ACSI camping.info Booking will be launched mid-May
Europe’s two largest players on the campsite market, ACSI and camping.info, are joining forces to launch ACSI camping.info Booking. With one contract, campsites will soon be affiliated to Europe’s two largest booking platforms. Together they generate about 40 million visits.
Neither company is a stranger to the camping sector. For years they have been offering campers the possibility to search for and book campsites online. ACSI serves campers across Europe via Eurocampings.eu, CampingCard.com and the corresponding apps. Camping.info is the largest campsite platform for campsites in the German-speaking market. Both parties were looking for ways to make it even easier for campsites to be bookable for a large group of campers with the least possible effort.
Competitors that collaborate is an extremely rare phenomenon, but for ACSI CEO Ramon van Reine and camping.info CEO Maximilian Möhrle, it was a logical step. ‘We want to work together in the areas where we can achieve solutions together. So that we can offer a better service to both the campsites as well as campers,’ says Maximilian. Ramon: ‘I first met Maximilian at a camping congress in North Germany. He was giving a presentation about booking campsites online. He started by asking the audience who was staying in a hotel that evening. Everyone put up their hand. He then asked the audience if they had booked online All hands went up in the air again. Finally, he asked the audience why campsites were not yet bookable online. He instantly had everyone’s attention. I was extremely impressed and wanted to brainstorm with him.’
And no sooner said than done. Maximilian and Ramon spoke on several occasions. ‘We hit it off right away. I wanted to learn about Ramon’s perspective on the campsite market. ACSI is a market leader in Europe, so a serious party. At a certain point, I mentioned that I would like to collaborate,’ states Maximilian. Ramon: ‘We are bringing together our expertise in the field of software development and are making a platform that can run on both channels. That will enable us to continue to develop at a faster pace and get as many campsites as possible affiliated to the platform. You could compare it to the car industry, where they use one concern’s platform for multiple car brands. Brands that compete for consumers is something ACSI and camping.info will also continue to do towards campers’.
Camping.info was founded in 2006 by the Austrian Erwin Oberascher. He created a campsite platform, much like TripAdvisor was for restaurants at the time. The campsite information consisted of general information and reviews by campers themselves. In turn, Maximilian Möhrle started the online booking platform Max Camping in 2015, where mainly German campsites could be booked. ‘It wasn’t easy because I discovered a good technical infrastructure for online booking was almost non-existent for campsites, and campsite owners were wary of commissions and had heard negative stories from hotels about Booking.com.’ And yet, it didn’t deter Maximilian from his mission to make the largest possible number of campsites bookable online for campers. In 2018, together with Truma CEO Alexander Wottrich, he took over Camping.info. ‘We needed technical updates and it was quite difficult to find developers to do that. But we reinvented it and have modernised it to create what we have now.’
Experience spanning 56 years
ACSI has existed since 1965 and was founded by Ed van Reine, the father of the current CEO Ramon van Reine. ACSI was an early bird in the field of internet. In 1998, it developed the first version of Eurocampings.eu which was immediately available in four languages. Since then, it has grown to a platform offering extensive campsite information about no less than 9,700 European campsites in 14 different languages. The information is collected by inspectors who inspect the campsites annually. ‘That is our strength. And it will remain that way,’ states Ramon. Since 2016, campers have been able to book a camping pitch or accommodation directly via Eurocampings.eu.
Ramon talks about the collaboration: ‘We balance each other as companies. In terms of software, we are seamlessly aligned. Because we will be developing together, we can develop twice as fast and increase the selection of campsites faster than if we both did that independently. As such, we will become a party everyone wants to join for Property Management Systems’.
According to Maximilian, the success of the collaboration mainly lies in the fact that both entrepreneurs dare to think out of the box. ‘We are not going to shout about becoming the biggest but working with the campsites, we are going to grow and become stronger, step by step. We share the same vision on that. We aim for the best service for campsites We want to support campsites’. Ramon adds: ‘And of course offer campers as many bookable campsites as possible’.
Maximilian: ‘We save campsites a lot of time. Think of staff at reception, who get asked many of the same questions on the phone. At least, always the question of availability within a certain period. These are questions a user-friendly booking environment can answer. If you add up all those telephone hours over a year and calculate how much that costs you as a campsite owner, the commission per booking is not so bad. The staff at reception can spend that time on social interaction with the guests at the campsite and on improving the service, something a computer cannot do. Being affiliated to our booking channels is therefore not only an additional marketing channel but also a management system’.
Another success factor is that both ACSI as well as camping.info are family businesses. ‘I come from a family business as does my business partner Alexander. You have a different perspective as a family business. You don’t look at the short term because everything you do has consequences for the following generation. You want to have everything properly arranged for the next generation, so you make long-term choices. Decisions are not only driven by profit or advantage but also by future stability. That is why I am convinced that working in the camping sector is so suited to us because many campsites are family businesses too. They look at their campsites the same way,’ states Maximilian. ‘And we both have dozens of years of camping experience. Each in our own way. Max has a motorhome, and my family and I travel with a caravan,’ adds Ramon.
Both companies carry out regular surveys into what campsites want but even when not doing surveys, both CEOs talk regularly with campsites across Europe. That focus on service is a matter of course for them. ‘We certainly do not want to abuse the trust campsite’s have in us. Or make them dependent on us. We want to offer campsites an improved and faster service, not only when they need us’, emphasises Ramon.
Maximilian is convinced that many campsites will be pleased with this partnership. ‘There may be some apprehension that we have now become extremely big, but we still want to be around in ten years, so we want to work with campsites in a fair way. We therefore only work with campsites that have chosen to be bookable via our websites, so for example, you won’t find Booking.com on our websites. ACSI and Camping.info are two sizeable private companies. That is our strength. With Ramon and I, campsites have reliable partners who have been in this industry for years. Together, we offer the largest reach in Europe and that is a massive opportunity for campsites’.
Ramon adds, ‘We are not going to advertise on Google with a campsite’s good name. Campers who already know the campsite can book directly with the campsite itself. We don’t want to get in the way of that. What we want to do is serve the camper who is still searching by offering the best campsites in a certain area. Then all the camper has to do, is choose and book directly’.
How it works
Campsites that already have a contract with one of the two companies, don’t have to do a thing. The agreement will be transferred to ACSI camping.info Booking. Campsites who have not signed up yet are more than welcome of course. The platform will be up and running from mid-May. Ramon: ‘Campsites have already received a mail with information about this partnership.’ Maximilian is full of confidence: ‘Our system is already the best the market has to offer, and it will only get better!’
Five benefits of the collaboration between ACSI and camping.info:
- With one contract, campsites are bookable with the European market leaders (with a focus on campers in the Netherlands and Germany).
- No Google Ads campaign in the name of your campsite
- New campers get to know your campsite
- By entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs
- Linked to your PMS or channel manager