North East Grows As Leisure Destination
This year is likely to be a record-breaking year for people taking holidays in North East England. Pic: VisitEngland/Rod Edwards.
Caravan and camping parks in Northumbria say it is likely to be a record-breaking year for people taking holidays in North East England. Many of the 53 park businesses in the region – representing over 4,000 pitches in total – report bookings at their highest level for at least a decade. They say official figures showing that Northumbria parks currently generate around £27 million of visitor spending every year may now have to be revised upwards. Matthew Muckle of Coquetdale Holiday Park who is Northumbria branch secretary of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, said that the revenue created by NE parks provides a life-line for many other enterprises in the region. “Virtually every penny of the £27 million which our parks generate benefits Northumbrian tourism dependent businesses,” he said. “Many of our members are now quietly optimistic that this year will see a rise in the present figure, not least because of the growing appeal of Northumbria for family holidays,” he added.
Peak Season Booking Boom
Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks in Devon enjoyed bumper peak season bookings for 2015.
Despite a wet August, the UK’s holiday park sector enjoyed a bumper peak season of bookings this year. The summer was both cooler and wetter than the two previous summers, with temperatures below average and heavy rain at times. But it seems the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the country’s holidaymakers. In September, Hoburne Holiday Parks revealed a 16 per cent increase in the value of bookings compared to the same period last year, meanwhile Hoseasons celebrated its fifth record summer in a row. Hoseasons managing director, Simon Altham commented: “I don’t think anyone would seriously claim it was a good summer when it came to the weather, but that clearly didn’t affect bookings. “People are more interested in the quality of the accommodation, what’s on offer nearby and having time to catch up with those that matter most to them, rather than the weather. They increasingly want experience-led breaks rather than weather-led ones, so while it’s always nice if the sun is shining, it certainly doesn’t matter if it isn’t.” In Devon, Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks saw bookings increase by six per cent compared to 2014 during the summer season.The company had a 99.3 per cent occupancy level throughout the school holiday period, with many holidays booked at short notice. Forward bookings for 2016 are currently running at 19 per cent up on the same time last year. Sales and marketing director, Kevin Darvill said: “2015 has been a superb year for Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks. We enjoyed record sales and excellent customer satisfaction levels and we look forward to another bumper year in 2016,” he added.
Twin Park Celebrations
Teams from Ladram Bay Holiday Park and sister park Castle Brake celebrate their success
Two award-winning holiday parks owned by the same Devon family have been awarded the highest accolade achievable in the tourism industry. Ladram Bay Holiday Park and sister park Castle Brake have both been awarded five gold stars each through the VisitEngland National Quality Assessment Scheme. Zoe House, director at Ladram Bay Holiday Park, commented: “We are thrilled that we have achieved this top award for not one but both of our parks. “I am pleased that the teams at both sites have been recognised for all the hard work they put in to ensure our guests have a first class experience.” The parks were classed as ‘excellent’ by the VisitEngland inspection teams, who assessed them on the quality of their facilities, physical and personal comfort, service and hospitality, management and attention to detail. Victoria Hatfield, chair of VisitDevon, said: “Very few holiday parks achieve the highest accolade of five stars so to receive 10 between Ladram Bay and Castle Brake holiday parks is a real achievement. “
Balloons Cross Channel
Promotional balloons from a holiday park in Clacton
At the end of each day, staff at Valley Farm Holiday Park in Clacton-on-Sea release the balloons that decorate the park’s entrance to the skies. Just recently, the park has started to include special promotional offers inside some of the balloons that can then be claimed by the recipient. However, they didn’t expect the first recipient to be over 100 miles away across the English Channel. The Wassmuth-Gumbel family from Mannheim in Germany were enjoying a summer holiday in the village of Vrouwenpolder on the south-west Netherlands coast when their sevenyear old daughter, Carla discovered the balloons. Denise Woods, caravan sales manager remarked: “For the last few years, we’ve always let the balloons fly away rather than bursting them but one of our new sales advisers recently came up with the idea of placing messages inside them. So keep your eyes peeled for them and you could receive your very own special offer or prize.”
Fantasy Pod Is A Labour Of Love
The Hobbit house at Townsend Touring Park is proving a magical place to stay.
