Pitchup.com is a new camping startup that lists over 5000 UK and Ireland holiday parks, campsites and attractions. Founder Dan Yates formerly worked at lastminute.com and you can see a similar level of quality and ease of use in Pitchup.
Pitchup’s killer feature is a comprehensive search engine that allows filters to be applied to the results. Want to stay in a yurt with onsite internet access and golf nearby? Pitchup will help you find it (that’s Yurt Holiday Village, Swanage by the way). Site listings are comprehensive with bing maps embedded and if you have a Tom Tom you can add directions directly from the page.
The campsite listings are complimented by an excellent ‘Places to Go’ section that lists attractions such as beaches and National Parks across the country with nearby campsites listed.
Site owners beware! That artfully taken shot of your site on a summers day with the A421 out of sight isn’t going to cut it any more, Pitchup takes a leaf from Tripadvisors book and allows users to upload photos of their stay. The review process is as thorough as the site database with users able to rate sites on 8 individual points.
The UK camping sector has been under served by the web, with the comprehensive but decidedly retro Ukcampsite the main destination. The lack of decent camping directory sites is partially explained by the difficulty in generating revenue compared to other types of travel accommodation.
Most hotels and resorts have booking systems that enable the development of affiliate programs, but camp sites are often small and cannot afford to develop the infrastructure to take web based bookings. Pitchup follows the Google model by displaying paid affiliate links for larger sites above the search results, whilst general site listings are free. There is currently no option to buy a paid ‘premium’ listing (the traditional way to monetise) but the unobtrusive affiliate links make the site easy to use whilst providing value to the user. A future development possibility for Pitchup could be the creation of a centralised booking system that smaller sites can opt into.
We would like to see an option to set the distance search results are shown from the postcode you entered, this is standard on most travel sites and a strange omission. The user review database is currently a little sparse and stuffed with glowing reviews from sneaky site owners but this is to be expected on a new site and Pitchup are offering a Vango Verona 8DLX Tent as a prize incentive to write reviews.
These are small tweaks though, Pitchup has pitched itself at the top of the UK camping world by introducing good design and innovative technology to the world of campsite listings.