Farms, ranches, wineries and other rural destinations are benefiting from a growing variety of opportunities to list private property as a camping destination. Hosts range from about $20 a night for offering primitive tent sites to several hundred dollars a night for setting up a glamping (luxury camping) experience with all the bells and whistles.
Sites similar to the popular Airbnb, but with a different structure, cater to outdoor enthusiasts and allow owners to list their offerings and amenities online. Some charge hosts a commission or fee, while others do not. The requirements for becoming a host are also different.
We’ve compiled a list of the best websites/apps we found when we searched “farm camping”, looked at what they offer, drew from personal experience and spoke to the websites we could reach to talk about why farmers should choose their platform over others.
Take it all in at a Hipcamp destination.
Hipcamp has been around since 2013 and was started by Northern California native Alyssa Ravasio after she struggled to find a campground online and after she managed to find all the useful information to help her properly prepare for her vacation. Private landowners primarily list campgrounds, glampsites (we’re talking very spoiled campers), RV sites, and cabins. Users can search for destinations based on listing type, location, scenery, activities offered, amenities, and price. The site also displays real-time availability, customer reviews, photos and takes care of booking. Listings are free, and Hipcamp offers a free professional photo service in some regions to help property owners showcase their destinations. Hosts pay Hipcamp a 10% commission, which also covers the cost of credit card processing, $1 million of host liability insurance, and other support services.
“I would say that 50% of Hipcamp’s hosts are farmers and ranchers who use the platform to offer overnight stays on their properties and can use the profits made to support land protection and maintenance of their family homes,” said Michal Rosenoer, Hipcamp Senior Manager for Government Affairs. “It’s a proven choice of the farming community and an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to build a secondary revenue stream through sustainable outdoor recreation.”
About 200 hosts in Pennsylvania have collectively made more than $500,000 through Hipcamp over the past 12 months, Rosenoer said.
When camping on a farm, you never know who might be visiting.
The Dyrt was started in 2013 by husband and wife team Sarah Smith and Kevin Long as a sort of camping Yelp, originally a simple WordPress site offering crowd-sourced reviews of sweet spots in the great outdoors.
“We don’t charge property owners a commission fee,” said the company’s president, John Hayden. “That really sets us apart.”
The Dyrt’s revenue stream comes from the camper side, he said. For $36 per year, a “Dyrt PRO” premium service offers additional features to the free app, e.g. B. downloadable maps with information, e.g. Plus, Pro members don’t have to pay a booking fee.
“It’s doing well enough to support the business, which has been very successful for us,” Hayden said. “We know that financial times are already tight for most of these private landowners. So we want to do everything we can to work with them and not see them as customers.”
Through the Dyrt app, potential guests can search and book available campgrounds by location, amenities offered, price, and view user-generated photos and reviews.
Harvest Hosts combines self-contained camping with farming destinations.
Based in Vail, Colorado, Harvests Hosts tends to cater to a more upscale demographic — the RV crowd.
We are totally focused on the RV market,” said Wes Clark, the company’s chief of staff. “All our members are self-contained motorhomes, which means they bring their own bathroom, toilet, kitchen… All you have to provide is a parking space. ”
More than 225,000 RV owners pay Harvest Hosts a $99 annual subscription fee for access to thousands of farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, golf courses and other private properties and attractions that house recreational vehicles. Other perks include access to information about landfill locations, local cellular service and weather conditions, and more.
“We tend to be older…lots of retired couples, folks over 55 enjoying the country, enjoying their golden years on the road and taking these once-in-a-lifetime trips…We have hosts in over 4,000 locations, including over 1,500 farms, ranches and agricultural communities Goals.”
Clark said the average RVer member pays about $50 a night to park at a host location.
“And we don’t take a penny from that. We are here to support local businesses. We want to pump $40 million back into the local economy. We have no part in that. We are happy to be able to support these communities and many of them are struggling with such other economic impacts these days. This can be a great asset to keep our business alive.”
Yurts, teepees, tree houses and domes, oh my! Glamping Hub offers luxury camping experiences to guests around the world with around 13,000 listed destinations in North America, followed by around 2,500 across Europe as well as host sites in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia, South America and more. There is no listing fee for hosts; they pay a 4% commission on confirmed bookings.
The website, app and service were launched in 2013 by David Troya, who developed the concept while studying for an MBA in San Francisco and now runs the company from his native Spain. Glamping Hub now also has an office in Colorado. Company officials did not respond to interview requests.
Glamping Hub offers a range of support services to prospective hosts, including partnerships with outdoor accommodation manufacturers such as Tent Masters, construction support and funding through a revenue share program. Potential hosts must go through a vetting process before they can post their listing.
Guest Leo Sullivan stands in front of a walk-in cooler converted into a living space in the tiny residential community of Karenville in Ithaca, New York.
Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb is the grandmother of all online homestay booking services. Airbnb has also proven to be a successful tool for farmers and other landowners offering places to stay. Our own diverse Airbnb experience includes digging into a converted garden shed in Northern California, palatial accommodations in a private home in a quiet New Jersey suburb, and an unforgettable night in a walk-in cooler that’s been transformed into a cozy sleeping pad on a dairy farm in a quirky tiny hometown in the state of New York.
Airbnb provides booking services, incorporates ratings and reviews (from both guests and hosts), and charges hosts 3% of the subtotal of their booking, including any cleaning fees the host may charge guests. Guests will be charged an additional 14% over the host’s base fee plus any applicable government or hospitality taxes. Hosts receive up to $1 million in liability insurance.
Airbnb has a dedicated section for glamping.
Lots of unique farm stay options popped up when we searched “farm camping” on Google. Another way to attract guests is to create your own website and use it on your own.
Real demand means real opportunity for farmers
“We’ve had pretty much the same number for decades – the supply of campsites hasn’t grown much,” said John Hayden of The Dyrt. “State parks, national parks, county parks and so on, it’s all been like this for a long time, and now the demand for camping has just exploded.”
In this new resilient climate, driven in part by COVID-19, demand far outstrips supply, he said.
“Then what that does,” he said, “is all this great opportunity for these landowners to take in people and have guests on their property and make some money from it.”
Campers’ interest in diverse experiences fuels the imagination and entrepreneurial spirit of landowners, Hayden said.
“And landowners are very different people. Some people have their own structures and set everything up and they can give up their ownership in places like ours and people can just pull their car out and go.”
Others may want infrastructure assistance or be interested in revenue sharing to enhance the experience, he said.
“People can now do anything that affects landowners. You can do anything from a cute little spot to a beautiful two bedroom tree house. The sky really is the limit and I think glamping has really opened that up too because now landowners can charge much higher price points; Instead of $20 for a nice spot under a tree… If they put the right tent or structure out there, they can charge three or four hundred dollars a night, and that’s real money for people.”