• As inflation bites, people are searching for affordable holidays
  • Camplify and these ASX-listed companies could cater to this new era of lower cost travellers
  • Stockhead speaks to Justin Hales, the CEO of Camplify

Rising costs of food, fuel, energy, and clothes have put a damper on many travel plans, with most families now opting for cheaper holidays.

Higher prices have also deterred people from taking the so called “revenge travel” – a term used to describe a rush to book overseas trips as we come out of Covid restrictions.

According to data from Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, the number of passengers flying domestically in April 2022 was the highest since the pandemic began. But jet fuel prices have surged to record levels and airfares are set increase in the coming months.

Against this backdrop, many Australians have opted for more affordable alternatives like taking road trips, or renting recreational vehicles (RV) from sites like Camplify.

Speaking to Stockhead, Camplify’s (ASX:CHL) founder and CEO Justin Hales said that Aussies in particular see the travel experience as a necessary part of life, irrespective of how the economy is doing.

“For Aussies, it’s a matter of where and how we’ll spend the money, but we will still go on that holiday,” Hales told Stockhead.

Not as niche as you may think

Founded in 2015 by Hales, Camplify is a marketplace that connects RV owners to hirers.

Over the last few months, the platform has seen its future bookings jump significantly by 95% as people start planning trips again.

“People have had a lot of time not being able to do much. Now they’re really keen to lock in a holiday,” said Hales.

Research by Westpac shows that the average Australian overseas holiday is expensive, lasting around three weeks and costing $4,679.

“People are now looking more at lower cost and beneficial holidays, and with Camplify, our average booking is only $1,198,” Hales said.

“When you compare that to the cost of plane travel, rental car, hotel, apartment, whatever it might be, we’re a good value holiday for consumers.

“That’s why people are starting to look at RVs as a great option, particularly in economically challenging times like today,“ he added.

The recreational vehicle market is not as niche as you might think. According to stats, there are around 800,000 RV owners in Australia, which has grown at double digit rates in the last couple of years.

“There’s huge demand from people wanting to buy RVs in Australia, and reports say there’s a 12 to 18 month wait on buying one,” explained Hales.

Expanding to global markets

In the US, a survey showed that 52% of travellers turned to rental vehicles while on vacation in order to save money. And 90% of those said they would prefer to rent something they can easily sleep in rather than book a hotel.

The market has also grown in Spain, where a younger demographics of 30-40 year olds are increasingly becoming owners of RVs.

Camplify already has a presence in Spain, and Hales believes the country’s warm climate and popularity with British travellers will make it a great market.

The company also has big expansion plans in New Zealand, where it has just completed the acquisitions of motorhome and campervan rental platforms Mighway and SHAREaCAMPER (SaC) from Tourism Holdings (NZX: THL).

In total, Camplify’s platform currently has around 10,000 RVs listed for rent, with 7,000 of those in Australia.

Hales believes that future demand will easily outstrip supply.

“Obviously we’ve still got a lot of upside to go in terms of all those people not yet listing their vehicles in the market,” Hales said.

“Those people don’t need much in terms of returns to justify getting additional income off a vehicle that they already want to own themselves.

“So we’re in a great position to service those customers and to continue our growth,” Hales said.


Camplify share price today:


Alternative travel stocks on the ASX

There are a handful of stocks on the ASX that cater to those who crave for cheaper yet newer experiences.

Experience Co (ASX:EXP)

Experience is a company that offers adventure experiences such as tandem skydiving, deep ocean diving, and rainforest tours in the Great Barrier Reef.

Started in 1999, the company now manages 12 outdoor skydiving drop zones across Australia and three in New Zealand.

EXP recently acquired Trees Adventure (TA), Australia’s leading operator of aerial adventure experiences with locations across the country, in a deal worth $46.9m.

TA offers treetop rope courses, and offers visitors to its parks a range of alternative experiences, including the world’s longest rollercoaster zip line, vertical challenges, net parks, and party rooms

XReality Group (ASX:XRG)

Formerly known as Indoor Skydive Australia (IDZ), XRG operates indoor skydiving facilities across Australia, with its customer base ranging from individual skydivers, corporates as well as the military.

The company owns iFLY Tunnel Systems, which is recognised as the pioneer in vertical wind tunnel technology, allowing operators to build their own indoor skydiving facility.

XRG recently announced the launch of FREAK Entertainment’s first in-house developed virtual reality (VR) game, created by recently acquired VR studio Red Cartel.

Called “Cowboys vs Aliens”, the game is a 4-player Free Roam VR game that will run in FREAK’s flagship Arena.

Ingenia Communities Group (ASX: INA)

Ingenia is Australia’s largest owner, operator and developer of lifestyle, rental and holiday communities.

The company has recently acquired a portfolio of seven mixed use assets that include caravan parks – three in southeast Greater Melbourne, and four in other parts of Victoria and on the border with NSW.

In November, Ingenia also acquired the BIG4 Beacon Resort – one of Australia’s premier coastal holiday communities.

Located across 3.2 hectares in Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula, the resort caters to families, groups, nomads and corporate travellers.

These purchases are part of Inegenia’s $552m acquisition spree to build on its market leading position in lifestyle and holidays sectors.

Kelsian Group (ASX: KLS)

Formerly called Sealink, Kelsian is Australia’s largest land and marine tourism and public transport service provider, with established operations in London and Singapore.

Every year Kelsian moves more than 222 million customers and operates approximately 4,200 buses, 116 vessels and 24 light rail vehicles.

The company operates the Kangaroo Island ferry, and has just secured an extension contract from the government to serve this route for the next 25 years.

Kelsian also recently placed the largest order for electric buses in Australia, and was the first company to purchase hydrogen buses to service public transport contracts.


Share prices today: