Glendhu Bay campground claims computer glitch changed pricing

by Lauren Pattemore - Apr 10, 2024

The Australian holiday park company running the Glendhu Bay camp reveals a software switchover caused a pricing glitch on its website, and is the reason why campers earlier this year were seeing 50-percent-plus price hikes for Christmas holiday camping. 

Following an article by Crux on the indicated upping of fees at the popular lakeside Wānaka holiday spot for the upcoming summer, Hampshire Holiday Park Limited chief executive Frank Sharkey followed up with the company's IT and external booking provider.

In February this year, several campers accessing the booking website discovered jumps for the 2024 to 2025 season of between 50 and 60 percent on what they had paid for sites at Glendhu Bay last summer.

Chief executive Mr Sharkey denied any such price hikes and publicly criticised Crux reporting of them as inaccurate and even "sensationally false".

He confirmed bookings for the period in question had not even been made public, as the company has continued the tradition of giving first dibs on holiday camping to rollover guests.

He also confirmed the company was only introducing "modest" increases amidst rising operations costs, and these had been notified to the rollover guests.

However, after continued questioning by Crux, and in light of one camper being able to provide several screenshots to back up their claim of ramped up pricing, Mr Sharkey investigated further.

Today he has confirmed there had been an issue on the website in late January, when the company changed its application programming interface (API), and the stop-sell was removed and not reinstated until late February.

Another issue arose over this period, that saw pricing for the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park - also owned by the company - displayed as the prices for camping at Glendhu Bay.

A stay in the Queenstown camp is much higher at $71 a night for two adults, while currently the comparable charge at Glendhu is $42.

"A review of Glendhu bookings confirms that no one booked or was charged the wrong rate for Glendhu for next Christmas during that month window," Mr Sharkey says.

"We appreciate the glitch being raised and are hopeful that the issue has been remedied."

The company's external booking provider RoomStay has since apologised for the mix-up and provided a written statement.

"RoomStay's CEO, Declan Mimnagh, apologises for the pricing error due to an API switchover, which affected some pricing returned on the Hampshire Holiday parks. The error, unintended during service enhancement, has been addressed with corrective measures, and system improvements to prevent future issues."

Glendhu Bay camper Ian Simpson originally contacted Crux after seeing Christmas camping for his family of four listed at $99 a night, a 50 percent jump on their last holiday, which had cost $66 a night.

Since then another camper, who wishes to remain anonymous, has come forward with screenshots they took in February showing camping for next summer listed at $71 a night for two adults, a 61 percent increase from standard pricing.

The Australian company Hampshire Holiday Park Limited began running operations at the Glendhu Bay site as well as the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park and three other sites in the Queenstown Lakes area in June last year.

They have also been given green light in recent weeks to purchase the right to run Kaikōura's Top 10 Holiday Park.

As per conditions imposed by the Overseas Investment Office, the company will be hosting a public meeting with chief executive Mr Sharkey in attendance on Friday, May 17 at 10am in the guest lounge area of the Glendhu Bay camp.

Main image (Nikki McKay): Summer fun at the Glendhu Bay holiday park.

Read more:

Glendhu Bay campground's new Aussie owners to meet with public

Glendhu Bay leaseholder clarifies new fees for campers

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