Holiday Snaps with Peter Lawrence, Andrewshayes Holiday Park
Peter Lawrence is the General Manager at the Andrewshayes Holiday Park that offers a mix of static caravans, camping and seasonal tourer pitches on a rural park in East Devon. Established by his grandmother 80 years ago, Peter oversees the day-to-day smooth running of the third generation site, as well as strategic planning.
What challenges are currently facing the holiday park sector?
The sector has fragmented with new types of holidays now on offer and a range of facilities. Honest marketing is important to ensure that customers know what sort of park they have booked onto and we can therefore better manage their expectations. For example, as a medium sized park we do not offer a full entertainment programme, however this is not a requirement for all families.
How have visitor expectations changed during your time in the holiday business and how have you reacted to those demands?
Expectations are far higher today, people are taking more holidays and demand quality. Trying to improve the quality of the holiday park and the service while maintaining good value for money is the challenge.
If you had to identify one element, what is the most crucial aspect to the success of the park?
Customer service has to be second to none. Even the most disgruntled customer can be managed with good customer service.
Where do you see the park in 10 years’ time?
We would like to expand the park, but due to being in an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) that is unlikely to happen for us. We are looking into glamping options and the possibility of converting existing static caravan pitches into lodges. With a finite space it’s about the best return on the land we have.
What has been your most challenging experience in the industry?
One year three families with tourers arrived at the end of July for their holiday, all convinced that they had booked three pitches for three weeks at the end of their last holiday - they hadn’t. Of course at that time of the year we were virtually full so there was a lot of juggling involved to keep them happy!
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
My grandmother once told me “you reap what you sow”. I think that’s sound advice for life in general and in business it’s certainly true that the more effort and hard work you put in the more you get back.
How is the summer season shaping up for Andrewshayes Holiday Park?
Bookings are coming in well for the peak weeks, it’s the shoulder months we always need to work hard to fill. Of course we are hoping for some good weather to really keep customers happy.
Where do you go on holiday?
I like a complete change of scenery and have a passion for skiing which ties in nicely with the park being closed.
Anything else you would like to add or flag up?
The rise of social media is a new challenge for us but is also a great opportunity, especially for parks with smaller marketing budgets to help get their name out there. As an inland site we are always up against the more sought after coastal parks and we find we have to work harder to attract customers.