What do you look for in a campsite

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bretonbikes
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby bretonbikes » 23 Mar 2016, 9:56pm

All excellent stuff - yes no lighting in the immediate area (I've carried eye-shades for years so it doesn't bother me personally) - there will be a washer and drying area (you're right - I forgot that one!), sadly no permanent residents left after the last person ran the place down and anyway - as I said - the lightweight area is separate. There are hedges rather than pitches - just camp near one to stop passing traffic. And yes I've had tents ruined by sparks so the fire area is isolated...

As for potential market - last year hundreds of cyclecampers cycled past the site every day (it's on both the V6 cyclepath and the Nantes-Brest tow-path) and didn't stop because there was no publicity for it (so they didn't know it was there - a 100 emplacement site!) - and the whole place was so run down...

The one snag is that I'm afraid that we cyclists aren't the best customers for a campsite. We like lots of free stuff like shelters and kitchens and tables and chairs (that other campers don't need), but we usually stay but one night and have at least one shower a day (the single biggest cost) - we also, understandably, don't see why we should pay as much as a caravan/camping car. My worry is that what we will charge (this year it's 5 Euros a person - no other costs) won't be enough to cover our own running costs. We'll see...

On the other hand we cycle tourists are the best customers for a village - we don't carry much food, living off the 'land' and we are almost always the nicest people you'd care to meet...

The campsite is huge and I suspect the camping will break even - it's the turning it into a cycling hire centre for central Brittany which will keep me in the manner to which I wish to become accustomed (or something...).
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...

tatanab
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby tatanab » 24 Mar 2016, 6:26am

bretonbikes wrote:My worry is that what we will charge (this year it's 5 Euros a person - no other costs) won't be enough to cover our own running costs.
That is very cheap, but you know that. In recent years the cheapest I've had is 4 Euros which was a very basic site with 3 toilet cubicles opening onto the field and a single token (1 Euro more) operated shower. A fantastic site, for my taste, run by a little old lady in a house the other side of the road. Perhaps your 5 Euros is for the lightweight not delineated area versus more for a defined emplacement.

I've time to spare on my way back from the south in July so I might divert on my way to St Malo, although the Brest peninsula is not somewhere I would usually go.

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby Heltor Chasca » 24 Mar 2016, 6:53am

I wince when I hear someone saying that 'cheapest ' is the most important factor. This won't help a quality business survive.

When potential clients wonder why I won't charge the same as 'white van rates' it helps me fast track them OFF my books. If they want a white van man they can get one and see what they get in return.

Similarly, If you don't want to pay more than 5 Euros perhaps consider wild camping.

I don't believe in screwing a hard working business into the ground for my own short term gain. Very damaging.

(On a similar thread, someone was insisting on free hot beverages! Thats not a demand for quality service and amenities: That's just tight.)

tatanab
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby tatanab » 24 Mar 2016, 7:00am

Heltor Chasca wrote:I wince when I hear someone saying that 'cheapest ' is the most important factor.
I agree entirely. My 4 Euro site was just excellent but very basic so would not suit many. Over the last few years I've found that 7 to 9 is a normal price for a defined emplacement. On sites where nobody turns up to collect money I put an appropriate fee in the letter box of the office when I leave.

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Sweep
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby Sweep » 24 Mar 2016, 7:07am

Best of luck with this breton.

Despite being somewhat tight myself when it comes to camping, I do think you should edge the price up a bit. Any brit customers will benefit from a still decent exchange rate. Maybe look at the cheapest simple basic clean brit campsite rate (something between £7 and £10?) And covert to euros?
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700c
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby 700c » 24 Mar 2016, 10:09am

Looking at my costs for riding EV1 a couple of years ago, the lowest I paid was 7 Euros, the highest was 14 Euros.
I did think 14 was too much for the facilities given, but this was the height of August.

Most of us cycle-campers tend to be alone or in a small group each with their own tent. I'm thinking that it maybe possible to charge a basic per person rate (your 5 euros), but then with extra charges.

Get some really nice maps printed and charge a couple of Euros for each?
A few euros for use of washing machine (free powder and conditioner?)
A euro or two for securely charging gadgets?
Some euros for a bike cleaning/maintenance service?

