03 Dec 2017
With its wide open spaces and beautiful scenery, camping is big business in South Africa and CaravanParks.com is making the most of it.
According to Statistics South Africa’s latest Tourism Accommodation report, the holiday accommodation option caravan parks and camping sites around the country enjoyed the biggest growth in 2017 (52 percent from 2016) of all options, as measured by income generated.
The popularity of camping holidays didn’t come as a surprise to CaravanParks.com though. The business has been active in the industry since 1997, and proudly calls themselves “Southern Africa’s most-loved caravan and camping tourism network”.
Office manager Jolene Scheepers says it’s a title they’ve earned thanks to the support of resorts, businesses, dealerships, clubs, the public and their range of networking products and services, which include classified listings.
Creating an online environment for camping enthusiasts has proven successful for the business that sees around 26,715 unique monthly visitors, according to SimilarWeb, putting the site far ahead of the web traffic received by their closest competitors CaravanSA.co.za (7408) and CampSA.co.za(<5000). While both competitors are dedicated to the camping lifestyle, only CaravanSA.co.za offers classifieds.
Two of South Africa’s general classifieds sites also accepts ads for caravans and camping, but it’s difficult to say how much these categories contribute to their business overall. A quick search of OLX South Africa’s “Caravans & Trailers” section brings up mostly trailers, for example, while Gumtree.co.zahas 4,110 listings in this category. AutoTrader.co.za’s “leisure” category — which should include caravans and motorhomes – currently only shows listings for boats and jet skis.
CaravanParks.com is currently home to around 2,500 paid and unpaid listings. The audience of these ads is also narrowly focused on camping, thanks to the site’s offerings and narrow focus.
“Our classifieds are free to anyone who registers on CaravanParks.com,” Scheepers explains. Registration on the site is free and it’s fairly easy to navigate with tutorial videos readily available. “Businesses with pre-owned vehicles and caravans are also able to upload their products to the classifieds, giving them a bigger audience to sell to.”
The business generates its income through resorts and businesses who host their websites on CaravanParks, as well as some paid listings. Scheepers said these rates vary depending on the extras the dealership chooses. “Dealers are very active when it comes to making sure their pre-owned vans are updated regularly since the system works so well for them.”
Apart from classifieds, CaravanParks.com is also home to the Camp & Live guide, an annual publication available in English and Afrikaans, a news broadcast system, a resort rating system, their Caravan and Camping website, hosting, design, SEO and internet marketing solution, information about clubs, business listings and forums.
By Louisa Steyl
AIM Group / Classified Intelligence