• Australians are switching planes for road trips according to research by Camplify Holdings
  • A Camping and caravanning sector now contributing ~$23 billion to the Australian economy annually
  • Camplify is a beneficiary of changing travel habits with increases across key metrics for FY22

Want to head on a road trip? Hitting the open roads has become a popular form of travel and it’s not just the grey nomads, according to campervan lending platform Camplify Holdings (ASX:CHL).

Research by Camplify found in July 2022 that 14% of hirers were in their 20s, 32% were in their 30s, 27% were in their 40s,  17% in their 50s and 9.5% aged 60 and up. But it’s Camplify’s FY22 results released this week which are also showing the rise in road trips and campervan holidays, with revenue up to $16.36 million, a ~94% increase on pcp of FY21.

Furthermore, FY22 gross transaction volumes of $53.6 million for FY22 represented a pcp growth rate of 63.13% on FY21. Customer retention hit 25%, while future booking values were over double FY21 at $14.7 million by the end of FY22.

Aussies look to holiday at home

As the world opens and adjusts to living with Covid-19, the nature of how people travel is changing. According to the research 85% of Aussies expect to stay within the country for their next holiday, despite finally being allowed to travel internationally.

Only 7% of Australians who took a holiday in the last six months ventured overseas, with the remaining 93% travelling domestically.

Camplify chief marketing officer Alastair McCausland told Stockhead the passion for road trips has been boosted in the last couple of years, due to Australians looking to enjoy the flexibility of travelling at their own leisure.

“It also provides an option for self-contained travel for those who still feel particularly vulnerable due to the pandemic,” McCausland said.

According to the Camplify research it’s a trend that doesn’t look to slow down, with 61% of those who plan to have their next holiday in Australia opting to road trip to their destination, due to contributing factors including:

• That it’s cheaper (28%)
• They are not travelling far (23%)
• That it’s easier (14%)

Group travel has also proven popular, with 41% of hirers being couples or friends, while 24% of hirers were families.

Switch from plane travel

CEO and founder of Camplify Justin Hales said for a long time throughout the pandemic, hiring a van to take on a road trip or using your own vehicle were the only travel options.

Hales said despite the world now opening for international travel, the company was seeing many Australians choose the option they’ve come to know for ease and cost efficiency, plus getting close to nature.

The Camplify research found of 66% of Australians who have had a holiday in the last six months, 77% travelled to their destination by road compared to 44% who travelled by plane.

“The freedom that comes with road tripping is one that people have come to know and love, particularly as people are still experiencing the difficulties that have arisen from recent airport chaos,” he said.

“A road trip can also be a far more cost-effective option for Aussies to go on holiday as inflation and interest rates begin to impact markets around the world.”

Boost for domestic tourism market

With the rise in interest in campervanning holidays, the camping and caravanning sector has become one of the largest providers of holiday accommodation in Australia.

The industry’s impact on the Australian economy is also exponentially growing, with the industry contributing $23.8 billion to the Australian economy annually.

While Covid-19 presented many challenges for the tourism sector worldwide, Hales said its focus on community fuelled innovation and ultimately building a thriving a business has contributed to its success.

“Camplify grew gross transaction value (GTV) by 170% in FY21,” Hales said.

“Despite Covid-19-related challenges, Camplify continued to accelerate growth with an additional 51,000 plus customers joining the Camplify community in FY21 and more than 70,000 people booking a van on the platorm in FY21.

“Global booking requests remain strong and seasonally adjusted, provides a good indicator of future growth.”

Nice little money earner

With Australians growing more concerned about the rising cost of living, they are increasingly looking for ideas that will offset the cost of living.

McCausland said Camplify is providing a platform where those who have underutilised pricey RVs can make money off them, so it’s a win for the traveller and owners.

“Many owners earn up to $15,000 a year, which can go towards paying off the van, and personal expenses and act as a buffer to the costs of everyday life,” he said.

“Camplify has seen a 61% growth from FY21 of vans for hire, bringing the total fleet number to 9,926 and is forecasted to continue to grow.

“This, in turn, has resulted in a wider choice for hirers looking to book a van for their holidays, and also provides an opportunity for prospective van owners to try a van before they buy their own.”

The Camplify share price has risen ~72% since it debuted on the ASX in June 2021.