£1 Million Upgrade For Lochside Park

lochside

Argyll Holidays is creating a five star holiday park on the bonnie banks after buying Loch Lomond Holiday Park in May 2014.

£1 Million Upgrade For Lochside Park

Argyll Holidays is investing £1 million to turn Loch Lomond Holiday Park into a luxury five star holiday resort.

The renovation project includes new accommodation and facilities scheduled over the next three years, with existing holiday home owners already seeing improvements throughout the park.

Keith Campbell, managing director at Argyll Holidays commented: “It has always been a goal of ours to have something on the shores of Loch Lomond. I, along with my two fellow directors, saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity when it came along.

“To us Loch Lomond Holiday Park has not had an awful lot of investment in the past 10 or 12 years. We would love it to be a five star holiday park regardless if it is for holiday home owners, holiday makers or touring caravans.”

The Loch Lomond park was purchased by Argyll Holidays in May in a deal worth £2.4 million. The business is run by the second generation of the Campbell family, and includes a portfolio of holiday parks and hotels across Argyll including the Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village and Hunters Quay in Dunoon. Argyll Holidays was named Family Business of the Year at this year’s Scottish Business Awards.

Hurst Family Hits The Road

hursts

David Hurst and his family have set off on a Face2Facebook journey across Europe, supported by the Camping & Caravanning Club.

Hurst Family Hits The Road

A young family has embarked on a three month motorhome adventure across Europe to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

David Hurst, his wife Debs, sons Daniel and Darley aged 5 and 3 and dog Colin, embarked on their ‘Face2Facebook’ journey in October and will be visiting some of their close family and friends, meeting them face-to-face, rather than through a computer screen.

Supported by the Camping and Caravanning Club, the family will be staying at various caravan and Camping in the Forest sites before heading across the Channel to continue their trip in France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Switzerland.

The trip was brought to life after the family discovered the joys of motorhoming on a recent trip to Spain. Since then, the Hursts have downsized their home, delayed their son Daniel’s start at school, and bought a new Swift Escape 696 motorhome for their adventure.

David Hurst said: “The most important things in life are not things at all, but family and friends. Yet we were taken aback when we realised how many of our family and friends we hadn’t actually seen for years. While Facebook is fantastic for staying in touch, it can veil how infrequently many of us truly see those we love.”

Record Breaking Year For Uk Tourism

record

There were more visits to the UK during January-June period than ever before.

Record Breaking Year For UK Tourism

Business has been officially booming for UK tourism this year, after record numbers of tourists visited the country from January to June.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics figures reveal that there were 16.4 million inbound visits to Britain in the first half of 2014, setting a new record for this time period and an increase of eight per cent compared to the first half of 2013.

Holiday visits also performed well, and accounted for 44 per cent of visits in June, setting yet another monthly record of 1.4 million holiday visits - the fifth monthly record for holiday visits set so far this year.

David Edwards, head of research and forecasting at VisitBritain commented: “Tourism is an essential part of the wider success of our economy and these first six months have set us up for what could be another record year for inbound tourism.

“It’s also hugely positive to see growth both from our high volume European markets and also emerging markets across Asia and Latin America.”

Holiday Parks See Significant Drop In Term-Time Holidays

term-time

Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow say some 200 fewer children in the 5-12 age group took term-time holidays in 2014, compared with 2013.

Holiday Parks See Significant Drop In Term-Time Holidays

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils across the country, is calling for the removal of a blanket ban that prevents mums and dads taking children out of school for holidays during term-time.

Under the current rules, hard-pressed parents looking to take family breaks during school holidays can find they are hit with costs that are sometimes more than double that of travelling during term-time. Such block bans can also be particularly hard on workers in key professions such as those working in the NHS, police force and the military as they are often unable to request leave during busy school holiday periods.

The LGA is therefore calling for it to be at the discretion of headteachers, not central government, to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Ensuring every child has a good school attendance is of paramount concern.

“However, common-sense must prevail in cases when mums and dads ask to take their child out of school during term-time if there is a legitimate reason,” he continues. “An outright ban is too simplistic, and doesn’t recognise that family life and circumstances aren’t always so black and white. There needs to be flexibility within the system.”

As a result of the crackdown on school absences, Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow has seen a notable decline in the number of families visiting the park during term-time. Booking figures show that around 200 fewer children in the 5-12 age group took term-time holidays in 2014, compared with 2013.

Park director Patrick Langmaid says the figures clearly indicate that the threat of fines and even imprisonment was scaring parents into not chancing a term-time holiday: “This devastating drop suggests that many thousands of youngsters throughout Britain are being denied important quality time with their parents.”

On The Menu

pizza

From high-class restaurants to family-friendly pizza cafes, the choice on offer at many locations is vast.

On The Menu

WITH millions of British holidaymakers heading for holiday parks in the UK this year, one of the major attractions for most visitors was that the cooking would be done for them.

