Industry Returns To The Good Times
A highly successful year for many, 2015 got off to a good start with an extended spring season and the early onset of summer, which put a spring in the step of many holiday park operators.
Riding the crest of a wave, the holiday park and tourism industries in general are feeling positive and confident as we head into the New Year. Holiday Park Scene magazine asked a selection of leading industry personalities to give their take on 2015 and their predictions and resolutions for the year ahead…
Managing director of Haven Holidays
“2015 was very positive for Haven; our business grew by over 6 per cent, with more customers searching out and enjoying their holiday in our luxury end accommodation. As a result, they did pay more for their holiday in 2015 but the improvement in our guest satisfaction scores suggest that they found the extra investment in their holiday well worthwhile.
“The good early season weather certainly helped get the year off to a good start and we were able to maintain the momentum throughout the year. Also, our continued investment in the product both physical and service elements has contributed to an increase in repeat custom which bodes well for the future.
“Looking ahead to 2016, we are already seeing more people choosing to book early to secure their first choice of park and chosen accommodation. Some of our most exclusive units are already very well sold and people will increasingly discover that if they wait, it’ll be too late.
“I hope to spend more time on park this year speaking to our park teams and our guests. I also plan to continue to work smarter, to make sure we continue to deliver our business objectives in the most efficient but also the most enjoyable way possible.”
To read more on this story, subscribe here...
High Praise For Scottish Parks
The British Holiday & Home Parks Association (Scotland) was attended
by many senior members of BH&HPA Scotland’s 200-plus park businesses.
Providers of ‘fresh air holidays’ in Scotland met in Edinburgh in December to hear tourism minister Fergus Ewing praise their invaluable support of rural economies. Mr Ewing was speaking at the annual conference of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (Scotland) attended by many senior members of BH&HPA; Scotland’s 200-plus park businesses. The event brought together the managers and owners of businesses credited with generating just over £700m of visitor spending annually. “The holiday park sector offers good quality accommodation for all types of visitors, and helps to sustain employment in some of Scotland’s most remote and rural areas,” said Mr Ewing. Mr Ewing also noted that parks had also helped contribute to increasing overseas visitor numbers which were up by 4 per cent compared with last year, and their spending up by 10 per cent.
Social Media Plays Pivotal Role
Social media is the fastest and most powerful way for the UK’s tourism industry to showcase itself, according to a new report by VisitBritain.
A report published by VisitBritain shows the powerful role that social media plays in the UK’s tourism industry
When it comes to choosing Britain as a holiday destination, the research found that social media plays a key role in the decision-making process with Facebook the main go-to source for respondents in all stages of the holiday-making process.
Meanwhile Twitter was most commonly used for seeking suggestions and advice while on holiday and Instagram was used most by people wanting to plan their trip or share their experiences - though to a lesser extent than the other platforms.
Almost 70 per cent of those surveyed said content posted online by friends made them want to visit a destination and 76 per cent of all respondents had read a review site when thinking about taking a holiday.
VisitBritain marketing director Joss Croft said: “This research reinforces to all of us working in the travel industry the powerful role that social media now plays in offering unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with potential visitors in a timely way, with the right messages, demonstrating an understanding of their world and motivations for travel.”
New Breaks Are A Breath Of Fresh Air
A new range of woodland-based lodge breaks for those looking to make the most of the great outdoors has been launched by domestic holiday operator Hoseasons.
Wanderwood is Hoseasons’ seventh new specialist product range in as many years.
Wanderwood is Hoseasons’ seventh specialist product range in as many years and offers families affordable back to nature escapes at six leafy locations across the UK, including Norfolk, Surrey, Somerset, Shropshire, the Lake District and the Northern Highlands.
All lodges are pet-friendly and include complimentary binoculars, umbrellas and wildlife literature. WiFi is also included and hot tubs feature at all locations.
Hoseasons managing director, Simon Altham commented: “Natural escapes that allow people to forget all about the stresses and strains of everyday life and spend time with those who matter most are exactly the type of short breaks our customers are telling us they want. That’s why we’ve put the work into developing Wanderwood and why we hope it will be a popular addition to the Hoseasons product portfolio.”
North Yorkshire Lodges Park Expansion
If the green light is given, the lodges will be sighted on the edge of Bentham Golf Course close to Riverside Caravan Park.
The family owners of a North Yorkshire holiday park have announced expansion plans to help them meet an unprecedented demand for holidays in the Dales.
Riverside Caravan Park in the village of High Bentham hopes to get the go-ahead for an additional 20 luxury lodges on top of the 240 caravan holiday homes it currently provides.
People staying in the new holiday lodges, says the family, could boost visitor spending in the area by more than half a million pounds annually.
Thomas Marshall, whose father Bateman first started welcoming camping guests on his farm in 1969, said rural North Yorkshire has fast been growing in popularity over recent years.
“This part of North Yorkshire has a strong appeal to those seeking away-from-it-all holidays, and we have always been concerned to help preserve and protect its natural beauty,” said Thomas.
“Our new timber-built lodges will also draw couples and families who enjoy playing golf in a magnificent setting, and increase the overall number of visitors to the High Bentham area. “As well as helping to sustain the 30-plus jobs we have created at the golf course and the park, visitor spending will also benefit other local businesses and the employment they provide.
Sunset Dreams Sitcom Pilot Appeal
A campaign has been launched to finance the pilot production of a TV new sitcom, based at a holiday park.
Co-creators Mattias Penman and Lydia Hourihan star as Ben and Barbara, the park’s self-proclaimed ‘heads of entertainment’ in the sitcom.
Sunset Dreams is the story of a caravan holiday park facing its twilight years and tells the tale of two hapless but earnest entertainers who live their lives on holiday. The series will follow the resident employees of the crumbling resort as they learn that their Neverland-like park might have to close. Inspired by character comedies like Human Remains and The Royle Family, Sunset Dreams aims to serve up hearty British comedy alongside summer holiday nostalgia.
“There’s something strangely nostalgic about the British caravan holiday park. You can feel a certain yearning for days past,” says Chris Wickett, co-creator and director of the series. “The small-town mentality; the eccentrics who live in caravans all summer, sitting out on plastic furniture sharing cheap wine under the clouds; it’s dreary yet somehow magical.”
The campaign to finance a pilot is running on leading crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and was launched on the back of a short film version of Sunset Dreams shot last year. The production company Tremendous Pictures is plumbing for £7,500 towards the pilot.
National Operator Expands Portfolio
Birchington Vale Holiday Park, formerly Two Chimneys, was recently acquired by Park Holidays UK.
Park Holidays UK has recently acquired Two Chimneys Holiday Park in the seaside village of Birchington-on-Sea near Margate in Kent.
Two Chimneys is one of the largest holiday parks on the Kent coast with around 300 privately caravan holiday homes, and 230 touring pitches.
The acquisition brings the number of holiday parks within the Park Holidays UK group to 25, all located in Southern England from Devon in the west to Suffolk in the east.
Already boasting a top five-star tourist board grading, Two Chimneys will now benefit from further substantial investment by the company in its holiday facilities.
It will also be re-christened Birchington Vale Holiday Park to reflect its location in 100 acres of tranquil North Kent countryside.
Tony Clish, director of Park Holidays UK, said that the park was a strategic and important addition to the company’s existing parks portfolio:
“This has been an extremely successful year for our group with an unprecedented number of holiday home sales and lettings,” said Tony.
“Birchington Vale will now allow us to widen even further in 2016 the options available to holidaymakers and holiday home buyers, as well as to touring guests.”