Boosted by what was the hottest summer on record, the UK’s holiday park sector has never been so appealing. More Brits each year are continuing to enjoy all that the country’s parks have to offer - and what an offering it is. From quirky wigwams and shepherds tents to deluxe lodges and cabins, today’s holiday parks and campsites are better equipped than ever before for their increasingly discerning guests. Accommodation features that were once considered luxurious are now seen as the norm. Take glamping as an example. Nobody needs to be reminded of the rise and rise of glamping, but what is noteworthy is how such accommodation is fast moving from fringe to mainstream. Rather than just providing a handful of pods alongside their traditional holiday homes, some parks are now dedicating large sections of their grounds to a variety of glamping modules, creating in effect a mini-village for guests seeking this type of experience. There are also instances of parks swapping a number of their seasonal or touring pitches for this style of accommodation, purely as a response to customer preference.
Glamping is also broadening the appeal of taking a holiday on a park to couples and families who might otherwise not have considered the option. In many cases, this might have been because they hadn’t quite grasped the concept of what a park offers in terms of its rented accommodation, or simply because the guests weren’t keen on camping. By contrast, the idea of staying in a shepherd’s hut, safari tent or hobbit house is easy to understand, and provides an element of adventure and fun with which it is easy to engage. “If glamping is an example of camping on an upward trajectory as far as quality is concerned, then the same can also be said of caravan holiday homes,” comments Jon Boston, a spokesperson for the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA). “Many of these now have levels of refinement far beyond what a customer would expect as standard a decade ago, including features such as en-suite bathrooms, exterior decking, wide-screen TVs and sophisticated sound systems.” Jon adds: “UK manufacturers have proved themselves adept at constantly refining their product, but there may be some evidence that holiday lodges will become more dominant in the future. Some park groups are now favouring lodges over holiday caravans when developing new pitches, both for sales and rental.”
The extra space in a lodge can make for a more comfortable stay, especially if the customer is holidaying with an extended family or friends. For rental purposes, lodges also enable parks to offer a more luxurious experience. Some lodge breaks are now being styled along the lines of a boutique hotel with added features such as robes and slippers, upscale toiletries, bubbly in the fridge, and even fresh croissants delivered in the morning. Says Jon: “The trend towards more highly specified caravan holiday homes and lodges is also consistent with the move by many parks to extend their opening seasons. Local authorities would appear to be increasingly more accommodating when faced with such requests from parks, recognising the wider economic benefits to be gained from lengthening the holiday year, not least among the many businesses in their area which depend on visitor spending.” He adds: “With modern holiday homes now providing highly efficient central heating systems as well as double glazing and increased levels of insulation, holidays throughout the four seasons become much more practical.”
At Skelwith Fold caravan park in the Lake District, new accommodation trends are enabling park owner Henry Wild to broaden his customer base. The Ambleside park has around 450 pitches for holiday home owners and touring guests – but camping is not permitted: “This once meant that Skelwith Fold was only open to people with a touring caravan or motorhome, so we were limiting our guests to people who already understood the park product,” comments Henry. “A few years ago, however, we decided to remedy that by introducing top-end glamping modules for hire, based on the Swift S-Pod. This immediately extended our appeal to couples who might never before have considered using a park for a holiday.” He adds: “Their success encouraged us this year to invest in two safari tents, fully furnished and kitted-out, which are also proving immensely popular, especially with younger families.” While glamping is great for generating additional revenue, Henry believes that the real value of this accommodation is in generating interest in holiday home ownership. At least fifteen sales of holiday homes on the park over the past few years can be attributed to glamping stays.
“Many people typically book for three or four nights and that is sufficient for them to get an idea of what life could be like for them as owners. It’s surprising just how many on their last day ask if they can just take a quick look at one of our show homes before they leave!” says Henry. He adds: “As an industry, we have always known that a better understanding by consumers of what we offer could widen considerably our market potential. Glamping is doing the job far more effectively and economically than any amount of advertising could achieve.”
Switched on park owners who want to keep abreast of the everevolving world of park accommodation can get a first glimpse of the new 2019 models at the HERCMA Shows at The Lawns and Beaulieu this Autumn. Some 300 models of touring caravans, holiday homes, lodges and park homes will be on display at the shows, which run from September 4th – 6th (The Lawns) and September 21st – 23rd (Beaulieu).
“The industry overall is enjoying a good year with retail sales on the rise in all sectors, in particular with holiday homes and park homes,” explains Michael Ritchie, Event Manager of the Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association (HERCMA) Shows. “Customers want more and more creature comforts in their holiday homes and manufacturers strive to keep pace. Electronic gadgetry is now common in many of the higher priced units and in recent years there has been a rise in the popularity of twin units for both holiday and residential use. In fact, there will be a record number of twin units on display at The Lawns show this year – nearly 40 of them from 13 different manufacturers.”The Lawns show has been running for more than 40 years at The Lawns in Cottingham. It is run by HERCMA, which comprises five manufacturers from the region: ABI, Carnaby, Coachman, Swift and Willerby. Open to the public, the show attracts well over 20,000 visitors each year. “There will be numerous new product launches – as always at The Lawns,” promises Michael. “ABI and Swift are unveiling additional twin units with highly imaginative layouts; Willerby will be unveiling its range of park homes; and companies such as Pathfinder, Prestige-Homeseeker and Omar-Wessex always have stunning new designs on show and are promising the same this time.” Commenting on the future of holiday park accommodation, Michael adds: “I think that holiday caravans, lodges and park homes will continue to evolve, according to customer requirements, becoming, along with parks, more and more energy efficient, providing some of greenest and most environmentally holidays and residential accommodation available. While there may be short-term problems with issues such as Brexit, the longer-term future looks pretty good.”
Tel. 01452 526911
Tel. 01452 511430
THE LAWNS AND BEAULIEU SHOWS 2018
Doncaster-based park homes operator Serenity Parks might be a relative newcomer to the industry but they have ambitious plans for the future.
The Company was established in 2016 by Directors Gary Burns and Andrew Wilson, who already co-own a successful and longestablished civil engineering business – the NMC Group. After many years of working on engineering projects that included residential and holiday park developments, Gary and Andrew decided to take the plunge and invest in their own parks. “Through our civil engineering contracts we have long been involved with infrastructure and development works for many residential park home estates throughout the country,” explains Gary. “Given the steady increase in this market and the changing perceptions of park home living, we identified a strong opportunity to diversify our business interests and this has proved successful.” Gary and Andrew launched Serenity Parks by taking the opportunity to acquire two existing residential parks in Cheshire that were ripe for re-development.
Chester’s Croft is situated in the leafy Stockport suburb of Cheadle Hulme, and was acquired by Serenity Parks in November 2016. Its highly desirable location, just over two miles from Stockport itselfand seven miles from Manchester, makes it a popular choice with residents. The park offers plenty of green outdoor space, as well as excellent travel links, including two nearby rail stations and the ease of Manchester Airport just a few minutes drive away. Since taking on Chester’s Croft, Gary and Andrew have completely redeveloped the park and its infrastructure, investing heavily in surfacing, drainage, curbing and landscaping. They have bought back a number of plots in order to upgrade with new homes for sale. Out of a current 47 plots at Chester’s Croft, just three remain available. Serenity Park’s second Cheshire-based development, Alvanley Park, has also undergone a major upgrade. Many new homes have been added to the site and just one remains for sale out of a total of 40. The park sits in a prestige location in pretty Cheshire countryside and next to National Trust woodland, but with easy access to amenities in the nearby market town of Frodsham.
Both Chester’s Croft and Alvanley Park offer high-end, one and two bedroom park homes from leading manufacturers including Prestige, Oakgrove, Stately Albion and Omar. Both parks cater exclusively for over-55s and offer residents a thriving social scene and a supportive environment in which to spend their later years.
Gary and Andrew did not found Serenity Parks with the intention of just ‘owning parks.’ For them, the business represents an opportunity to create and develop communities.
“We really believe that moving to a park home should not just be a decision of where to live, but also of how,” explains Gary. “We pride ourselves on the lifestyle we enable our residents to lead. By providing attractive, accessible and well-equipped homes, in an environment that actively facilitates positive interaction, we create the perfect park home environment with a real community feel.”
SAFETY AND SECURITY
“Our homes offer an increased level of safety and security compared to city centre or suburban living, as well as encouraging residents to manage a more independent way of life in their later years. When you own a park and see new residents coming to make their home here, you can really see the positive difference in people after just a few months living amongst like-minded new friends.” Serenity Parks was born out of an absolute belief in the huge potential of park home living and its tremendous benefits, not only for park residents, but also for park owners, developers, and local authorities.Gary says: “There has been a seismic change in perceptions of park home living, especially among the over 50s who are placing more importance on leisure and the freedom that park home living can offer. The recent changes to housing policy also mean that residential park homes are now accepted as a dedicated form of housing, which gives us greater confidence in planning policy for more plots.” It’s clear that the tides are turning favourably for park home living but Serenity Parks believe much more needs to be done to educate the Government and local authority planners about the wider benefits of residential park home communities.
With this in mind, Gary and Andrew have created a detailed resource document that they are proactively sharing with local authority planning departments that explains the social, economic and environmental advantages of the park home trend.
Gary says the potential saving to the public purse from park home developments is massive, not to mention the solution they can offer to aid the national housing supply crisis.
“Cheshire, where we already have two parks, is an area of really high demand for homes and there is simply not enough accommodation to go around,” says Gary. “Many areas of the country have the same situation and frustratingly, I believe that not enough is being done to pass off sites for development.”
Gary and Andrew see this challenge as a unique opportunity to change out-dated misconceptions about the park home lifestyle.
With two successful re-developments under their belt in the Northwest, Gary and Andrew are now turning their attentions to other opportunities.
“We are interested in developing more high-end parks in the North but our interest remains national,” says Gary.
“We are ready and able to invest in redevelopment opportunities where we can transform tired sites to offer prestige park home communities in desirable areas. We have plans to double the size of our portfolio year on year over the next three years and promote the Serenity Parks brand UK-wide.”
On Your Marks For Trade Events
A busy show season lies ahead packed with a wealth of business ideas to help with your winter planning...
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Landscape Show - 18th-19th September
Evolution Centre, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ www.landscapeshow.co.uk
The key trade show for the industry LANDSCAPE is back for another year, uniting Garden Designers, Landscape Architects and Contractors under one roof for two days, dedicated to sourcing the latest innovations and technologies in the landscaping industry. Come down to Battersea Park onTuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th September 2018 to select, sourceand network. LANDSCAPE 2018 promises to deliver a range of both new andreturning exhibitors showcasing everything from Outdoor Furniture,Living Plants and Trees, Planters, Stone and Decking to mention justa few. The event is the go-to for any professional designer looking tosource new product ranges to use within their projects. Andrew Fisher Tomlin from Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer says: “The thing that distinguishes the LANDSCAPE Show is that you always find new trade suppliers and new products that you would never find elsewhere.” Alongside the main exhibition is a free to attend Seminar Programme hosted across four seminar theatres. Each session is CPD accredited and addresses current topics integral to the industry
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Beaulieu Trade Show - 20th September
Hides Field, Beaulieu,Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7ZN www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com
The annual HERCMA Southern Trade Show at Beaulieu takes placethis year on Thursday 20th September, from 10am until 5pm. More than 150 of the latest caravan holiday homes, lodgesand park homes will be displayed in the splendid setting of theBeaulieu Estate in the New Forest in Hampshire. Leading brandson show include manufacturers such as ABI, Atlas, Carnaby, Delta,Pathfinder, Pemberton, Prestige-Homeseeker, Regal, Stately-Albion,Swift, Tingdene and Victory. Other exhibitors range from decking companies to software and furniture suppliers. Parking and entry are free for bona fide trade visitors who can register to attend on www. hercmatradeshows. com. Trade visitors are also welcome on Friday21st September, the opening day of the annual Caravan Holiday Home and Park Home Show. This continues over the weekend of 22nd and23rd September from 10am until 5pm each day. Details of the public event are on www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com
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Be My Guest - 2nd & 10th October
Torquay, Carlisle & Skegness www.bemyguest.live
Following a successful launch earlier this year, the Be My Guest event series has announced its autumn dates. A UK roadshow for independent accommodation providers including holiday parks, camping sites, glamping experiences and holiday rentals. Theevents are supported by partners like The AA,Google, Expedia, local DMOs and media partnersincluding Holiday Park Scene. The one-day business development eventswill be visiting Torquay (2 Oct), Carlisle (10 Oct) and Skegness (13 Nov). The events are free to attend for providers and feature a fantastic speakerline up to help businesses improve their performance by mastering topicslike digital marketing, local networking, supplementary incomes throughinitiative like electrical vehicle charging ports. Visitors to the show will also be able to take advantage of theMarketplace exhibition which showcases the latest products and servicesfor providers and is packed with show-only offers. As an example, theBe My Guest team provide a 20% subsidy for any new accommodationproviders looking to undertake The AA Quality Assessment Scheme forthe first time. For more information and to register your FREE place at the show justvisit the website.
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Saltex 2018 - 31st October - 1st November
NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT www.iogsaltex.com
Those working within the holiday park and campsite management industry will have the opportunity to learn from leading opinion formers, further their career prospects and see new products and services fromprominent suppliers when SALTEX opens its doors at the NEC,Birmingham on October 31 and November 1. This year, the show floor will be bursting with everything avisitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations andwill contain a plethora of exhibitors representing the likes of playequipment and services, turf maintenance equipment, fencing andlandscaping, sports surface design, research and consultancy, seeds,turf, aggregates and treatments, and facilities services management. As well as a wide range of innovative products on display within the three large halls, visitors to SALTEX will have the chance to see many of these products in action. The outdoor demonstrations will take place on a grassed area directly outside the SALTEX halls 6, 7 and 8. There will also be a number of education opportunities through Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s all-encompassing, free-to-attend education programme. Learning LIVE will take place in four dedicatedseminar theatres situated on the show floor and willfeature a wide range of expert speakers discussingrelevant topics. SALTEX 2018 is free to attend. To register yourattendance and beat the queues visit www.iogsaltex.com
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Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show - 7th & 8th September
NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT www.holidayparkshow.co.uk
The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show is back at the NEC, Birmingham on the 7th and 8th November providing holiday and leisure entrepreneurs with an unparalleled opportunity to make the most of their resorts, holiday parks and attractions by delivering first-hand the very best in advice, products and services. Combining world class experts, face-to-face advice, 150 inspirational seminars, 350 leading suppliers, workshops, unrivalled networking and live features all under one roof - these two days are truly unmissable for anyone in this sector! Whether you’re relatively new in the holiday market and looking for inspiration and advice or an established business looking for new and exciting ways to improve your offering, the event covers everything you need to run your holiday business more efficiently. Discover all the latest technology and trends from within the sector and find out more about current marketing and business strategies. The industry’s most innovative and influential figures will pass on their peerless knowledge and advice and ultimately help you stand out from the competition and increase your occupancy rates. Tickets to attend are free and you can register via the website. We look forward to welcoming you to the event.
No Quick Fix
I will start with a confession. Wisper it quietly, but there is no ‘quick fix’ that will instantly fill your holiday park with customers, especially in the quieter months. That magic button for your website – the one that will send bookings through the roof is, well, I’m afraid just a myth…
So, it’s time for a reality check. The only way to ensure your park is best placed to turn those clicks and enquiries into bookings and sales is to have a proper strategy in place. It can be really frustrating to see large volumes of traffic coming to your website but so few of those continuing to book their holidays. Abandoned bookings and poor conversions rates are an obvious sign that all is not well somewhere in the online booking process.
Whether you own a large group of holiday parks or you’re just starting out with a few touring pitches, your online booking platform is arguably the most important piece of the jigsaw. You can spend thousands of pounds per month on marketing but, if it’s all let down by a process that inhibits the booking process then you’re wasting all your hard-earned cash. Online booking systems vary greatly from one another - and the most expensive one may not necessarily be the best for your park. You need a system that not only fulfils your requirements from a park management perspective but is, crucially, easy for your customers to navigate and book online.
It is too easy to forget the customer booking journey with parks too often spending more time focusing on the back-office functionality of an online booking system. But these online booking steps are, potentially, far more important than whether the system can produce all your different financial reports. Most systems (but not all) on the market will come with a set of online booking steps that will be the link between your website and booking system. It is crucial that you choose a system that has booking steps that are clear, straightforward and easily navigable for your customers.Why not take the journey yourself, as a customer would (we recommend trying this on a mobile too). If you find yourself getting frustrated then multiply this by the average number of people who visit your website and you’ll soon see why so many people abandon their bookings.
hate to be the bearer of bad news but complying with GDPR wasn’t just sending out a few re-subscribe emails to your database at the end of May. It’s fair to say that it’s had (and will continue to have) a big impact on the holiday park industry. One thing’s for sure – it’s already had a big impact on the online booking sector, with many changes having been made to systems to comply as best they can with the new regulations. A cornerstone element of GDPR is customer data. Your online booking system is, potentially, storing thousands of customer records, accounts and, in some cases, payment details too.
Do you know for sure where all that customer data is? Is it stored directly on the computer in your office – and is this vulnerable to hackers? Or is the data stored in the cloud? Is it encrypted to the highest level? Are your online booking steps collecting marketing information even from those who don’t complete a booking? If so, what’s being done with all that data? All these are vitally important questions you should ask your current provider or ask yourself before changing to a new system as you will be liable, should the worst happen.If your online booking is the final part of the jigsaw, then getting your customers into that booking process, is the first. How do you attract the right sort of customer to your park to begin with?
Before you commit to spending hundreds or thousands of pounds per month on a Google AdWords PPC campaign or such like you need to ask yourself one fundamental question – who are your customers? How old are they? Where do they live? What interests do they have? What do they spend on an average holiday? Once you have a clear idea of the people you’re targeting then you’re more likely to achieve the desired result. Depending on the sort of customer you’re targeting, your marketing can be grouped into various activities, including your website, email, social media, pay per click (PPC) or printed media. All of this will filter back to the online booking process.
A good website that’s well optimised for all the relevant keywords is certainly a good start and will be integral for just about everything you do but it will not, necessarily, be the huge driver of traffic on its own, that it once was. Things are ever-changing in the world of the web and the level of competition has gone from stiff to fierce, especially in popular holiday destinations such as the South West of England.
That being said, there are some key things to consider with your current website to help it work best for you:
• Does it stand out from the crowd? Does it have a ‘wow’ factor?
• Is it quick and easy to use on a mobile device?
• Do the images properly showcase your setting and accommodation range?
• Are your CTAs (calls to action) clear and consistent – ‘book now’ ‘check prices & availability’ ‘call now’
How much do you spend on your marketing and what sort of Return on Investment (ROI) are you getting? Do you know? If the answer to this last question is a resounding ‘no’ then it’s time to take stock of your current activity…and think again. If, for whatever reason, you are not able to apportion revenue against your marketing then you are working with one hand behind your back.
E-commerce tracking really is the cornerstone of measuring a campaign’s success, whether it be a promotional email or a Google AdWords campaign. Without this knowledge it’s almost impossible to know if what you’re doing is right. So many people are obsessed with the volume of clicks and traffic that a campaign sends to their website but this can often be very misleading. Always think – quality over quantity! You’re aiming for ‘qualified’ clicks; those that come from an audience who are in-tune and interested in your product, not those who may have clicked your banner ad by mistake. To this end, your external marketing should follow the same premise. As mentioned, know your audience and aim your marketing at this focused bunch of people, don’t waste your time and money on a scattergun approach because it simply won’t work.
Tel. 01726 418118
When it comes to holiday parks, Shorefield Holidays may be one of the UK’s best-kept secrets. For 60 years, the family-run company has been offering stunning gateways to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Eight parks in two counties offer five different ways to stay (luxe holiday lodges, beautiful family houses, premium caravans, and camping or touring pitches), all set amongst some of the best countryside the British Isles has to offer, from the beautiful New Forest National Park to the heritage Jurassic coastline. Each park has its own individual character and different facilities, which variously include indoor and outdoor swimming pools and aqua fun, imaginative children’s play areas, gyms, vibrant restaurants and bars, great entertainment and a spa offering a range of treatments.
Parks are an easy drive from either the beach or the unique New Forest National Park with its ancient, wild landscape and famous roaming ponies. Cycle the trails of the New Forest and the Isle of Purbeck, walk down hidden pathways to the south coast, or use your time to get fit or learn a new activity and then come home to your own lodge or holiday home. All parks are pet friendly, so there’s no reason to leave anyone behind. Ever since company founder, Dr Robert Pollock, bought a workedout gravel pit on the south coast in 1958 because he couldn’t find anywhere to park his caravan, the directors have never lost sight of why people choose to spend their precious downtime at a Shorefield Holiday park and continue to invest in new ways to deliver happy family holidays. The gravel pit was transformed into Shorefield Country Park and, since then, the company has grown to offer a portfolio of seven premium, award-winning parks across Hampshire and Dorset. The acquisition of Wilksworth Caravan Park at the start of 2018 became Shorefield’s eighth park and an ongoing investment in quality accommodation saw 80 brand new caravan holiday homes installed at Oakdene Forest Park in Dorset ensuring no caravan on the park is more than a few years old.A community of 12 luxury boutique lodges launched this year at the New Forest Lodge Retreat, on the edge of both the New Forest National Park and the beach at Milford-on-Sea. Lavender House, set in stunning private grounds close to Shorefield Country Park, has been completely refurbished and sleeps up to 14 people in six en suite rooms. In addition to this Rose Cottage, a historical property at Wilksworth, will soon be available to holidaymakers. Shorefield Holidays’ chairman and Managing Director Simon Pollock says: “2018 is a really exciting year for Shorefield Holidays, as well as our holidaymakers and home owners. “Not only are we celebrating six decades delivering happy holidays, we’re also investing in some significant improvements and introductions which we hope our customers will love.” “We are so proud of what Shorefield Holidays has achieved over the last 60 years. We wanted to show our appreciation to all our staff for the dedication they have shown to our company, whose family values are as strong today as they were when my father opened our first park in 1958. “Every member of staff is valued and encouraged to understand how they can make a difference to the success of our business,” he continues.
“In the last 60 years, we have seen significant growth - both for holidays and holiday home ownership,” adds Simon. “With more and more post-Brexit vote Britons opting to holiday at home instead of travelling abroad, we are anticipating this growth will continue and lead to even more exciting developments for the future. “As a forward-thinking business, we spend millions of pounds across all eight of our parks to keep us at the forefront of the family holiday market, and are continually looking for more opportunity for growth. We have exciting times ahead of us!” Shorefield Holidays is a major local employer in Hampshire and Dorset, employing just under 250 full-time employees. Some 95per cent of employees come from within a 10-mile radius of each park. Senior employees in the business are experts in the hospitality industry; many have worked for several decades in the sector and held positions in key industry associations and governing bodies. A number of the senior management team have been with the business for more than 20 years and have progressed from general roles in the business up through to senior manager level. The team has expanded to include new members, all highly experienced in their fields of responsibility, leading to numerous business awards for the team and the company’s Financial Director, Sara Bertin. The business stands out as a first-class employer because of its strong family culture. Shorefield Holidays is a proud member of the local community, and sponsors a range of local events, including Bournemouth Air Festival with Wave 105.
Shorefield Holidays Limited
An ‘adults only’ holiday park in the New Forest which promises tranquil stays in a child-free environment is celebrating a clutch of national awards. Owned by husband-and-wife team, Martin and Victoria Bowrey, Back of Beyond park near Ringwood, can now boast four accolades for the excellence of its grown-up surroundings. They include a top conservation award from botanist David Bellamy, a gold pennant from the AA, and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for its consistently glowing reviews. Back of Beyond was also voted as being among the top 100 of Britain’s 3000-plus holiday parks by the readers of top-selling Practical Caravan magazine. The honours have provided a fantastic start to the 2018 holiday season according to Martin Bowrey who runs Back of Beyond with his wife Vicki. It was just over four years ago that the couple sold their successful London photography business and took a gamble on their future in rural Dorset.The aim, said Martin, was to run an eco-friendly holiday park for nature-loving guests in a part of the country where they, as a family, often went camping. It was decided to place an 18-plus age requirement on guests so that adults could enjoy stays guaranteed free from the patter of tiny feet. The park, said Martin, appeals especially to people who spend their working lives with children – such as teachers and child-care professionals – and to more mature guests. Covering 30 acres of quiet countryside, over half of which is woodland, Back of Beyond provides 80 pitches for camping, touring caravans and motorhomes.
