A peer-to-peer revolution is sweeping society and consumers, including budget-savvy grey nomads, look set to be major beneficiaries.
A new study from World Travel Market and Euromonitor International has concluded that the trend of ‘normal’ people communicating with, and helping out, their peers will accelerate rapidly.
The evidence is everywhere. Websites are emerging that pair travellers with home cooks at holiday destinations leaving restaurants counting the cost; online ride share services are upsetting cabbies; and sites that allow travellers to stay in other’s private home have long been hitting the hostel and hotel sector. Now, it seems the caravanning and motorhoming fraternity is to have its horizons expanded.
There has been a noticeable trend towards private landholders offering grey nomads access to basic camping facilities for little or no cost. In some instances this option is offered by land-owning, part-time grey nomads wishing to help out fellow travellers.
Another emerging trend is for caravan or motorhome owners to offer a loan of their rig to overseas or interstate visitors. This is a potential moneyspinner for grey nomads who are taking a break and whose rig is parked idly in a driveway.
Of course, none of this is likely to go down well with caravan parks or vehicle hire companies. And they will not be the only traditional businesses upset by the peer-to-peer phenomenon. The annual global survey of World Travel Market exhibitors and buyers found that 19% of businesses polled had been affected by the emergence of peer-to-peer websites, with 78% expressing concern about the trend.
“These findings are a real eye-opener,” said World Travel Market Senior Director, Simon Press. “Those businesses which are competing with peer-to-peer need to have a strategy in place”.
Despite concerns in some quarters about security and safety surrounding aspects of peer-to-peer services, satisfaction levels are high, with 86% of people who have tried it likely to do so again.
For grey nomads, the peer to-peer concept most likely to appeal is the ability to camp on private land. Council regulations relating to the practice apparently vary widely across the country but some local authorities do see potential benefits.
In the New South Wales town of Coffs Harbour, for example, there has been a push to get campers off public beachside reserves. However, the mayor Denise Knight says she has no problem with free campers staying on private property, as long as they can do so legally and have the landholders’ permission.