Holiday Snaps - Gareth Walker
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!