The couple now also offer ready-erected tents, yurts and timber lodges for glamping guests with comforts such as full-size double beds, heating and kitchen areas. Back of Beyond’s guests also include a quarter of a million honey bees in its hives, and which thrive on the high pollen-bearing blooms of the park’s many wild flowers. Their honey is sold in the park’s shop, and Martin and Vicki have imposed a total ban on herbicides which, say nature experts, are causing a worrying decline in bee populations. Other natural attractions at Back of Beyond include two picturesque lakes and a stretch of the Moors River where the wildlife includes otters, dragonflies, and many different bird species. Martin said it was wonderful to be able to enter the summer season with so many awards, and that a lot of the credit must go to the park’s staff: “The feedback we receive from holiday guests, and which helped contribute to these awards, often highlights the park’s friendly atmosphere and the hospitality provided,” said Martin. “Delivering this is very much in the hands of our team as well as Vicki and me, so we owe them a big thank-you for helping to create so many memorable experiences. “I hope these awards will benefit not just us, but also other tourism businesses in the New Forest area by showing what a great part of Britain this is for taking a holiday,” added Martin.
Back of Beyond Touring Park
Tel. 01202 876968
Holiday Snaps From Gary Molloy
What was your career path into the industry?
Leaving school at the age of 15, I undertook an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering and tool-making before moving to Portugal to sell properties. On my return to the UK, I joined the Haven sales team for eight years, until . I felt I’d gained enough industry knowhow and confidence to go it alone. In 1997, I set up my own company, Park Leisure 2000 Ltd. It’s amazing to think that I started the business from my spare bedroom and ended up selling it 20 years later when we were operating 12 5-star parks and employing more than 350 people across the UK.
What is your current role in the industry?
I set up Leisure Resorts in May 2017. Just over a year later and we have three parks in operation with a fourth scheduled to join the Leisure Resorts portfolio later this year. My mission is to develop Leisure Resorts into a small but perfectly formed group that will concentrate on delivering the very best that the industry has to offer.
How has the market changed during your time in the industry?
As customers’ expectations have increased, the market has listened and adapted. Holiday homes now offer an incredible range of options to suit every taste and budget. Located across the UK in the most desirable and picturesque locations they offer spacious accommodation within easy access of fun things to do, whether you’re eight or 80.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
Holiday home manufacturers are producing some amazing designs and it’s great to see how far they’ve come and what they’re planning next. The ‘staycation’ is certainly helping our industry and I expect this trend to continue. As more private equity money enters the market, I see the holiday park market going from strength to strength, particularly as the UK is constantly improving its position as a world-leading tourism destination.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life?
The biggest challenge is staying ahead of the competition - the better we get, the better they do. What is the best piece of business advice you have been given? I have two pieces of advice that have always been important to me. One, never ask anybody to do something you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. Two, always pay suppliers on time and if you have the cash to hand, pay them early.
How do you most like to spend your time out of working hours?
Family and friends are, and always will be, the most import thing to me. Work commitments often make it hard to spend as much time with them as I’d like, but I ensure I make the most of the time we do have. I am also a huge Manchester United fan and have followed them through thick and thin ever since I was a little boy in the early 70’s.
If we could give you three guests, who would you most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
My first would be Margaret Thatcher. Love her or loathe her, a truly amazing lady. As a Manchester United fan, how could I not invite Sir Alex Ferguson? In my opinion, the greatest sporting team leader of all time. My final choice would be Carl Pilkington, The Idiot Abroad. He just doesn’t realise how funny he is.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
If I am staying in the UK, there’s no better place than the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. I guess it’s my love for these places that has heavily influenced the locations of our Leisure Resorts’ sites.
Wish You Were Here - Brenda House Touring Park
Brenda House touring park is a labour of love...
It had always been Fiona and Neil Sidebottom’s ambition to run a touring caravan park.
They purchased Brenda House, a mile or so from the historic town of Howden, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, that was built 1900 by the local brickyard owner. Through the years the site had been developed into a smallholding.
The park now has 24 hard-standing pitches, of which ten are designated as seasonal. These have been fully occupied since 2007 and most of the current occupiers have been with the park since then. All the work to develop the park and modernise the property was undertaken by the owners.
Brenda House Touring Caravan Park is exclusively for adults only, which includes all visitors to the site. Well-behaved dogs are always welcome, and the park offers a secure fenced off walking area at the very top of the site where dogs can be allowed off the lead.
Fiona and Neil take pride in having produced a peaceful and secluded caravan park located in idyllic countryside at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds. It is set in three acres of land and has regular visits from barn owls, deer, kestrels and a myriad of bird species.
The touring park is open each year from March to October and sees many visitors repeatedly returning. It is such a popular site that Easter 2018 was fully booked by the first week in January.
Brenda House Touring Caravan Park
Tel. 01430 431189
Hot Tub Revolution
We have all been there. It is the height of the season. The clock is ticking on your holiday lets. Just a six-hour changeover window to dump the old hot tub water and heat the fresh water in time for the new arrivals who are chomping at the bit to take the plunge. This typical scenario is generally a twice-weekly race against the clock; the quickest of rollovers that needs to be completed seamlessly if we are to side-step the inevitable complaints and money-back claims. As an industry standard, using conventional methods, a holiday hot tub, with a normal 3kw heater, will heat water on changeover at one degree an hour, that is up to 24 hours to get up to optimum temperatures.
So take note of a ground-breaking new state-of-the-art product, called the Climacube that will heat a hot tub at seven to eight degrees per hour. The Climacube will heat hot tubs in around 4-5 hours from cold with a consumption of only 1KW per/hour with a COP of over 3.5 in minus temperatures. If I then told you the Climacube can cut heating costs by up to 70 per cent and this technology can be used to provide hot water and heating to your holiday lodges themselves....yes, keep calm and form an orderly queue. Available as a stand-alone unit, the ClimaCube can be retro-fittedto all makes of hot tubs. It is also available as a pre-installed feature in a bespoke range of hot tubs by ClimaCube’s creator, Park Leisure Solutions. Launched at the start of the 2018 season; good news travels fast. Forward thinking companies like Parkdean Resorts were amongst the first to snap up the new technology that already features on over 70 hot tubs at holiday parks in Poole, Norwich and Skegness. Based on a thermo-dynamic patented technology, working off a 13 amp supply, the all-singing, all-dancing Climacube is a refrigerant-based product.
In essence, it is the next step for heat pumps – heaven-sent for parks who can cut their reliability on piped or bottle gas supply lines and switch to reliable off-grid sources.
What Trevor Baylis was to the wind-up radio, so is Climacube creator, Stuart Mulcahy, for the holiday hot tub sector. Having over 20 years’ experience in the hot tub industry, Stuart dipped a toe into the holiday park market some five years ago and began searching for a product that would both solve problems and cut running costs. “I had worked in the industry long enough to understand the problems facing holiday lets with hot tubs,” says Stuart. “The solution, to supply quality built, energy efficient, commercial hot tubs that customers can rely on,” says Stuart.
“So many holiday park operators have been sold domestic tubs or modified tubs that are not easy to maintain, have domestic spa covers and present a serious amount of problems when it comes to customer care,” he adds. The lightbulb moment came with a variation on proven heat The Climacube Heat System offers the very latest energy saving heat technology, dramatically reducing running costs, increasing customer usage, reducing the carbon footprint and enabling customers to use hot tubs all year round, at the desired temperature without the concern of cost. Customers are already benefiting, with installations producing significant reductions in their energy heating costs.
Unlike conventional heat systems, Climacube will heat hot tubs in around 4-5 hours from cold with a consumption of only 1KW per/hour with a COP of over 3.5 in minus temperatures – meaning a dramatic reduction in your annual hot tub energy costs. pump technology that is now backed by a worldwide patent. Much more than a heat pump, significant techniques include the way air is brought into the unit and distributed via a compressor. Supplied with the appropriate European wide accreditations, the UK designed Climacube is in full production and is supplied and serviced nationwide. “This is very new and different way of heating that has been developed over three years with tests and proto-types in the factory and on site,” explains Stuart. “It would be very easy to say, I will buy that heat pump and see if I can adapt it,” he says. “Rather than do that, we have started from scratch to ensure the system draws minimum current but produces maximum results.”
Developments are already in the pipeline to offer remote control and apps to refine monitoring and diagnostics by the 2019 season. “Much more than heat pumps, this bespoke-designed system has been developed to specifically to speed the heating of hot water in the tub while drawing only 1kw of energy to put 7kw into the water. “ Offering their own nationwide team of hot tub installers and offering training to both the hot tub and holiday park industries, Park Leisure Solutions already has its system working on nearly 70 sites even though it is its launch year. They are working with leading suppliers on the strategic changeover of redundant hot tub stock, replacing them with the super energy-efficient and time-strategic alternatives. “Time after time, we are meeting with exasperated holiday park operators who find themselves with hot tub issues not of their making. “All too often running with out-dated product, or domestic units, trying to get as much rental income as possible out of them before making changes. “Often those tubs have been supplied with no back-up or service,” says Stuart, who warns that some operators are falling out of love with holiday hot tubs and a bucket-load of problems and potential client complaints.
“Having recognised the issues and developed commercial built, reliable solutions we are now working with leading industry names, including Parkdean Resorts, to re-invest in hot tubs. “For all the positives with encouraging bookings, we all know the pitfalls with hot tubs with customers tampering with controls, tearing covers that look terrible and do not insulate properly. “We are offering the right product that ticks all boxes,” emphasises Stuart. Made in Canada the Park Leisure Solutions hot tub range is made up of a five hand-picked models, specifically adapted for holiday park market. Stuart points out. “Our hot tub range is supplied with a strong white acrylic finish with luxurious silver and grey marbling, polysteel cabinetry with galvanized SureSteel Frame plus layered ROXUL® Insulation and industry leading warranties as standard.”
RESEARCH AND DESIGN
The Park Leisure Solutions team has worked with specialist health and safety consultants to ensure their models not just meet but exceed HSE hot tub guidelines. The company has invested ignificantly in research and design, questioning some industry advice, such as erosion feeders, which they believe are not right for the holiday park marketplace. “There is so much misinformation out there,” Stuart despairs. “We have carried out extensive research, development and testing over three years before launch.”
“We can either adapt existing stock or simply supply alternative stock.” Stuart adds: “We can sell on the technology but the biggest bonus is avoiding the complaints that accompany changeovers,” As well as the positives it brings to holiday hot tubs, the Climacube offers huge promise for the improvement in energy efficiency of swim spas with impressive reduced running costs The technology is also available for swimming pools with scope to link to hot water and heating systems for holiday lodges and caravans – all offered off the national gas grid. Quick. That queue is getting longer!
Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 69 11 66
Leading providers of tailored IT and Wi-Fi solutions to the UK holiday park, leisure resort,marina and festival sectors. Infinium, a Preston based specialist in IT and Wi-Fi solutions have announced ambitious expansion plans. The £5m turnover business has completed two significant strategic acquisitions to help push the business towards becoming a national provider with scale and reach. The acquisition of Affinity Wi-Fi in Cambridgeshire and Qubix Technology in Bristol will support the business to provide a focus on local sales and service but with a national footprint.
The company has over 16 years’ experience of providing IT and Wi-Fi services throughout the UK and works with over 300 holiday parks and provides services to top UK festivals such as Car Fest, Pub in the Park and The Handmade Fair. Infinium, founded by the now Group CEO Peter Miles, employs 53 people in 4 UK locations with plans to grow to a £10mcompany within the next three years.
Holiday park group Bridge Leisure has completed a project to add electric car charging points at eight holiday parks across the UK. The company, which owns parks and provides professional management and consultancy for the industry, teamed up with Lincolnshire-based electrical distribution systems specialist Caravan Park Electrical to install the charging points in time for the summer season. Parks that benefited from the development are Trevella Park, Seaview Holiday Village and Hengar Manor in Cornwall; Hedley Wood in Devon; Ashbourne Heights in the Peak District; Sand le Mere on the Yorkshire coast; Turnberry Park in Ayrshire and Silver Sands in Moray. Simon Williams, Bridge Leisure commercial director says: “The future of driving is electric, so having our own charging points will help us provide a better holiday experience of our electric-car driving customers. “We are already seeing high use of the charging points, particularly at our Peak District and Cornwall parks, so there is clearly demand for this kind of facility.”
Five Star Short Break Holidays
Leading luxury holiday home company Park Leisure has introduced five-star short breaks and longer stays as it embarks on its next phase of expansion. The announcement follows an increase in guest demand for first-class, luxury escapes closer to home and sees the premium holiday home company welcome holiday makers looking for a little rest and relaxation in a Lodge or Caravan holiday home at three of its parks:
• Brynteg Coastal & Country Retreat,North Wales
• Par Sands Coastal Holiday Park, Cornwall
• Pentire Coastal Holiday Park, Cornwall
Park Leisure has also introduced five-star glamping at its Littondale Country & Leisure Park, in the Yorkshire Dales, this summer, with a range of serviced luxury safari tents and mega pods – stylishly simple wooden huts,for those looking to sleep under the stars. Speaking on the announcement, CEO of Park Leisure Miles Dewhurst said: “With more people looking to holiday in the UK than ever before the demand for luxury short stays and longer breaks has never been greater. Combining first-class facilities and services in some of the UK’s most stunning locations,we’re perfectly placed to respond to the demand and are delighted to provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy five-star holidays closer to home.”
Wellness Support Act At Welsh Park
Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park, in Prestatyn, is an award winning seaside holiday park with an on-site swimming pool and leisure facilities.
When upgrading their sauna and steam rooms, they turned to Preston’s Crystal Leisure. Crystal Leisure recommended Golden Coast’s sauna and steam room due to the high quality, good looks, and ease of installation. The initial stage of the project was done over two days, with taking down the current facilities, isolating the electrics, and retiling the floor. For the new setup to be installed took around a week, including fitting a new steam generator and sauna control.
Leading holiday park operator Argyll Holidays has announced the completion of its brand-new Drimsynie Estate Hotel. Located in the award-winning Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village overlooking Loch Goil in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the multi-million pound investment officially opens its doors to guests at the end of September. A total of £6.5million has been invested in the new hotel by Argyll Holidays. The company, still run by the Campbell family who set it up in 1967, opened its first holiday park on the site just over 50 years ago and the new development doubles the size of the existing hotel.
Compulsory Risk Assessment Warning
Taking steps to keeping your water systems safe should be done in line with a Legionella risk assessment. It’s not just advisory; if you are an employer or in control of premises, you are responsible for understanding the health risks of Legionella. Failure to risk-assess water systems for Legionella is punishable by fine and a prison sentence. More often than not, when outbreaks occur, there is a serious risk to human health often resulting in fatalities.
The seasonality of holiday parks, caravanning sites and summer camps mean they are typically used less frequently throughout winter months. Because of these quieter periods, stored and stagnant water can become a breeding ground for Legionella bacteria, especially when temperatures start to rise. Shower blocks, laundry rooms, swimming pools and spa pools, therefore, all require risk assessing and adequate servicing to ensure any risk of Legionella is managed and mitigated. The risk of Legionella extends to any hot and cold water system and cooling tower as well as irrigation systems and interactive water features in public spaces which – in warmer weather – attracts the public. Guidance on the legislation around interactive water features can be found here.
Ground maintenance in public spaces, parks and grounds also require careful consideration. Like any other water accessory, dispenser or system, hose pipes can store stagnant water and therefore Legionella bacteria has the potential to grow. When next used, these hose pipes have the potential to release the airborne bacteria in tiny water droplets for inhalation, posing a risk to the user and anyone nearby. With hotter weather often seeing an increased risk of Legionella proliferation, there are a number of precautions to take to ensure that you minimise the risk of cases of Legionnaires’ disease, ensuring that you are compliant with HSE’s ACoP L8. Ensuring staff are appropriately trained in Legionella awareness, risk assessment and their responsibilities can support in effective Legionella management and control. Not only that, suitable and sufficient training of all staff involved in Legionella risk management is a key requirement of the regulations. No matter what the season, you can read more about who is responsible for managing your water systems here. If you require support in managing Legionella, conducting your Legionella risk assessments or want general advice on what to do, please seek advice.
Tel. 0845 603 2112
Park Acquisition Trail
The famous Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole Caves has expanded its business with the purchase of its second caravan park. Wookey Hole Ltd has bought Homestead Caravan Park in Wells – a residential park with campsite and holiday lodges. The move comes just over a year after Wookey Hole bought Bucklegrove Holiday Park in the Cheddar Valley – a seven acre mixed holiday park. The site has been extensively upgraded and business has doubled since Wookey Hole bought the site. Wookey Hole is a popular tourist attraction with over 20 attractions, including the famous caves, a 4D cinema, circus shows and a mirror maze. The business also runs a 58 bed hotel and 10 lodges at its Wookey Hole site. Stephens Scown LLP advised Wookey Hole Ltd on the six figure deal and funding came from Handelsbanken
Wookey Hole Ltd
Holiday Habits Revealed
New survey data reveals the truth behind the nation’s holiday habits, and exposes exactly just how and what we’re spending on those all-important holidays. When it comes to holidays, the people of the UK certainly aren’t holding back on their spending. Ocean Florida’s data reveals that 16% of people in the UK are splurging between £3,000 and £10,000 on their summer getaway. It’s not just money, but time that people are willing to give as just under a third of holiday makers (31%) are opting to go on holiday, not once, but twice a year. Those with children are actually far more likely to take multiple holidays a year, with 34% of families taking two holidays a year, as opposed to only 28% of households without children. Millennials were also taking less holidays each year compared to families with kids, as only 32% stated they take two holidays a year. So, although it may be thought that millennials have more disposable income and time, it’s not always being spent on holidays. When it comes to spending money on holiday accessories, such as clothes, it’s those without children who are spending more. A third (30%) of respondents without kids spent between £101 and £250, compared to only a quarter of those with children.
For more information please visit www.ocean-florida.co.uk
Camping On NHS Prescription
The managing director of a multi award-winning caravan dealership believes doctors should be prescribing camping and caravanning as an alternative to medication for stress related conditions. Mark Bebb from Shrewsbury-based Salop Leisure has welcomed a pledge by Government’s new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, o reduce people’s reliance on ‘unsophisticated drugs’. The comments came after it was revealed that 7.3 million people in the UK were given antidepressant drugs last year and 70,000 of them were children. Mr Hancock plans to give GPs alternatives and pledged to expand schemes to treat patients with mental health problems through social activities. “Evidence has shown the potential benefits of approaches like social prescribing, which addresses people’s physical and mental wellbeing and has been shown to both improve patients’ quality of life and reduce pressure on other NHS services.”
Social prescribing, which aims to improve people’s overall health and wellbeing rather than medicating a single condition, entails referring patients to community activities, volunteering, arts groups, gardening and cooking classes. Now Mr Bebb wants camping and caravanning added to the list, as he believes that both have been proven to possess therapeutic benefits. Salop Leisure has developed its Love2Stay caravanning and glamping resort in Shrewsbury to be “at one with nature” and to instil a feeling of well-being and tranquillity in visitors.
Experts have said that medicine is being used a first resort too often in mental health care and doctors must explore more options before handing out pills. One in six adults took antidepressants last year, according to NHS figures, which is 500,000 more than in 2015. Previous research has suggested that that while nearly two thirds (57%) of non-campers are stressed or anxious on an average day, just a third of campers (35%) are stressed out.
A study by outdoor holiday specialists Camping in the Forest found that campers (77%) are much more satisfied with their quality of life than noncampers (59%), while research by the Camping and Caravanning Club discovered that 93% of campers say camping can make you happier. Bob Hill, from Camping in the Forest, said: “With the advent of technology in all aspects of our personal and professional lives, the reality is that it can be very difficult for people to switch off. Unfortunately, this can make life very stressful as we need time out to relax, rejuvenate and just be.”
Researchers at the University of Essex found that nine out of 10 patients suffering from depression felt ‘higher self-esteem’ after a walk through a park. Almost three-quarters reported feeling less depressed and the researchers found that people recovered faster from illnesses through an ‘immunising’ effect that protected them from future stresses. Ecotherapy is the name given to a wide range of treatment programmes which aim to improve mental and physical wellbeing through doing outdoor activities in nature.
Brexit Bonus For UK Holiday Sector
A record number of Britons are choosing to take their holidays in this country, early reports on 2018 trends suggest. The Brexit decision fall-out, implicit in the the falling value of the pound, means holiday makers are being turned off the stress and strain associated with overseas trips. A survey published last month suggested that more than four out of five Britons would rather stay at home than suffer the stresses of traveling abroad. At the same time, they are being lured to stay closer to home by the extended spell of sizzling summer weather. Research, by Barclays, has found that more than a third of Britons will have taken holidays closer to home this year, with 21 per cent using this as their main holiday. Rural areas are expected to benefit most, with southwest England attracting 30 per cent of holidaymakers and Scotland drawing 22 per cent. This growing trend for staycations has led to a nine per cent rise in revenue at Britain’s biggest holiday parks, according to research by the lender Ortus Secured Finance. Turnover at the 100 largest operators reached £2.7 billion last year, up from £2.46 billion in 2012. “Caravan, camping and holiday parks are going from strength to strength,” Jon Salisbury, OSF’s managing director, told The Times.
Parkdean Resorts, which was the UK’s largest holiday park operator, was sold to Onex, a Canadian private equity company, for £1.35 billion in December. Rivals, Park Leisure 2000, was sold for £103 million to a consortium led by Midlothian Capital Partners in February, and Intermediate Capital bought Park Holidays for £362 million last year. A rise in overseas visitors and the growing popularity of staycations have helped boost UK tourism. Inbound tourism to Britain is also booming, with foreign tourists attracted by the weak pound. According to Visit Britain, inbound flight bookings for April to September surged by 21 per cent compared with the same period last year. Patricia Yates, strategy and communications director of Visit Britain, said that there was “particularly strong demand from our long-haul, high-spending markets, China and the US”. However, foreign visitors prefer city breaks, with 67 per cent visiting only London while in the UK. About 30 million British citizens holiday in other EU countries every year, accounting for 76 per cent of the outbound travel market. However, John Lennon of Glasgow Caledonian University has forecast that the costs of flying, travel insurance and mobile data usage could soar after Britain leaves the EU. A legal framework for flights after Brexit has yet to be agreed and airlines warned that with more than 60 agreements to be renegotiated, planes could be grounded until a deal is reached.
Planning For A Successful Succession
Planning and managing a family succession can be fraught with emotion and impact on relationships away from the business, so if passions are running high or it is difficult to take the challenging decisions needed for a successful handover, Howe recommends bringing in outside help to remove emotion from the decision-making process and help all parties focus on making choices that benefit the long term health of the business.
Recognising this challenge is what led Andrew to join forces with other industry experts to create Bridge Leisure Management in 2008. 10 years on, the company provides day-to-day management of holiday parks for owners who want to successfully step away from their business.
He says: “As professional managers we can focus on the park, its success and development. We don’t have an emotional attachment so we can focus on what is good for the business and good for the owner.” Discussing the transfer of the business from one generation to the next can often unearth unresolved conflicts between family members, such as arguments over business direction, perceived family favouritism, or lack of confidence in abilities.
Rather than confronting and discussing these families are more likely to bury their feelings and beliefs, eroding trust and increasing their stresses during the succession process.
At this point, outside support can be invaluable in helping the process of handing control from one generation to the next, when any changes made by the younger group keen to make its mark can be seen as a criticism of the work done previously by family.
“We work alongside families to help get the best from everyone and maintain an absolute focus on the business Holiday park owners are spending so much time working that they are failing to plan for a successful retirement. Andrew Howe, chief executive of Bridge Leisure Management says that one of the biggest mistakes park owners make is to ignore questions of succession.
He says: “If your goal is to handover to family members, there can be many tricky questions to answer, made more difficult by the close relationships of those involved.
“For example, what if the next in line is not ready, not up to the task of running your business, or if there are several family members vying to take over a small park where there’s really just one job to fill?” Howe’s belief is that successful succession planning must start years in advance so business owners can identify and address the weak spots and potential problems of handing over to family members.
DEVELOP AND THRIVE
By clarifying the skills that your business needs to develop and thrive, you can decide who is best placed to take over responsibility for running the park and put in a place a training or coaching plan to account for areas where they are lacking. Giving family members a long-term view of the park’s potential can help them understand what is expected of them for a successful
handover, but for park owners who have grown their operations as the sole person in charge, it can be a difficult change in mindset to start having open and honest conversations about their business. Howe’s advice is to make family members responsible and accountable for the park’s growth by showing them the business challenges and future opportunities.and success. All parks are different and so our role is to find a management solution that works for each individual owner.” In many instances, holiday park owners may discover that their children don’t share their same enthusiasm for succession, and so their next step may be to look at selling.
