Sweet Success For Honey Bee Initiative

Sweet Success For Honey Bee Initiative

Back of Beyond park owners Martin and Vicky Bowrey have been praised for their outstanding conservation

Back of Beyond park owners Martin and Vicky Bowrey have been praised for their outstanding conservation.

Over a quarter of a million honey bees have helped a New Forest touring park achieve a top level Gold David Bellamy Conservation Award for the third year in succession. Back of Beyond Touring Park owners Martin and Vicky Bowrey have installed eight hives on their 30-acre park to try and help stem the sharp national decline in bee numbers. The initiative has been praised by botanist David Bellamy for its outstanding efforts to provide a safe haven for the bees.

Back of Beyond is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Martin says that visitors to the adult-only park are thrilled at the close encounter with nature on offer: “We’re fortunate to have two wildlife lakes in the grounds, and it’s possible to spot an amazing number of species including otters and red deer,” he said.

“The park is also rich in wild flowers including many high pollen-bearing blooms which bees and butterflies love – and that gave us the idea for the hives.

“Experts say that lack of foraging opportunities and the use of agricultural chemicals are causing bee populations to fall, but we’ve plenty of nectar here and a total ban on herbicides.” Covering 30 acres of quiet countryside, over half of which is woodland, Back of Beyond provides 80 pitches for camping, touring caravans and motorhomes. As well as the David Bellamy award, the park has also gained a raft of other accolades including the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for its consistently glowing reviews.

High Praise For New Welsh Park

High Praise For New Welsh Park

Following £1 million investment, Llanberis Touring Park has received a five star grading from VisitWales.

Following £1 million investment, Llanberis Touring Park has received a five star grading from VisitWales.

A brand new £1 million caravan park, which opened earlier this year, has received a five star grading from VisitWales. Llanberis Touring Park in Gwynedd was praised for its well-designed layout and high level of cleanliness, particularly in toilet and washroom areas.

The 54-pitch park was developed by Morris Leisure and was officially opened by the then Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates in March. Based on figures issued by the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, the company expects Llanberis Touring Park to generate in excess of £400,000 a year for the local economy.

Park managers Nick and Wanda Hilditch said they were delighted with the five star grading and the Visit Wales endorsement: “The park has become increasingly busy since it opened, particularly at weekends and some caravan owners have already visited up to four times,” said Wanda. “Customers love the park’s location because it’s a short walk from the town and not far from Snowdon Mountain Railway and Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales.”

Five Star Norfolk Park Under New Ownership

Five Star Norfolk Park Under New Ownership

Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth is the first acquisition for Parkdean Resorts since the merger.

Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth is the first acquisition for Parkdean Resorts since the merger.

Parkdean Resorts has snapped up a five-star resort in Norfolk in its first acquisition since the firm was formed following a significant merger of Parkdean and Park Resorts last November. The operator, which owns 72 holiday parks nationwide, has bought Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth for an undisclosed sum.

The park has been owned and developed by the Biss family since 1964 and welcomes in excess of 80,000 holidaymakers each year. The freehold park comprises 390 caravans and lodges, 48 apartments and 180 touring and camping pitches across 41 acres. It is well invested, with a substantial range of high quality retail and leisure facilities. John Waterworth, Chief Executive of Parkdean Resorts said: “This continues our long term buy and build strategy which has been successful in developing Parkdean Resorts into the sector leading business it is today. Vauxhall is a thriving and well-managed park that will fit perfectly into the Parkdean Resorts portfolio offering customers even broader choice in Norfolk alongside our other parks East Anglia.”

John also confirmed that Parkdean Resorts is confident of another successful year of growth, with holiday sales for the year 9% ahead of 2015: “The group has been acquisitive since its formation and we see further opportunities in this highly fragmented sector via both single parks and multi-site portfolios.”

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

Park Holidays UK says that sales of holiday caravans and lodges to British families were up by over 40% on last year’s figures at the start of July.

Park Holidays UK says that sales of holiday caravans and lodges to British families were up by over 40% on last year’s figures at the start of July.

