vacation on the farm
Table of Contents
The travel market
Vacation on the farm accounts for around seven percent of the domestic travel market. The travel industry earns over a billion euros from this travel segment. German providers are primarily in competition with Austrian, Polish, French and Italian providers. As in other growing travel markets, such as cruises, more and more providers specialize in themed travel. Holidays on the farm attract families, nature lovers and vacationers. Families especially want to have time for each other with the children. The nature and culture in the region is extremely important to vacationers. The industry primarily focuses on offers for single people and senior citizens outside of school holidays, which traditionally draws most families to the farms in summer and autumn. Older people are becoming increasingly important for rural travel offers. Due to the demographic change in countries in Central Europe, the seniors are a future-oriented clientele for rural holidays. It is estimated that 2020 will see twice as many seniors booking farm holidays as young people aged 14-29. Statistically, the age group of 30-49 years will reflect the largest number of guests.
On holidays on the farms, every second family has children up to five years old, with a quarter of the family guests the children are between 6 and 13 years old. Families from the so-called middle class, who are full of life, are loyal guests of the farms. Families who earn more money but have to pay attention to the travel budget because of the children like to go on farm holidays. Today, every guest spends an average of 35 euros a day on farm holidays. This makes the travel market economically interesting, especially for farmers who want to earn extra money with ecotourism. The market lives through the many information and offers on the Internet. Around half of the adults who go on a rural trip such as farm holidays get information in advance on the Internet. Around every third person books today directly via the Internet – and the trend is rising. Smaller courtyards in particular use the opportunities on the Internet to communicate their travel offers extensively. In terms of booking behavior, the elderly can also be seen as a growth market. Around half of the seniors who are interested in vacationing on a farm have not yet found out or made bookings online.
Who likes to go on a farm vacation??
There are three large groups who are interested in this rural form of vacation, although the motivations are very different. The largest number of guests on the farms are families who live in a family household with three people. In this family group, the proportion is around 40 percent, followed by families with an average of two children. Statistically speaking, the parents are around 35 years old and therefore in their prime. Families with three children and more are less susceptible to rural holidays – after all, every fifth family as a 5-person household goes on a farm holiday. Especially the time with the partner and the children in a relaxing nature is very much appreciated. The age of the children is less important when choosing a vacation. Families with children up to 13 years in particular appreciate the holiday offer. Of course, children up to this age often take advantage of the diverse holiday offers with the family. The proportion of vacationing on a farm is very high among parents who work full or part-time and who above all appreciate the recreational value. Farm vacations are mainly made by people who have a medium-level education and are fully involved in work and family life. The times of the traditional clientele of summer holidaymakers, who mainly come from the "better circles" Holidays on land are long gone.
For whom is a farm holiday interesting??
Holidays on the farm attract many people, whether families or single people. There is a lot to be said for this type of vacation. Families with children especially appreciate being with their partner and children. Parents find time here to spend an active and relaxing holiday with the children. You can enjoy the leisure and entertainment offers together in beautiful nature and still relax from everyday stress. The recreational value, but also the experience value, is very high for families. Families book farm holidays as a holiday experience very consciously. Many use the offers to go on a different holiday and not just to spend a beach holiday with the family. You can also take advantage of many cultural offers and go on vacation by car. Long flights or train journeys to the holiday destinations do not have to be undertaken here, which minimizes holiday stress with children. Many families consciously take the holiday on the farm as an enrichment to their real life. When do you ever have the time to do something together? What speaks for a holiday in a rural environment for families with children is also the possibility to involve the children in a natural environment. You learn to deal with the natural way of life and work on the farm, to deal with animals and to find peace. Children in particular are confronted with pressure to perform and artificial consumer worlds in their living environment. A holiday on the farm can be seen as a natural antipole for the children, which can promote the children’s personal development.
