Shorefield Holidays staged its own Bake Off-style coffee morning across two of its eight UK holiday parks to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The events at Shorefield Country Park and Oakdene Forest Park were part of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and raised £760.47 for the charity, which provides emotional, medical, practical and financial support for cancer patients and their families, as well as campaigning for better cancer care.
Juliet Dowrick, Digital Marketer at Shorefield Country Park, received the title of Best Baker on the day, while the Accounts Department won Best Department for its outstanding team effort. Harry Wells, Junior Graphic Designer & Marketer, and Katie Ward, Entertainment Manager, both received recognition for ‘Best Faker’ and ‘I Taste Better Than I Look’ respectively.
Caravan and Motorhome Club members are continuing to embrace autumn and winter touring proving that caravanning and motorhomes are great holiday options no matter what time of year. Bookings for autumn and winter 2018 to 2019 were up seven per cent compared to the 2017 to 2018 season, and feedback from the Club’s recent social media polls show that its members think there is much to love about touring during the cooler and quieter months. Some 26 per cent of Club members questioned said they enjoyed the autumn colours and 22 per cent loved long walks on crisp bright days, with 35 per cent enjoying the quieter sites and attractions out of season. Nearly 20 per cent travelled out of season to appreciate the sheer beauty of the seasonal landscape. The resounding sentiment was that whilst members want to get out walking and visiting local attractions, many also love the warm and cosy feeling of being in their campervan, caravan or motorhome over the autumn and winter months, whatever the weather might throw at them.
Harvey Alexander, director of marketing for the Caravan and Motorhome Club, said: “Our members are an active and adventurous bunch so it’s no surprise that so many of them enjoy touring during autumn and winter, and we are striving to keep more and more of our sites open out of season to keep up with the demand. “It’s great to hear how our members all get away their way – whether that be curling up with a good book and a nice cuppa in a cosy motorhome or braving the chill and camping in a national park so they can spend the days walking and cycling. “I’ve especially enjoyed hearing the tips that our members have for getting away in the cooler months, not just the practicalities of being prepared, but the lovely feeling they have of being safe and warm inside their leisure vehicles and benefitting from the great facilities we have on our sites.” NEW SITE Meanwhile, work to develop a new campsite in the popular Sherwood Pines forest in Nottinghamshire will continue throughout the winter and spring, ahead of a planned opening during the 2020. The campsite will be run and managed by Camping in the Forest, a partnership between The Camping and Caravanning Club and Forestry England. It will span 20 acres of Forestry England woodland and brings the total number of Camping in the Forest Sites to 16 across England and Scotland.
Park Holidays UK has invited more than 600 Thomas Cook staff and their families to enjoy a weekend by the seaside. The holiday park group will pick up the accommodation tab in fully-equipped holiday homes for up to three nights, and will lay on free entertainment. Scene of the huge reunion party will be Broadland Sands Holiday Park, near Lowestoft, which the group is opening up especially for the event from November 8-11.
Park Holidays UK marketing director Geoff Barnes said it would be a chance for staff to swap memories and let their hair down after Thomas Cook suddenly went into liquidation in September. “As members of the holiday industry ourselves, we were also deeply saddened by the news and wanted to reach out to try and soften the blow in some way. “We thought the best way to help would be to open one of our most popular parks, Broadland Sands, for a long weekend and to offer free stays to staff and their partners and children. “Within one day of making the opportunity known to Thomas Cook staff, we were delighted to have taken bookings for all of the park’s 150-plus holiday homes,” says Geoff. “It means that we’ll be welcoming over 600 guests in total for between two and three nights, and we hope it will create a truly memorable experience for everyone. “I’m sure there will be some nostalgic moments, but overall we simply want all the Thomas Cook team, and especially the children, to share a very happy time,” added Geoff. As well as the free accommodation, guests will have use of all of Broadland Sand’s leisure facilities, including a recently opened £1.6 million swimming pool complex. Charges will also be waived on some other activities usually paid for by holiday guests, such as the climbing wall, adventure golf course and Segway Scooters. In addition, Park Holidays UK will be laying on a full no-cost entertainments programme in the park’s clubhouse featuring professional family-friendly acts.