The pulling power of the Great British holiday has never been so compelling. Staying right here on glorious UK soil for a holiday is on the rise. In fact more than a quarter of us are foregoing far flung exotic breaks this year in favour of home-based holidays.
Holiday parks across the country are enjoying the benefits of the staycation trend which far from slowing down, is in fact ‘hotting’ up.
“The notion that Britain offers the very best holiday experiences is, I think, becoming firmly embedded in more and more people,” says Tony Clish, Director at Park Holidays UK.
“It is great news for UK tourism providers, of course, but also for this country’s rural economies where many small businesses and jobs depend on visitor spending,” he adds.
Park Holidays UK says that sales of holiday caravans and lodges to British families were up by over 40% on last year’s figures at the start of July.
The rise in the number of holiday home buyers, says Tony, points to a robust future for UK tourism beyond 2016: “Families and couples spending thousands of pounds on a holiday home are making a clear commitment to enjoying domestic holidays for a long time to come.
“Just a fortnight after the uncertainty caused by the Brexit decision, our holiday home sales were up by 43% compared with the same week last year.
“Its early days, but the indications are that the domestic tourism industry is experiencing an uplift, and that this is also impacting on the sales of holiday homes.
“People now see Britain as their holiday future, and are literally buying into it,” said Tony.

BEST OF BOTH

The Kora safari tent sleeps two and comes in a choice of muted colours, ranging from light sand to olive.

The Kora safari tent sleeps two and comes in a choice of muted colours, ranging from light sand to olive.

The huge explosion of glamping has fed the staycation 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 from home comforts, coupled with rustic country charm.
“Glamping is the big thing right now,” says Steve Hansford, Managing Director of Boldscan.
“People want to be able to tuck up in a proper bed at night and enjoy the warmth of a rustic wood burning stove.” He adds: “There has been an enormous growth in landowners and farmers who want to move into this business and offer people this experience.
“If the trend carries on as it is, we could see a lot more glamping style accommodation.”

Whether it’ is a classic safari tent, a futuristic geodome or a tent reminiscent of a Mediterranean villa, Boldscan has a complete range, as well as being able to offer advice from planning to finance. The company has recently launched The Kora, part of their Albion Canvas range.
This easy build, mini version of the classic safari tent sleeps two and comes in a choice of muted colours, ranging from light sand to olive.
The high quality tent is manufactured in Boldscan’s Somerset factory from heavy duty 415gsm polycotton canvas, which is fire retardant and water and mildew resistant. The tent includes a 650gsm PVC walled ground sheet and sectioned timber poles.
The inner tent is 4m x 3m with a wall height of 90cm and a central ridge height of 2.4m, so plenty of room for a double bed and space to spare. Outside, the covered porch area offers the best seat in the house.

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Just One Click

Just One Click

You cannot afford to miss out on online bookings advises Ashleigh Mackenzie…

Eight out of ten Brits now book their holidays online.

Eight out of ten Brits now book their holidays online.

With eight out of ten Brits choosing to book their holidays online, it’s now more important than ever for parks to have their finger on the pulse in terms of efficient booking management systems. Holiday parks are increasingly looking for greater functionality from their booking and management systems. The ultimate goal is to provide online customers with a quality system that is simple and easy to use, that will not only save time but will also generate more bookings for their business.

“A sophisticated system needs to sit at the heart of any forward thinking holiday accommodation business. It is the glue that holds everything together,” says Wendy Radford-Gaby of Anytime Booking. “Just make sure the booking and management software you choose helps you to solve real life problems at your holiday park.” She adds: “Don’t try to retro-fit a software designed for another market. Use technology that understands you.”

Park owners can keep pace with technology by having a web based management and booking system which operates from one platform, so when an online booking is made it immediately goes into their management system avoiding mistakes and errors.

EARLY BIRD

“September to March is a busy time for system suppliers as it is naturally when new customers come on board. So get in as early as you can to have time to familiarise yourself fully with the system before your busy season starts,” advises Dawn Bee, Managing Director of Netguides.

