New Glamping Developments

New Glamping Developments

Whitehill Country Park

Ruth Badger, star of BBC’s The Apprentice, marked the official opening of a brand new development of luxury Bouja caravans in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Whitehill Country Park in Devon.

The former Sir Alan Sugar apprentice joined a host of other guests at the family-run holiday park in Paignton to celebrate the official opening of its Bouja range.

Taking the holiday caravan experience to a whole new level, Whitehill is one of only six other parks in the UK to offer the brand new Bouja concept in partnership with Hoseasons.

Described as ‘a new dawn in caravanning’, the boutique caravans feature added luxuries including iPod docking stations, WiFi and a Wii U, plus an outdoor hot tub.

Holiday Scene With Hywel Davies

Holiday Scene With Hywel Davies

2015-05-16 10.09.50Hywel Davies is the owner and manager of South Wales Caravan Park in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. His parents started the park in 1978 and Hywel has lived on the 15 acre site since he was three years old. Hywel and his sister Cathrin took over the park four years ago and continue to improve the farm and its facilities each year.

How do you see the UK holiday industry at the moment?

In Carmarthenshire alone Tourism is worth £350 million. It is taking over farming as the most important industry in the area. Our county is getting its name out there and I have no doubt there will be changes soon in Local Authority boundary locations in Wales - I just hope that whichever way it goes that the good work will carry on.

What are the main challenges facing the industry and how are you meeting those challenges?

Our main challenges are rising fuel and electricity costs. We are currently looking into installing solar panels and heat pumps to warm water and facilities.

If you had to identify one element, what is the most crucial aspect to the success of your business?

Good customer service. I trained at Walt Disney World in Florida and from my days there I soon realised that exceeding all my guests’ expectations is the way to succeed.

Has it been a good year so far for South Wales Caravan Park?

It has been excellent year so far. We are lucky as we only have 25 pitches to fill in total, which is much easier to fill up than a few 100 pitches. Word of mouth, a couple of awards and repeat visitors are helping us a great deal.

What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?

Becoming an adult only park. When we made the decision just over two years ago, we were worried if it would work out but it has been the best decision and best experience we have had so far.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?

“Never miss an opportunity to market your business” - it was given to me by my father. We wear our Llwynifan Farm branded t-shirts and hoodies everywhere and even our hand towels in the ladies and gents toilets are branded!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Our park isn’t going to grow further, but I would like to improve our offering and facilities. Each year we like to do one big project to improve our offering.

Where do you go on holiday?

My partner and I drive to Italy usually towards the end of September for a week or two, and I leave my sister in charge of the park.

Anything else you would like to add?

I wish everyone a good season and hope we all have a sunny successful summer.

Poston Mill Takes Top Spot

Poston Mill Takes Top Spot

Poston

Poston Mill received the top gold honour in the parks category at May’s VisitEngland awards ceremony.

Herefordshire is now home to England’s highest rated holiday park after Poston Mill emerged as the overall victor in the 2015 VisitEngland awards for Excellence.

Poston Mill received the top gold honour in the parks category at May’s VisitEngland awards ceremony, beating nearly 2000 other eligible parks in England to the title.

Stepping up to receive the accolade from VisitEngland chief James Beresford at The Sage in Gateshead were the family business’s co-owners Wayne and Sarah Jones.

Sarah commented: “From the outset we wanted to make this a park where guests would feel genuinely welcome.

“That’s why the VisitEngland award for excellence means so much to us, because it is based not just on the quality of the park, but also the standards of service we provide."

Beautifully landscaped, Poston Mill has come a long way since first being taken over as a basic farm-based park just over 20 years ago. Since then, Wayne and Sarah have invested much time and energy into creating a high quality destination for discerning guests.

“I hope that one effect of our award will be to help other tourism businesses in the area by highlighting what a beautiful region this is to enjoy a truly memorable holiday,” added Sarah.

 

Memory Makers

Memory Makers

Above: Holidaymakers are now more than ever regarding their break as a chance to enjoy a new experience. Pic: Park Resorts

Holiday park operators remain cautiously optimistic as Ashleigh Mackenzie reports…  Above: Holidaymakers are now more than ever regarding their break as a chance to enjoy a new experience. Pic: Park Resorts

2014 was a strong year for UK tourism. Not only did we see record breaking numbers of holidaymakers from abroad visit the country, but tourist spending hit the dizzy heights of £21.7 billion – three per cent up on 2013 and a record in both nominal and real terms.
Building on the success of last year’s tourism boom, the industry has enjoyed a solid start to 2015, but holiday park operators remain cautiously optimistic.
Latest figures from the International Passenger Survey show that overall visitor numbers for the first three months of this year were up by one per cent compared to 2014, while UK-based holidays have seen an increase of four per cent.

ABOVE: Britain’s holiday parks industry, comprising more than 3500 parks in total, plays an important role in the country’s economy. Pic: National Caravan Council

ABOVE: Britain’s holiday parks industry, comprising more than 3500 parks in total, plays an important role in the country’s economy. Pic: National Caravan Council

“The industry in general is reporting steady performance across all business fronts and is optimistic about future prospects in the short to medium term,” says Bob Hill, sites director at The Camping and Caravanning Club.
“There is growth across most aspects of the sector and the majority of operators are reporting an increase in consumer confidence.” “These are very positive times for the holiday park industry,” comments Dan Steadman, sales and marketing director of Hoburne Holiday Parks, that operates seven holiday park sites.
“At Hoburne we have seen booking figures increase every year since 2008 and manufacturers are seeing increases in the numbers of holiday homes built and sold. This is an area we have seen particular growth in with holiday home sales across our seven parks more than doubling in the past year.” “It is shaping up to be a good season for us,” agrees Cathie Higgs of John Fowler Holiday Parks, like Hoburne with parks centred around the south west of England. “We are up on 2014 figures in terms of sales and growth and the reduction of petrol prices has certainly had a positive effect on our business.”

VITAL ROLE
Britain’s holiday parks industry, comprising more than 3500 parks in total, plays an important role in the country’s economy.
The sector provides one in six of all holiday bed-nights in Britain each year and generates a huge £2.26 billion annual turnover - with the vast majority of the cash being funnelled by park visitors into local businesses.

Above: Henry Wild, national chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) says that frequent shorter breaks is the continuing pattern of holiday-taking

Above: Henry Wild, national chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) says that frequent shorter breaks is the
continuing pattern of holiday-taking

For many such local enterprises, tourism is crucial for their survival and ability to sustain jobs. Parks are estimated to provide some fifteen percent – a total of 53,000 - of all full-time and seasonal tourism-dependent jobs in Britain.
The majority, some 95 percent of UK parks are family-owned businesses, some with farming histories stretching back over generations and for which tourism is now a much more realistic alternative to the declining agricultural industry. The sector also comprises a number of extremely successful holiday park groups including Haven Holidays, Park Resorts and Park Holidays UK.
“While it has been a strong start to the year, there is no complacency among BH&HPA; members and nobody assumes that the main factors which influence our sector and UK tourism as a whole – principally the economy and the weather – are always going to take our side,” says Henry Wild, national chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA;).
STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY
It should be remembered that the term ‘the industry’ pulls together a diverse range of businesses from small farm-based parks with a handful of touring pitches to major multi-park operators with incomes dependent on holiday homes sales and rentals. Some of these parks may be affected by factors to which others are immune. For example, a touring park in a remote part of the country may see rising car fuel costs as its chief enemy – while parks with holiday homes to buy might find that lending restrictions by banks are putting a ceiling on the number of people able to take out personal loans to fund their second home purchase.
“It’s important to use both experience and common sense to try and determine what changes are likely to be in the park’s long-term interests, and which are unlikely to have any lasting impact,” says Henry.

