Olaf Dunn is a local entrepreneur, world traveller, and the founder of Pitched, Canada’s first campsite booking model based on the AirBnB marketplace. The platform 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.
Similar to the AirBnB marketplace model, Pitched allows anyone to host their land as a campsite, from farms to forests, vineyards to waterfronts and more. With over 50 campsites in Ontario alone, Pitched provides an opportunity for the campers to have a unique place to stay and the hosts 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 realizing it was difficult to find a campsite. Dunn, who is originally from the United Kingdom, came to Canada to discover the outdoors.
Although it is up to the host how much they charge campers, the range of locations and package options allows any camper to find their best-suited need.
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, however hosts can choose to provide equipment like fire pits, tent supplies, and more.
In the near future, Dunn hopes to implement insurance options that will provide basic coverage for all non-commercial hosts.
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 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."
The property, near Ottawa, Ont. instantly gained attractions from campers.
“Already this year, I've had 8 bookings!” says Bushell. “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.
“This is really the outdoor version of AirBnB,” says John Gillis, Innovation Specialist at the Innovation Cluster. “Pitched is a great opportunity for any outdoor enthusiast.”