Night-Rider Dave Hits The Road

Night-Rider Dave Hits The Road

Night manager Dave Marshall raised £4,000 for charity by cycling 100 two-mile circuits around Beauport Holiday Park near Hastings.

A holiday park night manager has smashed his charity fundraising target by cycling 100 circuits of the two-mile route around the park in just 24 hours.

Dave Marshall, who has worked at Beauport Holiday Park near Hastings for four years, took on the 200 mile challenge in the hope of raising £1,500 for two charities.

Surpassing all expectations, Dave was delighted to beat that target – raising over £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Charity for Kids, which provides vital support for disabled, sick and terminally ill children.

Backing for Dave’s bid came from a raft of different sponsors, including his friends and colleagues, suppliers to the park, and holiday home owners. The biggest single donor was Park Holidays UK which includes Beauport Holiday Park among the 26 park businesses it operates in Southern England.

Sunny Outlook For Wales

Sunny Outlook For Wales

Simon Hart MP (centre) with from left, branch director and BH&HPA vice chairman Huw Pendleton, BH&HPA national chairman Henry Wild, branch chairman Thomas Scarrott and branch secretary Gail Thomas.

Simon Hart MP (centre) with from left, branch director and BH&HPA vice chairman Huw Pendleton, BH&HPA national chairman Henry Wild, branch chairman Thomas Scarrott and branch secretary Gail Thomas.

Holiday parks are at the forefront of West Wales’ booming tourism economy, according to West Wales MP Simon Hart. Mr Hart was at Cross Park Holiday Village in Kilgetty, near Tenby, in September where park owners and managers met for their end-of-summer conference.

The Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP was the principal speaker at the conference, organised by the West Wales branch of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

Feedback from parks, the MP told delegates, suggested that many were reaping the benefits of the continued investment they had made in the quality of their product.

The longer-term implications of the Brexit vote were also addressed by Mr Hart who said he believed that UK tourism would remain strong regardless of how EU negotiations concluded.

Areas such as West Wales, he said, had an enduring appeal both to British families and to visitors from overseas which would be undimmed by the final outcome.

Swimming Pools Are The Vital Ingredient

Swimming Pools Are The Vital Ingredient

Anyone involved with the operation or management of a commercial water leisure facility will benefit from SPATEX 2017.

Anyone involved with the operation or management of a  commercial water leisure facility will benefit from SPATEX 2017.

If there’s one ingredient that singles out a holiday park from the crowd and secures repeat bookings, it is the quality of its water leisure provision, be it a hot tub, sauna or swimming pool.

As the single best relaxation resource that a resort can provide, they are widely regarded as fundamental to a holiday business’s success. Which is why attendance at the water leisure industry’s annual exhibition, SPATEX 2017 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena from Tuesday January 31 to Thursday February 2 is one of the most important dates in your 2017 calendar.

Anyone involved with the operation or management of a commercial water leisure facility will benefit from SPATEX 2017. Whether you’re looking to dip your toe in the water for the first time or refurbish an existing facility, SPATEX is the UK’s largest showcase of hot tubs, swimming pools, spas, saunas, enclosures, steam rooms and much more.

With a double seminar programme on all three days, with the emphasis on holiday parks and the commercial sector, it is also a unique platform for free professional training and education.Holiday Park Scene will be in attendance at the three-day trade show, so be sure to pop by the stand to meet the team and discuss how we can help you reach your business goals for the year.

Free to attend, you can register online at www.spatex.co.uk.

Network Growth

Network Growth

Culzean Castle saw the biggest year-on-year growth, reporting a 45 per cent increase in the number of pitch nights booked in 2016.

Culzean Castle saw the biggest year-on-year growth, reporting a 45 per cent increase in the number of pitch nights booked in 2016.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has enjoyed a significant growth of five per cent in the number of campers on its network of 108 UK Club Sites so far in 2016.

The Club capitalised on good weather in July, August and September in particular, and has benefited from a wider trend towards staycations within the UK. Culzean Castle, on the Ayrshire coast, saw the biggest year-on-year growth, reporting a 45 per cent increase in the number of pitch nights booked in 2016.

Bob Hill, Club Sites Director, said: “We’re thrilled with the Club’s success in 2016. Enjoying our highest ever membership has clearly extended to more bookings made on our network of campsites. “We have helped hundreds of thousands of campers enjoy a break away this year, with well over one million pitch nights on Club Sites.”

A Cinderella Story

A Cinderella Story

There are 278 plots at South Lakeland Leisure Village, offering a mixture of holiday homes and holiday lets.

There are 278 plots at South Lakeland Leisure Village, offering a mixture of holiday homes & lets.

Hard work and determination has paid off for a woman who started working as a cleaner when she barely spoke a word of English and is now at the helm of an award-winning holiday park in north Lancashire.

Zuzana Terry, 36, who hails from Slovakia, only knew the basics of the English language when she got a job cleaning the facilities at Fell End Caravan Park at Hale, near Milnthorpe, in 2005. Within a short space of time she began helping out in the on-site shop before being promoted to duty manager in 2008.