An unusual new glamping pod on a Herefordshire holiday park has attracted bookings from JRR Tolkien fans and Hobbit buffs this summer. The Lord of the Rings-style pod on Townsend Touring Park near Leominster may look like a magical medieval retreat but its facilities are firmly rooted in modern times. Built beneath a grass-covered mound, the five-berth dwelling boasts a fully equipped kitchen, heating, television, bathroom and a host of other mod-cons. Inspiration for this new take on glamping came from the park’s owners, Geoff and Su Smith, who already offer more conventional pod accommodation at Townsend. “Some guests tell us that there is an almost magical quality to this area, so it seemed entirely fitting to build a pod which had an air of fantasy about it,” said Su. “It’s been a labour of love for us, and we’re delighted with the results – as are our guests who say the quality we’ve achieved is a perfect match for the surroundings.” Such has been the success of the pod – which is built off-site to a modular and scalable design – that two more units are now in production for installation early next year.
Complete Sales Before Christmas
Quick Move Properties, the UK’s leading independent part exchange company, is helping residential and leisure park operators to complete sales and get customers on-site before Christmas with its new Stock Support service. The service, which is available to all park operators and is free of charge to any parks using Quick Move Properties’ part exchange service, offers a range of new units from manufacturers such as Prestige, Homeseeker, Omar, Wessex, Tingdene and Pathfinder. The units are ready to be sited throughout the year, without the lengthy lead time usually associated with ordering a park or leisure home. Quick Move Properties’ sales director, Patrick Chambers, explains: “With our new Stock Support service there is no need for your sales to be held up by lengthy unit order lead times. We have units ready to be sited on your park before Christmas, which means you can get your sales completed before the end of the year. “Units can be tailored to customers’ individual requirements and specifications with 12 weeks’ notice or we also have a select number of homes available for immediate delivery to site, all with showroom standard furnishing packs.”
Quick Move Properties
Tel. 01793 840907
Park Group Growth
Bridge Leisure recently purchased Seaview Holiday Village in Cornwall.
Specialist holiday park group Bridge Leisure Parks has expanded its portfolio with the purchase of a fifth holiday park. The acquisition of Seaview Holiday Village in Polperro, Cornwall, means that Milton-Keynes based Bridge Leisure Parks now owns two holiday parks in Cornwall, along with properties on the Yorkshire coast and Scotland. Andrew Howe, chief executive of Bridge Leisure commented: “Seaview is a truly lovely holiday village with a superb south coast setting. We are looking to mirror the success of our first holiday park in Cornwall - Trevella Park - and we predict impressive results at our newest destination. “This is the second holiday village we have bought in 2015, following a management buyout and new investment at the start of this year.” He adds: “Our plan is to buy more parks and continue to grow, and we welcome contact from park owners interested in selling their business.”
Tel. 01908 686 600
Coventry Pool Show Makes a Splash
SPATEX 2016 takes place at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena from Sunday January 31st to Tuesday February 2nd.
A shop window on all that is new and happening in swimming pools, spas, saunas, enclosures, steam rooms, SPATEX 2016 is a must-attend for park owners. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, SPATEX is the largest dedicated water leisure exhibition. With 100 plus exhibitors, both national and international, the show brings together under one roof everyone in wet leisure, whatever their business. SPATEX is also a unique platform for free professional training and seminars will run on all three days of the show with the emphasis on holiday parks and the commercial sector. The ‘Legionnaires’ Disease Awareness’ session will look at what steps to take to prevent, detect and combat this silent killer, while the ‘Dealing with Pool Problems’ session will tackle commonly encountered commercial swimming pool problems, including water testing, automatic control and water treatment issues.
Tel. 01264 358558
Boost In Holiday Cottages
Domestic holiday giant Hoseasons has added more than 9,000 quality-graded properties to its cottages portfolio.
Hoseasons has expanded its cottages portfolio with the addition of more than 9,000 quality-graded properties. The move means that agents now have access to 11,313 quality-graded cottages across the UK via the agent portal on the Hoseasons website. Tariq Khan, head of trade sales at Hoseasons, says the increase demonstrates the self-catering specialist’s commitment to giving agents and their customers the widest choice possible when it comes to domestic breaks. He said: “Boosting our portfolio in this way not only massively increases the number of cottages available through the agent portal, it also underlines the fact that we offer a true one-stop-shop when it comes to self-catering accommodation.” The extra stock now being made available to agents via www.hoseasons.co.uk/agents was previously available on consumerfacing sister site www.cottages4you.co.uk. “Bringing everything together in one place simplifies the booking process for agents and reinforces the strength of the Hoseasons brand at the same time,” Khan added.
Tel. 0844 847 1356