Irish booking site Campsited is looking to raise almost €3m as it looks to capitalise on an increased interest in camping holidays.

The firm, which is based at the Digital Hub in Dublin, allows users to book stays at thousands of campsites across 18 countries including France, Italy and Spain.

It saw a five-fold increase in revenue last year despite the impact Covid had on many people's holiday plans.

This, it says, was due to travellers seeking to avoid urban areas and built-up holiday destinations.

The €2.9m it is seeking to raise now will go towards the further growth of its business in 2021, according to founder and CEO Finán O’Donoghue.

"The plan would be to grow by a further 500% plus in 2021," he said.

However he said the company was also prepared for a slow start to the season, with bookings for the summer quite low so far.

"We do know that bookings aren’t really happening at the moment," he said.

"But demand is building and as the vaccine programmes roll out across Europe, we are expecting there will be a very significant surge in demand come the April/May timeframe - particularly in the continent in countries like France."

He said the company had adapted its model last summer to better suit the type of travel people would be considering due to the pandemic, which left it well-situated for the year ahead.

"Last year when we saw what was happening, we switched focus very much to target domestic bookers in the French market, and that will be the same approach this year," Mr O'Donoghue said. "That gives us flexibility and a bit of protection."

He also is not concerned that people will move away from camping in large numbers once holidaying in urban areas and resorts becomes attractive once again.

"The sector was growing by 6% per annum anyway prior to Covid," he said. "And this demand that is typically spread throughout the year, bookings-wise, is building up and that demand will come once the vaccine programmes are more established."

Mr O’Donoghue also agreed with AirBnB’s prediction that travel will change post-pandemic - as he sees international travel taking the longest time to come back.

In order to deal with that Campsited is localising more, including rolling out additional languages, and he hopes that will help them to better tap into the demand that does exist.