As the 2021 season draws to a close, I took some time to reflect on the business this year. As you can imagine, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on all of us here at Exe Valley Glamping. But, with the help of our fantastic team and our lovely guests, I am delighted that we have managed to find strength in adversity.
I reached out to our Marketing Manager, Melissa, and asked her to interview me for this month’s blog. Check out the full Q&A below…
1) How has this season gone for you?
It was most certainly a nerve-racking start to the 2021 season after a long period of lockdowns! However, we were delighted that the ‘stay at home’ order was lifted on the 29th March and by mid-May, the ‘rule of 6’ for two households was allowed. For Exe Valley Glamping, this meant we were able to fully open for business and welcome families to come and stay at our glamping site in the beautiful Devon countryside.
2) How has covid-19 impacted the business?
It was a slightly delayed start to the 2021 season, as we had to employ more cleaners to carry out deep cleans. But we managed to overcome the obstacles of covid relatively quickly, and with our covid policy in place it’s been relatively manageable. The demand for staycations to remote areas in the UK has skyrocketed, and we’ve welcomed guests to come and stay with us from all over the country. We even had one family who holidayed with us 3 times this year. We must be doing something right!
3) What challenges have you faced this year?
The main challenges this year for Exe Valley Glamping have revolved around bookings being cancelled at the last minute, due to a guest testing positive for covid. We would always provide a full refund and of course, our deepest sympathies went out to any families affected by covid. After all, who wants a cancelled holiday after a tough period of lockdowns?! We often had to find another family to step in and take over the booking at the last minute, which was pretty challenging.
4) How have you overcome those challenges?
Fortunately, with the increased demand for glamping and staycations in the UK, it was just a case of posting a cancellation on social media. It was incredible how quickly people would spot a cancellation post and jump on it. The power of social media, hey!
5) Have you made any changes to the site this year?
We installed a 4th glamping tent at the beginning of the year. It’s one of our favourites, as it has a raised terrace at the front with far reaching views.
We have also created a private glamping car park. The guests have loved the approach to the glamping car park and often say that they feel as if they are on safari. Guests can now cross the fields and travel through the woodland in their vehicles, and there is a stone track so all cars can reach the car park. Some guests have even spotted herds of red deer on their approach! Once parked up, it’s only a few minutes to the glampsite, which is a designated car-free zone so that families can enjoy some peace and quiet.
6) What have you learned this year?
Part of the success of running a glampsite is down to the dedicated team of individuals that work hard throughout the season. Having a team that all get along and have an eye for detail makes all the difference. This year’s team have been 100% focused and loyal – so for that, I thank them very much.
7) What are you most proud of this year?
It’s been an absolute delight to welcome guests who’ve had a seriously tough time with covid and lockdowns to the mid Devon countryside. We love seeing families put their phones/screens away and immerse themselves in the glamping life here at Exe Valley Glamping. The general feedback from guests this year has been very positive and has made the team at EVG very proud.
8) What does your average day on site mid-season look like?
My favourite time of the day is sunrise and sunset. At this time, you can see smoke drifting up into the air from each tent’s chimney and the sun descending in the backdrop. In the evening, the smoke tells you that the fire is lit to take the edge off the cold evening air, or it’s shower time for the kids and hot water is required. It’s a lovely scene, seeing each family getting organised and reverting back to basics. The daily ritual of lighting a fire for hot water is something that our guests always enjoy.
9) What are your plans for next season?
Next season, the plan is to continue improving the site and not become complacent. We enjoy receiving guest feedback and always take on board the ways in which we can improve the site. There has been talk of a zip line for kids in the above field. Watch this space!
10) Overall, what 3 words would you use to describe your 2021 season?
Enjoyable, rewarding, and educational.