We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary in the $2B caravanning industry this month!
With 30 years in the business, we’re still the only Australian manufacturer of custom made awnings
It’s been a mammoth few months for the Aussie Traveller team, as we attended our thirtieth show at the Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow at the Brisbane Showgrounds, while we’ve simultaneously been celebrating a big 30 years in the business!
How time flies! From what started out as two-person operation with just one product for sale (our famous Coolabah awning), to what’s grown into a substantial business with more than 50 staff members and a wide range of loved products by caravanning enthusiasts, it’s been a crazy three decades for Aussie Traveller.
We had a chat to Aussie Traveller’s Founder and Director Michael Freney to find out more about how today’s caravanning and RV industry is vastly different to how it was in the 1980s. Here’s what he had to say.
Mike, tell us a little bit about what the caravanning industry looked like when you first started out in 1988?
Back then, family holidays were spent at beachside caravan parks every school holiday in May, August and December. Caravanning was affordable and offered a chance to reconnect with nature and enjoy a relatively cheap holiday.
It was also the mining boom era where there were no mining camps available to house workers. They all stayed in caravans and awnings and annexes offered respite from the four walls of the small van, while offering protection from the elements.
Have you witnessed a growth or decline in the caravanning industry since you started out?
Caravan production grew very quickly in the eighties. The eighties really were the peak years for caravans, with up to 37,000 caravans manufactured each year in Australia during that time. After that, it dropped significantly to around 4,500 caravans manufactured around 1991 and since then we’ve seen it grow pretty steadily to where the industry has been producing 20,000 to 22,000 units of caravans, campers and motorhomes each year for the last five years.
You’ve recently attended your 30th Brisbane Caravan Show. How have you seen the caravan shows change over the last 30 years?
The caravan shows brought in a good 70 percent of our annual revenue in the first ten years of running the business. Shows were limited to one major show per state and people travelled from all over to look at vans, awnings, annexes and accessories and ordered on the spot. We would then spend the next few weeks travelling to visit show customers at their home, to measure up their touring vehicles for awnings and annexes. These days, shows form another part of the research phase alongside digital research, but the number of options on the market make the decision-making stage much harder. We also measure and fit in our own facilities now!
The show we just attended at the Brisbane Showgrounds was great! We had a really busy week speaking with customers about our latest products. This year, we found the star of the Show was our Euro Walls which received a lot of interest from attendees!
Want to know more about the incredible products behind Aussie Traveller’s 30-year strong reputation? Check out our full suite of products here.