Diversification boosts income for farmers says top speaker at Farm Business Innovation Show

04 Nov 2014

This winter, outdoor accommodation specialist Pitchup.com has revealed its figures for farm bookings over 2014, showing over 18,500 bookings at farm sites throughout the UK and Ireland over the last year – representing a massive 85% growth on 2013.

One site listed with the provider took a whopping £29,000 in bookings in the past 12 months alone. Given that the average farm earns just £28,000 in net farm income*, this is a huge opportunity to grow income and make farming an overall more viable and attractive business.

Pitchup.com founder Dan Yates, commenting on these findings and ahead of his appearance at the Farm Business Innovation Show this month, said: “The British farming industry has seen a serious decline over the last couple of decades, with farm income 26% below its 1995 peak** and financial difficulties a continuing cause for concern to farmers.  However, farmers can invigorate their finances and their farms by diversifying into other areas, and this is easier to do than they might think.

“The way to help farms is via a diversification programme and this is where we can assist. The set up and running of a farm-based campsite is a relatively simple process and by working with us many farms could see their income rise dramatically, as the follow figures show:

The average farm campsite earnt £6,461 in bookings on Pitchup.com over the last year

Average net farm income was £28,000 in 2012/13*

44% of farms earnt £10,000 or under in net farm income of in 2012/13*

“The domestic camping and caravan market is worth £2.4bn per annum*** and we’re encouraging farms to get on board and enjoy a slice of this income. One of our farms took 95% of its campsite bookings income this year from its listing on Pitchup.com. Farmers already own the land in most cases – why not put unfarmed parts of it to use?  I’ll be talking in more detail about this at two seminars at Farm Business Innovation which will outline in greater detail about how farmers can tap into this lucrative market.”

Pitchup.com has been assisting farms in this way since 2009 and currently 20% of all accommodation listed via their site is on farms.

The facts for farmers:

  • Brits holidaying at home spend 25% more nights at campsites or caravan parks than at hotels
  • They spend £2.4bn each year during GB camping and caravanning trips
  • They take more camping and caravanning trips in Britain than holidays to Spain and Greece combined
  • Over 70% of domestic holiday bookings are now made online
  • Pitchup.com receives up to 70,000 visits per day
  • Campsites have received up to £100,000 in bookings over the last year, with the average farm campsite receiving £6,461 and the most successful £28,661
  • There’s no cost involved in listing a business on Pitchup.com – farms simply pay a commission on bookings received

A simple call to a local council will provide information about planning permission and obtaining a licence to run a campsite on a farm. Consent is not always required and many applications no longer need to be considered by a council committee. Many companies now build and deliver glamping options such as camping pods, meaning that farmers can set up with little effort

Pitchup.com is exhibiting at Farm Business Innovation 2014,  taking place at Olympia London between 27 - 28 November 2014.  To meet the team and find out more, visit stand F436.

Dan Yates will be presenting a seminar on Thursday 27 November in Hall 2 at 1.15pm, and on Friday 28 November in Hall 8 at 1.15pm.

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*Source: Defra
**2013/14 vs 1995, based on real-terms farm income. Source: Defra
***Sources: VisitEngland, International Passenger Survey, Pitchup.com
For media information:

Cass Helstrip or Samantha Marsh at White Tiger PR
Cass.helstrip@whitetigerpr.com 07968 255464
Samantha.marsh@whitetigerpr.com 07711 265666

About Pitchup.com

Founded in 2009 by former lastminute.com man, Dan Yates, multi-award winning Pitchup.com is a free guide to all types of outdoor accommodation in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Croatia, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland and Switzerland.  Pitchup.com, which currently lists over 5,800 sites, provides users with a simple platform in which they can search and book an outdoor holiday with total ease: the customer journey from landing on the homepage through to booking a holiday can be completed in as little as four pages.  The site also goes beyond traditional searches by allowing users to search for accommodation based on more than 80 criteria, such as adults only and campfires allowed, and view nearby events, Good Pub Guide pubs and VisitBritain attractions.  It’s also possible to check out water bathing water quality in the surrounding area with data provided by the European Environment Agency. Users can also search on the offers page to find the best deals available.

About the Farm Innovation Show

The Farm Business Innovation Show is the show designed for all farmers, smallholders, land owners, estates and everybody with an interest in rural business, who are looking for new ways to use their land to bring in more money. This is not an agricultural show with farm machinery, plant and livestock, but a farming business show with new ideas, advice, suppliers and resources to make your business more profitable.