Pitchup.com founder says Budget is positive for the UK rural holiday accommodation sector
Mar 18 2015 Posted by Samantha Marsh
Dan Yates, founder of outdoor accommodation specialist Pitchup.com, has praised the 2015 Budget as positive for the British rural accommodation sector.
Commenting on elements of the Budget Yates said: “We’re pleased that the Chancellor has put together a sensible budget that has listened to the concerns of our sector and announced some desperately needed measures.
“Probably the most crucial announcements for the rural accommodation sector are the intention to increase the broadband ‘Universal Service Obligation’ from 2Mbps to 5Mbps, the support for change of use of the mobile spectrum, and the subsidy to enable superfast capable satellite services for around 1% of premises. The gap between rural and urban broadband speeds has tripled in three years: it’s long been a bugbear of ours that vast parts of the country either did not have broadband/mobile services or suffered from exceptionally poor speed and service quality when they did. Not only has poor wifi been dragging down our clients’ otherwise excellent review scores*, but also owners are missing out on the boom in online bookings.
“While there is no concrete plan set out yet for implementation of these measures, as government services continue to move online - including the newly announced digital tax accounts - fast and reliable access to the web will be even more important,” Yates said.
"While the outdoor accommodation market tends to be resilient during hard times, we're predicting that as growth remains high we will see more bookings for the upscale end of the market such as luxury domes, fully furnished and heated yurts and chic lodges. What's more, holidaymakers are likely to stay for longer and take up more extras on site such as outdoor activities.
“The cancellation of the fuel duty increase will also be music to the ears of our regular clientele. Nearly all visitors to UK campsites and holiday parks are domestic tourists using the road network, and some 525,000 touring caravans and 175,000 motorcaravans are in use in GB.**”
Yates concludes: “The slashing of beer duty and improvements to tax relief for farmers are the final elements which make this one of the most constructive budgets in recent years.”
*Average 5.7/10 wifi rating derived from 6,609 Pitchup.com reviews over the last 12 months containing a score for wifi. The gap between average UK fixed urban and rural broadband speeds increased from 9.4Mbps to 20.1Mbps between May 2011 and May 2014 (source: Ofcom).
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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.