Yet the emotional ties of a family business can often make this simply too difficult a decision; who wants to be the generation that sold the family business? Additionally, the commercial realities of a sale can create additional issues, especially when an owner has over-estimated the value of, and interest in, their business. Bridge Leisure worked with a caravan park owner who expected his son to take over when he retired. But after completing university, his son decided on a different career path. Says Andrew: “They thought of selling but were in for a shock when the agent’s guide price was far below what they expected and was at a level that the owner felt neither reflected his hard work nor the true value of the park.” Their response was to bring in Bridge Leisure to take over the park operations in return for a management fee and a bonus to grow the business, while the owner kept the profi ts and retained ownership of the park, ready to benefit from a future sale when profits and market conditions get better. “By bringing a degree of flexibility and freedom to the park owners, they could step away from park operations but still benefit from the true value of their business,” says Howe. “Wrestling with the ‘whys and wherefores’ of succession or a sale can put a stop to owners successfully retiring from their business, and making a decision on what next can be heartbreaking. “Putting a plan in place early, and taking control of the different options and outcomes, is the simplest way to make your next steps a success.”
Bridge Leisure Management
Tel: 01908 067 900
The Fun Factor - Water Play
Think swimming, then think fun, with water leisure attractions one of the biggest draws for the modern holiday park destination.
Consistently one of the top holiday choice markers, a resort that offers the additional splash appeal, will reap the rewards, with not only a booking but those all-important repeat bookings. “More and more facilities are looking for resorts that offer more than just a pool,” explains Simon Smith of World Leisure. “Knowing how crucial it is to customer appeal, pools should be offering so much more than a basic swim,” he emphasises. World Leisure recently completed a £1.5m overhaul of the swimming pool facilities at Ribby Hall Village Holiday Park in Lancashire. Last December Ribby Hall won an unprecedented four Gold Awards at the UK Pool & Spa Awards. The new pool features new slides including a 48m interactive play slide. Swimmers can climb a tower to the top of the slide, which then takes them out of the building and back inside again. As they come down the slide, they can play an interactive touchpad game on the inside of the slide, with scores recorded once the ride is complete. Scores can be uploaded to social media platforms, with the top three scores displayed in the pool area. World Leisure also refurbished the splash pool and added an interactive aqua deck play structure, with tipping buckets and integral slides. A themed GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) toddlers’ pool links into the splash pool, with a slide and steps to open the pools up to all ages. World Leisure also installed a new sauna, steam room and feature showers, with all new filtration and controls. Mark Leech, senior manager of Ribby Hall Village, said: “It is important as a business to continually invest and improve the facilities we offer to our customers" Mark added: “We believe the new interactive slide and new splash pool features will be real talking points that will bring family visitors back again and again.”
Park operators need to provide appealing facilities for all age groups, with a typical water leisure offering including cannons, waterfalls, rain curtains, fl oor volcanoes and wall-mounted massage jets to add more attractions to the pools. Achieving this – and still providing an acceptable return on investment – requires very careful planning at the design stage, particularly where space is limited. Water slides and flumes have always been popular, but they require a significant capital investment, huge amounts of energy to drive massive pumps and constant life guarding.
PLAY OFFERS WATER FUN
The main aim of aquatic play equipment is to allow kids to have fun in a safe environment. Playing with water is also a vital part of a child’s development. Hippo Leisure’s modular play equipment, including Water Factories, Interactive Masts and Play Platforms are all extremely versatile products and can be expanded or updated to help to encourage regular, repeat visitors.
“What you’re aiming for in your facility is a way to keeping the whole family entertained, regardless of age or ability,” comments Teresa Metherell, Marketing Coordinator for Hippo Leisure. “This can be achieved by installing a variety of interactive water play features that provide both low level sensory play for toddlers as well as high level anticipatory and big splash play for older children and even adults,” she adds.
“It’s important to keep water play areas fresh and appealing.”
Tel. 01752 771740
SPLASH PADS OFFER FAMILY APPEAL
The naturally inclusive and adaptable nature of a zero-depth splash park makes it an excellent amenity for holiday parks seeking to increase family attendance. Ustigate is a partner of Vortex International of Canada, offering a product portfolio of over 300 aquatic structures specifically designed to meet any specification, from low water consuming products for once use systems to super soaking buckets which create tidal waves.
The range includes many interactive free-standing products, the Water Journey collection, inspired by nature’s streams, and the Elevations range, are play structures that provide great combinations of water features between platforms of varying heights, encouraging children to climb and move between levels while engaging with children on and off the unit. The Elevations can be installed inside or outside, as part of a splash pad scheme or in a wading pool – They are designed to take fun to the max and are offered with a choice of water slides for the ride down.
Vortex is a world leader in aquatic play solutions, having completed 7000 installations in 45 countries, all of the products are renowned for being robust and innovative. Vortex recently announced the Explora collection has won two International Design awards, taking Gold in Leisure Games and Fun and Silver in the Social Impact category. Like all Vortex products, the Explora collection integrates a strong active play component that keeps children moving, pushing, pulling, spinning and exploring. The price of a typical splash pad depends mainly on three factors; size of the scheme, the type of water system – either a once-use or recirculating – and finally the selected water features. A typical once-use system would cost about £100,000 and the majority of recirculating systems are priced from £250,000.
Ustigate’s splash pad designers divide all waterplay installations into three bays; toddler, family and teen, in which they place specific products that are designed for each age group, therefore increasing play value and popularity. “By effective selection, combination and positioning of aquatic play features for your scheme, it will speak for itself and attract and retain customers naturally,” says Ustigate’s Ernie Hemming. “In addition, by using a range of colours, sensations of water and sleek designs, there won’t be any member of the family who will be able to resist playing!”
Tel. 01322 424445
Balancing Act - Security
Security is a precarious balancing act for holiday park operators. Holiday makers arrive on site, ready to have a good time, ultimately taking away some precious memories when they set off for home, safe and sound and without incident. One of the greatest challenges each season is managing visitor expectations and enjoyment during peak periods.
Security measures need to be almost invisible until they needed with security staff, particularly, a reassuring presence for guests.
Specialist suppliers like Ramtech completely understand that as a holiday park operator you need robust yet discreet security solutions that enhance the leisure experience you provide to your customers.
Ramtech’s alarm monitoring system is tailored to meet the specifi c challenges faced by the caravan and holiday park market, enabling you to offer additional peace of mind to your customers that their investment in their holiday homes and valuable contents is protected all year round.
“Our wireless alarm system provides reliable, effective security that also delivers a valuable additional selling point and revenue generation tool for your park. Once installed, the alarm systems can be operated and monitored by your own security teams, putting you in complete control,” says Ramtech’s Cat Widdowson.
“We’re currently the trusted security system provider for over 200 parks that have over 100,000 holiday or residential park homes on their sites, including Bourne Leisure, Park Resorts, Parkdean and Park Holidays UK.”
Touring caravans left on sites, and even static caravans can be a target for thieves. All caravans manufactured in the UK since 1992 have a 17-digit vehicle identifi cation number (VIN) etched onto the vehicle chassis and windows. Mark your VIN number with a security marker inside cupboards and other places to help you identify your caravan if it’s stolen.
Although North Wales is one of the SAFEST PLACES to live, work and visit, the regional force works pro-actively to remind caravan owners and holidaymakers of these simple steps to help reduce chances of becoming a victim of crime including: • Immobilising the caravan with an approved clamping or locking system once on site.
• Fit a tracking device so the caravan can be traced if stolen • Fit a reliable alarm and always switch it on “Holiday park theft is becoming a big issue as caravans,lodges and holiday homes increasingly have more valuables in them,” agrees Roy Williams of security provider Crosby Intruder Alarms.
“It is commonplace these days to have two or more televisions, Sky boxes and other audio and video entertainment systems. It can be lucrative for a thief to target these units, particularly in the closed season when there is less chance of being disturbed.
While alarms and CCTV can go some way in tackling crime on parks, often much simpler and inexpensive steps can be taken to prevent theft. One such product from Cardea Solutions – the Buggy Lock - is becoming widespread at holiday parks across the country. The device is designed for families and allows prams and essential transportation equipment such as scooters and bikes to be secured safely. Stores of agricultural equipment and often vehicles for maintenance use around the premises need to be kept secure. These can range in value but hold an appeal to criminals as items that are easily sellable. It is important for site owners to protect these items by storing them correctly and securely in locked buildings or compounds, with keys removed and stored in a safe place.Many caravan and holiday home parks suffer from some form of vandalism from time to time. Installing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) can help to combat this problem. There is some very high quality CCTV equipment these days that doesn’t cost the earth that can provide clear images in both day and night situations. From an insurance point of view, commercial insurance is a two way street whereby insurers will do all they can to provide a safety net to protect a company’s assets and their ability to trade. In turn, insurers may provide clients with guidelines to adhere to which they hope will serve to limit the potential for claims. Holiday Parks are well accustomed to having the correct physical security in place, barriers, CCTV, alarms are all common to protect a park from traditional thefts. However the threat of a digital attack or loss is ever increasing in the modern world. With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect it’s concerning that according to Government Statistics only 38% of businesses are even aware of this new data protection act. Unfortunately, we operate in a world where cyber attacks of one form or another have become a common part of everyday life – 46% of businesses reported a cyber security breach in 2017 (Source – UK Government Cyber Breaches Survey 2017).
This combination of increased regulation and more regular breaches means that it’s more important than ever that your business takes steps to protect itself in the digital world, even if you don’t operate online it’s likely that your systems are connected to the internet and therefore could be vulnerable. Most businesses in this sector will have an electronic booking system and/or hold customer data electronically; access control may also be digitalised. All of this could leave your business exposed to signifi cant costs and expenses and importantly loss of income, in the event of a system failure, fraudulent or not! Businesses should look at their IT infrastructure to ensure they have robust security in place to minimize the risk of a breach however it is not possible to guarantee any system is completely secure – user error or a determined hacker can often still cause a breach. Therefore, parks are recommended to look at Cyber Protection.
Commercial combined policies for holiday parks should provide an option to include the contents of the business, any holiday lets and the owners’ personal effects. At Towergate, for instance, an extension is available to cover plant and machinery used to maintain the property. In addition, it is understood that many sites, particularly those of a larger scale, will use agricultural or commercial vehicles, which can also be included on a combined policy. Insurance provider Leisuredays recently dealt with a report of eight break-ins at a holiday park in south east England during the closed season after thieves gained access in a vehicle and stole property from a number of holiday caravans. “We carried out a survey of the park and the park owner has increased security by installing a 24 hour security guard and a number plate recognition system,” explains Gareth Walker, head of Leisuredays Development. “We have always aimed to reward the security conscious parks with lower premiums. Many parks will employ a series of security measures, such as perimeter fencing, thick prickly hedging, CCTV, light sensors, guarded barriers and security lighting. It can be a tricky balancing act for park owners to protect their customers but also not create a heavily controlled environment.” Theft and vandalism cover is included as standard on all Leisuredays holiday caravan policies as well as cover for replacement locks and keys in the theft or damage. The company offers advice on safeguarding property, as well as supporting initiatives such as the Caravan Park Watch, where associations and parks work together to share information and develop crime prevention campaigns. We know you are busy. But, we cannot advise strongly enough to take the time out, and risk-assess the effectiveness of measures in place, to ensure and to be able to demonstrate that your park is as security-proof as possible
American influences on a Lancashire group of residential parks...
A trip to Florida in 2003 with a group of fellow park owners proved pivotal to Michael and Julie Ward, owners of four residential park homes in Lancashire.
“We travelled to the States to enrol in two courses at the Disney Institute including ‘The Disney Approach To Quality Service’ and spent time visiting parks and manufacturers, including a park in Sebring,” Michael explains.
“At its centre was a huge leisure complex with swimming pools, tennis courts, a function suite, computer rooms… the park owners were promoting an active retirement and we were hugely inspired.”
This American park became the catalyst for Michael’s vision for a new development: Acresfield.
Acresfield Park opened in 2010, an exclusive development of just 43, easily maintained, two bedroomed, detached bungalow-style properties, specifically designed for the over 55’s. The park is ideally located close to the historic market town of Garstang, where residents can enjoy shopping, golf, fishing, bird watching, as well as beautiful fell, canal and riverside walks. Acresfield is also situated just 30 minutes from the brighter lights of Blackpool and the coast.
Nevertheless, Acresfield residents need never leave the park as it provides everything they need for entertainment on-site. Four years ago Acresfield Health Club & Spa opened. The club boasts a 15m swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, a state of the art gym, a multi purpose hall for dance and fitness classes, indoor bowls, badminton and table tennis. There is also a bistro, hair studio, and a spa with three luxurious treatment rooms.
The Club is open for membership to the general public, however fi rst time purchasers of new homes on Acresfi eld Park receive free membership and homeowners on the other parks receive highly discounted membership. Michael refers to Acresfi eld Park and its attendant Health Club & Spa as the ‘jewel in the Residential Parks portfolio crown’. He is justifi ably proud. Last year, Acresfi eld Park and its adjoining sister park, Wyre Vale, featured on a Channel 5 documentary series. The episodes featuring the parks attracted between 1.2 and 1.4 million viewers, and resulted in many converts to the park home lifestyle.
“The TV series really showcased park home living at its very best,” says Michael. “We were inundated with enquiries and I think that this is probably one of the best pieces aired on TV, which depicts the excellent sense of community which park home living affords.”
It’s not all gloss and no substance… the Ward family are committed to providing their residents with ‘homes for life’. The parks, and their homes have been developed with a constant regard for the fact that the British population is an ageing one. The family is not only keen to promote an active retirement for residents, but they have also taken steps to ensure that they are providing homes that are accessible for those who suffer from disabilities, or the infirm. “To meet this challenge we designed, in association with two leading park home manufacturers, Prestige and Stately Albion, the Acresfield collection of homes,” explains Michael. “The homes have been very subtly adapted with wider doorways and turning circles for wheelchairs. Walls have been strengthened so that grab rails can be fitted if required, now or in the future, and low threshold shower cubicles or wet rooms are fitted as standard.”
The homes also come with a 24-hour emergency call system and each home is fitted with a key safe to assist emergency access. Care for the environment and resulting cost savings have also been taken into consideration in the design and installation of the homes. “All of the homes are economically heated by mains gas; additionally, some have solar panels with under fl oor heating,” says Michael. “They are incredibly energy efficient and exceed the British Standard. Homeowners are also free to purchase their utilities from the supplier of their choice to find the best deal possible.”
The Ward family purchased their first residential park home estate in 1968. Michael and Julie are the second generation, becoming involved in the business in 1985. Winning Residential Park Owners of the Year, an unprecedented three times, over the years, their Parks have also won numerous Gold David Bellamy Conservation Awards including a Special Distinction Award. Michael and Julie own and operate four residential parks, one Holiday Park and a Health Club & Spa with the help of their daughter Sophie and son Alex. Their parks are all located in Lancashire: Gawthorpe Edge Park in Burnley, Lodge Park, Wyre Vale and Acresfield Parks in Garstang, and Merlewood Country Park, which is situated in the picturesque village of Little Eccleston.
Together, the parks extend to some 475 pitches. The close proximity of the parks means that the family can take a very personal interest in their day-to-day operation. They are supported by a loyal team of almost 40 people, many of whom have worked on the parks for over 30 years. “We really understand the importance of offering a quality service to our homeowners,” says Michael. “In this day and age, people are eager to criticise and less keen to commend, which is why we are so proud of our multiple resident-nominated awards.” The Ward family believe strongly that park homes such as these represent the perfect solution for customers of a certain age. As the demand for park homes increases, Michael believes that the Government needs to change its attitude towards park living.
Residents recognise park homes as acceptable, affordable housing and it’s time that the powers-that-be did too,” says Michael. “Park homes are an important provision within the housing sector for an ageing population and offer considerable flexibility, energy efficiency and cost savings. Local authorities need further encouragement to allow parks to expand and new parks to develop.”
Wish You Were Here - Seven Oaks in Wales
One of the most picturesque caravan holiday home and luxury lodge parks in the UK can be found on the Welsh border with Shropshire. Overlooking the River Severn, Seven Oaks Holiday Park at Crew Green, between Shrewsbury and Welshpool, has been awarded the Visit Wales five star “exceptional” rating.
Most caravan holiday homes and lodges on the 40-acre park have river views and are bordered by mature trees, banks of planting and immaculately kept grass down to the riverside.
River fishing is available and there are two coarse fishing lakes for the exclusive use of owners. Non anglers are able to relax on one of the many benches dotted around the lake and enjoy watching the abundant wildlife.
The park’s facilities include a dedicated reception, laundry, a state-of-the-art fitness suite, crown green bowling green complete with pavilion and pitch and putt golf.
Twenty riverside pitches were added on an elevated terrace three years ago, taking the total to 119. Open from March to January every year, the park is especially popular with caravan owners from the Midlands and North West England.
“We are not just selling a caravan holiday home here, we are selling a new way of life,” says Margaret Brace, who manages the park with her husband, Ron.
Seven Oaks Holiday Park
Holiday Snaps From Alison Watson
Operations Manager At Bridge Leisure Management - a company that provides professional management and consultancy for the caravan holiday park industry.
What was your career path into the industry?
In 1989 my friend and I decided that we would do a summer season as children’s entertainers for a bit of fun and I ended up never leaving. I have worked in every department from Entertainment to Retail but mainly in Caravan Sales and General Management
How has market changed during your time in the industry?
The biggest thing I have noticed is that holiday guests are looking for more breaks per year and the seven or 14 day holiday in the UK has pretty much disappeared, to be replaced by more, shorter breaks.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
One of the things I love about this industry is its resilience in the face of economic adversity. Private letting is one to watch as there has been a bit of a shift to external booking agents such as Airbnb and Booking.com, which could become even more prominent moving forward.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
“Invest wisely now to save later.” I think of this anytime I am deciding on a major purchase.
What do you most like to spend your time out of working hours?
I love spending time with my family, eating out and keeping fit.
My favourite past time is cooking, whether it’s baking fresh bread to cooking for friends.
Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
I like variety so probably Tina Turner who would belt out a tune, Peter Kay as he is one of a few comedians who makes me laugh out loud and probably my Great Aunt Elizabeth, who was an inspiration to me from an early age.
Do you have any claims to fame?
I am a grade 8 musician and have played the trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn since I was around eight years old.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
Anywhere hot. I love the Canary Islands, a good beach holiday with a few day trips suits me down to the ground. I also love the US and would love to explore there - Route 66 is on my bucket list.
Pooch Power - Dog Friendly Parks
Dogs are one of the biggest winners of Britain’s holiday park boom with many more pooches now enjoying holidays, as part of the family, rather than being left at home in kennels. Park Holidays UK, for instance, confirms it welcomed more than 5,200 dogs in 2017, and is on target for even bigger figures this year. Overall, it says, guests bringing pets have risen by over 60% in the past three years. Now the group, which boasts 26 seaside holiday parks in southern England, has also decided that Rex will no longer have to ‘ruff’ it in budget Bronze accommodation. This year, the doors of selected Silver and Gold standard holiday homes are being fl ung open so that owners and their pets can enjoy their stay in style Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish said the move is designed to provide a wider choice for the growing number of people who are now opting for a UK holiday: “Staycations might be providing a big boost to Britain’s tourism economy, but it’s the nation’s dogs which have the biggest smiles on their faces,” he said. “Many families tell us they hated being separated from their pets when they went abroad, and felt guilty that their four-legged friends weren’t with them. “Our holiday parks are also a great place to exercise a dog on a lead as the grounds are virtually traffic-free, and all have nearby countryside and coastal footpaths. “Dogs benefit as much as humans from a change of scenery, and owners won’t be fretting that their pets are pining for them in expensive boarding kennels far away,” added Tony.
Holiday Resort Unity also offers a range of pet-friendly accommodation which equates to 15% of its total fl eet, as well as accepting pets on touring and camping fields. Last year, HRU say 9,432 dogs stayed with them. The company also allows holiday home owners to fence in their own gardens and this is a big draw when a dog-owning customer is looking to purchase a holiday home, so having a dog friendly venue is really important for the business. “Our location is a draw for customers with pets as we are a short walk from the sandy beaches of Berrow and Brean which stretches for nearly fi ve miles and from the other side of the park there are numerous footpaths that head out into the country side,” says Director Alan House. “We also have a designated dog walk area on the park which is very popular with guests and owners,” Alan adds. “With our pet friendly units, on our hiring fl eet, we have switched out carpets and replaced them with vinyl floor coverings to help with cleaning and we also have a number of units with fenced gardens.” With a new stretch of the England Coast Path just opened alongside Brean Leisure Park, an increase in the number of dog walkers would be inevitable. All pet owners would be welcome, said Alan, whether staying on the holiday park or not. Backing their pet-friendly mission, HRU’s Brean Somerset holiday park recently opened a new café, called Coast, which is welcoming both humans and hounds. HRU is putting pooches on a pedestal by offering them their own food and drinks menu when they visit with their owners.
Alfie and Poppy’s special menu includes starters, main courses and desserts – plus, of course, a selection of drinks such as Pawsecco and Bottom Sniffer Beer, both made for dogs. Instead of being forced to lie on a hard floor, Tysons, Milos and Max’s will have their creature comforts provided for by a soft blanket on which to recline. “We listen very carefully to our customers all the time, and their feedback on this issue was that they didn’t want their four-legged friends separated from the family at meal-times,” says Alan. “So when we created Coast, we decided to go the extra mile and not only invite dogs in to the café, but to present them with their own three-course menu to chew over. “Now we have solved everyone’s doggy dilemma at a stroke, and customer reaction has been brilliant!” he adds. Park Leisure, know that many of its owners see their pets as another member of the family, and there’s nothing worse than the prospect of having to leave your four-legged friend behind whilst you head off to make memories. That’s why every single one of their 12 parks are pet friendly, creating the perfect luxury home-from-home experience. Beautifully located across the UK in stunning country and coastal settings, many of our parks are perfectly placed just minutes away from spectacular dog-friendly beaches, pubs, and picturesque walking trails, creating an idyllic base for a getaway for the whole family. Home owners can obtain information about nearby dog-friendly destinations by popping into their owner’s lounge.
Approximately 50% of Park Leisure holiday home owners have dogs, and feedback demonstrates that the parks’ dog friendly facilities have been a real attraction when prospective customers are making a purchasing decision. Park Leisure ensures all facilities accommodate pets and their owners, with the following facilities currently available to dog owners: • Exclusive dog walking areas, offering a safe place for dogs to play freely • Disposal bins situated throughout the parks for easy dog-waste disposal • Designated drinking areas for dogs • An array of walking paths and routes to choose from, ranging from long adventurous walks to relaxing strolls • On-park convenience store offering dog related products Just recently, Malvern View Country & Leisure Park has added a custom-built, five-star treat and water station for the abundance of dogs on-site – one of Park Leisure’s most popular destinations for animal lovers, a whopping 60% at Malvern View are pet owners. For those who want to dine with their four-legged friends in tow, both Brynteg and Plas Coch Coastal and Country Retreats offer dog friendly restaurant and bar options. We hope you get the message. Holiday parks need to not just be Fido-friendly but specifically cater for our canine customers. For there is no doubting the pulling power of pooches when it comes to attracting and retaining a special breed of customer. Those who fail to heed the doggy command are truly missing out.
FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS
Whitehill Country Park in South Devon has set tails wagging with the launch of extra dog-friendly features for four-legged guests. Further fanning the Paignton Park’s pooch appeal are new ‘dogs welcome’ caravans, including a boutique range for hounds looking to holiday in style. Better still, the family-run holiday park has also introduced a warm doggy shower which offers Fido a nose-to-tail makeover after a muddy walk. The new sprinkle-spa is one of many dog-friendly facilities found at the park with its dedicated pet exercise area and complimentary doggy bags available to owners. Whitehill Country Park marketing director Claire Jeavons says there has been a steady rise in demand for dog-friendly accommodation over recent years: “It’s estimated that around twelve million households in the UK own pets, including over eight million dogs of all shapes and sizes. “Dogs are always regarded as very much part of the family, and our aim at Whitehill is to make them feel just as welcome as their human counterparts by introducing more dog-friendly caravans, and features such as our new doggy showers.” The wide range of dog-friendly accommodation includes caravan holiday homes, luxury lodges, and touring and camping pitches. In addition, all guests holidaying with dogs are given a Whitehill Doggy Information Guide on arrival which highlights delightful dog-friendly walks and attractions found in Devon.
