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The Glamping Business: Camp Lucy
Written By: Alexandria Autrey
How long have you been in the Glamping business?
Our first glamping event at Camp Lucy was this past July. If you’ve ever been to Texas in the summer, you know it can be a bit warm, but the turnout was beyond expectations and a huge hit!
When did you get involved in Glamping?
Almost since Camp Lucy first opened in 2010, we’ve dreamed of being able to offer an actual camping experience beyond our permanent event venues, but it had to be one that was truly unique and, well, glamorous.
How long did it take to start the business up?
Earlier this year, we started seeking out premier tent and sleeping options and, then, when the vineyard we put in last year began to bear fruit this spring, the dream really started taking shape for our first “glamping in the vineyard” event.
Where did you get all your Glamping supplies?
As part of the Whim Hospitality family, Camp Lucy has a seamless relationship with Whim Event Rentals who provided the larger sailcloth Sperry Tents for communal gathering, clean and convenient mobile restroom facilities, plus lounging furniture and gorgeous textiles to bring the whole look together. We have used individual tents from Shelter Co. but are currently developing our own tents to ensure the ultimate in comfort and luxury.
Were there any hurdles you had to tackle?
Our biggest hurdle was impatience! Everyone on our Camp Lucy team was so excited about launching glamping here. Like many people who live and work here in the Texas Hill Country, we love the great outdoors so we were all keen to be able to offer glamping as an option. We were champing at the bit to make it happen, but we took the time for our vineyard area to be fully realized and to make sure we could put together glamping options that met Camp Lucy’s standards of luxury and uniqueness.
Where do people like to stay mostly?
In the vineyard at Camp Lucy. The Camp Lucy property is almost 300 acres, with the vineyard area situated a considerable distance from the permanent venues and lodging at Camp Lucy. It offers an opportunity to really feel more “away from it all” to take in our big Texas sky and fresh Hill Country air, and all nestled to a producing vineyard which is a fun twist as our neck of the woods grows in popularity as a wine country destination. And for those who are not quite ready to surrender completely to the great outdoors, the Camp Lucy property also offers 14 well-appointed cottage rooms for a “luxe rustic” hotel Hill Country experience.
What activities do people do during the day when staying?
Camp Lucy offers self-guided birdwatching. Most of the Camp Lucy property is under wildlife management, so we’re big on birding around here. Beautiful Onion Creek is on our property so catch and release fishing is popular with our guests. And, of course, there is hiking and biking to enjoy the fresh Hill Country air.
How long did it take to install yurts, tents, etc. ?
It typically takes a day for all of the tents to be installed. The most difficult part of vineyard glamping is drilling into the ground to stake the tents. The vineyard at Camp Lucy sits atop a layer of limestone which provides nutrients to our vines - we had our first grape harvest this year and the grapes were fantastic - but makes it very difficult to manually stake in. Nevertheless, the Whim Event Rentals team did all of the tent installations and because they are masters of the tent installing craft they got it done!
Biggest lesson you’ve learned so far being in this business?
That it really is more than just camping with a cute name. Our glamping guests want – and deserve - the same luxury and creature comforts as our lodging guests and we work hard to make sure the glamour is a key part of the camping.
What is the profitability like for glamping vs. your other accommodations?
We’re still in the very early stages of offering glamping so it’s too early to be sure of profitability but the interest has been very exciting.
Do you have plans to expand?
Right now we’re focused on fine-tuning and making sure our glamping options are the best they can be but we always listen to what our clients want and are always keen on smart expansion.
What is the biggest challenge operating the glamping? How did/do you solve this problem?
We feel it’s very important that we emphasize the “glam” in glamping by offering the most luxurious experience for our guests, from the gourmet chef-prepared meals to customized experiences. Ultimately, we want to make sure that our glamping guests received the same premier level of service as our venue and Camp Lucy Cottages guests.
What, if any is your Target demographic?
Our target demographic is not unlike the guests we have at weddings and special events at our Camp Lucy venues – young and fun bridal parties, as well as families, girlfriend getaway weekends and, of course, corporate clients who are looking to escape the stuffy boardroom.