Camplify, the 'Airbnb of caravans', has reported a 125% rise in winter camping holidays as Aussies turn to domestic travel

Image: Camplify
  • Australian caravan and motorhome sharing platform Camplify has seen a jump in camping holidays as coronavirus restrictions started to ease.
  • The company reported a 125% rise in winter camping holidays.
  • The age of people searching on the Camplify website has also fallen, with 30% of users aged between 25 and 34 years old.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Newcastle-based caravan hiring platform Camplify has seen a surge in camping holidays as families look for socially-distant ways to travel domestically.

The van sharing platform, which has been dubbed the “Airbnb for caravans”, was founded by Justin Hales in 2015 and has since expanded to the UK, Spain and New Zealand.

In its latest report, the company highlighted a 125% rise in winter camping holidays compared to last year as the coronavirus pandemic put a halt on international travel and Australians look to travel domestic.

As coronavirus restrictions started to ease during May, the company found a rise in bookings. June had a 1,125% increase in bookings compared to the two months before.

And, with COVID-19 disrupting plans for Easter holiday travel, there was a rise in demand for winter camping bookings, most of which to coincide with the July school holidays.

“With overseas travel now on-hold for the foreseeable future, making camping accessible to Australians has never been more important,” Hales said in a statement.

“We have already seen huge demand for road trips across the country, with families looking for socially distanced holiday options, particularly within their home states.”

With Western Australia being one of the first states to start easing restrictions, Camplify experienced a jump in bookings across the state during May. When local travel restrictions eased in Queensland, bookings shot up by 140% in June, accounting for nearly a third of Camplify bookings across Australia.

Plus, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australian accounted for 85.1% of bookings in June.

And while caravans accounted for the majority of bookings in May and June, there were also increases across campervans and motorhomes.

A growing number of users under the age of 34

The average age of those looking on the Camplify website has dropped. The report found nearly 30% of users are between 25 and 34 years old, with Camplify also seeing a growth in the 21 to 24-year-old age group.

That’s compared to the same time last year where nearly 50% of people hiring caravans on the site were between 35 and 55 years old. And on top of that, 54% of bookings were made by women.

Image: Camplify

According to Camplify, the average owner of an RV earns between $400 to $2,500 a week through the platform.

“With over 711,000 registered RVs in Australia, and many only used for 4-6 weeks of the year, van sharing is a great way for families who might have been hit hard during this period to make a little extra income, and build that nest egg back up again, Hales said.

He also believes 2020 is “the year of the Australian road trip due to its flexible nature.”

“We know Aussies love a good holiday, and local caravan or campervan breaks offer a great way for people to safely venture out and reset amongst nature once again,” he said. “With self-contained caravans and campervans socially distanced by design, we understand that this style of travel offers holidaymakers an extra feeling of safety and control.”

Camplify’s report comes after the Queensland government provided a $10 million loan to Apollo – a Queensland-based company that develops, sells and rents campervans – to boost its manufacturing.

“Every day we’re seeing more caravans and RVs hit the road in Queensland, spending money in businesses right across our state,” Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said in a statement. “Apollo’s factory also support[s] hundreds of Queensland small businesses who supply components as part of the manufacturing process.”

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