Standing in a queue for coffee at an event last year, I got chatting to the lady next to me:
Me: long queue! are you exhibiting?
Lady: no, I’m doing some research for an idea of mine, a new show
Me: that sounds interesting, what’s the show about?
Lady: ‘glamping’, have you heard of it?
Me: (barely containing my excitement) heard of it? that’s the business I’m in!
Needless to say I was thrilled, I’d had the same idea three years earlier but the industry wasn’t suitably developed, however it was now, especially in the UK. I subsequently supported the new venture as best I could and finally a couple of weeks ago I was at the Glamping Show, the UK’s first event that totally focussed on our rather quirky sector of the holiday industry, expectations were high. From day one I felt that this show was going to be a roaring success, I couldn’t help thinking the timing was nothing short of perfect. It didn’t disappoint.
At 11am I kicked off the show’s 3 day seminar itinerary with the first talk – ‘Glamping, is it the Business for Me?’ Even though I had every faith in the event’s success I wasn’t expecting a big audience as I thought most visitors would be keen to explore the exhibitors and see what was on offer. How wrong I was, at 11.04 all the seats were full and people continued to arrive, by 11.15 it was standing room only as people queued down the aisle, out of the pod and down the access route to listen. The seminar itinerary over all was impressive, with many diverse talks from established industry leaders, all the visitors I spoke to found them useful and insightful.
The three days continued in the same fashion – busy! The Quality Unearthed stand was full with prospective site owners keen to discuss their glamping business ideas. We spoke to landowners from the UK, USA, Canada and Europe about their plans and options, it was amazing and I loved every minute.
Being the sociable creature that I am, I still managed to catch up with a few fellow exhibitors, like Mark from Tiny House UK. His Pixie Cabin was a finalist in George Clarkes Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year competition, and generously donated as a prize to be won by one lucky person at the Show.
It’s a gorgeous, challenging piece of carpentry work which was incredibly popular with the children, and I can see why – it certainly puts my old canvas ‘Wendy House’ to shame!
After admiring the Pixie Hut, Mark showed me the brochure for his new tiny house design which actually looks surprisingly roomy, and good value for money considering the work that goes into it.
It reminded me of an idea for a Hansel & Gretal glamping cottage, made to look as if it’s made from gingerbread and iced biscuits (the phrase ‘you don’t have to be mad to work here but… ‘ just sprang to mind).
Having admired his work from afar for some time I was also delighted to catch up with Andy from ‘The Firepit Company‘, it was fantastic to see his creations first hand. As you can see they look spectacular when fired up, and they can be hired as well as purchased – and make fabulous evening focal points for special occasions.
I also caught up with Mark at Clear Sky Safari Tents, who produce very good tents that look rather at home in the UK countryside and happily stay put over winter. As well as making the tents, Mark also runs a glamping site so understands the business from both aspects.
‘Exclusive Tents‘ popped by to say hello so I took a walk down to their stand. They produce a certain style of tents and their ability to create bespoke designs was an exciting prospect. Their safari tents have been used by Richard Branson on one of his islands, if they are good enough for him they are certainly good enough for me.
I wasn’t going to leave the show without saying ‘hi’ to Gareth and the team at Naked Flame Eco Tubs. We’d been in touch previously about their wood-fired hot tubs so I was keen to meet him and see the product in the flesh (pun intended…). I was impressed, the tubs are beautiful, with good construction, functionality and design.
Sadly I didn’t get time to chat to everyone which is a pity as all the exhibitors are worthy of mention. The organisers didn’t compromise on quality to fill the exhibition spaces and the result was an impressive standard and variety of exhibitors and products on offer.
On Saturday the market was also open and full of fascinating accessories and crafts, if you didn’t get to the show yourself, you can check them all out on the Glamping Show’s Exhibitor Guide. An entertaining and funny talk was given by TV presenter Max McMurdo – what a great guy! He was so genuine and friendly, he had time for everyone that wanted to speak to him. Another interesting talk was given by the creative and delightful Jane Field-Lewis who is the contributing designer to ‘George Clarkes Amazing Spaces’. They both added a little publicity sparkle to the event and no doubt drew in some fans. Finally I must mention ‘Solar Kev’ from The Solar Shed – another entertaining talk and a great guy! He knows his product inside out, talks with infectious enthusiasm and is a thoroughly good egg, so if you’re looking to install solar he’s your man.
It was a fun and varied show with a friendly atmosphere overlaying a good business schedule. I have no doubt it will just go from strength to strength so don’t forget to be there in 2016 – September 22nd – 24th, see you there!