SETTING DOGGY TAILS WAGGING
Family-run Beverley Holidays in Paignton set tails wagging with a Bring Your Dog To Work Day. Staff were joined in the workplace by their canine companions to support two top animal welfare charities as part of a nationwide initiative of which Beverley is an offi cial sponsor. Highlights of the day included a Crufts-inspired parade of pooches, a series of challenges to fi nd which pets had the Rex-factor, and a ‘Beverley’s Best in Show’ fi nale. The fundraising initiative coincides with news that the group has opened its doors to man’s best friend with a range of dog-friendly holiday caravans and facilities on Beverley Bay for 2017. Pet owners can now choose from a range of holiday caravans kitted-out for hounds who like to holiday in style, coupled with a dedicated dog exercise area. Its warm doggy shower is also proving a ‘pooch-tastic’ hit, providing dogs with privacy while they clean their muddy paws, plus an ‘A-la-bark’ menu, and Beverley Doggy Holiday Guide for guests. Beverley Holidays director Claire Jeavons, said: “Dogs are very much part of the family, and our aim at Beverley is to make them feel just as welcome as their human counterparts. “Our introduction of our dog-friendly caravans and facilities for 2017 is already proving very popular among owners and dogs alike,” she added.
FIDO-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY FACILITIES
Over several years the Bridge Leisure owned Hedley Wood site, in Bridgerule, on the Devon and Cornwall border, has introduced a wide range of outdoor equipment to appeal to pet owners. New dog kennels have been introduced for 2018, with outside showers also available to help owners clean their pets after walks along the park’s own nature trail, or on the region’s many pet-friendly beaches. Dog bins are located across the park, helping guests keep the setting clean and tidy. The park has complemented the outdoor developments with the addition of new dog beds for every caravan, and doggie welcome packs including biscuits, bags and information about local pet-friendly attractions. Bridge Leisure has also turned an empty field into a dog agility course at its Hedley Wood It’s the latest in a series of developments that the business hopes will help it become the South West’s most popular pet-friendly holiday park. The new development was the brainchild of general manager Paul Murphy, who believes the addition of specialist dog agility equipment will create a talking point that encourages guests to spread the word about the park’s pet friendly credentials. Says Paul, “It’s not unusual for holiday parks to have a dog walking area for guests, but how many pull out all the stops to make this part of their park memorable? “Around 90% of visitors to Hedley Wood come with dogs, so we’ve decided we’re going to tailor our outdoor spaces to suit them. The feedback from pet owners has been terrific – they love the fact that we are putting them first.”
Test Pilots - Outdoor Essentials
Let your guests be the judge of your outdoor improvements...
What better time than peak season to carry out an audit of your outdoor amenities. From weather-proofing al fresco entertainment areas, to checking the popularity of new playground features; your guests are the ultimate test pilots. It is your customers who will ultimately decide on the return on investment of your winter improvements; voting with their feet, this year’s – and crucially – next year’s holiday budget. Now is the time to start the appraisal process, You need to spot what look like winners or losers. Modifications may be needed and some may have to wait until the winter months. But it may not be prudent to wait when a stitch in time could reap rich rewards in the form of repeat business and maximising spend.
Quick fix amendments could be something as simple as adding more bins or sprucing up your signage, or garden displays. If outdoor spaces are well maintained, they will encourage user-participation by inspiring visitors to be outdoors in the grounds, making full use of the facilities,” points out Christine Virginie, Marketing Manager for Fordingbridge, who are key suppliers when it comes to maximising outdoor space. “This can create great word of mouth and repeat business from visitors having just had a great experience at your park,” Christine continues. “Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing and the best aspect is, it’s free! “If your equipment is covered by a canopy, it also increases the life span and therefore reduces maintenance and replacement costs,” adds Christine.
Offering customer-friendly outdoor dining is a no-brainer. An inviting al fresco experience with smart furniture and heaters for chilly evenings will increase the number of covers you can serve and ultimately increase your bottom line. One of the key decisions when planning to utilise external areas, is whether the space is for activities, that can generate income or that simply add value to your overall offering. “Presentation of all areas is important, whether a playground, a dining area or a wild flower meadow – they all need to be maintained,” says Simon Williams, Commercial Director at Bridge Leisure Parks. According to Simon there is also a growing trend of people wanting to reconnect with nature and to be active outdoors – and this has been an area of focus for Bridge Leisure Parks. “Our recent outdoor developments include foot golf, archery, dog agility courses, pitch and putt and crazy golf. At Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire, we’ve recently invested in a foot golf course for one of the fields and developed a nature trail through the woods.
Bridge Leisure not only provides active areas on its parks – the operator also promotes ranger activities to take advantage of their parks’ surroundings, providing expert knowledge about the local landscape and wildlife. This is complemented with on-park signage providing more detail about the plants and animals that can be found. There is no better way of enhancing and enriching an outdoor space than by investing in play equipment. Creating an innovative play space that fi res a child’s imagination and creates a pleasant environment for parents to get together is a winning formula for holiday parks. If you are looking to breathe new life into your play offering then HAGS boasts a huge portfolio and bucket-loads of experience. The company provides a turnkey solution with services including landscaping, fencing, decking and even artificial rock faces. The play specialists manufacture a vast range of products including play equipment for all ages, outdoor gym and fitness equipment, multi-use games areas, skating, ‘parkour’ and furniture. Camber Sands Holiday Park is a typical example. The park owners wanted separate areas for toddlers and juniors and a wide range of equipment. HUGE HIT They enlisted the help of HAGS-SMP to design and install the scheme, which included themed multi-play units, dynamic equipment, a zip line, sunken trampolines and a trail with an 8m traverse wall. The play area has proven to be a huge hit with customers, and according to HAGS, the only complaint from site has been to ask how to keep the adults off the equipment! “Theming seems to be a constant favourite with our clients. From pirate ships to fairytale castles you can add real play value to your areas by engaging a child’s imagination,” comments Simon Wright, Head of Sales at HAGS. Simon advises: “If your budget is tight you might consider planning your scheme in phases, this way you can add to the playground over a period of time that suits.” Specialists in recycled furniture, NBB’s furniture designs are enjoying unprecedented interest this season. “They not only look great and are eco-friendly, but they’ll also will save the park owner money in the long run!” exclaims the company’s Group Marketing Manager David Dean. “In today’s world we all need to be more aware of the materials we use and ensure sustainability is on the agenda. “All of NBB’s recycled furniture products are manufactured in the UK from recycled plastic milk bottles. Purchasing a standard A-frame picnic table, for example, will save over 2,000 milk bottles from entering our waste chain,” adds David.
Maximising Your Outdoor Space :
Provide weather protected outdoor spaces.
Offer safe and secure bike storage for visitors.
Have all weather sports facilities such as MUGAs and covered green gyms.
Provide shaded areas for seating and dining.
Use walkway canopies to offer weather-protected connections between buildings.
Specialist design and built contractors, Fordingbridge is a one-stop shop when it comes to outdoor weather-proofi ng solutions. A typical installation recently took place at the Cotswold Country Park and Beach provides water sport activities on a wide expanse of lake. The owners wanted to create a weather-protected, outdoor dining/spectating space where friends and family of those participating in the water sports could dine and watch in comfort, sheltered from the elements. After conducting a free site survey, Fordingbridge proposed a twin-span, barrel-vaulted timber canopy to provide 128m2 of covered space overlooking the lake. The Opal 60 fabric roof covering was designed exclusively for Fordingbridge and is known for its longevity, high tear strength and UV resistance. The install team delivered the project in four days, keeping disruption to a minimum.
Tel: 01243 554455
PLANET FRIENDLY FURNITURE
Great for park operators and the planet, increasingly the holiday sector is choosing recycled plastic furniture over traditional wooden furniture. The reasons are clear. Not only will it never rot, splinter or rust but it is guaranteed against rot for 25 years. There are no long-term maintenance commitment such as painting or sanding down. It’s waterproof and not affected by exposure to chemicals, severe weather or intense sunlight, meaning it can be left outside all year round without any effect on its look and feel – and no unsightly green algae. New for this season from NBB is its London Dining Set – a contemporary table and bench set manufactured in grey plastic, seating up to six guests and saving nearly 4,000 plastic milk bottles from going to landfi ll.
Tel. 0800 1777 052
CHARGING POINTS DEMAND
Rolec Leisure is seeing a growing number of parks installing charging stations for electric vehicles. Something that park operators are probably encountering more and more are visitors with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs). “Demand for EVs and PHEVs is at an all-time high in the UK, with year-on-year sales having increased by more than 27% explains,” explains Martin Georgeson, Sales Director of Rolec Services, the award-winning company is widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of EV charging points and accessories. “We are aware of a number of disgruntled visitors to other leisure parks around the country who have aired their disappointment at the lack of EV charging points on EV internet forums, highlighting the fact that demand is out there,” warns Martin. Rolec’s EV charging points are specially designed to be easy and economical to install, safe, and adaptable to a holiday park requirements.
Tel. 01205 724754
Award-winning holiday park business Bunn Leisure has announced new plans for its 300-acre holiday complex on the stunning Selsey Peninsula in West Sussex.
Midway through a £17m investment programme, the family-run holiday park company is continuing to reap the rewards of a buoyant domestic tourism market, reporting a five per cent increase in turnover from 2016 to 2017.
Split into three holiday villages and a touring park, Bunn Leisure has already built a £5m new head office and reception building and is due to open a £12m new state-of-the-art entertainment complex at the end of the year, which will include a Riviera-style swimming pool and changing village, fully covered multi sports zone, numerous restaurants and bars and an exclusive lounge, a full size 10-pin bowling alley and a new entertainment venue seating 1,250. Boasting a beautiful seaside location in Selsey on the West Sussex coast, happy campers can pitch a tent or roll up in a caravan or camper and enjoy the park’s luxury 5-star facilities – perfect for when the weather doesn’t play ball. Warner Farm offers blue skies and fresh air, backed up by a host of children’s clubs and activities, and a fun leisure complex.
Bunn Leisure’s mile-long stretch of sand and shingle beach runs in front of the park, perfect for sandcastle-building, swimming and sunset strolls.
All of the holiday park’s villages and attractions are linked by a free bus service and Bunni Express road train, and there are plenty of activities to make the week fl y by, from a fun leisure pool and spa to tennis, football, go-karts and fairground rides.
Bunn Leisure spends nearly £2m on its entertainment every year, with headline acts such as Billy Ocean, Gareth Gates, Heather Small, Right Said Fred, Robin Windsor and many more.
Managing Director John Bunn has now announced plans for the holiday park’s exclusive mile of private beach, which will include a new fi sh and chip shop, a beach side café and a beach shop to be built next year.
Continued investment across the parks will also see an extended go kart track, introduction of branded quick service restaurants, and further holiday homes sited on a new 92-base development on Claudia’s Field.
John Bunn said: “With the continuing growth of domestic tourism and the rise of the staycation, we are busier than ever, and 2017 was a record-breaking year for us.”
“We are investing in fantastic new facilities across all our parks - clearly demonstrating our ongoing commitment as an innovative leader in the UK family holiday sector.
“The money we are putting into these latest improvements takes the total reinvestment in the parks to over £40m since 2012.”
AT A GLANCE
Location : Selsey, West Essex
Season : March To January
Accommodation : 2500 static caravan pitches on a 300 acre site
Owner Occupied : Over 2000 Holiday homes
Other Attractions : Kids's clubs, evening entertainment and access to the Oasis pool complex is completely free.
Smart Meters Compliance
Meters installed by Landlords and Property Managers for submetering must now conform to the exactly the same standards as meters installed by the Electricity Supply Companies. Every new electricity meter or gas meter installed for billing purposes must be approved to MID (Measuring Instruments Directive) regulations. The use of unapproved meters is and to bill electricity or gas with a non-approved meter is classed as a criminal offense. A list of governing bodies, together with the instruments they have been designated to approve, is available on-line. MID approved gas and electricity meters can be identified by their specific markings, as required under the directive.
Fundraising Cyclists Saddle Up
An intrepid team of 20 staff from Caravan Guard and Leisure Days took part in the 70 mile Great Yorkshire Bike Ride from Wetherby to Filey recently.
The bike ride aims to raise £10,000 for some outstanding charities including:
• Yorkshire Cancer Research
• Epilepsy Research UK
• Heart Research UK
• The Candlelighters Trust
Any amount you can donate, big or small, would be really appreciated. Caravan Guard will match any business donations over £50 and any individual donations over £10. You can find their fundraising page via uk.virginmoneygiving.com
Face-To-Face With Industry Experts
The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show is back at the NEC, Birmingham on the 7th and 8th November providing holiday and leisure entrepreneurs with an unparalleled opportunity to make the most of their resorts, holiday parks and attractions by delivering first-hand the very best in advice, products and services.
Combining world class experts, face-to-face advice, 150 inspirational seminars, 350 leading suppliers, workshops, unrivaled networking and live features all under one roof - these two days are truly unmissable for anyone in this sector!
Whether you’re relatively new in the holiday market and looking for inspiration and advice or an established business looking for new and exciting ways to improve your offering, the event covers everything you need to run your holiday business more efficiently.
Discover all the latest technology and trends from within the sector and find out more about current marketing and business strategies. The industry’s most innovative and influential figures will pass on their peerless knowledge and advice and ultimately help you stand out from the competition and increase your occupancy rates.
Tickets to attend are free and you can register via the website at www.holidayparkshow.co.uk
Next Chapter In Park Success Story
North Wales MP David Jones has opened a new country club at a holiday park near Rhyl, and praised its contribution to Wales’s tourism economy.
Mr Jones, who is MP for Clwyd West, was at Caeran Caravan Park near Abergele to see how the award-winning business plays its part in attracting thousands of visitors each year to the region.
During his visit, David Jones took time out to cut the ribbon on The Mill, the park’s recently built country club where guests can meet and relax when staying.
The MP commented: “I was delighted to see how investment in the new facilities at Caeran Caravan Park is helping the business go from strength to strength.
“Our area is one of the most attractive in the country, and high quality parks such as Caeran give holidaymakers access to the very best that North Wales has to offer.
“Wales Tourism Week helps focus attention on a vitally important industry for our local economy, and I am very pleased to show my support,” he added.
Bounded by the River Elwy in a picture-postcard valley, Caeran was founded around 1960 and provides more than 50 privately owned caravan holiday homes in its seven acre grounds.
Scottish Honours For Perthshire Park
Blairgowrie Holiday Park in Perthshire has been named as Scotland’s Best Caravan Site of the Year at the Scottish Hospitality Awards which took place at Crowne Plaza, Glasgow.
The annual awards highlight hospitality enterprises which offer exceptional standards of facilities and services, and take into account the feedback given by customers.
Wood Leisure started life just almost 40 years ago when husband and wife Colin and Margaret Wood acquired picturesque Blairgowrie Holiday Park. The couple invested much time, effort and resources to create what is now one of Scotland’s most highly regarded and multi-award winning holiday parks.
Building on their success, Colin and Margaret then went on to develop five other parks using the same business formula of combining high quality surroundings with excellent customer service. Their other parks are Corriefodly Holiday Park in Perthshire, Deeside Holiday Park near Aberdeen, Lomond Woods Holiday Park in Ballock, and Campsie Glen near Stirling.
The family’s portfolio was added to earlier this year with the acquisition of Callander Woods Holiday park - formerly Gart caravan park – in Perthshire. At Blairgowrie Holiday Park, guests have the choice of a wide range of accommodation options including luxury lodges with private hot tubs as well as touring pitches.
The Wood family are not strangers to receiving accolades for their parks, as all have been graded by VisitScotland at the top level of excellence
A Touch Of Hot Tub Luxury
Superior Spas has become the preferred hot tub supplier to the UK’s leading and fastest-growing independent holiday home provider, Sykes Holiday Cottages.
Supplying hot tubs to Sykes’ vast portfolio of more than 10,000 properties, Superior Spas is a UK leader in the holiday hot tub sector and is committed to customer services, reliability, and delivering products that are of exceptional quality.
The partnership follows the introduction of new regulations1 for commercial properties and holiday lets which came into force last year. The regulations provide essential guidance on controlling potentially harmful bacteria in spa-pool systems.
Superior Spas created their signature Holiday Let Hot Tub to help accommodation providers ensure all regulations are met effortlessly – a fact that made it a natural choice for Sykes Holiday Cottages. The latest product from the brand means holiday cottage owners can operate with the highest standards and complete peace of mind, so many more beautiful properties could be tempted to add a hot tub to their destination.
Rob White, Marketing Manager of Superior Spas commented: “Hot tubs are the ideal way for property owners to catch the eye of holidaymakers looking for accommodation that offers something a bit special.
“They immediately add a touch of luxury and a relaxing feel to any stay.
Our newest product is designed to meet all the regulation demands for commercial properties and ensure that the highest standards are always met.”
Telephone: 01246 559071
School Focus On Tourism Business
Owners of a picturesque Welsh border caravan holiday home park invited children and teachers from the local primary school to pay a visit during Wales Tourism Week.
Pupils of Brynhafren Primary School, Crew Green, between Welshpool and Shrewsbury, spent the morning at Seven Oaks Holiday Home Park where they were given a guided tour before enjoying a picnic in May sunshine yesterday (Thursday).
The 119-pitch park is owned by caravan and
motor-home dealership Salop Leisure and the company’s managing director Mark Bebb and marketing manager Ed Glover joined park managers Ron and Margaret Brace in welcoming the school party.
Mr Bebb spoke to the children about the aims of Wales Tourism Week and the importance of tourism to the Welsh economy. He explained that the five star park is popular with people living in the West Midlands who like to escape from urban areas to relax in the beautiful countryside of Mid Wales.
He explained that the school and the park had a longstanding relationship, as pupils had planted the first seven oaks there when it opened and then returned to plant more oaks on a new section a few years ago. The trees are now well established.
Most caravan holiday homes and lodges on the 40-acre park have views of the River Severn and are bordered by mature trees, banks of shrubs and immaculately kept grass down to the riverside.
Mr Bebb said: “Tourism is one of the major employment sectors in Wales and it’s absolutely vital that we engage with young people and make them aware of the exciting career opportunities that are available within the industry.”
Swim Star Opens Devon Splash Pad
Olympic Gold-medallist swimmer Liam Tancock took time out from the fast lane recently to open the new Splash Zone at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in East Devon. Set alongside the park’s main swimming pool, the 160m2 zone includes interactive water features, spray guns, and even a sea serpent that sprays water. The ocean-themed Splash Zone is part of a £1 million investment made by the family-owned park in the run-up to the 2018 summer season when its 75 anniversary is being marked. With its own private beach and longstanding appeal to young families, Ladram Bay has prided itself on continually expanding its range of attractions.
In 2017 Ladram Bay Holiday Park approached Ustigate Waterplay to request a design and build program to establish a splash zone outside their indoor pool complex. The splash pad consists of 19 products to please all ages. There is a low level interactive fi sh, six jet stream geysers and six wave geysers to tickle small children and a boat feature, tipping bucket, cannons and a sea serpent to cater for all those that love nothing more than being soaked in splash. One of the wonders of a splash pad with zero standing water is the creation of an environment where children of all ages and abilities can access aquatic recreation and play together safely.
Ladram Bay director Zoe House, who is a member of the parkowning Carter family, said it was a great privilege to welcome Exeter-based Liam to Ladram Bay: “Although the Splash Zone is all about having fun, Liam knows that youngsters just enjoying themselves in the water can be a great introduction to swimming as a sport,” she said. “We have many guests which return here year after year, and we’re often told that one big reason is the wealth of things to do for all ages, no matter what the weather. “Our main aim has always been to create amazing holiday memories with fi rst-class facilities, and I think that our new Splash Zone comes right up to the mark,” added Zoe.
Telephone: 01322 424445
Fairy Tale Story - Wyldecrest Parks' Alfie
The story of Alfie Best’s rise from a humble childhood to multimillionaire businessman reads like a modern day fairy tale. Born into a Romany Gypsy family in 1970, Alfie started working at the tender age of eight, labouring and laying tarmac alongside his father. By 14, he was buying and selling vehicles and just a few years later, he already owned several mobile phone shops across London. By 2001, entrepreneur Alfie had made enough money to invest in his heritage, purchasing his first mobile home park in Romford – Lakeview Residential Park – for a significant £1.7million. Lakeview Park, with its 132 homes, is still one of the most popular parks in Alfie Best’s portfolio - the Wyldecrest Parks Group, now valued at over £230 million. As one of the most successful park operators in the UK, the award-winning Wyldecrest portfolio includes 52 residential parks for the over 50’s and six holiday parks offering homes for rent and sale. As the only ISO 9001 accredited operator within the parks sector, Wyldecrest Parks is also the only parks group to have nationwide coverage in 24 counties across England, Scotland and Wales.
The phenomenal growth of Wyldecrest Parks is undoubtedly a product of Chairman Alfie Best’s personal drive to succeed. Although numerous, his park investments are testament to quality over quantity with carefully chosen locations, safety and security provided by on site staff, and the highest operational standards. Saltmarshe Castle Park is a particular jewel in the Wyldecrest crown. Homes are set amongst the picturesque grounds of a former 19th century country house and estate close to the market town of Bromyard in Herefordshire. The original castle was demolished in the 1950s but parts of the outer walls and turrets remain, alongside several outbuildings and stables. All are being restored to their former glory to add to the park’s unique atmosphere. Saltmarshe Castle Park started life as a holiday park and was acquired by Wyldecrest Parks in 2015. It still has some 300+ holiday homes but the park is currently in the midst of a massive upgrade with 60+ residential plots being developed in the initial stage.
According to Alfie Best, Saltmarshe Castle Park’s many natural assets made it a natural choice for residential development. “The park’s premier location and its outstanding beauty are impossible to deny,” says Alfie. “It would have been a shame not to take full advantage of that. Now people can live in this astonishing site permanently, and enjoy its beauty full-time.” Out of the initial plots being developed in the Tower Court area of the park, more than half are ready to receive happy new owners, whilst further availability is limited, especially for those plots which offer exclusive and unrestricted country views.
Adding to their investment in the local region, last year Wyldecrest Parks also acquired the nearby Sapey Golf Club. Alfi e Best believes that the popular Club offers huge potential as a lifestyle venue. The rebranded Sapey Golf and Country Club is shortly going to be offering a select number of exclusive golf lodges. “Our main goal is to bring the golf club up to its former glory, at the same time we create more jobs, invest in the region and bring revenue to the local community,” explains Alfi e. Giving back to its communities is at the heart of Wyldecrest Parks’ ethos and to this end, the company recently launched the Wyldecrest Parks Charitable Trust. The aim of the Trust is to deliver family support, equipment and health care to those who are facing life-threatening health conditions in and around their park communities. The charity will also be supporting holiday breaks for families in need. Through the Trust, the Wyldecrest Parks Group hopes to inspire some of its 120 staff and many thousands of homeowners to organise their own fundraising activities and get involved in volunteering opportunities within their own communities. “As a company, we are really excited about this development. We feel it’s our duty as a successful, growing company, to make a positive contribution to worthy causes and this is our expression of that deeply held commitment”, says Alfie Best. If Wyldecrest Parks’ recent growth (30% expansion over two years) is anything to go by, the business is assured of a bright future. Over the years, Alfi e has also built up a number of other successful businesses within the hospitality and leisure, events, trading and finance industries including Vinyl Bar, Best Park Home Finance, Kyoto Clearance and Wylde Events.
We dip a toe into Haven’s award-winning Hafan y Môr resort…
Boasting a continuous re-investment schedule into its 36 nationwide locations, Haven is the UK’s leading provider of family holidays. Part of Bourne Leisure, the company is the Sunday Times’ sixth ‘Best Big Company to Work For in the UK’ and Haven was the winner of the Best Family Holiday Company of the Year 2017 at the British Travel Awards. Bourne Leisure’s main ethos is to simply give guests a great time, with memories that last a lifetime. Hafan y Môr gets that customer seal of approval with in excess of 200,000 visitors every year between March and November. If you think, with such high visitor numbers, that the park feels crowded then you would be mistaken. Hafan y Môr is spread over 500 spacious acres with a stunning beach and coast line, offering guests an irresistible great escape from and a fantastic launching pad to explore the local area, which boasts rich culture and awarding-winning tourist attractions. Hafan y Môr is the largest single self-catering holiday provider in North Wales and is the biggest employer in Gwynedd.