I guess I'm throwing some "added value" ideas out there...which could make the difference?

gloomyandy
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby gloomyandy » 24 Mar 2016, 6:12pm

I do like to have a picnic table or similar. Also nice to have a place to use a disposable BBQ, stops people damaging the grass. Some sites I've stayed in have a kettle you can use which can be really really handy, but possibly only works on very small sites? An easy way for people to arrive late (not that late but after say 6:00pm) and leave early but still have a way to pay. Clear instructions on what to do if no one is around when you arrive/leave. A way to charge stuff up, and get it back without waiting for the office to open would be great! Info about shops, cafes etc. One of my favorite sites is at Applecross and it has an on site cafe that serves tea/coffee/snacks/breakfast in a large poly tunnel type setup, which is great to escape the rain and midges! May not be an issue for you though and local shops etc. may provide this sort of thing already. A place for people to sit/hangout that is well away from where people that want to sleep are camping! Chatting and drinking with other campers can be great and can easily go on later then you think, which is not much fun if you have to be up very early the next morning to cover a long distance, get a train or whatever!

Good luck! Oh and I agree five euros sounds too low a price. Especially if a large number of the people you will get will be lone travelers.

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al_yrpal
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby al_yrpal » 24 Mar 2016, 7:25pm

A few of those plastic garden chairs dotted around. Luxury!

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

Edwards
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby Edwards » 25 Mar 2016, 10:25am

Ground that you can get tent pegs into without a gurt big hammer.
Flat well drained pitches as in no rocks in your back when sleeping.
Toilet doors.
Plenty of water points.
Gas canisters and meths substitute for sale.
Local cycle route maps.

Just a few I can think of.
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bretonbikes
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby bretonbikes » 25 Mar 2016, 4:44pm

A million thanks everyone - this is all stuff we need to be sure of. And yes we'll cover every single thing here.

The idea of the 5 Euro per person is that I hate paying more than a campervan when all I want is a bit of grass and a shower, and I really want single travellers not to be penalised as they often are - you know - have to pay the cost of an emplacement and 2 people even though you are in a nylon coffin on your own... Things like the washing machine, use of the camp kitchen, logs/charcoal for the BBQ etc will all be extra - in fact I'm inclined to be a bit like 'Poundland' and just make everything 5 Euro so it's really simple;-)

Need to get cycling clubs bringing groups too - a couple of years ago i organised the UK Tandem club to come over and did events all week, food on site every night and so on - it was brilliant fun! What do you think of email shots to the various CTC regions?

And in a similar vein, I'm a member of SELOC (South Eastern Lotus Owner's Club) and this club has exploded to 11,000 members. On their forum the have some posters with 'advertiser's status' which means they pay towards the running of SELOC and can put an advert in the classifieds on the site and mention their site and services when relevant to any topic without being classed as spamming - I wonder if the CTC forum could usefully do the same?
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...

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Sweep
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby Sweep » 25 Mar 2016, 7:26pm

Whatever price you settle on breton, don't charge extra/separately for the showers. Will bring back student memories of launderette dryers :)
Last edited by Sweep on 25 Mar 2016, 8:36pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bretonbikes
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby bretonbikes » 25 Mar 2016, 7:57pm

Sweep wrote:Whatever price you settle on breton, don't charge extra/separately for the showers? Will bring back student memories of launderette dryers :)


I hate that too - there was a period in France about 15 years ago where every campsite required tokens (jetons) to work the shower. So out of season you'd arrive, the guardian would be gone and no shower (or a cold one). vividly remember one site where having crossed one of the hardest cols in the Pyrenees (Pierre St Martin) I had no choice other than a shower straight from the melt-water of the col... I later learned to hoard a handfull of the most common pattern so that I was rarely caught out (but sometimes had to share with Kate...

If I had my way I'd even have taps like it the old days instead fo those presser things on a timer, but my kids spend at least 20 minutes in the shower every morning and empty a 300 ltr tank so I think there has to be a limit of bankruptcy...
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...

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Sweep
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby Sweep » 25 Mar 2016, 8:40pm

:)

Well at least you and kate had a nice time.

On your other point, yes, i agree, press-timer things a good idea. Showers aren't necessarily more water/heat efficient.

Won't amuse you with the first time this aging northern working class kid encountered a shower on a cub/scout campsite.
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JBB
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby JBB » 25 Mar 2016, 11:15pm

When can I give the place a try Geoff, currently expecting to be cycling Belle-Isle-en-Terre to Spain at the beginning of May.

The only thing I think I can add is that any rules about quiet are actually enforced. I've had camping ruined by this.

RobH
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Re: What do you look for in a campsite

Postby RobH » 25 Mar 2016, 11:38pm

JBB wrote:When can I give the place a try Geoff, currently expecting to be cycling Belle-Isle-en-Terre to Spain at the beginning of May.

The only thing I think I can add is that any rules about quiet are actually enforced. I've had camping ruined by this.


This. Absolutely.

Also, connectedly, please allow enough space per plot, so that tents are not crowded too closely together.