A blog about all things rural and agritourism related
A Quick Escape to Nature: Farmstay ResortsJanuary 16, 2024
Tags: agritourism, architecture, barn conversion, farm culture, sustainable design, VELD architect Categories: Agritourism, Barn Conversion, farm design, VELD architect
Why is your farm stay a mini resort?!
You’ve probably never thought about your farm stay as a resort, but to many people, it is. So, it’s essential to treat it that way, and there are a few criteria you should consider when you plan it.
Tourism spending around the world is shifting from spending in urban areas to spending in rural areas. And in a time when people are tight on cash, if they can combine entertainment with their food dollars, I think that’s a win-win for recessions!
So here are some key things that resorts have that you should do:
A Private Place
Grain bin conversion
This is obvious, and I’m not going to go too deep, but where are your guests staying?
Is it private for you and them? Does it provide the needs your ideal visitor needs? For example, if you are catering to business travelers, you need a place to stay. If you cater to families, they need lots of space for stuff, amenities for small children, and ideally a small kitchenette and fridge for hangry kids!
What makes it unique? What is your unique selling point? And how can that influence rates and return on investment. I went a little deeper into this topic in this post.
You’ve got that in spades out in the field or the barn, so how can you have your visitors eat it?
Three meals a day everyone needs to eat! So are you going to feed them and capture that value, or do they need to go offsite for food? Can they cook themselves in their space or a shared kitchen, or not at all?
For most people, breakfast is eaten on-site. So how can they eat your food? Do you cook it for them, or do they go collect eggs to cook for themselves in their space? Or do they bring it to you to cook?
Can they pick some fresh greens for a breakfast sandwich?
What about lunch?
Depending on how you address the next big resort criteria, this one may be on site or offsite.
And then supper, after a hard day’s work, will you cook a grand meal. Where does the meal take place? Are your guests going to help participate in preparation/cooking? Is supper offered all the time or one special meal?
And don’t forget the snacks and coffee (or drinks) bar… People need access to food most of the time, so decide what your food and beverage outlets should be. We can assist with designing the options!
A resort-style hotel assumes you are always on-site, and the entertainment is all in one place. Some guests may book an excursion (which you could organize for them), but you want to ensure your guest is not bored while at the farm.
So what entertainment do you offer?
The answer may depend on what type of guests you are catering to. Are they families, green thumbs, foodies, vacationers, etc?
How long are they typically staying? This answer will help you decide what you should offer your guests, but here is a list of ideas:
- Hikes, biking, horseback riding
- Playyard or ropes course
- Cooking, canning, baking classes
- Tractor rides
- Spa or wellness
- Yoda, meditation, or exercise class
- Wine or spirit-tasting
- Birdwatching, guided nature tour.
- Movie night
- Star gazing
- Dog sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, skating
- Kids care (so the adults can have alone time)
- Farm tour
- Food tasting
- Paddleboard, canoe
- Carriage rides
- Tennis, pickleball, volleyball, frisbee, golf, and other sports
- Light show
- Crafts or game room
Let us know if you have other ideas to share!
Zoom in to the right-hand sign!
You don’t need a dedicated check-in desk. Consider multifunctional spaces. Photo of Moxy Nashville Downtown Hotel. The bar doubles as a check-in desk. It’s almost like receiving champagne upon arrival at a luxury resort!
Concierge sounds like a pretty fancy word and only for luxury, but I’ve decided that it’s simply a word for guest assistance. The concierge can do many things: book outings, assist with reservations, guide you to activities, and provide general guest help, including check-in.
I know you will be busy with your regular chores, but you need to provide a point of contact to help guests navigate your farm. They are strangers not only to your farm but also to farms in general, and you want to make sure they feel comfortable and at home. Maybe you have a cell they can always call, and you provide a map of the farm.
And don’t forget the free and good wifi! Being able to connect with work can add the ability for guests to stay longer. Here are a few locations that have really embraced the farm resort to inspire you: