THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY
Families who holiday in South Wales will typically include a trip to Pembrokeshire’s fabulous Folly Farm Adventure Park. Located just 15 minutes from the popular seaside resort of Tenby, this fun-filled destination, complete with vintage fairground and world-class zoo, is now the largest privately-run, paid for visitor attraction in Wales.
A working dairy farm until the late 1980s, Folly Farm has expanded so much over the last 30 years that it’s now a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear commercial vision and a diversification strategy to match.
TAKE THE PLUNGE
And it was this never-stand-still spirit that led Managing Director, Chris Ebsworth, to take the plunge and open a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown. This 43-pitch five-star touring park and campsite - complete with four cool and quirky Showman’s Wagons - has been so popular over the last two years that Chris has now decided to diversify further into the holiday let market with the addition of six fairground-themed luxury lodges with hot tubs.
Chris knew introducing lodge accommodation was something he wanted to do to capitalise on continuing strong demand for UK breaks, but he also knew it would be prudent to call on the advice, guidance and support of a trusted expert partner to help bring his vision to life, his product to market and crucially to ensure the best possible return on his investment.
That’s when he turned to Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development at Awaze – the parent company of staycation specialist Hoseasons – a decision Chris says has ensured the location’s new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business as part of an all-round ‘stay and play’ package perfect for families looking for experiential breaks.
“We’ve always been farmers, it’s in our blood, but diversification is what keeps us thriving as a privately owned, family run business,” says Chris, adding: “We could see the lodges were a good idea, but it quickly became apparent as a relatively new accommodation business, that we would need to draw on the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of a brand like Hoseasons that has successfully been delivering family holidays for years.”
“We had many meetings with Luke to run through the options, weighing up the pros and cons of different types of accommodation before making our decision. He also supported us to perfect the presentation of our new lodges – from reflecting the Folly Farm brand in the interiors to making sure the landscaping and planting were right.
“Luke was also instrumental in bringing to our attention the importance of an arrival experience for our guests – something which has resulted in a brand new customer reception, along with plans for an onsite shop selling local produce, which we are hoping to open next year.”
Luke believes the care and attention Folly Farm have put into their new development will pay dividends over the next few years as families see the value of staying somewhere aspirational with fantastic facilities, activities and entertainment on their doorstep.
He says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Chris to bring his vision to market. He really understands the importance of continuing to evolve the offer so that they stay relevant in an ever-changing market. “Pressures on family budgets mean people will be looking to get the most out of their UK breaks over the next few years – something that bodes well for locations like Folly Farm Adventure Park who know they need to invest and innovate to keep pace with guest expectations.
“You only have to look at their high occupancy rates and average 9.6 out of 10 rating on our independent review system Revoo to see their approach is working.” Working with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons has given Chris the confidence to push on with the next phase of development, including rhino-themed lodges overlooking the black rhino enclosure, lion-themed lodges and giraffe-themed safari tents – all of which are expected to be up and running by Spring next year. All the new lodges and showman’s wagons at Folly Farm Adventure Park are exclusively available to book via Hoseasons.
HOLIDAY SNAPS - PAUL EVANS
Paul Evans is the Vice President of Awaze UK, the UK’s leading managed vacation rentals business. Paul brings 24 years of travel industry experience to his role, which sees him take responsibility for the company’s entire property portfolio across its Hoseasons, cottages.com and regional brands.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Having worked in and around holiday parks all my working life, I love having the chance to visit parks and meet owners and operators on an almost daily basis. I see innovation, quality and a genuine desire to provide the best possible experience for our guests, and that’s an incredibly rewarding element of the role.
WHAT’S BEEN THE LANDMARK MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?
Taking over as a GM on a park that was struggling and turning it into the highest performing location in the group’s portfolio within 12 months without any extra resource was a real watershed moment for me. It not only gave me the confidence to trust my own instincts, it also showed what great results you get by trusting your team and giving them the freedom to get on and do their job to the best of their ability.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE HOLIDAY PARK INDUSTRY AT THE MOMENT?
I think it’s an exciting time. We’re continuing to see significant investment and innovation in accommodation and facilities across the sector and that’s starting to attract an audience who wouldn’t necessarily have considered holiday parks before. Those who deliver an excellent first-time experience are not only helping their own chances of repeat business, they’re also helping to promote staycations more widely. It’s up to all of us to do our bit to keep the sector strong.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING THE SECTOR?
The challenges faced by the sector are the same as those affecting the country as a whole – rising costs for operators and customers alike and an uncertain economic outlook. However, the past few years have shown us just how much people value a break and time away with those who matter most, so as long as operators continue to offer a fantastic guest experience aligned with pricing that reflects the market I have no reason to doubt that we can have a successful year ahead.
WHAT’S NEW FOR HOSEASONS HOLIDAY PARKS OVER THE COMING MONTHS?
Our specialist collections have really helped to drive both occupancy and the Average Weekly Rate over the last 12 months and our newly-launched Magnificent collection is going from strength to strength. Home to a range of different property styles, all put customer experience at the heart of their offer and are proving incredibly popular with guests looking for a wow-factor getaway.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF BUSINESS ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN? AND BYWHOM?
My first boss once said to me: “The harder you work the luckier you seem to get” – It’s something I’ve always remembered and it certainly seems to work for me!
WHERE DO YOU GO ON HOLIDAY?
Well, obviously I love a staycation! My next break is a family lodge holiday in Dorset – something we’re all very much looking forward to.
MAKING A VIRTUAL SPLASH
Visualising a splash pad that hasn’t been constructed can be challenging so using Virtual Reality technology, The Splash has revolutionised the process of designing a splash pad that is perfect for your holiday space. Renowned for pioneering a more sustainable approach to water play with their Eco Splash range, the latest innovation from The Splash enables users to view their bespoke splash pad, within any proposed setting, from the comfort of your office.
Users now have the opportunity to get a feel for how space flows, perspective and visual assistance in decision making around layout and features, prior to any building work commencing. Due to the design and manufacturing capabilities at The Splash, all features are custom-designed and made to order which allows endless theme options to either compliment or coordinate with any location.
VR plays an important role in evaluating design concepts and can also be used as a sales or presentation tool with other team members. If you’re considering a new splash pad, or an update on an existing facility and would like to discuss Virtual Reality visualisation of your project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org https://thesplash.uk
Parque Warner Beach, an outdoor water park, is one of the main tourism and entertainment destinations in Madrid boasting 40,000m2 of dedicated attractions and entertainment themed around Warner Bros. favourite characters. The family destination recently celebrated the opening of two new rides: Europe’s first TornadoWAVE® 60/ FlyingSAUCER® 45 complex, from the Canadian water ride manufacturer ProSlide.
The combination of both Black Manta and Aquaman into a single, jaw-dropping water ride complex is a first for the European market. Parque Warner Beach uses this exclusivity to great effect by offering its guests an attraction unlike anything else in the region. The TornadoWAVE® 60 at Parque Warner Beach, named Black Manta, is a famous water ride feature for more than just a few reasons. In 2014 and 2017, it was part of installations that won first place at the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards, in the category of ‘Best New Water Ride’.
The TornadoWAVE® at Parque Warner Beach immediately grabs the attention of anyone nearby. The first thing you notice is that it’s a striking spectacle of design and engineering, boasting what ProSlide calls “the only true arched wall in the industry”. The company custom designed the ride to give guests a thrilling experience that takes them through 120m of flumes and features.
Then there’s the ride experience, which uses five-person rafts to send the riders into “near-vertical, zero-G moments”. Riders begin as the rafts gather speed and then drops into the TornadoWAVE® 60 from above. Experiencing long hang times, the rafts are specifically designed to sweep across the width of the wall while keeping riders suspended in the air before descending into an out-run.
Part of the same complex is Aquaman, Parque Warner Beach’s FlyingSAUCER® 45 – also from ProSlide. The ride shares similarities with the TornadoWAVE® 60 in that they both have instantly recognizable profiles and have an award-winning pedigree; the FlyingSAUCER® has been the recipient of Golden Ticket Awards, IAAPA Brass Ring Awards and the coveted IAAPA IMPACT Award.
Aquaman’s FlyingSAUCER® is a patented, high-speed, accelerating turn that makes riders feel like a World Cup ski racer. Riders are accelerated through the turn and experience what’s described as a “drop and dive sensation” while they race along the outer wall. In keeping with the park’s Warner Bros. theming, each ride is visually designed to complement a character from Warner Bros.-owned DC Comics. Parque Warner Beach made eye-catching attractions even more stunning with inspiration from Aquaman and his foe, Black Manta.
PORTABLE SMART CHARGING SOLUTIONS
With 72 spacious touring and camping pitches, Cote Ghyll, in the idyllic countryside of the North York Moors National Park, is a picturesque and quiet retreat, and an ideal location for families or groups of friends who enjoy the great outdoors. Cote Ghyll is the perfect stop-off for hikers, walkers or cyclists exploring the 554 square miles of the North York Moors National Park, boasting 26 miles of coastline and an incredible 1,408 miles of footpaths.
Since lockdown, the camping and caravan market has seen a growing trend towards shorter and more frequent breaks with more and more people new to the world of camping and caravanning. Cote Ghyll experienced a massive 137% increase in bookings in the 12 months to March 2022 as holidaymakers rushed to secure pitches. This early booking trend meant that seasonal staff returned to work as early as January to cope with the demand.
This increase in demand, coupled with the inexperience of many new campers, means that there is more often a requirement for the park to provide charging solutions for both flat car batteries after a camping holiday, and for guests returning to the site after a long day of walking or cycling requiring a portable source of power to charge smartphones, cameras and other technology. The CTEK CS FREE is the perfect solution for all of these requirements, a multi-functional portable charger and smart maintainer with ‘Adaptive Boost’ technology.
Along with the solar panel kit, it is easy to operate and easy to understand, and it will get users on the move from a flat battery within 15 minutes, meaning that visitors aren’t stranded on their pitch unable to start your vehicle at the end of a younger campers holiday. Jon Hill, Owner of Cote Ghyll said; “Since the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 we have seen an increase in younger and less experienced campers who have a new-found love for being out on the trail. We are right are on the doorstep of so many amazing walks and cycle rides, there is no better way to experience the North York Moors than under your own steam.
“When it comes to packing the right equipment, it is not always easy to think of everything, and now that we, as a fair and intelligent society, have realised that smartphone batteries last a day at most, it’s more essential than ever to pack a bit of extra power when camping or touring in the great outdoors.“
POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER
For those looking to inject new pulling-power to their pool, spa and wellness offering, then SPATEX, at the Coventry Building Society Arena, from Tuesday January 31st to Thursday February 2nd presents the obvious shop window.
Showcasing products and innovations from around the world, such as the newest hot tub models, super insulating covers, solar heating, air source heat pumps, variable speed pumps, provides an opportunity to see, touch and compare the most up-to-date selection of energy saving equipment all under one roof.
With free attendance to a double seminar and workshop programme on all three days of the show, you can pick up the latest energy saving guidance from experts and glean impartial advice for your own individual projects. With knowledge, the latest technological advances and careful management, there are effective ways to significantly reduce energy consumption and bills,” says the event organiser, Michele Bridle. “It’s this positive message that, with the help of our exhibitors and experts, we aim to convey to our visitors.”
Register FREE www.spatex.co.uk for SPATEX 2023 and receive monthly updates
FIVE PARK SALE COMPLETED
Sunnysands Caravan Parks has completed the sale of the business, which includes the freehold interest in five holiday parks located in North Wales, to Lyons Holiday Parks, the largest independent holiday park operator in Wales, for an undisclosed amount. Sunnysands Caravan Parks is a portfolio of five well-located holiday parks in North Wales.
These parks include: Parc Caerelwan, Moelfre View Caravan Park, Tyddyn Goronwy and Sunnysands Caravan Park which are all located in the popular coastal location of Talybont, and Snowdon View Caravan Park, the Group’s only inland holiday park, which provides stunning views of the Snowdonia mountains. Combined, the entire estate extends approximately 83.88 acres and offers over 1200 pitches.
WORK ON LUXURY WELSH PARK UNDERWAY
Work has started on a £2.2m Oak View Lodge Park in Denbighshire, North Wales, a development which will see 89 luxury lodges in landscaped surroundings. With sweeping views across the tranquil Vale of Clwyd, the 18-acre park is being created in the grounds of a former hotel which closed in January 2009.
Twenty lodges are being released in the first phase of the development, with prices starting from £225,000. Purchasers will be offered a choice of two and three-bedroom architect- designed lodges, selected from leading UK lodge manufacturers and complete with central heating and high levels of insulation.
Facilities include private hot-tubs, luxury furnishings and fittings, high-speed fibre broadband, and many other pampering touches such as an on-site concierge service. Business owner Jamie Hughes, who has 25 years of experience in the holiday homes and lodge industry said: “Oak View provides a glorious rural setting with superb walking opportunities right on the doorstep and is within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park and the North Wales coast.
“Our high-speed fibre internet connection ensures that those who are able to work remotely can do so in a peaceful, picture-perfect environment and enjoy a wonderful work-life balance.” Owners will be able to have full use of their lodges throughout the four seasons as Oak View has a 12-month operating licence which allows stays throughout the year.
BEAMING SUCCESS FOR TORCHLIGHT FESTIVAL
More than 4,500 people attended The Camping and Caravanning Club’s first Torchlight Festival of Camping this summer at Walesby Forest in Nottinghamshire. The new-look festival built upon the Club’s long history of running family- friendly events and relaunched the previous National Feast of Lanterns (NFOL), which dated back to 1921.
The festival’s main stage, sponsored by Cotswold Outdoor, played host to big-name music acts including Squeeze, Gabrielle and The Wurzels. The Club’s President, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, also took to the decks for her own DJ set where she performed on stage alongside The Invisible Circus – a spectacular illuminated show of acrobats.
And there was also a wide range of activities in the Family Tipi and an on-site wellness sanctuary. Nicola Simpson, the Club’s Director of Marketing and Insight, said: “We were delighted to welcome campers to our very first Torchlight Festival of Camping. “Torchlight saw us launch a new festival and at the same time pass the traditions of a fantastic Club event that served us well for a century on to a new generation of campers and festival-goers.
“It was wonderful to see so many caravans, motorhomes and tents illuminated with lights across Walesby Forest while families and friends met up and had a great time enjoying outdoor activities and top music acts. The festival was ageless with Club members ranging from babies right up to campers in their 90s, which helped create a fantastic atmosphere. We’ve been overwhelmed by so much positive feedback.”
EYES TO STAR-STRUCK NORFOLK SKIES
Renowned as one of the best places in England to discover the dark skies, Norfolk’s Kelling Heath Holiday Park, welcomes astronomers for its Winterfest from Thursday to Monday, November 24th – 28th. Accredited as a ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’ in 2017, Kelling Heath boasts the highest ‘two star’ site accolade as seven stars of the Orion constellation and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye from the Park.
Kelling Heath is one of only five Dark Sky Discovery sites in Norfolk. For 2022, 10 premium pitches within the Yellow Dragonfly touring field have been designated as exclusively for astronomers*. These dedicated pitches are perfect for stargazers as they are hidden in a secluded and sheltered part of the Park.
Lucy Cook, Marketing Manager at Kelling Heath says: “We are pleased to welcome more astronomers throughout the year and look forward to building our offering to support stargazing in Norfolk. “We look forward to welcoming stargazers for many years to come.” The British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies commended Kelling Heath for its commitment to educating guests and its work in protecting the areas dark skies, leading them to receive a Good Lighting Award in 2019.
The Park provides stargazing information for guests and Holiday Homeowners including leaflets, a dedicated website section and new interpretation boards at its Dark Sky Discovery Site area on Park. Michael Timewell, Director of Blue Sky Leisure, who owns Kelling Heath Holiday Park, said: “Kelling Heath gives many guests their first true dark skies experience. The excitement and wonder you see on the faces of those experiencing the majesty of the night sky at our star parties is something that will never get old.”
“We pride ourselves conserving the natural environment at Kelling Heath, and part of that is achieved by helping our guests make the most of the natural landscape around them in a responsible way – this includes how they interact with the dark skies on Park. Our Countryside Team continue to provide guests with educational talks and dedicated events to help them immerse themselves in the Park’s stunning natural surroundings.”
EXTENDING VISITOR SEASONS
Neil Campbell reports on his recent autumnal holiday stay...
With modern motorhomes and caravans now built to withstand cold weather, equipped with proper insulation and efficient heating, more and more sites are extending their bookings to include autumn and winter stays. My wife and I recently decided to give out-of-season touring a go and hired a motorhome for a long weekend at the St Neots campsite run by the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC), situated next to the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire.
The Hardwick Road campsite is open until the end of October — long enough to embrace the autumn half- term holidays and Halloween. We had checked in online as the CCC encourages you to do, and this made arrival a seamless process. We were met at the gate as we arrived with a friendly welcome, which makes all the difference. We didn’t even have to get out of the motorhome and were led by one of the managers to our pitch – and in fact we were given a choice of three.
A speedy reception and check-in makes all the difference and makes for a more relaxed start to your holiday, with online check in a massive advantage. It is a real help if there is plentiful local information, with brochures for local cafes, takeaways and taxi firms, and several maps showing the local area. Hooking-up could not have been simpler, with the electricity point directly behind the pitch.
There was a waterpoint about 10 metres away if we needed it, although we had a full tank. There was also a well-equipped motorhome service point where you could drain grey water and fill up with fresh water, and two chemical toilet disposal points. We were on a hardstanding pitch of about 8 metres by 4 metres, with an electric hook-up.
There was just about room for our pop-up gazebo, although we didn’t put it up in the end as the weather was good. There would have been ample space for a motorhome awning, and as the CCC has a policy of six metres between pitches, the whole site felt well spread out. The grounds had very well-kept grass and mature trees across the site, so that it retained a feeling of being in the country even though it was on the edge of a town, about 10 minutes’ walk away.
We paid just under £100 for three nights for two adults. A grass tent pitch with electric would have been about £95, or a tent pitch without electric just under £80. We paid a 25% deposit, with the balance being collected on our day of arrival. It would also have been straightforward to change the dates of our booking online. There was also a lot of site information available on the CCC website, so we knew what would be there.
Check-in time was from 1pm, and contactless, which is a real advantage for arriving campers, particularly when the days are getting shorter, and checkout was mid-day, allowing for a leisurely start to the day without any need to rush. Facilities were excellent – spotlessly clean and spread across two blocks, so when one was shut for cleaning for 45 minutes, the other one was open. There were plenty of showers, although no shower curtains although there were locking doors of course.
The washing-up areas were under cover and there was plenty of hot water, and the laundry looked well-equipped with plenty of machines. Disabled access to the facilities looked to be excellent. There was a parent and baby room. I was also very impressed that there was a defibrillator machine, in my opinion every campsite should have one – it could save someone’s life. The bins were located at one location near the entrance, presumably so that the dustbin lorries only had one place to pick up from.
There were no separate recycling bins, so everything went in one rubbish bag. We were told that they were sorted out by the refuse collection teams. The campsite wifi was also very effective, and with an easily remembered password. There were lots of dogs and it seemed a very pet-friendly site. There was a code to get through the barrier onto the site, and an automatic barrier when you left. There was also a code for one of the loo blocks, as I think passing walkers had been using the facilities for free!
There was no shop on site although LPG gas was available from reception, as was the ability to freeze ice packs crucial if you are tent-camping. You could also get fishing licences for the nearby River Great Ouse. I think in an ideal world motorhome or caravan hardstanding areas would have individual water supplies and drainage points for grey water.
A small shop stocking essentials would be very useful – canned goods, bread, basics such as pasta, milk and perhaps eggs. If there is a shop, the essentials of camping gas, charcoal, firewood and batteries for torches should be freely available. Highly desirable food items would include marshmallows, hot chocolate, cake and anything that can be toasted on a fire — crumpets and teacakes chief among them.
Providing local information is also vital some sites offer the wonderful service of a visiting pizza or fish and chip van, but if not then leaflets for local takeaways, and directories for other services, can make a huge difference. Games, books or DVD’s to borrow or buy offer added value. The CCC lists 18 of its campsites as being open all year round, with the most northerly being Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland and the most southerly being Tavistock in Devon.
Touring sites will of course need to balance the potential to attract visitors during the off season against the cost of doing so. From the campers’ point of view, a full range of facilities need to be available if a campsite is open — hot showers and a laundry being probably top of the wish list. Our experience of holidaying in autumn has only served to make us want more — we are already planning a winter trip and wondering if we are hardy enough to try it in a tent!
CARRY ON GLAMPING
Eco-credentials and a unique experience are top of the list when it comes to maintaining that all-important occupancy rate, reports Judith Wojtowicz
Getting up close and personal with a llama might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday break. But at Glamping with Llamas on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, it is the ultimate in experiential glamping. The clue is in the name… a herd of ‘off duty’ grazing llamas are well used to visitors walking among them.
At 6pm each day, in the words of Tina Gambell, they are ‘on duty’ as she and husband Chris feed, groom and demonstrate how to handle them, sharing with visitors keen to learn more about these gentle creatures. The couple set up their business after realising their paddock pets had potential to offer a unique visitor experience.
“The difference here is that we encourage our guests to walk among the llamas and interact with them where similar sites seem to keep their animals behind a fence,” said Tina. One of their llamas acted as ring bearer for a summer wedding… a truly immersive and unique experience.
“The market is becoming saturated but for sites with a genuine usp, even those who are watching their pennies, will return if they enjoyed a memorable and unique experience,” added Tina, who is developing their wedding offering for the coming year. The word ‘experience’ is cropping up more and more as market growth slows, having seen an explosion of interest during the pandemic as people sought ‘outside’ holiday options.
While some pop-up sites and less-well managed businesses have since vanished, there is still much to choose from, be it a £60 per night cabin with shared shower block or high-end glamour from £200 upwards. In the absence of definitive data, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate glamour alone is no longer enough. Among the fast-growing millennial crowd, priorities include an eco-friendly offering combined with glorious setting and 5-star plus luxury… picture perfect for Instagram.
They want quirky en suite accommodation, think treehouse, geodome, gypsy caravan, stargazer tent, yurt, exotic tipi or converted vintage vehicles, with added value such as spa, wellness activities, nature trails and even the services of a top-class professional chef. Green tourism is a big trend with all ages, as people actively seek a glampsite that embraces sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint and getting close to nature.
One such is Brownscombe Luxury Glamping in Devon whose far-ranging sustainability policy has seen it win the Green Tourism Gold Award three years running. Its commitments include using third-party suppliers who follow similar principles such as the local laundry that has invested in biomass and solar technologies to minimise their impact on the environment, not to mention a water borehole.
A fine example of a circular economy designed to reduce waste and protect the environment. Sarah Riley, founder of The Glamping Academy helps would-be hosts around the world to design their dream eco-accommodation. She told us: “Only ten years ago a bell tent in a field was enough of an attraction because it was seen as new and different.
Today, as well as a wonderful location and amazing interiors a successful business needs to maximise the guest experience.” All those things can be found at The Little Shire in Somerset, whimsical hobbit houses built partly underground… fit for hobbits and humans, says Adelle Hobbs, who added glamping to an established commercial operation within a converted dairy farm.
A selection of independent shops and eateries, plus black-nosed valois sheep and friendly alpacas make for a memorable setting. There is even a hobbit playhouse for children.
COSY AND WARM
The houses are fully insulated with underfloor heating. While this makes them cosy and warm enabling year-round occupancy, they are energy hungry which is cause for concern amid rising costs. Fresh water comes from a borehole and the site has its own waste system.
Having welcomed her first visitors in May last year, after a four-year planning process interrupted by the pandemic, Adelle was fully booked very quickly and is anxious not to lose that momentum. Marketing is an ongoing challenge a role she has now passed on to a professional agency to relieve her of the ‘mind-boggling stress’ that kept her awake at night worrying about the online booking system and social media.
“I am great with people, and I love this lifestyle, but the key thing when starting out is to treat it as a journey of self-discovery, she said. “Learn what you can and can’t do and accept advice and help whether it be technical, practical physical tasks or the all-important planning stage.” In contrast, Meadowfield Luxury Glamping in Warwickshire is part of a working arable farm offering a ‘hands on’ experience to guests who stay in luxuriously appointed safari tents.
Their farm tour, by third generation farmer David Mold, is an education for all ages, especially children who have never seen a combine harvester or those who have no idea where food comes from. His wife, Jules, who was a panellist at The Glamping Show recently, has turned a four-acre meadow, seeded with wildflowers as part of an environmental project, into a thriving glampsite running between April and October.
“The site is set just off the yard, so guests are close to nature while also getting a close-up view of farm life,” said Jules. Her advice to newbies, as she explained at the show, is to do their homework and take the time to research and draw up a viable plan. And she adds a health warning: “Unless your heart is really set on it, my advice is to think twice,” she said.
“You will spend more, and work harder than you ever imagined although positive feedback is so rewarding and makes the effort worthwhile.” Diversification of this kind was one of the market drivers before Covid, farmers and landowners able to access grant funding from government and other sources to support and enhance rural life.
While this is still the case, there are signs landowners are now partnering with outside investors to monetise the opportunities. They recognise the potential for good return and see glamping as a short-to-medium term project, incorporating an exit strategy into a five-year business plan.
As the market evolves, this is one of the changing trends noted by The Rural Planning Co, former land agents who specialise in working with new operators. Sophie Blandford, business development and marketing manager, told us: “Ahead of Covid there was real buoyancy and excitement in the market and while that pace has slowed, 2021 was a fantastically successful year because of the ongoing uncertainty of overseas travel which boosted the ‘staycation’.
“The staycation market looks set to stay although popular coastal areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty are becoming saturated. When it comes to applying for planning permission, many local authorities will be keen to capitalise on the tourist pound. The consumer will vote with their feet in a crowded market so providing options in less obvious places is probably where the best opportunity lies at the current time.”
Hotels, holiday and caravan parks and even historic houses are getting in on the act, likely to generate even more competition in the future as they have their own traditional audience and are located away from the hustle and bustle of those saturated areas. “On the positive side, there is plenty of room for creativity and good return on investment, as long as the proposal is based on sound planning and in-depth research.” added Sophie.
The hot tub influence on increasing bookings...
For the holiday industry, 2022 has been another record year for staycations, delivering an estimated £15.5billion boost to the British economy. According to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ annual Staycation Index, 77 per cent of Brits holidayed in the UK this year, spending an average of £822 on their accommodation alone.
So how do you make your holiday destination stand out from the crowd and increase the odds of internet surfers pressing the book button? The simple answer – add a hot tub. “UK staycations with hot tubs consistently appears on a list of the most common staycation searches,” says Gareth Ward, Sales Director at Superior Wellness, one of the UK’s leading hot tub suppliers.
“A hot tub not only adds a touch of luxury but can also increase occupancy and revenue by up to 60%. “But much more than that, a hot tub allows families and loved ones to reconnect and spend quality time together,” Gareth adds. “People are also focusing on their wellness much more and a hot tub can help with this – soothing aches and pains, reducing anxiety and stress and relieving headaches. All reasons that may inspire a customer to book a holiday property with a hot tub.”
Jonathan Pritchard owns a holiday let based in Anglesey, he recently made the decision to add a Vacation Social hot tub, from the Superior Wellness stable, to his property. Jonathan purchased the hot tub from Superior Wellness’ partner at Concept Spa in Wales and he explains: “We wanted to increase bookings and people always say that it’s a bonus to have a hot tub, we were also recommended to get one by Sykes.