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CONTRIBUTING COMPANY CONTACTS

BUTLINS Tel. 01442 230300 www.butlins.com

BRITISH HOLIDAY AND HOME PARKS ASSOCIATION Tel. 01452 526911 www.bhhpa.org.uk

THE CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB Tel. 024 7647 5448 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

HAVEN Tel. 08712 301900 www.haven.com

HOBURNE HOLIDAY PARKS Tel. 01425 277661 www.haven.com

JOHN FOWLER HOLIDAYS Tel .01271 866766 www.johnfowlerholidays.com

PARK HOLIDAYS UK Tel. 01424 751185 www.parkholidays.com

PARK RESORTS Tel. 01442 414100 www.park-resorts.com

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

ABOVE: Transforming your outdoor areas needn’t be a daunting task. Investing in a few simple and cost effective measures can go a long way in improving aesthetics, comfort and services for guests.

ABOVE: Transforming your outdoor areas needn’t be a daunting task. Investing in a few simple and cost effective measures can go a long way in improving aesthetics, comfort and services for guests.

Switched on holiday park operators who maximise the outdoor experience will ultimately reap the rewards….

It is estimated that the average person spends 90 per cent of their time indoors; at work, at home and in recreational settings.
In fact, research by NetVoucherCodes.co.uk found that the average UK resident now spends nine hours every day glued to a computer, phone or tablet screen - a shocking total of 30 years throughout life.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the outdoor experience of a holiday park or campsite stay appeals to so many of us. A chance to escape the daily work routine and enjoy the fresh air, activities and associated benefits of being outdoors for a few days each year.
Switched-on park owners, who optimise their outdoor offering, can reap rich rewards from holidaymakers who will pay extra for high-spec facilities and luxuries. From outdoor hot tubs to stateofthe-art furniture, fitness and play equipment, making the most of your outdoor areas can be a wise investment.
Transforming your outdoor areas needn’t be a daunting task. Investing in a few simple and cost effective measures can go a long way in improving aesthetics, comfort and services for guests.

Designed as a hybrid hot tub, Urban Cedar’s Sport range combines the stunning looks of a solid wood hot tub with the comfort, lower maintenance and lower running costs of a modern polymer hot tub.

ABOVE: Designed as a hybrid hot tub, Urban Cedar’s Sport range combines the stunning looks of a solid wood hot tub with the comfort, lower maintenance and lower running costs of a modern polymer hot tub.

INSIDE OUT

“A well-maintained outdoor area is essential and helps set the bar high,” says Hanna Latham, marketing manager at Besp-Oak Furniture.
“Park competition is fierce and by having a safe, clean and tidy outdoor area, guests are more likely to appreciate their surroundings and will return year after year.” Coventry-based Besp-Oak Furniture is a trade only supplier of indoor and outdoor furniture, accessories and lighting. New to the market this year is the wicker and furniture range plus a selection of decorative water features.

Hanna adds: “Bringing the outside in and the inside out is all the rage at the moment. Outdoor wicker and rattan furniture for example, can transform an ordinary outdoor space into an openair living room that adds value and comfort all year round.” Besp-Oak also offers two eco patio heater models – the ECONRG3 and the ECO-MEDIA which are ideal for decking, patios, balconies and smoking areas. Both models use carbon fibre heating technology which significantly reduces running costs and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 percent in comparison to standard gas patio heaters.
“Comfort is key so that guests can truly relax. We advise providing shelter in outdoor areas such as gazebos and canopies to make sure that rain doesn’t stop play,” says Hanna. “To encourage guests to enjoy the outdoors into the evening, don’t forget to consider heating and lighting options too.”