Two years later, the park’s owners, Pure Leisure Group, moved her across to South Lakeland Leisure Village – where she has worked her way up from Head Housekeeper to General Manager in just six years.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was a huge surprise and I feel really proud,” said Mrs Terry, who grew up in Sobrance in Slovakia, but now lives in Carnforth. “When I first moved here I hardly spoke a word of English and I didn’t really know what a caravan or a lodge was. That meant I had to learn everything from scratch and I think it’s given me a huge advantage to have worked my way up and to understand how all the elements of the business work.”

Zuzana now oversees the day to day running of South Lakeland Leisure Village, which is Pure Leisure Group’s flagship park. Located in north Lancashire, close to the Lake District, the leisure village welcomes several thousand visitors each year, from owners to holidaymakers, many of whom have been visiting for years.

THRIVING VENUE

Zuzana now oversees the day to day running of South Lakeland Leisure Village, which is Pure Leisure Group’s flagship park.

Zuzana now oversees the day to day running of South Lakeland Leisure Village, which is Pure Leisure Group’s flagship park.

The park sits on the site of a former gravel pit and was transformed into the thriving park it is today by owner John Morphet in 2003. “As well as offering sailing on the lake and its own leisure complex and restaurant, there’s all sorts to see and do on the doorstep, making the park very popular with families,” explains Zuzana.

“It is particularly popular with couples who have retired, or arenearing retirement, who enjoy the convenience of the park’s location. The majority of these owners let their lodges out when they or their families are not visiting themselves, ensuring their holiday home returns an income.”

There are 278 plots on the park, offering a mixture of holiday homes and holiday lets. The holiday lodges range in price from £69,995 to more than £250,000, and many of the plots are on the water front, with private jetties, wooden decking and hot tubs.

The park operates a buy-to-let scheme which ensures that buyers can earn an income from their holiday home when it’s not in use. This is a huge attraction to buyers, who are guaranteed a return of 6% per annum for three years. Several owners have started with one lodge, and bought more as they have come available.

“The park’s biggest challenge is also its biggest asset,” reveals Zuzana. She continues: “The nearby Lake District National Park is full of alternative options when it comes to luxury holiday homes but this works in our favour, with around 30% of holiday home sales on the park resulting from people ‘calling in’ as they head back down the M6 after being put off by high prices or Lake District traffic jams.”

The leisure village has an 11 month season, closing from the beginning of January to the beginning of February for annual maintenance work and improvements. The state-of-the-art Pure Leisure Health & Fitness Club is the highlight of the leisure facilities offered at the park and includes a gym, fitness suites a large, indoor swimming pool, steam room and a beauty spa.

NEW INVESTMENT

The latest addition to the park is a brand new £2million development of eco-friendly holiday homes, which bridges the gap between the high-end caravans and luxury lodges. Named The Yealands, the development has been developed from scratch by Pure Leisure Group and owners have access to all of the facilities at the leisure village.

Zuzana says she has a number of hopes for her new role at the park, but will concentrate on putting people first: “I have loved all of my jobs because I like working with people. I’m not afraid of hard work and I know every person in the team has an important role to play in keeping a lovely place like this running smoothly.”

South Lakeland Leisure Village
Tel. 01524 781918
www.pure-leisure.co.uk

New Legislation Comes Into Effect

New Legislation Comes Into Effect

It is essential that holiday park owners understand their legal obligation to use approved meters for billing their consumers for energy.

It is essential that holiday
park owners understand their legal
obligation to use approved meters for billing their consumers for energy.

DigiCard Systems, a leading manufacturer of electricity meters is urging holiday parks to be aware of new legislation governing the design and manufacture of energy meters.

Previously all electricity and gas meters installed in the UK must, by law, have been approved by Ofgem. As of October, the Ofgem legislation was replaced by new MID regulations (Measuring Instruments Directive).

Ofgem regulations still apply to existing meter installations but property-owners could be liable for prosecution if they install meters that do not meet the new MID requirements.

“The purpose of these regulations is to protect the consumer by ensuring that all meters are manufactured under controlled conditions in order to guarantee long-term accuracy and quality assurance,” says Chris Smith of DigiCard Systems.

“It is therefore essential that holiday park owners understand their legal obligation to use approved meters for billing their consumers for energy. We are advising holiday park owners to ask their meter suppliers for a copy of the MID Approval Certificate for their meters.”

The Return Of ‘Gramping’

The Return Of ‘Gramping’

Multi-generation holidays are becoming increasingly popular. Pic: VisitEngland/ Joe Wainwright Photography

Multi-generation holidays are becoming increasingly popular. Pic: VisitEngland/ Joe Wainwright Photography

Young families teaming up with grandparents for holidays have seen a marked rise this year, according to a major Lake District holiday park. Silverdale park in South Cumbria says that ‘gramping’, as it’s known, has been making a big comeback after decades of decline.

“When Silverdale first started out in business 60 years ago, it was quite common for three generations of the same family to go away on holiday together,” he said.

“Extended family breaks fell from favour as overseas holidays gained ground, and people began leading more separate lives from one another.