The park is critical to the success of the local economy and the tourism industry. At peak times, the park doubles the population of the local town Pwllheli. The park employs 430 team members at peak, with over 50% of them being native Welsh speakers. The holiday resort is home to an outstanding array of great family friendly activities and facilities including 1,400 caravan pitches. This is combined with a whole host of on-site activities from an Aerial Adventure high ropes course down to the relaxing boating lake and fun indoor SportsDrome to expert led outdoor Nature Rockz sessions. The Old Butlin’s Starcoast World closed in 1998 and was refurbished and re-opened as Haven’s Hafan y Môr in 1999 transforming it into a stunning family park on Llyn Peninsular. Featuring extensively in the latest Haven television commercials, Hafan y Môr’s fl agship pool complex, Splashaway Bay, has undergone a £4million transformation over the last two years, culminating in the completion of the new £1million Changing Village.
Recently winning the coveted UK Pool & Spa Awards’ Holiday Park Swimming Pool Of The Year, the pool serves as an all-weather venue where families of all ages and abilities can feel safe. The holiday park pool is often the first time families will have been in the water together and this memory is one that lasts a lifetime. The refurbished water complex hosts a brand new fresh design alongside an array of exciting family friendly water features. These include an exhilarating new flume slide, exciting wave machine, a fully-fited, themed children’s pool with fun features such as tipping buckets and new water slides together with a multilane pool for committed swimmers. To top it all off guests can enjoy a new Milly’s coffee and cookie bar. There is no question of Hafan y Môr resting on its award-winning laurels. The management team has just unveiled its next ten year Strategic Development Plans that include over £21million of investment, including additional facilities, restaurants, Owners Club and more caravan and lodge developments as well as the demolition of the remaining apartment accommodation. This is in addition to the continual investment in the park environment and landscaping, and supporting the diverse ecology on the park.
Dare To Be Different - GLAMPING
With glamping bookings already up by 50% this year, the drive to provide something different has never been more urgent. Typical glamping offerings include wooden pods, safari tents, yurts and bell tents. Out of the box options are as likely to include fl oating houseboats, treehouses, converted airplanes and double decker buses, Dan Yates, who founded Pitch-up.com in 2009, says that right blend of accommodation mix is crucial in this increasingly competitive market. According to Dan, success in glamping depends on staying ahead of the game and choosing something that makes your accommodation ‘stand out from the crowd’. Ensuring superior facilities and customer service is key to keep up with increasing quality accommodation. And don’t forgo technology! “While some sites promote an ‘off-grid’ retreat, this is a small niche market and for the vast majority of customers, fast and stable Wi-Fi is a ‘must’,” advises Dan. In the 12 months to November 2017, Pitchup’s bookings for cabins were up 102%, micro-lodges up 114% and pods up 73%, says Dan. Rent-a-tents were up 151%, bell tents 77%, safari tents 73%, yurts 52% and domes 26%. “Many site owners fi nd that a combination of traditional pitches and glamping units that appeal to a new audience work well,” he explains, “Not least to reduce dependence on the weather!” Open for three years and constantly evolving, Wardley Hill Campsite offers guests a unique camping and glamping experience from a six-acre site in the picturesque Waveney Valley.
Owner, Joe Putman honed his camping skills working on campsites on the Isles of Scilly and in Dorset before putting down roots with his wife Holly and son in Norfolk. There are no neat rows of accommodation at Wardley Hill. Glampers can choose from a stunning Lotus Bell Stargazer tent, a huge Family Emperor Bell Tent, a locally crafted Sheperd’s hut, home-made Hammock hut and a Tentsile Connect tent suspended in the trees. “We wanted to offer a real ‘Swallows and Amazons’ experience,” explains Joe. “We have made a conscious decision not to have two of the same of any type of accommodation and in doing so, we’ve created something far removed from the typical holiday park.” “We have deliberately taken a very low-key approach to glamping,” says Joe. “As an industry, glamping is the trend that everyone has jumped on and it’s already becoming overcommercialised.” At Wardley Hill, the ethos is a very definite decision to celebrate the unregimented.
Wild flowers and grass are left to grow to encourage wildlife and the facilities offer an authentic back to- basics experience with composting toilets and open-topped showers. The family is constantly on the lookout for the next quirky addition to Wardley Hill. Joe is currently converting Camelot, an Eventide 26 sailing yacht to offer two-berth accommodation for those with a nautical bent, on land. Camelot is to be surrounded by a wooden deck with an outdoor fi re pit, whilst the interior will boast a wood burner and BBQ via the rear hatch.
Wish You Were Here - Sandhills in Dorset
With its stunning seafront position near Christchurch on the Dorset coast, Sandhills is a holiday home location like no other...
Little wonder that discerning buyers are willing to pay up to £400,000 to own a luxury lodge at the Sandhills, located near Mudeford Quay. However, such prices still compare very favourably with smaller and less well-appointed cottages in this property hot-spot. And buyers don’t have to be in the super-rich bracket, for it’s also possible to secure a holiday home here for under £150,000.
Owned by Park Holidays UK, Sandhills’ associations with holiday escapes for the privileged go back almost two centuries. The impressive manor house at the heart of the park was once the holiday home of MP Sir George Rose (1744 – 1818) whose close friends – and frequent guests at his property – included Prime Minister William Pitt and King George III.
Blue Flag sandy beaches and coastal paths abound, and inland the unspoiled countryside also provides endless opportunities for exploration on foot or by cycle. There’s no shortage of either of fi rst-class restaurants and pubs, plus many specialist shops in surrounding towns and villages. Easily accessible too are the New Forest National Park, larger resorts such as Bournemouth, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and activities from sea cruises to golf and water-skiing. Its beautiful outdoor pool, adjacent to the manor house, is maintained at a comfortable 30C. There is also a country club and a gymnasium, and attentive staff at Sandhills are always on hand to give advice and help owners get the most out of their stays. The park is open all year, with only February restricted to day-time visits only.
Gates Tops Bunn Leisure Entertainment
Pop star Gareth Gates is one of the top acts in West Sussex holiday park Bunn Leisure’s 2018 entertainment line-up. On May 12 this year, the 33-yearold singer will be heading to the south coast holiday park to perform an eclectic mix of pop classics including Spirit In The Sky, Summer of 69, and Suspicious Minds. It’s been 16 years since Gareth Gates won the hearts of the nation on the UK’s first Pop Idol, wowing the judges and finishing a close runner-up to Will Young. Since then, the Bradford-born star has carved out a hugely successful career, selling over 3.5 million records worldwide, with four UK No1 singles. He’s starred in West End musicals, come fourth in Dancing On Ice, made a TV documentary about the struggle faced by people who stammer – and has recently launched the world’s first range of coconut teas!
Unmissable Show Dates
Offering possibly the biggest collection of Park Homes and Leisure Lodges on display at any event, the World of Park & Leisure Homes takes place next month at the Stoneleigh Showground from June 7 to 10th inclusive.
Leading UK manufacturers are lined up to transform Stoneleigh into a huge luxury park with some 60 styles of the latest lodge homes on display.
The event is an unmissable opportunity to meet up with other park owners and operators as well as meeting industry specific exhibitors from a vast array of core specialist suppliers from insurance providers to indoor and outdoor furniture.
Open from 10 am daily, Thursday June 7th is an exclusive Trade Preview Day. The show opens to the public as well as the trade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 8th, 9th and 10th. For those planning for extended visits, a wide variety of accommodation is available locally at neighbouring towns like Kenilworth, Leamington Spa and Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Sat navs should be set for CV8 2LG but for all other information and updates, visit the event’s new website at www.parkhomeandleisure.co.uk
Award-Winning Welsh Park For Sale
Offers close to £1.375m are being sought for The Willows, a multiaward winning caravan and camping park near North Wales’ seaside resort Abersoch.
The 9.2-acre (3.7 hectare) park has 54 pitches including four exclusive ‘glamping’ or glamorous camping units, a static holiday hire caravan, reception/office, three-bedroom owners’ accommodation and another 3.7 acres for development subject to planning. Located beside the village of Mynytho and overlooking the Llyn Peninsula and Cardigan Bay, the park offers easy access to Abersoch and Pwllheli, some of Europe’s best beaches and activities including walking, sailing, water sports, golf courses, Surf Snowdonia and Snowdonia Zip Wire.
Being offered through Colliers International, The Willows continues to benefit from ongoing investment by the owners, achieving a turnover in excess of £115,000 and ‘very strong profits’ in the financial year to the end of February 2017. The park has won numerous awards including 5 Star Visit Wales & Britain accredited, the National Tourism Awards ‘Best Place to Stay’ (Touring and Camping), Top 100 Practical Caravan, Top 10 Glampsite and Premier Parks Award.
Sixtieth Anniversary Park Acquisitions
Shorefield Holidays, one of the UK’s leading family-run holiday park businesses, has started its milestone 60th birthday year by adding two major, strategic investments to its portfolio with support from HSBC.
The first of its two acquisitions was officially opened by Cllr Barry Dunning, the Town Mayor of Lymington and Pennington Town Council.
New Forest Lodge Retreat, Shorefield Holidays’ seventh park on the edge of the New Forest, was acquired last year and has been turned into an exclusive, gated community of 12 luxury boutique holiday ownership lodges. Homeowners will have access to luxury facilities including an exclusive health and fitness club with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, steam room and spa bath.
Shorefield acquired its eighth and latest park at the beginning of this year. Wilksworth Caravan Park is in Dorset and offers both holiday ownership as well as award-winning camping and touring facilities.
Five-Star Family Break Winners
Lucky couple Hilary and Rob Hedison are celebrating after winning a luxury break at Park Leisure’s fivestar holiday home park, Brynteg, a popular holiday park with exclusive owners-only communities, nestled in the foothills of Snowdonia and surrounded by spectacular scenery.
The couple, from North Killingholme, took part in the leading holiday home provider’s nationwide competition to ‘Win A Luxury Break’ at last year’s Motorhome and Caravan Show at Birmingham’s NEC.
Retired teacher Hilary (56), her tanker driver husband Rob (56), their daughter Katie and her partner Reece, enjoyed a two-night stay in a beautiful holiday home, which comprises of three bedrooms, a spacious open plan living area, modern kitchen with integrated appliances and large outdoor decking area with a hot tub as well as an array of on-site leisure and pleasure facilities.
In Running For Prestigious Award
Green Tourism, a sustainable accreditation programme that assists tourism and hospitality businesses, has been shortlisted for a Global Good Awards UK in the hotly-contested Environmental Behaviour Change category.
In its fourth year, the Global Good Awards celebrates organisations that are making strides towards a better world for people, the planet and the global economy.
Operating a three-level award programme based on Bronze, Silver and Gold, depending on the actions undertaken by a business, Green Tourism provide members with a comprehensive framework, practical actions, an assessor visit, marketing advantage and continued support from the experienced and passionate team.
Over the last 20 years, Green Tourism has presented over 5000 businesses with sustainable accreditation with a combined saving of 1 million tonnes of carbon, 5 million tonnes of water. In the last year over 40 million visitors visited a Green Tourism accreditation business. The winner will be announced later this month.
Compass, a trading brand of Thistle Insurance Services, is keeping its fingers crossed that this summer will be accident and incident free for its customers. The chances are that something will go amiss on a handful of parks over this busy period, so they have issued some timely advice. In the event of an accident involving a customer always do the obvious first! If the emergency services need to be called, do so immediately and ensure people are in place to guide them to the site of the incident. Be kind and sympathetic. It would not be advisable to enter into a debate about the cause of the accident, but apologising to a customer that the visit/holiday experience hasn’t gone as planned isn’t the same as admitting liability and can help to ensure that matters don’t escalate. Gather information immediately, as any delay can mean that things get missed or mixed-up. Conducting suitable and sufficient risk assessments is a legal requirement. For further general advice on risk assessment, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/. If a claim arises, your insurer/broker will need to know whether or not you have taken reasonable precautions to prevent the accident or incident occurring. There’s no excuse for not carrying out regular risk assessments. There are plenty of companies out there that can do this for you if you need help. It’s really important that you can produce documented (written down) evidence that you have used a tried and tested risk management system if a claim arises.
Top Of British Holiday Survey Pops
According to a recent survey by market-leading holiday park operator Away Resorts, 55% of Brits are taking their main holiday at a UK lodge or caravan park this year. Away Resorts is a UK holiday park operator, with six parks in Lincolnshire, Isle of Wight, North Wales, Hampshire, Hayling Island & Essex. It was the 35 – 44 and 45 – 54 age groups that picked lodge and caravan parks the most, suggesting that families and empty nesters are interested in an experience where the facilities and entertainment within easy reach. Carl Castledine, the Chief Executive of Away Resorts, said: “It’s great to see that the great British holiday continues to go from strength to strength. We British are taking more and more domestic short breaks throughout the year, but to see that a third of consumers are taking their main holiday in the UK just goes to show that our fabulous island can inspire people to stay here over far-flung destinations. “Away Resorts has six lovely resorts in stunning locations throughout the UK. From the vibrant coastal surroundings at our Mersea Island park to the luxury leafy tranquillity at our New Forest resort and from the serene waterscapes at Tattershall Lakes to the dramatic landscape of Barmouth Bay in Wales, it’s easy to see why we’ve seen an increase in visitors to our resorts too.”
In terms of where Brits will be holidaying, 44% of respondents will be taking their holiday next to the beach. So, if your holiday park is right near a beach, you’ll likely attract more bookings. Location has also proven to be a determining factor, with 60% saying the local area influences their decision to book in a certain place, followed by the accommodation type and thirdly, the facilities. This suggests that although accommodation is important for holiday makers, where they stay is mostly used as a base to explore the local area and get the most from their holiday. The majority of holidaymakers are willing to travel over four hours to reach their destination and most will be staying for six nights. Considering the beach is where most will be heading, this suggests Brits are willing to travel further to reach a beauty spot. Over 43% of those having a staycation return regularly to where they’ll be heading in 2018. Unsurprisingly, most respondents said they will be going away in the summer months. When asked how much their UK holiday will cost, most respondents, 32%, said they will pay £250 - £500 per person, excluding spending money. With only 14% of respondents saying their UK holiday will cost up to a maximum of £100 per person.
Thumbs Up For Beach Lodges
Business is booming for the Bournemouth Beach Lodges now entering their second season. Waking up to the sounds of the sea with stunning views of the Purbecks and Isle of Wight, many guests have commented their Lodge stay has been typical of a five-star experience. Designed and built by local New Forest craftsmen, each Lodge is heated with a fully equipped kitchen and shower room, can sleep up to four adults and two children, all of whom can stay connected via wifi and great local 4G coverage.
The 15 contemporary overnight stay Lodges are situated a stone’s throw from the water’s edge, a short walk east of Boscombe Pier, and include bespoke interior details which complement the natural warmth and look of the Lodges. Since their launch last April more than 1,250 bookings have been made and more 12,500 Dorset biscuits have been dunked into more than 7,500 cups of Dorset Tea, both found in the complimentary Beach Lodge welcome packs.
Calls For Fixed Easter Date
A leading businessman is calling for the date of Easter to be fixed to help businesses and avoid public confusion every year. Tony Bywater, chairman of caravan and motorhome dealership Salop Leisure, said fixing the date of Easter, which can vary by as much as month every year, would help businesses and their customers when planning for the year. This year, Easter is from March 30 to April 2, but it can potentially be any date between March 22 and April 25.
Easter is usually celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after March 21, the first day of spring, because it is based on the lunar calendar. “The fact that Easter falls on a different date every year causes businesses tremendous problems and I think fixing a date would help the tourism industry especially,” said Mr Bywater, whose business has sales centres in Shrewsbury, Machynlleth and Stourport-on- Severn. “Businesses like to know how many days they have got after Christmas to get ready for Easter and currently the date can fall anytime between March 22 and April 25. It’s confusing to businesses, tourists and the public in general. “We also have a situation where some businesses open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday while others don’t, which is also confusing for customers.” Mr Bywater has raised the issue with Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski, who has pledged to investigate.
Conservation Award For Five Star Park
A five star caravan holiday park situated next to the Dyfi Osprey Project in Mid Wales has received a special distinction award from the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme. Morben Isaf Holiday Park at Derwenlas, near Machynlleth has been honoured for its partnership with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Cors Dyfi nature reserve, where the osprey project is located. The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme recognises holiday parks that protect and enhance Britain’s natural environment. The park has held a gold award since 2015 and is also “Honey Bee Friendly”. Sarah Lewis, who manages Morben Isaf Holiday Park with her husband, Ben, said they were delighted to win the accolade. The park, which is owned by Salop Leisure, has 92 pitches for holiday homes and 26 for tourers. Since the osprey project was established in 2009, the park has provided support in many ways - mains water supply, accommodation for volunteers who guard the nest, car parking and manpower. The park has also built bridges and pathways to make it easier for holiday home and tourer owners to visit the project. Many of the owners are project volunteers. Rufus Bellamy, who runs the award scheme for his famous botanist father, David, said the assessor had been very impressed by the way the park has collaborated with the wildlife trust to develop the successful osprey project.
Sixty Years And Still Shining Bright
Reaching the major milestone of 60 years is no easy feat for any business, but family run Beverley Holidays is bucking the trend as it celebrates six decades of shining bright on the holiday park scene in 2018. Situated on the sunny English Riviera, Beverley Holidays was founded by Joseph Stanley Jeavons and his wife Marion in 1958 after they transformed 20 acres of farmland into their holiday park dream. Born in Wolverhampton, ‘Stan’ crowned the site Beverley in homage to his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers FC who’s then captain Billy Wright was married to a member of the ‘Beverley Sisters’. Regarded as Britain’s first female pop group, the ‘Beverley Sisters’ became familiar faces at the Paignton-based holiday park where they regularly performed to its growing number of guests. Fast forward nearly half a century and while you won’t find the singing sisters treading the Beverley Holidays boards today, the forward-thinking philosophy of its founder ‘Stan’ remains the same. Now in its third generation of the Jeavons family, its owners continue to provide guests with the same holiday magic as it did more than six decades ago by constantly refining the guest experience. The last few years have been no exception, with a cool £3million invested in a fleet of super stylish hot tub holiday lodges and caravans for those seeking a seaside staycation with a sprinkling of glamour. As a fitting tribute to its 60 years of success, family run Beverley Holidays was officially named one of the top three best holiday parks in Britain at the prestigious 2017 British Travel Awards.
Calling Time On Single-Use Plastics
A Windermere holiday park has become one of the first resorts in the industry to call time on plastic waste. Pre-empting even governmental moves, the forward-thinking Park Cliffe has announced a crackdown on plastic items which are designed for single use, including straws, bags, bottles, sauce sachets and coffee cups. From now on, holiday guests will be asked to join the park in helping to tackle the mountains of waste plastic accumulating in our oceans and rivers. Old fashioned paper drinking straws are being drafted in, and items once sold in plastic bags will be handed over in a biodegradable paper bags. Park Cliffe’s cafe has squeezed out sauce sachets in favour of condiments in glass bottles, and takeaway coffees and teas will now come in compostable cups. Or if customers bring their own reusable cups, a 25p discount will be offered.
It is also pulling the plug on water sold in plastic bottles, and installing a filtered water dispenser so that guests can fill their own bottles free of charge. The park has taken delivery of a plastics recycling station so that the waste can be disposed of without causing pollution. Based on the shores of Windermere, Park Cliffe provides luxury holiday homes to rent and buy, glamping pod accommodation, and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents. “Thanks to programmes such as the BBC’s Blue Planet series, I think we’re all much more aware of the threats posed by plastic, and not least to wildlife,” said park co-owner Susan Dickson. “Footage of turtles and other marine animals trapped in plastic bags has made a big impact on many people, and we all know that a solution must be found. “Park Cliffe tends to attract those with a concern for the natural world, and they are very supportive of our steps to become more environmentally friendly,” added Susan. Waging war on plastics is not the park’s only move to protect the natural world, and Park Cliffe’s many awards include accolades for its care of the countryside. Earlier this year, the business also announced it was ditching diesel for many of the journeys made around the 25-acre park by parking up its Land Rover in favour of an electric vehicle.
John Kinnear, Head of Programmes, the Family Holiday Association
John has been involved with the Family Holiday Association for three years having worked previously with charities like BBC Children in Need and Volunteering Matters.
What was your career path into the industry?
I’ve always worked for charities and wanted my next move to be to an organisation that focused on doing one thing really well.
What challenges does your organisation currently face and how do you predict changes or the future?
I’ve been amazed at the difference that a short break or day out can make for a struggling family and am passionate about the potential that domestic travel and tourism has to change lives. In the next five to ten years, I fear that we’ll see even more families unable to take a break, on top of the one in three, who aren’t able to today.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
Without doubt, advice from my first boss. …‘make sure you bring people on the bus with you’ basically if you want people to help you don’t cheese them off.
What do you most like to listen to on the radio on your way to and from work?
I either read or listen to ‘Coffee Break Spanish’ podcast as I’m trying to learn…..
What do you enjoy most out of working hours?
I love keeping fit – mainly via British Military Fitness – and it is great to be outdoors in all weathers.
If we could give you three guests, who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
Mary Beard – such an interesting person and conversation would flow. Barack Obama – he will motivate me to be a better person! My friend Martin – always excellent company (though wine spillages are an issue).
Do you have any claims to fame?
My old babysitter is the Krankies’ niece (does this even count as ‘fame’?)
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
I like to go on walking holidays in the UK and to explore cities and mountains further afield.
The Bubble Factor
Hot tubs are simply too good to resist, offering the bubble factor for holiday lets up and down the country.
The most common Internet search term with accommodation and holiday properties, no-one can afford to ignore the hot tub appeal.
And hot tub investment adds up. The increased pricing of a hot tub accommodation upgrade can see payback in under one year on the initial hot tub investment. Hoseasons and Sykes have both conducted their own independent research and say you can expect a 25% uptake of bookings if offered with a hot tub.
“What most of the holiday park resorts are looking for are simple spas with basic controls, a great warranty and back-upservice,” advises Gareth Jones, of UK Leisure Living, the UK’s reigning Spa Retailer Of the Year.
“A good quality holiday hot tub should last 10 years, no problem,” Gareth points out. “But I would advise to replace a holiday spa every five years,” he continues. “A bit like a car, the older they get, the more things tend to go wrong.
Hot tubs can take a hammering over the course of a season. Covers in particular, typically see toggles ripped. But, as they are heated up from cold every week, compared to every three months in a domestic settings. its the overall wear and tear on the pumps and heating elements that really takes its toll. “Changing the spa when the warranty runs out would also make commercial sense. As a business you can lease or finance them and this a great way of funding hot tubs at your premises. They also have a residual value to sell on after your term has finished.”
“As with anything in life you get what you pay for! Buy a quality product from the start that will last,” Gareth advises. “Ensure you get an adequate warranty to match your needs. “Ensure your hot tub supplier has adequate part provisions of core components in the event the tub does break down. “If you are planning to keep the spa beyond its warranty period check the prices on packs, pumps and heating elements. You don’t want expensive parts to pay for outside your warranty period,” continues Gareth. “Don’t forget we live in a world of web reviews and poorly maintained hot tubs are dirty water is any excuse to leave a bad review,” he advises. “This is why its essential staff are adequately trained. I am always a big believer that the tub quality needs to mirror the property.” With new HSG guidelines, parks need to be seen to have product that is compliant. Although the HSG282 is not statutory law, it is considered best practice and is viewed as an approved code of practice. The standard would be used in a court of law asa measure of whether or not a risk holder has complied ‘as far a reasonably practical’ to meet the requirements of the Health &Safety at Work Act 1974.
In accordance with regulations made by the Health & Safety Executive, regular testing of both pH and disinfection should be made at least three times a day and the results logged and kept for at least five years. A monthly microbiological test is also required, testing for Legionella every quarter. “A lot of holiday parks are not aware, or worse still, ignore the Health & Safety guidance that is published relating to hot tub use and control of Legionella in spa pools in business and commercial settings,” comments Chris Brady of 1 Stop Spas,Lincolnshire, who offers a fully compliant Marquis Spa that ismore than fi t for the holiday let purpose.
Working with Marquis Spas, 1 Stop Spas have designed aHSG282 compliant hot tub which also boasts some additional features such as simple auxiliary controls, limited hands-on parts, plus filtration systems and in-line sanitisers to reduce the risk of water related illnesses.
1 Stop Spas’ bestselling holiday hot tub is a Vita Spa Joli,which is a compact shape and has low sides that can easily be incorporated into new or existing decking. The Vita Spa range also uses off the shelf Balboa control system sand pumps, therefore sourcing parts quickly is easy, meaning minimal down time if you were unlucky enough to develop a fault.
