The Glamping Business: Epic Private Journeys

Written by: Alexandria Autrey

How does Epic Private Journeys differ from traditional glamping?
The main difference between our glamping and traditional glamping is that our experience is all mobile.   Our glamping sites are specifically set up and customized for our guests.

Epic Private Journeys also takes guests on guided tours to their specific glamping sites, tell us about that. 
Our glamping is part of a larger experience, folks will come to us for a trip and two of those nights will be at our luxury camp.   On the other nights guests can stay at five star hotels or ranches.  We try to provide a unique mix of luxury in all different settings. 

How long has Epic Private Journeys been in the glamping business?
We’ve been doing our glamping for about five years now and just this year it has become incredibly popular.  Last year was popular but, nothing like this year and we are already getting requests for 2016.  

You’ve been in the glamping business for five years, how did this begin?
At first, we were in the touring business and we kept getting requests to take people out camping, which turned into asking for a more upscale campsite.  After that, we designed our own camp using various products across markets and ever since then we have been developing our luxury camp site. 

How long did it take to start up the glamping portion of Epic Private Journeys?
It probably took two solid years before we understood how to really put the idea together.  After doing some research about glamping across the globe, we matched what they did to the best of our abilities.

Where did you get all the glamping supplies that are used at each glamping site?
Our supplies comes from all over, we’ve sewn a lot of canvas ourselves.  The tents are outsourced but, we build the showers that go with them.  The awnings on the tents come from boutique operators that sell amazing canopies.  Our chairs, which are soft reclining, come from Mr. Good Chair.  As for all the other items, we have just scoured the market for things that work for us as a mobile glamping site.

What hurdles have you had to tackle when operating the glamping tours?
The biggest hurdle is finding the balance between feasible and being able to carry as well as set up the glamping site.  Finding that balance was the biggest hurdle and we’re still challenged with that a little bit.  It’s always about trying to up our luxury level without more cost. 

Where is the most popular place for guests to visit on their glamping tour?
The most popular and requested place to visit is Lake Powell.   We see groups of up to twenty and families of four requesting to glamp at this location. 

What activities do you offer for guests?
Typically there’s kayaking, hiking, repelling and slack line.  We always offer stargazing with an onsite telescope equipped with someone there who can talk to our guests about the stars,  planets and moon.  In addition, we bring out a Navajo guide to do some story telling to the families about the land.  We even had a paleontologist come out and talk to guests about their dinosaur finds.   

How long does it take to set up the glamping site for guests?
For a family of four will have two people set up and it takes at least 10 hours.  The camp is always ready before the clients arrive.  In addition, guests will also be greeted with cold towels and hors d’oeuvres upon arrival. 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
The biggest lesson is to buy nice or buy twice.  If you’re going to get something, get the best product on the market. 

What is the profitability like for your glamping versus the touring ?
From a profitability stand point the glamping is a big profit maker for us.  It keeps guides in the field and helps get our name out there. 

Are there any plans to expand?
I think for this season we’re sticking to what we have.  However, within the next two years we’re going to expand into Canada.  There are no plans to expand any further, there is such a wide variety of landscape to cover within the United States and Canada.

What is the biggest challenge when operating the glamping tours?
Our biggest challenge is weather, there have been times that our awnings have been blown to shreds.  It’s just about managing the weather and giving a high quality service when dealing with 50 mile per hour winds, torrential rain or even heat.  We just have to be prepared and be able to manage all weather challenges. 

What is your target demographic?
We, at Epic Private Journeys, are targeting families of four to six with children ages six and up.  We have also had a few couples but, it works out much better with four to six people.  In addition, we would like to get into the corporate retreat market, which would be groups with up to 30 people.  

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