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Could camping be the saviour of British rural pubs?

Dec 8 2014 Posted by Samantha Marsh

Outdoor accommodation provider Pitchup.com says yes

Company took over 4,000 bookings in 2014 for campsites located at pubs

Annual income to the industry currently in excess of £300,000 

Following a bumper season for the outdoor holiday sector, Pitchup.com has released its figures for pub bookings over the past 12 months which show that the site has taken 4,096 bookings in just 12 months.

Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com believes that converting wasted pub land into a campsite could be the saviour of businesses in future and prevent pubs being turned into mini markets.

Commenting on the situation Yates said: “Pubs are a great British institution and yet the decline in numbers is continuing at a steady pace with Camra reporting that 31 pubs close every week.*  Of those which close, on average two per week become supermarkets.  In small villages and hamlets around the UK, pubs play a pivotal role in providing a community service and somewhere for remote villagers to socialise.  We’re keen to help keep our pubs alive by building on and supporting the business rather than changing it entirely.

“In rural areas especially, pubs often sit in a reasonable amount of land which may not be fully utilised.  With a small amount of thought and effort it is not hard for a pub to convert the land into a profitable and popular campsite or ‘glampsite’.”

Figures from Pitchup.com show just how this could work:

  • Company currently has just 29 bookable pub sites on its books

  • The overall value of bookings at pub campsites in the past 12 months is £303,000

  • This equates to £10,448 per pub per year in additional income

  • Searches for camping at pubs on Pitchup.com total 14,000 per year

Yates continues: “The domestic camping and caravan market is worth £2.4bn per annum** and we’re encouraging pubs to get on board and enjoy a slice of this income. Generally publicans already own the land in most cases – why not put unused parts of it to use?”

The facts for publicans**:

  • Brits holidaying at home spend 25% more nights at campsites or caravan parks than at hotels

  • They spend £2.4bn each year during GB camping and caravanning trips

  • They take more camping and caravanning trips in Britain than holidays to Spain and Greece combined

  • Over 70% of domestic holiday bookings are now made online

  • Pitchup.com receives up to 70,000 visits per day

  • Campsites have received up to £163,000 in Pitchup.com bookings over the last year, with the average pub campsite receiving £10,448

  • There’s no cost involved in listing a business on Pitchup.com – pubs simply pay a commission on bookings received

  • A simple call to a local council will provide information about planning permission and obtaining a licence to run a campsite on pub land. 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 publicans can set up with little effort

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

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*http://pubsmatter.org.uk/the-campaign

**Sources: VisitEngland, International Passenger Survey, Pitchup.com

For media information:

Cass Helstrip or Samantha Marsh at White Tiger PR

Cass.helstrip@whitetigerpr.com 07968 255464

Samantha.marsh@whitetigerpr.com 07711 265666

About Pitchup.com

Founded in 2009 by former lastminute.com man, Dan Yates, multi-award winning Pitchup.com is a free guide to all types of outdoor accommodation in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Croatia, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland and Switzerland.  Pitchup.com, which currently lists over 5,800 sites, provides users with a simple platform in which they can search and book an outdoor holiday with total ease: the customer journey from landing on the homepage through to booking a holiday can be completed in as little as four pages.  The site also goes beyond traditional searches by allowing users to search for accommodation based on more than 80 criteria, such as adults only and campfires allowed, and view nearby events, Good Pub Guide pubs and VisitBritain attractions.  It’s also possible to check out water bathing water quality in the surrounding area with data provided by the European Environment Agency.  Users can also search on the offers page to find the best deals available.

In 2013 Pitchup.com became the first business of its type to launch a bookable mobile app and site, making the site easily accessible to users of mobile and tablet devices.  The mobile site, m.pitchup.com, now accounts for 21% of bookings.

Pitchup.com enables users to search for all types of parks and sites from the major brands right through to one-off campsites and unique outdoor accommodation options, which may not have previously had a web presence.

Awards include Best UK Travel Website of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards 2011, and most recently Best Travel / Leisure / Sports / Mobile Strategy / Campaign at the Marketing on Mobile Awards 2014.