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Diversification boosts income for farmers says Pitchup.com

Nov 3 2014 Posted by Samantha Marsh

Outdoor holiday specialist responsible for over 18,500 farm bookings in last year

Average farm campsite took £6,461 in Pitchup.com bookings over the last year

This winter, outdoor accommodation specialist Pitchup.com has revealed its figures for farm bookings over 2014, showing over 18,500 bookings at farm sites throughout the UK and Ireland over the last year – representing a massive 85% growth on 2013.

One farm site listed with the provider took a whopping £29,000 in bookings in the past 12 months alone.  Given that the average farm earns just £28,000 in net farm income*, this is a huge opportunity to grow income and make farming an overall more viable and attractive business.

Pitchup.com founder Dan Yates commented: “The British farming industry has seen a serious decline over the last couple of decades, with farm income 26% below its 1995 peak** and financial difficulties a continuing cause for concern to farmers. However, farmers can invigorate their finances and their farms by diversifying into other areas, and this is easier to do than they might think. 

“The way to help farms is via a diversification programme and this is where we can assist. The set up and running of a farm-based campsite is a relatively simple process and by working with us many farms could see their income rise dramatically, as the follow figures show:

  • The average farm campsite earnt £6,461 in bookings on Pitchup.com over the last year

  • Average net farm income was £28,000 in 2012/13*

  • 44% of farms earnt £10,000 or under in net farm income in 2012/13* 

“The domestic camping and caravan market is worth £2.4bn per annum*** and we’re encouraging farms to get on board and enjoy a slice of this income. One of our farms took 95% of its campsite bookings income this year from its listing on Pitchup.com. Farmers already own the land in most cases – why not put unfarmed parts of it to use?  I’ll be talking in more detail about this at two seminars at Farm Business Innovation which will outline in greater detail about how farmers can tap into this lucrative market.”

Pitchup.com has been assisting farms in this way since 2009 and currently 20% of all accommodation listed via their site is on farms. 

The facts for farmers***:

  • 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 £100,000 in bookings over the last year, with the average farm campsite receiving £6,461 and the most successful £28,661

  • There’s no cost involved in listing a business on Pitchup.com – farms 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 a farm. 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 

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, visit https://www.pitchup.com/. 

Pitchup.com is exhibiting at Farm Business Innovation 2014, taking place at London Olympia between 27 - 28 November 2014.  To meet the team and find out more, visit stand F436.

Dan Yates will be presenting a seminar on Thursday 27 November in Hall 2 at 1.15pm, and on Friday 28 November in Hall 8 at 11.00am.

- ends -

Notes to editors:

*Source: Defra

**2013 vs 1995, based on real-terms farm income. Source: Defra

***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 20% 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.