Netguides offer GemaPark, a cloud park reservation management system with online bookings. The optional park website package gives holiday parks a modern responsive, optimised website with content management, to promote their park and provide integrated online booking. “Our solutions are fully hosted, backed up and managed and we offer 24/7 support,” says Dawn.
“We pride ourselves on our responsiveness and customer service and are constantly listening to customer feedback to make our products easier and more efficient for customers to use.” The system starts from £60 per month for 60 pitches or 12 statics and scales up. The prices include hosting, backup and support so there are no surprise extra costs.
Says Dawn: “With GemaPark we have new connectivity with other providers such as Hoseasons and Pitchup, we have lots more features to support holiday home parks and as always we have development in our online booking widgets to increase usability and conversion.”

In terms of setup, there is a data gathering stage where Netguides get to understand your park, what you offer and how you sell it. The company will then configure the system for you loading your units, pitches and prices and provide the link or widgets to your web developers to add the online booking elements to your website. Full staff training is offered to get the team up and running with the system.
“You will never realise just how important until you experience it,” comments Dawn.

“It improves customer experience, increases the number of sales and greatly reduces administration time. This allows you time to work on your business and then business growth and enjoyment in running the business increase significantly – and that’s important.”

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Holiday Snaps

Holiday Snaps

Christina Guppy: Reception Manager at Bagwell Farm Touring Parkguppy

In her final year of a Foundation Degree in Tourism Park Management, Chrissy Guppy started her career as a kitchen runner in the bar and grill at Bagwell Farm as a summer job.

What challenges are currently facing the holiday park sector?

With the restriction in term-time holidays, we have noticed a significant drop in the number of grandparents bringing children for long weekends or longer breaks. How are visitor expectations changing and how are you reacting to those demands? Electric hook-up for tents have gone from an unusual luxury to a must-have item. We are expanding the number of fully-serviced pitches to keep up with customer demand.

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

Customer service. You could go to a beautifully landscaped, clean site with great facilities, but if the customer service isn’t up to scratch chances are you won’t want to return.

What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?

Probably my first day in the job. I attended the National Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC which really threw me in head first! Being able to see all the different aspects under one roof provided a great insight into the industry and really showed me the huge potential it offered.

Where do you see the park in 10 years’ time?

We believe you can still enjoy a great family holiday by staying here in the UK, and hope we can continue to offer a service which attracts new people to the park and also to the local area. What is the best piece of business advice you have been given? There are two. The first is “don’t be afraid to try something out - if you haven’t made mistakes, you haven’t made progress,” and the other is “never stop learning.”

Where do you go on holiday?

Other than exploring other areas of Dorset, I’ve a real soft spot for Cornwall. I recently got to visit the Lake District and also Scotland as part of my degree and I would love to go back to see more of the stunning landscape.

Final Word?

We’re pleased to support a local charity called Hanger’s Heroes, which raises funds for small local charities who may struggle to gain enough funding on their own. Each year our staff members take part in the marathon to boost fundraising. This year will be my third year taking part and I’m hoping to top last year’s fundraising total!

Show Season Gets Underway

Show Season Gets Underway

A busy line-up of trade shows and exhibitions awaits the holiday parks industry this autumn. Spanning all aspects of park life, from lodges and caravans to outdoor play and even hot tubs, there are a number of dates for your diary throughout September and October. Here we bring you a shortlist of the must-attend industry shows and event and we reveal what you can expect at each one...

2016 CARAVAN EXTRAVAGANZA WEEKEND

caravan
September 3 & 4, 9am – 5pm
The Lawns, East Yorkshire HU16 5SQ
The annual Caravan Extravaganza Weekend at The Lawns in Cottingham, run by the Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association (HERCMA), is one of Britain’s biggest caravan exhibitions in the UK and is the first place where members of the public can view the new season’s models. More than 22,000 visitors from all across the UK are expected to attend the two-day event in the University of Hull’s grounds. In addition to more than 140 touring caravans, 160 caravan holiday homes, lodges and park homes, close to 50 other companies will display products and feature services ranging from awnings to decking, verandahs and motor movers.
www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com

 

LANDSCAPE 2016 landscape

 

September 13 & 14, 10am – 5pm
Battersea Park, London
Landscape 2016 is the only trade event dedicated to qualified landscape designers and contractors, architects, local authority landscaping professionals, facilities managers and interior designers from all over the UK and beyond. It is a platform for them to network and source market leading products to use in high end projects worldwide. From country homes to city apartments, from urban lofts and public spaces to luxury hotels, the indoor-outdoor phenomenon affects all types of living spaces. With weather proof rugs, outdoor kitchens, showers on the terrace and sofas in the garden, the indoor spirit is flowing through outdoor spaces and creating a new focus for architecture and technology. Landscape is delighted to host an entirely free seminar programme of international standing with some of the most prestigious names in the industry featuring over 70 different speakers.