PLAY TIME

Creating an innovative play space that fires a child’s imagination is part of a winning formula for holiday parks. Pic: Timberplay

ABOVE: Creating an innovative play space that fires a child’s imagination
is part of a winning formula for holiday parks. Pic: Timberplay

There is no better way of enhancing and enriching an outdoor space than by investing in play equipment. Creating an innovative play space that fires a child’s imagination and creates a pleasant environment for parents to get together is a winning formula for holiday parks.
“It is not only the play equipment that goes into creating an exciting play space. The landscaping, mounds, planting and surfaces can also be very effective in boosting play value - often for a fraction of the cost of the equipment,” says Paul Collings, managing director at Timberplay.
He continues: “Waterplay is very popular at the moment as it offers excellent play value and delights children of all ages.
Sand play is also an excellent play addition as it not only delivers several opportunities for play, but also serves as the perfect safety surface.”
Timberplay was an early advocate of the natural play movement and its equipment is designed to offer multiple levels of challenge, to stimulate children across a wide age range.
Paul adds: “Typically holiday parks look to spend a relatively small budget on play, maybe in the region of £30,000, but there are some more exclusive sites that will invest more heavily, in order to create a stand out play experience that encourages repeat business.”
Last year Timberplay was involved in the provision of the outdoor play facilities at Center Parcs Woburn.
One of the play areas, situated at Huck’s Diner has a bespoke tower at its centre, with multiple slides and climbing nets.
This unique combination provides a variety of heights and graduated challenge, making it perfect for children from the very small through to pre-teens. Toddlers also have dedicated robust equipment, in the form of swinging horses and trim trail equipment, platform houses, slides and a climbing net.
A smaller play area at the village, near to the Sports Café, features one of the first dwarf castles installed within the UK. The tower enables younger children to experience the exhilaration of climbing, honing their skills before they move onto the bigger equipment at Huck’s Diner.

AL FRESCO FITNESS

Family-run Play & Leisure has recently expanded its product catalogue with the launch of the Zone outdoor fitness range.
Ideally suited to holiday parks, the range includes standalone equipment such as the Leg Push, Dip Bars, Walker, Slalom, and Sit Up Bench plus the complete Fitness Station.
Vicki Buckley of Play & Leisure comments: “A great way for guests to keep fit in the fresh air, the Zone fitness range is specifically designed to improve muscle tone, stamina, balance, coordination and flexibility. It offers a variety of exercise at different levels of difficulty to work out the whole body.” Play & Leisure specialise in the manufacture of outdoor play Overlooking one of the valleys in Mid Wales, Play & Leisure’s bespoke four tower mountain range unit and two seat swing has become a popular attraction for families holidaying at Bryn Uchel Holiday Park in Powys.
The experts at Play & Leisure were commissioned to turn the park owner’s play area designs into reality and worked closely with the local planning officials to ensure that the play zone was sympathetic to the natural surroundings.
Vicki Buckley of Play & Leisure explains: “Work was carried out outside of peak season to reduce the impact on the holidaymakers at the park. The park re-opened for the summer season and has been well received since.
She adds: “With our 25 year structural guarantee you can be sure that holidaymakers will be enjoying Bryn Uchel Caravan Park and its new play area for years to come.”

Play & Leisure provided the much needed play facilities for Bryn Uchel Caravan Park Powys, which include a bespoke four tower unit and swing

ABOVE: Play & Leisure provided the much needed play facilities for Bryn
Uchel Caravan Park Powys, which include a bespoke four tower unit and swing

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CONTRIBUTING COMPANY CONTACTS

BESP-OAK FURNITURE  Tel. +44 (0)2476 632148 www.besp-oak.com

BUSCHBECK Tel. +44 (0)2476 474440 www.buschbeck.co.uk

PLAY & LEISURE LTD Tel. +44 (0)1244 546797 www.playandleisure.org.uk

URBAN CEDAR Tel. +44 (0)1934 833 844 www.urbancedarhottubs.co.uk

NBB LTD Tel. 0800 1777 052 www.nobutts.co.uk

TIMBERPLAY Tel. +44 (0)1142 823474 www.timberplay.com