What is important to many guests on farm holidays is the topic of health. You can combine the holidays very well with wellness and fitness offers. Pampering yourself, treating yourself to something and getting to know new life philosophies are important motivations for holidaymakers. Especially people who are very professionally involved appreciate the inner contemplation in rest and relaxation, which prevents many psychosomatic illnesses. At the top of the wish list for middle-aged adults and families are holiday topics such as relaxation, stress-free or enjoying the sun and nature in peace. To regain strength in nature is important to most vacationers. Based on these motivations, you decide to go on a farm holiday.
What are the ten most important vacation motives for vacation on the farm?
- No stress and relaxation
- Experience sun, warmth and nature
- Get away from everyday life
- Recharge your life energy
- Have time for the family
- Have fun and enjoyment
- Lazing and resting
- Be free
- Pamper yourself
- Healthy climate
Popular travel times and duration
There are peculiarities among those who are used to traveling in the farm holiday market. There is a large proportion of short breaks and holiday guests who spend a holiday on a farm several times a year. Short vacation trips of up to three days are becoming increasingly popular. The largest proportion here are rural vacations in Germany and Austria. In Austria alone, there have been around three million overnight stays on farms in recent years. Short farm holidays are particularly popular with families with up to three children. It is estimated that around four million farm holidays of two to four days are booked by the Germans. Five or more days are particularly popular with single people and seniors. Around two thirds of all farm vacation trips with more than five days of vacation are spent in Germany. Farm holidays are shorter on average than other holidays such as beach holidays. On average, guests stay on a farm for around six days.
Older people are more likely to stay on a farm longer than families, who opt for a farm holiday much more spontaneously because they also use the Internet as an information and booking medium. Most farm trips are accompanied, be it family members, life partners or friends. Few people who want to travel alone choose this type of vacation. Families with several children like to stay on a farm longer, while families with one or two children and solo travelers enjoy the holiday a little shorter – at least statistically.
Providers and seals of quality for rural holidays
A farm holiday is part of the so-called agrotourism, which is also known as rural tourism. The market for providers is also very large for rural holidays on the farm. For some years now there have been seals of approval which are awarded by agencies such as the Federal Working Group for Farm Holidays and Rural Tourism in Germany (BAG) and which are intended to support quality assurance and improvement on the one hand and to create transparency for the services provided to guests on the other. One would also like to try with the seals of quality to create more transparency for the target groups, as there are more and more topic providers. The range of farm trips ranges from classic family farms to farm stays for people with mobility problems. Today you can find seals of approval for popular names such as: horse farm, farm, country farm, adventure farm or fisher farm. The corresponding quality awards with certificates are awarded to companies with the relevant qualifications over three years. The providers with the seal of quality are regularly checked. The non-profit federal working group for farm holidays and rural tourism in Germany alone has around 850 members.
Among the other well-known seals of approval in the German farm travel market are the DLG quality marks. There are seals of approval for a holiday on the farm, a rural holiday and a holiday on the Winzerhof. The DLG seals of approval go hand in hand with high-quality accommodations that are available nationwide. The star classification used in hotels is used here. The test criteria according to ISO standards such as DIN EN 45.011 are reassigned every three years. The seal of approval also recognizes leisure and service offers that are part of a successful holiday on the farm. Additional criteria for the seal of approval are represented by offer segments such as camping, children’s holiday, organic farm or riding stable. Seal of approval can also be awarded to federal states or regions in German-speaking countries.
In Austria, the umbrella brand in tourism marketing is the private provider "holiday on a farm" (UaB). Over three thousand family farms are united in this organization, which must be active in agriculture. As in Germany, a distinction is made here according to certain topics, such as holidays on the organic farm, holidays on the baby and children’s farm or the herbal farm experience. As in Germany, the companies are also provided with a uniform logo. The Roter Hahn brand is widespread in South Tyrol, a popular travel destination for farm holidaymakers. The profile also includes holiday offers for children and the disabled.
Today, many people are familiar with seals of approval such as the DLG seal of approval, even if the seals of approval alone are not decisive for the choice of consumers. Basically, the quality seals bring more quality and transparency to the travel market.
