OUTDOOR accommodation specialist Pitchup.com has reported the strongest year to date for farm bookings on its website.

The business, which represents more than 300 farms across the UK, has reported that 53,000 bookings on farm sites were taken in the last year, producing a whopping 32% annual increase.

With the average farm campsite taking £11,000 via Pitchup.com bookings over the last year, Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said: “Farmers can expect to see their incomes flourish when diversifying into the accommodation sector. One site on our books took £90,000 in accommodation bookings in the last 12 months, given that the average Farm Business Income (FBI) is just £33,000. This is a real opportunity for farmers to invigorate their business and reap the rewards diversification brings.

“Parts of the farming industry have struggled in recent years and large numbers have now embraced diversification to sustain their agricultural businesses. Many farmers’ main asset is their vast swathes of land, much of which can lie unused.”

Mr Yates said that the business wanted to encourage farmers to use the space for creating camp and glamping sites and pointed out that it’s relatively inexpensive to set up a basic site. He also said that permission and licences are not always required, and that the returns are immediate.

The running of a farm-based campsite is relatively straightforward and by working with Pitchup.com, many farms could see their income rise dramatically, as the follow figures show that the Average Farm Business Income (FBI) was £33,000 in 2016/2017 and just over half of farms in the UK earnt less than £20,000 in FBI. Another figure states that 20% of UK farms failed to make a positive FBI in 2016/2017 and just under a quarter of UK farms had a FBI of more than £50,000 in 2016/2017.

“With our help these last few statistics can change," said Mr Yates. Farming is vital to the economy of Britain and to supplement core income from agriculture, we are actively encouraging more farmers to consider diversification. The British domestic camping and caravan market is worth £2.2 billion per annum and we’re encouraging farms to get on board and enjoy a slice of this income. Farmers already own the land in most cases – why not put unfarmed parts of it to use?”

BLOB In 2019, Pitchup.com will mark a decade of assisting British farms in reaching their potential as a multifunctional business. During this time participating farmers have enjoyed a healthy income with some earning as much as £90,000 per year in campsite bookings alone.

To find out more about running a campsite or caravan park visit https://www.pitchup.com/how-start-campsite-caravan-park/ or, to get started, call 0208 434 7444 or visit https://www.pitchup.com/.

Pitchup.com is exhibiting at Farm Business Innovation 2018, taking place at the NEC from 7 - 8 November 2018. To meet the team and find out more, visit stand 164 (Holiday Park & Resort Innovation hall).