“I was recommended by Concept Spa to go for the Vacation social based on the value for money, the fact it’s simple and easy to use, less hassle/ maintenance, less things for people to break. “It has most definitely made a difference to my bookings; we are noticing that the winter months are also filling up much faster.”
If you are looking to purchase a hot tub for your holiday let, Superior Wellness recommend the Vacation Range or their Platinum Spas Holiday Let 5 hot tub. Both offerings are perfect for holiday homes, cottages, B&Bs and Airbnb as they designed specifically for the holiday let market these hot tubs offer a basic layout with no breakable or removeable components and are designed for heavy usage.
The robust but minimalistic design perfectly complements any garden, decking or outdoor environment. Gareth Ward again: “We do get a number of queries from potential buyers and this is a common question. But is the constant upkeep, care and maintenance is going to offer a decent return on your investment?
Gareth Ward again: “You need to look after your hot tub and ensure you provide the care and maintenance it needs and stick to the guidelines. However, the increase in revenue you will receive in terms of price per night and occupancy will outweigh any time and money spent on the upkeep.”
Waiting around for a hot tub to warm up isn’t a holiday guest’s idea of fun, so Golden Coast’s exceptionally fast hot tub heat pumps are ideal for ensuring the spa is ready to enjoy in no time. The inverter-driven Golden Coast air source pump heats water quickly and efficiently.
During a test conducted on a hot tub in an ambient air temperature of 12 degrees, Golden Coast found that it took three hours and 40 minutes to heat the hot tub water from 10 degrees to 38 degrees. This was much faster than the electric heater previously being used.
A Golden Coast heat pump operates on a lower current so uses much less energy than electric heaters without compromising on performance. For each kilowatt of energy consumed, the heat pump offers an output of up to 13 kilowatts of heat – that’s 13 times more efficient than a standard electric heater.
A Golden Coast pump can reach an extremely high coefficient of performance meaning that once the water reaches the desired temperature (up to 40°C) the heat pump turns off while maintaining the temperature. “It is quicker to heat a hot tub with warmer air temperature, but a Golden Coast heat pump performs even in cold weather, so hot tubs can be enjoyed all year round,” says Adam Clark, General Manager at Golden Coast.
“Our heat pump is extremely energy efficient, allowing park owners to make significant savings on their bills. The more hot tubs a holiday park has, the more savings that can be made. Golden Coast has supplied air source heat pumps to a number of holiday parks with great success and with extremely positive feedback from park managers.
Golden Coast’s General Manager, Adam Clark, advises: “Whereas some heat pumps can be loud, a Golden Coast heat pump uses a unique ventilation structure enabling it to maintain noise levels as low as 25dB — ensuring peace and quiet for guests and peace of mind for owners.” When it comes to holiday hot tub insurance, Compass Insurance advise, to make sure that your insurance covers you for loss or damage as well as any possible legal liability arising from them being used.
Most insurers will include hot tubs in their general definition of structures, hire fleet or caravans (at Compass they do) but it’s worth checking the definitions in your policy to make sure. From there it’s also really important to make sure that the replacement cost of the Hot Tub is factored into any sum insured you have for your hire fleet. As well as the Hot Tubs themselves being insured your legal liability to the public using them should also be checked.
Have clear and documented guidance as to who should and shouldn’t use Hot Tubs. Holidaymakers with health conditions, including those with serious illnesses, respiratory and cardiac conditions and diabetes, as well as pregnant women or those on certain medications, should seek advice from their doctor before using a hot tub. Similarly, infections and disease can be spread, so those with body infections and open sores/ wounds etc, should not use a hot tub.
Comprehensive signage and instructions on the use of the hot tub are also important. Most of the claims we see in relation to Hot Tubs, and wet areas in general, relate to slips and trips when getting in and out. Cleaning and maintenance are critical and any hot tub owned by the park should follow a documented and robust process. Where possible this should also be in line with the manufacturer guidance and regular evidence, checks and logs kept.
Regularly checking the water, systems and filters is also essential. Parks have responsibilities even where they do not own the hot tub in question. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 does not apply to privately-owned hot tubs where there is no financial gain and they are used exclusively by the private owner, family members and occasional guests.
Park owners should also consider the matter of Employers’ Liability. We have seen a case in the past where an employee was known by their employer to have a reaction to chemicals, but the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) was not enforced. It is almost impossible to defend a claim when a relaxed approach to employee safety is taken. This highlights the importance of training staff appropriately and having systems in place for them to follow when they are involved in the cleaning and maintenance of hot tubs.
BEST SITE IMPRESSIONS
Advice from leading suppliers on your holiday park landscaping purchases...
Not to be underestimated, the importance of that first impression of your holiday location is an opportunity only served once. Everything your guests can see when they arrive needs to be immaculately maintained especially keeping a keen-eyed view on open spaces, driveways and garden areas.
“First impressions count, and this is particularly relevant in the holiday parks sector, be it the customer’s first impression on arrival or the images portrayed on your website,” emphasises Rupert Price, the owner of Price Turfcare, the UK importer of the Ventrac range of turf maintenance equipment. “This visual presentation is so important and could be the difference between your prospective client choosing your site over one that is close by.” Rupert continues: “All parks have copious areas of grass that need to be maintained in good order; long grass looks unsightly and gives the impression of neglect, so the condition and presentation is vital.” There are many mowers on the market from walk-behinds and ride-ons, either rotary or cylinder, the occasional flail, and even remote-controlled mowers for sloping ground that can help you achieve the perfect picture.
Walk-behind mowers, be they cylinder or rotary, are ideal for confined spaces but for large areas they are unproductive and labour intensive. Ride-ons come in various sizes from the semi-commercial small out-front rotaries to the large commercial cylinder mowers with rollers that provide attractive striping.
If a sloping bank is greater than 15 degrees, it is unlawful to operate the machine as it may roll over. To overcome this, remote-controlled mowers have been introduced, which enables the operator to stand clear of the machine and work from a safe distance. Most of these machines have a limited cutting width, so again productivity is an issue.
They are normally tracked vehicles and, in wet conditions, can ruin a grass bank when turning. Vitally, Ventrac and Price Turfcare offer an alternative that can overcome all of these issues and do more than just cut grass and, more importantly, in a safe manner. “We can legitimately operate on slopes up to 30 degrees, twice their permitted angle and allowing areas that may have not been maintained regularly, to be tamed,” Rupert explains.
“With seven different mowing decks we’re obviously not a one-trick pony, but with numerous other attachments we can provide the versatility you should be demanding from your equipment.” It is worth noting, the Ventrac offers a Power Broom for removing debris from hard surfaces, ideal for car parks and paved areas. The Power Rake is a great tool for renovating compacted hardcore pitches or Type 1 aggregate road and pathways.
Compaction to pitches, caused by the continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes over the course of a season, can be relieved using the Aera-vator and attaching the Seeder unit it is possible to aerate and overseed in a single pass. There are a couple of debris blowers, the Turbine blower and Power blower, for removing autumnal leaves on parks close to or surrounded by woodland and finally, the Boom mower, for maintaining hedges and lake margins.
Trevalgan is an award-winning, luxury, five-star, family camping and touring park with stunning coastal and countryside views, just two miles from St Ives. The Park, which is owned and run by Neil and Annette Osborne, is surrounded by open farmland, with gorse and heather covered hills behind, and is within walking distance of the rugged and beautiful South West Coast Path. They recently invested in a Ventrac landscaping package. Neil explains: “The main reason I was interested in the Ventrac package was because of the ease of changing the implements safely and quickly on my own. The compact size and manoeuvrability of the machine is ideal for our busy campsite and enables me to get in to all the tight spaces. “The overall quality of the machine and implements are excellent. I have been very impressed by the Area-vator as this helps to relieve the compaction of the pitches caused by a five-month season of continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes. Neil adds: “At the end of the season, this versatile implement can also re-seed the pitch at the same time, which makes the Ventrac very time efficient and I have been more than pleased with the end result.”
FIT FOR PURPOSE
Of course, professionals using any power tool will naturally demand a product that can do the job with ease. Outdoor equipment and power tools that are powered by lithium-ion batteries and manufactured by trusted manufacturers can reliably offer users this reassurance, as lithium-ion batteries can hold high levels of energy and will work for long periods of time without needing to be charged.
“For professionals who rely on a machine for their livelihood, quality shouldn’t be compromised, and users should only source equipment from trusted manufacturers to make sure the tool is fit for the job,” says Mark Earles, Product Development Manager for Outdoor Products at Makita UK. “This is particularly important when using battery-powered products,’ he adds.
The temptation to use third party, uncertified, cheap batteries can lead to poor product performance, or even risk fire and injury. Using a third-party battery will also invalidate any tool warranties. Only use genuine batteries from the manufacturer that have been fully tested and guaranteed to work with the tool and Users are increasingly looking for more sustainable solutions, with a move toward battery powered tools that can replace petrol, or corded alternatives.
Cordless products offer freedom to move about on site, without spending time on the safe management of trailing cables in public areas, or handling petrol – and the associated fumes for those nearby.
DO NOT DISTURB
A further priority, particularly for those working on a public site, is noise. Cordless machines are typically quieter than petrol products, making them an ideal choice for working through the day whilst minimising disturbance for holiday park guests. In line with this, Makita stopped manufacturing its petrol-powered products in January this year to concentrate on developing its cordless range further to evolve with the needs of the market.
Mark advises: “When investing into a cordless system of outdoor equipment, choose a manufacturer that offers a range of tools powered by the same battery platform. “This not only makes switching between jobs easier, but also reduces costs if you buy the ‘body only’ models -- without battery and charger – simply use your existing batteries and chargers to power your entire collection, rather than purchasing new ones every time.” Users also want tools that offer productivity and efficiency gains. Makita is constantly refining its battery and charging technologies, to provide the performance and power that professionals need as well supporting greener and cleaner products for the industry.
Makita manufactures a wide range of outdoor equipment and construction power tools with a core focus on cordless technology. With over 100 years’ experience, the company has refined this expertise and today offers over 290 products in its LXT battery powered range alone.
The LXT collection includes products such as blowers, lawnmowers, linetrimmers and hedge trimmers, as well as drills, saws, drivers and wrenches, even radios, heated jackets and kettles and the company continues to add more to the range each year. This means outdoor professionals have a huge choice of kit that can all be powered by the same battery without the restriction of cords or petrol.
Simply switch the battery to a different tool to tackle every type of job, anywhere on site, with ease. At this time of year, leaf blowers such as the DUB186 18V LXT Bower are a hugely popular and essential product to clear paths and public areas from autumn leaves. The DUB186 is compact and lightweight solution that can be easily transported around site, offering a maximum air volume of 3.2m2/min and variable speed control. Linetrimmers are also an essential grounds maintenance solution that remain popular thanks to their versatility and effectiveness in making light work of neatening grassy areas.
A tool such as the DUR192L 18V LXT Line-trimmer can be used to tidy edges around borders, trim awkward areas around static caravans, decking, fences and walls, as well as heavier duty applications to clear weeds and long grass. Its quiet operation is ideal for use in public spaces.
Take advantage of manufacturers, like Makita, that offer free training on using equipment correctly and safely. When working with any outdoor equipment, always wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure staff wear and use the correct safety equipment.
Failing to do so could cost an employee’s eyesight, hearing, a finger, the end of a career, or worse. As we head into winter, what better time to evaluate your outdoor areas and carry out the necessary modifications to make your guests’ first impressions count in time for the 2023 season. “The landscape and surroundings of your holiday park or caravan site provide the backdrop for a picture-postcard holiday,” urges Phil Catley, Kubota (UK)’s Ground Care Product Manager. “When it comes to grounds maintenance, mowing will likely be the operation conducted most frequently and by making simple changes to your cutting regime – such as considering cut and collect – it can have major benefits, not just to site presentation. Mowing of both communal spaces and those in and around chalets and statics is absolutely essential to maintaining the aesthetic quality of your site, and in peak growing season may be conducted on a daily basis. The finesse of a clean cut however, can sometimes be compromised by the clippings left behind following the pass of a ride-on mower.”
The Kubota G-Series has been designed for high performance and ease of operation, offering impressive cutting performance on grass of all lengths and in all conditions. For landscaped areas close to holiday lets, many Grounds Managers are now turning to ride-on units that offer cut and collect – delivering precision and accuracy of cut and removal of the clippings produced in a single pass. Says Phil: “Not only does this enhance presentation and reduce the risk and problems associated with the mown grass being trodden into accommodation, removal of clippings is also great for turf health. “Your grass surfaces are living organisms, that require both air and sunlight to create food and grow,” advises Phil.
“Allowing thick piles of clippings to accumulate can create dark, warm and damp micro-climates that can lead to issues with certain turf diseases which can ultimately impact on the health and overall appearance of your green spaces.”
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. SALTEX 2022 takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3, and promises a wealth of practical tips and product to add to your outdoor landscaping plans. SALTEX attracts the most exhibitors in the industry to one place at any one time.
With new exhibitors coming on board weekly, the 2022 event is already set to be the biggest and best show yet. SALTEX continues to attract the best in the business – with visitor registrations from over 30 countries already confirmed with a roll call of domestic and international exhibitors signed-up. Free to attend, the show includes the ever-popular Learning LIVE programme - a key element in the SALTEX offering, which has this year been extended to over 30 sessions with influential speakers addressing a range of key issues impacting the industry. High on the agenda are sustainability and environmental issues.
SALTEX is an event grounds people have always made the time to attend. Visitor and exhibitor feedback surveys confirm that the networking opportunities are a massive draw and never more so than in the post-pandemic landscape. 2021 survey data showed that almost half (46%) of visitors attend for networking opportunities; over two-thirds (68%) attend to source new products, services, and suppliers; topped by an extremely high satisfaction rating of 83% voting the show as Good, Very Good or Excellent.
Reesink UK will be represented at SALTEX 2022 with innovations and technologies, new launches and best sellers from all four of its divisions Reesink Turfcare, Reesink e-Vehicles, Reesink Agriculture and Reesink Hydro-Scapes for the first time. Bound to be a big draw will be two Toro product launches from Reesink Turfcare. The new Toro ProCore 648s and ToroWorkman UTX 4x4.
Building on the incredible legacy of the ProCore 648, the 648s brings more innovative features to the time-tested machine that changed the way you aerate. The s stands for superior – and superior it is. An updated version of a customer- favourite model, there are more than 10 new patents and some brand-new enhancements based off operator feedback and Toro’s own in-depth studies. Revised controls improve ergonomics and allow single handed operation, and hole spacing and true tine depth are now set and saved in the Info Centre. Reesink will also unveil the latest powerhouse from Toro to tackle all terrains thrown at it: the new Toro Workman UTX 4x4. The fourth utility vehicle in the series, it tackles all terrains and environments including ice and snow.
This robust four-wheel drive, full- sized utility vehicle has 25 percent more cargo capacity than others in its class and blasts through its tasks. Finishing the line up from Reesink Turfcare is Toro’s Groundsmaster 3300 mower, back with its innovative flail attachment, and one of two tractors – the TYM T395 is coupled with an AgriMetal blower attachment at the show.
The industry’s first all-electric compact tractor from Reesink Agriculture is the second on stand. Since Farmtrac’s FT25G launched, it’s won awards, been on multiple TV programmes and impressed the industry’s electric vehicles and technology enthusiasts, as well as winning the SALTEX Innovation Award in the Environmental and Sustainability category. So, if you’ve missed seeing it in person up until now, now’s your chance. With the theme of the show sustainability, Reesink e-Vehicles is ably represented by the electric CapellaWork Machine with cargo box from STAR EV and KAASPEED’s unique electric scooter. Both make transporting cargo and people around the site fun, clean and green.
Also on display, and the next big thing for sustainable cleaning of machinery, is Bio-Circle GT Maxi, the parts cleaner that requires no water and eliminates pollutant run-off into the water system. This VOC-free, pH neutral cleaning option is gentle on the environment but powerful enough to remove grease, oil, grass contamination, white-line paint and fertiliser.
From Reesink Hydro-Scapes, there’s a selection of irrigation and water aeration solutions, encapsulating the long established and industry-leading Toro irrigation systems, controllers, sprinklers and soil sensors, Otterbine pond and lake aerators; SRC wall-mounted controllers and quick-replace Franklin pump systems.
For many parks bringing third parties and contractors on site to complete works is part of everyday life. Whether it’s for large developments, upgrades or just simple repairs and maintenance, having other businesses onsite is a regular occurrence. As we head into the period when many parks undertake important maintenance and development work, specialist insurers, Compass, has put together some helpful tips to consider when it comes to their insurance. From an insurance perspective you want to check that:
1. The contractor does have insurance in place.
2. That insurance is specific to the work they are going to undertake
3. Their insurance doesn’t expose you and your policy to any claims Contractors come in all shapes and sizes, from large commercial businesses to bona fide contractors, Compass advises.
Regardless of the type of their business, the length of contract and the work they are undertaking when coming onto your park requires them to have their own insurance cover. The only exception is if you’re employing a labour only sub-contractor as they are automatically classed as your employee by most commercial policies and would therefore be covered on your own policy.
A contractor working on your park without the right level of insurance could expose you, the most obvious way is in your liability to the public. The limit of indemnity (LOI) on Public Liability needs to be the same as the limit you have on your Park business policy, referred to as being ‘back to back’. If it isn’t then in the event of a liability incident, you could find yourself picking up the gap in an award to a claimant.
Kubota (U.K.) Limited
Tel: 01844 268205
Tel. 01908 211678
Tel. 01284 827540
Tel. 01480 226800
Tel. 07754 552405
FARMING SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Beth Connor reports from Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park...
We were delighted when the Holiday Park Scene team were invited to test out the facilities at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. Adam Henson is perhaps the best- known farmer in the UK, presenting his own section on BBC’s Countryfile to millions of viewers each Sunday evening.
Farming and conservation are Adam’s first passions and when the camera stops rolling, there is still plenty of work to be done. In 1971, Joe Henson founded Cotswold Farm Park to help protect some of our rare breeds of farm animal. Today, it’s Adam Henson, his business partner Duncan and of course the enthusiastic team, that are proud to be continuing in Joe’s wellington-booted footprints.
“We have passion for all we do here and are dedicated to delivering the best of British farming, through a sustainable and authentic approach,” says Adam.
The site has some outstanding qualities including:
• Very friendly staff
• Farm Park - free entrance
• Restaurant and Farm Park Shop
• Mapped on-site Wildlife Walk
• Dog Welcome Pack – Bed, Bowls, Long Leash & Peg, Blanket, Treats, Poo Bags
• Hot Tub
There’s regular excitement on the farm, whether it be lambing season, harvest time or the arrival of new calf; there’s always something new to see at the farm. Visitors have the opportunity to meet more than 50 rare breeds, have a go on pedal-tractors, fly along the zipline and hold little chicks.
Visitors can even book in for a day visit with their own horses to experience the 50-jump riding course in gorgeous woodlands, streams and valleys. The site offers a wide range of accommodation options including Sunset Lodges, Songbird Safari Tents, Camping Pods, Camping and Motorhome pitches and a seasonal Glamping Field.
The on-site facilities were outstanding including The Ox Shed Bar & Café, Farm Park Shop with home reared produce, beautiful, heated shower block, laundry facilities, picnic area, campers’ kitchen and of course the farm which provides a full day out for all the family.
Cotswold Farm Park
FIVE OUT OF FIVE FOR WATERSIDE
Waterside Holiday Group has come up trumps in a survey of the UK’s best value holiday parks by consumer champion Which? The company, which operates holiday parks in Dorset and Cornwall, scored 87 per cent in a survey of more than 2,200 stays.
Waterside Holiday Group scored five out of five stars in every category, including quality of accommodation, facilities, and value for money. Visitors highlighted their appreciation for the company’s choices of luxury caravans, as well as accommodation features including widescreen televisions and private hot tubs.
Dave Bennett, CEO of Waterside Holiday Group commented: “We are thrilled to have received such an incredible score as part of a renowned nationwide survey, which reflects genuine visitor reviews. “We have invested heavily in all our holiday parks to ensure we offer a five-star holiday experience to our guests, with exceptional quality accommodation, facilities, and customer service.
I would like to thank everyone at Waterside Holiday Group for their hard work in helping us continually achieve excellence across our parks.” Waterside Holiday Group has made multiple enhancements to its parks over the past two years, including introducing a range of luxury holiday homes with hot tubs and updated dining areas across sites.
The company has also continued committing to sustainability improvements across its parks, including the creation of natural habitat areas using native plants and species, introduction of beehives and installation of solar panels.
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS FOR WOOD LEISURE
Wood Leisure Holiday Parks are enjoying a double celebration after winning the Best Holiday Park, in the coveted Scottish Hospitality Awards, whilst celebrating their 40th anniversary in business. The award was won by Wood Leisure for Blairgowrie Holiday Park, which was the very first holiday park opened by the company 40 years ago.
The family owned and operated company was founded in 1981 by Colin and Margaret Wood, and has its head office in Blairgowrie, Perthshire. The business has almost 500 holiday homeowners, 130 self-catering lodges, caravan holiday homes, ensuite glamping and camping pods.
Colin Wood commented: “Family has always been at the heart of the business. I am delighted that our three daughters, Rachel, Kirsty, and Sarah, having grown up on the parks, have each returned to take their place within the family business. They continue to uphold our family values for the parks, whilst bringing fresh innovative ideas to take the company forward.”
Sarah Wood, Sales Director added: “We are delighted to be kicking off the summer season by winning Best Holiday Park in Scotland and to be able to bring the trophy back to Perthshire, to our team at Blairgowrie Holiday Park. We recognise that The Scottish Hospitality awards are voted for by the public, and we would also like to thanks all our guests and holiday home owners that took the time to vote for us.”
“After an incredibly difficult period for all tourism business, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate this good news. Demand for staycations with Wood Leisure continues to be incredibly positive in 2022. “The company has also seen increased demand for holiday homes as people chose to invest in lodges and caravan holiday homes for their families to come together and enjoy. The business has also benefitted from the increasing popularity of motorhomes and touring, with the popularity of the Northcoast 500.”
HOLIDAY MAKERS GET ON THEIR BIKES
The dramatic rise in staycations is triggering increased interest in cycling as a new, family-friendly holiday activity. The experts at Quella Bicycle have researched 2022’s most popular cycling routes, analysing hashtag data to put together a guide of the UK’s 10 best urban cycling routes for to explore this summer.
A spokesperson for Quella, Chris Pengilley, said: “Cycling holidays are increasingly accessible - there are hundreds of bike rental shops across the UK - but many people are unsure of where to start. “It can be even harder to choose where to go when you have a family, as younger children may struggle with steep or prolonged elevations.”
“While based on hashtag data, Quella Bicycle tips contain a range of trails accessible to young children to seasoned professionals - all with incredible views and sights that will make any staycation the ultimate trip away from home.” Geographic hashtag guest posts were topped by The Isle of Wight with 1.2m hashtags, followed by the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway with 809,000 hashtags.
OXFORD TOPS UK STAYCATION SPOTS
A new study has revealed the UK’s top staycation spots for a weekend getaway. The research, conducted by travel insurance experts Forbes Advisor, scored UK locations based on factors such as the cost of eating out, the average price of a local stay, and transport costs in and around each town or city.
It also analysed the number of attractions per 10,000 people to discover where offers the best experience for a staycation this autumn. The research revealed that the historical city of Oxford offers the best experience, with a Staycation Score of 93.6 out of 100.
Visitors can enjoy a three-course meal for two that costs just £50 on average with local taxi fares priced at just £1.75 per mile. Second place goes to York with its Staycation Score of 92.8. At 32.73, the city, which dates back to ancient Rome, offers the highest number of attractions per 10,000 people.
With its Staycation Score of 91.4, Cambridge takes third place as a staycation hotspot. The city also offers 29.51 attractions per 10,000 people.
Commenting on the findings, Laura Howard, personal finance expert at Forbes Advisor, said: “The continued prospect of flight and airport disruptions, lingering Covid testing requirements in some popular overseas destinations, and rising living costs are just some of the many good reasons why a short break within the UK might appeal this autumn. “And the good news is, our very own shores have so much to offer in terms of history, architecture, nature and scenery.”
ADVICE ON ENERGY COST SAVINGS
In a bid to help hospitality with the energy costs crisis, the not-for-profit Zero Carbon Forum is offering free energy saving guidance from its Save While You Sleep initiative. The aim of the scheme is to help businesses, like holiday park operators, reduce their power usage overnight to cut costs and carbon.
UK Hospitality estimates that 10,000 business could shut permanently in the coming 18 months. While bosses of companies owning almost half of the UK’s 47,000 pubs said that thousands of pubs face closure without urgent government support to soften the blow from soaring energy bills.
Mark Chapman, founder of Zero Carbon Forum said: “We look forward to seeing what Government intervention is provided to support our sector, but we want to provide all our knowledge and insight to try to help every operator in the industry during this crisis.
“By sharing the data and analysis gleaned from our members’ overnight energy usage made into a range of accessible resources, including engagement training and checklists, operators can engage their teams quickly to reduce energy waste and save on costs and carbon.” The Save While You Sleep programme was officially launched following member trials, which have realised energy savings per outlet worth £6,000 per annum at 2021 market rates.
It works by combining energy and carbon analytics with operational training and ongoing coaching. Existing energy smart meter data is run through Zero Carbon Services’ proprietary intelligence platform, to identify energy wastage every day and night.
Advice and guidance is straightforward but impactful with processes to save on energy, via a two -stage ‘10-minute’ shutdown process supported by posters and energy checklists for General and Area Managers.
The Zero Carbon Forum is a non-profit organisation which builds on 10 years of carbon reduction collaboration in the UK’s hospitality and brewing sector. It enables members to reach their decarbonisation targets faster, more efficiently and more cost effectively than acting alone.
Four shows in one at Birmingham's NEC...
Combining industry-leading exhibitors with the latest products and services for the holiday park sector, with a healthy splash of networking and discussion opportunities from its inspiring speaker programme, Holiday Park & Resort Innovation returns to Birmingham’s NEC this November 2nd and 3rd Together with Farm Business Innovation, Leisure Food & Beverage and the Family Attraction Expo, Holiday Park & Resort Innovation creates an unmissable opportunity to be inspired and equipped to develop your business in 2022 and beyond.
More than 500 exhibitors will showcase their offerings across the two days of the event. Amongst them is Greenspan Projects, whose team is excited to be back at the event. “This is a show that pushes the boundaries of holiday park and resort innovation,” said Greenspan’s Michaela Rowland. “There are always fascinating exhibitors and special guest speakers which leave us feeling inspired and excited to see what we can deliver next for similar clients.
“This year, we will be talking about our most exciting projects involving zip coasters and high ropes currently underway in the USA, Canada and the Mediterranean, as well as a world first – adventure golf in an underground cavern, recently launched in partnership with ZipWorld.”
CampManager will also be returning to the event to showcase its cloud-based management and booking system. “We recognise the value and quality of Holiday Park Innovation and have made a dedicated effort across several years to attend the show,” said Thomas Drake. “We are itching to get out of the office and in front of potential and existing customers for a good chat.
With over 16 years’ experience in the industry, we are excited to share our top tips with the UK’s growing community of holiday park and campsite owners.” The keynote theatre programme – sponsored by Maxxton and CampManager – includes Luke Hansford from Hoseasons who will discuss the importance of consumer insights in creating valuable holiday experiences for guests and in helping operators maximise revenue.
