Creating a safe glamping site

Farmers looking for diversification opportunities may view setting up a ‘glamping’ site as an attractive and potentially lucrative option.

Growing numbers of people looking to get away from it all are turning to glamping – glamourous camping – in a bid to enjoy the great outdoors but with a few more comforts than traditional camping.

So for farmers who have beautiful locations in abundance this is seemingly a match made in heaven. However, there are some health and safety considerations which must be addressed.

Glamping is about providing what visitors view as a trendy rustic experience in an unusual or unique structure while ensuring they have a comfortable and safe environment.
Barney Hatcher
NFU Mutual Commercial Insurance Specialist

Barney Hatcher, commercial insurance specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Glamping has caught the imagination of holidaymakers and early adopters in attractive locations claim to be making good profits. However, there is a lot more to running a glamping enterprise than knocking together a few yurts in a weedy pasture.

“The range of options for glamping structures introduce another level of complexity - from tree houses to bell tents, tepees to wooden huts, pods to shepherds huts, or aluminium and glass domes - each present their own challenges which require professional advice.

"Glamping is about providing what visitors view as a trendy rustic experience in an unusual or unique structure while ensuring they have a comfortable and safe environment.

“To bring off these two seemingly opposing challenges together requires very specific design, construction, maintenance and management. Whether running a B&B or offering a tree house experience, farmers face the same legal liabilities and potential for large claims for damages if members of the public have an accident on their premises.”

Six steps to safe glamping

1. Consult with your insurer - they should be experienced in claims made at similar sites and can advise you so you don’t repeat any mistakes.

2. Material considerations – glamping sites often use potentially flammable materials such as canvas sheeting and insurers are likely to want to inspect the site and see that the firms installing the living accommodation and other features are reputable and experienced in the sector. This means safety features can be built in from the design stage, rather than added at extra expense post construction.

3. Livestock and glampers – if you have livestock you will need to consider their well-being and the safety of your guests. Allowing sheep to graze within the glamping site raises questions about visitors bringing their pets as well as hygiene factors.

4. Focus on fire - a high profile issue for insurers will be the use of any stoves or burners. These should be appropriate to the location, of good quality and properly installed.

5. Assessing risks - as with any diversification involving the public, any supporting activities offered on site, such as cycling, fishing, saunas, farm visits and quad biking, will also need to be well-organised, carefully risk-assessed and managed.

6. Make sure you’re covered - as well as insurance to protect buildings and contents from fire, storm, flood and theft, those setting up glamping may need to consider:

  • Public liability – protects against claims from guests and other members of the public
  • Employers liability – a legal requirement, which covers employers if there are accidents involving paid employees but also family members who help out, even if only occasionally
  • Product liability – protects against claims following use of food, fuel or other goods supplied
  • Business interruption – makes up lost income following an insured incident such as a fire or storm which puts the business out of action for a period
  • Cyber risk – glamping often relies on web-based services for promotion and administration - insurance can cover data restoration and forensic investigation

Speak to your local NFU Mutual Agent for more information.