Rural accommodation company Yonder launches in the UK

US / UK: Austin-based travel platform Yonder, which invites people to reconnect with the natural world with its nature-based accommodation focus, has launched its UK collection.

It features 5000, and growing, accommodation choices across the country as it aims to tap into the increasing interest in rural holidays.

Yonder was founded in 2018 by Montana-based Tim Southwell on the principles of connection, community and coexistence between people and the natural world.

As a permaculture farmer and farm stay owner, Southwell was frustrated by mainstream booking sites under-serving the farm stay community. This led him to discover the tremendous opportunity for a platform that not only connected guests to farms but to a diverse array of nature immersive experiences.

Yonder is promising to bring the same focus to the UK, and is launching with over 5000 stays that are designed to bring travellers closer to nature. Through the company’s site and app, guests will be able to book overnight accommodation at countryside farm stays, cottages and glamping locations.

Properties featured include Higher Wiscombe Holiday Cottages, a group of award-winning, eco-friendly holiday cottages located in a secluded 52-acre valley, a few miles from Branscombe beach in East Devon, The Shearing Shed, Old Farm Dorn, in a single storey barn conversion on a working farm in The Cotswolds, and Hoe Grange Holidays, a cluster of self-catering cabins and a traditional bow top gypsy caravan set on a Peak District farm.

Yonder CEO Bill Lee said: “We’re thrilled to bring the Yonder platform to the United Kingdom. When we started this business in 2018, our prime focus was to make it easy for people to find brilliant places to stay so they could reconnect to nature.

The interest in this type of holiday has skyrocketed in both the US and UK, especially during the pandemic. Today, people are travelling with a greater intention and want to know both the story behind where they are staying and the impact their trips will have on both the environment and local communities,” he added.

Unlike most conventional booking agencies that require travellers to sort through thousands of urban listings, Yonder is a platform that exclusively features rural experiences, to make it as easy as possible to discover and book nature-focused accommodation. Guests can search by availability and choose from a range of budget to luxury accommodation, including guesthouses, cottages, barns, cabins, treehouses, yurts, glamping and more.

All properties on the Yonder platform are thoroughly vetted for their access to nature, and over half of the properties that apply don’t meet the qualifications to list. The property owners and operators are referred to as Yonder Stewards, because being a ‘steward of the land’ is reflective to the commitment they have made not only to their properties but also the care of their guests.

Yonder is focused on inspiring all Stewards to work towards being more regenerative, not just sustaining but restoring and regenerating the ecosystems around them. Stewards range from owners of rural properties to those who are actively regenerating their local ecosystems and supporting their communities.

Similar to the US platform, Yonder UK is working to add activities to their suite of offerings. Soon, a full range of rural activities and experiences will be available and as varied as producing goat milk soap, to farm pop-up workshops, guided hikes, horseback riding, and more.

The company is legally operating as a Public Benefits Corporation, which means it places equal importance on creating both profit and positive societal and environmental impact. Yonder’s modern operating standards allow it to offer a competitive eight per cent commission to its owners.

Lee said: “In order to stay true to our mission, we’re taking steps to move to a regenerative business model and have gone as far as legally committing to this goal through our status as a Public Benefit Company. We believe experiencing nature-rich destinations not only inspires a deeper appreciation for the natural world, but also a greater sense of responsibility to protect it.

“We’re excited to activate our mission and PBC operation model in the UK and beyond — we’ll be expanding to Southern Europe later this summer,” he added.

Alistair Handyside, owner of Higher Wiscombe Holiday Cottages and chairman of the Professional Association of Self Caterers [PASC], said: “Yonder offers some of the most competitive fees we’ve seen and they’re totally dedicated to supporting and giving exposure to rural accommodation, so these properties don’t get lost in the mix of urban listings.”

Last week, Yonder announced a partnership with Dutch channel management technology provider NextPax.

The company also announced a $4 million seed round of funding from private investors.

Those interested in listing their property and applying to become a potential Steward are encouraged to visit this link.