Sustainability will be the main theme for Michael Holding of Visit Inverness Loch Ness as he explains how the area became the first carbon neutral business improvement district (BID) in the UK. Other confirmed speakers include Jonny Baird of Bluefield Houseboats and Richard Carroll of Landal Green Parks. Andrew Jones, winner of Diversification of the Year in the British Farming Awards, will be talking about his journey from farmer to glampsite owner and what he has learnt along the way.
David and Felicity Brown of Hoe Grange Holidays will discuss how winning awards helped raise their business’s profile. Sheena Corry of The Forge will explore the business opportunities of wild swimming and retreats. Look for full details of the speaker programme are available on the show website Holiday Park & Resort Innovation returns to the NEC Birmingham this November 2nd and 3rd. Tickets are free and available now at www.holidayparkshow.co.uk
YOUR A-Z OF MUST-SEE EXHIBITORS
PARK HOLIDAYS UK FLEX MUSCLE
Park Holidays UK has confirmed its acquisition of holiday parks group Park Leisure which owns 11 holiday parks in popular locations in England, Scotland and North Wales. It will bring to 54 the number of parks now operated by Park Holidays UK – and follows the company’s acquisition of nine parks from Bridge Leisure in 2021. The enlarged portfolio, says the group, will provide it with an even stronger national platform from which to serve Britain’s fast-growing domestic holiday market.
Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish said the coming together of the two well-established groups presented exciting new opportunities in one of tourism’s most dynamic sectors: “Both companies have invested substantially in their parks over recent years and created a range of high-quality holiday products which people clearly enjoy,” he said. “Park Leisure’s 11 parks have all gained top five-star tourist board awards and represent the high-quality standards we have been working towards in recent years.
“Whether customers are looking to rent or buy a holiday home, we can now offer a wide geographical spread of parks able to deliver a first-class experience at an affordable cost. “We will continue to invest in all of our parks to ensure that that their facilities and standards of service are maintained to the highest possible levels,” said Mr Clish. “The domestic holiday market continues to gain traction in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic market, and we are continuing to see an ever-increasing demand for UK holidays.
“Quality is the main driver of bookings and holiday home sales, and this union will consolidate some of the finest holiday parks in the UK into one single group,” said Mr Clish. Parks in both groups provide extensive leisure facilities and family entertainment, together with carefully managed landscaped grounds in which holiday lodges and caravans are located. Park Holidays UK was formed over 35 years ago, and its parks today span the length of Britain from Cornwall in the west to Moray in northern Scotland. Park Leisure has operated holidays parks for more than 20 years, and has a presence in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Yorkshire and North Wales.
BEVERLEY'S £2M STYLISH INVESTMENT
Beverley Holidays has upped the style stakes for staycationing with the installation of a state-of-the-art range of sea view luxury lodges and ultra-modern hot tub holiday caravans. The holiday park group in the heart of the English Riviera has invested a cool £2million in a fleet of fourteen super-stylish holiday homes tailored to guests seeking seaside stays with a sprinkling of glamour.
High quality furnishings and a super stylish decor in the newly launched holiday homes are teamed with a raft of pampering extras such as private sun-decks complete with bubbling hot tubs. With demand for staycations continuing to be high this year, the new state-of-the-art holiday homes are seeing a surge in bookings among guests seeking their very own slice of hot tub heaven.
Beverley Holidays’ Marketing Director Claire Jeavons said: “Long gone are the days when families were expected to be content with a one-size-fits-all type of holiday accommodation. “Today we are reaching out to guests wanting to enjoy a truly unique holiday experience, and our new Collection hot tub holiday lodges and Signature caravans are certainly raising the bar even higher at the luxury end of holiday home rentals.”
COASTAL LOCATIONS ARE UK FAVOURITE
With the British Isles boasting some of the most beautiful beaches and breath-taking sea views, there is a clamour to enjoy some of the UK’s 7,700 miles of coastline. Brits have named their favourite seaside towns in the UK, with Salcombe ranked the number one destination whilst holidaymakers remain wary of overseas travel. With many holiday-goers opting to stay in the UK, Google trends data found that searches for UK holidays had increased by 56% in April 2022, compared to a year earlier when restrictions were in place.
The survey by McCarthy Stone, the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities, saw 2,700 surveyed to find which of the most popular seaside towns came out as the UK’s favourite. The south coast’s gems came out on top overall, with Salcombe, Weymouth and St. Ives scoring highly, there were also top 10 selection across the country, with Yorkshire’s Whitby and Northumberland’s Bamburgh featuring in the top 10. Salcombe, with its pastel-hued, picturesque harbour, came out on top, with almost a fifth of the vote (18.5%); it’s not hard to understand why when you witness the nautical beauty of South Devon.
Weymouth in Dorset came second with 16 per cent, boasting several enviable beaches, it was announced as the number one beach in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017, and has also previously been ranked ninth best beach in Europe. Third place was given to Whitby in north Yorkshire (12%), which boasts ties with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the imposing Abbey ruins which look over the highly-voted harbour below. St Ives on the Cornish coast came fourth with 11.7 per cent of the voting with Bamburgh (10.4%) in the North East of the country completing the top five.
PERFECT ANTEDOTE TO TRAVEL WOES
An award-winning Lake District holiday park says that growing numbers of guests are switching to a UK stay this year to escape the hassle of overseas travel. Skelwith Fold in Ambleside reports an uplift in bookings during the recently reported chaos at many British airports, cross-channel route and last-minute cancellations by holiday companies.
The park’s Henry Wild says people are deciding that enough is enough, and they want their holiday memories to bring back happiness rather than headaches. “Holiday parks are proving the perfect antidote to the hassle of travelling abroad,” said Henry whose family’s park sits in 130 acres of countryside near the shores of Windermere. “Many families made this discovery during the pandemic and are now re-booking stays because the experience is so much more relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.
“A lot of our guests live just two or three hours away and can pack their bags in the morning and be starting their Lake District holiday the same afternoon. “For those flying off abroad, that timescale often sees just the start of a journey which is pitted with uncertainty and frustration that can leave people feeling helpless. Skelwith Fold provides glamping accommodation such as fully equipped safari tents as well as cottages to rent, along with pitches for motorhome and touring caravan guests.
SAY GOODBYE TO HARD WATER PROBLEMS
The UK holiday park market has grown significantly as people turn to staycations for their family holidays. As more people search for the perfect holiday park for their break, parks in beautiful locations across the UK competing for customers are being adversely affected by hard water problems. The limescale in hard water is damaging pipes, plumbing and appliances, unnecessarily increasing park maintenance costs and leading to unwanted downtime. The damage scale does is not only the visible, physical damage to pipework and appliances, it can also damage your park’s reputation thanks to its unsightly appearance if it’s left to accumulate, harming your customer’s experience at your park.
Negative online reviews featuring dirty looking bathrooms or limescale laden tea can quickly influence people to choose a different holiday location or invest in another park when purchasing their dream holiday home. So how can you stop the scale-related business costs from mounting up and protect your holiday park from further scale damage? At Watts, we’ve developed the innovative KIWA-approved OneFlow® system to provide unrivalled protection from scale formation without the costs of traditional water filtration methods and it avoids introducing unnecessary chemicals or detergents into the environment.
It’s affordable to run as there are no associated electric or water costs. Plus, thanks to its simple system composition, it doesn’t need salt bags or other chemicals added to maintain it. All the vital minerals remain in the water, so it delivers great tasting water with its natural goodness plus, the lack of additives and chemicals mean it is suitable for any plumbing system, even septic tanks.
The compact, single cartridge system is easy to install and so efficient that, over time, it can help reverse existing scale problems on the plumbing system as well as extending its life without harsh chemicals. Juliana Paradello, OneFlow® Product Champion at Watts explains: “At Watts, we’ve been engineering innovative solutions through our expertise since 1874.We understand how proud you are of your holiday park and how hard your team works to ensure your customers to have the best experience, which is why we’re sharing the fantastic benefits that OneFlow® can bring to your park.”
“By efficiently removing the limescale deposits, OneFlow® can reduce maintenance costs on site as well as providing an additional revenue stream for park owners. It also helps to keep key areas easier to clean by removing unappealing limescale deposits from the water before it can build up on the plumbing or sink.” Paradello adds: “If you’d like to learn more about how OneFlow® can protect your business, visit our dedicated website at www.oneflow-watts.co.uk or contact me directly on Juliana.Paradello@wattswater.com I’ll be happy to demonstrate how we can protect your park from limescale damage.”
Watts Industries UK
Tel 01480 407074
MAKING IT MAGNIFICENT!
Windmill Retreat and Spa offer's the 'wow' factor to woo guests...
Outdoor baths, balconies and fire pits are just some of the features designed to attract luxury-loving guests to Glastonbury lodge resort Windmill Retreat and Spa this summer. All are included in four new state-of- the-art lodges owner Nick Ridgment is adding at his rural Somerset escape and selling exclusively through staycation specialist Hoseasons.
“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries when it comes to what we offer our guests,” Nick says, adding: “There are lodge parks everywhere these days, so it’s vitally important to stay one step ahead and give customers everything they need for an unforgettable holiday experience when they weigh up their options for a UK break.” Panoramic views of the Somerset Levels, roomy open-plan living, and hot tubs also come as standard with these large three-bedroom properties – the addition of which brings to nine the number of beautifully-designed bespoke lodges to choose from at the park, which Nick opened as a newcomer to the industry in 2015 and chose to partner with Hoseasons to bring to market.
Since then, the park’s high-end reputation has been cemented with the addition of its state-of-the-art Elements Boutique Spa, as well as an accompanying product range available in Holland and Barrett. The on-site Levels Country Kitchen also adds to the cool vibe with delicious breakfast and lunch options made with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers. Nick credits his long-established partnership with Hoseasons as being crucial to the success of the site over the last six years. “It’s one thing attracting customers and another staying ahead of the competition to keep them coming back for more,” says Nick.
“We always had the vision to develop our offering but working with the team at Hoseasons has really helped us realise the potential of the business. “They gave us the confidence to believe in our product in the early days and have offered invaluable insight and guidance over the last few years to ensure we get the best return on our investment in this new development.” Much of that guidance has come from Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development, at Hoseasons who says Windmill Retreat and Spa is the perfect example of a location that knows it has to develop its offer to stay relevant in the modern UK holiday market.
“The innovation and diversification we’ve seen in our industry over the last 18 months has been remarkable, with those used to holidaying abroad pre-pandemic now looking for the same level of aspirational quality in their UK staycation. “The data clearly shows people want more from their UK break and that’s exactly what we’re able to give them through Windmill Retreat and Spa and other high-end locations in our portfolio.”
The exceptional standard of lodge and cottage-style accommodation and facilities at Windmill Retreat and Spa recently led to it being one of only five wow-factor locations included in Hoseasons’ new Magnificent Collection - something the staycation specialist has launched to recognise new standards of quality and innovation across the self-catering holiday industry. Inclusion in the new collection means Windmill Retreat is being marketed to millions of Hoseasons customers looking for top quality accommodation design, premium on-park facilities, exceptional customer service and a genuine commitment to sustainability – something Nick hopes will help to mark it out as one of the country’s premier locations for an aspirational getaway.
“We’re delighted to have been recognised as magnificent enough for Hoseasons’ new collection and are really looking forward to sharing our fantastic location with even more guests over the weeks, months and years to come.” Magnificent has been launched at a time when demand for luxury UK getaways is at an all-time high, and the number of high-end accommodations joining the Hoseasons portfolio continues to grow. Bookings for luxury properties this year are up 27% compared to the same point in 2019, while the size and scale of parent group Awaze’s luxury portfolio through brands including Hoseasons and sister company cottages.com has grown 45% over the last three years.
For more information about Hoseasons’ Magnificent Collection go to www.hoseasons.co.uk/magnificent
A wealth of inspiration for outdoor holiday location play...
The last three years have posed some unique challenges to all sectors of the leisure industry, not least for the provision of play facilities in holiday parks and resorts. So ideal timing, for the presentation of some inspirational ideas, to reinvigorate play offerings at Europe’s premier international attractions conference and trade show at London’s Excel from September 12. Attendees at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe can expect to discover the industry’s latest products and services, including play equipment, water slides, play structures, and much more. IAAPA - it stands for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions – boasts a worldwide membership of nearly 5,000.
The trade show will feature IAAPA’s signature combination of exhibits from manufacturers and suppliers, food and beverage vendors, merchandising specialists, and innovation leaders that strive to develop the attractions and theme parks of tomorrow. When the education conference opens September 12, it will mark the first return of IAAPA Expo Europe to London since 2011. “We are bringing a jam-packed programme, full of inspiration, top-notch education, and ideas regarding the issues that the attractions industry is facing—such as energy costs, labour shortages, revenue streams, and more,” promises Peter van der Schans, Executive Director and Vice President of IAAPA.
“We will showcase the opportunities our members can gain from these challenges, as well as explore trends in technology, sustainability, and guest experience,” Peter continues. “Attendees will learn the latest industry trends from leaders across the world and discover insights to improve campground operations, address holiday resort needs and enhance caravan park offerings.” While targeted events like IAAPA Expo Europe help focus the mind, another vital source of learning is from our fellow holiday park operators.
With the current boom in British staycations following the pandemic and the ensuing travel chaos, many parks are choosing to add to their adventure activities which involve the whole family and attractions such as high ropes and climbing towers are perfect for keeping everyone active whilst having fun and creating perfect holiday memories. The key message is: invest in outdoor play and you will be rewarded with happy families who are much more likely to return to your park – and tell their friends about it.
Standing out from the crowd for its eco-credentials, play specialists, Kompan can now deliver a full circular playground using sustainable materials, including ocean waste. Green panels on the company’s BLOQX range are made of 75% post- consumer ocean recycled waste. The dark teal panels on their green play units and freestanding items are made of 100% post-consumer recycled waste.
All decks for our largest product series are made of 75% post-consumer ocean recycled waste. “We don’t just claim we are green,” declares Kompan’s Gary Wallis. “We want to validate our claims with a third party to be as open and transparent as possible about our green initiatives. “Therefore, we have worked with Bureau Veritas, the organisation behind the global ISO certifications, to verify our calculations of recycling and carbon emission.”
The perfect business recipe for play success is to create ‘stay and play’ zones where all the secondary spend benefits such as a café and ice cream bar are close at hand and reaching their full potential. During May, June and into July of 2022 the Innovative Leisure team have been busy around the UK coastline installing a whole variety of adventure equipment at UK resorts. Many of these are now open and being enjoyed by customers. Back in 2020, Innovative Leisure were part way through installing their Sky Trail High Ropes and Sky Tykes Junior Ropes Courses at two Haven Holiday Parks when COVID-19 first struck.
Despite the pandemic, the new attractions were well received by guests when the parks were able to open. Simon Palmer, Head of Activities and Leisure at Bourne Leisure explains: “These new high ropes activities fit in with our strategy of improving the on-site offering to our owners and guests. They create an exciting focal point for family groups and allow us to do more hourly capacity than previous traditional versions. “The junior courses have already performed well at two other Haven sites. Innovative Leisure has supported us throughout the projects and helped overcome some unique pandemic challenges.” The high ropes courses each have a capacity of 25 participants, allowing for approximately 50 people per hour throughout the day, and are suitable for all but the very youngest of visitors. The Sky Tykes junior ropes courses are seven pole courses and feature the exciting Sky Rail Zip element.
With a capacity of 15 participants at any one time, the Sky Tykes low ropes courses offer a fun, safe experience for adventurers as young as two-years- old, as well as being an excellent introduction to the excitement and challenges of ropes course attractions. Park Holidays have introduced Innovative Leisure Climbing Towers into their range of attractions at two sites and John Flack, Head of Entertainment and Security comments: “Bringing climbing walls to our holiday parks, has brought new energy and excitement to what we can offer our guests at our parks.” John shares: “The value the walls have brought to our entertainment programme has been immense and it is wonderful to see three generations of families enjoying the climbing walls. Innovative Leisure have made the process so simple and helped us at each step of the way.”
Meanwhile, Devon-based Beverley Holidays has upped the fun factor with the opening on its brand new £300k Land Ahoy Adventure Island, complete with seaside-inspired play park and mini golf course. The all-new £300k attraction is a welcome addition to the family run holiday park group in Paignton, where guests can practice their putting skills surrounded by giant ice creams or slide down a life-size lighthouse.
Designed by Greenspan Projects Ltd, Land Ahoy Adventure Island allows little ones to let their hair down on a selection of slides, swings and climbing nets, or pose for a picture on the giant Beverley deckchairs. The accompanying mini golf course scores highly in the fun stakes, with putters put through their paces around a seaside-inspired course complete with a giant sandcastle and other beach- themed favourites. Beverley Holidays director Claire Flower tells us: “It’s great to see our guests making a beeline for our brilliant new Land Ahoy Adventure Island which opened just in time for Easter, with our very own Beverley Bear and Sandy Starfish mascots being the first to give it a whirl.
“It’s a great addition to our holiday parks, providing a safe and secure space where families can get out in the fresh sea air and create holiday memories they’ll treasure forever away from iPads and TV screens. The feedback has been fantastic and the mini golf really is the best by par.” Project consultant Matt Young of Greenspan Projects Ltd says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Beverley to design and build such and inspiring play space, not just for young ones, but for all ages to enjoy.”
The project concept was developed around the history of Beverley Holidays’ from when they started out in the late 1950s, by incorporating nostalgic seaside elements from that era, into both the golf and play areas. Matt adds; “We are extremely pleased that the launch has been a huge success and hope that the attraction will provide fun and enjoyment to all for many years to come.”
Claire, whose family has owned Beverley Holidays for almost 65 years, continues: “Holidays are all about creating memorable experiences that stay with you forever.” “There’s absolutely no doubt that letting your hair down and enjoying the company of other youngsters in a safe environment has a massive part to play. “That’s why we have always put a big emphasis on giving children a great time, be it joining our organised park activities or having fun in the pools. Claire adds: “Our new play zone was a big investment, but we’re delighted with the results – and happy that it also gives parents the chance to enjoy a well-earned breather!”
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. From conventional playgrounds and rides to more nature-based facilities, the onus is on holiday park owners and operators to ensure the play facilities they offer are the best they can be.
Tel. 01803 843887
Cotswold Farm Park
Tel. 01451 850307
IAAPA Expo Europe
Education Conference: Sept. 12-15, 2022
Trade Show: Sept. 13-15, 2022
Tel: 0116 271 3095
Tel: 01908 201002
Sovereign Design Play Systems Ltd
Tel. 01702 804299
World Of Rides
Tel. 0191 492 0999
A ruff guide to welcoming those furry friends...
This autumn, Lola, my much-loved three-year-old spaniel, and I, will be undertaking an extended East then West coast tour of England and Scotland, plotting a map of dog- friendly stays to break the journey there and back. We will have plenty of canine company. Thousands of holiday makers will enjoy UK holidays with their furry friends this year. If we have booked carefully, we know we can expect a warm welcome of a comfy bed, fresh towels, and delicious homemade biscuits – and that is just for the dog!
Mapping out our journey, preparation has included basic checks such as rules and regulations per stop, access to dog-friendly areas including restaurants as well as a quick survey of outstanding nearby walks including beaches and coastal walks. Our on-line research offers up plenty of choice. There were more than 3,000 locations willing to accommodate one or two dogs with their human guests. Perhaps not surprisingly, only 172 would take a booking for three dogs and a mere eight locations willing to welcome four of more dogs.
A nation of dog lovers, dog accommodation is big business not overlooked by the industry’s biggest players. For instance, Haven offers mile upon mile of countryside and coastline for visitors to explore just a stone’s throw from their 33 dog-friendly parks. They can offer a list of dog-friendly beaches that will welcome dogs all year round while making its Saver, Bronze and Silver caravans are all accessible for humans and their four-legged friends. When it comes to the best locations for a dog-friendly caravan holiday, the Haven park that stands out is Lincolnshire’s Golden Sands. At Golden Sands, the pooch facilities are second to none.
Equipped with a Bark Yard obstacle course, your Fido doesn’t even need to leave the park to be entertained. Golden Sands is also surrounded by pooch-perfect places to visit, from the Lincolnshire Wolds with its Rolling hills, hidden valleys and gentle streams to Mablethorpe Beach, a nearby paradise with a Blue Flag Award to its name. Multi award-winning holiday park Cofton Holidays has invested £300,000 in four new dog-friendly lodges to cope with record demand for staycations from dog owners. Shortlisted in the iTravel Staycation Awards 2020/21 for Dog-friendly Accommodation of the year, the family-run holiday park, situated close to Dawlish Warren’s Blue Flag Beach, has added to its existing luxury hot-tub lodge collection with four dog-friendly Kingfisher lodges close to the coarse fishing lakes.
The launch follows research conducted by Cofton which showed that online searches for UK dog-friendly holiday destinations increased by 665% year on year between May 2020 compared with May 2021. Helen Scott, Director of Cofton Holidays, is looking forward to welcoming owners and their dogs to the new lodges, Cofton’s latest investment: “Lockdown has seen a huge rise in dog ownership, and that’s driving unprecedented demand for dog- friendly holidays. “As dog owners ourselves, we know just how important it is to be able to take your dog on holiday with you. That’s why we have gone the extra mile to ensure that Cofton is leading the way in dog-friendly breaks.
The introduction of our new lodges is our latest response and builds on our collection of pet- friendly cottages and holiday homes.” Offering all the creature comforts, the Kingfisher dog-friendly hot tub lodge collection offers two-bedroom lodges from £428 for a four-night mid-week break, £474 for a three-night weekend break, and £651 for a week break. The decking areas are safely enclosed with one gate at the entrance to the lodge and another separating the hot tub area from the outdoor al fresco dining area.
Dogs are welcomed with a pet mat, blanket, stainless steel water bowl and food bowl, whilst their owners can look forward to the complimentary hamper filled with local handmade treats. Guests also have access to a dedicated dog exercise field, miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take you through woodland to Dawlish Warren’s dog-friendly beach. Cofton benefits from the added advantage of the Dawlish Countryside Park right on its doorstep where dogs can run free around its circular walks.
With a minimum of research, you can reassure human guests of a warm welcome for them and their pets, by supplying some pre-arrival tips on making their stay as smooth as possible. Don’t bog visitors down with red tape rules but keep essential messages positive. Offer a check list of essentials such as basic equipment and why not establish a link with your local vets to provide guests with emergency contact advice Encourage guests to walk dogs on a lead, on site, and if walking in dim light, to wear an LED collar. Remind them to pick up poo with bags and use the special bins provided. Perhaps you have provided a few in their welcome packs to help out?
The UK is home to plenty of tail- wagging destinations. So you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. A pre-season safety check can ensure you are confident of a safe visit and plenty of return visits. Hidden hazards could include certain mushrooms, compost and over- zealous use of weed killers and other environmental control such as rat poison. Pet owners love spending on their pampered pooches. So, don’t forget to add a few dog toys, including balls, to the site shop.
Add a couple of lines of dog food and treats, even a few collars and leads -- not to mention poo bags. For many, having a holiday with their dog is non-negotiable. Not only is Tewkesbury Park a beautiful family owned resort, boasting an exquisite 28 hole golf course and destination spa, offering stylish, comfortable luxury in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, it’s also a pet-friendly retreat offering the paw-fect place for a summer staycation for you and your canine companion to enjoy.
And on top of its already very popular ‘Scrumbles Dog Retreat’ package, Tewkesbury Park is launching a ‘Bow Wow Breakaway’ package, which is suitable for all guests and their pooches. All of Tewkesbury Park’s dog-friendly rooms come complete with a private patio. Double doors open directly onto a grassy patch, which is self-contained so they can snuffle around. Dogs are also welcome in the piano lounge, which means they are able to accompany you while you enjoy a drink or bite to eat.
One small matter of paperwork though; dogs are asked to remain on leads when outside of bedrooms, if only to avoid them chasing after those pesky rogue golf balls. With the Bow Wow Breakaway package, guests can enjoy a luxuriating two-night stay with dinner and a bottle of wine on one night, along with a Cotswolds dog walking booklet from £339 per night, based on two sharing. The tour begins…woof!
OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
Get creative with original ideas to attract the UK's staycationers...
With a host of obstacles hindering the prospects of a trip abroad for many, for this summer holidays, they are turning to staycations as the next best thing. Luckily, they don’t have to look far to find there are plenty of incredible places to go in the UK with an abundance of beautiful destinations and picturesque locations right on our doorstep.
If we have our marketing right, UK holidays can be just as exciting as jetting off to another country. These days, as a business, you have to be creative to find the best type of offer to provide the best fit for prospective guests. From countryside getaways and beach retreats to town trips and city breaks, there’s lots of options to suit every taste. For those that are looking to offer something a little different, why not think outside of the box and try promoting a staycation with a twist?
We did not have to look far for some inspirational business ideas. Southwest Railways analysed the Google ratings and reviews for over 2,600 listings on HostUnusual.com and asked a panel of experts to give each one a ‘unique- ness’ score. Each of these factors was given a weighted score of 0-100, and these were combined to create the full rank. From treehouses and windmills to Romani caravans and authentic American airstream trailers, the ideas were not lacking in imagination.
The Windmill in Suffolk has been crowned the most unique place to stay in the UK. In this adult-only getaway, visitors get the whole building to themselves. With the original blades of the windmill removed, this historic building has been restored with a modern twist. While it is the third most expensive stay in the top 20 at £325 per night, its unique charm and viewing balcony with magnificent views of the Suffolk countryside means it’s one not to miss.
For a remote getaway, The Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottage on the Orkney Islands is the second quirkiest place to stay, according to the research. Set on a 115-foot cliff with nothing but the sea and scenery for miles, the active lighthouse offers a stunning landscape to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. While there is still wi-fi and TV for everyone’s home comforts, the site also boasts a hot tub and a sauna. What’s more - prices start from a reasonable £120 a night.
To reconnect with nature, the unusual stay that takes third place on the list is The Wolf Wood Treehouses in Devon. Surrounded by acres of woodland and nestled above the treetops, visitors can stay in their own secluded treehouse with a wood burner and an outdoor jacuzzi – perfect whatever the weather. The most expensive stay calculated per night is The Beach House Smugglers Cove in Cornwall. For £550 per night, this luxurious eight-sleeper holiday home sits right on the beach.
With the sand less than a stone’s throw away, this sunny retreat offers an outdoor fire pit and hot tub with sea views. On the other end of the scale, The Aylsham Windmill in Norfolk is the cheapest at just £78 per night. This countryside escape used to be a working flour mill but has now been converted into a scenic holiday home that can sleep up to six people. Far away from the Majorcan beaches of traditional summer holidays, this stay boasts local walking routes, cycling trails and historic sights to explore.
A complete park management and booking system...
Visitors to Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire’s award-winning tourist attraction of 30 years, often commented that you needed two days to do everything on offer. With 100 acres of land to the North of the attraction, the team listened to their visitors and set about creating their own Folly Farm Holiday Park. Offering a wide range of accommodation for the family market to suit all budgets, to date Folly Farm boasts a 43 pitch-touring park, a 20-pitch campsite, four Showman’s Wagons and six fairground themed luxury lodges with hot tubs. A further eight luxury lodges and six safari tents will open soon.
