The latest figures from Pitchup.com, an outdoor accommodation specialist, demonstrate the incredible appetite for cleaner, greener holidays with Q3 2021 sales up 84 percent compared to 2019, according to a release.
While Airbnb, Expedia, and Booking.com are understandably reassured by signs of recovery with Q3 2021 growth in room nights of -7.2 percent, -32.4 percent, and -17.9 percent respectively compared to the same period in 2019, Pitchup.com has achieved a staggering increase of 84 percent in comparable bookings across the period compared to pre-pandemic figures.
Dan Yates, the company’s founder and managing director, attributes the platform’s performance to more than just its resonance with consumers looking for safer holidays closer to home due to the pandemic. “We’ve always been fleet of foot and quick to adapt to market trends, and that agility is one of the key things that has helped us take best advantage of the unusual circumstances of the past eighteen months,” he says.
“Pre-pandemic, we were already well on board with flexible and remote working, so the shift to fully remote barely disrupted us in a practical sense.”
Full-year figures for 2020 already demonstrated the resilience of the outdoor sector compared to traditional room nights, with Pitchup.com ending the year just 3 percent down. By comparison, Booking.com reported a downturn of -58 percent, closely followed by Expedia (-55 percent) and Airbnb (-41 percent).
“The outdoor sector’s unique ability to scale up to meet increased demand has helped us double the number of UK campsites on the platform in the past two years. But we haven’t just sat back and waited for those sites to come to us. Our team has worked tirelessly to ensure that both site owners and customers receive accurate and up-to-date Covid guidance to enable compliance and assure customer safety; our developers were quick to redesign site listings to show the Covid precautions in place at each site; we invested in a successful campaign lobbying government to increase Permitted Development Rights allowing temporary sites across England to set up for a longer period over the peak summer months and implemented a flexible amends policy from the earliest stages to reassure and protect customers faced with cancellation for reasons out of their control.”
The shift to outdoor holidays is also looking like it’s set to stay, with Pitchup.com reporting global forward bookings up 178 percent based on the same point in 2019. “With as many as 60 percent of Brits not having taken a camping or caravan holiday in the three years to 2020, it’s opened up the outdoor world to a massively expanded customer base and a whole host of new camping converts. Now that the rest of the world is opened up for international travel, we’re seeing many of those new campers looking further afield for their next holiday, not least to make full use of the new tents, vans, and gear that they have invested in.”
For example, forward bookings for France are currently 213 percent up on last year and 148 percent up on 2019.
As of today, Pitchup.com lists over 5,300 sites in 67 countries worldwide and has recently expanded its team focused on the further development of the European market in line with growing consumer appetite. A total of 35 new hires have been made across the business in 2021 so far across all departments and levels.
The company continues to develop, recently migrating all of its IT infrastructure to Google Cloud. “We’re looking forward to implementing this best-in-class, greener technology, giving us access to a plethora of new services, helping us manage volatility, and positioning us for continued growth.” The move should be complete by January 2022, in line with a fully redesigned website across desktop and mobile.
By the end of the peak summer season in early September, Pitchup reported 31 million website visits in the previous twelve months, with August arrivals double those of August 2020.
Between 7th November last year and today:
● 1.8 million UK trips were sold via Pitchup
● Total transaction value for bookings processed through Pitchup during that period topped £60 million, a staggering 95 percent up on the same period pre-pandemic
● Bookings through Pitchup are estimated to have generated £106 million of spending in the UK, with the vast majority of that in the rural areas where campsites prevail
● Total transaction value for the platform since its creation in 2009 now tops £200 million, earned through 20 million bed nights spent by 7 million holidaymakers from 176 countries around the world.
Founded in 2009 by former lastminute.com man, Dan Yates, multi-award winning Pitchup.com lists 5,300 outdoor accommodation locations in 67 countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, providing 30 million annual users with a simple platform where they can search for and book a holiday with ease. Since its creation, the platform has handled £200 million worth of bookings, with 5 million holiday nights booked via Pitchup.com in the last twelve months alone.
Pitchup.com enables users to search for all types of parks and sites from more than 100 chains right through to one-off campsites and unique outdoor accommodation options, which may have previously lacked a web presence.