SPONSORED FEATURE: Erik Verwaaijen, the man behind CampPlus’s plug and play toilet / shower unit, expands on the business and its product offering.
What is a CampPlus unit?
The CampPlus unit is a compact plug and play building with a complete shower room that turns any camping or glamping site into a 5 star facility. It is the missing link between a fully serviced pitch and a lodge, and increases the occupancy and profitability of pitches when installed.
Who are the people behind CampPlus?
- Erik Verwaaijen: Having spent 30 years as a lighting director and stage manager in music and theatre, Erik moved to England in 2006. He settled in Cornwall where, some time later, he was asked to design a camp site for a friend. This is where the idea of an en-suite toilet / shower pod for camping guests was born.
- Wietse Tjoelker: Wietse, a retired KPMG partner is still very active as a consultant, mainly for family-owned businesses. He also invests in start-ups and has been co-owner of CampPlus since 2014.
When did you start the company and why?
I started the company in 2013 and Wietse joined in 2014. The inspiration was to increase the level of comfort for guests while camping. Being an experienced camper myself, I always felt that the trip to the toilet / shower block was a big negative. This is where I began to explore the idea of providing a facility for every pitch. I knew I would be more than happy to pay extra for the added comfort and privacy and was certain that a lot of other camping guests would feel the same. We started designing a small but comfortable outhouse but soon realised that, since you need water, sewerage and electrics anyway, we might as well turn it into a complete en-suite with a shower, toilet and washbasin. A private shower room right next to a guest’s tent or caravan.
What product options do you offer?
To keep the product affordable we keep it simple. There are only two options for most elements like cladding, toilet, wash basin: Good and Excellent. On our website there is a downloadable Excel calculator that allows customers to choose all the different options. Tick the boxes and it gives an instant quote.
Describe your target market
Campsite owners who:
- Want very happy campers
- Want to make their pitches more profitable
- Want to clean once a week on changeover day, instead of twice a day
Can you provide some average return on investment figures?
It depends on the situation. If units are installed instead of a toilet and shower block the payback time is usually two to three years. It’s hardly ever more than four years, whatever the situation. A base unit costs around £4,200 and our downloadable calculator quickly helps customers work out the return. The bathrooms are made of solid materials and will last easily more than 10 years.
What do customers say?
Simon Williams, commercial director of Bridge Leisure Parks, said: “We were convinced of the advantages of en-suite campsite pods and ordered 16 CampPlus units. We have been really pleased with the customer reaction and forward bookings have been very impressive. We will be installing further en-suite pods on our other parks as well as expanding the number at our Trevella and Sand le Mere sites.”
How many units have you sold in the UK?
On top of the 16 units for Bridge Leisure Parks, CampPlus has sold seven more units to three other campsites in the UK. See the projects page on our website.
What is CampPlus working on now?
We are currently working on the new Duo unit which sits between, and serves, two pitches. We will be touring it on a trailer throughout the UK this summer and would be very happy to visit readers’ sites so that they can see the advantages first-hand. We are also working on a unit with two separate toilets and a small wash basin.
What are your future plans for the business?
To make en-suite facilities a regular option on campsites and, in the long term, to make it a standard facility. It was not so long ago that hotels had shared showers and toilets in the corridor – nowadays you expect a hotel room to have a bathroom. We want to achieve the same at campsite pitches.