The most famous German-speaking seals of approval are:
- Landscapes – Welcome on vacation! – BAG seal of approval, nationwide
- Holidays on the farm – DLG quality mark, nationwide
- Farm holidays in Bavaria – Bayer. State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forests
- Classification hay hostels in Schleswig-Holstein – Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig-Holstein
- Holidays on a farm, tourism marketing, based in Salzburg, nationwide
- Red rooster, South Tyrol
- Holidays on the farm – Organization of the largest providers of farm holidays in Switzerland, Bern
The most popular types of farms:
- country Farm
- Farm with livestock
- riding Stable
- wine Farm
- organic farm
- Farms for the disabled
- Farms for groups
Popular regions at home and abroad
The interest in Germany in vacation regions for vacation on the farm is very different. In Germany, the federal states of Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Baden-Württemberg are particularly popular with families. Smaller families tend to take short breaks of up to 5 days, which they also like to spend in neighboring countries close to the border. South Tyrol is particularly popular here. There is greater interest in domestic travel destinations among middle-aged adults who travel without children and among seniors. Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are particularly popular as holiday regions for adults and older people, followed by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg. The Free State of Bavaria is particularly popular as a holiday destination in Germany, where you can traditionally find many rural regions. There are four major regions in Bavaria on holiday on the farm. The Allgäu and Upper Bavaria with many alpine and mountain worlds are especially popular. The Upper Palatinate with the Bavarian Forest and Franconia are the major regions of the Free State in the east and north. In Bavaria you will find a huge selection of holiday farms. There are around 1,200 providers with numerous themed courtyards, such as children’s courtyards, wellness and health centers or creative courtyards. The national association "Farm holidays in Bavaria" is very busy here.
In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of the most popular federal states for vacation on a farm, regions like the Baltic Sea islands, the inland and the lake district are popular with holidaymakers. The changing landscape views with sea, lakes and forests make up the charm of the federal state. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern also has a large selection of farms that are dedicated to a specific topic. Among other things, popular are hands-on, children’s and creative courts, which mainly attract families with children. In hands-on farms you can manage the farms together with the farmers. The Society for Rural Tourism in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania communicates a lot of information about the holiday regions and farm holidays. The Black Forest has traditionally been a popular travel destination in Baden-Württemberg. Here you will find around 400 farms, equestrian, winegrower or fruit farms. In addition to the Black Forest, which runs along the Rhine in the west, the regions between the Main and Danube or the Allgäu with the Lake Constance region are popular travel destinations. There are plenty of spa and bathing resorts here that offer excursions. The non-profit association offers a wide range of information "Farm holidays in Baden-Württemberg" in Freiburg im Breisgau.
South Tyrol is very popular in Austria. The Alpine region with a northern Italian culture offers travel regions such as the Dolomites, the Vinschgau holiday region or the area around Merano. The southern regions with cultural cities such as Bolzano are also popular. Tyrol has a lot to offer with its high mountains, mountain pastures, castles and picturesque farms and is popular with all target groups in the farm industry. Tradition and customs play an important role in the Austrian region. The farmers in Austrian holiday regions such as South Tyrol are smaller in terms of their peasant structure, so that the sideline touristic activity played a special role early on. Farm holidays in South Tyrol are sold under the brand "Red Rooster" marketed. The Red Rooster has existed since 1999 and is now one of the leading tourism associations with almost 800,000 overnight stays. South Tyrol with many offers for children, especially popular with families who stay longer on a farm. Of course there are also other holiday regions in Austria, such as the Salzburger Land or Styria, which are ideal for farm holidays.
The initiative "Vacations on a farm" is the leading umbrella organization in Switzerland in this federal tourism segment. Switzerland has wonderful holiday regions such as the Bernese Oberland, the Lake Constance region, the Swiss plateau, Graubünden and the Mediterranean Ticino. Offers such as adventure and learning farms are popular with guests in Switzerland. The large regions of the Swiss lakes are also worth seeing, where you can find many leisure and cultural facilities.