“But now British staycations are back in demand, families are using the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in the way they once did. As well as sharing the expense, it also means mum and dad have a built-in child care service so that they can make an occasional escape and be just a couple again,” he added.

Michael says that the gramping phenomenon is also resulting in more families sharing the cost of buying a caravan holiday home.

“We’ve been seeing many more people this year doing their sums and realising the considerable financial benefits of shared ownership,” says Michael. “And once again, it’s the local economy which benefits as more visits mean more spending in businesses such as shops, pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions,” he added.

Holiday Snaps

Holiday Snaps

snaps

Neil Ainsworth
Head of Operations & Retail at Bunn Leisure

After spending eight years working for Bourne Leisure and three years with Bridge Leisure, Neil moved to Bunn Leisure in West Sussex in January 2016 to become Head of Operations and Retail. His responsibilities include oversight of all retail experience at the Bunn site; bars, catering, shops and the Oasis pool complex.

You’ve spent most of your career working in holiday parks, how have they changed?

Without a doubt it’s our visitors’ expectations – they have risen enormously. The difference in expectation when I started with Rank in the early 1990s to now almost can’t be compared. What visitors expect to see in their caravan; anything from double-glazing to central heating, plus the basic functionality of them has risen and so has their expectation of how their children will be entertained, both during the day and the evening.

What’s the most important aspect of your job?

It’s got to be the ability to understand the business from the customer view. I think it helps that I’ve spent a number of my holidays in the past either on holiday parks. If you’ve enjoyed this type of holiday it gives you invaluable experience to bring to the job.

Anything specific you’ve taken from your own experience at these places?

I remember being at Disney and noticing that the team there all had name badges which wasn’t particularly innovative but then they’d include the place they came from, such as ‘Jake from Denver, Colorado’. I introduced that at one of the parks I used to work on for Bourne Leisure. Little things like that can make a big difference – critical non-essentials, I like to call them!

What is the main focus of the retail side of holiday park work?

Ensuring good and consistent working practises and looking at everything we sell and how we sell it. I’m always looking into new ways and new products to retail – what do our customers really want to see in our shops, bars and restaurants – and how we can help our guests buy our products at the best possible price.

Is live entertainment still important?

Absolutely. I think we’re miles ahead on this - we spend more than £1.5 million a year on entertainment at Bunn Leisure and our guests and owners really appreciate it. They love the idea that they are getting world-class performers, such as Billy Ocean or Heather Small, as well as the activities we produce for teens and children.

 It sounds as if children and young people are increasingly the key?

If they are it’s because we attract so many families and one of the reasons for that – and for UK holiday parks still being so popular - is because it’s a safe and secure environment for children. There’s a feeling here that you can allow your children to roam free and enjoy a wide range of activities and facilities. When I was a child you could go out and play in the street but parents are far less likely to let their children do that now so it’s great they can still do this in holiday parks.

Wish You Were Here

Quick snaps that capture the daily life at holiday parks across the country...

Picture postcards from Seven Oaks Holiday Park in Shropshire…

post1One of the most picturesque caravan holiday home and luxury lodge parks in the Welsh Marches can be found on the border with Shropshire. Overlooking the River Severn, Seven Oaks Holiday Park at Crew Green, between Shrewsbury and Welshpool, has been awarded the VisitWales five star rating. Most caravan holiday homes and lodges on the park have river views and are bordered by mature trees, banks of planting and immaculately kept grass down to the riverside.

River fishing is available and there are two fishing lakes for the exclusive use of owners. Non-anglers are able to relax on one of the many benches dotted around the lake and enjoy watching the abundant wildlife. The park’s facilities include a dedicated reception, laundry, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a bowling green complete with pavilion and pitch and putt golf.

Recent investment has included 20 new riverside pitches on an elevated terrace, taking the total to 120. Open from March to January every year, the park is especially popular with caravan owners from the Midlands and North West England. “We are not just selling a caravan holiday home here, we are selling a new way of life,” says Margaret Brace, who manages the park with her husband, Ron.

Seven Oaks Holiday Park
Tel. 01743 617871
www.sevenoakscaravanpark.co.uk

Crowds Flock To Popular Caravan Events

Crowds Flock To Popular Caravan Events

Thousands of visitors descended on The Lawns and Beaulieu shows this September.

Thousands of visitors descended on The Lawns and Beaulieu shows this September.

The Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association (HERCMA) held their annual events at The Lawns and Beaulieu in September attracting thousands of enthusiasts and buyers from across the UK, eager to see the season’s newest models.

There was plenty to see at both shows with over 150 holiday homes, lodges and park homes as well as over 130 touring caravans. In addition to the caravans there were plenty of other suppliers and service stands selling decking, awnings, caravan movers, and insurance, and there was a large accessories shop within The Lawns Centre.

Entertainment at The Lawns saw clowns, face-painters, balloon modellers a local orchestra and a roaming jazz band as well as a small fun-fair. Beaulieu saw face-painters and a magician. Details of next year’s shows at The Lawns and Beaulieu will be released soon.

Visit the website www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com for more information.