Creating your own unusual accommodation: mistakes to avoid

regulations for unusual accommodation
Leah Woznica

Creating your own unusual accommodation: mistakes to avoid

Over the past twenty years, the outdoor hotel industry has experienced a rapid expansion in the world of tourism. Indeed, the increasingly urbanised population is looking for a holiday in a soothing and serene environment, far from the stress and crowds of everyday life. This is how an alternative hotel offer has developed, responding both to the need for relaxation and to the desire to experience an unforgettable stay in the middle of nature without harming it.

This global trend is growing, especially with the advent of the Glamping concept, which combines the comfort of a hotel with the preservation of the environment. It is therefore a growing market that represents a real opportunity for development within the hotel industry.

However, this type of project requires knowledge of the pitfalls to be avoided in order to carry it out successfully. Whether you are the owner of an existing tourist offer with the desire to diversify your modes of accommodation, or whether you are the owner of a plot of land looking to create an unusual hotel concept, we have listed the essential points to be taken into consideration.

lodge without planning permission

Take the time to study the feasibility of the project beforehand

In order to set up a sustainable and profitable project, it is essential to start by carrying out a market study. A good knowledge of the current tourism context and an analysis of the evolution of demand and hotel supply in the area are aspects that will allow you to check whether your concept could attract potential customers. Subsequently, clearly defining the different characteristics of your project will enable you to adapt : 
- The nature of the accommodation the wooden dome for an unusual dream night in nature, the wooden hut LUSHNA for a romantic stay, the dome HALO for a panoramic view on the landscape or the house for a contemporary KODA for a contemporary and minimalist style.
- The most suitable management method: gîte, holiday home, holiday village
- The choice of services: to be limited in order to favour quality and for ease of use, one should not try to develop classic hotel services.
These different points allow you to estimate the value of your offer (target clientele, positioning, etc.), as well as your strengths and weaknesses, in order to define the customer experience that you will propose. 
Moreover, thefinancial aspect is considered a constraint by 34% of project owners according to a study carried out in 2020/2021 by Hôtes-Insolites, an agency specialising in unusual accommodation. Indeed, it is necessary to establish a coherent provisional budget and to estimate an investment cost that takes into account the specific aspects linked to the sector: cost of inventorying the forest, possible ecological certification, etc.

FUGU team

Don't ignore the regulations

Security, accessibility, town planning, ERP permits, alcohol licences... The administrative, institutional and legal aspects of the installation represent a significant part to be studied in detail by an investor. 
In fact, according to the study carried out by Hôtes-Insolites, 91% of project owners considertown planning to be the main obstacle to the development of unusual accommodation: the PLU (Local Town Planning Scheme) can take several years to obtain, planning permission is compulsory above 3m2, it is difficult to build outside towns and villages, etc... There is therefore specific legislation relating to atypical hotel structures which requires patience and rigour.
Tourism regulations are therefore a notion that you should not put aside: town planning procedures concerning the creation or extension of a hotel estate require an analysis of the constructability of the spaces.

However, keep in mind that these various laws, although restrictive, were designed with the objective of protecting landscaping. They help to preserve the richness of our natural heritage.

purchase bubble for sleeping

The choice of land and facilities: an important point often overlooked

All too often, the enthusiasm for an outdoor tourism project can blur the investor's objective vision of it. Indeed, the selection of a plot of land is often based on the global vision that one can make of it and the aesthetic aspect is privileged to the detriment of the technical elements.
The constraints linked to the land, estimated as such for 24% of project leaders according to the Hôtes-Insolites study, are not always adapted to the project and represent a high investment. The creation of a sustainable Glamping village requires the preservation of the environment to be taken into account. Thus, the interior and exterior fittings must be made of natural materials, and the buildings must be able to integrate into the surrounding landscape and natural areas.
The choice of materials used will give credibility to the coherence of your nomadic and ecological hotel project. For example, sustainable equipment can include: the use of renewable energy for heating and electricity production, the recovery and treatment of rainwater, the use of recycled materials for furniture and decoration, etc... 

regulation of unusual accommodation

In the end, drawing up a complete business plan (market study, commercial strategy, competitive analysis, etc.) makes it possible to apply to associates, financial and institutional partners thanks in particular to a pre-established financing plan and a solid commercial file

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Founded in 2011, FUGU® specialises in Nomadic Structures & Innovative Architectures for the event and hotel industry

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