Camping is hip – and it’s a real money spinner

Posted Monday, 18th Jul 2016 by Tim Savage • Business Thinking
Glamping not Camping!

Our Set Up – no sleeping on the floor here!

We’re camping at the moment – until we find a house!  After eighteen months of travelling around the world, Tracey and me have decided to settle in North Devon.  It’s a fabulous part of the world and it means that I have officially become an apprentice beach bum!  Travelling gives you a new perspective on life, especially on how precious it is.  Work is definitely now something to be fitted in around our lives rather than the other way around!  We’ve decided that we are at our happiest when we live by the sea, so that’s what we’re doing.

So what’s all this about camping being hip again then you might be asking?  Well, have you seen the number of camper vans on the road these days?  From traditional VW campers to the more upmarket larger campers?  And real camping in tents has really become the holiday of choice for many families and couples alike.  Modern tents are easy to erect, waterproof, roomy and cheap to buy compared to a camper van.

North Devon is a haven for surfer dudes – the famous beaches of Croyde, Saunton Sands, Woolacombe and others are magnets for a huge number of surfers who, today, come in all shapes and sizes! And what better fun that to rock up to a campsite, pitch your tent or camper van and head off to the beach for some fun.  Everyone wears wetsuits these days so the weather doesn’t really matter.  We Brits are tough when it comes to going onto the beach – nobody lets wind or a little rain stop you these days!

Whether it’s just a weekend or for longer, camping is the coolest thing to do these days and campsites are well set up to make life comfortable.  But here’s the thing – and the real subject of this post – it ain’t as cheap as you think.  Campsite owners are making good money – but not as much as they could be making.

Check Out These Numbers

Let’s check out a few simple numbers.  We’re looking to rent a house in North Devon and out budget is up to £900 per month.  That’s £30 a day give or take.  That’s a nice house in a good location for around £30 a day.  A half decent campsite in North Devon during peak season charges around £36 a day.  Admittedly, that includes electricity, but that’s more expensive that renting a nice house.  A patch of grass measuring 10m by 10m costs £36 a day to rent!

My good friend Mark Creaser said recently that we’re all just guessing at prices and he’s right.  When I told a friend who’s a non camper, he was staggered by the cost but for a seasoned camper, that’s the price you pay.  So in a campsite with 100 pitches, that £3600 per day, or just over £100k a month – before you offer any extras.

As a business coach, I am always amazed by the amount of money that businesses leave on the table.  Offering extra services or add ons is where the real profit is made, yet so few do it properly.  I won’t bore you here with what campsites could be offering, but the same will almost certainly apply in your business.  It’s well worth sitting down and  really thinking about what else you could be selling.  A faster service, special appointments, a wrapping service, a delivery service, a full after-sales programme such as free cleaning of jewellery, cars, whatever.

If your customers already like you and trust you, they will buy more from you – if you offer it to them.  if you don’t, they will buy stuff elsewhere.

Anyone Got Any Ice?

Now if only I could get my campsite to sell ice, I’d be a very happy man – G&Ts with no ice don’t work and I have to go and buy ice most days from the local store about 2 miles away.  I’d happily pay twice the price to walk to the camp shop and buy it there but they don’t offer it – so I go elsewhere.   Tracey enjoys camping but so far this year including our travels around Europe, we’ve spent 43 days under canvas!  I don’t know many ladies who would do that and she’s itching to get into a house again – soon… Wish us luck in finding a place soon.  Cheers!

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One Response to Camping is hip – and it’s a real money spinner

  1. Andrew Scott says:

    Hi Tim & Tracey,

    Good to hear that you have had an amazing time travelling. Could agree more with your post. Most campsites that we have stayed in this year its a second business next to a pub or farm and they just do it as they have space to do so. However, they are all missing quite a few tricks that could add handsomely to their profits.

    I have literally just packed the canvas away sitting in the garden of the True Lovers Knot picking up emails and getting ready to head home and back to the grindstone.

    Hope to catch-up with you both soon, and I wish you all the luck in the world with finding the next perfect property.

    Take care

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