what do you expect...
I am currently in the process of opening up a new camping barn in the Lakes, possibly 2 in the long run. The initial barn will be quite small and probably only sleep 4-6, but the second will have much more potential. As such I was just wondering about general opinion on what is expected from camping barns and what sort of price you would expect to pay?
Somewhere to cook and with 1 or 2 powerpoints (an ability to use an electric kettle and or phone charger)
shower and toilets - in the bigger one,segregated showers and toilets
ability to heat the barn - best I have seen was a big (really big) pot bellied stove with about 10 smashed up pallets outside.
How much would I pay - not really relevant. How much are the competition charging? Unless you have a real USP you wont be able to charge much more if any more. If there is no competition...why not?
Sort of USP I am thinking of is one barn I know of with a paddock attached - it can take up to 6 2xman tents so makes a great base plus for DoE use (staff in the barn, kids in the tents).
Camping barns with power points and showers!
OK... I'll tell you what I'd expect as a bare minimum.
Four walls, a roof, a door that closes, and possibly even a window. Some kind of platform for sleeping on, rather than just the floor. Some kind of sturdy shelf for cooking on, and access to water, which doesn't have to be inside, but shouldn't be more than a few paces outside. Some kind of toilet. I'd pay £5 per night for all that, and maybe even £10 if the weather was truly lousy.
Showers, electric and gas for cooking push it to the 'luxury' end of the scale, and by the time bunks and mattresses are included, I'd start calling it a hostel, rather than a camping barn. I might go as high as £15 for all that.
One thing I really don't like are camping barns that don't cater for guys who just turn up on their own, or with a mate. I've seen more than enough barns that I'd be keen to use, but they just aren't available to me unless I pay for the entire building... up to £60 or even £100 per night. If it's going to be marketed as group accommodation, make that abundantly clear at the outset, so that someone like me can look elsewhere.
as above, with drying racks (hoists up to the ceiling?), a double entry door so wind doesn't blow straight in, hallway with boot racks/spikes to let really wet boots drain .Secure storage? expensive, though.Point about the paddock is good.
decent table , maybe foldaway, big enough for an os map .
suspended floor, or at least not bare concrete! articial grass would be excellent..and another USP
I agree with Paddy...for me..as an individual..but I am also aware there arent that many of us individuals about...so you will have to broaden your market appeal.
Only suspended floor I would have is for the sleeping area - otherwise painted concrete is fine. Make sure it slopes slighty towards the door then cleaning is easy, just sloosh and brush outside...job done.
I think the forumula as to what you will need to charge is something like
add all your fixed costs
calculate your maximum number of bed nights available - then take between 50% and 75% for occupancy and divide into your fixed costs.
That will give you a cost per person. Now double or triple it.
I am assuming you know what camping barns are already in operation and what the charges are. So are you asking how they could be improved and how much you would be prepared to pay or what would be require as a minimum? The area between the 2 is quite a big one.
For me I always tend to go in a group that's big enough to fill one , but I don't see why simple cladded walls couldn't separate an area so they would be semi private or even have doors for privacy for different sexes. If it was marketed as such for small groups or singles you would need at least 2 toilets IMO as there would be little or no communication between strangers. Walls can be left in their original state and just pointed, floors can be solid concrete, but snug fitting windows and doors to keep drafts out would be good. Picnic style tables are sufficient and showers can be put on a meter. All that is already available for less than a tenner, if you were on your own maybe £12-15 would be reasonable ?
Oh and if planning would allow it, showers and loos could be in an out building, easy and cheap to build and keeping the floor space for living and sleeping.
Thanks for the input guys, its good to know that most of the feedback matches with what i'm aiming at!
Interesting point about individuals using the barn, it is possibly something i have been thinking about doing, but those details come once i have something that is ready to go. Would it be adequate to say individuals can use during the week, but at weekends it is reserved for whole occupancy only? As for the comment from rosswm, leaving your car overnight shouldn't be a problem as there is plenty of room for parking and the barns location would lend itself to heading off into the central fells for a few nights!
Also do i get the impression that mattresses aren't necessarily a given? aka as long as there is a sleeping platform of adequate size for roll mats etc groups would be willing to use them?
Cost wise, as it would be in the Lakes, with the current camping barn system i would be aiming to work off a similar pricing system, but am looking at the balance between costs of staying and facilities provided.
Once again thanks for all the comments, has given me a few things to think about, if anyone has any more please feel free to jump in!
Hey! What is a camping barn to you guys?? The original idea was a stone tent!! All you need are dry, windproof building that has a sleeping platform and strong shelf (often with tiles on it) so you can use your camping stove to cook. No heating unless you pay a bit extra for the night's use of a calor gas bottle for those moveable gas heaters. Some have picnic style tables in them too. Of course a toilet and sink is good too. Some actually do have showers which take 20p, 50p or perhaps £1 coins depending on what the owner wants to charge / can get away with. A good shower can be worth £1 IMHO.
However electric points, cookers, bunks all adde up to bunkhouse status IMHO and they charge about £15. The simple camping barn is typically about £6.50 in the Lakes.
Can I suggest you look at the one in Buttermere on the road to Loweswater. That is coming out of the Bridge Inn carpark you turn left and it is just round the bend on the left at the top of a little rise. It is in a farm yard and you will see steps up to a door which is not the entrance but is a handy feature to look out for. Perhaps spend a night in there as it is a simple sleeping area (mattresses on the floor) but has good shower and toilets. Also has two tables with benches and the cooking shelf. Also carparking there but that is limited as it is a working yard. Also the owner has people stay in the farm cottage too IIRC. The camping barn there is the same as the campsite at £6.50!! As I found out one wet and wild November after getting washed out of my tent. Saved the trip!!
Lakeland Camping barns operate a few. Well they are owned by farmers and the like but they handle the booking and taking payment but you can just turn up and pay directly the same to cut out the middle man.
Good luck and would you do an OM discount for a block booking of the bigger one?? Where are they BTW? We often have meets in the Lakes so you might have some takers if in a good place and things suit ppl.
Not that I use them but basic would suit me - no heat, no shower, clean toilet.
The average OM'er demands more, looking at the meets organised here!
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