Dorset Clinches Title

South LytchettDorset Clinches Title

South Lytchett Manor in Dorset has been named by the AA as the best caravan and campsite in the UK, earning it the overall title of the AA’s Campsite of The Year.

The family-run business, near to Poole and Bournemouth, beat more than 900 other camping parks across Britain to take the prestigious pole place.

The accolade is awarded every year following a rigorous assessment by AA inspectors of parks’ standards of customer care, quality, and cleanliness.

Joanne Bridgen of South Lytchett Manor commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen for this award and extend our heartfelt thanks to our holiday guests for their continuing support. “We are also extremely grateful to members of our hardworking staff team whose friendliness and commitment to quality service has been crucial to our success,” said Joanne.

Ten other camping and caravan parks across the UK were also recognised in the 2016 awards. The winning parks will be presented with their awards at a special prize giving ceremony in March.

Top Accolade For Staffs Holiday Park

Top Accolade For Staffs Holiday Park

OaklandA Staffordshire holiday park took centre stage at the county’s annual tourism awards ceremony recently when it gained a top gold accolade.

Oakland Holiday Park, near the village of Brewood, was named as the overall winner in the holiday parks category at the Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards, beating all other Staffordshire parks to the title. Stepping up to receive the honour was Adam Breakspeare, whose family has owned Oakland Holiday Park for more than 30 years.

According to Adam Breakspeare, a large share of credit for the park’s success in the Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards must go to the company’s staff: “The criteria for these awards place a strong emphasis on the excellence of service provided to customers, and the quality of the welcome and hospitality provided. It is our whole team which delivers the high standards our guests expect.

“We will be continuing to invest in staff training and new facilities in 2016, and hopefully encouraging even more people to holiday in this wonderful part of the country,” added Adam.

Family Holiday Donation

Family Holiday Donation

Diverse AbilitiesHoburne Holiday Parks has given away a family holiday to encourage ticket sales for a local charity raffle. Diverse Abilities presented the winning holiday to Nick Bold, who works for the charity, for selling the most raffle tickets for a prize draw.

His prize is a holiday for up to six people at any of Hoburne’s seven holiday parks in Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, the Cotswolds and Cornwall.

Nick says he plans to give the holiday to a friend. Diverse Abilities is the only organisation that supports children and adults with profound physical and learning disabilities, and their families, in Dorset.

Jeanette’s Royal Recognition

Jeanette’s Royal Recognition

Jeanette WilsonPolicy director for the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) Scotland, Jeanette Wilson, has been made an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for her highly-valued services to the holiday parks sector.

A well-known figure within the industry, Edinburgh-based Jeanette is best known for her role at BH&HPA Scotland and for the part she plays in helping promote the Best of British group of top rated independent parks.

Jeanette joined BH&HPA in 1993, and has since provided the secretariat to the association in Scotland which comprises more than 200 park businesses. She also represents the parks industry to the Scottish government, Visit Scotland and many other tourism organisations.

Park Upgrades

Park Upgrades

Hoburne2495.jpgHoburne Holiday Parks is investing £6million in a programme of company-wide developments. All seven of Hoburne’s holiday parks across the south-west of England are set to be enhanced.

The improvements will include new-look entertainment leisure complexes, and new holiday accommodation at three parks, free Wi-Fi across all of its seven parks, and will ensure an improved customer experience for all visitors from March; when the parks open for the 2016 holiday season.

The largest investment is at Hoburne Naish in Dorset, Hoburne Bashley in Hampshire, and Hoburne Cotswold in Gloucestershire, where each of these three parks will have £1million spent on creating a new-look entertainment and leisure complex, complete with new interior décor and contemporary furniture and fittings.

Managing director of Hoburne, Rod Tucker, commented: “The huge investment that we are currently making is testament to our commitment to setting new standards across the industry and to our goal of exceeding our customer’s expectations."

Double Charity Boost

Double Charity Boost

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks. Padstow Park smashes year's charity target in Spring! Mother Ivey's Bay Holiday Park. L-R Serena Pettigrew-Jelly - Cornwall Wildlife Fund Buniness Support Coordinator, Jacqui White - Wadebridge Food Bank Manager, Mother Ivey's Bay Holiday Park Director Patrick Langmaid and Mother Ivey's Bay Holiday Park Receptionist Simon Sexton.

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks.

Two Cornish charities each received a four-figure boost to their fundraising efforts, thanks to an enterprising Padstow holiday park’s visitor giving scheme.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Wadebridge Foodbank have both been handed cheques for £1,700 from Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park at Trevose Head. The much-needed sums were raised by guests who donated £1.00 on top of their holiday costs when booking a stay at the multi-award winning park.

The total amount was then doubled by Mother Ivey’s Bay owner Patrick Langmaid to create the £3,400 windfall which was shared by the charities.

“Many holiday businesses in Cornwall give very generously of their time and resources to help local charities, and we are very proud to stand alongside them,” said Patrick. “Our charity work receives immense support from our holiday guests who make donations when booking their stays with virtually nobody opting out of the scheme.

“We’re also greatly indebted to our staff who also make a superb contribution through their efforts to our fundraising activities,” added Patrick. He said that the present level of 2016 bookings for the park, which reopens in March, suggests that this year’s total could well be exceeded by the end of the season.

Show Business

Show Business

recipeforsuccessThe Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show will return to the NEC Birmingham in November and is set to be even bigger than last year.

Expanding into Hall 8 at the NEC, the 2016 show brings together top industry experts, leading suppliers, interactive workshops, live debates and seminars all focused on providing the inspiration, advice and resources that holiday park owners really need to put their business on the map. The show will also run alongside Farm Business Innovation & Country House Innovation in Hall 9, the UK’s leading trade show for farmers, landowners and estate and country house owners.