Original holiday regions are popular in Eastern Europe, for example in Poland. In Poland there are very quiet and relaxing travel destinations, for example on the Baltic Sea. Popular Polish holiday regions are West Pomerania or western and southern regions near the border such as Lower Silesia, Silesia, Lesser Poland or the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Holidaymakers from the eastern regions of Germany in particular appreciate the nearby rural holiday regions on the Polish-German border.
Information about the holiday regions and holiday providers on the Internet:
- National Association "Farm holidays in Bavaria" e.V., Munich
- Farm holidays in Baden-Württemberg e.V., Freiburg
- Rural tourism marketing for Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Berlin
- Red Rooster South Tyrolean Peasant Association, Bolzano / South Tyrol
- "Vacations on a farm", Bern, Switzerland
Accommodation and meals costs
The costs for accommodation and meals for farm holidays are calculated according to the specific offer structures. The costs for the arrival and departure and the diverse costs for the leisure facilities must also be taken into account. On average, the Germans spend around 35 euros per person per day. Farm short vacations average around 300 euros. You can expect an average of around 100 euros per day for short breaks. German families, single people and pensioners spend around 800 euros per farm holiday for accommodation and meals. Holidays can cost a lot in front of families and pensioners. In total, the Germans spend around 1.5 billion euros a year on domestic land vacations. The cost of a holiday on a farm varies widely, mainly due to the increasing specialization of providers. Most travelers go on vacation in their own car. The costs for petrol, food and motorway fees are to be included here. When traveling by train and plane, the rental car must usually also be booked. Many municipalities offer special discounts on public transport. It is common today in neighboring countries such as Austria and Switzerland to offer families special rates, for example for the use of summer railways or regional leisure activities.
You can find cheap offers for farm holidays on the Internet. Here you can easily find the providers via the higher-level marketing organizations. Search masks with criteria such as country, region, type of farm, time and asking price make individual searches easier. Farm inquiries are now easily possible via the Internet. There are more and more last-minute offers that are particularly useful for smaller families planning a short vacation.
The offers at farms often include integrated services, such as the use of bicycles or leisure facilities. For example, surcharges are often charged for using the washing machine and dryer. A surcharge is often required if you bring your own dog. The extent to which facilities on the farms such as the riding stable can be used free of charge is determined by the guest accommodation contract, the accommodation contract or the rental contract. It makes sense to get information from the host families beforehand. Short-term reservations can be subject to a fee. It may make sense to conclude a travel cancellation contract. The price structure for a country vacation can vary over a season. The main travel seasons are mainly the school holidays, where holidays tend to be more expensive. The farm holidays in spring and autumn are cheaper in regions that live more from winter tourism.
What costs do you have to take into account when you go on a country vacation??
- Arrival and departure costs
- Accommodation and meals
- Reservation costs
- Farm infrastructure costs
- Pets costs
- Mobile transportation costs such as e-bikes
- Costs for shared electrical household appliances
- Public transportation costs
- Costs for ferries at the sea
- Costs for toll high-altitude roads in the Alps
- Costs for climbing aids in the Alps
- Cost of leisure and entertainment offers
- National park and protected area costs
Leisure and adventure offers
Farm holidays are associated with many leisure activities. For families, land holiday providers are particularly suitable, who advertise with special offers for children on and around the farm. There are family-friendly themed farms such as children’s farms, creative farms, riding stables or interactive farms that offer many experiences for the whole family. Children’s farms offer a varied program for the kids, so that the parents can treat themselves to rest and relaxation during this time. Activities with animals are particularly popular with children. Feeding and caring for the animals on the farm under the supervision of the farmers is very often organized at children’s farms. Family and child-friendly farms are also available as hands-on farms where children can get to know everyday life on the farm in a practical way and are actively involved. There are many farms with active agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry. Adventure farms that offer leisure and entertainment options such as covered wagon rides, pony rides or petting zoos are child-friendly. Equestrian farms are also popular, where, in addition to the normal riding business, interesting riding offers such as vaulting, western riding or show jumping or dressage are often offered. Riding holidays are often offered in Bavaria, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania or Tyrol and the Salzburg region. Poland is still an insider tip for riding holidays. In German-speaking countries there are also quality seals for the special courtyards. The artistic moment on vacation can be revived in creative courtyards. Offers such as painting, handicraft and cooking courses or trips to museums and other cultural institutions in the region are offered.
