Top Athlete Unveils Park Upgrades

ladram

International athlete Jo Pavey helped Ladram Bay celebrate its landmark re-development.

Top Athlete Unveils Park Upgrades

Holidaymakers at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon are benefitting from a major refurbishment of the swimming pool complex, adventure golf and restaurant.

More than £2million has been invested to upgrade the facilities, which were officially unveiled by top athlete Jo Pavey MBE, a regular visitor to the park.

“I’m sure holidaymakers and day visitors alike will love the changes,” said Jo.

“I’ve already tested out the pool with my daughter – she loved it, especially the interactive zone. It’s a great place to come and relax with your family.”

Upgrades at Ladram Bay include the swimming pool complex, which was completed by Dorset-based Cresta Leisure and features a main pool, interactive children’s zone with slides, fountains, splash tower, water troughs and interactive activity wall.

The on-going investment programme has seen more state-of-the- art accommodation options added, including holiday homes and luxury lodges with decking and hot tubs.

 

Essex Park Celebrates Award Hat-Trick

Essex Park Celebrates Award Hat-Trick

The Weeley Bridge Park team celebrates its Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for the third consecutive year.

The Weeley Bridge Park team celebrates its Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for the third consecutive year.

Weeley Bridge Holiday Park in Essex has been awarded a prestigious Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for the third consecutive year.

The Certificate of Excellence programme, which has been running for five years, is given to outstanding businesses that have consistently received praise and recognition in the form of great reviews from Tripadvisor travellers.

Weeley Bridge, operated by Park Resorts, is located near to Clacton-on-Sea and is popular with both holiday home owners and holidaymakers.

Terri Lacy, General Manager at Weeley Bridge Holiday Park, said: “This is a key award as it reflects our customers’ first-hand experience of the park.

“This award, combined with the number of people who come back year after year, shows us that we are doing something right and we’re all looking forward to building on this and improving even more.”

 

Boom In Home Tourism

Boom In Home Tourism

Brits continue to choose UK destinations for short breaks and holidays. Pic: VisitBritain/Rod Edwards.

Brits continue to choose UK destinations for short breaks and holidays. Pic: VisitBritain / Rod Edwards.

The growing ‘staycation’ trend has fuelled a record-breaking performance for domestic tourism already this year, with numbers up by almost a fifth.

The latest results from the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS) published by VisitEngland revealed that 28.7 million trips were recorded in England between January and April this year, an 18 per cent increase on the same period in 2014.

Expenditure is also up by 18 per cent on last year, totaling almost £5 billion.

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive Officer, James Berresford, said: “We hope this strong performance will continue to boost the industry – and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure we remain globally competitive, a world-class destination that entices domestic and international visitors.”

 

Best of Both Worlds

Best of Both Worlds

Lodges and luxury go hand in hand; features such as floor-to-ceiling glass panels, automatic awnings and surround sound televisions are becoming more mainstream. Pic: Pathfinder Homes.

Lodges and luxury go hand in hand; features such as floor-to-ceiling glass panels, automatic awnings and surround sound televisions are becoming more mainstream. Pic: Pathfinder Homes.

The Great British holiday used to be a simple affair. Rudimentary accommodation and facilities were considered the norm. But nowadays holidaymakers are demanding more from their annual summer break.

In response, UK leisure operators are now investing in high quality holiday accommodation, which is equipped with en-suite bathrooms, gourmet kitchens and state-of-the-art entertainment systems.

The huge explosion of glamping has also fed the trend, with all manner of yurts, shepherd huts, safari tents and camping pods popping up in quiet corners of the countryside. The obvious appeal for holidaymakers is that they can experience the best of both worlds - the simplicity and stress-free environment of the great outdoors while enjoying home comforts, coupled with rustic country charm.

“Our customers are looking for a back to nature experience,” says Tracey Sibun of Clear Sky Safari Tents. “They want to chill with their families, to escape the pressures of everyday life and to kick back and relax in the peace and quiet of the natural world. That said, they also want an element of home luxuries too - comfy beds, sink-into sofas and a cheery space to relax as a family if the weather isn’t good.”

Durrell Wildlife Camp opened in 2012, giving guests the opportunity to stay overnight in 12 stylish Ecopods which were supplied by Boldscan.

Durrell Wildlife Camp opened in 2012, giving guests the opportunity to stay overnight in 12 stylish Ecopods which were supplied by Boldscan.

Specialising in steel and wood framed safari-style tents, Clear Sky launched its first two-storey lodge tent earlier this year, which offers flexible accommodation for larger groups and families.

Designed to complement the natural environment, the lodge is made from a highly durable hardwood frame with premium canvas to ensure resistance to the elements. “We have found increasing numbers of holiday parks are adding safari tents to attract new customers who might not consider a caravan - and to give more choice to existing customers,” says Tracey.

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey branched into the glamping market in 2012 and has since welcomed 2,000 extra visitors each year. The Camp invested in 12 stylish Ecopods which were designed and manufactured by Boldscan, as well as a safaristyle Club House which is the focal point of the camp.

The wildlife park is situated in 32 acres of landscaped parkland and has a strong commitment to looking after Jersey’s native wildlife, with large areas designated as native habitat areas. The Ecopods were welcomed by guests who wished to stay overnight at the park and be close to nature. Each pod accommodates two adults and two children, with optional additional accommodation in a Pyramid Tent for children. Facilities include a wood burning stove for heat and cooking, plus a separate pod housing a hot shower, flushing toilet and kitchen space. Two of the Ecopods have been adapted to suit disabled visitors.

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Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Michael Littlewood shares the benefits of the natural swimming pool system.…

Children can enjoy playing in natural water – and their parents need have no anxieties about chemicals.

Children can enjoy playing in natural water – and their parents need have no anxieties about chemicals.

At a time when people are increasingly concerned about their health, anxious to avoid exposure to chemicals, keen to help preserve wildlife and the environment, and inspired by more holistic ways of living, natural swimming pool offers the perfect fit.

As well as offering a new and inspirational experience, the natural system has practical and financial benefits for pool operators. Build costs for a natural pool are comparable to those for a conventional pool, and the conversion of an existing pool is also possible.

Maintenance costs are far lower, as a natural pool’s biological cleaning processes do away with the need for chemicals, frequent water changes and much of the work of maintenance. There are huge savings on water, as natural pools do not need to be emptied every year. Energy costs are much lower, as the natural system is not compatible with conventional pool heating. It relies instead on the heat of the sun and the circulation of the water from the shallower regeneration zone to raise the water temperature.

Because natural pools are aquatic gardens as well as places to swim, they can be developed as all-year-round leisure facilities, offering guests a place to walk, relax, socialise and enjoy nature even when the British weather does not encourage outdoor swimming. Natural pools are also of huge benefit to the environment; in addition to not using chemicals and saving on water, they are valuable wildlife habitats, offering a haven for a whole range of species threatened by the loss of wetland habitats in the countryside. People and frogs do not swim side by side, however; wild creatures stay mostly in the regeneration zone, which provides them with both food and shelter.

Natural swimming pools were originally developed in Austria, where the health and wellness benefits of bathing in natural waters in the country’s spa towns were widely recognised. In 1985, the first commercial models were created by the Austrian company Biotop, whose founder Peter Petrich came up with the idea of a self-cleaning biosystem for swimming pools. Other manufacturers, including Bioteich of Switzerland and BioNova of Germany, soon followed. I introduced natural swimming pools to the UK in 2000, and there are now many privately owned natural pools in this country. The UK’s first commercial natural pool opened in 2006 at a spa in the Cotswolds. In Europe, there are already hundreds of public natural pools, and advocates of the natural system are keen to share its benefits with local authorities and the leisure industry in this country.

Show Hots Up For Park Operators

Show Hots Up For Park Operators

The Landscape Show features contemporary, cutting edge technologies and methods, and is supported by a comprehensive free seminar programme.

The Landscape Show features contemporary, cutting edge technologies and methods, and is supported by a comprehensive free seminar programme.