“We were confident there would be huge interest in our accommodation offering from our strong and loyal customer base but then the pandemic hit and we found ourselves launching our touring park after the first lockdown in July 2020 with just three weeks’ notice,” explains Zoe Wright, Head of Marketing “We achieved a 76 per cent occupancy rate that first August and followed that in August 2021 with 94 per cent.” Ease-of-use was top of the list when Folly Farm was selecting a booking system so the team partnered with the highly recommended GemaPark . GemaPark has exceeded our expectations in terms of a booking system for our touring park and campsite,” confirms Zoe.
“In fact, we also import into GemaPark partner bookings for accommodation we don’t sell directly, because it provides top line booking, arrivals and performance information in a much more user- friendly way than our booking partners’ systems,” she adds. GemaPark is used by many members of the team at Folly Farm. Holiday park wardens use it to generate arrivals reports and to check if customers are returners so they can welcome them back. Office staff confirm all the bookings and chase payments while the marketing team can easily upload or change tariffs and run property performance reports and push any availability. The finance team can easily reconcile payments, run spend-per-head reports and financial forecasts.
EASE OF USE
“Every member of staff finds it easy to use and it’s one of the few software systems we use that the staff don’t moan about,” says Zoe. “Reporting was a key consideration as we’d little to no experience of running accommodation so to be able to easily query occupancy rates, property performance for our different accommodation options and check financial performance has been pivotal to the future development of the holiday park,”
Zoe continues. “CRM was also important as we were building an accommodation audience from scratch. “We would happily recommend GemaPark to anyone looking for a booking solution for their touring site or campsite and the fact they can easily integrate with leading booking partners is a bonus.”
Go big, or go small but make the most of those aquatic attractions...
Arguably, the swimming pool is one of the main pulling factors for holiday locations; great for swimming and even better for guaranteed family fun. If you have ticked the swimming pool box with an unimaginative tank of water, you are missing some vital opportunities to stand out from the crowd. The pool should not feature as a stand-alone.
For instance, add a few well-being features and you can be offering your guests a top-notch spa experience. A perfect example is the Plas Coch leisure complex, one of the stand-out attractions at the five-star holiday home park, holders of the Holiday Park Pool Of the Year title in the UK Pool & Spa Awards. The swimming pool, super spa, treatment area and gymnasium are open all year round for customers to swim and relax. The leisure facility has recently undergone some aesthetic works to offer more privacy including a spectacular tint effect added to the glass building to give a beautiful mirror effect from the outside.
With top drawer aquatic access even more of a variety of water-based activities to the regular timetable such as snorkelling, pool kayaks, underwater explorers and private occasion pool parties. Guests can unwind by a tropical pool, take a soothing dip in a hydrotherapy bath, or indulge in a cleansing Dry Salt Chamber treatment, all specially created to provide pampering for mind and body. “During the 2020 lockdown, we all had our fair share of problems to overcome,” says the centre manager.
“We took the time and used it wisely, by working hard at making our Leisure complex the best it has ever been, and one of the best in the holiday park industry. “We had mechanical parts fixed and upgraded in our pool plant rooms, which made opening up to our customers that much easier prior to lockdown.” Wellbeing, beauty and fitness facilities are also among the new features waiting to welcome 2022 visitors at the multi award-winning Celtic Holiday Parks.
Celtic Parks’ picture-perfect Pembrokeshire locations are near the market town of Narberth (Noble Court and Croft Country Park) and overlooking Amroth Bay (Meadow House Park). “Parks are no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition, and we intend to deliver the type of experience which people have been telling us they want from a holiday,” says Celtic’s Huw Pendleton. “They still expect fun, but many would rather visit a cocktail bar than a clubhouse, enjoy gastro-pub style meals, and enjoy treatment rooms with first-class facilities and ethical, organic products.
“Many of our guests are repeat visitors, and relatively new to the concept of a park holiday, so we are constantly challenging ourselves to ensure they have something fresh to look forward to.” “Our record bookings for next year suggest this is no flash in the pan, and I’ve every confidence that we will be investing and raising the bar even higher over the next twelve months,” adds Huw. You don’t always have to think big. Cornish holiday park Trevornick, has unveiled a new £180,000 investment called The Splash Zone.
It provides a new space within the existing swimming pool complex at Trevornick, where young (and the young at heart!) guests can run, jump, play and splash. The Splash Zone contains two tipping buckets, fountains, water jets, and a raised trickle stream, making it perfect for babies, toddlers, non-swimmers and those unable to access the pool itself. General manager Adrian Tribe says: “We are so thrilled to have opened The Splash Zone after weeks of hard work by all involved to bring it to completion.
“We had a good year in 2021 and re-investing that success back into the park will be great for the guests and for us. It’s a brilliant new addition to the resort and we can’t wait to see the guests really making the most of it this summer.” If you are thinking swimming pools then think water play to give your guests the extra wow factor. Leading aquatic suppliers, Ustigate design and build their water management systems to accompany all of their aquatic schemes whether they are super charged water park attractions. Nowadays a pool experience doesn’t just sit with a pool, it sits with designing a space to maximise the fun to be had for everyone in that footprint.
Ustigate encourage you think big when it comes to aquatic play. For nearly 20 years, they have partnered with Vortex Aquatic Structures, offering a portfolio of 300 products, including a vast choice of waterslides, Elevations™ and individual play items to heighten aquatic experiences and to entertain a multitude of guests at every given time.
A waterslide is great as either an open or closed flume, running inside, outside, or both. And now with modern technology, experiences are enhanced with high-definition multimedia technology; enabling an experience to be unique and different at the touch of a button. There are also low-level products that add character and activities for young children such as frog, turtle and fish with their 360° rotation abilities, all suitable for installation in zero and shallow depth.
There are taller features that are designed to arch and spray over pools and lazy rivers and products of varying heights that resemble leaves, trees and flowers that offer a variety of different water movements and effects. Whether you are planning for big or small aquatic attractions, look for the surprise element. Let your imagination match and exceed the expectations of your customers.
Jaw-dropping aquatic attractions from ProSlide...
Parque Warner Beach is one of the main tourism and entertainment destinations in Madrid; the perfect place to enjoy a summer’s day, with 40,000m2 dedicated to attractions and entertainment themed around Warner Bros. favourite characters. Conceived as the perfect destination for a family getaway, Parque Warner Beach recently celebrated the opening of two new rides that include Europe’s first TornadoWAVE® 60/FlyingSAUCER® 45 complex, from the Canadian water ride manufacturer ProSlide.
The TornadoWAVE® 60 at Parque Warner Beach, named Black Manta, is a famous water ride feature for more than just a few reasons. In 2014 and 2017, it was part of installations that won first place at the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards, in the category of ‘Best New Water Ride’. The TornadoWAVE® at Parque Warner Beach immediately grabs the attention of anyone nearby. The first thing you notice is that it’s a striking spectacle of design and engineering, boasting what ProSlide calls “the only true arched wall in the industry”. The company custom designed the ride to give guests a thrilling experience that takes them through 120 meters of flumes and features.
Then there’s the ride experience, which uses five-person rafts to send the riders into “near-vertical, zero-G moments”. Riders begin as the rafts gather speed and then drops into the TornadoWAVE® 60 from above. Experiencing long hang times, the rafts are specifically designed to sweep across the width of the wall while keeping riders suspended in the air before descending into an out-run. Part of the same complex is Aquaman, ParqueWarner Beach’s FlyingSAUCER® 45 – also from ProSlide. The ride shares similarities with the TornadoWAVE® 60 in that they both have instantly recognizable profiles and have an award-winning pedigree; the FlyingSAUCER® has been the recipient of Golden Ticket Awards, IAAPA Brass Ring Awards and the coveted IAAPA IMPACT Award.
Aquaman’s FlyingSAUCER® is a patented, high-speed, accelerating turn that makes riders feel like a World Cup ski racer. Riders are accelerated through the turn and experience what’s described as a “drop and dive sensation” while they race along the outer wall. In keeping with the park’s Warner Bros. theming, each ride is visually designed to complement a character from Warner Bros.-owned DC Comics. The combination of both Black Manta and Aquaman into a single, jaw-dropping water ride complex is a first for the European market.
GUESTS THANKED FOR WILDLIFE BOOST
Guests at Padstow’s Mother Ivey’s Bay holiday park have given £16,923 since 2015 to help the work of Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s nature conservation programme. The trust’s corporate partnership officer Rowan Hartgroves took time off to say thank you with a visit to the park where he took the opportunity to view some of the many wildlife initiatives it has taken to protect indigenous flora and fauna. They include an adjoining wildlife meadow where a wide variety of wildflowers provide a valuable foraging resource for endangered honeybees and butterflies.
There are also ‘bug hotels’ which encourage beneficial insects, and are essential for biodiversity. The park’s work has resulted in its receiving the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level every year for over two decades. “We care passionately about the natural world, and Mother Ivey’s tends to attract holiday guests who share our love for Cornwall’s unique but fragile landscape,” said Patrick. “For many years we have asked our customers to make a voluntary donation to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust when they book their holidays with us online.
“Almost every guest does so, which I think underlines the affection they have for this spectacular area, and their concern to be involved in maintaining its upkeep. Rowan Hartgroves said that, sadly, wildlife in Cornwall is under threat and that in the past 30 years nearly half of terrestrial mammals had declined along with three-fifths of butterfly species. “Many of our visitors are becoming aware of the precarious state of nature in Cornwall and are looking for ways to help protect the environment they have come to enjoy,” said Rowan who added: “By introducing a visitor gifting scheme, such as that adopted by Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park, local businesses can help build customer loyalty and enable guests to protect the places and wildlife that they cherish for future generations.”
A WORLD OF HOLIDAY PARK IDEAS
Holiday Park Scene magazine was delighted to be involved with this year’s World of Park & Leisure Homes Show, that took place at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, earlier this summer. After a two-year break, due to COVID, holiday park suppliers enthusiastically raised awareness on a range of essential products and services.
They included several options for hot tubs in holiday settings, the chance to speak to the Compass Insurance team and the opportunity to catch up with the latest technology available through Elite Dynamics. An impressive display of about 40 leisure lodges, log cabins and park homes, from some of the leading UK manufacturers, gave visitors plenty of scope to explore an insight into the latest trends on the market.
Offering free parking and free entrance, the WOPLH show will return to Stoneleigh in 2023 – so save the dates of June 8 – for the Trade Preview Day and June 9 – 11th when the show will be open to the public.
World Of Park & Leisure Homes Show
Tel. 01789 491451
MILITARY SALUTE UNITING FAMILIES
Park Holidays UK is providing no-cost holiday accommodation to 100 military families every year, helping them to re-adjust to a life together after deployment. The group operates over 40 holiday parks across Britain and has teamed up with the Give Us Time charity to ensure that its holidays are enjoyed by the most deserving. Founded in 2012, by former Army medic Liam Fox MP, the organisation matches donated holiday accommodation with military families in need of rest and rehabilitation.
Coming in for special praise is the quality of the accommodation and facilities on offer, and the friendliness of park staff which plays a big in creating a relaxing atmosphere. “We feel very privileged to be able to play a small part in helping Britain’s dedicated military personnel to re-discover their family bonds,” said Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish. “Making a difference by supporting charities and good causes has long been part of our business culture and goes back over 35 years to when the company was started. “As well as national bodies such as Give Us Time, individual parks also often fundraise for local organisations with park management and staff taking the lead,” said Tony.
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
Welcoming hundreds of exhibitors with a vast collection of industry-leading products, services and innovations for the design, build and management of landscaping projects and sites, LANDSCAPE 2022 is the trade event you will not want to miss. Once again partnering with Holiday Park Scene magazine, the industry trade show, looks to showcase more than ever before by bringing more exhibitors, more visitors and even more features to Hall 3 at the NEC in Birmingham on September 28th & 29th.
From plants and furniture to decking and lighting, the extensive exhibitor list ensures that when they say that there is ‘something for everyone’, they really do mean it! The LANDSCAPE Show is the chance of the year to network with professionals at the top of their game. This year alongside the highly anticipated CPD accredited seminar programme, LANDSCAPE will be introducing some brand-new features including an additional program of ‘How to’ Seminars for anyone in the industry to learn, be inspired and expand their skills.
UNDER-VALUE INSURANCE WARNING
Arguably the most important aspect of an owner’s caravan or lodge insurance is the sum they are insured for, Compass Insurance advises. It is not always the number the customer looks at, in the first instance, but it’s the one that, in the event of a claim, becomes critical. If the estimated amount is too low, then claims payments end up being reduced. “We’ve seen a few examples where the rising cost of new caravans has resulted in customers becoming under insured through absolutely no fault of their own,” explains Richard Walker, Head of Product, Marketing and Development at Compass Insurance.
“They insure for the right amount at their new business or renewal but then six months later when they have a claim, that sum is then not enough to cover a brand-new replacement.” “We have had instances like this and have made sure that customers weren’t penalised or left worse off and paid the claim in full. “However, we’ve also heard stories where this hasn’t happened and as with any contract, and insurance is at the end of the day a contract, if it isn’t written in, then you rely on good will and good faith. “So, at Compass, and because we work with the interests of the industry at our core, we set about making sure this couldn’t happen to any of our customers.”
From June 2022 every customer who insures with Compass will benefit from protection in their policy against this. Richard continues: “We’ve introduced a very simple insurance ‘instrument’ known as a Waiver of Average and written it in a way that means so long as the customer insured for an amount that was correct and adequate at the point their policy was taken out, or at their most recent renewal. “We won’t make any deduction for under insurance if they find themselves under insured due to supply chain and replacement caravan issues.
“They need to be able to show that the amount was adequate at the time, and there obviously needs to be a valid claim in the first place and no issues with policy compliance,” Richard says. “But we know this offers the protection that customers need against the unintended consequences of the caravan market right now.” No one knows where the current rise in replacement costs might end up, or how long the pressure on the supply chain will last for, but the Compass team is ready and willing to enable you to support your owners in the best way possible.
CASH IS STILL KING FOR STAYCATIONERS
In an increasingly digital world, cash is still king for British staycationers, according to The Post Office. Research shows that Brits carry twice as much cash with them whilst on holiday in the UK compared to their day to day lives, with over £50 on average lining the pockets of Brits when on holiday in the UK.
Paying for ice cream scooped first place as the most common cash-spending occasion with parking and tipping at restaurants also shown to be common reasons for going card-less. No cash for parking was shown to be the most common financial faux pas whilst one in five Brits (21%) have literally been caught short whilst on a UK trip, finding themselves without cash for public loos.
SAFETY MELTING POT
Take a strategic site safety approach urges Ramtech's Tom Ambler...
Fire constitutes one of the biggest risks to the total loss of a park home, and with many sites often at lower capacity or closed during off-season, upgrading site safety and efficiency should be a top priority for site managers. Recent fire reports provide a stark warning to site owners, including how fire crews battled a large blaze at a Dorset holiday park, showcasing the chaos that fire can wreak.
Fortunately, no more than property damage was the outcome on this occasion but investing in the appropriate safety measures ahead of time, can help to reduce fire risk and help to stop a blaze quickly with the right detection in place. Preparing a site in advance of opening, by checking that the current fire safety system is working, is advisable. Any faulty wiring or machinery - particularly relating to power generators for homes or common buildings - as well as the threat of arson and vandalism should be front of mind all year around.
Currently, holiday park site owners have a legal obligation to manage fire safety under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“the FSO”). The act applies to all non-domestic premises including certain types of parks, such as those with common areas in leisure complexes, restaurants and guest houses. With park residents often mingling in these types of campsite community buildings, the threat to human life is very real.
Just a few years ago, there was an incident at a leisure facility on a campsite near Newquay, which resulted in extensive damage to several communal buildings including a swimming pool, sauna and gym. So, not only is protecting against fire a requirement under the FSO, it is also vitally important to avoid the financial implications, which can be huge.
A fire forces site owners into a massive rebuild operation, potentially putting them out of action for a season for more. A system, like Ramtech’s WES3, places the power in site owners’ hands. It’s an EN54-25 compliant connected device, that can be deployed at various points across holiday parks on stands.
It acts as an emergency response system, with automatic smoke and heat detectors responding to site incidents and maintaining 24/7 coverage through the CONNECT unit, otherwise known as the brains of the system. The WES3 is also IP55 rated, which means they are suitable for outdoor areas and won’t be affected by varying weather conditions. What’s more, the CONNECT system ensures off-site notifications can also be enabled, informing site owners and even alerting emergency authorities.
While sites must ensure that fire safety is robust, other park management features that support the efficient and daily running of the park, are also welcome. This is where technology has evolved to help answer these added value requirements at the same time as emergency response needs. WiSE, for instance, is a reliable business information and monitoring platform providing real time alerts, data and information about security coverage. For holiday park operators, WiSE can also extend your existing security and fire system coverage, reducing the complexity and cost of enhancing your risk management systems.
The WiSE wireless security solution gives you peace of mind that your holiday park business and on- park properties are being securely monitored 24/7. Powered by long-life batteries and connected to a reliable radio technology, the system allows thousands of devices to be linked to a central base station that creates an instant alert via email, text or pager. WiSE is not dependent on SIM or WiFi to function, which is great for sites with little or no data or internet coverage.
Winter and spring are the ideal times to review a site and prepare it for the busier Easter and summer period. This should vitally include fire safety standards - as once peak season arrives, and the warmer weather attracts more visitors, the heat, coupled with popular campsite activities such as fires and barbecues, can be a real melting pot in terms of park accidents.
For more information on how Ramtech’s solutions can help protect holiday park sites, visit www.ramtechglobal.com
KEEPING YOUR CAMPERS HAPPY
Neil Campbell, a veteran traveller, offers some friendly campsite feedback...
As I scooped out the huge pool of rainwater in the middle of our collapsed inflatable tent with an old ice cream tub, I thought to myself “I absolutely love camping!” Ridiculous as this may sound, given that we were racing against time to bail out and re-inflate the tent before a fresh deluge, campsites always give you an adventure, memories to treasure and something to laugh about.
They are a truly analogue experience in a digital world, are eco-friendly, cheap and — especially after the pandemic — offer a huge dose of freedom. We have used campsites and holiday parks all over Britain, from the Isle of Skye to the Jurassic coast, from Snowdonia to Essex’s Mersea Island. And they have been infinitely varied — from little more than a farmer’s field with six pitches and a neighbouring bull (but a view of the Highlands) near Loch Ness, to brilliantly-run and comprehensively- equipped holiday parks in Norfolk.
MAKE OR BREAK
But the good ones all have several things in common that can make or break a camping holiday. From a veteran camper’s point of view, what is an ideal campsite? A speedy check-in process is a massive bonus and gets the holiday off to the right start, particularly after a long journey with everyone a bit grumpy. Most of the form-filling of checking-in and payment can be done online in advance, so it should be a straightforward matching of you to your pitch number and off you go.
Our most recent trip, to the Graffham campsite in Sussex in June, had check- in down to a tee — we didn’t even have to leave our car, and were checked in and being shown to our pitch within a minute or two. The staff greeting you are also critical — a cheery welcome makes a vast difference and costs nothing. And if the numbering of pitches is clear and the directions to facilities are easy to understand, you’re off to a good start. An early check-in and late check-out time is always good.
If the previous occupant has left by mid-day, there is no reason why the new one shouldn’t arrive at 1pm — really, what needs to happen in that hour? It makes a big difference if you have set up camp and are sitting down with a cuppa by 4pm rather than toiling at 6pm when painfully delicious barbecue smells start to waft around. Compare this to a lengthy check-in at 3pm, surly or indifferent staff and a confusing layout, and the difference between a well-run campsite and its opposite is clear.
I’ve also developed something of an allergy to “sign-usitis”: signs with information or warnings are fine in moderation, but a plethora of signs with rules outlawing a long list of activities have me wondering if I’m a customer or an inmate. One rule I am keen on, though, is quiet after 10.30pm — camping can be tiring! I’m glad to say that the vast majority of sites these days are well run — word gets out about the bad ones, and they tend to go out of business.
ON THE LEVEL
Pitches obviously vary hugely, and campers have different expectations depending on what type of campsite and what level of pitch you have booked — but the cost and the pitch should match. A normal-size grass pitch is not the same as a jumbo pitch with electricity and a water tap. But it is reasonable to expect all pitches to be clean, newly mown if appropriate and — my pet bugbear — decently level, or the means to make it so (such as stones to level up a motorhome, as we were able to use on a campsite in Skye).
At Graffham we had a secluded forest pitch with electricity, and it was level and large enough both for a tent and pop-up gazebo — we also had a lovely soundtrack of birds. In terms of proximity to facilities, I think a one or two-minute walk is fine — and we always take our bikes, so that can speed things up. No-one wants to be pitched right next to facilities. I would never want a pitch within earshot of washrooms — we’re talking hand-dryers and hairdryers, and with screening it’s possible to keep them out of everyone’s eyeline too.
It hardly needs to be said that facilities need to be kept clean and appropriately equipped, that is just a fundamental of a decently-run campsite. If there are coin-operated hairdryers, that is probably worth mentioning at check-in, and if there have to be time-limited button-operated showers, please can that be at least 20 seconds and not less than ten? This seems like a fairly lengthy wish- list, but campers do return to well-run sites. We’ve been back to Kelling Heath holiday site in Norfolk a couple of times over the past decade, and I remember it well from a trip when I was ten — several decades ago!
It’s a large holiday site, well-run and friendly with a great shop, and close to the coast, cycling routes and a steam railway. It’s also a fabulous site for kids, with acres of space. Canterbury and Henley campsites have also merited return trips — as well as being great sites, they are close enough for a weekend trip, and just a short drive or walk into the city. We’ve also done quite a few one-off trips to campsites for particular reasons — at Bala, in Snowdonia, we were doing an outdoor activity week including zipwiring, kayaking and coasteering, so a quiet and peaceful campsite with a great view was ideal at the end of each day.
At Norman’s Bay in Sussex, we wanted to be right by the beach. Of course, there is a premium on space at seaside sites, but this was well run by friendly staff, with a good shop and — heaven-sent given its coastal location — a visiting fish and chip van. It also had a railway station within ten minutes’ walk for car-free trips to Hastings and Brighton. Camping is pretty cheap at any time of the year, and so is great for young people — dare I mention the word “festivals”?
If you’re on a budget, it is perfectly possible to get a basic grass pitch for a tent for £12-17 per person per night, and with a coolbox it’s fine. If you go slightly out of season, you can still get great weather but lower prices, perhaps in or around summer half-term or mid-September. Larger sites with a wider range of facilities such as swimming pools do cost more, as is reasonable — you do get what you pay for. We paid about £20 per person per night (pppn) at Graffham in June and at Norman’s Bay in August, for instance, but for a basic pitch without electricity at Bala in mid-September it’s about £12pppn.
I’ve found it worth joining one of the camping, caravanning or motorhome clubs, both for their reviews and online communities, but also as a source of expertise — and for easy booking. The AA’s camping guides I’ve also found to be reliable, and I’ve used pitchup.com and Cool Camping as well to book. I will say that a set of good photos and an accurate description can often swing a decision to reserve. We tend to go away for four or five nights if we’re tent camping and go a couple of times a year. That feels like the right length given that camping is quite intense — you’re outside most of the time, and at the mercy of the elements. When we’ve motorhomed we’ve gone for one to two weeks, as you’re more self-contained and setting up and touring is easier. You even get a decent bed!
ARGYLL HOLIDAYS JOIN COVE UK
One of Scotland’s leading holiday brands has been sold to international resort operator Cove Communities. Argyll Holidays, which owns eight holiday parks across Argyll and Bute, will be the fifth acquisition by Cove Communities under Mark Seaton as Managing Director of Cove UK.
Cove Communities is continuing its UK expansion following its first purchase which was the Bunn Leisure Family Resort, a 300 acre site in Selsey, West Sussex, now marketed as Seal Bay Resort. Cove also recently bought Medmerry Park, near Chichester which adds to its previous acquisitions of Gwel an Mor in Cornwall and Kings Park in Essex. Owned by the Campbell family who started out as sheep farmers, Argyll was established in 1967 with the development of its flagship park, Drimsynie Estate. Since then, it has grown to a group of eight holiday parks in and around the breathtaking Loch Lomond and Trossachs region of Scotland, just an hour’s drive north of Glasgow.
Keith Campbell, Director of Argyll Holidays, said: “Whilst we have been approached over the years by different buyers, Cove was the first company that we felt understood what we stand for and could continue what we started.” Cove UK is intent on building on Argyll Holidays strong reputation and commitment to serving its owners, guests and the local community for years to come. Cove UK has a pledge to source at least 20% of produce locally, build local partnerships and actively engage in local community initiatives. Cove UK’s Go Wild outdoor activities and environmental education programme is already flourishing at its other Parks including Seal Bay Resort (formerly Bunn Leisure) in West Sussex and Gwel an Mor in Cornwall.
Mark Seaton, Cove UK Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to add Argyll to our portfolio and will continue the exceptional work that the Campbell family has started. “Most importantly we will grow and develop the vision of Argyll under Cove, through sustainable business practices, a commitment to environmental conservation and investment in people and the local community.”
PARKDEAN CONFIRMS £144M INVESTMENT
The UK’s largest holiday park operator, Parkdean Resorts, has confirmed £140 million is being spent nationwide at its parks as part of its biggest ever investment programme. The investment will go towards new accommodation, new and upgraded activities and facilities, and installing park-wide Wi-Fi capability, which will further improve the guest experience in 2022.
Parkdean Resorts operates 66 parks across the UK, and with advance bookings at record levels, the award winning company expects even more holidaymakers for 2022. The parks are now hiring for seasonal and full-time roles across sales, food and beverage, and housekeeping. Nationwide, the £140m investment includes over 850 new caravans and lodges, new developments at 16 parks, and hundreds of refreshed and upgraded chalets and lodges with a brand-new look. More than £13m has been invested in the company’s ‘Parks of the Future’ initiative.
Three parks, Newquay in Cornwall, Southview in Skegness, and Naze Marine, in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, will benefit from a whole host of exciting new activities and upgraded facilities as well as upgraded and brand new accommodation options, while Trecco Bay, Europe’s largest holiday park, will be bigger and better than ever after a further round of enhancements. The investment in these sites takes the total number of ‘Parks of the Future’ to ten, as Parkdean continues to invest in taking its parks to the next level.
HELP TO FILL PARK STAFFING GAPS
Hospitality is one of the most significantly impacted industries in the UK following the pandemic. Staff shortages due to isolation remain a challenge in 2022 with some businesses reporting that a third of their workforce are isolating at any one time. Soaring costs, supply chain issues, Brexit and an 80% decline in shift work hours during the pandemic are also factors for the industry.
So Redwigwam, the UK’s largest award-winning platform for flexible staff, has signed a partnership with leading hospitality software company Eviivo to help rebuild the hospitality sector. The company has helped over 5,000 businesses, both small and large, with finding and managing high quality temp staff to fill their shifts. The partnership with Eviivo, which helps over 13,000 hosts, property owners and hoteliers successfully manage properties through its award-winning platform, will help Redwigwam extend its offerings to ease communication services, manage guests and automate tasks for a wide range of B&Bs, hotels, vacation rentals and other independent accommodation.
Lorna Davidson, founder and CEO of Redwigwam, said: “We are looking forward to seeing how we can help bring significant workforce achievements to the accommodation sector together. “Our partnership will help sectors like hospitality to better navigate worker shortages and rising wage costs as well as providing business owners tools to succeed the next time that critical shortages occur.”
