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Is Caravanning the Next New Diversification Trend?

 

UK farm campsite bookings are up by 25 percent annually! Find out more, from Pitch Up, about diversifying into carvanning...

 

Europe’s largest outdoor accommodation specialist, Pitchup.com, has reported the strongest year to date for farm bookings on its website. The business, which is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary, and represents 464 farms across the UK, took over 66,222 bookings on farm sites alone over the past year; an annual increase of more than 25 percent. This means that the average UK farm site is receiving 183 bookings per year, generating an average revenue of £12,422.

 

With this, and with the uncertainties of Brexit, an increasing number of farmers are turning to camping and caravanning to weather the storm. Get your FREE ticket to the Farm Business Innovation Show to explore consumer trends, like caravanning, and see if it could be the diversification project for you.

 

A picture of a lovely yellow caravan with the sunrise in the background

Pitchup Talks Caravanning...

Commenting on the growth, Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com said: “As we head towards Brexit, farmers are being told that they need to be flexible and plan ahead, yet not even the politicians know what’s around the corner. Farms are looking at new ways to generate extra income, and the outdoor accommodation sector is one of the simplest and most financially viable options, with high success rates.

 

“As an example, one of our working dairy farms took 989 bookings, and nearly £100,000 in revenue over the past year. Another picturesque wild camping site in Hampshire, offering just a toilet and drinking water in terms of facilities, recently took 101 bookings in its first month on Pitchup.com, bringing in almost £3,500 in revenue. Given that average Farm Business Income (FBI) was £56,500 in England in 2017/2018, this is a real opportunity for farmers to invigorate their business and reap the rewards diversification brings.

 

“Parts of the farming industry have struggled in recent years, and 62 percent have now embraced diversification to sustain their agricultural businesses. Of the remaining farms, a fifth are planning to diversify. Indeed, at Pitchup.com, we have seen a 43 percent increase in farm site listings over the past year alone.

 

“Many farmers’ main asset is their vast swathes of land, much of which can lie unused. We are encouraging farmers to use the space for creating camping, caravanning and glamping sites. It’s relatively inexpensive to set up a basic site - planning permission and licences are not always required - and the returns are immediate.

 

“Running of a farm-based campsite is relatively straightforward and, by working with us, many farms could see their income rise dramatically. We’re also using our members’ own stories to share their experiences in a meaningful way to fellow farmers, like that of the Pickthall family at Mains Farm in Cumbria."

 

Robert is a former dairy farmer who turned to Pitchup.com to supplement bookings previously taken through his own website. Tapping into Pitchup.com’s far greater audience, and adopting the user-friendly online booking system, he credits it with bringing in “a large number of new customers”, estimating that 50 percent of all bookings now come through the platform.

The Facts for Farmers

  • The average farm campsite earned £12,422 in bookings on Pitchup.com over the last year.
  • Average Farm Business Income (FBI) for England was £56,500 in 2017/2018.
  • In 2017/18, at least 10 percent of all farms in England, other than dairy, failed to make a profit.
  • Total revenue from diversified enterprises at English farms was £680 million in 2017/2018.
  • Across all farms in England, diversified enterprises accounted for 22 percent of total FBI.
  • 14.76m domestic trips were made to campsites and caravan parks in England, Scotland and Wales in 2018.
  • Overall, Pitchup.com receives up to 182,000 visits per day.
  • The average UK Pitchup.com listing receives 1,437 views each year. The sites with more diverse facilities and excellent images are most popular.
  • In the 12 months to 27 October 2019, Pitchup.com took 66,222 bookings for UK farm sites.
  • Pitchup.com currently takes bookings for 464 farm campsites in the UK.
  • The average value of each booking is £68, amounting to an impressive £12,422 per farm campsite, per year.
  • Campsites listed on Pitchup.com have received up to £564,000 in bookings over the last year, with the average farm campsite receiving £12,422 and the most successful almost £100,000.
  • Smartphones account for 50 percent of bookings made through Pitchup.com so far in 2019.
  • There’s no cost involved in listing a business on Pitchup.com – farms simply pay a commission on bookings received. There are no exclusivity clauses, no penalties, no minimum tie-in periods or fees.
  • This year marks the 10th anniversary of Pitchup.com and we’ve also taken our millionth booking.
  • Information on planning and licensing is available at www.pitchup.com/start/ or by calling the local council. Consent is not always required and many applications no longer need to be considered by a council committee.
  • Many companies now build and deliver glamping options such as camping pods, meaning that farmers can set up with little effort.

 

This blue VW caravan has been parked on a farm field, showing that diversifying into caravanning is a great idea

Set Up Your Own Caravanning Campsite

To find out more about running a campsite or caravan park visit www.pitchup.com/how-start-campsite-caravan-park/ or, to get started, call 0208 434 7444 or visit www.pitchup.com/join/.

 

Pitchup.com will also be at the Farm Business Innovation Show next week, taking place at the NEC Birmingham on 6th and 7th November 2019. Get your FREE ticket to join them for a seminar on ‘Busting the Myths of Outdoor Accommodation’, and visit stand H1462 to meet the team and find out more.

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