www.landscapeshow.co.uk

 

LEISURE INDUSTRY WEEK

LIW

September 20 & 21, 9am – 5pm

NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT

 

There will be a strong play element at Leisure Industry Week (LIW) this year, with a dedicated education stream, an outdoor play showcase area and partnerships with the likes of Fit for Sport, Interfun and Attractions Management. Organisers have promised a strong focus on education, offering practical insights into how play businesses can boost commercial performance. Delegates can attend seminars on branding, market diversification, safeguarding and training needs, as well as discussing the importance of play to all ages. Play operators will leave LIW with knowledge that will ultimately help to increase revenue and drive down costs.

www.liw.co.uk 

 

HOLIDAY CARAVAN 2016

 

September 23 – 25, 10am – 5pm Hides Field,HOLIDAY

Beaulieu, Hampshire SO42 7ZN

Every year, the Beaulieu estate in the New Forest plays host to the largest display of brand new caravan holidayhomes, lodges and park homes in
the south of England. As well as the wide selection of caravans, there will be numerous other exhibitors featuring associated products and services, ranging from decking and soft furnishings to finance and insurance. Many holiday and residential parks will have stands, both within manufacturer displays and the central area, along with leading distributors of
holiday homes.
www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com

 

HOT TUB LIVING EXPO

 

October 24 & 25, 10am – 5pmtub

NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT
Making your holiday park or facility stand out from the crowd can be easy when you can add additional features such as hot tubs, saunas, swimming pools and other outdoor living products.
Hot Tub Living Expo 2016 is the best place for you to meet with quality companies and distributors and benefit from trade deals and offers. With an exclusive VIP evening on 23rd this event will allow you to find new products to improve your facility. Additionally there will be experts on hand to offer advice on how to maintain and run your new additions in the most cost effective and economical way.
www.hottublivingexpo.com

 

UK POOL & SPA AWARDS

 

October 24, 7pm until latepool
The Vox, Resorts World, Birmingham, B40 1PU Ticket price £50 +VAT (Includes arrival drinks, dinner and entertainment).
The independent UK Pool & Spa Awards showcase the very best of the companies involved in the provision of water leisure in Great Britain. A highlight of the awards is the presentation of the Holiday Park Pool of the Year Award – a hotly contested category, which celebrates the outstanding facilities at parks across the country. The prize-giving event will begin with a business networking style drinks reception, followed by a two course buffet dinner and entertainment. Tickets for the business networking style prize-giving event are now available to book online. With limited seats available, early booking is advised.

www.ukpoolandspaawards.co.uk

 

SALTEX 2016

 

November 2 & 3, 9am – 5pm saltex
NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT
With three large halls containing many of the major players from across the industry, SALTEX 2016 is the ideal place to see products and services which could improve the daily operations of holiday parks. The exhibition will see a plethora of exhibitors representing the likes of play equipment and services, turf maintenance equipment, fencing and landscaping, sports surface design, research and consultancy, seeds, turf, aggregates and treatments, and facilities services management. Visitors can also expect to see new products being unveiled, new unique services and some exciting guest appearances on the exhibitor stands.
www.iogsaltex.com

Penny Pinchers

Solutions for cutting the running costs of pools and hot tubs…

A swimming pool is a must for the modern holiday park for its pulling power in attracting and retaining visitors year on year. Pic: Craig Tara Holiday Park.

A swimming pool is a must for the modern holiday park for its pulling power in attracting and retaining visitors year on year. Pic: Craig Tara Holiday Park.

Swimming pool operators are facing increasing pressure to demonstrate energy efficiency, as well as reining in the cost of upkeep and maintenance to see the maximum return on investment.
A greater awareness of environmental issues, combined with the allure of the cost savings that can be made over time, is leading to more operators opting for ‘greener’ products and methods in terms of pool management.

