Beginner's Guide to Starting a Profitable Glamping Business

Beginner's Guide to Starting a Profitable Glamping Business

In August 2021, Alyssa and Sean bought two tents and two stoves from us. By mid-September, they had pitched their set up on their new 10-acre plot of land in Arnes, Manitoba, and by October, their glamping experience, Boreal Plains, was listed on Airbnb. They’ve been almost completely booked up ever since. Best of all, they started turning a profit only three months after purchasing their gear and have made this their full-time gig, with plans to expand. Not a bad deal!

Many of our customers have quickly launched a business with our gear, whether it’s a standalone BnB or a full-fledged glamping resort. The market for standard Airbnbs may be crowded but based on our assessment of glamping options on Airbnb and Hipcamp, glamping seems to remain an underserved market in Canada.

Robert and Alicia set up their CitizenCanvas CanvasCamp tent in the middle of last summer on their land in Nova Scotia. Over a few weeks, they built a shower area, cooking site, lounging area and bathroom. They stayed at the campsite for a few nights to figure out what was missing, and what little touches they could add to make the experience even more enjoyable. Then they listed The Campsuite on Hipcamp. Now, they are the 2nd Best Glamping Spot in Canada on Hipcamp’s Best of 2022 list.

While starting a glamping business has a lower level of investment and effort than say, a home addition or renovation, the details — from the location to the tent set up — are important and shouldn’t be overlooked. 

We’ve also put together a Canadian glamping revenue calculator so you can plug in the numbers to see how to make money and how long it will take. (Scroll down to the bottom if that’s what you’re here for.) 

Pitched is a mobile glamping outfitter based out of Crystal Beach, Ontario. Pitched comes to you to set-up dreamy glamping accommodations for backyard events.

So, what’s the allure of staying in a cotton canvas tent? Well, besides the obvious (delicate light streaming in through the canvas, the spacious and airy layout — we can go on), we’ve narrowed it down to three key features: 

1. Choose a beautiful and distinct location — somewhere that sets you apart. 
Tofino Boating Company set their tent up on a floating dock in Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, BC. Bluewater Village is a stunning a glamping resort in Goderich, Huron County, ON. You may want to think about setting up in the back-country where these types of luxuries aren’t often found. Or even your very own backyard that has the potential to be transformed into a quiet, private oasis. A big bonus if there are nearby attractions available such as a national or provincial park or wine region (think Niagara Falls, Okanagan, Eastern Townships, etc.).

Tofino Boating Co offers a unique off-grid stay on a floating dock, accessible only by boat. This one-of-a-kind glamping stay consists of our 450 ProTech tent, a wood-fired sauna, and a fully equipped kitchen.

2. Set up an authentic camping experience (that’s ultra-comfortable and hassle-free).
Glampers want to experience the outdoors along with luxury. Your accommodation should allow guests to really connect with nature without having to cart a 80-litre backpack or filling the car to the brim with camping gear. And best of all, no setup or takedown is required. 

3. Set yourself apart with unique, experiential facilities.
Of course, the tent in itself is a unique experience. But the possibilities are endless for kicking it up a notch. This may include sustainable outdoor facilities—such as the wood-burning sauna and hot tub at Boreal Plains — or an incredible outdoor cooking area (think cast iron tripod, outdoor kitchen setup, etc.). 

Boreal Plains bnb in Manitoba.

What do you need to create an award-winning glamping site? We asked Ellen, Growth Operations Manager at Hipcamp, and here’s what she had to say:

“We’ve looked at hundred of different cuts of data to try and understand what makes the best glamping listing. Is it allowing pets? Should the listing sleep 2 or 4? But what we’ve found is that it really comes down to being a great host. Welcoming guests when they arrive, making them feel comfortable and safe, and giving them their privacy to enjoy their vacation. The host is what takes a glamping listing from good to great.”

Besides being the host/hostess with the mostest, here is our list of essentials:

CitizenCanvas tent(s)
— of course.
The 500 and 600 sized-tents are ideal for glamping accommodations (and you can certainly make the 400 and 450 work if you’re tight on space). However, our vote is the 600 Twin, given the unique layout that offers a separate sleeping and lounge area and more head space from the ridge pole system. We also recommend our Pro line of tents if you plan to leave your accommodations up for long periods of time. 

A raised bed and luxurious bedding.
Swap the sleeping bags for a down-filled comforter, linen sheets, and fluffy pillows. Find unique bed stands and furnishing that match the style you are striving for (rustic, modern, country chic). For high-quality and lightweight mattresses, check out the portable memory foam camping mattress by HEST.

Thoughtful lighting.
This can be as simple as a pole light, or as elaborate as a LED chandelier. 

CitizenCanvas accessories.
If we had to pick one, we would say the Tent Fly 1.0. This fly will prolong your investment as it shields the tent from its worst enemy: the sun. Other popular accessories for glamping sites include the shelter or connector for an entranceway and for gear. Short guy poles help in trickier spaces, such as open grasslands, where the length of the guylines may be restricted and/or to remove tripping hazards.

CitizenCanvas stove(s).
If you plan on offering glamping accommodations in the shoulder seasons, you may need to provide a heat source. If your site is in a warmer climate like BC, you could get away with a smaller, portable stove; however, if your set-up is in a colder climate, you may consider a glamping stove that requires far less refueling (due to the larger firebox). 

A high-quality listing.
Once you have your location picked out and your tent set up with its complete decor and amenities, the final step is listing your glamping accommodation so you can start hosting guests. We recommend listing it on either Hipcamp or Airbnb (or both!). Ensure to include high-quality pictures for best first impressions. 

Boreal Plains bnb in Manitoba.

Other nice-to-haves:

A platform to raise the tent off the ground
  • Carpets for added warmth
  • Mirrors
  • Solar lighting for a pathway to the tent
  • Wi-Fi for remote working set-ups Outdoor lounge area and fire pit
  • Screened in dining area
  • Coffee bar
  • Books, magazines, board games
  • Hammock

    The payoff: HOW TO CALCULATE PROFIT for your glamping business
    The payoff of your investment depends on many factors most importantly, the total upfront investment and expected revenue. To help you determine the feasibility of your project, we created a Return on Investment calculator — check it out below.

    Before you jump in: note that we have not included the cost of any facilities and outdoor living space in our calculations. For all other assumptions, see the info bubbles below.

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