Holiday Snaps - Helen Scott of Cofton Holidays
Helen Scott is a Director of multi award winning holiday park, Cofton Holidays. Having grown up at Cofton Holidays, Helen has a passion for tourism and sits on the Area Tourism Partnership and Visit South Devon boards and chairs the local Dawlish Warren Tourism Group...
What was your career path into the industry?
I grew up on the Park so have worked and helped my parents from a very young age, learning the basics, and have always been taught to have a good work ethic. I studied for my NVQ 4 Business and Finance Diploma in the evenings at Exeter College whilst working full time for BT. I found working for another corporate company gave me a big insight into working for a different industry and it gave me a good grounding for one day helping run a busy holiday park.
How has the market changed during your time in the industry?
When I was a teenager, we were a seasonal business open from Easter through to the end of October. We loved the down time with nobody staying in the winter months and only a few sheep for company. Now, the popularity of staycations has grown massively and to meet this demand, we are open 365 days of the year. Many holiday makers do not limit themselves any more to just one holiday a year.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
I feel that the ‘staycation’ is here to stay; it’s all about demand and supply. Customers will continue to stay in the UK and travel around to see more of the country they live in. I think we will see a bigger boom in motor home sales, particularly amongst retired couples that enjoy touring to different areas.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life?
The biggest challenge for me is juggling work with home life. I often feel pulled in both directions and very rarely switch off when I am at home. Sometimes, you need some time away from work to be able to think clearly and come up with creative solutions to challenges at work.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
Derek Blackburn of Sidona Group gave me some excellent advice during some in-house management training. The advice was to have faith in your staff and give them the tools and training they need so you can delegate responsibility to them.
If you could invite any three guests, who would you most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
Ben Fogle as he is a dog lover and we welcome dogs big and small here at Cofton! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as he lives in Devon and can relate well to the local area. Dawn French as I find her funny and feel I have a similar sense of humour.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
I can only take a holiday in the depths of winter so have found going abroad to Tenerife is a nice way to get some sun. I also try and take a few days here and there and go away in our touring caravan. It is good to visit other holiday parks and enjoy being a customer and relaxing.