Although more efficient methods are generally more expensive to install, the cost saving benefits are huge. It’s a case of speculating to accumulate. The refurbishment of the swimming pool at Crows Nest Caravan Park in Filey near Scarborough has not only improved the facility for guests, but has also significantly driven down running costs for the park owners.

The 12m x 5m pool underwent a complete refurbishment at the beginning of the year, which included upgrading the heat recovery system.

 

WATER PLAY WONDERS AT TRECCO BAY

little circuit of exciting water play is sure to create a happy splashtastic holiday for all those that visit Trecco Bay Holiday Park.

This little circuit of exciting water play is sure to create a happy splashtastic holiday for all those that visit Trecco Bay Holiday Park.

Waterplay Solutions Ltd (WSL) is pleased to announce the waterplay area at Splashland, Trecco Bay Holiday Park in Porthcawl is now installed and open for visitors to enjoy. In exchange of a shallow pool area, Trecco Bay Holiday Park now has a number of features installed on two levels, creating a journey that is guaranteed to thrill waterplayers of all ages.
Beginning with steps up to the top deck there is one of Waterplay’s Water O’s, a spray hoop with nine spray nozzles providing a good soaking to all those that run through and a variety of ground sprays leading to a waterslide to access the deck below.
Having landed at the lower deck, waterplayers will be greeted with water jets from the ground and a shower curtain from Waterplay’s Crow Nest, which also features a tipping bucket that will intermittently fill with two gallons of water before emptying its contents on all below. WSL is the UK dealer for Waterplay Solution Corp, providing a full turnkey solution in the design and build of aquatic recreation.

HEATING SOLUTIONS

The work was carried out by Ryedale Swimming Pools of York, who have maintained the pool at the park for almost 25 years.
David Maltby of Ryedale Swimming Pools explains: “The previous heat recovery system had come to the end of its life and needed to be replaced. Having been a Calorex customer for many years, I had no hesitation in recommending a Delta system.” He adds: “The quiet operation and low running costs associated with the unit were particularly welcomed by the park owners.” On advice from the experts at Calorex and Certikin, David specified a Delta 6 unit. These clever machines are designed to control the environment, pool water and air temperature all through one simple PLC controller and with pool water heat recovery as a standard feature throughout the range.

The highly innovative Delta range also features new EC/inverter fans as standard. These new fans are approximately 20 per cent more efficient due to the ability to adjust and control fan speed based upon demand through the PLC controller which allows the overall system efficiency to improve by up to 40 per cent.  Typically, for every unit of power that a Calorex unit consumes, it will convert three times this amount to useable heat. The potential energy savings are huge. In fact, compared to traditional heat and ventilation energy, cost savings of over 60% are achievable while corresponding C02 emissions can be dramatically reduced by up to 70%. David comments: “The installation of the Delta was very straightforward and I was impressed with the level of service from the delivery driver who helped unload the unit and move it into position. “Since it was installed in February the Delta has been providing trouble-free service at the holiday park.”

WATER WISE

Elsewhere in the country, an innovative new heating solution using Bowman heat exchangers linked to a Biomass heating system has helped the KP Club in Yorkshire substantially the reduce running costs of 24 hot tubs on the site. On average, using conventional electric heaters, each hot tub would cost around £500 annually in electricity. However, by using Bowman heat exchangers linked to the main Biomass boiler system, the hot tubs are now heated at no extra cost – saving the KP Club approximately £12,000 a year.

The KP Club is a prestigious golf and leisure resort, set in 180 acres of the Yorkshire Wolds. The club recently opened 24 new luxury woodland lodges which offer guests privacy, combined with the facilities of a boutique hotel. Each of the lodges has its own hot tub, supplied by Urban Cedar, who specialise in the design, build and installation of contemporary cedar wood hot tubs. When the KP Club approached Urban Cedar to investigate a greener way of heating the hot tubs, they turned to E J Bowman, manufacturers of thermally efficient swimming pool heat exchangers, for advice. Bowman EC100-5113-2S stainless steel heat exchangers were recommended for the application and samples were sent for Urban Cedar to test at its USA manufacturing facility. The units not only passed, but produced remarkable improvements in heat-up times and thermal efficiency compared to previously used electric heaters.

