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Harry Long (left) and Jordan Franklin

STAYCATION DESIRE FUELLING DEMAND FOR SHEPHERD HUTS

A continuing commitment by holiday-makers to stay in the UK is fuelling demand for shepherd hut accommodation in the glamping and ‘outdoor’ holiday market.

At the turn of 2023, it was predicted by many in the tourism sector that people would continue to choose the UK as their destination of choice for both longer and short term holidays following the pandemic – and the onset of a cost of living crisis. 

Harry Long, founder of luxury shepherd hut brand Greendown Shepherd Huts said:  

“The popularity of our high quality shepherd huts has grown since the pandemic and, to date, shows no sign of slowing down. There has been an increased interest in glamping, being closer to nature yet being able to cater for yourself – or in some cases being able to stay in a luxurious hut in the grounds of a hotel where you can still access the main leisure and restaurant facilities. We are delighted to be able to build our products and continue to create new jobs as part of the process.” 

Late last year the well known brand Go Outdoor conducted research which showed that 41 per cent of those it surveyed, had no plans to change their holidays in any way even though there was a cost of living crisis. The suggestion being that after the pandemic and various lockdowns, people felt they needed to safeguard a ‘break’ from the norm. However many of those surveyed were opting for the UK again because:

  • Of a perceived risk of disruption when travelling overseas.
  • Being able to control expenditure on holiday in the UK more readily than overseas.
  • Being able to reduce their costs by avoiding many peripheral costs such as flights, parking, more expensive insurance, car hire, food or entertainment expenses.

The brand also revealed that throughout 2022 it had seen a dramatic increase in the sale of certain goods around outdoor pursuits – where sales increased from 30 up to more than 60 per cent. These goods included camping chairs, walking boots, fishing equipment, bike sales and horse-riding gear. 

Another survey by RMS around ‘trends’ supported these findings in that while 98 per cent of consumers it surveyed were concerned about the current cost of living crisis – holidays were one of the last things people wanted to cut back on. They were willing to spend ‘smartly’ in the UK yet were not willing to go without a holiday. 

Jordan Franklin, director of Greendown Shepherd Huts said: 

“Circumstances have changed consumer behaviour resulting in a much-needed boost to our sector and we’re very grateful for that. We’re also finding that holiday rentals seem to be more popular than hotels in some circumstances, as people can still have the benefit of luxury living yet can do their own thing and connect directly with nature and the outdoors. They are not bound by the conventions of ‘time’ and that seems to be increasingly appealing.” 

A rise in demand for bespoke, handcrafted shepherd huts has already led to the expansion of Greendown Shepherd Huts which has its manufacturing base at Keynsham, near Bristol in Somerset. 

The team of 15 - led by directors Harry Long and his brother-in-law, Jordan Franklin – is expanding with production set to double over the next few years.

The team have showcased their huts at The Great Yorkshire Show then The Royal Welsh Show followed by the Glamping Show in September. 

The company makes shepherd huts mainly for the business-to-business market such as boutique hotels, holiday lets, glamping sites, farmers looking to diversify or other tourism enterprises. As each hut is handmade, prices start from £58,012 per hut, but there is also a leasing option for established operators, with monthly payments starting at £800 per month (subject to T&Cs – full illustration upon request). On average, shepherds’ hut accommodation can rent out from £200 plus per night.

Greendown Shepherd Huts has already supplied huts to many commercial operators throughout the UK including to Heathy Lea on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire and Forbes of Kingennie in Dundee. For more information visit https://www.greendownshepherdhuts.co.uk

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Bath

Scott Media

Scott Media is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the media - print, radio and television.

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