Campings.com, French specialist in outdoor accommodation reservations (HPA), which offers a search and reservation engine for campsites listing 4,500 establishments in nine different countries, announced this morning the acquisition of Bungalow Booker, the leading platform for booking stays in holiday parks in the Netherlands. Low.
800 additional establishments in Northern Europe
Campings.com thus has access to a market representing 1 billion euros in stays, as well as a clientele mainly made up of Dutch people and 20% Germans. A well-thought-out parameter: “They represent 16% of internet reservations at campsites in France”says Jérôme Mercier, the group’s general manager.
“We thus offer hosts, in particular the self-employed, access to a new pool of population, difficult to reach otherwise. Picking up customers who work on staggered school holidays is also an opportunity for them to improve their occupancy rates.”
In addition, the search and reservation engine can, thanks to the takeover of Bungalow Booker, geographically extend its offer. With 3,500 establishments in Southern Europe and now 800 in Northern Europe, “the mesh begins to be rich and relevant“, welcomes the CEO. He is aiming for a business volume of more than 200 million euros from 2023.
This operation follows a new financing of 27 million euros including 22 million in capital increase carried out with the investment fund Partners in Equity, one of its shareholders, and 5 million in relaunched bonds.
The Covid period was complicated, but the group was protected, in the words of its CEO, “by the possibility of continuing to travel nationally and thanks to the fact that outdoor accommodation has been a safe haven“. The group is now resuming its project: to assert itself as European champion of HPA reservations.
“Today, driven by controlled organic growth – reservations increased by 30% in 2022 – we have the ability to add external growth to go faster and strengthen our proposals.“, explains Jérôme Mercier. To assert himself as a leader, he confirms, in a half-word, that Campings.com will pursue this strategy. “In Europe, we do not forbid ourselves anything, we want to bring together the best teams and local champions (…). There may be competitive markets that justify building-up“. A strategy that the director of the group has already operated at Photobox, where he worked, and Kelkoo, the price comparator he co-founded.
“Obviously we will look further, but the recipe for our success is to do what we say and say what we do. There are companies that are proud to announce exorbitant fundraising amounts, to set up large teams very quickly, and it’s make or break… We are moving forward little by little, we are really on a strategy of evidence”he insists.
A specialist position
On the market, metasearch engines like Lastminute or Home to go are not competitors of the group, but partners. Ditto for Leclerc Voyages, Crossroads Voyages or Cdiscount Voyages, which offers the Campings.com catalog as a white label.
Generalist platforms like Booking.com are competitors, but the group stands out”through specialized positioning“.”We only reference establishments managed by professionals, not offers from individuals such as marketplaces or certain booking sites such as Booking, because these are not the same offers in terms of quality of accommodation or cleaning, for example; and because individuals charge the prices they want, rates that may not make sense in terms of seasonality or market prices.“He assures that the company for its part closely follows the rate of customer satisfaction post booking but also post stay, in order to award satisfaction prizes to the hosts, based on feedback.
Another competitive advantage according to him: the fact of offering all types of HPA, in particular bare pitches, which require a booking engine capable of calculating a price linked to the options and depending on the composition of the family (the price is not not the same if you install a caravan or motorhome, if there are four adults or two adults and two children, etc.).
In terms of the evolution of the offer, the DG affirms that the dimension of additional services – of the car rental type – is key to offering a good experience to customers. He would also like to note that Campings.com was one of the first in the sector to launch the split payment. But that’s not the priority:For the moment we want to offer our customers an international clientele, we will think about additional services perhaps later“, he concludes.
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Campings.com acquires Bungalow Booker, the Dutch leader in outdoor accommodation bookings