“Once again in 2016 the Holiday Park Show we delighted to be working alongside Holiday Park Scene as our main media partners for the event and we are excited to develop this successful and exciting partnership further for the next show,” says Will Mansfield, event organiser.

The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show returns to the NEC Birmingham on November 9 – 10. Visit www.holidayparkshow.co.uk to view the full list of exhibitors and to order your free tickets.

High Hopes For New £1 Million Park

High Hopes For New £1 Million Park

LlanberisWales’ Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, will officially open a new £1 million touring caravan park in the heart of Snowdonia in March.

Llanberis Touring Park, which has 54-pitches on eight acres of land on the edge of the popular village of Llanberis, is now accepting bookings for the opening. Owners, Morris Leisure anticipates high demand from touring caravan and motorhome owners because of the park’s prime location in Snowdonia, which attracts more than 10 million visitors a year.

Morris Leisure’s managing director Edward Goddard said: “Llanberis Touring Park is an exciting development for the company and we’re sure that caravan and motorhome owners are going to enjoy the stunning location.

“We expect the touring park to generate in excess of £400,000 a year for the local economy, which has got to be positive news for Llanberis.”

Conference Unites Parks And Politicians

Conference Unites Parks And Politicians

BH&HPA - ADelegates from parks across Britain were joined by senior politicians and national tourism chiefs at this January’s annual conference of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

Held at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster, the event welcomed an array of high-profile speakers on a wide range of subjects which impact on the parks industry.

It was also an opportunity for many park owners to engage with their local MPs who came from the nearby Houses of Parliament to attend a lobby lunch hosted by BH&HPA.

The forward-facing theme of the conference was taken up by one of its first keynote speakers, cabinet minister and Secretary of State for tourism John Whittingdale. Mr Whittingdale told delegates to be in no doubt that the Government acknowledged and valued greatly the enormous contribution made by park businesses to the UK economy. He explained the Government’s approach to tourism support through the Five Point Plan, and added that the Prime Minister was in Cumbria that very day announcing further support following the recent flooding.

Also taking the platform as a long-time champion of Britain’s visitor industry was Lord Lee of Trafford who first addressed the BH&HPA conference 29 years ago. Serving then as tourism minister, he told delegates of the passionate belief he still holds in the need to support tourism businesses, not least because of the employment opportunities they provide. Lord Lee gave his views of successive governments’ approach to tourism, underlining that the industry needed to continue to lobby for the recognition it deserves.

The challenges faced by residential parks were addressed by Christopher Chope MP who was chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mobile Homes in the previous Parliament. Mr Chope, who was a minister in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, explained how parks homes are viewed in Parliament and emphasised the need for MPs to be invited to visit parks themselves.

Other speakers included Philip Collins, the celebrated Times columnist and former chief speech writer to Tony Blair, who shared many eyebrow-raising political predictions with the conference. On a lighter note, TV presenter and actor Warwick Davies – whose film career includes roles in Harry Potter and Star Wars – spoke of his life-long love of caravanning. His amusing anecdotes took in both his early caravan experiences with his mum and dad, and the motorhome stays on parks which he enjoys today with his wife and children.

BH&HPA’s conference was prefaced by the previous day’s BH&HPA Marketplace at the Hilton on Park Lane where park owners and managers met with a myriad of different industry suppliers. The business ‘speed dating’ concept – where would-be suppliers are given just 12 minutes to put their case to prospective park customers – was judged a great success by those on both sides of the tables.

Holiday Snaps: Poston Mill Country Holiday Park

Holiday Snaps: Poston Mill Country Holiday Park

Wayne JonesWayne Jones is the owner of Poston Mill Country Holiday Park in Herefordshire, which he runs with his wife Sarah. Once a farm, watermill and bakery, the 35 acres of countryside that is Poston Mill was purchased by the couple in 1992. Since then, Wayne and Sarah have consistently improved the park and have won numerous awards for their efforts; including awards for Excellence in Tourism in both silver and gold over consecutive years, Excellence in Sustainable Tourism, Holiday Park of the Year 2015 and a Hereford Chamber of Commerce Tourism Business award. Poston Mill is also a member of the Best of British group and affiliated to the British Holiday Home Parks Association.

How is 2016 shaping up for Poston Mill?

In a word - excellent. We have developed a new premier holiday home area and we have secured planning permission for more touring pitches to include a luxury camping area and new play area. Our online bookings are already showing an increase, so I feel 2016 will be a positive year for us.

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

The main challenges facing us are financial constraints, we have so much we would love to do but still need to pay the bank.

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

Without a doubt, our team is the main reason for our success. Without them we would not be able to offer the service or have an award-winning park. We are so lucky.

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

I love my job, because I do not have a typical day at the office. Communication is very important, so every morning I catch up with the team and discuss what happened the day before and plans for the rest of the day.

What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?

I love talking to other people who own and run their own caravan parks. You can learn so much from talking to others and hearing their experiences. Everyone within the industry is so friendly and very often they have a solution to your problem or vice versa.

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

Never stop moving forward. This advice was given to me by a guy we use for business management consultancy. He was the one who pushed me to sort out the planning, that will come to fruition this year. I thank him every time I see him!

Last word?

Owning a park is a way of life, not a job. You have to be prepared to work anti-social hours and muck in at all times. But the people you meet and the people you work with both colleagues and beyond, far out-weigh any of the challenge. I wake up every morning looking forward to the day and wouldn’t change my life for anything.