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Are the big clubs profiteering?

We’ve been used to seeing steady price rises from the big clubs for years. A common complaint is that while they have ‘club’ in the name and call us members, unlike a club, it seems sometimes they do not appear to act in the members’ interests.

Our big clubs are cash rich, membership fees bring in tens of millions before they sell us a single pitch on a campsite. 

Amid the current landscape of rising prices and inflation, it would be reasonable to assume that clubs would prioritise keeping pitch fees affordable for their members. This, it would appear, is not the case.

So what happened?

After those lockdowns, everyone who owned a recreational vehicle wanted to get away, and sites were full. But it wasn’t just existing owners. Campsites were filling with brand new owners, part of the crazy post covid rise in the popularity of caravans and motorhomes. 

This seller’s dream meant most every dealer in the land sold everything on their forecourts, and most of those new owners joined the big clubs and headed off to their sites.

Not satisfied with the increased site occupancy and lots more membership fees filling their coffers. The clubs, rather than seeking to be a mechanism for member benefit, appeared to see it as an opportunity to capitalise on demand and continually raise prices, much like a budget airline might. But Airlines aren’t clubs taking fifty million in subs before they sell us a ticket. 

Has this short-sighted policy come back to bite them? Many people on our forums have commented that sites that were almost impossible to book, suddenly have places, even at the weekend and bank holidays!  

Are we turning our back on sites?

No, I don’t think so, but camping at them has definitely slowed. A lot of post covid owners discovered camping to be both pricey and crowded, causing them to sell their van and return to booking airlines and hotel rooms..

The high pitch prices have also meant many motorhome owners have discovered other places to camp that are cheaper. Such as CL’s, rallies, independent sites, and temporary holiday sites. 

Are the clubs profiteering?

On the face of it, the clubs exist not to make a profit but to benefit their members, so profiteering shouldn’t be an issue, however for many it just doesn’t feel that way.

According to today’s news reports, Jeremy Hunt, UK Chancellor, is urging consumer watchdogs to use their authority in curbing price hikes. Supermarkets, banks, and utility companies are suspected of exploiting inflation as an excuse to boost their profits. Hunt’s message is a call to action for watchdogs to protect consumers from unfairly inflated prices.

As motorhome enthusiasts, we don’t enjoy a watchdog and higher charges may well be justified. However, Motorhomefun can, as a large collective, write to the clubs for an explanation of the increase in prices. See the letter we sent below. We’ll publish any reply that we receive.


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