Due to a changed policy of the government, Staatsbosbeheer had to seek a new source of income. The decision to do more with the camping grounds was made. Camping is an activity that suits the three pillars of Staatsbosbeheer: Experience, protect, and utilize. The grounds were already there, but they were managed jointly. By using a central focus and by taking the step to the digital world, the camping grounds must become profitable.
Sleepover? Come along at the forester!
Marking out the camping grounds with barriers, fences, and a reception doesn’t fit the ‘back to nature’ feel of Staatsbosbeheer. Moreover, there is not enough manpower to do so. Staatsbosbeheer controls 250,000 hectare of Dutch nature, hosted by the foresters. We want to position them in the right way, thus not as a receptionist.
De central question: ‘How do you get the consumer to make a booking, check-in and/or pay online or on location’. The guests are given the responsibility of booking, checking-in, and making the payment, there is a booking pillar where they can make a reservation. Thus, the forester has time to take the guests along and to tell them about the nature.
Trust in the customer.
As mentioned earlier, the new design requires a certain confidence in the consumer. They have to check in and pay by themselves to get a certificate to hang on their tent. The forester has no control over this.
The fact that ad hoc pillar bookers might run into full grounds is a ‘problem’. Availability is linked to a Stratech reservation system. The camping grounds are small and sometimes we have to reject guests. If you want certainty, you’re going to have to book online. Especially with popular places like the Wadden islands we see this happening. Tourists don’t just randomly go there, because they also have a boat trip to arrange. Furthermore, 60 percent books online and 40 percent on site.
The results of the commercializing of the camping grounds are promising for the future. In 2016 we had 28,300 bookings divided over 23 grounds. The conversion increased by 28%. The number of overnight stays was 202,000, an increase of 10 percent.