer would have dreamed of: gold mines, the Pacific Crest Trail, apple orchards, plenty of wildlife, and breathtaking mountain views.
Banner Ranch is owned by siblings Melissa and Jon Block, who also own Tiny House Block, a community of tiny homes available for short- and long-term stays. Their themed tiny houses and resort have been featured on ABC Channel 10 in San Diego, San Diego Reader, and Tiny House Giant Journey. Banner Ranch is expected to create a similar buzz as tiny houses and wagon rentals add new intrigue to the historic community of Julian.
“When Melissa called us about putting wagons into Banner Ranch, we knew this partnership would be a homerun,” said Dennis Steinman, Founder and CEO of PlainsCraft Covered Wagons. “Is there any better place for a covered wagon than an old gold mining town? The Blocks have done an incredible job of creating an unforgettable experience for their guests and we’re so proud to be a part of that experience.”
Julian and Banner Ranch are an hour east of San Diego in the Cuyamaca mountains. It’s a perfect location for outdoor lovers, history buffs, or creative types looking for a way to disconnect. The location is available for events guaranteed to create extraordinary memories, and a General Store will soon offer snacks and local handicrafts.
PlainsCraft Covered Wagons are the perfect choice for luxury glamping accommodations at your resort, destination, RV park, or campground. Our wagons are built from the ground-up for your needs.
PlainsCraft Covered Wagons is proud to share its latest partnership with Keystone Heights, a gated RV community located in North Central Florida. This incredible new community provides visitors with a plethora of activities to enjoy within the fresh air of this sunny resort. Keystone Heights glamping brings even more fun to this area.
Keystone Heights, which is located northeast of Gainesville, opened in November of 2020. This luxury, gated community features unparalleled amenities, including a 2,700 square foot swimming pool and spa, a clubhouse, an activity center and Activities Director for resort-wide events, and more. In addition to PlainsCraft wagons, the resort offers short- and long-term RV reservations for both pull-through and back-in RV sites.
“We are so excited to find a home within the Keystone Heights resort,” said Dennis Steinman, Founder and CEO of PlainsCraft Covered Wagons. “We were so impressed with all Keystone Heights had to offer, and we can’t wait to see what kind of demand glamping in our wagons will drive to this unique location. Not only is Keystone Heights a beautiful resort, but the amenities it offers make it a great destination for travel enthusiasts. We know the addition of PlainsCraft wagons will be a successful endeavor for the Keystone Heights team.”
PlainsCraft wagons will be available at the resort starting July 1. To learn more about Keystone Heights glamping, visit KeystoneHeightsRV.com.
We knew back in 2018, when we first launched PlainsCraft Covered Wagons, that glamping was taking off in the United States. What nobody knew at that point was that a global pandemic would exponentially change how people wanted to get away from home during a time where safety was a top concern. It changed how people vacationed, and because of that reality, glamping is becoming hotter than ever. There’s never been a better time to invest in glamping. Here are three reasons why.
A 2021 report by Grand View Research states glamping is expected to grow by a more than 16 percent compound annual growth rate through 2028. The search for unique outdoor experiences, luxurious amenities, and unique accommodations is what is largely helping it evolve.
Covid further drove glamping’s growth. As travelers looked for camping opportunities that were safe through the pandemic, those who camped reported they are nearly 3 times more likely to return to camping and glamping when they travel again. In addition, nearly 40 percent of campers surveyed in 2021 said they were interested in a glamping experience, while nearly 30 percent of prospective campers wanted to try glamping. So who are those prospects? We suggest you keep reading.
A study from Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) shows that the young millennials and Gen Z are just starting to embrace the camping lifestyle. In fact, that report shows 60 percent of those who traveled for glamping in North America between 2019 and 2020 were from that demographic. Still, it’s elder millennials and Gen X who are largely driving the growth of this type of luxury camping. As these demographics continue to find financial success, it’s expected they will be the largest consumers of glamping over the next several years. As these new campers look for luxurious ways to enjoy the outdoors, glamping is the solution.
In other words, glamping is a compelling and enjoyable getaway for those looking to enjoy the outdoors without the work of traditional camping. This fact is already drawing in non-campers. Therefore, if you invest in glamping now, rest assured you’ll be at the forefront of this trend and at the top of mind for guests looking for an unforgettable experience.
The Grand View Research report says cabins and pods were the largest market share of unique accommodations in 2020. Tents are growing in popularity, however, and will be the second-fastest-growing segment through 2028. Of course, those accommodations are just a small sampling of all the types that are available across the globe.
We did keyword research to determine what people are looking for from their glamping experiences. We found they’re searching for tents, but beyond that, they don’t seem to know what else is out there.
In fact, most people are searching for glamping in their favorite locations. Places like Big Sur, Asheville, Yosemite, and Joshua Tree were on the list. Yet many were even less specific, such as searches by state. That supports the idea that while potential guests are excited about glamping and finding stays in beautiful locations, there’s opportunity for them to be just as excited about the accommodations and amenities you have to offer, no matter where you are located. If you invest in glamping, simply adding glamping as an option will be what initially draws them in. From there, finding the most unique accommodations, like covered wagons, will be what encourages them to book.
An important thing to remember is that your guests want luxurious experiences. If you try to cut corners, they’ll notice. Make sure you deliver on the luxury, premium experience you promise. They might be your biggest cheerleader, but bad news sometimes travels even faster. Give them more than they expect, and they’ll return — hopefully with friends next time.