Underlining its reputation as one of the leading holiday park shows in Europe, this month’s Holiday Park Innovation aims to attract over 4,000 key decision makers in the industry to the NEC for its unmissable annual gathering. For added appeal, the event from November 6 to 7 inclusive, reinforces its recipe for success by running other rural shows alongside, including the Farm Business Innovation Show, Family Attraction Expo, and our launch show, the Leisure Food and Beverage Expo. The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show is dedicated to providing the country’s most ambitious holiday park and resort owners and managers with the best advice, services, and products to make their holiday business stand out from the rest. With 400 exhibitors and 170 seminars dedicated to the industry, it’s the perfect opportunity to create the idyllic getaway for your customers. Learn the latest industry knowledge and gain insight into the newest innovations and technology currently available. If the exhibitors themselves were not enough to pack your visit, over the two days, the organisers offer a tempting seminar programme backed by insightful speakers.
Take some time to visit the Keynote theatre from 11 am to 4 pm. On both days speakers will be covering topics as broad as Post-Brexit Tourism, Maximising the Natural Environment, and Busting Outdoor Accommodation Myths while Hoseasons’ Shelley D’Arcy discusses the benefits of using land for the holiday market. Three other theatres offer stand-out presentations from 11 am to 4 pm daily covering subjects as varied as holiday hot tubs, playground design, to water conservation. Look out for Vicky Parr, from Visit England, discussing ways of boosting your business for holiday makers in the UK while Dave Courteen of Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs will outline How to Create a Profitable On-Site Leisure. So what are you waiting for? Register for your free tickets via the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show website with your chance to see the show first hand.
As the main media partner to the event, Holiday Park Scene is a B2B print and on-line magazine for the holiday park sector, earning itself a reputation as an essential read for anyone involved in holiday park management. Packed with fresh ideas and essential reading for anyone who runs or works in a holiday park the magazine is available on-line at www.holidayparkscene.com Holiday Park Scene offers the inside track on the latest market news and reports covering all aspects of holiday park management. Most importantly, Holiday Park Scene provides you with a targeted platform to promote your products and services across all areas of the UK and Eire holiday park sector. If you would like to get involved with this exciting publication, please don`t hesitate to visit the team at the show or make direct contact now, to help us understand how to make you stand out from the crowd.
British Holiday & Home Parks Association Tel. 01452 526911 Web. bhhpa.org.uk
The case for running an on-line booking system almost speaks for itself. Because holiday destinations that move to full online bookings, typically, see increased in turnover – and profit -- of 40-50%. You can cut overheads too. Parks who change to automated systems, regularly reduce staff administration costs by 30%. I call that a win, win situation. Yet many older or smaller parks still work with wall charts, diaries and spreadsheets. So why the reluctance to make the switch? “For a significant percentage, they have a small park and it is always full and they feel they don’t need a bespoke booking systems,” explains Dawn Bee, who runs one of the industry’s most popular systems in GemaPark. “For others, it is a reluctance to lose the ability to talk to -- and vet -- their customers,” Dawn adds. Allocate is a flexible online booking system you can embed in your existing website that is ideal for holiday home lettings and campsite bookings. “There are some campsites that operate under the 28 day rule that don’t believe they would benefit sufficiently from a booking system,” comments Allocate’s Charles Holdsworth. “Some of these are cash-only sites where few, if any, arrangements are made in advance,” he adds. “Over the last five years though, the rise of payment systems that do not have a fixed monthly fee has made booking systems far more attractive to the seasonal market, even those with a low turnover.” Smaller sites can be victims of their own success as they tend to have several lines of business and the time they can devote to each is limited. In this case, the booking system will ease the burden of taking bookings and simplifying all customer interactions. SEASONAL MARKET Charles again: “The smallest of customers with just a handful of pitches that takes around 100 bookings a year would find it impractical to operate without an online booking system that make running a small establishment viable. Dawn says smaller business still need to be a step ahead on the competition. “As the parks around them go online, offering more convenience to the newer web-orientated generation of customers, they will eventually have to follow,” she predicts. “A booking system will undoubtedly make your life easier but more importantly it makes your customers life easier. “It’s a question of service, of talking to a new generation of customer in the way they want to communicate. “ The benefits are significant. Customer service can increase massively because the process is consistent for every customer.