REAPING REWARDS

By using Bowman heat exchangers linked to the main Biomass boiler system, the hot tubs at the KP Club are now heated at no extra cost.

By using Bowman heat exchangers linked to the main Biomass boiler system, the hot tubs at the KP Club are now heated at no extra cost.

Back in the UK, Urban Cedar fitted the hot tubs with the Bowman units – a simple process requiring just standard plumbing components. The compact heat exchanger is hidden behind the skin of the hot tub, so is neither visible nor affects the design.

Another major benefit of the system is that the electric heaters typically raised the water temperature by just 1-2ºC an hour, taking up to 24 hours to heat a tub from cold. The Bowman heat exchangers raise the water temperature by 12ºC an hour – so the tub reaches temperature in just 2-3 hours, giving the hotel greater flexibility when servicing the tubs between guest changeovers and ensuring the tubs are ready immediately when new guests arrive.

“The KP Club is leading the way by using Bowman heat exchangers linked to a Biomass boiler to heat its hot tubs.

This is the first time we have come across this method and it offers huge potential to commercial, leisure and domestic hot tubs users,” Antony Perry, Managing Director of Urban Cedar, explains.
“Bowman heat exchangers, used in conjunction with the Biomass boiler, create the opportunity to significantly reduce hot tub heating costs, by using a more energy efficient and sustainable method of heating,” he adds.

EJ BOWMAN
Tel. 0121 359 5401
www.ejbowman.co.uk

CRAIG TARA HOLIDAY PARK
Tel. 01292 265141
www.haven.com

WSL - WATERPLAY SOLUTIONS LTD
Tel. 0774 703 4523
www.waterplay.com

URBAN CEDAR
Tel. 01934 833844
www.urbancedarhottubs.co.uk

Compliance Countdown

Compliance Countdown

Permission must be sought from the customer for each and every purpose for which a business intends to use that data.

Permission must be sought from the customer for each and every purpose for which a business intends to use that data.

Since the 1980s, the rise of the Internet, combined with widespread technological advancements, has led to a massive increase in the amount of data being stored, processed and transmitted between businesses. Essentially, this means that the Data Protection Act is no longer fit for purpose, nor provides adequate protection for people (‘data subjects’).

The corresponding surge in cybercrime and the ever-increasing value of an individual’s personal data for marketing use has led to data protection becoming a major hot topic in the legal and business world. Following four years of high profile negotiations, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted by the European Union at the end of April 2016.

TICKING CLOCK

Park owners and operators can really set themselves apart by showing prospective customers how aware they are of the need to protect their information.

Park owners and operators can really set themselves apart by showing prospective customers how aware they are of the need to protect their information.

With a two-year bedding in period, the regulation will automatically become law in all EU member states in May 2018, by which time businesses will need to comply with the new rules.
When it comes into force, the GDPR will supersede both the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and the EU Data Protection Directive of 1995.

The clock is ticking towards May 2018 regardless of the UK’s decision to exit the EU. At the time of writing, the UK has still not given notice under article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union.
This means the GDPR will automatically become UK law before the end of the subsequent two year negotiation period regarding the UK’s EU withdrawal. According to experts, the GDPR is likely to remain in place afterwards, since it also provides a desperately needed and timely improvement on existing data protection law.

“It is critically important that businesses start preparing now for the GDPR as everyone will need to use that lead-in period up to 2018 to properly prepare their business for compliance,” comments Jowanna Conboye, Solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property and Information Technology at Stephens Scown in Cornwall.

“Park owners and operators can really set themselves apart by showing prospective customers how aware they are of the need to protect their information. The advent of the GDPR represents a great opportunity for businesses of all kinds to get their house in order.” “These new rules send out a clear message that every business must take data protection extremely seriously,” says Jowanna. “The data protection rules cover all aspects of data – relating to both customers and employees – and the use that companies make of personal details to build up customer profiles. Privacy and security have become critical issues,” explains Jowanna.

CLEAR RESPONSIBILITIES
“It’s not just your own company’s website and systems that need to be secure – it has to reach along the chain to any partner businesses, such as website hosting companies and payment processors. Companies need to review all of these arrangements and ensure that the contracts they have in place with partner businesses are robust and that responsibilities and liabilities are clear.” Despite the transition period of the next two years, it’s crucial that park owners and operators, and their related businesses, start preparing now for the enhanced legislation to ensure they are not caught short when the rules come into force. Ideally, businesses should conduct a full Data Protection Audit of their processes and systems.

