You can’t fail to have noticed that a very big event is being held here in London next year.
Well this week I’ve got a great idea for how you could profit from the Olympics. And it will work even if you’re not anywhere near London. And not just this year but each and every year!
The London 2012 Olympics will be held between 27 July and 12 August next year… that’s just ten months away! And, if you’ve been keeping tabs on the preparations for the Olympics you’ll know that things are starting to warm up in preparation for the games. I’m not talking about the weather of course. I’m talking about prices, as existing businesses get ready to cash in on the games.
But how can you get in on the act now and profit from the Olympics in 2012?
In particular, cheap train tickets are being pulled and hotel prices are going through the roof. For example, I saw one report this week claiming that a fairly modest three star hotel in Islington had hiked their room rates from a still-quite-dear £139 a night… to £500 a night during the Olympics!
Well, I’ve just discovered a way you could make money from what is bound to be a massive shortage of reasonably priced accommodation. And like I said, you can operate this project if you’re located in any part of the country, not just London.
But you need to get started on this now. Next year it will be too late.
I stumbled on this business a week or so ago quite by accident. It’s called Camp In My Garden and it’s at http://campinmygarden.com
Now, unfortunately this particular site doesn’t seem to work properly as far as I can see and so it’s not really taken off. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a really clever idea… and one that you could set up without too much difficulty.
Here’s what Camp In My Garden does. It links together people with a garden suitable for pitching a tent or two with campers looking for a place to camp for a few nights. Simple and clever.
Can you imagine what an absolute hit this could be for during the Olympics next year? When tourists from all over the UK (and all over the world) with tickets to a particular event find that little B&B they were hoping to book into for £100 or so is now charging several hundreds of pounds!
It wouldn’t be too difficult to set up a similar site yourself. You could easily do it with WordPress and some simple plug ins. Set up a system where garden owners could list their garden, post some pics, and give other information – such as whether they also accept caravans, whether they accept dogs and so on. And set up a search facility so campers can find available pitches in their chosen area and contact garden owners to make a booking.
There are a few different ways you could make money from such a service. Either charge garden owners and campers an annual subscription for access to the site. Or offer access for free and then just claim a commission on every night’s camping that was organised through your site. You could also sell camping and travel-related products and services through your site, using an affiliate network for example.
And like I said it wouldn’t need to be Olympics-orientated or London-centric at all. Your site could cover any other region of the UK, all the UK, or even other countries abroad if you wanted to. (Frankly, there are much nicer places around the UK for camping than London. Olympics aside there’s probably going to be much more demand for camping in a cottage garden in the Yorkshire Dales than a back yard in Stoke Newington!)
As well as different areas you could target different types of events that attract a lot of visitors. For example, look at areas where a major music festival (such as Reading or Leeds) or some other sporting event (such as the Grand Prix) is being held. Accommodation is always scarce and expensive when a big event arrives in town.
I’m sure this sort of online introduction service would be massively popular with budget travellers everywhere. And it wouldn’t appeal just on cost grounds of course. Campers would be able to get access to pitches in different and unusual spots where there aren’t any established campsites.
And I’m sure such a service could be fantastically popular with garden owners too. Remember, lots of people are looking for extra cash right now. Renting out some space in your garden costs virtually nothing. So whatever rents are charged is almost all cash in their pockets.
As far as I can tell there isn’t any red tape involved with renting out space in your garden for a few weeks in a year. You don’t need planning permission, as it’s not a permanent campsite. Garden owners would just need to provide their guests with access to water and, ideally, washing facilities too.
One thing you would have to do to make such a service a success is promote it widely. Not only to get plenty of campers to visit your website, but plenty of garden owners to sign up. As well as classified ads. and sending press releases to travel editors the social media would be great for promoting this sort of service.
If you’re not that interested in a camping-related link up service you could expand this concept to linking up the supply and demand for other things. In many ways, these could have even bigger potential. And also they would be year-round businesses bringing you a year-round income too, whereas camping is mainly summer-only in the UK.
* Rent out a spare room agency. This is taking the idea a little bit further. Linking up those with a spare room to rent in their house and lodgers looking for accommodation – either temporary or permanent. This is of course an established opportunity as there are already several such sites (which proves it works!).
* Rent out a parking space agency. This service links up those with parking space to rent – such as a driveway or space in a private car park – with those willing to pay for it. It’s a service that would probably work best in crowded city centres where parking is scarce and expensive. (It would also work especially well for the Olympics as most of the official park-and-ride car parks are not even in the same county as the venue, let alone anywhere near it!)
Again, this is already a proven up-and-running service. But once you have your basic camping space website set up it would be very easy to duplicate it for parking spaces and spare rooms.
I hope you find those ideas interesting. By the way, let me know if you come across any other Olympics-related opportunities out there. I’ll have our WRMM research team investigate them in more detail.