Wish You Were Here… 7 Lakes Country Park

Wish You Were Here... 7 Lakes Country Park

Picture postcards from  7 Lakes Country Park  in Lincolnshire.man fishing on the pump house

Set in scenic woodland in Crowle, North Lincolnshire, and surrounded by fishing lakes, 7 Lakes Country Park offers a vast selection of holiday homes. Owners can take advantage of the private fishing and watersports available at the park, ranging from a peaceful sail to full throttle water skiing and wakeboarding.

The largest lake is the 40 acre Clearwater Lake which is used for water sports while the rest of the lakes are reserved for fishing. Elsewhere on the park, the Lakeside Bar & Restaurant serves food seven days a week and the Bar 7 is also open daily, with big TV screens for live sports events, plus evening entertainment.jet ski girl with caravans in back

7 Lakes is also the venue of the annual Rescue Day, which showcases the invaluable work of the local emergency services through live demonstrations. Organised by Humberside Fire & Rescue Service, 7 Lakes and Humberside Police, the Rescue Day raises public awareness of safety issues such as the dangers of open waters, road safety and fire prevention. Rescue Day 2016 will be held on Saturday July 9 at 7 Lakes.

 

 

Medieval Village

Medieval Village

Warwick Castle (1)Warwick Castle is set to offer a unique opportunity for guests to step back in time this year, with the introduction of Medieval-style overnight stays in their new woodland lodges.

A new Knights’ Village is being created, enabling people to sleep in 28 timber-style lodges on the 64 acre wooded estate. The lodges will feature Medieval-themed light fittings, door handles and crockery, lofty ceilings, wooden beams, stonework and green oak wood styled exteriors to create an enchanting ambiance.

From July, the new attraction will offer year-round ‘great outdoors sleepovers with contemporary comfort including wet room, TV, fridge, coffee maker and central heating.

Geoff Spooner, general manager at Warwick Castle, says: “This is a new chapter for Warwick Castle as from July 1, we’ll offer guests year-round lodge-style accommodation to complement the Castle’s two sumptuous Tower Suites, set within the fourteenth century Caesar’s Tower, and our superb seasonal Mediaeval Glamping Village.”

Prices will start at £203 per two-bedroom woodland lodge per night, including breakfast in the banqueting hall and two days castle entry

Summer Show Returns To Stoneleigh

Summer Show Returns To Stoneleigh

2015 Street Scene AOrganisers of The World of Park & Leisure Homes Show are urging visitors to save the date, as the popular trade show returns to Stoneleigh Park from June 9 – 12.

Showcasing the latest design concepts from some of the UK’s leading manufacturers, the show is a must attend for anyone involved in the holiday park and park home industry.

Covering every aspect of park lifestyle, confirmed exhibitors include Homeseeker, Pathfinder, Tingdene, Prestige, Willerby, Pemberton and Omar Park & Leisure Homes.

“For those who haven’t been to the show before, it’s a free to attend outdoor event giving visitors a wonderful feel for that quality leisure or park homes lifestyle,” explains event organiser Jo Turner.

“Thursday June 9 will be the exclusive trade preview day and the show will be open to the general public on the Friday and Saturday.”

Hexham Park Is Haven For Wildlife

Hexham Park Is Haven For Wildlife

CauseyA Northumberland holiday park has received a top environmental accolade from David Bellamy.

The world-famous botanist presented Causey Hill Holiday Park in Hexham with a prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level. David Bellamy said that the family owned park could congratulate itself on having created an environment which provided a VIP welcome for both wildlife and holiday guests. He praised the park’s planting of hundreds of native trees and shrubs which, along with its private woodland, provide habitats and food resources for many animal and bird species.

Park manager Linda Grant said: “We live and work in a beautiful part of Northumberland, and we are anxious to do all we can to protect the natural environment and wildlife.