Booking documents, welcome letters and other documentation, can all be automated so if there is an issue, you fix it one place and it’s fixed for everyone. Dawn points out: “Cash flow is better and by automating collection of deposit and balance before arrival, no-shows are massively reduced.” Driving direct bookings is key to maximising returns, she adds: “Without their own booking system, the lion’s share of bookings will have a hefty commission,” Charles emphasises. “People expect to be able to book online, at any time of day or night. Sites are keen to keep all their bookings in one place, to that end, when they receive calls they will either direct the customer to make the booking online or enter the booking online for them. As one smaller site operator said: “I’m fed up with all the interruptions to manage phone and email bookings”. This is a common theme, the amount of time a booking system saves is considerably more than people estimate. Online bookings automate the collection of money too which was always a time -consuming burden. The management information a good booking system provides is invaluable, whether to manage guest arrivals, to prepare on site services, or to organise third party activities. An interface to an accounts package is another way a booking system can reduce overheads, there is no need for double entry of data. The data can also be reviewed to analyse the customer base and booking patterns in order to appropriately focus marketing activity. But what if the system crashed and the great Internet in the sky lets us down. Dawn admits, it can happen but urges: “A ‘cloud’ solution is a lot more reliable than your work PC and will have full backups. “They are very rarely down and then rarely for longer than a few minutes. “You can still print off daily arrival reports, the night before as a fall back, if you want to.” Unfortunately, nowadays, even the most clued-up of businesses are still vulnerable to a cyber-attack. As a result, the popularity of cyber-specific insurance products is growing. While existing insurance policies such as commercial property, business interruption or professional indemnity insurance may provide some elements of cover against cyber risks, businesses are increasingly buying specialised cyber insurance policies to supplement their existing insurance arrangements, particularly if they: • hold sensitive customer details such as names and addresses or banking information • rely heavily on IT systems and websites to conduct their business • process payment card information as a matter of course. Many insurers, including Compass, include technical assistance with managing a breach as part of the insurance policy. Adding-on cyber insurance cover is widely available, but as with all insurance, quality can vary and from an economical perspective, it would be sensible for parks to seek out add on products that ‘wrap around’ their existing cover. CYBER PROTECTION First-party cyber insurance covers your business’s own assets. Third-party cyber insurance covers the assets of others too, typically your customers. With reliable booking systems out there, and supplied with reliable safety nets, we would urge you to take the leap for your 2020 bookings – and reap the rewards.
What was your career path into the industry? After leaving school, I worked in the financial sector for HBOS (now Lloyds Banking Group). I worked for the group in various departments from International Payments to Treasury in the big smoke. I was working in the marketing department when an opportunity to join Leisuredays came up. And 14 years on I’ve never looked back!
How has the market changed during your time in the industry? The changes I’ve witnessed have been for the better. The customer product has greatly improved, which in turn provides insurance companies/brokers with a better risk. Holiday parks are open longer and have much more to offer, with a wide range of facilities and activities. Conversely insurance has become much more heavily regulated, meaning parks need our help more than ever to stay compliant.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to 10 years? I can see more online and digital engagement between parks and their customers and also between us and our policyholders. We’ll use technology to make it ever easier and quicker for customers to obtain the cover and make a claim.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life? Work vs life balance is my biggest challenge. Trying to keep my wife and the kids happy whilst travelling around the country to support my team and our parks. But I’m privileged to have a great team of Business Development Managers and a flexible boss (and wife)!
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom? The best piece of advice that’s stuck with me is from one of my first mangers. And that’s to be honest and don’t be frightened to make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not learning or improving!
What do you most like to spend your time out of working hours? In my spare time I’m an Academy football coach with FC Halifax Town. Both my boys are big into football and this covers any hours I have free. It is a great way to wind down after a day on the road.
If we could give you three guests? Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why? It’s hard to just choose three but in no particular order: David Beckham – Because he was a very successful footballer, dad, business man and all round decent guy. Dynamo the magician - I just love magic! Plus, he’s a good Yorkshire lad and would be guaranteed to keep you entertained. Dr Steve Peters – I’ve read a few of his books now and think he’d be very interesting to have as a guest to bounce thoughts and theories off.
Do you have any claims to fame? At one of the first Soccer Aids, I gave Maradona a high five when passing him in the corridor on his way out of the stadium.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays? We often visit Tenerife, however, my two boys love a week away in a holiday caravan or lodge and it’s those holidays they talk most about to friends and family. There are some fantastic holiday parks and locations in the UK, but the ones with a pool, football pitch and a bar will always be most attractive for a young family like mine!