The holiday park industry has not one, but four trade shows to look forward to, covering a variety of park-related hot topics - and what’s more, they are all free to attend.

First up is the well-established Landscape Show in September, which focuses on the design, build and maintenance of indoor and outdoor landscaping projects.

Visitors to the show at Battersea Park in central London will have the opportunity to view cutting edge products and technologies geared towards improving their property, including outdoor furniture, paving options, trees and planting, containers and decking. The show attracts over 3,000 visitors including landscape designers, architects, contractors, facilities managers, local government planners, councils and parks officers, groundsmen and interior designers to name just a few.

Meanwhile the UK’s leading leisure industry exhibition returns to the NEC in Birmingham in September, representing all sectors of leisure including exercise, facilities, food and drink, sport, indoor play and family entertainment. Leisure Industry Week (LIW) is the ideal place to see what’s new, keep up with the latest trends and explore everything the leisure market has to offer. Holiday park owners will benefit from the extensive education and conference programme on offer at the show.

Next up is the new and improved Sports, Amenities, Landscaping Trade Exhibition’s, otherwise known as SALTEX, which gets underway at the NEC in Birmingham in November.

The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show takes place on the 11th and 12th of November at Birmingham NEC and is completely free to attend.

The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show takes place on the 11th and 12th of November at Birmingham NEC and is completely free to attend.

The new, centrally located, national exhibition venue and the more convenient time of year has attracted more than 200 exhibitors representing groundscare machinery, play equipment, landscaping products, pest control and waste management. The new look SALTEX also marks the 70th anniversary of the show and will feature a comprehensive programme of free educational seminars. Visitors can attend any of the 47 educational seminars on the show floor within the two-day Learning Live programme.

The hotly anticipated Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show in November is shaping up to be an unmissable event.

“Given this is such an increasingly competitive industry, those running holiday parks and resorts really need to keep on top of the latest changes, developments and trends if they want to keep attracting customers back and appealing to new ones” says Will Mansfield, event manager for the show.

He adds: “This event has been designed as the one stop shop providing the ideas, resources and inspiration needed to ensure they can evolve, expand and innovate their holiday business.” Top industry speakers are confirmed including Henry Wild of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, Robbie Davies of Hoseasons and Chris Laxen of Park Resorts. In addition there are over 150 exhibitors, 60 seminars and un-rivalled business opportunities over the two days.

Taking place in November, the UK Pool & Spa Expo boasts the biggest selection of hot tub suppliers under one roof. Pic: Vita Spa.

Taking place in November, the UK Pool & Spa Expo boasts the biggest selection of hot tub suppliers under one roof. Pic: Vita Spa.

With the biggest range of hot tubs and spas on display under one roof, the fourth edition of the UK Pool & Spa Expo returns to the NEC in Birmingham in November. Boasting broad selection of pool and spa-related products and services, the Expo promises to both inform and inspire its visitors. Exhibitors from some of Europe’s leading hot tub and spa manufacturers will be on hand to offer assistance on selecting the right products for your park, as well as providing expert advice on hot tub upkeep and maintenance. The Expo also boasts the added attraction of the 2015 UK Pool & Spa Awards that are being held at the new Resorts World, near to the NEC on the second evening of the exhibition, Monday 23 November.

If there’s one ingredient that singles out a holiday park from the crowd and secures repeat bookings, it is the quality of its water leisure provision. As the single best relaxation resource that a resort can provide, it is widely regarded as fundamental to a holiday park’s success. In January, Coventry’s Ricoh Arena plays host to the pool and spa exhibition SPATEX 2016 which, in its 20th anniversary year, attracts well over 100 exhibitors and is the ideal hunting ground to source new products and innovations. Displaying everything from pools, saunas, water play features and pool enclosures to energy saving chemical control and heating and ventilation units, you can be sure to find what you are looking for. Many exhibitors will also be offering special discounts exclusive to the show.