EQUITY FIRM ON ACQUISITION TRAIL
Private equity firm, Limerston Capital, has acquired Largo Leisure, a Scottish-based holiday park operator and announced leisure industry veteran, Andrew Howe as its Executive Chairman. The deal demonstrates Limerston Capital’s commitment to the holiday parks sector and will see it strengthen Largo Leisure’s offer through targeted investment and operational support.
Largo Leisure offers self-catering lodge, caravan and glamping holidays across four parks located in Letham Feus in Fife, Braidhaugh Park in Perthshire, Sauchope Links near Crail and Loch Tay in Perthshire. The business was founded in 2003 by Rupert Barret and is targeted at a premium market, successfully capitalising on sustained consumer trends favouring staycations. In addition to Largo Leisure, Limerston Capital has signalled its intentions for further acquisitions, with a specific focus on individual or groups of smaller holiday parks across the UK.
Using Andrew’s in-depth knowledge of the sector and his understanding of its challenges and opportunities, the team is identifying well run owner operator parks with solid customer bases that they can further enhance, recognising their value and growth potential.
BUTLIN’S SERVES UP FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Butlin’s has become an inaugural recipient of a PETA Holiday Award, given to the holiday company to celebrate a new animal-friendly era. From 2022, all activities and shows across the three Butlin’s resorts will be animal-free with a wide selection of delicious vegan dishes added to menus. Millions of UK families are eating more vegan foods for animal welfare, health, and environmental reasons. A survey by BBC Good Food showed that 21% of children from 5 to 16 years old are vegan or vegetarian and an additional 36% are interested in becoming so.
Butlin’s has adapted with the times – from just three vegan options on the menu in 2019 to over 100 today. PETA encourages the public to visit only attractions that do not use animals in performances or encounters or for any other entertainment purposes. “PETA applauds Butlin’s for offering spectacular and educational animal free entertainment,” says PETA Corporate Projects Manager Dr Carys Bennett. “And with a wonderful choice of vegan options, Butlin’s has become a top holiday destination for modern families. “We encourage all other holiday and tourist destinations still exploiting animals to follow Butlin’s lead.”
Jon Hendry Pickup, managing director of Butlin’s, says: “For several years now, we’ve been developing shows that bring the wow factor without using live animals. Guest feedback has been fantastic, and we can’t wait for Animals vs Dinosaurs to take to the stage in 2022. Our shows aren’t the only new thing this year,” Jon continues. “Delicious new vegan options can be found in all retail restaurants and buffets at the resorts and we’re always looking to expand our offering.”
SWIFT DONATION FOR MACMILLAN
Macmillan Cancer Support was grateful to receive £30,000 from the Hull-based Swift Group recently. Since 1995, Swift Group has donated to Macmillan through a recycling of goods scheme, whereby damaged or unsellable items are purchased by staff members, with monies coming to charity.
The company has also previously donated to Macmillan by hosting Macmillan Coffee Mornings and ‘dress down’ days. An outstanding £100,000 has been donated in total over the past 27 years. The UK’s largest manufacturer of caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes, as part of the fundraising, eco-friendly scheme, Swift employees have the chance to purchase any kind of redundant or surplus materials from offcuts of wood to slightly imperfect items, like a scratched microwave.
Swift’s Content Marketing Manager, Cheryl Whiten explained: “Pretty much everyone is affected directly or indirectly by someone living with cancer, so everyone here at Team Swift understands the importance and meaning behind this scheme.” Swift’s Managing Director, James Turner added: “It’s an absolute pleasure to support Macmillan’s incredible work.”
NEW OWNERS FOR PARK HOLIDAYS UK
One of Britain’s largest holiday park groups, Park Holidays UK, has been acquired by US real estate investment trust Sun Communities, Inc. (“Sun”). The £950 million acquisition was agreed in November 2021 and closed this month (April) following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority. Sun’s support will enable Park Holidays UK, which currently owns and manages 42 parks in Britain, to continue to invest in its existing high-quality holiday centres and to further expand its parks portfolio.
Sun is one of the largest owners and operators of manufactured housing, recreational vehicle and marina properties, and says that Park Holidays UK’s business model is a perfect complement to its own. Park Holidays UK Director Tony Clish said the acquisition will trigger an exciting new period of growth for the company: “The domestic holiday market continues to gain traction in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic environment, and we are seeing an ever-increasing demand for UK holidays,” he said.
“This partnership with Sun will bolster our ability to acquire new parks, and to continue driving up quality standards by making additional investment in our existing parks. “Our two companies share precisely the same values in terms of delivering an exceptional experience to customers at realistic value-for-money prices. “We both recognise that quality and value are the main drivers of holiday bookings and holiday home sales and are determined that this will remain our prime competitive edge,” he added.
PARK’S REGAL POLLINATOR BLOSSOMS
To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Somerset’s Long Hazel Park have planted a Harry Masters cider apple tree as a part of the Green Canopy initiative. With the help of the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury, the Long Hazel Park team discovered the Harry Masters variety was reared only five miles away by Mr Masters in Yarlington, as long ago as the late 1800s.
The Harry Masters apples are popular in many local cider blends and will be good companions to grow alongside our existing apple trees for cross pollination. The new apple tree will offer another variety of tree for the Park’s Tree-Mendous Challenge, providing blossom to encourage pollinators, as part of the Park’s David Bellamy Pledge for Nature.
MAKING A PARK DIFFERENCE
Leisuredays and Caravan Guard donates £1 to Heart Research UK every time a customer opts for an emailed policy rather than receiving their documents through the post. In 2021, its “Paperless Policies” campaign raised £18,614 for the charity, bringing the total amount raised in the last 12 years to £150,364. The money will be used to fund a PhD Studentship at the University of Leeds.
The student will be working on a project which aims to identify which type of platelet becomes stickier in patients with heart disease. Caravan Guard and Leisuredays lost one of their long-serving employees to heart disease, in December 2020, so they’re delighted to be funding this research project.
WINNING CUSTOMER JOURNEYS
Value is going to be important to the post-COVID consumer…
Figures from leading hospitality tech company Zonal reveal that 80 per cent of consumers are interested in some form of personalisation when visiting hospitality venues. Zonal’s most recent GO Tech report shows that while financial incentives, such as personalised discounts and deals are popular, there are other previously untapped opportunities for hospitality businesses to drive sales and repeat visits through personalisation. The findings highlight both a generation and a gender gap when it comes to what consumers want from personalisation and the data they are willing to share to get it.
Commenting on the findings, Alison Vasey, Group Product Director, Zonal, said: “At its very heart, hospitality is about providing a personal and bespoke experience for every individual consumer. Traditionally this has been done face-to-face and in-venue, but now technology can help venues offer a personalised touch at every stage of the customer journey. “From offering customers discounts on their favourite drink to delighting them with personal touches in venue such as balloons on their birthday, there are numerous ways for businesses to further enhance the great customer experiences the industry is always striving to deliver. “There is perhaps a lack of awareness currently around what a SPRING 2022
WINNING CUSTOMER JOURNEYS NEWS SPECIAL
Value is going to be important to the post-COVID consumer… personalised experience could look like and a wariness around sharing data. However, our research shows that through clear communication and by offering the right incentives, venues can overcome this and create bespoke experiences that drive sales and encourage loyal and engaged consumers.” Across all consumers, the top five most wanted forms of personalisation are:
• Discounts and deals - A third (33%) expect tailored discounts and deals as a matter of course, and nearly half (45%) think they would be nice to have
• Loyalty schemes – Well over a quarter (29%) are interested in a loyalty scheme with rewards that are personalised to their habits and preferences
• Updates - 29% of consumers expect to receive updates about things like the status and timing of their orders, and a further 46% would welcome them
• Recommendations - Around a fifth of consumers now expect to receive tailored recommendations (20%), or to be presented with personalised menus that incorporate their favourite dishes and drinks (19%). Another 44% and 43% of consumers respectively regard these as nice-to have
• VIP perks - One in six (17%) consumers would like the ability to sit at a favourite table without having to ask, and some would appreciate celebratory details like balloons on a birthday The research was carried out in partnership with industry data and insight firm, CGA and tech specialists, Airship.
Karl Chessell, CGA Director - Hospitality Operators and Food, EMEA, commented: “As we emerge from COVID, it’s clear that consumer behaviour has changed in some fundamental ways. As they establish new habits in restaurants, pubs and bars, people expect their brands to treat them as individuals rather than numbers. It means that personalisation is increasingly not just a nice surprise— it’s an expected part of a hospitality visit. “Value is going to be important to the post-COVID consumer, especially at a time when disposable income is squeezed. But as our GO Technology research makes plain, good personalisation goes beyond money: it’s about the creation of memorable experiences that show people they are valued.
It will be a powerful driver of loyalty and recommendation in 2022 and beyond, and the brands that can deliver it best will have a huge head start on the competition.” Dan Brookman, CEO, Airship & Toggle, agreed: “Now is the time more than ever to get to know your customer. Personalisation, context of purchase and customer lifetime value are key drivers not only for marketing, but for overall growth. “Taking ALL your customers on a journey that represents your brand, that interacts across all the physical and digital touchpoints will deliver engagement. Be clear in your message, concise in your value exchange and keep it simple for your teams!”
AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Jane Herbert on well-spent investment in washroom facilities…
As the UK staycation boom continues, the focus has never been so intense on the need for holiday park and campsite operators to provide top quality facilities. Footfalls are higher but the customers also ever more discerning, as the industry attracts a new level of clientele. Lee Robinson of Yorkshire based Cubicle Centre who have manufactured, supplied and installed many thousands of bespoke washroom cubicles all over the UK.
Lee advises: “Robustness and longevity of product is key to ensuring your washroom stays in tip-top condition throughout the season. “The smallest rooms in the building really can lead to the biggest frustrations,” Lee explains. “The main pitfall we see in washroom design is when someone has chosen an unsuitable material for cubicles and they end up being completely unfit for purpose.” The Cubicle Centre’s Cairngorm range is the perfect solution for high traffic areas and the ideal choice for many busy campsites, such as Pillaton Hall Farm in Staffordshire.
The Cubicle Centre designed the waterproof, hardwearing and easy to clean cubicles and matching vanity units, made from CGL (Compact Grade Laminate). The facilities at Pillaton were also made to be child-friendly, with low profile wash basins and urinals. “We were pleased with the completed washrooms in our new facilities block. Our customer feedback since the opening has been amazing,” says Pillaton Hall Farm owner, Dave Pearce.
Appealing to everyone in the family, as well as the needs of less able visitors, is an increasingly important design consideration. According to Lee, washrooms are now much more likely to include family facilities, as well as privacy screens. Having a specific dry area within shower cubicles is also a necessity. “Our washroom panels at a recent caravan park installation in Snowdonia are a good example of dry area provision within a shower cubicle,” says Lee. “The design includes custom bench seating within the units for both practicality and cleanliness.” Dorset-based Commercial Washrooms offer a full turn-key washroom refurbishment and cubicle installation service.
Managing Director, Andy Seddon, highlights their refurbishment of the washrooms at Oakdene Holiday Park in Dorset as an example of how design excellence means combining key functionality with aesthetics. “The main entertainment building at Oakdene is a busy environment with a high footfall,” explains Andy. “The owners were conscious that the new washrooms must be durable, hard wearing and easy to clean, but also knew how important it was to make these washrooms a warm and inviting space.” “Products must be robust and long lasting, whilst at the same time offering a top end look and feel. With large volumes of users in a short amount of time, cleaning, maintenance and replenishment of consumables are all key factors in washroom planning and design.”
A consequence of the Covid pandemic has been the huge increase in awareness and standards of hygiene in all public (and private) spaces. “The biggest uplift we have seen is the use of sensor taps and flush controls in order to make washrooms “touch free” and thus more hygienic,” says Andy. “Sensor taps are becoming more prevalent, and with the majority of these now being available as battery powered, they can easily be retrofitted into existing washrooms as an upgrade, without the need for electrical feeds to be installed.”
Commercial Washrooms were also responsible for a recent refurbishment project at Cofton Holiday Park in Devon. A dedicated shower and changing area was needed for non-resident guests using the outdoor swimming pool. New easily-maintained shower enclosures were installed with hygiene and waterproof performance taking prime consideration. The design features sensor flush controls on the toilets and urinals, sensor taps, and a sensor operated hand dryer.
A new PIR lighting system with low energy LED lighting was also installed. Removing touchpoints helps improve hygiene but as Andy explains, the use of sensor operated equipment also delivers other benefits too. “Sensors only let the water or electricity flow for a set period of time; this eliminates the risk of taps being left on, preventing flooding and accidental water wastage, and therefore generating huge water savings.”
As energy bills increase and we look for ways to save both money and the environment, eco-efficient and energy saving products are becoming more prevalent. Small changes can reap big dividends in washrooms, without the need for a complete refurbishment. Smarti Environmental, the UK’s leading waterless urinal provider, is urging holiday parks to play their part in the battle against water wastage.
The company is offering large organisations with 100 or more urinals, a free washroom trial for 3-months, including free installation of its retro-fit waterless valves. Smarti Environmental’s research shows that there are currently around 3.5 million water-supplied urinals in the UK, which collectively waste 217 billion litres of water each year, equivalent to 87,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. To put this into an individual perspective, Smarti Environmental says its waterless urinal valve cuts the annual cost of running a water flush urinal by more than 50%, even before plumbing costs associated with blocked pipes and floods caused by calcium build-up are taken into account.
Made from fully recyclable materials, the valves fit 98% of standard urinals with no need to change urinal bowls, and reduce the annual running cost of a typical three bay urinal by between £630 and £1,230 a year. Kimberley Hill, Sales Manager at Smarti Environmental, comments: “Businesses have a key part to play in reducing needless water waste, and one of the simplest and most cost effective steps is to switch to waterless urinals. This not only saves 100,000 litres of water per urinal, per year, but it also cuts related costs by more than half, and CO2 by 105kg per urinal. If all urinals in the UK went waterless, that would be the equivalent of removing 100,000 diesel cars from the road.”
Eco-credentials are becoming an increasingly important differentiator for modern holiday makers, as well as for those organisations who assign quality ratings and awards. Managing Director of The Loo of the Year Awards, Becky Wall, says that she has noticed a trend for both eco facilities and an increased level of hygiene provision in award entrants. Encouraging the highest possible standards across all ‘away from home’ washrooms throughout the UK and Ireland has been the objective of the annual Loo of the Year Awards since they began in 1987.
A Loo of the Year Award is an established benchmark of washroom provision and compliance to national standards. The Loo of the Year Awards has 61 different categories and the Holiday Parks division is always well-supported with many entrants taking part year after year. Many of the parks have been receivers of the higher grades within the Awards, and according Becky, as new grades have been introduced, the parks have replied by providing even better standards.
“In the 2021 Awards, 5.5% of the entrants were from holiday parks and they all received the higher grades - 79% Platinum and 21% Diamond grade,” says Becky. “The 2021 National Category Award Winners for Holiday Parks was won by Broadhembury Caravan and Camping Park for England, Llanberis Touring Park for Wales and Ord House Country Park for Scotland. The National Awards for Baby Changing Facilities in England and Wales were also won by Holiday Parks - Ludlow Touring Park and Pencelli Castle Caravan and Camping Park respectively.
Pencelli went onto win the overall UK trophy too.” Entrants for the 2022 Awards have until 31st July to throw their hat in the ring. Park or site owners wishing to further distinguish themselves, could follow in the footsteps of parks such as Broadhembury and consider Toilet Twinning. This charitable venture raises funds to provide clean water, safe toilets and hygiene training in some of the poorest communities in the world. In return for a £60 donation, toilets can be twinned with a family’s household loo in a vulnerable community overseas. Twinners receive a certificate to display, and the satisfaction of helping transform the lives of those in need.
01202 650 900
Loo of the Year Awards
01392 311 202
0300 321 3217
THRILLS AND SPILLS
Why settle for a pool when you can have an aquatic playground…
With the vast array of add-ons that are now available, mean that even the most modest swimming pool can be transformed into an aquatic playgrounds. A plethora of waterslide options offer varying journeys at a choice of speeds and travel in either an open or closed flume. A great water attraction is one that provides a form of aquatic play for everyone. An aquatic feature should be designed and developed to spontaneously entertain many visitors throughout its hours of operation. Body slides and waterslides sometimes require a raft to board and ride with some starting inside, venturing outside before completing the journey back indoors.
Start and stop systems, with touchpad sensors and speedometers for competitive games, offer special effects such as LED rings, transparent sections and video projectors that provide virtual reality experiences. Boasting a fleet of engineers and an impressive 56 years of experience, aquatic play specialists, Ustigate, meet every enquiry with fresh eyes. Ustigate provide a full turnkey solution in the design, build and maintenance of water attractions and are proud to have designed and built over 100 water features and more than 100 aquatic play facilities as they approach their sixth decade in business.
“Our team expertise and experience expands with every project and more knowledge coupled with evolving modern technology enables us to conserve more and utilise wisely,” explains Ustigate’s Michelle Minns-Sykes. “It is an exciting industry to work in and our collaborations, team, partnerships and products enable us to move with the times and remain at the height of aquatic innovation and efficiency,” Michelle continues. “Our dedication is enhancing inclusive aquatic environments for everyone to enjoy whether it be a calming water feature or a large tipping bucket or faster flume that thrills.”
Offering to deliver an inclusive aquatic play scheme that is fun for friends, families, all ages and abilities, Ustigate partner with global aquatic play giants, Vortex, for projects and products that have proven to last the test of time. “The best factor in our line of work is the ability to excite and exercise an inclusive audience at the same time,” says Michelle.
Ustigate Waterplay and Vortex International now offer much more choice and much more play value; there is a choice of 150+ Splashpad® Products and plentiful ground sprays too. The majority of the products are available with a Safeswap™ anchor enabling the exchange of products in the future, without the need to break the ground. A Safeswap™ anchor can be seen with an above ground item, a ground spray or capped.
This enables a splashpad to be built in phases and it also ensures the aquatic play facility will remain modern in years to come as new products can be easily introduced in the future. It is not just the product choices that have upped the aquatic play game. Vortex have incorporated a number of technologies into their product line; making play items more interactive and aquatic play activities more physical and fun.
Examples are the award-winning Explora collection that engages children to move, push, pull, spin and splash and a family of flush mounted features called Hop that invite children to bounce and splash. The technologies Turntec™ and Twirltec™ invite children to rotate features a full 360° which places the water direction in their excitable hands. Features that include Twirltec™ also provide the ability to rotate and create attractive, spiralling water patterns.
Ground sprays are offered in all shapes, sizes and heights; some arrive with gusto and others provide a nice gentle water effect, perfect to tickle the toes of novices arriving to experience water play for the first time. “A benefit of water play is that it engages children to interact with each other and this promotes positive social development,” Michelle points out. “The aquatic play activities that excite and exercise promote both physical and mental wellbeing.
Michelle says: “Timescales are generally no more than 12 weeks to finalise a design, procure, construct, complete, carry out a water test, commission, provide staff training and handover. “There is not a generic figure that can be produced for a project because all projects are unique in terms of the scheme, location and installation – the play value, plant room and connection to services.” An enquiry begins with gathering information, a meeting, site survey and design brief. So start gathering those aquatic play ideas straight away.
Ustigate Water Play
Tel. 01322 424445
Convert under-used paddling pools into exciting splash pads…
Splash pads can be an excellent social environment for all children but especially those with learning or physical disabilities. Specialist suppliers, The Splash, has recently been undertaking new projects to convert redundant paddling pools and convert them into splash pads to create more inclusive, accessible, creative play spaces.
The Splash team work with local authorities, as well as holiday parks, to create inclusive play areas where children can get together and play in a stimulating and immersive environment. Designed to be space and cost efficient, the splashpads are a vibrant oasis that will attract visitors to an area, having a huge positive impact on businesses and communities alike. Crucially, the team has designed its own system and features that provide huge water saving benefits to our customer’s.
By recirculating water, their tried and tested system, that conforms to industry standards, can save up to 50m3 of water per day; a huge water saving over the annual demands of a busy attraction. “The change away from single use systems has been driven not only by cost saving but also environmental impact,” explains Clare Jayson on behalf of The Splash. “With the concern of water shortages in the future and the potential of more prolonged droughts, we can see the possibility that single use systems might not be able to open,” Clare adds.
The Splash has developed their system to comply with PWTAG (Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group) recommendations and to enhance the ease of maintenance. They have automated and simplified their system while maintaining high levels of safety and quality. A splashpad system will need a three-phase electric supply, a mains Sewer and a mains water supply. The closer these are to the preferred site, the less cost that will be spent on facilitating these. You probably need a minimum of 200m2 of space to allow a 150m splash pad with a 1.2m wide path.
The splashpad location should be where trees are not too close as leaves and debris cause drains to block and don’t forget about ample car parking if you are looking to attract day visitors. Themed play features can create more imaginative play and can be tied into local historical events. Castles, Dragons, Pirates, Nautical and Dinosaurs are all popular themes and can create great visuals for marketing. Clare adds: “Make sure that the design proposed is age relevant and covers the age groups that your park is catering for.
“A good design will create areas of free movement and high levels of activity for children in the 6-12 age range with areas of less activity and gentler features for toddlers and less confident children.” All The Splash bespoke features are made, in the UK which means you can benefit from considerable cost and time saving with almost endless design possibilities. Manufacturing processes and experience give you the advantage of a completely bespoke design project at an ‘off the shelf’ price.
SHIVER ME TIMBERS!
Jason Nash plunges into the magical world of aquatic water play…
Aye, Me Hearties!’ I am adopting my best Captain Jack Sparrow voice, because pirate themes remain among one of the top design themes for aquatic water play. Dolphins are a bit old hat these days but, no doubt buoyed by blockbuster movies like Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid, nautical themes are still a very popular creative trend and never forget the ever-popular dungeons and dragons!
“When we design for any site, we have to look at the space,” advises Nicholas Creis, one of the expert design team of global water play specialists, ProSlide. “A resort or holiday park generally has less space available than a full water park, so we have to take that into account,” Nicholas acknowledges.
Fitting in to a limited space has resulted in many holiday operators opting for popular body slides like ProSlide’s TWISTER or RallyRACER® that can be customised to fit smaller sites. Water rides have a known record of being excellent ways to attract guests to a location for their summer holidays, while being relatively low maintenance. But it is vital to work with a supplier that can assure differentiation, an incredible ride experience, and a safe, on-time opening.
Rides that cater for families are particularly popular, like the ones found in ProSlide’s WaterKINGDOM line of attractions. Budgets can vary even more. It is not uncommon to see investments starting at £150,000 for KIDZ Rides and going up to £1 million for an entire tubing or body slide complex. “At ProSlide, we’re always squarely focused on working in collaborating with our client, assessing their needs, and designing what works best for their budget,” says Nicholas.
“Timelines and budgets are rather variable and dependent on a number of things,” he continues. “We need to consider whether we’re looking at an existing site, where the client wants to do an expansion, or whether we’re looking at a completely new site. “For an expansion, many clients are looking at approximately one year before their ride opens – though it can be less for a smaller attraction. Newer sites tend to have more to consider and it can be two to three years before their rides open.” ‘Avast!’ Oh, I am off again. It costs nothing to have an initial friendly ‘Parley’ with ProSlide on how to spice up your visitor appeal with investment in water play. So why not make contact today.
HOORAY! IT’S RAINING!
Emily Martin presents top tips for weather-proof play…
In 2021, temperatures hit an unseasonable 24 degrees Celsius in March, followed by the wettest every May on record. In 2020 (or as we call it, ‘the year we do not mention’) we had the wettest February ever recorded followed by a gloriously sunny spring. There’s nothing more unpredictable than a British summer and with extreme weather becoming increasingly the norm, savvy holiday parks are advised to be ready for anything.
Unpredictable weather can sometimes a deterrent for holidaymakers who don’t want to waste their precious annual leave (or money) on a holiday that might be a wash-out. But for cunning holiday park owners, when it comes to indoor play there are ways you can reassure prospective bookers and stand out from the crowd. “British weather can be unpredictable, so it’s really important to provide plenty of indoor entertainment, as well as opportunities to eat and dine in the same area,” advises Helen Scott a Director at Cofton Holidays where indoor play is held in high regard.
“We’re proud to be an all year round, all-weather holiday destination in South Devon. Come rain or shine, there’s always something to keep families entertained and we’ve worked hard to provide a rich and varied range of indoor entertainment experiences, mixing activities and play so there’s always something for the whole family to enjoy.”
Cofton have indoor play covered or the children and the adults too as Helen explains: “Our indoor play offering includes a heated indoor swimming pool with hydrotherapy loungers, bubbling water jets and splash pad area, sauna, steam room and gym. “Also fitness and cycling studios, a bowling alley an amusement arcade and soft play area. Having all our indoor play facilities in one central complex works really well for our guests,” says Helen.
“When it’s raining, you don’t want to be running from one end of the site to the other, ducking from the wet weather.” Helen continues: “Our indoor pool is perfectly located next to our café so guests can enjoy a morning swim and recharge afterwards with a fresh coffee and fluffy slice of cake. Many of our guests regularly spend half of their day in our indoor complex.” The Cofton Holidays indoor play facilities have been carefully chosen so that they meet the needs of all age groups.
Helen says: “The soft play area is aimed at children under the age of eight, and has been carefully located with plenty of seating nearby, so that adults can keep an eye on their young ones, while they enjoy light refreshments.” Helen flags up: “Something that we have adopted recently is a pre booking system for our indoor pool. This is something we introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure we complied with social distancing rules, but it has worked really well for us.
“Our indoor pool is incredibly popular and can get busy, particularly during the school holidays, so we have decided to keep this booking system in place for the foreseeable future. It allows us to control how busy the pool gets without disappointing customers so it is definitely something I would recommend other park owners think about.” Tony Clish, is the Director at Park Holidays UK. We asked him about indoor play facilities and how important the planning and preparation of those areas are to a Park Holidays site. Tony says: “As a family-focussed holiday parks group, we recognise the importance of providing play facilities for all ages – and in all weathers.
“That’s why many of our 40-plus parks make provision for indoor play areas suitable for toddler-age upwards, with the obvious provision that parental supervision is required at all times in the case of smaller children. Tony continues: “Soft play areas are especially popular as they provide a safe environment in which youngsters can let off steam for an hour or two – and, of course, give mum and dad a breather. “Seating and café areas are often located nearby which give parents an opportunity to view their children at play, and park staff keep a regular eye open to check on aspects such as cleanliness and the number of youngsters using the amenity.
“Children are also well provided for in other indoor areas such as swimming pools where smaller slides and other water features mean that all ages can make use of the facility. Customer comments from younger families often pay tribute to our indoor play zones, and they represent a significant part of the investment we make in activities at our parks.” Whether you’re singing in the rain or walking on sunshine, having plenty to do inside and undercover is a must if you want to ensure happy guests and consistent income all your round.
