Being able to address a specific audience provides an opportunity to get focussed about the content of a presentation, so we were able to really drill down into the details of how to go about setting up a holiday accommodation business on a farm smallholding.
Using a previous start-up workshop formula to take the group through the whole process of setting up, starting with a review of the sector to date and a look at current market forces and themes. Being in the middle of a pandemic means that things are a little uncertain but some types of accommodations, such as treehouses, have remained constant throughout the years, so we outlined what these are and shared some tips for getting off to the best start.
After that it was all about the business itself, product choices, planning and how to create something that would be unique to thier individual farmsteads, carving out an individual offer that would set each apart in the market. Feasibility, both planning and financial was a big part of the talk as these shape everything that could be created and achieved.
It was also important to cover the types of accommodations on offer at the moment, and thier respective costs, although as material costs are rising rapidly it's something of a 'moveable feast' right now. It's also difficult to pin down exact revenues at this stage because there are many variables that can affect them, but an outline was provided for an accommodation offer that sat somewhere in the middle of the market.
Last but not least, for those who haven't worked in hospitality or run an accommodation business before we ran through operations and the ups and downs of running such a business - it can be demanding and involve a lot more work and people skills than some might realise. Finally, we went through the various marketing options from using an OTA to doing it all themselves... again, this aspect of running a business can hoover up more time than, realistically, a busy farmer has to spare!