Catering is the vital ingredient of the holiday park business menu. From high-class restaurants to family-friendly pizza cafes, the choice on offer at many locations is vast. Quality food and good surroundings are key to the restaurant enjoyment factor with staff service and excellent menus par for the course in these competitive times.

Butlins pride themselves on top-quality restaurants with a total of 58 eating and drinking outlets and venues at their three seaside locations – Bognor Regis (West Sussex), Minehead (Somerset) and Skegness (Lincolnshire). These range from pubs, bars, buffet-style restaurants, ice cream parlours, pizza and pasta restaurants, fish and chip restaurants and even a restaurant run by TV chef Brian Turner.

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Hendra Holiday Park’s takeaway was named ‘Seasonal Fish & Chip Operator of the Year’ at the Seafish National Fish & Chip Awards earlier this year.

As with other resorts, holidaymakers book either self-catering holidays or the option to buy a dining package, which allows guests breakfast and dinner in their buffet restaurants. With 1.5 million guests a year, around 600,000, equating to 45 per cent, choose to buy the dining plan option. “Catering is an area of the business that we’re investing in heavily,” says James Silverstone of Butlins. “Character meals are available at all resorts – for example breakfast with Billy and Bonnie Bear.”

Haven Holiday Parks, part of Bourne Leisure, have worked hard to make the restaurant experience a memorable one across their locations. Fish and chips shares a quintessentially strong association with the seaside, so with a great level of investment in their fish and chip shops, Haven have increased the quality and experience of its venues to help celebrate the seaside and the UK’s favourite dish. Theme events have also been added to provide choice. Haven’s mid-week and weekend carvery is very popular, whilst Curry Night and Steak & Grill evenings provide added variety.

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Taking The Plunge

plunge

Having their own hot tub is often the highlight of a holiday break for many guests. Pic Master Spas

Taking The Plunge

There is something rather decadent about lying back in an al fresco hot tub with just the gentle bubble of warm water to break the silence – don’t knock it until you have tried it.

Appealing to families as well as couples, for many holiday makers, having their own hot tub is the highlight of their break. Perfect any time of the year, hot tubs are especially indulgent when it is cold outside so add to the lure of an autumn or winter holiday offering.

For holiday park operators, adding a hot tub is an opportunity to enhance visitor appeal and to add a premium to the letting price of the accommodation. Switched on holiday sector marketeers are cashing in on the popular trend with a host of websites and on-line marketing offers, highlighting the added attraction of a holiday hot tub.

plunge2

The Management of Spa Pools booklet insists that a hot tub in a commercial environment needs to have a continuous chemical feeder built into the spa
to continuously treat it with disinfectant.

Hoseasons is among them, currently offering more than 750 holiday options with a hot tub. On-line searches of holiday accommodation with hot tubs spring up a multitude of websites such as www.hottubholiday.co.uk and www.forestholidays.co.uk all majoring on hot tubs as an added attraction. Potentially profitable, there are however, many pitfalls to avoid before taking the plunge and adding a hot tub to your holiday offering.

Shrewd operators and owners will look before they leap when it comes to showing duty of care not to mention doing the necessary sums to ensure a profitable bottom line.

“The best advice I can give holiday operators is to keep it simple and only invest in hot tubs if they can provide or include service, within a daily maintenance routine, to ensure safe water and correct settings,” advises Stephen Weller, of Master Spas, one of the UK’s longest serving suppliers.

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A Hidden Gem

blue

Situated in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, guests use Bluestone as a base to explore the surrounding countryside and coast.

A Hidden Gem

One of Wales’ best-kept secrets, Bluestone National Park Resort lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, next to the Preseli mountains.

Accredited with a five star rating by Visit Wales, Bluestone is an all year, all weather short break holiday destination offering freerange fun and relaxation for its guests.

Bluestone opened in July 2008 and has nearly 300 luxury lodges, cottages and studio apartments, designed in the traditional Welsh style and set in 500 acres of countryside. The park has plans to expand with a further 60 luxury lodges in the near future, as part of a third phase expansion.

“Our ultimate goal is to be the UK’s most loved short break destination,” says Bluestone’s CEO William McNamara. “At the moment we’re one of Wales’ best-kept secrets so one of the biggest challenges we face is ensuring that we are consistently spreading the word about Bluestone and all it has to offer.”

With over 100 activities for guests to choose from, Bluestone has got every angle covered - from 4x4 adventures and beast hunts for the adventurous holidaymaker, to relaxing spa treatments and live music sessions for those that prefer a more chilled-out break. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Blue Lagoon waterpark, which features an indoor wave machine, a rapids river ride and two enclosed flume rides. The lazy river exits the building to an outdoor bubble pool, with two interactive wet play areas.

Earlier this year the park also introduced a range of new activities and facilities to further enhance the guest experience, including a sky wire zip course, rock climbing and a new village treehouse and play area.

