Diversification in the farming sector is becoming more and more popular in the UK and according to the GOV.UK website, over half of all farmers now use alternative business operations to boost overall income throughout the year.
Outdoor experience booking specialist, Pitchup.com, has provided recent data showing over 20,463 bookings at farm sites throughout the UK and Ireland over the last year. This represents a massive 31% growth in the last three years!
More impressive still, the farm sites listed on Pitchup who offer outdoor experiences took a staggering £60,000 in bookings in the past 12 months alone. Given that the average UK farm earns just £27,000 in net farm income, this is a tremendous opportunity to grow income and make farming a more viable and attractive business.
Pitchup founder, Dan Yates, believes the decrease in farming is leaving farm owners with no choice but to diversify: “The British farming industry has seen a serious decline over the last couple of decades, with total farm income in 2014 26% below its 1995 peak. With farm business income per farm down 9% in 2015 compared to last year, financial difficulties remain a cause for concern. However farmers can invigorate their finances and their farms by diversifying into other areas - such as glamping...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. It can be very straightforward to set up and run a campsite on a farm and the results can be game-changing, as the following figures show:
The average farm campsite earnt £7,000 in bookings on Pitchup over the last year
Average net farm income was £27,000 in 2015
49% of farms earned £10,000 or under in net farm income in 2013/14
Pitchup's best selling campsite earned £200,000 of bookings in the last 12 months
Yates continues: “Following the recent pressure on the sector including the milk crisis, over the last six months, we have seen 45% more farms register on Pitchup.com compared to last year, renting land out as pitches or adding lodge, caravan or ‘glamping’ accommodation.”
At present Pitchup has 250 farmers selling outdoor holidays via its website.
“The domestic camping and caravan market is worth £2.3bn 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 last year from its listing on Pitchup. Farmers already own the land in most cases – why not put unfarmed parts of it to use?”
The facts for farmers:
Brits holidaying at home spend 25% more nights at campsites or caravan parks or glamping sites than at hotels.
They spend £2.3bn each year during GB camping and caravanning trips.
They take more camping and caravanning trips in Britain than holidays to Spain and Greece combined.
Campsites have received up to £200,000 in bookings over the last year, with the average farm campsite receiving £7,000 and the most successful farm campsite receiving £60,000.
MiPod Solutions are a company dedicated to build and deliver glamping options such as glamping pods or shepherd huts, as well as help with planning permission - meaning that farmers can set up with little effort and generate a year-round income from holidaymakers.