The 14th edition of the Congress of Croatian Camping, organized by the Croatian Camping Union (KUH), saw an interesting speech by Uwe Frers, General Manager of ADAC Camping – Pincamp. The head of the German group analyzed the seasonal trend of the pandemic in some European countries, with a particular eye on Croatia, and proposed an optimistic vision for the year that has just begun. Of course, at the time of presentation, at the beginning of December, the health situation was slightly better than the current one, but the general considerations do not change.
Pincamp recorded ten million visits in 2020, with 44 million page views and 5.5 million campers. In 2021, the company aims to grow by at least 30 per cent, the same rate recorded last year. To achieve this, despite the period, he confirmed the current number of employees (42) and the level of investments. Frers’ speech below.
In France the worst numbers
In Germany, in the first wave we recorded 73,000 cases at the most, on April 6th, while at the end of November we reached 315,000. The current situation sees a stagnation, with a slight decline. In Italy in the first phase the situation was worse, with a peak of 108,000 cases on April 20th. At the end of November, it reached 798,000, with a 7x multiplier. France instead recorded 59,000 cases on April 14th, but the strange thing is that there was no decline: on May 23rd there were still 52,000, while on November 28th it reached two million, with a 34x multiplier. Finally, in Croatia, there were 1,258 cases in April, but with two other small waves in the summer period: 1,207 cases on July 19th and 2,771 cases on September 5th. Finally, there were 23,573 cases with a 19x multiplier compared to the first wave.
It is interesting to note the number of page views about camping sites on Pincamp. In the first phase, as the pandemic grew, the views went down. After the number of cases passed the initial peak, the visits grew exponentially. When the second peak was recorded, there was a similar trend, first going down and then going up. From the third peak onwards, the views plummeted, as in the first phase. There is therefore a clear correlation between the epidemic trend and the number of pages viewed: the German campers proved to be particularly careful.
The hope of the vaccine
The simulations show us that if the R index, equal to 0.95 at the beginning of December, were not to drop, the pandemic would decrease, but very slowly, bringing repercussions also in the next summer season. If, on the other hand, the index falls to 0.85, the situation could be resolved by May. From our point of view it is therefore particularly important that the numbers fall. The start of mass vaccination could radically change things. There are two elements to consider: the negative numbers and the perception of the German campers. I believe that if vaccinations instill a good sense of security, recovery could be rapid.
The second aspect to analyze is the positive season seen in Germany in terms of registrations. 29 per cent of Germans are somehow involved or attracted to the world of open-air tourism: around 18.7 million people, which is the highest number ever seen so far. Furthermore, the number of nights spent camping since 2001 has grown by 60%. But the most interesting thing is to note, looking at the 2020 numbers, that the drop was only 5 percent, making the season the second best ever. And this has been a great success for the industry. Finally, another incredible indicator is the number of RVs sold in Germany, which grew by 37 percent from January to October. They are over 100,000 vehicles with an average value of 73,000 euros! And everyone will want to camp.
The potential of Croatia is enormous
Let’s now talk about the possibilities of Croatia. If you look at the number of campsites that can be booked through Pincamp compared to the total number of facilities in a country, Croatia boasts 50% more than France and 131% more than Italy. And as a result, the number of bookings is also very high, the second after Germany. An incredible number is the average revenue per booking, which places Croatia widely in first place, with 41% more than Italy and even 188% more than France. Finally, we asked in November which was the favorite destination of the Germans and the result rewarded Italy (15%), Croatia (13%) and Spain (6%), although of course Germany is firmly in first place.
Finally, let’s see what Croatia can do to win over German campers. First of all, adopt radical methods to bring down the number of coronavirus cases. If the numbers do not go down, we will face a huge problem. Secondly, as many campsites as possible should be made bookable, not for a simple competition, but to become the dominant country in the places’ availability. This is the element that is sought (and noticed) first by surfers.
The third aspect is that of maximum visibility obtainable by putting prices and availability online as soon as possible. Last but not least, special cancellation conditions due to the coronavirus should be created and promoted without risks for guests. Many bookings are not being made due to current uncertainties. We think this is a key element to guarantee bookings for next season right now.