A north-east campervan company has been making the most of the rise in staycation holidays.
Camperceilidh Campers is based in Aberdeen and run by Eileen O’Farrell.
Beginning in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Eileen felt that an opportunity existed within the local tourism industry while overseas travel restrictions were still in place.
Her instincts turned out to be correct and she now owns two campervans which she hires out to clients.
At the heart of Camperceilidh Campers is Eileen’s own passion for travelling and adventure, which is deeply embedded within her business.
“I’ve always wanted to be engaged in the travel and tourism industry,” says Eileen.
“In 1996, I backpacked around the world on my own.
“I’ve also worked abroad in places like Italy and Egypt and I have always enjoyed learning about new cultures.”
A keen sailor, Eileen gained sailing qualifications pre-pandemic with the intention of operating in the field.
However, being without regular contracted work during the pandemic, she felt that she needed to re-evaluate her business model.
“Sailing wasn’t going to work with Covid-19,” says Eileen, “and I had to adapt it to the current environment.
With Covid-19, I was sitting at home unable to get a contract job
“So, I went and bought a campervan, got a website up and running and started marketing it with the support of organisations like Business Gateway.”
With safety a priority, Eileen’s fully self-contained campervans proved ideal for allowing people to travel without much social interaction.
“It was a Covid-19 opportunity, really,” says Eileen, and combined with a surge in activities like wild water swimming being witnessed around Scotland, her business launch was an immediate hit.
“I was confident that it’d go well,” says Eileen.
“The first season was short because Aberdeen didn’t come out of lockdown until the fourth week in July.
By prioritising the website, SEO and achieving listings with Visit Aberdeenshire, I knew I would reach the market
Eileen says she has seen a rise in more local bookings throughout the past year and she believes that staycations around Scotland will continue to be popular beyond the pandemic.
“Very few people, myself included, have any desire to get on a plane at the moment,” says Eileen.
We have the most amazing country in the world here in Scotland
Though she feels that improvements could be made to Scotland’s tourism industry through investment into facilities and clearer signage, she is optimistic for the future of Camperceilidh Campers.
“There’s always demand in Scotland for campervans and road trips out to the great outdoors,” says Eileen.
“My vans keep coming in, getting cleaned, sanitised, then heading straight back out again.
“It’s been chock-a-block!”