William explains: “There’s no typical break at Bluestone. It’s all about giving the guests choices, while urging them to find their ‘wild thing’. Whether its families wanting to get together, couples wanting a romantic escape, or guests just simply wanting to get away and do something different - we cater for all.”

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Nature’s Best

nature

Now in its 18th year, the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. Pic: Waveney River Centre.

Nature's Best

The green achievements of some of the UK’s most environmentally conscious holiday parks have been celebrated in the latest round of the David Bellamy Conservation Awards.

More than 500 parks were named as winners of the 2014/15 accolade, presented annually at gold, silver and bronze levels. Now in its eighteenth year, the award scheme was started by the world’s best-known botanist to highlight exceptional efforts by parks to protect the natural world.

This year’s long list of achievements varies from the winter-feeding of red deer to the creation of butterfly gardens and nature trails to the building of wildlife ponds and bird-hides. But single projects by themselves will not earn a park an award, says Rufus Bellamy who helps his father administrate the awards.

To stand a chance of qualifying, the park must submit all aspects of its operation to the scrutiny of an independent assessor trained in the running of the scheme.

“Their brief is extremely broad, and covers not just the more obvious initiatives such as creating wildlife habitats and the erection of bird boxes, valuable though these are,” says Rufus. “The assessors take a holistic view of the park’s conservation policies, and judge how far this is succeeding in making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly business.”

Rufus continues: “David Bellamy also attaches great importance to the ways in which parks help children engage with nature through activities such as badger-watches, wild food safaris, or building willow sculptures.

“These awards encourage parks to keep pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished, and to adopt even bolder and more imaginative measures which make a real difference.”

Among this year’s winners was husband and wife team Trevor and Grace Barber of Silver Trees Holiday Park in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, who were delighted to be awarded a top level accolade for the sustainable management of their park for the sixth year running.

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Don’t Take Employment Chance

hire me

Employment claims can arise even where a potential candidate alleges discrimination resulting in them not being chosen for the job.

Don’t Take Employment Chance

We have all seen the publicity surrounding high-profile employment cases and the enormous sums of money awarded by the courts. Yet, how many of us appreciate these types of claims are far closer to home than we realise.

“Even if a claim is groundless or fraudulent, the legal costs can be hugely expensive as can be the loss of time and resources needed to prepare the defence,” advises Peter Heffer of Lorica Insurance who provide a bespoke scheme for holiday park operators.

“In reality, a business has no control over who will raise an allegation against them and you have no control over, nor can you prevent, a disgruntled employee from lying or exaggerating.”

With this in mind, Lorica provides employment insurance protection. Cover is provided against claims made by employees, former employees and potential employees for discrimination, wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment and other employment related allegations. Cover extends to both the employing company and its directors and officers.

We tend to think of employment claims being made by current employees but equally, claims can arise during the pre-employment phase where a potential candidate alleges discrimination resulting in him/her not being employed. We all hope this will not happen to us but can you afford to take the chance? Do you know where to go for specialist support should this happen to you?

First class employment lawyers are expensive, could you meet these costs? Talk to the Lorica team today to be sure you are prepared and covered for all eventualities.

Lorica Insurance Brokers
Tel. +44 (0)7827 895671
www.loricainsurance.com

 

Triple Success For West Midlands Park

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Graham and Tracy Leggat are celebrating a trio of awards at the Borders Hideaway Holiday Home Park.

Triple Success For West Midlands Park

Borders Hideaway Holiday Home Park in Herefordshire is celebrating two national gold awards this autumn – plus a gong for its first-class loos.

Run by husband and wife team Graham and Tracy Leggat, the park is among just ten out of more than 2,000 caravan and camping parks in the UK to be awarded the prestigious Five Star Gold award given out by VisitEngland to its highest rated parks. Its second glittering prize was a David Bellamy Conservation Award, presented to Borders Hideaway by the world-famous conservationist at its top gold level. The accolade recognises exceptional achievements by tourism businesses to protect and enhance the natural environment, and to encourage indigenous flora and fauna.

According to Professor Bellamy, park managers Tracy and Graham Leggat have created a “wildlife wonderland” with a range of inspired initiatives. Completing the hat trick of honours for Borders Hideaway this year has been its gaining of a 2014 Loo of the Year award for the high quality standards of its washrooms.

Tracy Leggat said that everyone at the park was thrilled at news of the awards, including its conservation accolade: “Although many of our guests do come here to enjoy a traditional family holiday, we can also offer a wonderful environment to explore and make wildlife discoveries,” said Tracy.

“It’s a real privilege to live and work in this beautiful part of Herefordshire, and it’s great to be able to help preserve its very special character with the support of someone like David Bellamy. “I also hope that the national spotlight thrown on Borders Hideaway will benefit other tourism businesses by showing what a wonderful place this region is for a holiday,” added Tracy.