Powys Business Awards 2023. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB187-2023

A family’s diversification into a high quality glamping pods and self-catering business to make better use of their farmland has been rewarded with a Powys Business Award.

Great House Farm Luxury Pods and Self Catering at Llandeilo Graban, Builth Wells collected the Start-up Business Award, sponsored by EvaBuild, at annual awards ceremony held at The Hafren, Newtown on Friday, October 20.

Organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG) with support from sponsors, the coveted annual awards, which began in 2009, are open to companies, organisations, social enterprises and charities.

Glyn and Lynne Jones took the decision to diversify in 2019, when their children, Reece and Carrie. Reece decided he wanted to return to work on the farm after his A levels.

Glamping Pods with a Difference

Following detailed market research, the family opted to set up a glamping business to run alongside the farm. The business, which launched in 2020, now has seven full and part-time employees, three luxury glamping pods and focuses on Welsh products and local suppliers.

The business has literally taken off, with first year goals being smashed. A 75 per cent occupancy rate eclipsed the predicted 40 per cent and income was nearly three times higher than forecast, with 16 per cent repeat bookings from satisfied customers. Direct bookings account for 44 per cent of the business.

The family’s 16th century farmhouse was added to the portfolio in May last year following extensive renovation. Working with Quality Pods Wales, the family has also designed and opened the UK’s first triple pod which sleeps up to eight guests and was fully booked this summer.

The business achieved a Glampitect “Highly Recommended” award in its first season, has consistently received five star reviews from guests and is now giving advice to other new start glamping sites and self-catering businesses.

Planning consent has been secured for four more pods, the first of which was the triple pod. There are also plans for an animal encounter experience for guests, on site team building and training and solar panels to reduce electricity costs.

“We have a clear five-year strategy on further development of the business, reinvesting funds from profit to ensure we remain unique in a saturated market,” said Lynne.

After receiving the reward, she said: “We are over the moon to be recognised for all the hard work that we have put in as a family. Our future plans include a games and training room where we can hold meetings and courses because I’m a trainer by trade.”

Reece added: “In a very competitive market, we are constantly trying to improve and do something that no one else is doing to capitalise on the farm.”

Powys Business Awards judges said: “This is a family business that uses the skill sets of all members to build a successful start-up business. A clear business plan has helped deliver positive financial results, along with excellent customer feedback. This is a start-up business to watch grow in the future.”

Award runners up were Espanaro Ltd, Newtown and The Abermule Inn, Abermule, near Newtown.

Picture caption:

Lynne and Reece Jones from Great House Farm Luxury Pods and Self Catering receive the award from Nick Evans from EvaBuild, sponsor.