“Causey Hill has a special appeal to couples and families and they are very supportive of our efforts to safeguard the surroundings here, and to help preserve this area’s very special character,” Linda added.

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Often seen as an upmarket alternative to caravan or camping holidays, a lodge stay is designed to offer holidaymakers luxury and quality. Pic: Pinelog.

Switched on holiday park operators must step up to the perpetual plate of not just meeting but exceeding guest expectations.

Quality accommodation, combined with flexible booking and strong availability, is not just recommended – it is imperative. From top-end lodges to more value-based options, holidaymakers aren’t just happy to be away on holiday any more – they demand much, much more than they have at home.

In a bid to stay ahead in a highly competitive market, the drive towards high quality holiday accommodation, over the last two decades, has seen real innovation in the holiday park and lodge sector, as developers and manufacturers strive to innovate.

While there is no doubt that lodges have a higher capital cost than traditional caravans, the higher return on investment can be considerable.  As a starter for ten; cabins and lodges attract longer let periods than caravans, typically being very popular in the ‘harder to let’ shoulder months outside the peak season. On the flip side, because of this extended season, it is imperative that lodges are well-built and insulated.

Pinelog has been manufacturing lodges for more than 30 years. The company produces lodges well in excess of BS3632:2015, which translates into trouble-free ownership and low running costs for its customers.

“As manufacturers and operators of two award-winning parks of our own, we have a unique insight into what makes a good holiday lodge, both from the holidaymaker and park owner’s point of view,” explains Pinelog’s Paula Skelton. “Our warm and hard-wearing timber interiors are perfect for low maintenance holiday letting."

From top-end lodges to more value-based options, holidaymakers demand better than they have at home. Pic: Omar Group.

From top-end lodges to more value-based options, holidaymakers demand better than they have at home. Pic: Omar Group.

Recognising the increasing demand for high quality holiday lodge parks in the UK, the Omar Group has recently launched a new franchise opportunity for landowners to create their own holiday lodge park. Through the Boutique Lodges, Holidays by Omar franchise, owners will be guided by the expertise of the Omar Franchising team to provide high quality holiday accommodation and service levels to holiday makers, from site development to park operations.

Using a business franchise model, which provides a blueprint covering every aspect of running a business, the owners will benefit from an increased likelihood of success for their new park venture, particularly when compared to new entrants in the market looking to start up independently.

Franchise owners will have exclusive access to two websites, which will help them to run a successful business. The public facing website will sell all the features and benefits of their holiday park, driving visitors and bookings. The second website, dedicated to franchise owners, will provide essential operational information and access to a valuable expert panel of suppliers and services. Meanwhile the Boutique Lodges partnership with Hoseasons will provide a personal approach, offering expert advice and support every step of the way, helping to develop a product offering that maximises each owner’s investment.

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Weather-Proofing

Weather-Proofing

Hostages to fortune; a holiday park’s season can stand or fall on the vagaries of the great British summer. So weather-proofing our main attraction presents an obvious opportunity to take the lottery out of year-on-year visitor appeal.

camping-pornichet-fredpieau-03 2

Ideal for overcoming unpredictable weather in all seasons, an enclosure over an outdoor pool not only provides the potential for year-round swimming but continually extends the swimming day.

Commercial swimming pool enclosures offer new opportunities and increased profitability to venues by extending the season, increasing throughput and reducing costs. The owners of Manor Farm Holiday Centre in Charmouth, Dorset, renovated their pool area and enlisted the expertise of Swimex Enclosures to cover the outside pool in time for the summer tourist season.

 

The design was fairly complex as one side of the lean-to building needed to rest on a high wall and the other on the pool deck, whilst remaining fully telescopic. Swimex came up with an affordable design answering the requirements, whilst working with valuable input from the clients on the best features available, including telescoping from the biggest bay in the centre rather than the smallest, a more conventional solution.