Over the past ten years, a significant amount of holiday park operators and holiday let owners have purchased and operate what are in fact domestic hot tubs only designed for home, and not intended for commercial use.
Commercial spas, the type found at health clubs and spas, are generally much larger than the average portable spa with bigger and better filtration and sanitation systems along with other features that suit much heavier bather use.
Says Chris: “The release of HSG282 is very particular for all the right reasons, however, there were little or no hot tubs available on the market that ticked all of the criteria thatHSG282 recommends.
“Now that the industry has taken time to digest the detail released in HSG282, we are starting to see manufacturers designing and producing hot tubs which will be fit for purpose and comply with HSG282 in the very near future.”Chris adds: “The biggest consideration which is often overlooked is aftercare. We recommend that you have the spa serviced at least every six months to ensure any wear and tear is identified early and rectified to avoid breakdowns. It is advisable to team up with a local hot tub retailer, who can provide aftercare on your doorstep.” For holiday park operators, adding a hot tub is an opportunity to enhance visitor appeal and to add a premium to the letting price of the accommodation. Appealing to families as well as couples, for many holidaymakers, having their own hot tub, is the highlight of their break.
Perfect any time of the year, hot tubs are especially indulgent when it is cold outside to add to the lure of an autumn or winter holiday offering. Potentially profitable, there are however, many pitfalls to avoid before taking the plunge and adding a hot tub to your holiday offering. Shrewd operators and owners will look before they leap when it comes to showing duty of care, not to mention doing the necessary sums to ensure a profitable bottom line.
Alfresco Thinking - Outdoor Play
Unfortunately, the days when children played out on the street all day are long gone. For many children today – especially families without gardens – outdoor play only happens on trips to the park or on holidays.
The onus is therefore on holiday park owners and operators to ensure the play facilities they offer are the best they can be.
“Children between the ages of three and 12 are still the ones who dictate their family’s holidays and day-out destinations,” says David Robinson of World of Rides. With that in mind – and unless you’re specifically targeting adults – your holiday park should always have an outdoor play area.”
Gary Wallis, UK Marketing Manager for HAGS, elaborates: “As any commercial operator will tell you, happy entertained children mean happy and relaxed parents! An exciting and challenging play area gives children somewhere to let off steam and make new friends. “Investing in play equipment is a great way to show visitors that your establishment caters for families with young children who want to be entertained and have fun. Parents can explore your ‘grown-up’ environment, while the children will stay occupied with fun play solutions that stimulate their imagination and challenge them physically.”
External play areas are no longer an after-thought but are fast becoming essential in all redevelopments, as operators understand that they are a key driver and draw card for families. More and more business owners are now beginning to invest in a well designed play area to not only attract customers, but to retain them for longer and providing a greater return on investment. “Good play facilities make all the difference to a site,” adds Cathy Craddock from Outdoor Play People. “Just putting in something to tick a box is all well and good, but with some thought you can create a real talking point and asset to your park.”
Outdoor play can take many forms, from conventional playgrounds and rides to more nature-based facilities. “If you invest in a good quality play area and really think about the design, you shouldn’t have to change your play areas very often at all,” continues Cathy. “If you look after it, it will serve you longer.” World of Rides’ David Robinson again: “While static play equipment may need to be replaced or refurbished on almost an annual basis on heavy footfall holiday parks, battery rides can still be earning very high incomes a decade or two later.” He stresses, however, that only certain rides and equipment are suitable for outdoor play. World of Rides’ extra low voltage battery cars, boats and trikes are obviously suitable, but any higher voltage equipment to be used outdoors must be fitted with a residual circuit device. All rides manufactured in the UK and Europe must also carry the CE mark, which imported rides from the rest of the world do not always comply with.
“Fully interactive rides are still the most popular children’s attraction, as young guests and visitors want to be in full control of everything their ride is doing,” continues David. “Our bumper cars and boats are particularly popular, along with our driving schools, with a number of holiday parks operating a multiple number of tracks of the same or differing models.” The company’s appealing designs and its use of the latest technology means it now has the most popular range of battery rides across the UK and Europe, with over seventy models to choose from.
Caravans Gear Up For Another Busy Year
As caravan parks across the Mid Wales and the Heart of England prepare to reopen on March 1, a leading Shropshire-based leisure company says there are positive early signs of another busy season ahead. Tony Bywater, chairman of Salop Leisure, which has caravan and motorhome sales centres in Shrewsbury, Machynlleth and Stourport-on-Severn, believes staycationing is still as popular as ever with the British public. “We were a bit concerned about the impact of the wet end to last summer, but the disappointing weather has not dampened enthusiasm for caravan holiday homes, motorhomes and touring caravans which allow people to get away whenever they wish to a location of their choice,” he said. “The bills for rents and rates for the forthcoming season have gone out to caravan owners and there are very few that have decided to pack up their caravan, except through illness or bereavement.
“That’s a good sign that it’s going to be a very good year for sales of caravans and motorhomes. We feel that 2018 is going to be a great year of opportunities for our company and other tourism businesses.” He predicts that the devaluation of the pound against other currencies and the increased expense of flying abroad will persuade even more British people to staycation. Having enjoyed another successful trading year, Tony Bywater is very optimistic about what the new year has in store for both Salop Leisure and its associated businesses and caravan parks.
The 2017 year saw the opening of the company’s £6.5 million Love2Stay touring and glamping resort on land adjoining Salop Leisure’s Emstrey headquarters. Away from Shrewsbury, the company is investing £1.5 million on the complete redevelopment of Glan-y-don Holiday Park to provide 68 pitches on the seafront at, Tywyn, near Aberdyfi . The park is scheduled to open on June 1 this year. Further north along the coast, work has begun on a new £500,000 reception building at Min-y-Don Holiday Park in Harlech, which is set to open in March. During the year, Salop Leisure has created 35 extra jobs, taking the company’s workforce to more than 200 and reported record sales of touring caravan and motorhomes. “We remain very excited about the prospects for touring caravan, motorhome and caravan holiday homes sales in 2018,” added Mr Bywater. “We feel that 2018 is going to be a great year of opportunities for our company. “I think it’s going to be and outstanding year for all forms of self-catering accommodation. The devaluation of the pound against other currencies and the increased expense of flying abroad will persuade even more British people to staycation. “Investing in a caravan holiday home, touring caravan or motorhome provides excellent value for money for people who wish to enjoy a holiday or short break with their family anytime they wish at a location of their choice.”
True Value Of UK Holiday Park Sector
The leading players in the holiday park sector are banking on the support of holiday park operators with a major study into the value of the holiday-park sector to the UK economy. This is the first time that such a survey has been undertaken and it follows the study done in Scotland in 2014, which revealed just how important the sector is; the gross visitor expenditure was £700 million and the gross FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs were 13,000. The report was invaluable to parkowners in Scotland because it enabled them to support planning and funding applications with hard facts and, in general terms, the report was used to lobby the Scottish Government, local authorities and VisitScotland. The BH&HPA, the Caravan and Motorhome Club, the Camping and Caravanning Club, and the National Caravan Council have formed a working group, the Economic Impact Research Group (EIRG) and engaged Frontline Consultants to undertake the research in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland during 2018, with the aim of publishing the report at the end of the year.
• Park-Owners and Operators, will be surveyed online between March and April to ascertain their expenditure on wages, maintenance, capital investment, etc, via an online questionnaire. A small, but representative, number of park-owners will be invited to undertake a more detailed survey by telephone. Parkowners will be contacted by email or telephone by Frontline Consultants .
• Visitors, who will be asked to complete an online survey between Easter and the end of September, in order to ascertain their spend, both on the park and in the local area, length of stay, kind of accommodation used, etc. The EIRG will seek your help to publicise the survey via your website and newsletters and at reception.
Without the participation of parkowners it will be difficult for the EIRG to get robust data and the funding organisations would be grateful if you could give your active support. On behalf of the EIRG, Nick Lomas, Director General, Caravan and Motorhome Club, said: “Committing to this major survey not only demonstrates our enthusiasm in working together for the benefit of the sector, but, importantly, the survey will generate some powerful, robust evidence which will help parks and organisations across the country.”
The report will establish the value of the holiday-park sector to the UK economy, enable comparisons to be made across the four countries, and provide statistics covering various categories, e.g. by area and by type of accommodation. The resulting report will be immensely important to the sector, especially as such a survey has not been done before and it will therefore establish a benchmark as well as identify the overall economic value. In Scotland, the overall profile of the sector was raised in both the public and private sectors, with key organisations and decision-makers being sent a copy of the report and publicity in the national media. The EIRG will ensure that the report is put into the hands of relevant key organisations across the UK. And, of course, you will be able to access the full report for your own information and use.
Holiday Snaps from Sara Bertin
Shorefield Holidays - Finance Director
Working for the family-run company Shorefield Holidays since 1980, Sarah is the daughter of Dr Robert Pollock, who founded the first park in 1958.
What was your career path into the industry?
I trained to be a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton in Oxford, before going on to work as an audit manager in their Bedford and Bury St Edmunds offices. I joined Shorefield in 1980.
How has the market changed during your time in the industry and how do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
The season has lengthened from about ten weeks to all year round, but holidays are shorter. This is the age of the short break and worklife balance. Many of our customers work while they are away, so a good WiFi connection is critical. I think things will have to change soon because it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit staff. My vision is that we will be using technology more to solve this problem.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
My father always told us siblings to always do our homework – by which he meant to always check our facts and never take anything for granted. I like motivational sayings, and my current favourite is: every day’s a school day. I heard someone say it on a gardening programme – I like to learn new things all the time. I always tell my team it is important to look at what the customer sees and experiences.
What do you most like to listen to on the radio on your way to and from work?
I always listen to Radio 4 in the car. I like the science and technology programmes best. I like thought-provoking ideas and there’s always something new and innovative to think about.
What do you enjoy most out of working hours?
I’m a workaholic but when I’m not working I’m in my garden. I grow a lot of vegetables. I read and keep fit, and I enjoy classical music
Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
The Queen. For any working woman, she is the ultimate role model with her work ethic. I work in a family business and she heads a family business which is in full view of all of us. The Queen’s dignity is an inspiration to all of us. Bill Bryson, because of his storytelling and his humour. I think he and the Queen would have lots to say about all the interesting places there are to visit in this beautiful country of ours. Richard Dawkins would be my third guest. He is fascinating on the subject of evolution, and I think a conversation with the Queen about the church would be well worth listening to.
Do you have any claims to fame?
I was the first female articled clerk at Grant Thornton, and last year I was the winner of the Board Level and Senior Executive Women in Business 2017 Award.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
When I holiday in the UK, I usually head to the north coast of Cornwall to Mawgan Porth. I love the beaches. I aways try and visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan. There is a lovely atmosphere there and I feel at home in the kitchen garden. If I am travelling abroad, I like to visit new places. I have been to every continent except Antarctica. I still haven’t been to South Africa, and I would like to go to Zanzibar. There are several places I would visit again – Easter Island, Venice, Hawaii, Biarritz, New Zealand and the Whitsunday Islands.
Wish You Were Here ......
Our whistle-stop tour of UK holiday park destinations stops in South Devon…
Three into one does go with some picture postcards from the triple resort combination of Beverley Holidays... Under new management since 2014, Haw Wood Recently voted one of the top family holiday parks in Britain at the British Travel Awards 2017, the Beverley Hoidays group of holiday parks have been welcoming guests to the English Riviera’s sunny shores for 60 years this season.
Now in its third generation of the Jeavons family, family run Beverley Holidays boasts an idyllic hilltop setting on the beautiful English Riviera in South Devon. Visitors can choose from a wide range of accommodation from hot tub lodges and cosy holiday caravans, to dog-friendly caravans, touring caravan holidays and camping. The largest of three parks, Beverley Park, offers something for the family day and night including a show-stopping entertainment and tropical Oasis Leisure Club. An array of cafes, takeaways and restaurants offer something to suit all tastes, whether holiday makers are seeking a hearty meal of a quick snack on the go. Other facilities include an outdoor adventure playground and indoor soft play, plus an amusement centre, crazy golf course and outdoor and indoor heated pool where visitors can relax in the sauna, steam room, hot tub or gym or splash out at our pool parties. There is also a shop selling a wide range of holiday essentials and free WiFi in the main bar areas. For those in search of a slightly quieter base, Beverley Bay offers a relaxed holiday park setting with lighter-style facilities and its very own outdoor heated pool and Oceans Bar. Or, as a third option, visitors can spoil themselves with a stay in the exclusive setting of Beverley View, home to a stunning range of holiday lodges complete with outstanding sea aspects.
Tel: 01803 843887
All About The Swag !
A visit to the amusement arcades has been a much-loved part of the Great British holiday for decades. Who can resist the pull of the retro coin pushers or the anticipation of the prize cranes? “Amusement machines add to the mix of attractions for customers at holiday parks,” says James Anderson, Sales and Commercial Director of BANDAI NAMCO Amusement Europe Ltd (BNAE). “There is a long history and heritage of coin-operated games at the coast and people playing them on holiday. “Parents are nostalgic about the fun they had as kids playing in arcades, whilst children love the chance to play the latest games and to win prizes on redemption machines,” he adds. “The amusement arcade at a holiday park is often one of the aspects most loved by children and it offers a chance for he whole family to play together.” According to Graham Bray, Marketing and Business Development Manager of Searles Leisure Group in Norfolk, the onsite arcade at Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton is perennially popular with guests, young and old.
“The Arcade is not the main reason for families to choose a holiday at Searles, but it certainly adds another family-friendly activity, especially when the weather is inclement,” says Graham. With around 90 machines, the arcade games are extremely lucrative for Searles and the vendor. Graham says: “The arcade is the number one income stream for any activity on the park. “It also helps to keep guests ‘on-park’ rather than visiting the other numerous arcades in the Hunstanton town and promenade area. The arcade offers hours and hours of entertainment on-site.” Whilst older visitors might be content to gamble their cash and accept losing as part of the fun, younger visitors are not so keen to walk away from arcades empty-handed. The industry trend for redemption games shows no signs of abating. As Graham says, “It’s all about the SWAG!” A spokesperson for Parkdean Resorts, which has over 70 holiday parks across the UK, say the most popular games at their parks are “cranes, pushers and redemption games. The company also ensures that its adult holidaymakers have a relevant offering via over 18 facilities within licenced Family Entertainment Centres (FECs).” Parkdean Resort’s arcades feature prominent redemption prize shops and enhancements are currently underway across some parks, which will see prize shops refurbished and extended. A spokesperson said, “New cranes, redemption pushers and other redemption equipment are being installed ahead of the 2018 season. There will also be new video pieces at some parks.”
Giving Visitors value for money pays off, reports Damien Corbet
With the holiday park market as robust as it is, the biggest mistake operators can make is to cut corners. “Customers are increasingly aspirational and are looking for a ‘better than home’ experience” says Jon Moxon, Hoseasons’ Business Development Manager. “People are happy to pay for their UK short break or summer holiday but want to know they’re getting value for money. “So, to ensure the longevity of your cabin or lodge – and to sustain the price – I’d advise any owner to buy on quality, not price and furnish the unit to the highest standard they can.” This sentiment is echoed across the industry. The popularity of the UK ‘staycation’ has been on an upward trend for many years and shows no sign of slowing down. Less travelling time, no language issues, no currency exchange – and safety – are all factors encouraging increasing numbers of Brits to holiday at home. “All these factors have increased demand, with a trend emerging for shorter but more frequent breaks. With all this, guests are also expecting a lot more from their accommodation,” adds Pathfinder Homes’ Kelly Martyr.
In 2018, the winners will be those owners who meet the value for money proposition. Jon Moxon again: “Typically, I would expect these units to be open plan, light and airy with a great sense of space – and packed with features. The accommodation should be fitted out with branded equipment, large TV in the lounge and TVs in the bedrooms, and ideally a hot tub on the deck! Other features customers are looking for are wine coolers, wood burners and of course free wi-fi.
“We know space is at a premium on a park, but privacy is a rare commodity and the more space that can be provided between neighbours the better. There are several parks that are comfortably achieving this across the country, from the smaller quirky boutique sites such as Mallory Meadows in Leicestershire and Blossom Plantation in Northumberland, to sites offering activities such as shooting and fishing. Westlands Country Park in Scotland is a great example of a new site mixing traditional outdoor pursuits and contemporary comfort. Overall, it’s a combination of factors that make any unit and park stand out from the crowd. It’s about having a sense of identity and providing a quality lodge experience that is as good, if not better, than home,” added Jon. Another trend Pathfinder Homes is seeing is a strong rise in ‘romantic style’ designs. “We have recently created a bespoke Tuscany design specifically for the romantic rental market,” says Kelly. “This cabin measures at 40 x 22 and is a luxurious onebedroom home with an open plan layout featuring a freestanding bath sharing the same room as the huge super king size bed.” Operators should always be thinking about new ways to market their parks. If your park is situated in the right kind settings, you should certainly consider adapting a proportion of your site to meet this growing romantic break market.
The growing demand for better value for money, with guests expecting more from their accommodation, are just some of the factors that should encourage operators to consider switching from caravans to lodges. According to Robert Sheridan, Managing Director of Finlog, their log cabins are always more popular than other types of accommodation: “They get more repeat bookings, always book out first and demand higher rents. “From an ecological point of view, you also can’t beat a log cabin. They last for generations, so you won’t need to waste money, time, energy and down-time replacing them every five years or so. As they never go out of fashion, revenues stay strong; they are also far more-energy efficient than a standard holiday mobile home.” Robert also stressed that log cabins don’t really have a ‘season’ and are not influenced by current trends, so their ‘shelf life’ is far longer than a factory-made cabin or lodge. When it comes to payback for your investment, it’s not always a straightforward calculation and there are many factors to take into consideration. The purchase price of lodges varies tremendously depending on model and finish, and the addition of key features for the rental market such as hot tubs. “For the rental market we would typically target a four-year ROI, possibly less given the continued buoyancy in the market,” added Jon Moxon.
“With the rental market being as robust as it has been, the main pitfall is not to cut corners,” explains Jon. “As already mentioned, customers are increasingly aspirational and looking for a ‘better than home’ experience. So, for the longevity of the product and sustaining the price, I’d certainly advise any owner to buy on quality, not price, and furnish the unit to the highest standard they can. “It’s also important that the accommodation has a sense of place and fits its location. A white-washed, beach-style lodge in the Yorkshire Dales, flor example would feel out of place! Similarly, if your park has great views, take advantage of them – have a gable window or a central living layout so the bedrooms have an equally good view as the lounge. “Remember the accommodation is a rental unit, so fit it to the highest standard possible and use branded products, but also make sure it can take the hard work of two changeovers a week for 32+ weeks a year.” The message coming from the industry is loud and clear: Don’t cut corners, give visitors value for money and provide the best quality you can afford. The payback will be handsome.
Raising The Bar
More than 20,000 people have stayed at Shropshire’s new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort since it opened last year and advance bookings continue to pour in. Although managers of the Love2Stay at Emstrey, Shrewsbury were expecting an initial surge of interest, they have been overwhelmed by the positive public response to the new resort, particularly to the range of activities on offer. The resort, which aims to raise the bar for quality UK holidays, has 124 touring caravan pitches and a village of 11 luxury glamping lodges opened last month. Each safari lodge has its own private hot tub and fire pit. Developed by Salop Leisure, one of the UK’s premier caravan and leisure companies, the resort offers visitors a luxurious natural retreat within easy reach of the pretty market town of Shrewsbury. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Laura Plumridge, who manages the resort with her husband, Geoff “We opened the weekend before Whitsun and the resort has been full every weekend since,” adds Laura, praising the teamwork of the resort’s 14 full and part-time staff and activity suppliers who all live locally. “Forward bookings were full for half term in October and filled up fast for Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, as well as Easter and August this year. In fact 65 per cent are rebooking before they leave,” Laura continues. “One of the things that has surprised us most is the demand for activities. We had no idea just how popular they would be – our record to date is 220 children in one day and we had 60. “We arrange up to 12 activities a day and have families staying with us just to participate. Our guests have really embraced the ‘back to nature’ ethos and there is a hunger for parents to be able to facilitate that for their children. “Children are on the go all the time they are here and we’ve had some that don’t want to go home after their holiday. Parents also find time for themselves to relax and enjoy the facilities. “We are privileged to be chosen for people’s holiday, especially when they have young children. They look forward to spending two weeks of quality time together, so we have an obligation to make their stay the best it can be.”
Guests have predominantly been young families or active grandparents with grandchildren this summer. The resort is also hoping to provide twoday packages for the corporate hospitality market. As daily lives become dominated by technology and children are easily glued to i-pads and the Internet, Love2stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature and where guests can experience the grass between their toes. The stunning centre piece is a natural swimming pool which is flanked on three sides by spacious teak decking and thermal hot tubs, sunbeds and seating, where guests can enjoy light refreshments from the in-house coffee shop. This pool was designed and supplied by Poolscape Ltd in collaboration with multiple RHS Gold Medal winning landscape design practice, MOSAIC. The team used the latest technology from Austrian natural pool specialists BIOTOP to offer swimmers crystal clear, chemical free water, which is naturally filtered. During the evening, the indoor and outdoor area turns into a trendy Italian eatery, with most dishes being cooked in the huge woodfired pizza oven. There’s also a cinedrome where guests can relax and watch films. For more energetic guests, complementary access to the on-site fitness suite is available and a marine style assault course is a must for adrenaline seekers. Regular yoga, pilates and meditation classes are available together with a menu of spa treatments for a more holistic experience. Upon placing a booking, guests receive an activity diary offering the opportunity to pre-book activities such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, raft building and a range of sports. They can learn a wide range of bush-craft skills with an in-house forest ranger, including foraging, survival skills and there’s even a teddy bears picnic. A recreational fishing lake, an adventure playground for children, craft activities, animated storytelling, super hero yoga, a barefoot sensory walk, den building and a woodland hideout are also on the list of things to try.
Love2Stay aims to provide holidays with facilities and levels of customer service akin to a luxury boutique hotel. There is a separate reception and concierge service desk, food delivery service and even the opportunity to book private dining with a personal chef at one of the pre-bookable outdoor kitchens and barbeques The resort is set in 22 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with panoramic views across to Wales from one side and over to the Shropshire Hills from the other. Salop Leisure’s managing director Mark Bebb, explained the thinking behind the resort. “We know that we need to put effort into the re-generation of our industry and it’s our vision that Love2stay will accomplish this,” he said. “We have been mindful when developing the park that we needed to create an offering which appeals to a younger, fresher audience, in order to ensure the success and longevity of the business. “The location of the park, adjacent to one of the premier dealerships in the UK, works well too – there’s a huge accessory shop and access to the aftersales and service team for any advice customers may need,” Laura continues. “We want to breathe fresh air into the industry and this is the next step in staycations. “We know it’s cliché to say we want to put the quality back into family time, but it really is the vision we’re working towards and we hope that others will follow suit and help us regenerate the industry for everyone’s future.”
The Love2Stay Tel: 01743 583124
Kent Seaside Park Reveals £4m Revamp
Holiday home owners and staff at a popular Kent holiday park are celebrating after the curtains went up on a £4 million makeover which took place over winter.
It means that New Beach Holiday Park near Dymchurch is now ready for the 2018 season with facilities described as ‘wholly unrivalled’ in South East England. Park Holidays UK, which owns New Beach, said the on-time completion of such a major project was a fantastic team effort for which everyone deserved credit. In just a few months, the park’s former clubhouse has been demolished and replaced with a modern new complex, fully equipped with the latest showbiz technology. The high-tech lighting and sound systems will allow New Beach to stage West End standard live shows as part of the free entertainment provided to guests. Park Holidays UK has also equipped the complex’s arcade area with world-class video and electronic gaming systems suitable for all ages and levels of skill. There’s also a complex bar with supersize TV screens, a restaurant serving meals throughout the day and evening, a mini-supermarket, and a sales administration centre. Also just opened is a new development of leisure homes to buy, ranging from starter caravan holiday homes at around £15,995.00 to fully specified extra-wide luxury lodges. According to Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish, the decision to invest substantially in New Beach is a reflection of the confidence the company has in the park’s future: “New Beach has long been one of the most popular of our 28 parks, and we are determined to ensure it continues offering guests the best possible experience,” he said. “The park is open for 50 weeks of the year for leisure homeowners, so there’s always a great holiday atmosphere and plenty of indoor activities such as a swimming pool. “Park Holidays UK is especially well known for the quality of our free entertainment, and we spend literally millions each year securing first-class acts.
“I am confident that our investment will help attract even more visitors in the future, and this will also benefit the many other businesses in this part of Kent which rely on tourism.”
