The pandemic brought new-found interest to many outdoor activities. People are now spending a significant amount of time outside and looking for places that offer an outdoor lifestyle.
As a result, campsite bookings increased by approximately 500% in 2021. Websites such as Parkn’Sleep, Campendium, PitchUp, The Dyrt, and many others modernize camping reservations while capitalizing on the recent influx of amateur and professional camping enthusiasts.
Just like any hotel or Airbnb, campers can go to their chosen campsite booking platform and filter but location and dates. From there, they pick their preferred spot to pitch up.
According to a 2022 study by The Dyrt, “80% of first-time campers used a mobile app or website like The Dyrt. When it comes to finding a campsite, it’s not all billion-dollar search engines. First-time campers are nearly twice as likely to use camping apps and websites than search engines to find camping.”
“Last minute and weekend camping is easier with these booking platforms, plus your experience may be more isolated for extra privacy and relaxation,” said Jerry Han, CMO at PrizeRebel. Han studies various industries through market research and how technology is used. Han continued to explain how these apps make camping more accessible. “Better advance planning on trips is also made possible through these platforms, which allows families and individuals to make more accurate travel budgets.”
From Han’s experience, campers of all ages benefit from digital booking platforms. “Younger generations are adopting this new technology because it aligns with their desire for experiences over possessions. The Great Resignation has freed up time for some professionals to travel across the United States as they contemplate the next steps in their careers. And this tech even benefits retired people as they journey in their RV’s, as it helps them tailor their excursions for optimal enjoyment.”
Not Everyone is Excited about the Online Booking Surge
While a majority of campers seem to embrace the new technology, others are not as enthusiastic.
“Some campers feel that the introduction of technology has made camping too easy and removed some of the challenge and excitement of the activity,” said Kara Dehoy, CMO of Startups Anonymous and a camping enthusiast.
Many feel these booking platforms lead to overcrowding and oversaturated locations once considered hidden gems.
“The biggest downside to this is that many of the best spots can become overcrowded and spoiled,” said Alex Tiffany, founder of Just Go Exploring. Tiffany, like many campers, prefers to pick a more secluded spot on a map and get away from civilization.
Campsite Bookings Platforms to Get You Started
This platform is for booking camp or caravan-style holidays. It currently has over 5,000 campgrounds, glamping sites, and RV parks in 70 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the UK, and Africa. PitchUp has sold over 14 million nights since launching.
“I’ve used PitchUp a few times and find it so much easier to find a suitable campsite. My family has been camping for 25 years, and back in the 90s, I used to trawl through ads in camping magazines, then have to ring the site up and ask for details,” said Karen James, founder of The Geordie Grandma.
James explains that with PitchUp, users can filter by requirements such as adult-only, child-friendly, restaurants, activities, and more.
“We have used a number of apps that help us to find sites for camping, and they have really improved the way that we camp, meaning we can always find somewhere to stay, no matter where we are, or how last minute our booking is! We use Campendium, which integrates functions to help us find free campsites alongside natural attractions nearby, like public parks and national forests,” said Kevin Harris, founder and CEO of NANBF.
“I’ve found Hipcamp to be very useful when it comes to finding out about national parks and public camping locations. It is great for reviews and tips, and photos. Most of the campsites that Hipcamp offers are much larger than five acres, and they have a single location that you can easily forget about the rest of the world. Privacy is additionally one of the main advantages of this site compared to other private campsites,” said Beth Sparrow, Editor in Chief at Theviproll.
“I used a camping app called The Dyrt pretty extensively while my wife and I spent a month camping all over Colorado and Utah. It’s a free app, or you can pay to upgrade for extra features. The app even has a map and filter of all nearby campgrounds, making it easy to find somewhere to stay in the area where you’re traveling,” said David Leiter, founder of the travel blog theworldtravelguy.com. Leiter is not affiliated with the Dyrt company but found the platform helpful in looking for RVs, trailers, glamping options, and more.
International Booking Options
Users can search through over 150 enrolled camping locations across seven European countries. Over 19,500 campers are taking advantage of the app’s easy-to-use platform, while the startup raised $1.03 million in funding.
“I recently went on a hiking/camping trip in Germany and used this app to find a local host. Best decision indeed. All that had to do with booking a campsite went quite smoothly, and I met lots of wonderful locals,” said Allan Borch, Founder of DotcomDollar.com.
A peer-to-peer marketplace for outdoor stays and activities with over 500 hosts across the UK.
“The app allows you to specify where you’re going, when you’ll be there, and what sort of stay you’re looking for in order to help you find an experience that suits your needs. They even offer options like ‘Glamping,’ treehouses, and shepherd’s huts,” said Nick Mueller, Director of Operations of HawaiianIslands.com.