Active leisure and sports activities are generally popular for farm holidays. Hikes, bike tours or visits to the national parks and amusement parks are particularly popular. Today there are many offers for e-bikes, so you can easily get to know the regions on the bike. The e-bike infrastructures for tourists have been expanded, particularly in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in recent years. Hikes are one of the most popular activities for country vacationers. Here, the holiday regions increasingly focus on themed hiking trails, which are particularly fun for families with children.
Most mountain and alpine landscapes can be easily climbed with climbing aids such as mountain railways in the Alpine region. Many mountain stations offer leisure activities such as restaurants and viewing platforms. Many unique long-distance hiking trails are in the Alps. High-altitude hiking trails in particular offer a terrific experience of nature. Health and spa facilities are very popular with many guests. Many people use the holiday season on the farms to be pampered in health facilities and to gain new strength. For families in particular, there are many regional combination offers for visiting leisure and health facilities. There are also many providers of farm holidays who value gastronomic offers. For example, you can spend a vacation in a winter farm or a winery. Hikes in the vineyards are particularly popular with single people and the elderly.
The most popular leisure activities on shore leave:
- Bike tours
- horse riding
- E-bike tours
- ski trips
- winter walks
- Skiing, snowboarding
- Golf and mini golf
- Feeding and caring for the animals
- yard work
- Visit to animal parks and petting zoos
- Visit to wellness and spa facilities
- Visit to museums
- Visit to amusement and amusement parks
- Experience the sights of the cities
- Strolling and shopping
- Enjoy culinary specialties
For families, it is always worthwhile to look for family-friendly offers from the cities, municipalities and tourism associations on the Internet in addition to the child-friendly offers at the farms. Regional leisure facilities are often offered as a family leisure package. For example, hikes through the national parks are popular in German-speaking countries, and are offered as specially themed tours for children. The children can take care of nature in a lively and fun way. Many holiday regions now offer game and nature education game programs. For families with very active children, there are, for example, the hands-on farms, where children are involved in everyday farm life all day. Many amusement parks today offer programs for children that are supervised for hours so that parents can relax here too.
What offers are there for childcare?
- Leisure and adventure offers on the farms
- Leisure offers from external providers such as riding stables
- Children’s programs in the amusement parks
- Family and children’s programs in municipalities and cities
- Children’s adventure worlds in the national parks
Nature and health
Treat your body and mind to a relaxing time in the country! The clear air, beautiful landscapes, sun and plenty of rest and relaxation speak for a country vacation. Adults with certain allergies and especially children may experience health problems in nature. Allergy sufferers in particular should find out about the pollen situation before starting their trip. Pollen, mites, animals and mold are often problematic. You can clarify in advance with the doctor what allergies exist and what health risks, especially in children and the elderly, can occur during country vacations. Tests such as the prick test, the blood and plastic test or the provocation test can be carried out at the dermatologist and clarify allergic problems. In Germany, hay fever is particularly widespread as an allergy. The hay fever is triggered, for example, by pollen from trees such as birch, shrubs, grasses, cereals such as rye or herbs.
In children, allergies can occur, especially when they come into contact with animals. Animal hair allergies are not uncommon for pet owners, every third pet owner has to struggle with it. An animal hair allergy is defined by hypersensitivity to the protein-containing components of sweat. The saliva and urine of the animals are particularly dangerous here. In animal allergies, red and burning eyes, violent sneezing, shortness of breath, cough, itching or eczema are typical symptoms. If allergies or asthma occur frequently in the family, animals can pose a higher risk for animal hair allergies. Hygiene is very important when contacting animals. For example, children should wash their hands after contact with animals. The most common allergies include cat and dog allergies and house dust mite allergy. Most insect venom allergies, such as from a wasp sting, subside after a few days. If symptoms such as shortness of breath are worse, you should see a doctor immediately.
