New business targets camping sector

An online business to help campsite owners and campers has been supported by Invest Northern Ireland as part of a £160,000 investment.

CampStead Ltd was set up by a young Belfast entrepreneur, Andrew Norris, from Queen’s University. The business has developed a range of web based campsite and caravan park management software systems that allow campsites and caravan parks to manage their parks and their bookings more efficiently.

The web based software allows campsites and caravan parks to check for availability simultaneously, from multiple locations and create bookings in seconds without the worry of over booking.

The CampStead directory listing service enables campers to search, and locate campsites across Europe, using their own selected criteria, location, facilities etc. It will provide campers with a detailed description of these campsites, and the online booking system will enable campers to check for availability in real time and proceed to make a booking and payment online in their own time.

Andrew has gained extensive software development and web design experience over the last 5 years and he has been spent the past three years developing these systems, which have been successfully trialled and tested.

The CampStead project was recently judged a £1,000 winner in the NICENT Headstart Programme.

Oonagh Hinds, Manager of Invest NI’s Eastern Regional Office, says: “This young entrepreneur has identified a gap in the market and has developed an innovative product to meet the needs of campsite owners and campers. This knowledge-based product has global potential and we will be working closely with Andrew to help him fully exploit this.”

The company aims to achieve annual sales of £250,000 and employ six staff by 2012.

Andrew Norris of CampStead says: “We provide campsites and caravan parks with a range of products, which when used together provide a unique offering.  Our management systems are specifically customised to suit the parks individual, unique requirements and are simple and easy to use.

“I am confident that we can achieve our ambitious targets. The support from Invest NI is essential in allowing us to develop our capability and undertake significant marketing activity over the next three years to drive forward sales in the UK and Europe.”