Caravan and camping business are the target of a new Australian booking channel and website solution designed to increase online visibility and slash booking fees.
Adventure planning company GoSeeAustralia and information system experts RMS have teamed up to deliver the industry-specific platform as an alternative to those of American booking giants Expedia and Booking Holdings.
It offers a customisable website and webstore built specifically for holiday parks, which enables park owners and operators to grow their own digital channels and compete directly online for a monthly fee.
The integrated booking and management solution promises booking commissions up to 34 percent lower than those charged by offshore OTAs and has the backing of leading industry body the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.
“The partnership was developed to help businesses within the Australian caravan and camping industry be more profitable and compete more effectively online and in digital marketplaces,” said Nick Baker, CEO of GoSeeAustralia.
“Many businesses today are finding margins and profitability strangled by the ever-increasing commissions and fees being charged by, and paid to, overseas OTAs.
“When you consider millions of dollars in commissions and fees are going offshore, it’s a negative outcome for Australian small business owners, the camping and caravanning industry, and the Australian economy.
“This partnership is step one in a strategic vision to build an ecosystem of Australian technology travel companies that will collaborate to deliver significant value to the Australian industry and its hard-working stakeholders.
“Our goal is twofold: to help deliver better value in booking costs, and to help significantly grow the audience for camping and caravanning holidays.”
There are other advantages to being local, too.
By using GoSeeAustralia as a lead generation and booking channel, fees for holiday parks will be delivered to users 30-40 percent cheaper. And due to RMS’ existing partnership with the Commonwealth Bank, the solution will also offer all CommBank members reduced merchant fees of up to 16 percent, and up to a 52 percent reduction on all terminal transaction fees.
CIAA CEO Stuart Lamont said it was important that the industry support such initiatives.
“Not only are we seeing industry-specific technology solutions committed to growing the market, they also save caravan holiday parks money relative to these large offshore OTAs that put nothing back into the caravanning and camping sector,” he said.
Latest figures show caravanning and camping nights are at record levels domestically. According to this month’s Tourism Research Australia data, national overnight camping, caravan and RV trips reached 12.3 million for the year ending June 2018, the first time overnight trips have exceeded 12 million in a 12-month period.
Total nights spent caravanning and camping around the country also increased by 6.5 percent to reach a record 52.8 million nights for the year to June.
RMS founder Peter Buttigieg said the new venture was about local companies giving the park industry a cost-effective solution to the issue of international giants dominating the online bookings space.
“It’s Australian-developed, industry endorsed and will unquestionably reduce the ever-increasing cost of transactions made with OTAs,” he said.