Twenty countries, two continents and a massive gong - Pitchup.com in 2015
'I work in a business which develops websites and has done for 20 years, and I've got to say your website is immense! I use websites daily in my personal life and my job and am honestly critical of most of them. That said yours is probably the best, most intuitive I've come across in forever. Well done! It is incredibly easy to get around, and knows what I'm likely to want to do next. A brilliant site! No suggestions or recommendations from me. Spot on!'
Well. How totes awesome are we with that review. And immodest with it also.
But we can't help it. 2015 has been our biggest and best year yet, and it's all down to you, our lovely customers and site owners. (And down to us a bit, because various members of the team may slay this writer if their feverishly committed work is not formally acknowledged.)
So come one, come all and help we at Pitchup.com celebrate our wondrous achievements this year. We've won a top travel award, added our first sites in the USA, moved to a swanky new office and been to several trade shows to spread the Pitchup.com love. Here's the ful list of what we've been up to in 2015:
Campsites, glampsites, campers and glampers
As with 2013 and 2014, we wound down things not a tiny bit at the end of the summer season and indeed have upped the ante this autumn in a particularly workaholic way.
We now have over 1,700 campsites, glampsites and holiday parks bookable in 20 countries (and two continents, get us) and saw over eight million of you lovely lot come to Pitchup.com to browse and book. Over 250,000 holidaymakers from 88 countries have booked a Pitchup.com holiday in the last year, which makes us Very Proud Indeed.
La belle France, the USA and other sunny climes abroad
From a (tiny) handful in 2012 and 80 in 2013, we now have over 520 campsites and holiday parks in France (a few more will probably be added by the time this blog is finished), have expanded our French sales team yet again and have hired our first PR company outside the UK.
Other European sites we've added or expanded on Pitchup.com this year include Italy, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Croatia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovenia, San Marino and nearly 200 in Spain: browse all sites bookable on Pitchup.com here.
And! We're now proudly and fully international, adding our first sites in the grand old U S of A this year and Cruise Inn as our first client. Our first ever North American campsite was in Maine, making our Stephen King fans happy; crack open a soda and browse the rest here.
Just as ingeniously, Pitchup.com can now be used in six other languages – French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and American English – and has been adapted to show local currencies and miles/km preferences to make the site très simple for our European customers. We're currently racing through translating all our listings too.
All is easier for our lovely site owners and managers: RMS and Supercontrol joined as API/integration partners, and we've continued to refine the Pitchup.com automated payment service, Payup.
Over a thousand Pitchup.com listings are now signed up to Payup, meaning that customers only ever have to enter their card details on the site once, and balance payments are taken automatically on the due date: there's no need for owners to chase anyone up or for customers to give their card details again.
Campsite and holiday park owners have taken to our testimonials page (we've now hit 100) to say how jolly nice – and profitable – it is to work with Pitchup.com. And last month (November 2015) we signed up four times more new sites than in November 2014 – go us.
And also, is this a new record? Worcestershire site Manor Farm Glamping went live at 4.10pm on a Saturday afternoon this July – and had its first Pitchup.com booking 31 minutes later. Hurrah!
'We especially love the "Payup" facility and Stripe: it makes our workload so much easier. It is extremely efficient with no chasing up payments or lost revenue if there are any no shows, plus it gives us less time in the office wading through admin and more quality time greeting the customers.
'Keep up the excellent work!'
Graham and Gill Sharpe, Owners, Simon Field Farm Fruit Orchards, August 2015
The quote we kicked off with at the start is one of our thousands of Feefo plaudits in 2015 giving us a 98% 'Pitchup.com is the business' rating. We're rather overwhelmed at the smashing things customers have had to say; here's a small selection:
'Thank you for your prompt attention, that puts our mind at rest. Your service gets better and better and I already have you noted as the best site I have ever used.'
'The website was informative and the booking process very straightforward - our pitch was reserved within minutes and the confirmation email arrived immediately. On arrival at Haxey Quays we found that the Pitchup efficiency continued. They had all our details and had received the deposit, so we were able to be checked in and shown to our pitch immediately. This was our first Pitchup experience but we will have no hesitation in using them again.'
'I have just used your service to book 2 stays at different caravan sites in Cornwall and I am so impressed so far withe service from everyone envolved so far. The people are so helpful and knowledgable and cheerful it really is great to be a customer of yours... We really are looking forward to our visits Keep up the great work without doubt you will all succeed in making this a great company'
'excellent we made a mistake on our booking and the team went out of their way to help us book another site, very pleased indeed with the speed and effciency of the customer service. I will def be recommending this website to friends'
'Had to phone pitch-up re a problem (which turned out to be of my own making!). Recording told me to leave a message after the tone but I hung up instead. Despite not leaving a message they got back to me anyway within about 5 mins. That's impressive! Suzanne was friendly, efficient, and tolerant of my own bunglings! Thank You'
And did you, campsite owners, know that your site is viewable – and bookable – from millions and millions of beds? S'true.
Conferring about trade
Five is the number of trade shows and conferences we've record-breakingly been to this year (BH&HPA in Cardiff and Farm Business Innovation in Birmingham; Sett in France; Sipac in Italy and the Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo in Florida, our first in the US), drumming up Pitchup.com business and sharing our expertise at all of them.
It's probably safe to add that 'bringing back the maximum allowance of local foodstuffs' was also a main reason to put smiles of the faces of certain conference-going Pitchuppers.
Stop press and a massive gong
We won! Pitchup.com bagged best in show in the 'Best Place to Stay - Budget' category at the Independent Travel Awards in October, as 'a website that's doing wonders connecting us with the countryside in Britain and beyond'. We like this award so much we will probably give it a Santa hat at our Christmas party.
As ever, we've been filling pages in the local and national press too – have a look here for some samples – and have been studiously blogging on all things camping, glamping and outdoor, such as our top ten places to visit in England and the best UK wildlife walks, guides to Italian, German and Spanish cuisine, and a big feathery guide to UK falconry.
Advertising our wares
Look at us with our big motorway services poster. We added three of these to nearly 100 service stations around the country throughout the summer this year, in our first ever external ad campaign. Here are Marie and Lujan saying hi to one on their way to our top-selling site of 2015, Somerset’s Cheddar Petruth Paddocks.
We deem it fairly safe to say we'll be advertising on the wireless and tellybox sometime soon too.
A rather large team
Ten new peeps have joined Pitchup.com this year, taking the team number to 25 based in five countries. Want to join us? What a good idea. Pitchup.com jobs are here.
To facilitate the growing team, we've moved to a new office (that's it in the main pic) at the Light Box in Chiswick that's five times the size of our last one – we think this means there is room for a pool table and possibly a bar. Moving on to 2016...?
Thanks again to all you lovely lot for helping to make our 2015 so splendid. Happy new year and much love from the Pitchup.com team,