Put Fun Into Fundraising
Big-hearted team members at Paignton’s Beverley Holidays are being celebrated as charity champions after creating a £7,500-plus windfall for good causes in 2017.
They raised not just cash but also smiles a-plenty through a raft of fun activities in which staff and often holiday guests took part.
The charity total will be split between the park’s chosen charities which include Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, the Marfan Trust, and Ovarian Cancer Action.
Receptionists, entertainers and other members of the holiday park’s award winning team all took part in a series of imaginative money-raising initiatives.
Camping Education Boost
A recent study for The Camping and Caravanning Club reports four out of five parents believe camping has a positive effect on their children’s education, with 59 percent agreeing it should be added to the national curriculum.
The One Poll Survey revealed one in three adult campers believe children are happier when camping, and 64 percent agreeing camping holidays can improve a child’s social skills and mental health.
Geography, history and science were flagged as the subject areas most likely to be positively affected by nights under canvas, a result of children experiencing time closer to nature.
Encouraging youngsters to experience camping first-hand, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) gives 14 to 24 year olds the chance to explore the great outdoors, learn valuable skills and enjoy life-enhancing experiences.
Argyll Park Hits Golden Half-Century
As a West Highlands holiday park prepares to mark its golden anniversary, the family owners have been praised for achieving the gold standard in countryside care. Resipole Farm Holiday Park in Argyll will now be celebrating its 50-year milestone with the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level. The world-famous botanist said that the Sinclair family have shown themselves to be true friends of wildlife and the natural world with their many green initiatives. Managed today by Rory Sinclair and his partner Karin, it was Rory’s grandfather Archie who first started welcoming camping guests on his farm in the early 1950s.
Deer, red squirrels, badgers, and a myriad of bird species are drawn to the 15-acre grounds which includes an ancient woodland with a nature discovery trail. In addition, the Sinclairs have planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs which provide valuable nesting and breeding habitats as well as food resources.
Motorhome Lifestyle Trend Continues
A Somerset touring park, which saw motorhome visitors leap by almost20 percent last year, predicts the passion for freewheeling lifestyles will continue in 2018.
But Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park, set in the tranquil Mendip Hills, says the on-trend image of motorhomes is not just driving up bookings. It’s also bringing down the average age of guests as younger couples increasingly view them as a way of making holidays more of an adventure at any time of the year.
Now the family-run park has moved to make itself even more motorhome friendly by providing pitch facilities for campervans and motorhomes up to nine metres long.
It’s also introduced its own by-the-hour car hire facility so that guests can explore the countryside in greater comfort, and park more easily in nearby destinations such as Bath and Cheddar Gorge.
Director Keith Betton says that in contrast to when the park first started, almost half of his park’s pitches are now occupied each night by motorhomes: “Motorhomes enjoy a very chic image, and I’m sure that’s helped by their association with music festivals, film sets, and the spirit of laid-back living,”said Keith. “Add to this the fact that motorhomes are all about discovery with ever changing horizons to enjoy, and you can see why they appeal especially to younger couples.
“And there’s no need to sacrifice comfort these days, thanks to recent design innovations. Even compact motorhomes now boast home comforts such as full-size beds, luxury shower-rooms, fully-equipped kitchens and central heating.
“We’re seeing an ever-widening range of ages on the park, and motorhome owners are just as keen as our touring caravan guests to enjoy socialising together!” added Keith.
Based in picture-postcard countryside near Bishop Sutton, five-star Bath Chew Valley is an adults-only park which has scooped a raft of awards for its quality standards. They include previous firsts in the adults-only category of the annual “Top 100 Sites” survey, as voted for by readers of Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome. World-famous botanist David Bellamy has also praised the park’s care for its abundant wildlife, and honoured Bath Chew with his Conservation Award at its top gold level. The park’s 45 pitches are spread across more than four acres of landscaped grounds, and has been owned by the Betton family for over 20 years.
Parkdean Resorts Pledge £42 Million
Parkdean Resorts is to invest £42 million across its parks this year with a primary focus on new accommodation.
Following a record £50 million worth of investment last year, the 2018 roll out takes Parkdean Resorts’ investment total to £130 million since 2016. The business now has 72% double glazed and central heated caravans due to an increase of over 1,450 in the last three years. The company is spending £13 million on 800 new caravans to meet higher demand for holidays and ownership opportunities. In response to customer feedback, these models will include the introduction of more one and four-bedroom caravans – and particularly those with a higher specification. Features include en-suite bathrooms, new and upgraded entertainment units, spacious seating and homely touches to ensure a really enjoyable stay.
“This year our £42 million investment plans really show our commitment to continually developing our parks, and creating the best possible holidaymaker and owner experiences,” comments John Waterworth, chief executive at Parkdean Resorts.:“In 2018 we have a focus on bringing in new caravans and lodges to follow the growth in consumer demand. We also regularly collect guest feedback, and from this made the decision to introduce more one and four-bedroom models. “
Vauxhall in Great Yarmouth, one of the company’s biggest parks, has enjoyed an extensive replacement programme since its acquisition by Parkdean Resorts in 2016. The park will welcome 60 modern double glazed and centrally-heated models to upgrade the caravan offering on park. New lodges including a range of four-bedroom models are also set to be added to a variety of parks offering wider choice following a£1.3 million investment.
Nodes Point on the Isle of Wight is receiving 11 new lodges in a£0.75 million investment – six for holidaymakers and five for ownership opportunities. Meanwhile £0.52 million will bring four luxury lodges with hot tubs to the popular Fallbarrow Holiday Park in the Lake District. A further £3.9 million has been allocated to refurbishing existing accommodation to enhance holidaymakers’ experience. Additionally,upgrades to retail and leisure facilities will be completed for the 2018season, as well as extensions of touring and camping areas at key parks.
Says John: “As we look ahead to peak season, work is underway at the majority of our parks to boost their offering, making for an even more enjoyable time whilst staying with us. We hope this is well-received by our customers, and look forward to welcoming them throughout the course of the year.”
Carry On Glamping
Award-winning sites in the annual camping and glamping awards ....
Good work deserves recognition and each of the award winning sites in the 2017 Campsites.co.uk camping and glamping awards has offered something above and beyond to their guests. We bring you the sites that offered guests something extra special in 2017. The judges cherry-picked the very best glamping sites, the campsites that welcome four legged friends with open arms, and much, much more besides.. It’s high time to say thanks and give credit where it’s due, so well done to all the winners - and here’s to more of the same in 2018!
POPULAR CHOICE AWARD
When it comes to camping, the overall experience matters for a boost that will stay with you long after you return to daily life. The chosen sites were not only immensely popular on the website, but also generated a buzz from their happy campers.
WINNER: Park Cliffe, Cumbria Set in gorgeous countryside just a short distance from Lake Windermere’s eastern shore, this park offers gorgeous fell-side pitches and range of quality glamping options. With locally sourced delicious dishes in its restaurant, a dog-friendly bar terrace and the undeniable luxury of private bathrooms for hire, Park Cliffe is the perfect base for a tour of the Lakes!
South West Winner: Golden Cap Holiday Park, Dorset Commended: Cofton Country Holidays, Devon
South East Winner: Long Meadow Campsite, Hampshire Commended: Aldridge Hill Campsite, Hampshire
West Midlands Winner: Alton, The Star C&CC Site, Staffordshire Commended: Greenway Touring and Glamping Park, Shropshire
East Midlands Winner: Wolds View Touring Park, Lincolnshire Commended: Crowden C & CC Site, Derbyshire
East of England Winner: Searles Leisure Resort, Norfolk Commended: King’s Lynn Caravan and Camping Park, Norfolk
North West Winner: Baystone Bank Farm Campsite, Cumbria Commended: Waterfoot Park, Cumbria
North East Winner: Buckden Camping and Pods, North Yorkshire Commended: York House Caravan Park, North Yorkshire
Scotland Winner: Highfield Holidays, Argyll Commended: Loch Ness Shores C&CC Site, Highlands
Wales Winner: Penrhyn Bay Caravan Park, Anglesey Commended: Fishguard Bay Resort, Pembrokeshire
BEST GLAMPING SITE AWARDS
It’s time to really put the glam in glamping! When holidaymakers book a glamping break, they’re looking for something extra special - the experience factor, a high standard of service, and those allimportant luxury touches that bring your stay to life. These sites deliver the best of the best, so give them a big hand for understanding exactly what makes you tick!
WINNER: Melody Farm Shepherd’s Huts, Cornwall Escape to an idyllic glamping retreat in a secluded beachy area of Cornwall, with these two heart-warming shepherd’s huts for company. Not only can visitors indulge in their own romantic haven, with a double bed, your own en-suite and a rustic kitchen area, you can also make full use of the site’s boutique facilities. Residents be well entertained with a swimming pool, tennis court, state-of-the-art gym and five luscious acres to wander in.
South West: Winner: Caalm Camp, Dorset Commended: Enchanted Valley Yurts, Cornwall
South East Winner: Plush Tents Glamping, West Sussex Commended: Woodside Spa and Glamping, East Sussex
West Midlands Winner: Woodhall Farm, Worcestershire Commended: Canvas and Clover, Worcestershire
East Midlands Winner: Glamp in Style, Lincolnshire Commended: Country Bumpkin Yurts, Northamptonshire
East of England Winner: Happy Days Retro Vacations, Suffolk Commended: Brambells Glamping, Norfolk
North West Winner: Samlesbury Hall Shepherd’s Hut Hamlet, Lancashire Commended: Lantern & Larks Bleasdale, Lancashire
North East Winner: Yurtshire Fountains, North Yorkshire Commended: Camp Katur, North Yorkshire
Scotland Winner: Craighead Howfs, Perthshire Commended: Harvest Moon Holidays, Edinburgh and the Lothians
Wales Winner: Cosy Under Canvas, Powys Commended: Ceridwen Centre, Carmarthenshire
TOP DOG AWARDS
Not much matters more to us Brits than our four-legged friends, and we need their company on holiday just as much as when we’re snuggled at home. These pooch-pampering sites know that dogs are a part of the family, and make sure that they feel like it! From dedicated dog walks, to on-site groomers and pet friendly pods, man’s best friend has never been made more welcome! When you get peckish and head to the site’s restaurant, your four-legged friend is welcome too. And even if you decide to explore on two wheels, you can rent a doggy trailer locally and bring your pooch along for the ride. Talk about a dog’s life!
WINNER: Sandy Balls Holiday Village Sandy Balls Holiday Village in Hampshire has been running for more than 95 years and in that time tens of thousands of guests have enjoyed its superb customer service, luxury facilities, quality accommodation and an abundance of activities in a breath-taking setting. Five-star Sandy Balls has something for everyone, so whether it’s a long weekend, mid-week break or longer, it offers the perfect holiday destination.
South West Winner: Portesham Dairy Farm Campsite, Dorset Commended: Deanwood Caravan and Camping, Gloucestershire
South East Winner: Rye Harbour Holiday Park, East Sussex Commended: Long Acres Caravan and Camping Park, Surrey
West Midlands Winner: Poston Mill Park, Herefordshire Commended: The Green Caravan Par k, Shropshire
East Midlands Winner: Cakes and Ale Holiday Park, Suffolk Commended: Old Brick Kilns, Norfolk
East of England Winner: Billing Aquadrome, Northamptonshire Commended: Grace Park, Lincolnshire
North West Winner: Elm Cottage Touring Park, Cheshire Commended: Dalston Hall Holiday Park, Cumbria
North East Winner: Crows Nest Caravan Park, North Yorkshire Commended: Brenda House Touring Caravan Park, East Yorkshire
Scotland Winner: Barnsoul Caravan Park, Dumfries and Galloway Commended: Castlewigg Holiday Park, Dumfries and Galloway
Wales Winner: Graig Wen, Gwynedd Commended: Bryn Gloch Caravan and Camping Park, Gwynedd
MOST UNIQUE SITE AWARD
These sites offer something truly quirky and unique, allowing the visitor to experience the most unusual accommodation ever dreamed of - for memories that last a lifetime.
WINNER: Blackberry Wood, East Sussex
Situated within the South Downs National Park, only 10 miles from Brighton, Blackberry Wood is a truly unique camping and glamping site with private camping glades in a woodland setting, each with their own fire pitch for the essential campfire. Glamping options include a double-decker London bus, a converted Wessex helicopter, a gypsy caravan, an ‘Eco Perch’ log cabin and two incredible treehouses.
Commended: Glamping Thorpe, Oxfordshire
Commended: Stonehenge Campsite and Glamping Pods, Wiltshire
GREENER SITE AWARD
These environmentally friendly sites are top of the leaderboard when it comes to working in harmony with nature and finding ways to save the planet and preserve our beautiful countryside without diminishing your holiday experience.
WINNER: Wild Boar Wood Campsite, West Sussex
Get away from it all and discover the freedom of wild glamping with a visit to Eco Camp UK’s Wild Boar Wood Campsite. Set in a private five-acre woodland near Haywards Heath in West Sussex, our small off-grid glamping site offers a fantastic option for those looking for glamping near London. The campsite has just nine bell tents tucked away among the trees and opens from April to October. Here, you can enjoy the simpler things in life as you relax around the campfire, enjoy the natural surroundings and make a hobby of waving at steam trains passing on the nearby Bluebell Railway.
Please get in touch to see the full feature!
Browsing To Booking
In today’s competitive market, holiday parks must to do everything they can to stand out from the crowd. It’s not enough just to have a website, for example – it has to be well designed, Google-friendly and optimised to drive bookings. An online brochure is so 2008. “A strong online presence is vital to success,” says Pitched Director Andrew Hampton. “It’s essential to have a website that stands out from the crowd; one that ranks well in Google for a park’s key search terms; and one that also offers a slick user experience for those browsing on a mobile phone – which is becoming ever more important.”
“The aim is to get people from browsing to booking as quickly and easily as possible,” continues Andrew. “A website needs clear calls to action and a straightforward and simple booking process. Mixed messages and convoluted online booking steps are prohibitive to this – but are so often seen on holiday park websites. “Make the customer’s journey an easy one (especially on a mobile device) and you’ll see far less drop-off in the booking process.” “Don’t create any barriers to booking,” adds SuperControl’s Marketing Executive Jo Blaylock. “Be flexible with your start days and enable short breaks (even if that’s only at certain times during the year). Most people want to book and pay online, so let them, but make sure the booking and management software you choose is established, safe and secure.” Jo also stresses that it’s vital to add your prices as far in advance as possible. “If people are searching for their big holiday for 2019, they can’t book it if you haven’t entered your prices yet, so get them added. “The further away the start date, the higher you can put your prices because guests are less price sensitive when they are planning ahead.”
In addition to a hassle-free online experience, Andrew stresses that it’s also important not to forget the role of traditional printed material like brochures, mailers and postcards. “Sent out ahead of key booking periods, they still have a vital role to play. Where an email can be deleted, or a social media post ignored, a brochure will be picked up time and again. The key is to let your personality show through in your holiday park marketing.” Relationships are important in the holiday park business and your guests are one of your best resources. Stay in touch. Use their feedback to continuously improve, share photos and testimonials on your social media platforms, engage with them and encourage conversations. A happy guest can be your number one ambassador!
Rooms With A View
Guests to the real-life Jurassic Park on the scenic Dorset coast are unlikely to get bored of the scenery in a hurry. Even after the sunset, Golden Cap Holiday Park have some of the most breathtaking views from their popular stargazer tents. Golden Cap Holiday Park has a picturesque location on the Jurassic Coast, just 150 yards from Seatown Beach and surrounded by 2,000 acres of National Trust Land. Ideally situated for walkers, dog owners and families, the park is nestled in a quiet valley next to a stream and is surrounded by footpaths. One of West Dorset Leisure Parks five sites, General Manager Martin Cox advises: “Explore the coast path that runs past the park to reach the top of Golden Cap, the highest cliff on the south coast of England, and enjoy incredible views over 99 miles of coastline from Portland Bill to Start Point in Devon.”
Served by three quality pubs within a 10-minute walk of the park, including the popular and award
winning 2017 Visit England Tourism Pub of the Year, The Anchor Inn at Seatown, guests have plenty of opportunity to unwind after enjoying the famous landscape. “The 96-mile Jurassic Coast is the UK’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, ranking it alongside the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. The Jurassic Coast is a walk through time with its rocks and fossils revealing 185 million years of the earth’s geological history,” comments Martin.
Golden Cap Holiday Park 01308442139
E-Bike Hire Scheme Launch
Luxury holiday homes provider Park Leisure has introduced an exclusive complimentary electric bike hire scheme at its Oyster Bay park. The partnership will see 12 Park Leisurebranded VOLT™ e-bikes available to guests, offering an exciting, environmentally friendly way to explore the surrounding North Cornish countryside. For a personalised touch, the initiative will see each bike named after a local beach in the area, including ‘Crantock’ and ‘Tolcarne’. Holiday home owners will be able to enjoy up to 60 miles of perfectly assisted cycling in one journey, making light work of any adventures, even a ride to Newquay and back. With the extra power provided by an electric motor, the steepest of hills can be tackled with ease, providing riders the opportunity to sit back, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. The initiative has seen a £22,000 investment from Park Leisure, with Oyster Bay being the fi rst park to trial the bikes. One of Cornwall’s most exclusive holiday home parks, Oyster Bay is just minutes from the beach and offers fi rst-class facilities, as well as some of the most luxurious lodges in Cornwall and beyond.
Vital Scot Holiday Park Tourism Role
Tourism minister Fiona Hyslop MSP has told holiday park owners that their businesses are a vital component of Scotland’s tourism industry. The minister made her remarks at November’s annual conference of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association Scotland which was held at Edinburgh’s Our Dynamic Earth.
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, was welcomed as chief guest speaker at the conference by Scottish association chairman Colin Fraser. The event was attended by delegates from many of Scotland’s 200-plus park businesses which offer holiday options from camping and glamping to luxury lodges to rent and own.
In her address to delegates, Fiona Hyslop said that her department recognises the important role played by parks in producing visitor income and sustaining employment: “Holiday parks offer visitors to Scotland both great value and a wide range of high quality accommodation options, as well as helping to sustain employment in some of our most remote and rural areas,” she said.
Picture Caption: Above- Fiona Hyslop MSP (centre) is welcomed to the conference by director general of BH&HPA, Ros Pritchard OBE, and retiring chairman of BH&HPA Scotland Colin Fraser
Jewels In The Crown
A neck and neck contest, which left judges unable to separate two short-listed entries, has resulted in the pair sharing the coveted 2017 title of Holiday Park Pool Of The Year. Devon’s Lady’s Mile Holiday Park did not just shine for its investment in water leisure facilities. The Park’s outstanding team of lifeguards drew unanimous applause from the judges following the dramatic rescue of a young girl in distress in the outdoor pool. She was lifted from the water, and the team carried out CPR and saved the young girl’s life. The team acted professionally and responded to the incident with great care and compassion. Their efforts have been recognised by the Royal Lifesaving Society for outstanding bravery with a certificate of merit. Meanwhile, part of the Bourne Leisure group, Haven Holiday’s Hafany Môr Holiday Park, in North Wales, was named as co-title holders following an outstanding £3m refurbishment earlier this year. The upgrade featured an impressive makeover including the addition of three flume slides, play areas for young children, a multi-lane slide, bubble pool, Lazy River and wave pool, plus a lane pool for those wanting to just swim.
The Holiday Park Pool of The Year contest was one of 30 categories contested at the UK Pool and Spa Awards held at the Vox Conference Centre at Birmingham’s NEC last month. The organisers, Waterland Media, were joined by former Apprentice winner and TV personality, Michelle Dewberry, and over 200 representatives from all aspects of the pool and spa industry. The judges commented on the impressive standard of provision across the holiday park sector for swimming pools, hot tubs and wellness. Prepare to be impressed, as we bring you this year’s short-listed pools.
Rainy Day Planning
Luckily, 80-year-old park home resident Alan Smith was not injured in a devastating fire that wrote off his Essex Park Home and destroyed all possessions and contents inside. Even more luckily, Mr Smith had the extensive cover and benefits of residential park home insurance policy with leading specialists, Leisuredays, one of the leading holiday caravan and park home insurance specialists in the UK The Leisure days team was able to quickly pick up the pieces for their customer by co-ordinating the removal of the badly damaged property and then helping with the ordering of a brand new park home, replacing his contents and having a brand new unit sited, connected to services and creating suitable access. “Our team is best at making customer insurance easy,” says Gareth Walker, of Leisuredays whose in-house claims liaison team worked closely with the loss adjusters and a specialist team at our underwriters, RSA, to handle this high value claim. “The expert claims team always works hard with all parties to make sure claims are handled efficiently, guiding customers and park owners through the process so claims are settled as quickly as possible,” Gareth continues. “In this case, the park home owner was also quickly given some money to pay for replacement clothes and toiletries as most of his possessions were damaged in the fire.”
As customers await their replacement park homes, a robust insurance policy can also pay for emergency short term accommodation for family and pets that usually live with them. Other costs involved in this claim include demolition and site clearance, local authority charges for delivery of the new park home and the cost of a new park home. Customer insurance rates vary from park to park. When calculating a premium, insurers take into account the type of unit being insured, its value and the value of its contents.
Kids That Play, Stay
The UK’s notoriously unpredictable weather means that indoor play and amusement facilities can provide an essential ‘get out of a jail’ card for holiday parks. From soft play zones to amusement arcades, parks that offer exciting indoor entertainment are sure to stand out from the crowd. “For our commercial customers we have, for many years, had a mantra ‘kids that play, stay’ because when kids enjoy the play offering, the parents will stay longer and come back more frequently,” advises Mike Black SLKids – a division of Sound Leisure Ltd. “Where you increase the dwell time, you increase the pro rata spend per head,” he adds. David Robinson of World of Leisure agrees but cautions: “The price of play is very important in holiday parks, as a captive audience, who have to pay over and over again during their holiday, will choose to leave the park each day to fi nd their amusement and fun elsewhere, especially if park prices are seen as being too high. “Three to twelve year old children are still the biggest influence on a family holiday destination, and if holiday parks cater for this age group by giving them exciting and fully interactive rides, then they will always enjoy being fully booked,” David continues. “If the weather is inclement, then all our rides can be operated either indoors or outdoors, so no disappointed younger children, whatever the weather.”
World of Rides has been involved with the delivery of battery operated parent and child rides since 1969. “Always buy the best rides and play equipment that you can afford, as cheap equipment will always breakdown during your busiest periods,” advises David Robinson of World of Rides.
Winning Park Is Wildlife Magnet
Woodside Lodges Country Park’s green policies have made it a magnet for wildlife. The world-famous botanist, David Bellamy, has presented Woodside Lodges Country Park in Ledbury with his prestigious Conservation Award at its top gold level. Professor Bellamy said the park’s owners, Ken and Janet Davies and their family, have shown themselves to be true friends of the countryside through their careful eco-management policies.
It’s the thirteenth year in succession that the park has scooped the award – but this year David Bellamy announced a bonus accolade. He also designated Woodside as an official “Honey Bee Friendly” park as part of his new initiative to help protect the threatened insects.
The family, said David Bellamy, have created a ‘wildlife wonderland’ on the 28-acre park which was originally bought as a smallholding by Ken and Janet 50 years ago. Today it provides luxury Scandinavian log cabins for hire, plus camping pods and facilities for holidaymakers with their own touring caravans, motorhomes and tents. One of the lakes has been designated for ‘wild swimming’ by guests, and holidaymakers are also invited to help themselves to the old-variety apples and damsons in the park’s orchard. A converted barn on the park has also been provided with a special roof which will allow the resident bats to flourish and encourage nesting swallows.
Cornish Meet For Best Of British Parks
Members of the Best of British parks group were meeting for their annual conference at Hendra Holiday Park, just outside Newquay in Cornwall. Members enjoyed a tour of Hendra Holiday Park which was this year named as Holiday Park of the Year for Cornwall and for South West England. The family-run business, which has a host of attractions including an award-winning pools complex, provides a wide range of accommodation to rent plus touring pitches. On the agenda was a review of BoB’s 2017 activity which saw the consortium of independent family-run parks reach record numbers of new customers. A successful digital marketing campaign, members heard, had generated a raft of bookings and enquiries from holiday guests seeking top-end park experiences. The two-day conference heard from a number of specialist speakers on different ways in which they could help promote and market their businesses in the digital era. The conference was also an opportunity for BoB to welcome additional new park members to the group – and to usher in a new chairman for the consortium.