ADVICE ON TAP
For those who incorporate a gaming, play or adventure zone within your visitor attraction within your resort, the InterFun Expo is a great opportunity to find out about the latest product innovations and learn about current trends and new tech to help you drive more visitors to your attraction. The InterFun Expo will take place on 26-27 April, 2022, at New Dock Hall in the Royal Armouries complex in Leeds. The opening hours are 10am-5pm on 26 April and 10am – 4pm on 27 April. A huge range of products will be represented:
• Aerial adventure
• Soft play
• Arcade games
• Mini sports
• Family and kiddie rides
• Playground equipment
• Laser tag & paintball
• Table games
The exhibition is supported by an eye-catching seminar timetable that are all free to attend and do not have to be pre-booked; you simply drop in and out of those of interest to you and your organisation. Michael Harrison kicks off the schedule with a look at Trends In the UK Leisure Sector with other subjects including Attracting Visitors Through Mixed Marketing Techniques, The Soft Play Sector Post Covid and Immersive Tech – turning Visitors Into Players. Simply register to attend and you will gain access to the exhibition and seminars via www.interfunexpo.com
GLAMPING OFFERS STAYING POWER
The rise in popularity of UK staycations has inspired the impressive Love2Stay resort, on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, to invest further and offer a collection of luxury bespoke lodges to complement their existing Glamping portfolio Celebrating its fifth birthday, the Love2Stay resort is set in 22 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and enjoys magnificent views over Wales on one side and the Shropshire Hills on the other.
The resort offers 122 hardstanding touring pitches and 11 Safari Glamping Lodges with private hot tubs, glamping site bookings were up 60 per cent, the fifth straight year of growth. “Glamping was already on the upswing throughout the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic started,” shares Chris Skitt Love2Stay, General Manager. “Last year, Love2Stay saw bookings explode, with families experiencing and enjoying glamping for the first time.
“All signs point to continued growth in the coming years. We believe that luxury and comfort should not be sacrificed while enjoying the great outdoors,” ,” he continues. “So, we decided to expand further with our new Black Barn Lodges. Glamping with us is simple. We combine the need for modern comfort with a desire to be as close to nature as possible.”
A total of 12 custom-built single lodges and two twin lodges have been purchased by the resort’s owner, Salop Leisure, to be used in the new Black Barn Lodges development. After a £1 million investment in the resort last year, the Love2Stay glamping village now boasts 36 deluxe lodges, including the original 11 Safari Lodges and 11 Woodland Lodges, which were added last year as part of the planned phase of development. Lowfield Leisure, based in Marton, near Shrewsbury, designed and created the new Black Lodges for Salop Leisure, Love2Stay’s parent company.
The new lodges can accommodate from four to six guests. Each of the three bedrooms, which include a king-sized main bedroom, a twin mezze room, and a sofa bed in the living area, is equipped with high-quality appliances and a log burner. Every lodge has its own private hot tub as well as an outside fire pit for guests to enjoy. In addition to the luxury glamping experience offered by the custom built Black Lodges, guests can enjoy a range of amenities, including a natural bio swimming pool, splash pool, and beach, as well as an on-site cinema. There are also wellness services, and a huge variety of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. High season rates for these unique glamping lodges are £963 for three nights, while the low season rates are £558, with a minimum stay of three nights.
Tel. 01743 583124
CHILDHOOD DREAM COMES TRUE
Carol Gerrard-Hughes has realised a childhood dream by investing £300,000 to improve the Forest View pub and caravan site in Oakmere, Northwich using a Business Finance loan from Reward Finance Group. Carol fell in love with the site when her parents bought a caravan when she was six and the family spent weekends and school holidays at Forest View.
At 13, she started washing up in the pub, then worked behind the bar and, ultimately, finished up running it. Realising her ambition to own Forest View has not been easy. Having bought the tenancy for the pub and the site in 2007, she was advised by pub operator and owner, Scottish and Newcastle, that they were planning to sell the site to a housing developer in 2009. To prevent this from happening, she moved quickly and bought the whole lot from them.
As well as the pub, the site has 45 static caravans and 26 touring pitches. Recognising The potential for Forest View, which overlooks Delamere Forest, Carol was keen to make a significant investment in the site. Her plans were to extend and refurbish the pub, build a new toilet block, create 20 more touring pitches, provide additional electrical points for the caravans, as well as landscaping and tidying up the site to further enhance its appeal.
Despite the equity in the site, none of the banks would lend her the money to carry out her plans. However, Matthews Sutton & Co Accountants in Liverpool introduced Carol to Reward Finance Group, who quickly provided the funds having been impressed with Carol’s enthusiasm and tenacity, as well as her plans for the site and the additional revenue this would generate.
SECONDS OUT FOR STONHAM BARNS
Former professional US boxing legends Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney will be the stars of a ‘Nights With’ Evening at Stonham Barns Park – one of Suffolk’s premier destination venues - hosted by the venue’s ambassador UK pro boxing giant Glenn McCrory. Stonham Barns Park is a day out for all the family to suit all ages.
Other activities at the leisure, retail and holiday venue include The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, The Bistro, The Golf Centre including Adventure Golf and FootGolf, The Teapot Pottery, Escape Rooms, holiday lodges, a caravan park, camping and glamping, Tumbledown indoor play barn and fishing lakes. Larry ‘The Easton Assassin’ Holmes, so called as he was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, defended his World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight World Title belt against top contender ‘Gentleman’ Gerry Cooney in 1972 outdoors at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Holmes (72) and Cooney (65) have been close, lifelong friends. Stonham Barns Park owner, Alan Forward said: “We are beyond privileged to be hosting these outstanding personalities from the world of boxing. It’s a historic day for us to be launching our ‘Nights With’ Evenings with such respected names from the sporting past.’ Full ticket info for the event on May 16th is available at Stonham Barns Park, www.stonhambarns.co.uk or call 01449 711111.
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Picture postcards from Monkton Wyld, West Dorset…
Monkton Wyld, near the coastal village of Charmouth in West Dorset, should be rightly proud of its quarter-century of providing families with first-class holiday experiences. Joanna and Simon Kewley first started welcoming guests to their family farm in the early nineties, and its idyllic location and friendly atmosphere quickly won them a large following.
Over the years, the couple have invested much time and energy into ensuring that the park offers families the perfect surroundings for a memorable Dorset holiday. The holiday park is situated in West Dorset’s Area of Outstanding National Beauty, only three miles from the World Heritage Jurassic Coast line of Devon and Dorset. Joanna and Simon have created many wildlife habitats in their 26-acre grounds where wild flowers flourish and provide foraging for honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
They have always been keen to run their park along sustainable lines and have been presented with the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level for many years. The tranquil atmosphere is maintained by the park’s division into small paddocks for camping, caravan and motorhome guests who come from across Britain and mainland Europe. The summer camping field offers wonderful spacious camping for families and friends. A level rally field offers a great destination for small and larger groups with a number of 10amp pitches are available.
As well as pitches for caravans, motorhomes and tents, Monkton Wyld has a small but prestigious development of luxury caravan holiday homes. The 17C farmhouse sleeps up to nine people and pets are welcome to a four bedroom, holiday bungalow. A fully stocked shop is available on site for all those essentials and little luxuries. The site currently have three different food vans visiting weekly. Fish and Chips, Wood-fired pizzas and a Pie and Burger Van.
Tel. 01297 631131
STEPPING UP THEIR GAME
A personal view by Jamaine Campbell of MD Elite Dynamics
Solely from an industry viewpoint, if two years of Covid have shown us anything it’s that holiday parks are an increasingly attractive proposition. In the last 12 months we’ve seen huge international conglomerates want a piece of the pie with CVC Capital Partners acquiring Away Resorts & Coppergreen Leisure Resorts, Sun Communities acquiring Park Holidays and Cove Communities acquiring Argyll Holidays – the value of those three combined deals alone close to £1.5bn.
Manufacturers have been responding to record demand for caravans and lodges and holiday parks have had a strong 2021 on the back of what was a challenging 2020 for everyone within the travel and hospitality industry. Almost every week, there’s a new report about land somewhere in the UK being turned into new holiday parks.
Added to that, there’s some pretty impressive amounts of money being invested by holiday park operators to improve, enhance, and introduce new facilities to existing holiday parks and resorts. There will inevitably be people who are desperate to board a plane and fly off to the sun at the first opportunity -- we’ve seen the photographs from UK airports at Easter to prove it! However, for every one of those people, there will be another who can’t face the hassle or who still feels apprehensive or vulnerable travelling anywhere.
The pandemic introduced a new audience of people to caravan and lodge holidays, and for the first time in their lives they’ve had their eyes opened to how great they can be and can’t wait to go back. If someone has paid thousands of pounds out for an amazing lodge with a hot tub, they’ll be going back to that park time and time again. Like anything in business… you’ll win some customers, and you’ll lose some, but the demand is still there, and the forecast is still bright. Thanks in part to that demand and in response to new players entering the market, holiday parks are stepping up their game on all levels - investing in facilities and investing in technology.
For many, it’s more than a holiday park now, they’re growing into holiday resorts with multiple revenue streams; everything from golf courses to spa treatments to a range of added value activities. They’re branching out and at the same time coming to understand the benefits of modern business software solutions that can handle multiple revenue streams and growth to multiple parks. Yes, they need a park management system that manages bookings and owners. But now, they also need an integrated CRM system and an Owners App as everyone knows how important it is to engage with customers and owners.
They want a membership module if they’ve got any type of leisure facility, they want an Events module if they offer weddings and conferences, they want an activities module if they do yoga or bookable kid’s activities. Then they want key integrations to EPOS and Digital signature and to third-party payment gateways like WorldPay or Sage Pay. The more revenue streams a holiday park has, the more they need a software solution that can bring it all together. For us at Elite Dynamics, the future is more integration and deeper integration to the Microsoft platforms our products are built on.
There are so many exciting third-party integrations and power apps available that can change the way holiday parks operate in terms of efficiencies and exceeding customer expectations; from contactless check-ins and payments to RFID tagging of caravans to scan them on and off parks. For the last six years we’ve been doing what we can to help educate the holiday park industry on the benefits of technology. Although as an industry we’re still several years behind the hotel market on adopting technology, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
I love this industry. From the first moment I set foot on a holiday park, I loved it. That’s why the driver for everyone at Elite Dynamics is to get the industry to move toward a position where technology isn’t something to be feared, but part of a strategic move to improve business. With dedication, commitment, and focus everyone connected to the industry can benefit from adopting technology and have a greater awareness of what is possible.
THREE REASONS TO ACT STRATEGICALLY TO ENSURE HOLIDAY PARK FIRE SAFETY
Fire constitutes one of the biggest risks to the total loss of a park home, and with many sites often at lower capacity or closed during off-season, upgrading site safety and efficiency should be a top priority for site managers. Tom Ambler, sales manager for leisure at Ramtech, shares the three reasons to consider more strategic site safety management, as sites reopen for the busy spring/summer season.
Safeguard parks and people
Winter and spring is the ideal time to review a site and prepare it for the busier Easter and summer period. This should vitally include fire safety standards - as once peak season is here and the warmer weather attracts more visitors, the heat, coupled with popular campsite activities such as fires and barbecues, can be a real melting pot in terms of park accidents.
Recent fire reports provide a stark warning to site owners, including how fire crews battled a large blaze at a Dorset holiday park, showcasing the chaos that fire can wreak. Fortunately, no more than property damage was the outcome on this occasion, but investing in the appropriate safety measures ahead of time, can help to reduce fire risk and help to stop a blaze quickly with the right detection in place.
Preparing a site in advance of opening, by checking that the current fire safety system is working, is advisable. Any faulty wiring or machinery - particularly relating to power generators for homes or common buildings - as well as the threat of arson and vandalism should be front of mind all year around.
Meet regulations with confidence
Currently, holiday park site owners have a legal obligation to manage fire safety under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“the FSO”). The act applies to all non-domestic premises including certain types of parks, such as those with common areas in leisure complexes, restaurants and guest houses. With park residents often mingling in these types of campsite community buildings, the threat to human life is very real.
Just a few years ago, there was an incident at a leisure facility on a campsite near Newquay, which resulted in extensive damage to several communal buildings including a swimming pool, sauna and gym. So, not only is protecting against fire a requirement under the FSO, it is also vitally important to avoid the financial implications, which can be huge. A fire forces site owners into a massive rebuild operation, potentially putting them out of action for a season for more.
A system, like Ramtech’s WES3, places the power in site owners’ hands. It’s an EN54-25 compliant connected device, that can be deployed at various points across holiday parks on stands. It acts as an emergency response system, with automatic smoke and heat detectors responding to site incidents and maintaining 24/7 coverage through the CONNECT unit, otherwise known as the brains of the system.
The WES3 is also IP55 rated, which means they are suitable for outdoor areas and won’t be affected by varying weather conditions. What’s more, the CONNECT system ensures off-site notifications can also be enabled, informing site owners and even alerting emergency authorities.
Get real time data to protect and improve your park
While sites must ensure that fire safety is robust, other park management features that support the efficient and daily running of the park, are also welcome. This is where technology has evolved to help answer these added value requirements at the same time as emergency response needs.
WiSE, for instance, is a reliable business information and monitoring platform providing real time alerts, data and information about security coverage. For holiday park operators, WiSE can also extend your existing security and fire system coverage, reducing the complexity and cost of enhancing your risk management systems.
The WiSE wireless security solution gives you peace of mind that your holiday park business and on-park properties are being securely monitored 24/7. Powered by long-life batteries and connected to a reliable radio technology, the system allows thousands of devices to be linked to a central base station that creates an instant alert via email, text or pager. WiSE is not dependent on SIM or WiFi to function, which is great for sites with little or no data or internet coverage.
For more information on how Ramtech’s solutions can help protect holiday park sites, visit https://ramtechglobal.com/
FORESTRY ENGLAND LAUNCH SEARCH FOR CAMPING OPERATORS
Following the announcement last week that the Camping and Caravanning Club have sold the Camping in The Forest (CiTF) business to Forestry England and Forestry and Land Scotland, Forestry England are now looking for new operators to run their sites.
There are 13 sites available in England (on a leasehold basis), and they have been split into four lots. The existing offer at these sites includes a total of over 4,000 pitches and represents a significant opportunity within the camping industry.
The lots are at Sherwood Pines (Nottinghamshire), Bracelands (Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire), Postern Hill (Savernake Forest, Wiltshire) and 10 sites across the New Forest (Hampshire).
These hugely popular and market-leading campsites provide guests with forest immersion and direct access to miles of walking and cycling trails and other outdoor activities. Each site is individual, and they range from those without any facilities, to sites with full amenity blocks, as well as some with cosy glamping pods and pre-erected tents.
The camping and touring market in England has remained resilient over recent decades and is now considered as being in a growth phase linked to the continued strength of the domestic tourism market and the affordability of camping as an accommodation choice. In recent years the standard of the camping and touring offer has had to evolve and innovate to meet the demands of a wider range of customers leading to an increasing sophistication in camping equipment and motorhomes, and the introduction of alternative accommodation types such as glamping.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant boom in camping and touring as UK residents, and increasingly, families, have sought to enjoy experiences closer to home. Forestry England Camping provides an excellent opportunity for operators to benefit from the sustained, elevated interest in camping, especially as camping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to holiday.
Forestry England are very excited about the potential of working with new operators across these sites. Although the offer at each campsite is established, they are looking for operators that are keen to innovate and expand the offer at these special locations. This could include experiential activity packages linked to nature, wildlife and recreation, and broadening the portfolio of camping accommodation where appropriate.
Working with Forestry England gives operators the unique opportunity to capitalise on the millions of people that come to enjoy the nation’s forests by converting day-visitors to overnight guests.
The campsites will be continue to be operated by the Camping and Caravanning Club in 2022 and there will not be any disruption to the high levels of service and experience for customers during this transition.
Forestry England are inviting expressions of interest from organisations who would like to hear more about the opportunity to operate and evolve one or more of the campsites. More information including how to register your interest can be found here.
LUXURY PODS ON LAKE WATER'S EDGE
Stunning 80-acre holiday destination, Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa, has released details about its luxury ‘lake pods’ which are available to book from April 2022.
The brand-new lake pods are perched right on the water’s edge, with a glass wall flooding the cabin with natural light and private balcony offering incredible views out onto the sparkling lake. Perfect as a romantic cosy hideaway, they offer all the authenticity of a traditional ‘camping-style’ trip but with home comforts such as a compact but practical kitchen, open plan living, kitchen and dining area and bathroom with walk-in shower, a perfect blend of modern living and close-to-nature tranquillity.
The exclusive Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa is 22 miles north of Dartmoor National Park, and just a 30-minute drive from Cornwall’s north coast, making it a perfect base for visitors who want to spend time in Devon as well as exploring Bude, Padstow and St. Ives.
The site is also situated within the North Devon Biosphere, one of six reserves in the UK created by UNESCO that finds creative ways for people and nature to thrive side-by-side.
Lakeshore Leisure Group is a UK leisure brand offering high quality holiday accommodation including self-catering rental cottages and lodges, hotel accommodation and privately owned lodges across three Devon locations; Otter Falls, Lakeview Manor and Clawford Lakes.
FLORAL FANFARES FOR WINDERMERE
Lakeland’s Park Cliffe holiday park has returned from the recent Cumbria in Bloom awards with a whole bunch of floral and environmental accolades.
The family-run park, near the shores of Windermere, scooped no fewer than four glittering prizes in the competition which attracted hundreds of entries from across Cumbria.
Judges described Park Cliffe as “outstanding” and a perfect fit to the world-famous landscape where wildlife and nature were given the same VIP treatment as guests. The four awards celebrated different aspects of the park including its stunning floral displays, the care of its woodlands, and the wide range of biodiversity in its grounds.
The park has been owned for over 13 years by Susan and Derek Dickson and has won a host of awards for its care of the natural world and conservation work. But Susan says that the real credit for its 2021 Cumbria in Bloom success was owed to its green-fingered staff team, and especially head groundsman Roger Holmes.
“Guests often comment on how visually stunning the park looks, not just in spring but also right throughout the year, thanks to Roger’s imagination and careful planning.
“Roger also gives priority to high nectar-bearing blooms, including wild flowers, which provide valuable foraging for butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators.
“We also try and ensure that there are plenty of late-flowering plants at this time of year so that these insects can top-up their energy levels before winter sets in.”
Park Cliffe nestles in 25 acres of picture-perfect countryside, and provides holiday homes to rent and buy, glamping pods, and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents. The park has been praised for the many wildlife habitats it has created, its championing of local foods in its shop and restaurant, and the use of low-level lighting so guests can enjoy the night sky.
Other initiatives include the banning of single-use plastics throughout the business, and the switch to non-polluting all-electric vehicles around the grounds.
Park Cliffe Holiday Park
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Picture postcards from Brighouse Bay Holiday Park in Southern Scotland…
Southern Scotland’s Brighouse Bay Holiday Park in Dumfries and Galloway has been named by the AA as the best campsite in Scotland. The family-run business near Borgue beat hundreds of other eligible parks in Scotland to the title when it was announced in November.
Awards given by the AA – based on guest reviews and a “secret shopper” visit by inspectors - are regarded as the Oscars of the holiday parks industry. The seaside park’s facilities, services and levels of hospitality all went under the microscope – and each was found to meet or exceed the AA’s highest standards on every level.
As well as welcoming campers and the owners of touring caravans and motorhomes, Brighouse Bay provides a number of other accommodation options. They include luxury holiday lodges to own and to hire, some with private hot-tubs, plus cosy glamping lodges which are especially popular with young families.
A member of the prestigious Best of British group of independent parks, site facilities include an 18-hole golf course with spectacular coastal views, and a leisure complex which features an indoor pool, bistro, bar and family entertainment.
Activities available on the park include a mountain bike pump track and, during the summer, pony trekking for all ages as well as an all-tide slipway for boat owners.
Not that Brighouse Bay is any stranger to awards for it has been graded 4 stars by inspectors from VisitScotland and won a number of environmental accolades. These include the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level, achieved for over 20 successive years in recognition of its many wildlife initiatives.
It also gained an additional award last year for its work to conserve hedges and woodlands, plus wildflower areas which provide vital foraging for honey bees and other pollinators. The park is also undertaking an ambitious rewilding project in areas of the grounds which will help provide additional wildlife habitats.
Tel. 01557 870 267
BEWARE THE SLIPS AND TRIPS
All you need to know about holiday park insurance…
As a holiday and caravan park owner or manager, the quieter winter season is often used as an opportunity to run annual maintenance checks and undertake refurbishment to interiors and exteriors where needed.
This is also a time when it is important to make sure that your park and all its assets are properly protected against any eventuality.
“Holiday park insurance can help you to identify what your park insurance needs are, and to make certain that these are provided for with a cost-effective policy,” says Dave Moffat, Director of Pib Group Insurance, the company behind the popular Park Protect scheme.
Whilst holiday parks present similar risk to many businesses there are significant differences. Holiday parks rely on the infrastructure on the park in the form of underground pipes and hook ups, access barriers, on site lighting etc and it is important that your insurance policy can cater for this.
“Many holiday parks will also have holiday home hire feet and holiday home stock,” advises Dave. “As such it is important that a parks insurance policy is able to cater for such units and also the debris removal and re-siting costs associated with replacing holiday homes. ”These are just two of many areas to consider when insuring holiday parks and it is important that your needs are professionally assessed.
In addition to recouping the actual financial cost of rebuilding or buying new holiday homes and buildings, it makes financial sense to obtain insurance which will provide you with a cover for the loss of revenue or profit incurred following a material loss.
It is important that you seek professional advice in this area to make sure the sum insured and indemnity period are sufficient for your business needs and the period your business could be affected following a serious loss, such as a fire or flood.
Pib offers common sense advice: “Having members of the public stay in your caravans and spend time in your park on a daily basis also exposes you to other financial risks.
“We live in an increasingly compensation-based culture, in which some people are willing to sue for the smallest things. Though some compensation claims may be for fatuous reasons, there are also very real risks within any holiday park that could result in injury or loss.”
One indemnity limit area holiday parks do need to consider is the limit of indemnity under this cover as the levels of very serious losses has increased exponentially in recent years and claims well in excess of £5m are no longer unusual. Crucially the limit of indemnity is set at the time of the incident but the ultimate settlement amount can fluctuate depending on the calculators used for such claims at the time of settlement. It is not possible to buy additional cover after the event and if your limit of indemnity is exhausted you would be responsible for the shortfall.
All businesses with employees are required to have Employers Liability Insurance arrangements, which usually has a £10,000,000 limit of indemnity. As with Public Liability, all Holiday Parks should consider higher limits of indemnity as it is no longer inconceivable that a very serious injury to an employee could exhaust this cover. The cost of arranging such Excess Liability cover is relatively small and should be discussed with a specialist Insurance provider.
Each holiday park will have different insurance needs, depending on size and a variety of other factors. A large-scale park with hundreds of caravans will have different policy requirements to that of a smaller family run park.
Insuring more than 200 caravan and holiday parks across the UK, Park Protect provides tailor-made insurance for the specific needs of your business.
Meanwhile, with all the signs pointing towards another bumper year for the industry what do Holiday Parks need to think about in relation to Insurance.
Compass Insurance have consistently raised awareness about the importance of being insured for the right amount, whether that’s parks themselves or their owners and their individual caravans and lodges. As the costs of rebuilding and replacing park buildings and in particular, caravans and lodges increases, this places more emphasis on sums insured being accurate.
For Parks this means making sure that any buildings and infrastructure insured on their policy is accurate and in some cases a valuation or survey is a good idea especially if you haven’t reviewed this for a few years.
Analysis at the end of 2021 showed that the cost of rebuilding and repairing damaged buildings had increased 7.9% in the last 12 months and forecasts show this continuing to increase as shortages of materials and labour continue into 2022. With that in mind we’re introducing a valuation service for parks insured with Compass so they can have the peace of mind that comes with a professional valuation for their sums insured.
For the owners of individual caravans on your park this can have greater significance as the current issues with supply of new and second-hand units means that what a customer insured for in good faith just six months ago may already be less than the cost of replacing that unit in today’s market.
IN GOOD FAITH
Compass always look at what the customer insured for at the point the policy was taken out or renewed and base our assessment of any claim on that value. In 2022 our policies will also be updated to contain a provision for this growing trend so that customers don’t find themselves underinsured for no fault of their own.
Compass are renowned for our market leading Holiday Caravan and Lodge product but in 2021 they invested time and resource in developing and launching more products that parks and their customers can benefit from.
Its Residential Park Home product underwent a major overhaul including the introduction of two tiers of cover (Essentials and Extra) which enable the customer to tailor it to meet their needs, as well as the addition of Home Emergency and Legal Expenses as optional covers.
They have also developed and launched products for owners of Touring Caravans and Motorhomes both of which give market leading levels of cover at very competitive premiums.
Finally, and new for 2022, Compass is excited to be announcing the launch of its travel insurance product for customers who book breaks on Holiday Parks in the UK.
This product has been developed specifically to meet the growing demand for UK holidays and gives the customer a wide range of cover including cancellation, curtailment and emergency assistance and also includes cover for Covid19 related illness or restrictions.
Caravan Guard (Leisuredays)
Tel. 01422 396 693
Tel. 0344 274 3908
Pib Group (Park Protect)
Tel. 01422 358 525
AN INSPECTOR CALLS
AA unveil latest national destination gongs…
Returning for the first time since 2019, the AA has unveiled its UK’s top campsites and caravanning UK destinations with the announcement of the 2021 Caravan and Camping Award winners in a virtual ceremony.
This year’s Campsite of the Year for England, and Overall Winner, was revealed as South Lytchett Manor Caravan & Camping Park, Poole, Dorset. Brighouse Bay Holiday Park, Brighouse Bay, Dumfries & Galloway took the prize for Scotland and Pencelli Castle Caravan & Camping Park, Brecon, Powys won the top award for Wales.
In addition to regional campsite categories, other awards included Holiday Centre of the Year, which was awarded to Park Foot Caravan & Camping Park, Pooley Bridge, Cumbria and Glamping Site of the Year, which went to Concierge Glamping, Chichester, West Sussex, which previously won Regional Campsite of the Year South East in 2019.
“We are delighted to announce the winners of the Caravan and Camping Awards 2021 and have the opportunity to celebrate those sites offering holidaymakers the highest quality camping and caravanning experiences,” Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Media.
“As the hospitality industry has reopened over the past few months, we have seen British tourists exploring the UK more than ever, enjoying incredible campsites and caravan parks across the country. We hope that our latest Caravan and Camping Guide helps them discover even more fantastic holiday destinations, including our wonderful winners.”
All Caravan and Camping Award winners are featured in the 54th edition of the AA Caravan and Camping Guide 2022, the ultimate guide to the UK’s best camping and caravanning destinations.
Each site included in the guide have been visited by one of the AA’s experienced Campsite Inspectors, grading sites from one to five Pennants, based on their facilities and hospitality.
Only the parks of the very highest standard are awarded the coveted Platinum Pennant award. Each entry within the guide includes location, ratings, contact details, directions, prices, opening times, facilities and a description to help select the right site for your needs.
Leading holiday parks share their green credentials…
When it comes to combating climate change, the holiday park industry stands loud and proud above most other sectors when it comes to carbon neutral investment.
Before you undertake your carbon footprint assessment, there are some outstanding examples from our peers who are putting their green credentials into action.
You will be well advised to follow their example and add your eco-friendly performance to this year’s marketing themes as customers love nothing more than investing in a planted-friendly holiday.
For instance, The Quiet Site, a family’s holiday park on Ullswater, in the Lake District, has been celebrated at the recent COP26 climate change conference for its fight against global warming.
The park, in Pooley Bridge, was highly commended for its carbon neutral initiatives, and hailed as a Hero of Net Zero at the UN conference’s awards ceremony. The award is part of the Together For Our Planet campaign which recognises original and creative actions taken by small businesses to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions.
