Holiday Snaps: Rod Tucker
How do you see the UK Holiday industry at the moment?
Both the caravan sales and rental markets are buoyant for quality holiday parks. People are booking more breaks last minute and there is a growing trend of families taking more short breaks rather than one long holiday. It’s the same picture with holiday home sales; people are looking to get away at weekends and for shorter mid-week breaks.
What are the main challenges facing the industry?
It comes down to legislation; the VAT on tourism being so much higher in the UK than the rest of Europe penalises British holidaymakers and more red tape doesn’t help any business. Despite assurances from the Government about cutting red tape, it’s not happening.
How have customer expectations changed during your time in the holiday business?
I have been in this industry for 40 years and naturally in that time I have seen huge changes. People want better facilities in the way of swimming pools and gyms and they demand more quality accommodation. Top of the range accommodation at Hoburne gets fully booked very quickly, but even standard caravans have double glazing and central heating now. It’s a far cry from when I started.
If you had to identify one element, what is the most crucial aspect of your business?
Customer service, without a doubt. Hoburne is a family-owned and run business, not venture capitalist-backed, and Holiday Snaps Rod Tucker is the managing director of Hoburne Ltd and Burry and Knight Ltd, which run seven holiday parks and three golf courses. Rod was previously CEO at Haulfryn Group and was chairman of the National Caravan Council from 2010 to 2012. Rod Tucker, Hoburne Holiday Parks has a very loyal customer base. Customer service is at the heart of all we do and our reputation for quality, fairness and value is something we work hard to protect.
What has been your most interesting experience in the industry?
I had a very interesting couple of years as chairman of the National Caravan Council. I got to meet some really interesting people and work with great companies, like Hoburne. I also enjoy upgrading holiday parks, making improvements and introducing better facilities.
What does a typical day in the office for you entail?
There is no such thing. I may be in the office having meetings or I may be out visiting the parks, or our golf courses or housing developments; meeting managers and looking at ways to move the business forward. I am not one for sitting in the office; I like to be out and about.
What is the best piece of business advice you've been given?
Two things; firstly to be honest and frank with everyone. Secondly, to ensure the presentation of the parks is right because you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.
Where do you go on holiday?
Outside of this country, I like Greece and Italy, but I love travelling generally, abroad and in the UK. Children are so happy with swimming pools, playgrounds, entertainment and beaches or wide open spaces to play in.