Camplify experiencing significant growth as restrictions ease and international travel returns

Camplify experiencing significant growth as restrictions ease and international travel returns

Camplify CEO Justin Hales. 

With ShareACamper customers already transferred to its platform and the Mighway migration set to be completed in the next few weeks, peer-to-peer recreational vehicle (RV) platform Camplify (ASX: CHL) has reported a solid performance across the business in its latest market update.

Following the acquisition of the two peer-to-peer motorhome and campervan rental platforms for a combined $7.37 million from Tourism Holdings (NZX: THL) in May, which coincided with New Zealand opening up to vaccinated visitors, Camplify has seen a significant increase in activity over the intervening period.

Revenue was up 112 per cent to $14.2 million as of 31 May against the same period last year, with a quarter of people hiring campervans (up from a fifth) now repeat bookers, indicating customers are happy re-engaging with the platform.

Sharing its future booking numbers for the first time, which were previously kept confidential due to the uncertainty around COVID restrictions, the Newcastle-headquartered company believes consumer confidence in the business is growing.

“Year to date, we’ve received $14.81 million in future bookings in the system. That figure was $7.57 million the year before, so almost double the number of bookings this year,” Camplify CEO Justin Hales told Business News Australia.

“The way that our system works is we recognise the numbers once the booking takes place, indicating that people have paid for the booking and intend to go on a trip, generally speaking, in the next 12 months.

“We're seeing a rise in people wanting to book, signifying more consumer confidence, and certainly now a strong desire to travel domestically in Australia, as well as inbound tourists returning to all the markets we're in.”

Hales says the business is seeing a significant return of inbound tourists, especially in the New Zealand market.

“Since the borders opened, we’ve seen a steep rise in people booking in New Zealand where we see increased booking requests and increased traffic.

“The number of days booked (booking days) are getting longer, meaning people are going on longer trips, which is also an indicator that they're inbound tourists because domestic travellers usually only book short trips.

“We also see booking values dramatically increasing, which is another indicator of inbound tourists. Currently, the average booking value is around $2,500 in New Zealand, whereas our general overall booking value is $1,100, so much higher in that market.”

As inflation and interest rates begin to impact markets around the world, Hales believes Camplify’s proposition provides an excellent option for lower-cost holidays and a way for RV owners to earn additional income.

“When you compare a $1,100 holiday with us versus jumping on a plane, hiring a car, and staying in an apartment, we're a great alternative for people who are concerned about their hip pockets and still want to go on a holiday,” he said.

“From that perspective, that's one of the reasons we're seeing these big increases because people are concerned and want to make sure that they're tightening their belts a little bit. However, they still want the pleasure of going on holidays, which is a great indicator for us that we will continue to see that growth.

“From the other side of the marketplace, with people who own vehicles, we are a great opportunity for them to make a little bit of extra income so they can add an extra source of money to a family budget through renting out their vehicle.”

Hales points to the European and US markets, which are ahead of Australia and New Zealand in terms of inflationary pressures and says there has been an acceleration in people listing their vehicles as they look for additional revenues.

Camplify has grown its fleet by 62 per cent to more than 10,000 RVs, against the same period in 2021, but it's still not quite enough to meet the growing demand.

“From our perspective, we've got a fantastic demand, we've got our fleet which is growing in a good environment and at a good rate, but the amount of demand that we've had, we just need more vehicles,” he said.

“It would be great if we could double our fleet of vehicles because we know that there's significant demand from our hirers.”

The business is looking at ways of improving the user experience for both parties through constantly investing in technology and has launched several new initiatives in FY22, including instant booking and a mobile app.

The business may look to broaden to new markets next year if the opportunity is right.

“We set out at the start of this financial year to ensure that we were securing the number one spot in every market we're operating in. We've done that in Australia and New Zealand, and we're well on the way to doing that in Spain and the UK,” Hales said.

“Beyond that, we will look at what are the other markets that we want to enter and how can we take this business, that's really scalable through our software platforms, to those markets.”

The Camplify (ASX: CHL) share price has increased from $2.01 on Tuesday evening before the latest market update to $2.20 at the close of the market on Thursday evening.

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