Wish You Were Here - Oyster Bay Coastal & Country Retreat
Oyster Bay Coastal and Country Retreat, is one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets and the only 5-Star, owners’only holiday park. You’ll find Oyster Bay set in the beautiful Cornish countryside, just a stone’s throw from the stunning, famous sands of Perranporth. Oyster Bay’s brand-new development – Penpol Creek – boasts 23 spectacular holiday homes. Imagine a mixture of extraordinary lodges, immaculately furnished. We’re talking contemporary, well-equipped kitchens, spacious open-plan living spaces and private sun terraces with unbeatable views of the Cornwall’s rolling countryside. Set in its own private gated community, there’s no better place to soak up the scenery – what’s more, it’s open all year round with a 12-month season. Unwind at the park’s exclusive facilities, including its indoor leisure complex – why not go for a calming dip in the pool, followed by a chilled drink on the decked terrace? At the end of a busy day, enjoy a short stroll to Oyster Bay’s very own pub and restaurant, The New Inn. They’ve laid on some delicious seasonal dishes to sample with your owner discount – and why not join in with the exclusive monthly wine club? Other benefits for owners include a chauffeur service and a calendar of special events. Oh, and don’t even contemplate leaving your loved four-legged friends behind, either – Oyster Bay is completely pet-friendly. At Oyster Bay, dedicated watersports instructors are available to help guests make the most of the surfing, paddle boarding and windsurfing opportunities available nearby. You can make full use of the putting green, the tennis courts or get out and about to explore the endless, stunning countryside with complimentary electric bike hire. Nothing has been missed in the quest to create a spectacular sanctuary all year round. Oyster Bay is the perfect home from home with everything required for endless holidays and lasting memories.
The annual Beaulieu show gives both trade and public visitors the opportunity to see the latest and best that the major manufacturers within the industry have to offer and to examine the designs and luxurious accommodation available for the new season.The show is held on the Beaulieu Estate in Hampshire where they are joined by others for the Southern Caravan Trade Show on September 26th and the public show on the three following days. This the largest show of its type in southern England and provides a great opportunity for manufacturers and parks to showcase their latest products to the many thousands of visitors. The shows are run by HERCMA (the Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association).
They say you should always save the best to last, so we finish this preview with The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show, providing leisure and resort industry professionals with an unparalleled opportunity to network and bring new revenue and diversification to their business. This is the trade event to help holiday business owners grow, expand and evolve. The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show really is your one-stop event for industry leaders, world class speakers and 1-2-1 networking opportunities. Show Highlights: • 7,000 attendees of key businesses and industry decision makers • 400 industry leading exhibitors • 170 seminars from industry experts including Park Evolution, FSC UK, Wifinity and Wyldecrest Parks, plus many more! • Exceptional networking and business opportunities including the chance\ to speak directly with business influencers • Advice and guidance on all areas of business, from marketing and PR to planning and finances
Want to know the best part? It is absolutely FREE! Free tickets to attend the show can be registered for via the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show website.
SALTEX 2019 will feature over 300 exhibitors including some of the biggest names in groundscare. The two-day event will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the very latest industry trends and innovations, enhance their education and learn from industry experts. The exhibition is the longest-standing event of its kind in the world, having been held almost every year since 1938, and the show is continually evolving with the people of the industry in mind. This year the show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations – and attendees can expect features such as: • NEW! Eco Village – live demonstrations purely dedicated to environmentally-friendly products. • Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s world-class free educational programme. • Pathology and Soil Science LIVE – a look in detail at the symptoms of turfgrass fungal disease problems. • SALTEX Innovation Award – celebrating the very best in new groundscare technology. • Ask the Expert - free face-to-face turfcare advice. • Outdoor Demonstrations – the latest products in action in an area directly outside halls 6,7 and 8. • SALTEX College Cup - land based colleges compete in an academic test of turf management knowledge. • Lawn Care Legends LIVE – a fantastic networking opportunity for landscapers and gardeners. • Job Clinic – free one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques. Registration is accessible through the SALTEX website and visitors can simply bring their email confirmation (on a phone or a printed copy to the registration desk) which will be located at the show entrance.