Park owner Daniel Holder and his family travelled to the COP26 awards ceremony to receive the judges’ commendation from Andrew Griffith MP.
More than 160 businesses entered the competition, making a commitment at the UK Business Climate Hub to achieve net zero by 2050, in line with the Government’s own climate commitment.
The Quiet Site was highly commended in the small business category for demonstrating a range of measures taken on their journey to net zero. These included prioritising nature by planting wildflower meadows and native trees, building accommodation that generates more energy than it uses, and opening a zero-waste shop.
“All businesses need to become Heroes of Net Zero if the world is going to have an impact on climate change,” said Daniel.
“Our journey has been fascinating, bringing technologies and techniques together in a unique energy mix to enable us to be carbon neutral.
“We started introducing sustainable practices twenty years ago, not because we wanted to save the world but because the initiatives we introduced were based on elegant engineering and made good business sense.
“Our focus is now to enable our customers to visit us without using private cars. Great holidays don’t have to cost the earth,” added Daniel.
The Quiet Site won over the competition judges by not only reducing its own energy consumption and environmental impact, but also encouraging customers to be more environmentally friendly.
The business provides quality holidays in the heart of the Lake District, offering pitches for tents, camping, motorhomes and a variety of glamping options. Earlier this year, the park became Britain’s first holiday park to win a Queen’s Award for sustainability which was presented by Her Majesty’s Lord- Lieutenant of Cumbria, Claire Hensmen.
Not to be outshone, multi award- winning South West holiday park Cofton Holidays has scooped the Environment and Sustainability award at the Western Morning News Business Awards 2021, recognising its sustained conservation efforts during the pandemic.
Set within 80 acres of glorious Devon countryside, Cofton Holidays has been a family-run holiday park for over 40 years. Guests return year after year to enjoy its beautiful and convenient location, extensive facilities and wide choice of accommodation types for all the family.
Visitors to Cofton can choose from a range of holiday homes, cottages and lodges in the heart of the main park, or cottages and apartments on the estuary-view Eastdon Estate. Cofton also offers a choice of pitches for touring caravan holidays including hard- standing and RV pitches.
Cofton Holidays offers a variety of accommodation to suit all guests including luxury lodges, dog-friendly cottages, Georgian-style apartments, modern holiday homes and camping and caravanning pitches. Facilities include an indoor pool heated by a biomass hub with a splash pad area and hydrotherapy loungers, a gym, restaurant, pub, steam room, sauna, fitness studio, soft play area, playground, sports wall, outdoor pools and much more.
Guests also have access to five coarse fishing lakes, miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take visitors through woodland to the golden sands of Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve.
Sustainability and green initiatives have always been at the top of the agenda for Cofton Holidays, but its rewilding project really took of during the pandemic. With 20 years’ worth of David Bellamy Conservation Awards under their belts, the team saw lockdown as the perfect opportunity to give the park back to Mother Nature.
Enhancing the park’s carefully considered planting, extensive woodland, wildlife-friendly hedges, wildflower zones and on-site bug and bee hotel, Cofton has planted additional hedges, shrubs and trees to strengthen wildlife corridors across the site, bringing nature to the doorstep of its visitors. Wild deer, buzzards, butterflies, hedgehogs and a range of fascinating migrating birds can all be spotted thanks to the biodiversity on site. As well as planting perennial flora to attract more insects and pollinators, new hedges provide enhanced nesting environments and food for a variety of birds and bats.
A further scheme that gave Cofton the edge over its competitors is its £60,000 investment in 16 electric car charging points. No other business in the South West has more electric vehicle charging points in one location.
Added to that, Cofton has invested in 144kw of solar power units for the park’s 12 luxury lodges, an electric vehicle for housekeeping, an outdoor lighting review, and the planting of 36 mature trees, making it one of the region’s leading sustainable holiday parks.
Helen Scott, Director at Cofton Holidays, is thrilled with Cofton’s success: “Winning the Environment and Sustainability Award at this year’s Western Morning News Business Awards is a fabulous achievement for us.
“It’s testament to the hard work the team have put into our sustainable initiatives this year, and strengthens our reputation as a holiday park that puts the environment at the forefront of all that we do.”
Helen continued: “Throughout lockdown, we concentrated all our efforts on making improvements to the park. It was the perfect opportunity to enhance the natural landscape whilst our guests were away, ready for them to marvel at Mother Nature’s handy work once they returned.
“Our sustainability efforts have been recognised by a number of award bodies now including iTravel, VisitEngland and VisitDevon, but this is by no means the end to our investment in green initiatives.
“We will continue to nurture our local environment, fulfilling our sustainability commitment with plans to review our outdoor lighting to reduce light pollution overspill, investing in more charging units for guests staying at the cottages and participating in the tree planting scheme which will celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
“As the recent climate change summit, COP26, has highlighted, it’s more important now than ever before that businesses take responsibility for operating in a sustainable way that will protect the environment for future generations. We take this seriously at Cofton and will continue to do all that we can to protect our beautiful corner of South Devon.”
Skelwith Fold, an Ambleside holiday park, has cut the green ribbon on a new office complex which can generate all of its own energy – and still have some to spare.
The 3,000 square foot building adjoins the park’s existing offices and has been designed for total self- sufficiency, powering everything from air-conditioning to espresso machines.
Its secret is a bank of high-efficiency solar panels on the roof which will deliver up to 14 kWh per day, even under the gloomiest winter skies.
Skelwith Fold’s Henry Wild says the two-storey complex has taken the park a huge step closer to its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2024:”We wanted to see if we could make the building entirely carbon neutral, and found this was possible by using the latest solar technology to generate electricity.
“Even in use seven days a week, the building will still produce surplus power to harness elsewhere on the park and further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. With the help of other solar panels elsewhere on the park, we are nearing our goal of all our buildings being self-sufficient in energy.
“I also hope that within two years we will create a state of carbon neutrality, and guests will be able to enjoy totally green holidays, even after their journey by car to the park is taken into account.”
The new building’s sustainable credentials are further enhanced by the use in its construction of recycled timber from larch trees grown in the park’s 130-acre grounds.
Skelwith Fold was forced to fell more than 200 larches last year after the Forestry Commission found them to be suffering from a fungal plant disease called Phytophthoras. Many of the areas left by the trees are now subject to an ambitious rewilding scheme.
The Quiet Site
ON THE MENU
Common sense options for your on-site food servings…
According to a YouGov survey of Britain’s most popular dishes, roast chicken just overtook fish and chips at the top of the taste bud pops.
For the record, both share 85 per cent of the adult popularity vote, with the all-day English breakfast hot on their heels at 83 per cent.
In an ever-changing world, it is good to know some of the old traditions still have staying power.
But ignore the march of not just new eating habits but preferred ordering techniques at your peril. It is no good sitting back and watching your residents receive their Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats deliveries bypassing your on-site restaurant and take away options.
If Covid taught us anything it was to be flexible with our hospitality business and to embrace new ways of creating business. That means reaching for the clouds with an assortment of your own bespoke APPs to boost business including holiday cabin deliveries.
Personally, while juggling the grandchildren and their bingo cards, I loved ordering my holiday park drinks from my table via an APP only to have them arrive at the table within minutes.
Statistics provides the power to make knowledgeable decisions about our on-site catering. In another survey, OpenTable found that the average British person spends over £4k on dining out each year – that’s a quarter of some people’s annual income.
The study also revealed that Brits eat out 1.5 times on average per week and spend about £53 per meal. We are now seeing the evolution of industry trends, fuelled by the population’s growing appetite for eating out.
Increasingly, all-day eating is becoming the norm. Set meal times are a thing of the past – people want to be able to grab a bite to eat at any time of the day in a casual and informal environment.
Why limit yourself to just on-site customers when you can build a reputation and extend your reach throughout your geographic area. South West Holiday Parks teamed up with an award-winning Devon restaurant business as part of an overhaul of its leisure facilities at Coast View Park. The new ODE&Co restaurant welcomes park guests as well as the general public.
Visitors to the 120-seat venue can enjoy sour dough pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven from an open kitchen and prepared with impeccably sourced ingredients including organic flour and 100% buffalo mozzarella from Laverstock farm in Hampshire.
ODE&Co also takes advantage of the fresh seafood available on its doorstep, serving local catch, crab, lobster and grills. Locally sourced beverages include craft ales from Two Beach Brewing Co, organic and bio dynamic wines, local ciders on draft and soft drinks.
The restaurant has panoramic views of South Devon coast from the newly created inside and outside seating areas. The restaurant will also offer take away and delivery services using electric vehicles.
Catering to a wide range of budgets and tastes can create challenges for operators – particularly when you’re looking after diverse needs and expectations on the same site, from campers in tents to guests in luxury holiday lodges.
It’s an issue they recognise at the award-winning Tyddyn Isaf Camping and Caravan Park in Dulas, Anglesey.
The Anglesey campsite has been owned and operated by the Hunt/Mount family for 45 years. Long before a restaurant was created on site, however, food was still on offer, thanks to a very forward-thinking purchase of a pizza oven.
While guests can enjoy a casual meal in the restaurant, there are also options available for those who want to dine alfresco.
Thinking outside the box and a firm believer in supporting local businesses, Tyddyn Isaf partnered with The Great Orme Brewery to create their own range of four local ales and a craft lager.
Catering surely is a complicated business. Add to those complications the challenge of recruiting and retaining good staff and you will know that making money through on-site catering is not for the faint-hearted.
Hospitality and catering professionals met recently to discuss apprenticeships and their role in reducing the severe people and skills crisis in hospitality and catering. The common issues were recruitment and ensuring a path of continuous professional development.
Food prices have gone up at their fastest rate in nearly 30 years - but there is worse to come, experts have warned.
Soaring food costs and the energy bill crisis drove inflation to 5.4% in the 12 months to December, up from 5.1% the month before, in another blow to struggling families.
The last time inflation was higher was in March 1992, when it was 7.1%. And with gas and electricity costs set to rise further in the spring, analysts predict it will reach that level again.
As one of Britain’s leading family holiday companies Haven own and operate 40 award-winning family holiday parks throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Haven appear to be opting for do-it-yourself solutions, covering their catering bets with options for extreme ends of the food chain.
Holidaymakers heading to Lincolnshire’s coast could have another option for their meals with a number of jobs being advertised at a Burger King in a holiday park.
Numerous jobs are being advertised for roles at a restaurant in Mablethorpe - but the fast food chain is yet to confirm whether it will be being built.
Haven is also introducing an opportunity for budding chefs to receive on-the-job skills and experience training as part of its new Haven Chef Academy.
This new training academy will provide fundamental learning experience for 200 specially selected trainees who will be inducted into an 18-month development programme with access to world class kitchen facilities, working alongside professional chefs as well as having a personal talent coach and mentor. Once initial training is completed, trainees will be placed at one of Haven’s coastal parks across the UK to embark upon priceless on-the-job training.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is eager to get into the food & beverage industry,” said Anne Blyth, Talent Director at Haven. “This carefully curated programme will be hugely beneficial to all those selected, giving applicants the tools they need to begin a fantastic career and get that essential on-the-job training which is very hard to come by these days”.
Successful applicants will start their time at Haven Chef Academy with an initial accelerated eight week learning programme that will provide them with a sound start into the industry with several tailored masterclasses and live demonstrations leading into an on-the-job learning structure. The selected trainees will be lucky enough to be earning whilst learning at one of the best places in the leisure industry – plus they will gain a professional industry recognised apprenticeship qualification through Haven’s training partner Lifetime.
“Emerging out of several lockdowns where the appetite for jobs have been slim, this is an immense opportunity for those who are struggling to get back into the hospitality industry,” said Joe Hurd, celebrity chef and Lifetime Ambassador. ”These opportunities are hard to find and as no prior experience is needed applications are open to all who are hungry to start their culinary career and gain from the expert tuition on offer.”
WITH millions of British holidaymakers heading for holiday parks in the UK this year, one of the major attractions for most visitors was that the cooking would be done for them. Catering is the vital ingredient of the holiday park business menu.
From high-class restaurants to family-friendly pizza cafes, the choice on offer at many locations is vast. Quality food and good surroundings are key to the restaurant enjoyment factor with staff service and excellent menus par for the course in these competitive times.
PEAKS OF PAMPERING
New and returning customers will be welcomed to Celtic Holiday Parks…
Wellbeing, beauty and fitness facilities are among the new features waiting to welcome this year’s visitors to a multi award-winning Wales holiday park group.
Celtic Holiday Parks, based in Pembrokeshire, says it has responded to customer feedback at its three parks by investing in new ways to improve the guest experience.
Business owners Huw Pendleton and his parents Vic and Ann say that the changes will ensure the family-owned group will continue on its course of attracting a new generation of visitors.
“Parks are no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition, and we intend to deliver the type of experience which people have been telling us they want from a holiday,” said Huw.
“They still expect fun, but many would rather visit a cocktail bar than a clubhouse, enjoy gastro-pub style meals, and enjoy treatment rooms with first-class facilities and ethical, organic products.
“Beautiful and well cared-for natural surroundings are also often preferred over artificial attractions, and accommodation needs to be exciting, glamorous and perhaps just a bit magical,” Huw continues.
“Many of our guests are repeat visitors, and relatively new to the concept of a park holiday, so we are constantly challenging ourselves to ensure they have something fresh to look forward to.”
Open from March 1st, both new and returning customers in 2022 will be welcomed to surroundings which are a far cry from what met the often more modest expectations of two or three decades ago.
Five-star accommodation with private hot tubs, safari tents, cosy log cabins, and to-die-for interiors with four-poster beds and designer décor are all part of the pampering process.
“We are privileged to be located in one of the most exquisitely lovely corners of Britain, home to the country’s only coastal national park, so tend to attract people who readily appreciate quality surroundings,” said Huw.
“But although we are continually investing in our parks, our family’s twenty year experience tells us that happy memories are also fashioned by just how welcome people feel.
“That’s why we were delighted to have been given three major awards recently in which the parks’ friendly atmospheres and helpful, cheerful and caring staff all played a big part.”
The accolades came from bookings giant Hoseasons, Welsh Enterprise, and LUX life magazine – and sit alongside the parks’ Best Caravan and Glamping in Wales distinction from Visit Wales.
Celtic Parks’ picture-perfect Pembrokeshire locations are near the market town of Narberth (Noble Court and Croft Country Park) and overlooking Amroth Bay (Meadow House Park).
Each, said Huw, has its own distinct character with which couples and families often fall in love, leading to their decision to buy a holiday home for four-season use.
“The popularity of UK holidays in recent year has not been for reasons anyone would have chosen, but it has certainly opened many people’s eyes to what a fantastic experience it can be.
“Our record bookings for next year suggest this is no flash in the pan, and I’ve every confidence that we will be investing and raising the bar even higher over the next twelve months,” said Huw.
Celtic Holiday Parks
Tel. 0800 1777 411
HAVEN CONTINUES UK INVESTMENT
Haven has announced a huge investment in its Allhallows Holiday Park near Rochester creating top drawer venues for both activities and entertainment.
Expanding on the Park of the Future project first introduced in 2019, Haven is now taking this concept to Allhallows creating both a new Adventure Village and Marina Bar and Stage.
The Adventure Village will provide a host of thrill seeking fun for the youngest and oldest of holidaymakers. The Adventure Village will have a host of other activities from the Multi Use Games Area to Kart and Bike hire as well as sand play and outdoor play areas. And if you’re bringing your four- legged friend on holiday they can run of some extra steam in the Bark Yard.
A new standalone building, the Marina Bar and outdoor stage, will provide a state-of-the-art venue that can accommodate 920 guests providing more opportunities for guests to enjoy a range of day and night entertainment.
“The new developments are such an exciting development to the park,” says John Coltman, General Manager at Allhallows Holiday Park. “With the work over the next few months bringing us both a new Adventure Village and a Marina Bar and Stage, we will have something to offer all our guests and owners and having seen the work at other parks it really will be something that is quite unique to the area.
The Adventure Village will be completed ready for Spring 2022 whilst the Marina Bar and Stage will be open in Autumn 2022.
NEW IDENTITY FOR STUNNING CORNISH PARK
One of Cornwall’s most stunningly situated holiday parks has been re-christened with a new name which celebrates its unique location.
Now known as Polperro Holiday Park, it takes its title from the picture-perfect fishing port of Polperro which neighbours the park on Cornwall’s south east coast.
Owners, Park Holidays UK say the new name will help evoke far better the gorgeous scenery and magical atmosphere which awaits families coming here on holiday. The park was acquired earlier this year by the group and was previously known as Seaview Holiday Village.
The name change will also help avoid possible confusion with Seaview Holiday Park in Whitstable, Kent, which is also operated by Park Holidays UK.
Plans have been announced by the company to invest even further in Polperro Holiday Park’s facilities which include a modern indoor pool and family entertainments venue.
KEY SIGNING FOR PARKS PROVIDER
Elite Dynamics, a leading provider of IT solutions to the Holiday Home and Residential Parks’ industry, has expanded its reach to sign up its first holiday home manufacturer – Pemberton Park & Leisure Homes.
It’s a move that now sees Elite Dynamics’ solutions transcend across the holiday home and parks’ industry, from manufacturer to supplier to park operator.
Wigan-based Pemberton Park & Leisure Homes have become the first manufacturer to implement the new ‘EliteCRM Manufacturers’ product. Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, they will also be able to utilise other practical additional Microsoft tools to work with the solution.
‘EliteCRM Manufacturers’ is an all- in-one operational platform for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Field Service, and has the ability to seamlessly integrate with any existing warehousing software.
Using cloud based, mobile enabled software powered by the latest Microsoft Dynamics technology, Pemberton staff across all areas of the business will have real time access to customer aftersales analysis, real time reporting information, and real time engineer job allocation while they’re out in the field. In addition, ‘EliteCRM Manufacturers’ will give Pemberton’s holiday park customers access to their own personalised portal to manage aftersales.
‘EliteCRM Manufacturers’ has been designed specifically to improve the way manufacturers and suppliers work, improving communication and relationships with customers - from initial design stage to shop floor production and after-sales service.
Jamaine Campbell, Managing Director at Elite Dynamics, said: “To be working with a holiday home manufacturer like Pemberton is the next piece of the jigsaw for us, so we’re excited to see how our solutions can help all areas of the industry come together to deliver an all-round first-class service.
“The demand on manufacturers has never been as high, so it’s crucial for the technology to be on-point to ease any pressure, particularly across busy customer service and aftersales teams.
For more information on Elite Dynamics or to arrange a demo of EliteCRM Manufacturers,
ECO-FRIENDLY BESPOKE SPLASH PADS
Innovators in splash pad design, The Splash by Kingcombe Stonbury, with over 20 years experience in splash pad design and installations have launched their advanced, interactive Eco Splash product range, designed to provide a more environmentally friendly solution for splash pad water usage.
This tried and tested system that conforms to PWTAG, can save up to 50m3 of water per day; a huge water saving over the annual demands of a busy attraction.
Not only does it offer improved sustainability, the cost-saving benefits to running this advanced system are hard to ignore.
The Splash are specialists in providing bespoke, interactive water play equipment that is a win, win for holiday parks. The tried and tested product range is manufactured in the UK and is a cost-effective solution to water play.
In-house design offers endless opportunities for high quality bespoke play equipment, tailored to each customer needs. Popular design themes with above ground and in-ground features, as well as shaped water shifters, include seascapes, countryside scenes, space adventures, aquatic animals as well as dinosaurs and schematics based on historic periods such as Medieval times.
If your current splash pad needs updating, The Splash can design and manufacture features that will fit on your current base, saving significant time and expense on the refurbishment on your splash pad or paddling pool. Talk to the sales team to find out how switching to Eco splash could benefit your holiday visitor offering.
HEAD EAST PROMOTES WALKING ROUTES
Head East is designed to raise the profile of Norfolk and Suffolk’s outstanding cultural offering and to boost the gradual recovery, adaptation and re-stabilisation of the region’s visitor economy in the wake of the pandemic.
Led by the New Anglia Culture Board, the year-long targeted cultural tourism campaign aims to promote and build a national profile of the East as a ‘must see’ UK cultural destination.
The original campaign was focused on 2020, but the pandemic triggered a strategic re-focus.
A €23.3 million project is promoting new walking experiences by the Interreg EXPERIENCE Project.
PARKS BREAK WINTER HIBERNATION
Park Holidays UK carried on for eight weeks beyond its usual closing date to allow families to enjoy November and December breaks. The group is kept 13 of its most popular parks until the week before Christmas following a “deluge of demand” for a final getaway of the year.
Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish says that the end of the October school half-term would have normally signalled the parks’ winter hibernation. “Brits have been given back their holiday freedom this year, and we’ve welcomed more families than ever in our 30 year history,” said Tony. “But it’s been obvious from the number of enquires we’ve received that many people want to holiday on through to the end of the season. “Now they will have the chance to do just that in a fully insulated holiday caravan or luxury lodge with central heating and double glazing to ensure everyone remains snug.”
Park Holidays UK operates 40- plus parks throughout England and Scotland, and Tony says their beautiful locations are well worth an out-of-season visit.
DORSET PARK DECLARED BEST IN BRITAIN
Dorset’s South Lytchett Manor holiday park has been named by the AA as the UK’s top destination for campers, glampers, caravanners and motorhome owners.
The family business beat thousands of other eligible parks to take both the England and the overall British Campsite of the Year titles in the AA’s 2021 Caravan and Camping Awards.
Awards given by the AA – based on guest reviews and a “secret shopper” visit by inspectors - are regarded as the Oscars of the holiday parks industry. The park’s facilities, services and levels of hospitality all went under the microscope – and each was found to meet or exceed the platinum standard on every level.
South Lytchett Manor’s owners, Joanne and David Bridgen, say they were “stunned but absolutely delighted” when news came through that they had clinched the major honour:
“We are so proud to be able to bring this title home to Dorset, and I hope it will help throw the national spotlight on all tourism businesses in the county,” said Joanne.
“The AA award is particularly special to us because the judging is based not just on our quality standards, but also the experience which guests enjoy during their stay.
“Providing happy holiday memories has always been our main priority, and our friendly and helpful team here deserve a big vote of thanks for helping us achieve this,” she added.
Guests at the park can bring their own motorhome, touring caravan or tent, or choose to stay in one of South Lytchett Manor’s many glamping options. These include picturesque Romany caravans fully fitted out with all home comforts, cosy shepherd’s huts, and six new glamping pods.
“It’s been a fantastically busy year for us and bookings for 2022 are at record levels, so these awards have really helped us to finish the season on a high!” said Joanne.
South Lytchett Manor is a member of the Best of British group which comprises some 50 independently-run parks with top quality ratings based throughout the UK.
The AA accolade completes a triple triumph of successes this year for Joanne and David who run the park with the help of their son Matt and marketing manager Emily Freeman. In spring, South Lytchett Manor took the overall gold title in the Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year category in the South West Tourism Excellence awards and in the autumn won a diamond award in the Loo Of The Year competition.
OOH LA! LA! BRITISH LURED TO FRENCH PARKS
Holiday park owners in France are training their sights on British holidaymakers in a bid to make up huge revenue losses suffered during recent overseas travel restrictions.
Helping lead the assault is French holiday parks giant Yelloh Village which operates more than 100 parks in its home country, as well as offering hot spots in Spain and Portugal.
The group, based near Nimes, has this month appointed Caravan Sitefinder to take the lead in publicising its holidays to the online booking platform’s million-plus annual visitors. CEO Michael Paul says Yelloh anticipates that mainland Europe will be fully open for business by next spring, and that many UK families will be thirsting for a continental holiday. Caravan Sitefinder, says Michael, will be actively marketing Yelloh’s parks to consumers via its huge database, and through high-profile website promotions. “The British holiday market is massively important to French park operators, and the widescale absence of UK visitors for almost two years is being keenly felt,” said Michael. “But they sense that payback time will be coming shortly and want to claim as large a share as possible of the market by going all out for bookings made this winter and spring.
“This clearly has ramifications for UK park owners as they too are still licking their wounds after so many lockdowns and Covid-related cancellations in recent times. Many will be pinning their hopes on the trend for domestic holidays to continue next year, and I think they have some cause for optimism,” continues Michael.
“A lot of families have been converted to stays in this country after enjoying positive experiences this and last summer and may choose to continue doing so. “But there will inevitably be others who are now looking forward to returning to Mediterranean sunshine, and will be booking with overseas park operators such as Yelloh. So the main priority for most parks will be to seize as many bookings as possible from those intending to stay in the UK, and to do so as early as possible. “In other words, they will have to market themselves far more aggressively than this year, and not rely on travel limitations providing an almost literal captive audience,” said Michael. Yelloh’s parks, located largely on the coast and in popular mountain areas, range from simple touring sites to multi-activity centres with luxury accommodation.
CARAVAN GUARD WINS NATIONAL AWARD
Insurance specialists Caravan Guard, incorporating Leisuredays, were thrilled to be crowned silver winners of the Personal Lines Broker of the Year at the Insurance Times Awards 2021.
The caravan and motorhome insurance specialists went head-to-head with nine other companies at a prestigious national awards event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last week after being shortlisted for two awards.
The flagship awards celebrated excellence and innovation and recognised the very best companies across the breadth of UK general insurance.
Caravan Guard collected the silver winners trophy after showcasing high levels of customer loyalty, business growth and excellent customer feedback.
The Halifax-based company was also a finalist in the Customer Champion of the Year – Broker category for its passion for delivering brilliant customer experiences and highlighting improvements in its already highly-rated service.
Caravan Guard’s Managing Director, Ryan Wilby, said he was delighted the family business had been recognised at these high-profile awards.
“It was fantastic to be finalists for two awards on this national stage, and to bring back some silverware for our team was the icing on the cake,” said Ryan. “We’re very proud of the work we do to deliver great service to our customers as well as providing specialist, market-leading insurance cover for their pride and joy.”
Caravan Guard has already been crowned winners of What Motorhome magazine’s insurance provider of the Year 2021 and was also a finalist in the UK Customer Satisfaction Awards 2021 but was pipped at the post by UK online business directory Yell.
Caravan Guard, incorporating Leisuredays, has a strong culture of supporting charitable causes. Each year it donates tens of thousands of pounds to local and national charities, including Overgate Hospice, Heart Research UK and Yorkshire Air Ambulance and caring completely is at the heart of its company values.
Caravan Guard (Leisuredays)
Tel. 01422 396 693
You will need to plan ahead to maximise the potential of your visit to The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show which makes a welcome return.
The not-to-be-missed event will be opening its doors at the NEC Birmingham on Wednesday and Thursday November 10 and 11.
Europe’s leading event for the most ambitious holiday park and resort owners, the show runs alongside the Farm Business Innovation Show, Family Attraction Expo, Leisure Food & Beverage Expo, Leisure Toy & Gift and the Leisure Transport Show.
With over 1000 exhibitors, 500 seminars and an outstanding schedule of keynote speakers, it will be benefcial to know exactly what to expect from the show and plan ahead, so if you want to make the most out of the two days, keep reading!
The show offers a unique opportunity to see the latest industry products in action in the Live Demo area. Be sure to make some time to visit this area and possibly even get involved yourself! You can see the live demo timetable on the website under ‘What’s On?’.