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The robust portal building with powder-coated aluminium frames and fully compliant polycarbonate roof and over 26m long and about 14m at its widest, was made to fit snugly at each end on rain-proof joints against both end walls, whilst the rear wall was used for the lean-to, leaving just the whole 26m front length facing the park.

The bespoke-built Swimex ‘Angular’ telescopic enclosure can be opened up, partially or fully, from the centre to leave a fully open pool for whenever the sun and weather permit. In other moments, the building creates an indoor pool, with air heating when needed.

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The Fun Factor

The Fun Factor

For many holidaymakers, the lure of an arcade is an essential item on the wish list, providing hours of entertainment for the whole family.

For the park operator, selecting the right balance of amusements, games and gaming machines can be a precarious balancing act between customer satisfaction and maximum return on investment while still delivering the fun factor that keeps the visitors coming back time and time again. Historically, the first popular arcade attractions were early games such as shooting galleries, ball toss games and early coin-operated machines, such as fortune tellers and strength testers. More modern gaming has been led by the popularity of online games and casino games. Penny fall coin pushers have been Crown Direct’s bestselling lines in recent years and 2015 was no exception with The Simpsons-themed Donut Daze machine, which was the company’s the most popular product of the year.

“It’s not a case of games having a fixed shelf life, but you should always have something new every season for holiday makers to play, advises Dean Harding, managing director at Crown Direct. Many come back to the park every year, so you need to keep the offer fresh.”

Crown Direct is a leading UK supplier of all types of coin operated equipment, as well as operating third party arcades and owning a number of their own. The Wigan-based company supplies equipment to holiday parks and family amusement arcades across the UK and Eire. Supply can be by way of outright purchase, rental or they can operate your arcade for you on an income share basis.

“There is merit in both rental and purchase and it really comes down to the holiday parks view on capital expenditure and appetite,” explains Dean. “We have large and small holiday park customers that are complete opposites in their approach to their amusement requirements. Some buy, some hire, and some lease the arcade space to an operator. Also, if customers thinking of buying there are some good second hand games available offering great value for money.”

Dean stresses the importance of keeping all arcade equipment in full working order and advises his customers to consult their suppliers if anything goes wrong: “Arcade games can go wrong and break down - coins get into all sort of places in a machine. Seeking technical expertise is essential as maintenance and repairs are a skill.”

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Recipe For Success

Recipe For Success

Juggler chefPutting together a marketing strategy is a bit like cooking.

If properly mixed and seasoned; the individual ingredients will come together to result in a delicious recipe for success. Carefully balancing the flavours and ingredients to suit the tastes of your target audience is essential.

For that reason, marketing for all businesses, regardless of size, needs to be carefully thought through, and often requires a multi-pronged approach.

“A good marketing strategy is essential for travel businesses that want to sell more holidays,” comments Robbie Davies, head of business development at Hoseasons.

“Parks should pinpoint their audiences, focus on the sales channels they react to and then use these to continuously communicate the benefits of their product. A successful marketing strategy will target the retention of existing customers as well as the acquisition of new ones.”

Middle-aged couple with teenage son reserving tickets and packinSuzanne Hall, head of holidays marketing at Haven agrees: “A good marketing strategy is crucial for holiday parks; being able to understand your target audience and what their needs and wants are is key. “It is important to ensure that the right product and message is being offered to the right audience at the right time to maximise on your impact.”

Suzanne advises that parks should be constantly re-evaluating their marketing in order to remain current and in touch with their audience. It is important to keep moving and not become stagnant in what you are producing, but this is not to say that you should keep changing your strategy just for the sake of it.

“Firstly, you need to know your audience to ensure that what you offering will appeal to them,” says Suzanne. “Secondly, track as much as possible to see what impact your marketing is having. Thirdly, keep on top of current trends and what is happening in the market as a whole to make sure you are not being left behind. Fourthly, fully utilise the resources available to you in terms of budget and personnel to maximise on your effectiveness.”

