Peterborough-based entrepreneur/world traveller Olaf Dunn has launched Pitched, Canada’s first campsite booking model.
The platform—"it's really the outdoor version of Airbnb," says John Gills from the Innovation Cluster—is designed to let campers escape the crowds and get the chance to explore new land by allowing any person in Ontario to host their own property and get paid for it. Pitched allows anyone to host their land as a campsite, from farms to forests, vineyards to waterfronts and more.
Pitched Founder Olaf Dunn
With over 50 campsites in Ontario alone, Pitched provides an opportunity for the campers to have a unique place to stay and the host an opportunity to share local knowledge of the site, creating memories travellers wouldn’t experience at an average campground.
The inspiration came to Dunn as he was searching for campsites one summer for a family getaway, and came to the realization it was difficult to find a campsite. “It is hard for the average person to find a campsite that is both secluded and quiet,” says Dunn. “We wanted to create an experience for campers who are adventurous, maybe take impulsive road trips, or just want to try somewhere new.”
A Pitched site near the Ottawa Valley
When searching for a location, campers will be able to view everything available to them when they are at the campsite. The minimum requirement is room for a tent, but hosts can choose to provide equipment like fire pits, tent supplies, and more.
In order to know the reliability of campers and hosts, the Pitched app allows reviews of each person’s experience. If an issue occurs, users are allowed to contact Pitched to be investigated. As a company based on being passionate for the outdoors, Pitched most important rule is a “leave no trace” policy when campers depart the site.
Peterborough resident Alex Bushell was one of the first users to beta test and list his property (located near Ottawa) on Pitched. "My property would often go weeks without being used during the beautiful summer weather,” he says. “Pitched allows me to let people enjoy the property while also earning a few dollars to help me offset some of the costs of ownership."
Bushell's property instantly gained attraction, and he had eight bookings. “It’s also really nice to share my weekend getaway property with like-minded people and I've actually become friends with a few of them,” he says.