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Family Affair

Multi-million business started from a chance encounter….

Woodlands Estate in Canterbury was the first park home development from Keat Farm Parks.

Woodlands Estate in Canterbury was the first park home development from Keat Farm Parks.

In the 1950s, a chance enquiry by a stranger wishing to store his caravan set off a chain of events that has led to Keat Farm Parks becoming one of South East England’s most successful and long established holiday and residential park groups.

 
Keat Farm in Kent started life as a smallholding and family home for the Kent family who moved there from Hertfordshire in 1954.

 
After struggling to make ends meet as a B&B, Ronald and Muriel Kent took the opportunity to turn their old orchard into an impromptu campsite and, following planning permission, Keat Farm Holiday Park was born. In 1964 the family purchased a near derelict caravan park and turned it into their first park home development, Woodlands, near Canterbury.

 
Today, Woodlands Estate is a thriving development of 90 homes surrounded by a conservation area and offering splendid views across the rolling Kent countryside to the coast.

 
Woodlands is now one of nine Keat Farm Parks in a business worth over £20 million and employing 45 permanent staff throughout Kent. Five residential parks are home to around 600 residents aged 50+ in Canterbury, Herne Bay, Maidstone and Whitstable. A variety of single and double occupancy homes are offered with most fully furnished homes being supplied by Omar and Prestige.

 

NO RISKS

 
Keat Farm may have grown somewhat over the years but for Malcolm Kent, who celebrates 50 years in the business this year, it is still very much a family-run affair just like his parents intended: “I joined the company in 1966. My elder sister was company secretary and my two brothers-in-law both worked here. In 1986 my father died and I took over the control, with my son joining the company in 1999 and my daughter in 2001.”

 

Malcolm attributes business success to ‘never taking uncalculated risks.’ Under his management, the company has grown steadily through the acquisition of other parks in the region and through taking on major holiday home distributorships.

 
Keat Farm’s philosophy has always been to make their customers as happy as possible. “Quality of product and customer care are both paramount to increasing market share,” explains Malcolm. “Customer expectation is so much higher than ever before. It’s a much changed industry since I first joined, but I think we can be proud of the fact that parks have moved with the times and continue to meet customer expectations.” It is this eye on future sustainability that has led to Malcolm making a sideways move from Managing Director to Group Chairman this summer. Malcolm’s son, Ben Kent, moved into the role on August 1st after serving on the board since 2011 with responsibility for sales and marketing.

 

SUPERB WORK

On the move (left to right) are Godfrey Brown, Ben Kent, Paul Taylor and Malcolm Kent.

On the move (left to right) are Godfrey Brown, Ben Kent, Paul Taylor and Malcolm Kent.

“Dad’s aim has always been to ensure that he leaves a legacy and not a burden,” explains Ben. “Moving to the position of Chairman helps manage the transfer of Keat Farm Parks to the next generation and means better security for our investment. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and building on the superb work from both my Granddad and Dad, not forgetting all of our fantastic team here.” Supporting Ben is newly appointed board director Paul Taylor who joined the company in 2003 in a sales management capacity. Other Directors of the group are Malcolm’s wife Janet, their daughter Justine Beba and son-in-law Wayne Beba.

 
Close family friend and colleague for 30 years Godfrey Brown also retired his directorship this summer. Malcolm pays tribute to the “magnificent support and pivotal role Godfrey played in Keat Farm’s success story.”

 
So what’s next for Keat Farm Parks? Malcolm says they have plans for a small development in the near future but expansion “depends on the political decisions made in Westminster.”
Asked to comment on the challenges facing the park home industry at this time, Malcolm mentions the as yet unknown potential impact of leaving Europe and ongoing issues with the minority of park operators whose poor practices tarnish the industry’s reputation.

 
“There comes a time when a new generation must take the reins but after 50 years, this is still a fantastic industry to work in despite huge changes over the years,” says Malcolm, who was Chairman of the NCC from 1996 till 1998, and more recently completed two years as National Chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.