She adds: “Finally, it is really important to remain clear on your brand values and proposition as this will allow you to have a unified message that you can send to your audience.”

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Smart Thinking

Smart Thinking

 

There are now a vast number of ways for holiday park owners to save energy and reduce costs.

Put aside all the moralistic haranguing about improving energy efficiency and cutting down on waste ‘for the good of the planet’.

Investing in park efficiency makes just as much sense because it can cut swathes off your bottom line. With a vast number of cost-saving measures, offering fixed term payback periods, there has never been a better time to improve your green credentials and trim your annual overheads.

“Energy is usually the biggest cost after wages, so being energy efficient is key,” points out Jon Proctor, chief executive of Green Tourism.

“There are many ways that this can be incorporated; for example, lighting should now be LED as these are the most efficient and environmentally friendly forms both indoors and out,” says John.

“Space heating can be better-controlled with timers and occupancy sensors for lighting and heating will avoid wastage. Hot water should be stored no more than 60 degrees and ideas like solar hot water should also be considered.”

The owners of Concierge Camping, located on the Ratham Estate near Chichester have taken a ‘green’ approach to the design of their park and have made significant investments to future-proof the site. Guy and Tracey Hodgkin purchased the estate in 2011 and are bringing it back to its former glory. Last year saw the development of Concierge Camping – a luxury touring park on the estate, which offers 15 hardstanding pitches, each with a 16 or 32 amp electrical supply. The on-site shower and toilet block has an energy efficiency B rating and costs the park owners just £10 per week to run. The water is heated by highly efficient heat pumps and the internal environment is controlled by a heat recovery unit. All lightbulbs are LED and Guy plans to add solar panels to the building later this year, to efficiently generate electricity.

“We haven’t made a song and dance about our environmentally-friendly credentials, and if I’m honest, the top end market doesn’t really seem to pay much attention to it,” comments Guy. “When we opened Concierge Camping a year ago, I wanted to make the facilities as economical to run as possible. Every detail was thought out to from day one and the hope is that spending that bit extra on high quality equipment now, should pay-off in the long run.”

Charlie Boughton of Fields End Water Caravan Park, Lodges & Fishery adds: “Our energy efficiency isn’t something we shout about, but I feel it is almost expected by a lot of people these days. “If I am being honest, the main benefits of being energy efficient, is just that I feel I am doing my bit and peace of mind.”

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Crowd Pleasers

Crowd Pleasers

© www.stevenbarber.com

Billing Aquadrome

The award-winning Billing Aquadrome Holiday Park is a busy hub of activity, attracting more than one million visitors each year.

Located in the Nene Valley, near to Northampton, the 235- acre park is owned by Pure Leisure Group, which operates nine holiday lodge and caravan parks in the southern Lake District, Northamptonshire and East Anglia.

“Families and retired couples make up the majority of visitors to the park, and while a number of those own holiday homes on the site, around 60 per cent of holiday bookings are made by guests who have visited before,” reveals John Morphet, Pure Leisure Group owner. He adds: “Our guests choose Billing Aquadrome because it offers so much choice – from tent pitches to camping pods, caravans and luxury lakeside holiday lodges that cover every budget, to the wide range of activities on offer. There really is something for everyone and there is a great community feel about the place all year round.”

The park boasts 1,707 pitches for camping, touring and motorhomes, of which 1,508 are nonelectric and 199 are electric. There are also 35 super pitches which provide waste and water facilities with PAYGO electric. The pod village has 16 pods and there is also 60 holiday homes, which are a mixture of static caravans and luxury lodges. The large picturesque marina is one of Billing Aquadrome’s finest features. Situated on the River Nene, it has 180 berths – all of which are secured on floating pontoons for the nautically minded.

“Billing Aquadrome is all about good, old-fashioned family fun,” says John. “Many of our guests visited as children and now bring their grandchildren and we pride ourselves on being a place where families can spend quality time together, making happy memories that will last a lifetime.”

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