When vacationing in the country, you should pay attention to the right clothes. Sturdy shoes and functional clothing are particularly important for active people. In the courtyards you can ask which clothes make sense for the children. In the high elevations you should not forget warm clothing even in summer.
What belongs in the first aid kit?
- Pain reliever and antipyretic
- Remedy for digestive problems
- Antihistamine (itching, sunburn, allergies)
- Wound and healing ointment
- Anti-bruise ointment
- Wound disinfectant
- Gauze and elastic bandages
- Sterile compresses
- The burn dressing
- Adhesive plasters, staples, safety pins
- bandage scissors
- splinter forceps
- Disposable gloves
- First aid instructions
Information, booking and contract
The interest of guests for vacation on the farm is very high, especially in the original mountain, sea and lake landscapes. Large landscapes such as the Baltic Sea coast with the hinterland or the German-speaking Alpine regions are extremely popular. The Internet is ideal for information about the farm offer. Often it is enough that you only have the type of vacation and the region, for example "Farm holidays in Bavaria", and finds interesting vacation portals. Most portals subdivide their pages according to countries, regions and farm types, so that you can quickly get to the personal travel offers. Additional information about the regions and the holiday topics can usually be found quickly and easily. The large portals for vacation on the farm offer search masks, which are divided according to travel time, type of accommodation and regions. Often you can also enter your personal price expectations into the search mask. More and more information can be found in the larger travel portals, which are operated, for example, by the nationwide tourism promotion companies, on themed trips. Topics such as nature, relaxation, family and friends or life and enjoyment are popular categories. Many portals offer service topics on the Internet. Services relate, for example, to group travel, camping holidays on the farm or holiday offers for people with a disability. Legal aspects are also dealt with here. For country vacations, depending on the country and contract law, terms such as accommodation contract, rental contract or guest accommodation contract are common.
Good information sites offer well-founded information on the seals of quality that are awarded by national or regional tourism associations. A certificate is usual here, which the provider receives for three years according to certain criteria. According to the quality awards, guests can expect certain services. In Bavaria, for example, these recognized quality criteria are assigned to certain types of farms. For example, offers from adventure farms can be combined with specific performance profiles. In principle, however, it is open to any provider to get involved in the tourism organizations. In Germany, the majority of the farms are qualified by the German Tourism Association. The market is classified according to stars like hotels. In addition to the large information providers of the tourism companies, there are also portals that are completely dedicated to the topic of farm holidays.
The leading umbrella associations for vacation on the farm commit their members to certain contract key points and formulations that are common with booking and contract modalities. In addition to the specific points regarding offers and service descriptions, you should also pay attention to the provisions regarding cancellations. A cancellation fee can be charged here. In the case of cancellation fees, certain quotas are common in the case law in Germany. The price minus the saved expenses is calculated here. There are few fees if there is a new allocation after the cancellation. If the services are not used and there is no new occupancy, a cancellation price of up to 90 percent can be charged, depending on the service type. The cancellation policy is very important. It can make sense to take out travel cancellation insurance. An accommodation contract as a mixed-type contract is applicable in Germany in accordance with the legal provisions of Section 535 of the German Civil Code for tenancy law. Such legal regulations are known, for example, in hotels. As soon as a reservation has been made, there is a binding accommodation contract. The rights and obligations of the host and guest are generally derived from the provider’s stated terms and conditions.
What is important when booking a farm holiday?
- BGB, § 535 – content and main obligations of the rental agreement (Civil Code, Germany)
- National contracts such as the General Terms and Conditions for the Hotel Industry 2006 (AGBH 2006), Austria
- Rights and obligations of the host and guest (GTC)
- Cancellation Policy
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