The Landscape Show
22 - 23 September 2015
Battersea Park, London
www.landscapeshow.co.uk
Leisure Industry Week
22 - 23 September 2015
NEC, Birmingham
www.liw.co.uk
SALTEX
4 – 5 November 2015
NEC, Birmingham
www.iogsaltex.com
Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show
11 – 12 November 2015
NEC, Birmingham
www.holidayparkshow.co.uk
UK Pool & Spa Expo
22 – 24 November 2015
NEC, Birmingham
www.ukpoolspa-expo.co.uk
SPATEX
31 January – 2 February 2016
Ricoh Arena, Coventry
www.spatex.co.uk

Super Heroes

Super Heroes

Cost-effective energy efficiency and prudent housekeeping will maximise return on investment when it comes to swimming pools.

Cost-effective energy efficiency and prudent housekeeping will maximise return on investment when it comes to swimming pools.

A popular swimming pool is a must for the modern holiday park; number one for its undoubted pulling power in attracting and retaining visitors year on year.

On the flip side, the average holiday park swimming pool can present a huge drain on business resources both through upkeep and running costs as well as staffing overheads.

Operators find themselves under more pressure than ever to demonstrate effective energy efficiency and prudent housekeeping to maximise return on investment when it comes to swimming pools.

“Most people are now opting for energy efficient pools, more so than ever before,” comments Tim Bareham of Cresta Leisure. “It is partly down to an increase in environmental awareness generally, as well as the rise in energy prices, and of course the allure of cost savings that can be achieved over time.”

Tim adds: “Although energy efficient methods are generally more expensive to install, the benefits are huge. You’ve got to speculate to accumulate.”

Deer Park Golf and Country club in West Lothian, Scotland has enjoyed a 25% reduction in gas and electricity usage in their swimming pool following the installation of Heatsavr.

Deer Park Golf and Country club in West Lothian, Scotland has enjoyed a 25% reduction in gas and electricity usage in their swimming pool following the installation of Heatsavr.

Going ‘green’ is not only helpful in protecting the environment, but it can also translate into cost savings. If it were a superhero then Brenntag’s Heatsavr would have powers akin to the Invisible Man. The Heatsavr is a liquid pool cover that works by forming an invisible monolayer over the surface of the pool, preventing heat and moisture from escaping while the surface is unbroken. There are many other associated benefits that come with having a pool cover. Stopping evaporation also directly effects the quantity of chemicals used to maintain hygienic water conditions. By reducing evaporation you are also reducing the quantity of chemicals normally lost through evaporation. Having a pool cover also reduces the amount of contamination that enters the pool through the water surface, this will also have a direct effect on the rate of chemical consumption.

Deer Park Golf and Country club in West Lothian, Scotland had Heatsavr installed as part of an upgrade that also saw them have new boilers fitted. The work that was carried out saw a 25 per cent reduction in gas and electricity usage since the work was undertaken in August 2013. The country club had previously used a traditional pool cover, but it was ill-fitting because their pool is oval shaped. That meant that heat and moisture were still able to escape, as the cover was only partially effective. Heatsavr liquid pool cover reduces evaporation not only at night but also during the day when bathers are present in the water.

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Village Life at Sandy Balls

Set in a 120-acre estate, the award-winning Sandy Balls Holiday Village offers a range of accommodation to suit all ages and budgets all year round

Set in a 120-acre estate, the award-winning Sandy Balls Holiday Village offers a range of accommodation to suit all ages and budgets all year round

Village Life at Sandy Balls

With a name that often prompts a snigger, Sandy Balls Holiday Village has been making memories for its guests for almost 100 years.

The park’s name is as memorable as the holiday village itself, which has a prestigious history that can be traced as far back as the reign of Henry VII. The name Sandy Balls dates back to the 15th century when Sandyballas, which is the description given to the dome-shaped sand and gravel outcrops on the estate’s western boundary, first appeared on historic maps.

“A combination of our history of being a family owned village, our beautiful location within the national park and the experience offered keeps generation after generation returning to our New Forest getaway,” says managing director Iain Brown.

“Even in busy periods guests comment on the peace and the tranquillity of the estate and the feeling of being surrounded by nature.”

