PENTICTON - Uber disrupted the taxi industry, AirBnB disrupted the hotel accommodations industry and now a B.C. company wants to use the same methods to disrupt… camping? Neighbourhoods?
The women behind Campsite Connection are hoping to connect RVers with homeowners who have a little extra space on their properties, preferably closer to top destinations.
Website hosts Wendy Whelen and Tracey Fitzgerald are sisters and started the business based in Vancouver, Whistler and the Okanagan. They started it as a shared platform for people to list and book unique places to camp in B.C., online or from a mobile phone.
The sisters are avid campers and budget travellers who love wilderness camping, but also enjoy visiting cities and tourist destinations.
“I like to go into Vancouver to visit friends, but there’s nowhere to camp. That’s where the idea came from,” Whelen says. “The basic idea is to provide a camping space for a short term stay, overnight or a couple of days, in an urban area.”
She calls the website an "AirBnB for RVs" where campers can check the site to see who has space for use.
AirBnB, Uber and other disruptors are not without their controversies and it’s not hard to imagine the potential neighbourhood chaos if RVs start hooking up in residential Okanagan neighbourhoods.
Still, they hope the site will eventually be available across Canada. There are only a handful of listings now, but Whelen hopes by the time camping season gets underway there will be hundreds.
The website is designed to bridge the gap between traditional camping locations, usually located in rural areas, by providing a driveway, outdoor space, yard or parking lot in or near urban centres, vineyards, golf courses and other locations "on the beaten track.”
Property owners who wish to act as a host can list their location on the site.
Campers have access to the website’s listing, and can contact hosts through a real-time message service.
Bookings are done directly online, with payment made the day of the camper’s arrival. Campsite Connection collects a 10 per cent fee for the service.
Landowners wishing to host a camping space are allowed to publish their ad for free.
Camping requests are accepted or denied at the hosts’ discretion, with payment made the day of the camper's arrival.
Hosts should check with their insurance companies regarding any special insurance coverage needed to permit the use.
More information can be found at the Campsite Connection website.
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