In the world of glamping, you want lodgings that will stand out in your potential guests’ minds. A wagon is a piece of Americana that conjures up a sense of nostalgia and romanticism. And because it’s so low-maintenance and easy to set up, it’s a great addition to any campground or unique location.
While we recommend at least two wagons to circle up around the fire, we also know that wagons should just be a part of the bigger picture. For inspiration, check out Zion Weeping Buffalo Resort. This location will be a favorite destination for returning guests who want to experience everything from covered wagons to teepees to cave dwellings.
Ready to invest in glamping? Contact us about bringing PlainsCraft wagons to your property, and let’s build something together.
PlainsCraft Covered Wagons has now shifted to become an international company with the addition of its covered wagons at Marco Polo Land in Cavendish, P.E.I. in Canada.
In January, Marco Polo Land was named Large Campground of the Year by the Canadian Camping and RV Council after it added a new water park and deluxe cabins to provide glamping opportunities for its guests. As Hennie Hoekstra, owner of Marco Polo Land, looks to expand upon the glamping trend, PlainsCraft wagons will be the next of the site’s offerings. The wagons will be available starting in June of 2021.
“Hennie is a dream customer for us,” said Dennis Steinman, Founder and CEO of PlainsCraft Covered Wagons. “As she saw glamping taking off for Marco Polo Land despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19, she was quick to work with us to develop a set of wagons that will create additional intrigue for glamping and camping guests. We can’t wait to see how the wagons do for Hennie and Marco Polo Land as the resort continues to remain a hot vacation destination this summer.”
Marco Polo Land features over 100 acres of P.E.I. camping, trailering, and RV sites. With 618 campsites, the resort is Prince Edward Island’s vacation center. It addition to PlainsCraft Wagons, the resort also features a take-out, dairy bar, store, restaurant, themed entertainment, a water zone, jumping pillows, and large play areas.
For full disclosure, we need to tell you if you’re looking to book a stay at Marco Polo Land, you might want to think ahead for 2022. Hennie tells us the wagons are already booked solid for the 2021 camping season. How’s that for a success story?
When we first met Mike and Anne from Honeytrek at the 2019 Glamping Show, we immediately fell in love with them and their story. They’ve been traveling the world together since the beginning of 2012, just after they got married, which opened their eyes to the world of glamping. Together, they wrote their first book, Comfortably Wild: The Ultimate Glamping Guide, where they explore the history of glamping and offer first-hand recommendations for unforgettable adventures. (Pick it up. You’ll be smitten with glamping if you aren’t already!)
When we found out they were headed to Wisconsin to complete their tour of all 50 states, we checked in with them. Considering they’d traveled across 7 continents, 62 countries, more than 1,000 regions, and stayed in just about every unique spot you can possibly imagine, we wondered what they’d think about glamping in a PlainsCraft Wagon.
Fortunately, they had been thinking about us, too. We connected them with Zach and Jennifer from Apostle Island Area Campground, who added a PlainsCraft wagon to their offerings last year, and who are just moments from Lake Superior, sea caves, a national forest, and some of the most incredible outdoor attractions. Our wagon ended up being the perfect spot for their Apostle Islands glamping getaway.
Honeytrek’s stay at the Apostle Islands was part of a larger tour of Wisconsin, and if you’ve never spent much time in the Great Lakes state, you’ll want to read about their ultimate Wisconsin road trip. It will make you want to visit the first chance you get.
We haven’t been up to the Apostle Islands to visit Zach and Jennifer since we first delivered the wagon. We think maybe it’s time to change that. Let us know what you think about Mike and Anne’s trip — or if you’ve stayed in this wagon and what you thought — in the comments below.
Photos by Honeytrek
As PlainsCraft Covered Wagons looks toward 2021, a major new canvas innovation promises to bring modern technology to what looks to be a method of travel from yesteryear.
“We’ve found that park operators are concerned about a number of issues canvases bring, which is a common problem among glamping structures,” said Dennis Steinman, Founder and CEO of PlainsCraft Covered Wagons. “We heard those concerns and developed a solution. The result is an innovative canvas system that protects from the biggest concerns operators have about canvases, including harsh weather, shadows, and noise.”
PlainsCraft’s Bonnetgard™ Cover System includes four layers of protection. The exterior canvas is made from Aqualon Edge material, which is equipped with a heat gain reduction technology to protect from sun, mold, mildew, and abrasion, plus includes a manufacturer’s warranty for added peace of mind. The interior is layered with an acoustic and thermal insultation to stop sound and cold from entering as well as a radiant barrier to reduce heat gain. Finally, the interior canvas is a Sunforger® canvas, which is also layered with protection against moisture and mildew. Together, the system also creates a partial air gap to create air flow, ensuring the benefits of the radiant barrier. The system is highly efficient, weather resistant, and allows for a high level of privacy for guests.
“We’re proud of the system we’ve built,” Steinman added. “We heard what keeps park owners and operators up at night and we knew the only solution was to give them a product they wouldn’t have to worry about.”
The Bonnetgard™ Cover System is now available for 2021.
PlainsCraft also added the following options for covered wagons in 2020:
• Full bathrooms that answer consumer demand for both luxury and safety from a glamping structure. Bathrooms include a shower, standard flush, composting or rv style toilet option, a vanity with sink, and a ventilation fan. The bathroom walls are sealed and a hot water heater is installed for utmost comfort.
• An extended length of wagon is now available to provide more space for bathrooms or additional furniture. Choose from either a 20’ or 22 ½’ interior floor plan, depending upon your park’s needs.
• A detachable porch and a solid wood main entry door with a window boost the wagon’s visual appeal.