Bunn Leisure Entertainment Investment
Award-winning holiday park operator, Bunn Leisure, is continuing to invest heavily in a new state-of the-art entertainment complex and a purpose-built main reception and head office facility. The 300-acre holiday park on the stunning Selsey Peninsula is split into four villages and is mid-way through an ambitious £16m refurbishment programme replacing the 60-year-old White Horse entertainment complex.
“The White Horse was a much-loved feature at Bunn Leisure, but some parts date back to 1959 when the park was created,” Managing Director John Bunn said. “The new complex will be a very modern 21st century entertainment venue – much larger and with fantastic new facilities for our parks. With Bunn Leisure’s entertainment budget at around £2million each year, the new club will be able to welcome twice as many guests, and is expected to quadruple turnover.
“We continue to re-invest heavily in our facilities and Parks which clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment as an innovative leader in the UK family holiday sector,” adds John. “The money we are investing into these latest improvements takes the total reinvestment value in the parks over the last 20 years to £75m.” Bunn Leisure’s new head office and visitor reception is now complete, and staff are currently relocating in stages to their new offices. Bunn Leisure employs 350 full-time and a further 350 seasonal staff, and welcomes more than 100,000 holidaymakers every year. It generates more than £60m for the local economy and the new developments will create future employment opportunities for the region.
Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award
Sara Bertin, Finance Director at Shorefield Holidays, has been named Board Level and Senior Executive of the Year at the prestigious Women in Business Awards. Now in its fourth year, The Business Magazine’s 2017 WiB Awards aim to celebrate, encourage and inspire successful and aspiring business women in the south.
Simon Pollock, Chairman and Managing Director of Dorset and Hampshire-based Shorefield Holidays, says: “We are delighted that Sara’s commitment and dedication have been recognised with this award. “Two-thirds of our management team and half of our whole team are women, and learning and development are encouraged at all levels throughout the business.”
Sara joined the family-run company specialising in holiday homes and holidays on the south coast in 1980, after qualifying as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton, and is the daughter of Dr Robert Pollock, who founded the park in 1958. At that time, Shorefield owned one park and over the years this has grown to seven parks.
In a sector still dominated by family-run businesses, the Barton Homes Group is the very definition of a close-knit family concern. Managed by a father and son team, the group has 40 years’ experience of managing high quality residential parks across the UK.
Their parks in Devon, Somerset and Lancashire are well run havens of peace, convenience and security for a retired and semiretired clientele. Barton Homes Group also has significant plans for expansion, recently adding the prestigious Seascapes Park, at Clevedon, to their portfolio. Barton Park Homes was established in 1978 when the Barton family opened their first residential park in Morecambe, Lancashire. At that time, there were just 20 traditional static caravans on the site.
The family completely redeveloped the site, replacing the caravans with stylish residential park homes. Since 1978, Barton Park Homes has gone from strength to strength, acquiring and developing residential parks all over the country. The current portfolio of parks consists of four parks (one currently undeveloped), each in a carefully chosen location in Devon, Somerset, Lancashire and North Yorkshire. The company head office is located in Lancashire, reflecting their roots in the North West.
The Barton family enjoys building personal relationships with all their clients. Father and son owners of the Barton Homes Group, Charlie Senior and Charlie Junior, personally visit each park on a regular basis to ensure that everything is up to standard and, most importantly, that their residents are happy. “I have been visiting the parks with my father since I was a boy. Now I am proud to have taken over the reins and work alongside Charlie Senior keeping up the family traditions,” says Charlie Barton Junior.
Willowgrove Leisure Park and Fishery in Lancashire is Barton Park Homes’ northern flagship park, situated in the attractive Wyre Valley on the Fylde Coast. Voted one of the top ten places to live in the North West, this area is close to the shops and facilities of picturesque Preesall and Knott End-On-Sea, and only ten minutes drive from the attractions of Blackpool. The scenery of the beautiful Lake District is just an hour away.
Holiday Pools Shortlisted For Awards
Entrepreneur, television celebrity and former winner of The Apprentice, Michelle Dewberry, will be the VIP guest at the UK Pool & Spa Awards at the NEC, Birmingham on December 4th.
With record-breaking entries, the Holiday Park Pool category is shaping into one of the most hotly-contested groups with ten shortlisted entrants vying for success. Last year’s category winners, Tydd Giles Golf & Country Club, return to defend their title. They are joined by 2016’s gold standard winners; Lady’s Mile Holiday Park, Brean Leisure and Holiday Park Unity, and Plas Coch Holiday Homes.
New entrants this year include Bourne Leisure, Ladram Bay Holiday Park, Ribby Hall Village Holiday Park, Seashore Holiday Park, Calypso Cove Waterpark, and Kelling Heath Holiday Park make up the ten parks battling it out to be crowned ‘Holiday Park Pool of the Year 2017’.
With entries for the hotly-anticipated UK Pool and Spa Awards closed, and votes pouring in across over 30 categories, the tenth anniversary of the awards are shaping up to be most tightly contested yet.
Log on to www. ukpoolandspaawards.com to see this year’s entrants, cast your vote and book your place at the awards show.
British Tourism Oscars
Contenders for the British Travel Awards - which include entries from the leading holiday parks nationwide – have now been whittled down to the finalists. The awards, dubbed Britain’s ‘Tourism Oscars’ attracted 1.3 million public votes last year, with Devon’s Beverley Holidays amongst the select final seven in the “Best UK Family Holiday / Holiday Park Operator” category. Director of Beverley Holidays, Nicola Furneaux, said news of its shortlisting is a thrilling climax to a very successful summer at the park: “Here at Beverley we have been welcoming guests to the English Riviera for almost sixty years, and our big-hearted team are passionate about providing holiday memories that last a lifetime.
“We are committed to offering our guests a seaside escape like no other, and have invested heavily in our accommodation and facilities this year to ensure we offer the best possible holiday experience,” said Nicola.The British Travel Awards are the largest and most influential poll of consumer opinion on tourism providers, with high quality standards and service being the main criteria.
Holiday park entertainment has significantly evolved from the first Redcoats of the 1930 and the Hi-De-Hi era of the Sixties. Operators of parks, large and small, still agree that getting the entertainment recipe right remains crucial to ensure happy, satisfied customers.
Celebrating their 75th year in 2018, Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon offers a packed family entertainment programme that would put any corporate chain to shame. “We do our best to make sure there’s plenty for families to enjoy all together,” explains Carla Newman, Marketing and Events Manager at Ladram Bay.
“As a family-run business, we know that spending quality time as a family is what really matters.” An entertainments team of five plus and an Entertainments Manager run all the daily entertainment at the park. This includes kids’ club sessions, activities and a full programme of family friendly entertainment from six until midnight in high season. Most evenings end with a spectacular team show.
As a former Entertainments Manager at Ladram Bay herself, Carla is well placed to explain how their entertainment ethos works. “We audition for team members in November and rehearsals start in January,” explains Carla. “We like to get our team in place early and design our shows around their skills. In this, our approach at Ladram Bay is very different to a corporate group.” Personalising the shows around the team is a positive step for both customers and staff. “We develop the programme together. All the team are involved in the creative process which helps everyone to perform at their best for our customers,” says Carla. Entertainments Manager Kelly works with an agency to source external acts such as bands, cabaret, singers and magicians that perform at the park every Saturday night and on Tuesdays in peak season.
The team at Ladram Bay work so closely with the Vern Allen Group that the park even hosts the agency’s Showcase event each November. Management teams from other parks often visit the Showcase to select their own acts for the new season. “We do get a good return on investment but it’s really not about the money,” says Anna. “It’s about creating an enjoyable experience for all of our guests. If we didn’t have this level of entertainment, Ladram Bay wouldn’t be the five star park we are today.” Searles in Norfolk, owned and managed by the same family for 83 years, boasts an entertainment programme created and managed by Entertainment Manager Anna Hallard of Resort Entertainments. She oversees an in-house entertainments team and is responsible for booking external acts. Through this connection, Searles also benefits from close links to the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton of which Anna’s father-in-law Brian Hallard and Paul and Andrew Searle are Directors.
To find out more about putting on a show, subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.
Stitch In Time - Landscaping Focus
They say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought-out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. A useful starting point is to focus on the ‘unique selling point’ of your park or for types of clientele.
If a significant proportion of your guests are young adults on a short stay, you will want to provide ‘robust’ spaces with plenty of secure seating. Clever use of security-style planting such as prickly or thorny plants, will deter access to other protected areas. On the other hand, if the bulk of your long-term residents are more mature, ensure that there are safe and attractive ornamental spaces immediately around the living areas and communal spaces, but keep them clear from debris and obstacles and use non-slip surfaces.
DUTY OF CARE
For younger guests, preparing suitable landscaping options can prove even more challenging, ensuring that play areas are safety compliant and you can demonstrate appropriate ‘duty of care’. “People often stay in a holiday park to feel more connected with the local outdoor environment, explains Martin Howe of Wykeham Mature Plants, “But it is the holiday park itself that will bring repeat custom.
“A holiday park business cannot rely solely on their location or the surrounding countryside and must provide attractive, functional spaces,” advises Martin. “Why would you stay on a site, even if there are amazing views of the surrounding countryside, if the site itself is untidy, unloved, looks unprofessional, and even potentially dangerous?” Martin encourages holiday parks to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and how it will benefit the business and customers alike.
“Prioritise key areas and the timescale in which you need to address them,” he advises, “Large planting schemes, as well as needing significant initial outlay, will also require maintenance, so plan for this from the start and don’t take on more than you can handle in one go,” he continues.
“Balance this with the logistical benefits (lower transport costs, less disruption in the long term, etc) of larger jobs and decide whether to undertake a single, major project or whether to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks,” Martin adds.
Knowledge of site conditions are also essential before preparing large scale landscaping works, specifically the growing conditions in each location (drainage, soil type, exposure, etc) as well as any other limiting factors, such as access by children and proximity to grazing animals. “Select plants accordingly – planting the right plant in the right place will avoid problems later,” warns Martin.
There is often a wider, or cheaper, selection of suitable plants available during the traditional planting season, which is during dormancy (November to March); for many holiday parks this coincides with the off-season, so this is the ideal time to plant horticulturally, commercially, and logistically to minimise disturbance to your customers. Naturally, demand for planting services at this time of year is high so plan ahead.
To read more about prepping and planning for landscaping work please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.
FORDINGBRIDGE Tel.01243 55 44 55 www.fordingbridge.co.uk
WOODLAND HORTICULTURE LTD Tel. 01458 441122 www.woodlandhp.co.uk
WYKEHAM MATURE PLANTS Tel. 01723 862406 www.wykehammatureplants.co.uk
Tingdene Parks have installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at their 80-home Bedwell Park residential site in Witchford, near Ely, Cambridgeshire. Defibrillators are simple to use and can restart someone’s heart if it stops. They will not work if there is a pulse.
Bedwell Park is one of the first residential parks within Tingdene’s 20 sites and 1500 homes, to see the installations of defibrillators. The unit is due to be officially unveiled by local MP Lucy Frazer in the near future, however, the potentially life-saving kit, easily accessible at the park office, is already available for use.
Founded in 1969 the Tingdene Group of companies first established itself as the leading Park Home manufacturer in the country and since then has expanded its range of operations into becoming one of the UK’s largest operators and owners of residential Park Homes Estates, Inland Marinas, Caravan Parks, Lodge Parks and Chalet Parks.
Really Wild Show For Elms Residents
Elms Retirement Park enjoyed a safe and informative fundraising experience. With the Lincolnshire park finding a touching way to aid animal welfare, the addition of exotic guests helped raise vital funds at the packed wildlife discovery day. Residents at the Torksey Park were joined by friends and family, with meerkats, pythons and skunks among the centrepiece critters on show. Visitors enjoyed a hands-on experience, petting and holding the animal in return for a small donation for pictures.
Tracey Coulson, a director of The Elms and a member of the park-owning family, said the day had proved a fantastic success for all ages: “It was a great experience for everyone,” said Tracey, “And the animal experts present did a superb job in telling us about the different species, and how they were working to protect them,” she added. “We have around 300 homes on the park, and many of the residents came along and also invited other members of their families, including lots of children. “Residents and guests were also very generous with their donations, and the park has received a big thank-you from the organisers for supporting their work,” added Tracey. The animals were brought along by Meercats And More which visits schools and other institutions to provide education about wildlife and some of the threats it faces.
Look Before You Leap
Watch out! Watch out! There is a plethora of non-compliant holiday hot tubs about. And with the onus on park operators and holiday let landlords to show duty of care, the holiday sector is being urged to look before you leap and check those hot tub credentials.
Currently acknowledged as the must-have search criteria for holiday bookers, there are potentially hazardous pitfalls that many holiday park operators are falling into when offering the hot tub experience to guests. In recent years, a significant number of holiday park operators and holiday let owners have purchased and operate portable spas which are in fact, domestic hot tubs, only designed for home use, and not intended for commercial markets. Often these hot tubs are not suitable for rental lodges and do not comply with the guidance within the Health & Safety Executive’s control of Legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool system (HSG282), which was released in January 2017.
Although the HSG282 is not statutory law, it is considered best practice and is viewed as an approved code of practice. The standard would be used in a court of law as a measure of whether or not a risk holder has complied ‘as far a reasonably practical’ to meet the requirements of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. “A lot of holiday parks are not aware, or worse still, ignore the health and safety guidance that is published relating to hot tub use and control of Legionella in spa pools in business and commercial settings,” comments Chris Brady of 1 Stop Spas, Lincolnshire, whose sister company, SpaTech also runs training for holiday park operators and holiday let landlords.
“This poses the greatest risk to the use of hot tubs, particularly in a business setting like a holiday park.” In accordance with regulations made by the Health & Safety Executive, regular testing of both pH and disinfection should be made at least three times a day and the results logged and kept for at least five years. A monthly microbiological test is also required, testing for Legionella every quarter. The Management of Spa Pools booklet insists that the tub ‘needs to have a continuous chemical feeder built into the spa to continuously treat it with disinfectant’. These devices are not always installed into a hot tub at the point of manufacture and would therefore have to be retro-fitted at a later stage.
Says Chris: “The release of HSG282 is very particular for all the right reasons, however, there were little or no hot tubs available on the market that ticked all of the criteria that HSG282 recommends. “Now that the industry has taken time to digest the detail released in HSG282, we are starting to see manufacturers designing and producing hot tubs which will be fit for purpose and comply with HSG282 in the very near future.”
For more unmissable advice on hot tub rentals please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here .
1 STOP SPAS/SPATECH TRAINING Tel. 01522 300737 www.1stopspas.com
SPA SOLUTIONS Tel. 01536 540122 www.spasolution.co.uk
URBAN CEDAR HOT TUBS Tel. 01934 833 844 www.urbancedarhottubs.co.uk
Fun For The Family
When Bert House, a Somerset dairy farmer, opened his farm to a group of scouts in the summer of 1948, it started a trend which continues to grow to this day. From its humble beginnings, the family-led team of Holiday Resort Unity have been aiming to get people smiling for over 65 years.
Grandson, Alan House, says: “Guests still enjoy many of the same things which that troop of scouts loved about their pioneering visit here fresh air, fantastic views and the sandy beach of Brean”. Today the four-star resort incorporates Brean Leisure Park and Golden Sands Holiday Park under the name of Holiday Resort Unity. “We have continued to develop the facilities of the resort with Brean Play Indoor Softplay centre, Brean Splash Waterpark and Brean Golf Club; and did we mention that we’re just 200m from the beach,” adds Alan.
As well as scooping numerous awards, including five in 2016 alone, Holiday Resort Unity boasts a vast array of on-site facilities and catering options which includes ten restaurants and a supermarket for guests. With such a large footprint on the Somerset countryside Holiday Resort Unity spreads its 76 static caravans and 445 touring pitches across three sites. The original Holiday Resort Unity is perfect for families with easy access to entertainment and facilities; Brean Leisure Park is closer to the action and onsite fun; and Golden Sands, the quietest site, with five miles of golden beaches. “As one of Somerset’s top camping and caravan parks, we have a great choice of accommodation to suit your needs and budget. Whether you’re a seasoned camper, wannabe glamper or looking for high-end luxury,” comments Alan.
With on-site facilities such as the state-of-the-art gym and indoor and outdoor splash zones with views overlooking the Mendips, there is plenty for the whole family. The indoor and outdoor splash zones feature slides, interactive water features, tipping buckets, mini-slides, and a 25m six-lane swimming pool with male and female gym exclusive changing and sauna and steam room. Kids are also encouraged to enjoy the soft play centre, and big kids have the options of Brean’s Golf Course – open to beginners and pros – or Brean Theme Park with over 40 rides and attractions including rollercoasters and dodgems.
Brean Golf Club’s 18-hole course is set in 120 acres of lush green meadowland, the course is interspersed by several water ways and ponds that make formidable hazards around the flat landscape. “With the course being so close to the sea, you’ll find the fresh winds and breezes can change a hole dramatically from one day to the next. We also offer a range of services including coaching, club repairs and a selection of golf equipment to buy and rent,” adds Alan.
“If great fishing and beautiful surroundings are what you’re looking for, Holiday Resort Unity is the place for you. On the edge of yellow field nestled beneath the willow trees you will find our fishing lake.” Adding to the extensive list of attractions in 2017 was Sunshine Farm, a delightful experience for kids to meet and learn about some of the resident farmyard favourites with lots of animals to hold and pet.
Holiday Resort Unity
Tel. 01278 751235
Luring Activity Lovers
An all-action holiday park near York, Thornton Lodge Country Retreats says its planned 20 bespoke lodges, to own and rent, are designed to satisfy the growing appetite for outdoor challenges among guests.
The park, based on a 220-acre farm owned by the same family for over 70 years, is winning a national reputation for the excellence of its country sport activities. Its extensive fishing lakes and clay pigeon shooting facilities provide the opportunity for all ages to learn traditional sporting skills under expert tuition.
There are equestrian facilities on offer including stabling, cross country, show jumps and regular events, plus instant access to some of North Yorkshire’s finest cycling and walking routes. The new lodges will sport luxury features such as hot-tubs, high-end furnishings, glass-fronted decking, and spectacular views across the park’s lakes and the surrounding Howardian Hills.
Tackling Booking Fraud
Haven, the holiday firm that runs the Craig Tara site, said it had recently introduced state-of-the-art software that seeks to target and report suspicious pages and listings across social media sites. This follows a report from BBC Scotland which highlighted that dozens of people had paid for holidays in caravan parks, only to discover the real owner knew nothing about their booking.
Fraudsters using fake identities have been using social media channels to book families into caravans they do not own and claiming the money. Jane Clark, from Stevenston in Ayrshire, advised people not to believe what they read and make proper checks after she booked a bank holiday weekend at the Craig Tara caravan and paid £180 plus a £50 deposit – all through Facebook.
A Haven statement said: “Whilst we have only experienced a relatively small number of people who have been duped into making fraudulent bookings, we are committed to proactively targeting these sites where we can.” Haven advised customers to only book through “trusted channels” such as official websites, ABTA agents or affiliated third parties. It said: “We would urge customers not to attempt to make bookings through social media channels.”
Surfing At Arnside
Hundreds of households across south Cumbria have received a broadband boost thanks to a local holiday park group. Silverdale Park near Arnside were switched on to ultra-fast fibre broadband in October, with the community-led broadband provider B4RN installing junction chambers along the five-mile route.
This meant that instead of struggling with poor speeds, sometimes less than 1MB, local homes can now surf the web one thousand times quicker. The speeds they are getting are much higher than what the most efficient BT line can provide, at a fraction of the cost too.
Parks owner Michael Holgate said the much greater speed will make a vast improvement to the efficiency of his business - and will be welcomed by holiday guests: “Like many rural businesses in Cumbria, we rely on the internet to generate sales, communicate with customers, and keep our website up to date,” he said.
Figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC) reveal the total number of new motorhome and caravan owners had risen to over 56,000 nationwide.
The ‘staycationing’ boom was reflected at the recent West Midlands Caravan and Motorhome Show with motorhome registrations in the year to the end of June up by 14 per cent to 13,162; new caravan holiday homes and lodges were up by nine per cent to 21,214, and touring caravans were up by seven per cent to 22,185.
The nine-day show, which ran from September 30th to October 8th, attracted around 15,000 visitors with displays at award winning Shrewsbury dealership Salop Leisure showcasing the latest innovations for 2018 with the launch of exciting new models.
Tourism Tax Is Backwards Business Step
The owner of a major holiday parks group in Wales has told ministers they risk devastating the visitor economy if they push ahead with a tourism tax.
Thomas Scarrott, owner of Vale Holiday Parks, said that such a move would undermine all the fantastic work done by the Welsh Government to encourage tourism.
Thomas warned that a visitor levy would hit not just accommodation providers such as his seven parks but would also have a damaging knock-on effect on the many businesses which rely on the tourism industry such as pubs, shops, cafes and visitor attractions. “Many of these are smaller family-owned businesses such as Vale Holidays which sustain thousands of jobs throughout Wales,” said Thomas.
“Reported industry figures show that tourism is worth around £5bn to the Welsh economy, with more than 10 million overnight stays being recorded annually.” He highlighted this year’s £5m Visit Wales’ Year of Legends campaign which, he said: “Did a great job in promoting the many different experiences on offer to Wales’ holiday visitors. The only possible consequence of a tourism tax, would be fewer visitors and an additional administration burden on tourism businesses.”
Thomas’s family has been involved with the parks industry for almost 50 years, providing holiday homes to rent and to own, and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents. Ministers say they will decide early next year on which of the four possible taxes they would prefer to implement, subject to go-ahead from the UK Government. Meanwhile, the park industry body BH&HPA and many of its park members in Wales are making urgent representations to Welsh ministers and assembly members.
FHA Saves Much-Needed Holidays
The Family Holiday Association has unveiled a replacement caravan that will enable the organisation to safeguard seaside breaks for hundreds of children and their parents.
The new caravan, based at Combe Haven Holiday Park, in St Leonards-on- Sea in East Sussex, was funded by travel insurance provider Citybond Suretravel after the charity’s previous van was taken out of service at short notice due to wear and tear.
The association, which provides breaks and day trips for families coping with problems such as long-term illness, bereavement, mental health issues, disability and domestic violence, officially opened the new caravan alongside Citybond managing director and FHA patron, Mansukh Ganatra. John McDonald, FHA director commented: “Mansukh and Citybond Suretravel have been generous supporters of the Family Holiday Association for many years.
“We are extremely grateful for their intervention, which not only helped us with a short-term problem but has also ensured that hundreds more children and their families will get a break in the coming years.”
Acclaim For Former Dairy Farmers
Red Letter Event
Mark off two crucial red letter days in the diary this month that are truly unmissable for anyone involved in the delivery of holiday parks. Wednesday and Thursday November 8th and 9th should be strictly reserved for the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show; simply Europe’s leading event dedicated to providing the country’s most ambitious holiday park and resort owners and managers. Promising the best advice, services and products needed to make holiday businesses stand out from the crowd – get set for a lodge-load of information, inspiration and practical know-how – and all delivered to you completely free.
We bring you a round up of some of the must-see exhibitors...
Tel. 01772 284883
Tel. 01452 840234
Tel. 01934 833 844
Tel. 01983 282420
Tel. 01452 511430
Tel. 01616 418926
Tel. 01205 724754
Tel. 01353 666663
Milestone For Family Insurance Firm
A leading leisure insurance provider, Caravan Guard, incorporating static caravan insurance specialist Leisuredays, is celebrating insuring more than 90,000 customer at over 900 UK Holiday Parks.
The milestone was reached as the Halifax-based company celebrated being shortlisted for a trio of national insurance awards. “This is down to our fantastic team of positive people who are all committed to delivering exceptional customer service,” explains Ryan Wilby, Caravan Guard’s Managing Director, “Plus our great value insurance policies, which are amongst the most comprehensive on the market.”
So far this year, Caravan Guard and Leisuredays have reached the finals of the prestigious British Insurance Awards, and earlier this month they were shortlisted in three categories at the forthcoming UK Broker Awards.
Ryan added: “We’re absolutely thrilled and proud to have more than 90,000 caravan, motorhome, holiday caravan and park home customers on cover. As we continue to deliver brilliant customer experiences and grow our workforce we have our sights firmly set on insuring 100,000 customers in the coming years.”
Caravan Guard was established in 1995 by Ryan’s father Peter Wilby and along with Leisuredays has remained a family–run business and one of the leading insurance providers for static caravans, touring caravans, motorhomes and park homes. Their static caravan insurance policy is also independently rated as five-star by financial researcher Defaqto.