Set in a 120-acre estate in the New Forest National Park, Sandy Balls welcomes around 100,000 guests each year and is open all year round. The five star holiday village offers a range of accommodation to suit all ages and budgets, including opulent woodland lodges, caravans, camping pods and fully-serviced touring pitches. Sandy Balls is also well-known for its leisure facilities which include swimming pools, a wellness area, play areas, arcades and a cycle centre.

Iain comments: “The park is popular with families in peak times and older couples, young families with pre-school children, seasoned tourers, and dog owners during off peak times. “In fact our guests are our best form of marketing - they return year after year and also recommend Sandy Balls to their friends and family.”

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Return on Investment

Return on Investment

Caraconnect carry out comprehensive safety inspections of caravans, lodges and holiday and park homes

Caraconnect carry out comprehensive safety inspections of caravans, lodges and holiday and park homes

September heralds the start of the autumn and with it brings the opportunity to take stock of the busy summer season that precedes it.

As the bustling crowds begin to disperse and peace begins to return somewhat to parks across the country, now is the time to think about investing, upgrading and making plans for the year ahead.

At the top of many park owner’s lists will be the assessment of the on-site facilities as they strive to make improvements to stay ahead of the competition.

“Guests have more choice than ever in where to stay and the holiday market is exceptionally competitive,” comments Andy Seddon of Commercial Washrooms.

“Well maintained facilities such as washroom facilities are exceptionally important in both attracting and retaining customers.”

Andy continues: “Clean and well-looked after washrooms are the bare minimum a guest will expect, and regular cleaning of a washroom will provide a certain level of maintenance benefit in itself.”

Rolec Services provided a bespoke hook-up solution for West End Farm Caravan Park in Weston-Super-Mare.

Rolec Services provided a bespoke hook-up solution for West End Farm Caravan Park in Weston-Super-Mare.

Elsewhere on the park, keeping the accommodation up to standard is a top priority. As any caravan park owner knows all too well, the incessant wear and tear caused by a combination of heavy usage and that famously dire British climate can wreak havoc on a holiday caravan.

Ian Bloomfield, director at Caraconnect comments: “We have spent many years in the holiday home and holiday park industry and are fully aware of any problems that can occur with caravans over time.”

Listing their four main trades as gas, plumbing, carpentry and electrical, Caraconnect carry out comprehensive safety inspections of caravans, lodges and holiday and park homes, ensuring that they meet all current gas and electrical safety regulations and reliably identify any problems that may be affecting the units.

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Holiday Snaps: Zoe House of Ladram Bay Holiday Park

Holiday Snaps: Zoe House of Ladram Bay Holiday Park

Zoe Ladram BayZoe House was brought up at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon, which her father opened in 1943. Zoe took over the day-to-day running of the park in 2006, along with her brother Robin.

How has 2015 been for Ladram Bay Holiday Park?

It has been a fantastic season. The introduction of our brand new swimming pool and the refurbishment of Pebbles restaurant has had a great effect on business. This year we have seen a 15 per cent increase in bookings.

What are the main challenges facing the industry at the moment?

With the strength of the pound, holidays abroad are appearing cheaper this year, so it is really important that British holidaymakers have an incentive to holiday in the UK.

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

As an independent park, we have the ability to constantly reinvest to ensure our facilities exceed customer expectation. We also can’t forget our stunning location on Devon’s Jurassic Coast.

What does a typical day in the office for you consist of?

My jobs range from managing staff and customers to investment planning, marketing and advertising. The variety makes it all the more interesting.

What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?

Last winter we undertook the biggest redevelopment since I became director in 2006. With the seasonal nature of the tourism industry in the UK, we only had four months whilst the park was closed to build our state-of-the-art swimming pool and adventure golf course, while also refurbishing the restaurant. Fortunately we finished just in time.

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

My father said that “without guests, Ladram is just a bay”. To me, this sums up everything we do, ensuring the Ladram experience is of the highest standard.

Where do you go on holiday?

I love to travel with my family, especially disappearing in our tourer for a short break and exploring the UK. This country has so much to offer.

Tell us a joke…

What do you call a man with a seagull on his head? Cliff!