This year, the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show is launching its frst series of panel debates, where the leading industry experts will be discussing the latest industry topics. This will give you the opportunity to finally ask your burning questions and hear the answers live and in person. From renewable energy to marketing tactics to enhance your holiday park or resort, you do not want to miss this opportunity! Find the full schedule on the website under ‘What’s On?’ and look out for times to incorporate some of these incredible discussions into your day!
Industry experts from some of the biggest names and associations within the industry will be available at the show to provide their insights into the industry, knowledge, advice and tips and tricks to support you on your innovation journey. From the likes of former MP, Nick De Bois - Visit England, TV Presenter, Author & Designer, Max McMurdo, and Justin Reid from TripAdvisor, listen to the hottest topics and latest trends in the industry right now. Keep an eye out on the website under ‘Speakers’ for the full timetable, coming soon!
The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Awards will be recognising the companies who have gone above and beyond within the industry, celebrating those that are combining an unprecedented blend of innovation, creativity and uniqueness in their work and customer offering.
It is very important to pre-register for your tickets before attending the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show this year, so register for your free tickets now before they are all gone! Doing so now also means you will receive your printed show guide delivered straight to your door, as well as access to the digital show guide, which includes the floor plan, full agenda, and everything you need to know about the show.
Log on to www.holidayparkshow.co.uk to check on latest information including vital covid guidance.
TRAVELLING TO THE NEC
If you decide to drive to the NEC, it is just 8 miles east of Birmingham city centre, and there are 16,500 spaces available in the car park, including plenty of helpful signage and a traffic team to ensure you get to the right area for your event. It is also very easy to catch the train as the NEC is right next to Birmingham’s international railway station. Visit the website and click on ‘Show Info’ to see full details about travel and parking, as well as bus & coach and taxi services.
The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show will open at 9am on Wednesday 10th November, and close at 5pm. The event will reopen at 9am again on Thursday 11th and close at 4:30pm. Make sure you go and register for your free tickets now before they are all gone and be on the lookout for your printed show guide so that you can plan ahead and make the most out of your time at the event!
A-Z OF MUST SEE EXHIBITORS
Selling your Park?
BusinessesForSale.com is the world’s most popular website for buying or selling a business.
Established in 1996, the website is an international marketplace of businesses for sale. We provide a cost-effective route to market for business owners and their representatives and a one stop shop for aspiring entrepreneurs and business buyers.
The website is the world’s largest businesses for sale marketplace, attracting over 1.2 million buyers and sellers every month.
Whether you’re looking to get in, grow or get out, BusinessesForSale.com has everything you need. Come and speak to the team on the stand or browse a selection of our current opportunities at our Wall of Business.
Leading Wifi Provider
Reliable WI-FI is essential for your business to gain a competitive edge. It allows your guests to stay in contact with friends and family, whilst also keeping up to date with work emails whilst away. Today, your guests expect a WI-FI connection that is swift and secure. We pride ourselves on supplying effcient hard-wired WI-FI solutions and excellent customer service from our 7-day support team and our qualifed professionals with years of experience. Camping Connect ensures the provision of secure, family friendly Internet access in line with EU legislation and is a `Friendly WI-FI` registered WI-FI provider.
01792 277 231
Cubicle Centre has been manufacturing toilet cubicles, wall panels and washroom panel products for over 20 years. We offer a range of washroom cubicles and wall panel products to suit any budget from our Pennine range where function and price is a factor, through to our vandal resistant Cairngorm range.
At Holiday Park and Innovation 2021 we will be demonstrating our water proof Cairngorm range of toilet and shower cubicles along with made to measure vanity units with both recessed and semi recessed basin units.
Futureproof Your Business
Leading provider of IT business solutions to the Holiday Home & Leisure Resort industry, Elite Dynamics, will be a specialist speaker at this year’s Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show. MD Jamaine Campbell and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Lead Consultant, Andrew Blackie will be giving the audience key insights into how to futureproof and drive forward their holiday park businesses using readily available standard Microsoft Dynamics Technologies.
The team will showcase some of the newest and most innovative technology available on the market today, all of which has been specifcally designed for our industry and to future-proof your business.
0161 641 8926
Cloud Based Solutions
GemaPark is an internet-based Booking System designed to help you manage self-catering, glamping pods, and touring and camping.
From the interactive availability chart you can see all your bookings, blackout dates, add bookings and check availability and live pricing. An arrival day dashboard shows you today’s arrivals and departures including unit clean status. Online booking and online check-in can be integrated with your website with no commission to pay. Standard customer documents and ad-hoc emails can be sent directly from the system.
Netguides ensure GemaPark is PCI compliant and GDPR compliant. Whether you’re starting out or wanting to make life easier come and see us on our stand.
Bring OnThe Heat!
Visitors are invited to stand 7180 where the Golden Coast team will be on hand to demonstrate its popular heat pump for pools and hot tubs.
Delivering output up to 13 times greater than an electric heater, a Golden Coast inverter-driven heat pump operates on a low current without compromising on performance and ensures whisper-quiet noise levels as low as 25dB. It even operates in low temperatures, enabling parks to continue offering enjoyable hot tub experiences all year round.
By using less electricity, the energy-efficient heat pump can help cut a park’s carbon footprint whilst saving thousands on running costs and allowing a faster return on investment.
Stand Out From The Crowd!
Holiday Park Scene magazine is an unmissable read for anyone involved in the management of a Holiday Park, Campsite, Caravan Park & Glampsite. At least 5,000 copies of Holiday Park Scene are distributed four times annually to key personnel in all aspects of the holiday park industry across the UK and Eire.
Offering the inside track on the latest market news and reports covering all aspects of holiday park management.
We’re not just big in PRINT we have huge online coverage through our WEBSITE, EMAIL NEWSLETTERS & SOCIAL MEDIA!
If you would like to be featured in the magazine, we would love to hear for you.
Holiday Park Scene Magazine
Holiday Parks no longer have to put up with nightmare broadband connections thanks to the introduction of ParkLink from Vital Wifi which enables super-fast speeds ‘Direct to the Van’ at a fraction of the cost of fibre.
It uses revolutionary technology designed to deliver consistently high-quality broadband across wide open remote outdoor sites.
ParkLink from Vital Wifi is a dedicated wireless package for holiday parks that provides fibre-like Internet speeds at a significantly lower cost of ownership without the disruption of installing fibre infrastructure.
New game-changing Internet distribution technology, used by ParkLink, is making reliable, park-wide high-speed Internet affordable and accessible to campsites, caravan and holiday parks.
Come and see us on our stand for more information.
ParkLink – Powered by Vital Wifi
0333 3583 111
Park Protect Scheme
The Park Protect scheme provides commercial insurance for more than 200 caravan parks up and down the country.
Having spent 15 years building strong relationships in the caravan and holiday park market you can be sure Park Protect will give you – the park owner – the protection you deserve.
Whatever type of leisure business you operate you need to stay up-to-date with legal changes, health & safety legislation, and issues that can affect your leisure property. Our knowledge and experience as specialist insurance brokers for the leisure industry means we tailor individual solutions to protect your employees and visitors.
PIB Insurance Brokers
01422 358 525
Award Winning Waterplay
Established in 1966, Ustigate have specialised in the design, build and maintenance of inclusive indoor and outdoor water play facilities for 55 years and have completed over 100 aquatic play installations to date. Ustigate Waterplay is excited to introduce over 300 products that promote active play; all designed and developed by their global leading aquatic partner of eighteen years, Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc. The portfolio offers theming and an aquatic play favourite for every age and ability; incorporating climbing, sliding and multiple interactive activities via collections such as award winning Water Journey™, Elevations™ and Explora.
Making Park Payments Easy
Make it quick and easy for your guests to pay for on-site facilities with a VMC cashless payment system. A seamless tap and go payment experience really adds value for the customer and is an opportunity to incentivise and increase visitor spend.
Our payment readers are ideal for catering and bar areas but can also be fitted to almost any unattended machine making them ideal for parking, charging, power, amusements, pool tables, laundry, bike hire, vending, and much more.
For parks wanting to incentivise and reward customers for onsite spend, VMC can also provide a private onsite payment system using branded cards, wristbands or biometrics.
VMC (UK) Ltd
Family Fun For Everyone!
For 50 years, World of Rides have been the leading UK manufacturer of children’s leisure rides in the United Kingdom.
From our factory in County Durham we supply major shopping centres, retailers, visitor attractions, farm parks, holiday parks, garden centres, family entertainment centres and hospitality centres both nationally and internationally, as well as leading single-site operators.
Our vast knowledge and experience ensures that every ride we manufacture and sell is rigorously tested both in the factory and on-site before being released for sale.
Come and see us on our stand for further information.
World of Rides
0191 49 20 999
THREE GENERATION GRAMPING HOLIDAYS
Many families with children are taking more than just suitcases on their holidays this year - they are also making room for grandma and grandad.
That’s the finding of major Lake District holiday park Skelwith Fold which reports a rise in multi-generation holidays booked for summer and autumn.
The park’s Henry Wild believes that many families are motivated by wanting to spend quality time together after months of lockdowns.
The Ambleside park says the trend is evident amongst those hiring glamping accommodation such as safari tents, and people staying in motorhomes and touring caravans.
“The three-generation holiday is a throw-back to what was once a common practice in this country many years ago,” said Henry. “It diminished with the popularity of overseas holidays which weren’t as practical for extended family groups – but, of course, Covid has now changed all of that.
“A holiday park is the ideal environment for this as everyone can enjoy breathing fresh air in natural surroundings, and just take it easy in a laid-back atmosphere. As well as enjoying each other’s company, mum and dad also have a built-in child care service so that they can make an occasional escape and be just a couple again,” added Henry.
£250K PLAY ZONE UNVEILED
Family-owned Landram Bay has sunk a quarter of a million pounds into a new play zone to create one of Devon’s most exciting play opportunities: “Mums and dads know that kids get their biggest thrills from being active, so we went all out for the best possible experience,” said park director Zoe House. “The play area includes tunnels and an obstacle course, a multi-level adventure frame, wobbly bridges, slides and a pirate ship on which youngsters can clamber. “It’s enormous fun, but also encourages the development of physical fexibility and decision- making skills, as well as helping our younger guests to socialise with each other.”
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME
Parkdean Resorts, the UK’s leading holiday park operator, has partnered with Cranfeld Executive Development, to provide Parkdean Resorts personnel with elite leadership and management training.
The bespoke talent development programme, the first of its kind in the holiday park sector, is aimed at unlocking the development potential of leading talent in the business. The two-year course is available for selected candidates and represents a £30,000 investment per participant.
The delegates will at first enrol and complete Cranfeld’s Breakthrough Leadership Programme. After successfully completing this programme, each delegate will select a further development course for the second year, which will be more specific to their needs and skill-gaps.
The cohort that will begin the course in 2021 is made up of seven senior managers across the business that have been earmarked as future leaders of the business and includes one employee who began their career at Parkdean Resorts working as a lifeguard and has since worked their way up to their current role. Upon completion, all delegates will be awarded the CEOs ‘One to watch’ award.
MAXIMISING VISITOR SPEND ON SITE
For park operators, a cashless payment system is an opportunity to incentivise and increase visitor spend. Easy, quick, and safe payments also offer a great customer experience.
In the wake of COVID-19 cleanliness is still front of mind for all of us. Contactless is the safe payment of choice, with no need to even touch the terminal or pin pad. By adding this form of payment to more of your onsite services and facilities you’re making it simpler for the customer and increasing the chances of impulse purchasing.
For parks wanting to incentivise and reward customers for onsite spend, VMC can also provide a private onsite payment system using branded cards, wristbands or biometrics. With a choice of payment types; cashless, contactless, mobile payments and QR codes, our system is also packed with other great features like online pre-order, loyalty, meal deals and promotions.
There is a mobile app for customers, to top up their account as they go or spend and settle on check out. They can even start saving in their account before they arrive, so the holiday fund is ready for their arrival.
A seamless payment experience really adds value for the customer, not needing cash to pay for anything during their stay keeps things effortless and simple. Cashless payment can help park operators to manage additional facilities more efficiently, or even add new ones without impacting on staffing. Ideal for parking, charging, power, amusements, food and drink, vending, laundry, bike hire, pool tables and much more. The possibilities are endless.
GAME-CHANGING INTERNET COVERAGE
Holiday Parks no longer have to put up with nightmare broadband connections thanks to the introduction of ParkLink™ from Vital Wifi which enables super-fast speeds ‘Direct to the Van’ at a fraction of the cost of fibre.
It uses revolutionary technology designed to deliver consistently high-quality broadband across wide open remote outdoor sites.
“I can’t stress enough how vital it is for a holiday park to have a highly resilient and robust internet network,” comments John Bunn, who has collaborated with outdoor WiFi specialists Vital Wifi to develop ParkLink™ for the parks industry.
“Going forward, the network infrastructure will be the backbone for delivering essential services to caravan owners and key for the successful management of a park,” says John Bunn. “Internet infrastructure shouldn’t be viewed as a cost, it’s a business enabler for holiday parks,” he adds.
Paris Williams manages Tan Rallt, a family run holiday park in North Wales with 140 caravans. They used an industry-leading solution for their WiFi provision but still their guests experienced poor internet service with intermittent connectivity, dropped signal, low bandwidth and signal interference.
“Despite having a service contract, our staff were spending way too much time fiddling with routers they knew nothing about,” says Paris. “Then when the network went down for 11 days, taking up two full days of internal staff’s time to troubleshoot, it was time to find a better way.”
“Now, with ParkLink™ we provide free WiFi to all our guests and give them the option to upgrade for higher bandwidth directly from Vital Wifi, who installed the system entirely at their own expense. It’s a win, win and we can now attract guests who require an always-on super-fast connection.”
ParkLink™ – Powered by Vital Wifi
Tel. 0333 3583 111
TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS WITH SPATEX VISIT
Thinking of installing a hot tub or swimming pool or updating your current facilities? Then SPATEX 2022, at the Coventry Building Society Arena, Tues 1st to Thurs 3rd February, is a must-attend event.
As the UK’s only dedicated annual exhibition, entering its 25th year, over one hundred companies, from home and abroad, will display their latest models and innovations.
Free to attend, it provides holiday park owners with all you need to know about water leisure features such as spas, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, swimming pools, enclosures and much more besides.
With the latest money-saving innovations - energy-saving is the cornerstone of the show’s agenda, you can tap into expert advice from some of the world’s top water leisure experts on hand, access free advice for your existing or future project.
Talks and demonstrations in the show’s free-to-attend, three-day double seminar and workshop programme will focus on how to save time and money. CPD points and a certificate of attendance are awarded to all attendees of the ISPE (Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers) workshops.
Make your first point of call, the SPATEX Help Desk at the entrance to be pointed in the right direction and don’t forget The Big Reunion - SPATEX’s free to attend 25th anniversary networking party on Wednesday after the show closes at 5pm with free drinks, canapes and lots of industry chat.
The Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry CV6 6GE is easy to get to - just 500 yards of the M6 and within two hours commuting time of 75 per cent of the population that ofers 2,000 free on-site car parking spaces.
Register now at www.spatex.co.uk
CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF SALTEX EVENT
Those associated with the holiday park industries will have the opportunity to see a wide range of innovative new products and services from prominent suppliers when SALTEX opens its doors at the NEC, Birmingham on November 3 and 4.
SALTEX will be taking place for the 75th time this year and the show is set to be the most vibrant and celebrated event in its long history.
The show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their effciency and improve operations and will contain a plethora of exhibitors representing the likes of turf maintenance machinery, fertilizers, wetting agents, seeds, turf, aggregates and treatments, weed control, facilities management services, fencing and landscaping.
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 an ‘electrifying’ showcase of products in a dedicated area on the show foor called the Eco Village. Featuring a programme of daily demonstrations in cutting- edge sustainable technology – the Eco Village allows visitors a unique opportunity to witness a multitude of products in action.
Expect to see a powerful line-up of new innovations from the likes of Avant UK (headline sponsor), Dennis Mowers, Campey Turf Care Systems, Overton UK, GroundWOW and Allet Mowers.
Since its launch at SALTEX 2017, the Innovation Awards have helped to highlight some of the most ground- breaking, innovative products and services within the groundscare industry. Visitors will get the chance to see every entry on the show floor and there will be a winner in each of a wide range of product categories - so keep an eye out for news on when and where the final ceremony will take place on the show floor.
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 large seminar theatres situated on the show floor and will feature a wide range of topics which could be particularly beneficial for those working in the landscaping sector.
Landscapers may well be interested in Lawn Care Legends LIVE, which will take place on the first day of the show and offer a fantastic networking opportunity.
In addition to the limitless opportunities available on the show floor, one lucky visitor will be presented with an incredible battery-powered compact loader from Avant UK worth approximately £30,000. Every person who registers will be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize – on loan for six months and the live draw will take place on the first day of the show.
Pre-registration to SALTEX 2021 is essential this year. Please register for free online at gmasaltex.co.uk/visitor-registration/ and print off your badge for entry to the show.
How to ensure your site is always keeping up appearances reports Emily Martin…
Holiday parks have to keep many plates spinning but you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and, as they say, the devil is often in the detail.
Creating the perfect holiday experience for guests is a lot of work but, to get that wow-factor on arrival, you need simple, smart and effective ideas that don’t take up lots of time or resources.
Holiday Park Scene has spoken to some of the holiday park industry’s top services and suppliers and they’ve given us some tips on how to ensure that, for your guests, it’s always love at first sight.
The 2021 winners of ‘Grounds Maintenance Company of the Year’ at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards was Glendale. A company offering an all-encompassing green-space management and maintenance service and Matt Gavin, Head of Commercial Sales and Development, says landscaping and grounds maintenance is crucial to keeping things looking their best.
Matt says: “Due to parks now hosting guests more accustomed to international holidays, Glendale has seen a 95% increase in the level of enquiries from camping and caravanning sites looking to undertake signifcant landscaping and grounds maintenance work to keep the sites pristine.”
Matt reveals that sites are specifically requesting tree management services, commercial grass cutting and invasive specials control alongside general grounds maintenance.
Matt continues: “The demand from the camping sector started as early as January 2021 when confidence started to rise at the prospect of a roadmap out of Covid restrictions. Since the government announcement was made regarding lockdown potentially ending in late June, the level of enquiries about our landscaping services surpassed all expectations.”
Martin Lucas of GreenMech agrees about the importance of landscaping. He says: “The setting and landscape of a holiday park often provides the frame for a picture-postcard holiday. Keeping on top of the site’s surroundings will provide great aesthetic benefits, but woodland maintenance shouldn’t be forgotten on the list of landscaping tasks.”
Martin goes on: “The benefits of a striking first-impression continues to be a key driver behind keeping on top of site maintenance. The look and feel of a site should be fitting within its surroundings - a dense tree belt for example may be fitting for a countryside venue, but less so in an open landscape.
“Trees present a fantastic way to integrate or soften the appearance of ancillary buildings and other site facilities but also have the functional benefit of creating boundaries, shelter and screening between public and private areas.
“Key woodland management tasks could include regular examination of tree roots and overhanging branches as these can quickly cause problems overhead or underground, as well as posing health and safety risks to guests,” advises Martin. “Also, removing density in the upper and lower canopies to promote a better flow of air and light to site which, in turn, will optimise the health of any turf, pruning and thinning of brush and disposing of any dead, damaged or diseased wood or brash.”
But holiday parks keen to keep on top of landscaping and forestry need to be mindful of the pitfalls it can create. Especially what they do with the debris they create as Martin explains: “The Environmental Protection Act, along with the Clean Air Act, considers the burning of waste as inappropriate. Anyone found improperly disposing of waste risks being prosecuted by The Environment Agency, Local Council or Police – with a typical fine likely to be in the region of £2000.”
GreenMech have a woodchipper portfolio that spans 20 models of various sizes and chipping capacities, with a pedestrian range built with the professional landscaper and parks manager in mind. Chipping is a fantastic way to quickly and easily remove unwanted material. The chip that is produced can then be used in other beneficial ways - as a weed suppressant on pathways and in flowers beds or scattered around trees to help with moisture retention in the summer months.
Once you’ve sorted the landscaping and forest management you need to start adding strategic items that will enhance the useability and aesthetics of your outdoor space.
AL FRESCO AREAS
Martyn Bright from NBB Recycled Furniture says: “Research continues to validate that meeting outdoors comes with a reduced risk of coronavirus transmission and introducing furniture outside to optimise your available space is a great way to stay compliant with government advice, whilst creating comfortable al fresco areas for your expectant returning customers to enjoy.
Martyn continues: “When considering your outdoor furniture, recycled plastic is the perfect choice, as the material looks like timber but can last outside all year round without the need for annual maintenance.
“Recycled plastic can last up to five times longer than the timber equivalent. The longevity of recycled plastic makes it the perfect cost-effective alternative for use within the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries, where heavy use is expected.”
Doug Barr is the Sales Manager at Woodberry of Lemington Spa and agrees that clean and well-maintained outdoor furniture is a must when ensuring a site looks presentable. Doug advises: “If your furniture is broken or covered in algae, customers will judge the standards of the park on it.
“Look for quality wooden furniture to withstand the wear and tear of heavy use. Or choose metal/plastic and laminate furniture that is easy to wipe down and dry of,” he adds.
Woodberry offer a range of picnic tables, outdoor dining tables, chairs and benches in wood, metal, plastic and synthetic rattan. Recycled plastic picnic tables are very easy to keep looking neat and come with 25-year structural guarantees as well as green credentials.”
But don’t neglect your flowers! Doug says: “Keep any flower or shrub borders looking tidy with raised planters which also come in handy for directing the flow of customers at reception areas or sectioning of café and bar areas.
“Also, if litter bins are well maintained, emptied regularly and visible to customers then they will be encouraged to use them,” Doug continues.
“Recycling bins with different sections can also help show your green credentials and encourage customers to recycle,” Doug emphasises. “Branded barrier screens can help keep areas looking tidy and sectioned plus provide clear branding and signage.”
But how can parks maximise the usability of outdoor space without things looking messy and unkempt? Doug says: “Outdoor shelters, patio heaters, and lighting certainly helps in wet and cold weather. That also encourages your customers to enjoy al fresco hospitality. Parks have to think ‘Have I got the right sized outdoor furniture for my customer groups?’ ‘Should I offer a mix of sizes so that smaller groups don’t take up larger tables?’”
And where can it all go wrong? Doug has some tips on how to avoid some classic pitfalls. He says: “Not cleaning and clearing up tables quickly enough or having overflowing rubbish bins on the site. Also watch out for wet, broken, algae covered outdoor furniture.
So that takes care of landscaping and furniture, but what else can you do to keep things looking extra neat and tidy? Darren North of Rolec says you also need to think about power. He says: “Rolec have been manufacturing and supplying electrical hook-up equipment for the leisure industry for over 30 years and the Quantum Touring Pedestal brings caravan and holiday parks an alternative solution to their everyday hook-up equipment.
Darren continues: “First impressions are indeed important and with the Quantum Touring Pedestal, park operators can offer their visitors a simple and seamless electric hook-up solution, with aesthetic appeal as an added benefit.”
For enhanced first impressions, the Quantum Touring Pedestal is also complete with LED louvered lighting, providing visitors with greater visibility, particularly during the dark nights.
Alongside the Quantum Touring Pedestal there is Rolec’s Quantum:EV charging pedestal, perfect for communal electric vehicle charging facilities and it’s also equipped with LED louvered lighting, ensuring that EV driving visitors are able to spot your charging points throughout the day and night.
On-site storage is also a place you can easily go wrong. Lily Hadden is a Team Leader at Arleigh which has supplied the static caravan industry for more than 50 years. Lily says: “Ensuring parks look clean and respectable is crucial for good first impressions and returning customers.”
To help park owners create the accommodation and spaces required for their visitors, Arleigh stock everything from indoor and outdoor furniture to storage solutions and lighting.
Made of PVC-coated galvanised steel, Arleigh’s durable storage boxes are ideal for keeping outdoor areas tidy and are even built to withstand coastal environments. There are different size and style options ranging from bike and garden stores to gas storage units.
“Arleigh’s ever-growing range of solar lights and bollards offer a great renewable alternative to traditional lighting and are the perfect choice for illuminating park driveways, paths and car parks.
Adam Collier is the Technical Sales Manager at Fordingbridge which offers a range of canopies, walkways and statement builds to the holiday park sector and others. Adam says: “Tidiness in parks goes well beyond having bins and other street furniture in well thought out locations, or ensuring your soft landscaping is on point. Organising parks so they make sense has a massive bearing on visitor experience too; no guests want to spoil their initial arrival with the stress of finding reception or arranging a suitable meeting point for friends and family.
NEAT AND TIDY
“We have installed a number of canopies adjacent to reception areas (and subsequently cafes/bars) which act as clear wayfnders, as well as the added benefit of providing covered space to wait and meet with friends. Clearly arranging and organising equipment is also a key consideration. This could be providing sensible racking for bikes, hire karts and mobility equipment.”
What are some practical ways to maximise the usability of outdoor space? Adam says: “In the UK, weather is the key consideration, so allowing for this, or rather counteracting it, is by far the best way of increasing the year-round usability of outside space. We have seen parks installing canopies over MUGAs, courts and other play areas to act as both a form of shade in the summer, and allowing for play in wet weather.
“The same is true of covered areas adjacent to restaurants, bars and cafes. Providing a cover instantly turns the outdoor space into an extension of that facility, allowing for greater number of covers throughout the year. Adam continues: “Living roofs are also a benefit in both the customer journey and enforcing company ethos. They further the green credentials of the park and provide a further natural aesthetic to merge any structure with existing soft landscaping.”
BELLS AND WHISTLES
Sue Hollingshead digs deep into the latest glamping trends…
As we come towards the end of the glamping summer season there can’t be any doubt that it has been a manic year for the sector.
We have seen new product introductions, new campsites, and a generally flurry of activity trying to keep up with the huge demand.
According to the GVR* market analysis report, the global glamping market is expected to grow at a rate of 14.1% (annually) from 2021 to 2028 with a net worth in the region of 3.92billion (GBP) by 2028.
Already valued at 1.7 billion (GBP) by the end of 2021, Europe’s share of the spoils was put at around a third -- 34.8% in 2019.
Sacha Macey, Owner of Yurts For Life, was very clear about the trend: “Glamping has exploded this year! “Gone are the days of the ‘bubble will burst, this is a fad…’ which was the mantra within the industry a few years ago,” Sacha believes.
“External factors, way beyond industry control, such as Brexit and the COVID pandemic have certainly had a positive impact on the industry as holidays abroad have been very diffcult to plan and deal with over the last 18 months. The demand for holidaying ‘outside’ in the UK is unprecedented.”
The boom has generated the opportunity, and inspiration, for landowners and farmers to enter the market. With existing campsites, holiday parks, and glamping sites looking at ways of embellishing their developments to ensure they stay ahead. Simply adding one more glamping unit to an existing campsite has proved valuable and positive ROI.
There has been a surge of new pop-up campsites, which have been seen as both good and bad for the industry. As we know, the key aspect about glamping is that it focuses on ‘the experience’, something about the holiday must inspire the customer, either with a ‘WOW’ when they arrive and see their accommodation, or with the associated service, or to be fair a mix of both. A new quick pop-up campsite in many cases hasn’t had time to develop the full experience.
Mark Scott, CEO, Clear Sky Safari Tents, shared his thoughts: “I think the number of pop-up sites did rather detract from the quality of the glamping experience as people were advertising, say bell tents, with no services as a glamping experience.”
Mark continued: “It is expected that many of these will not ‘pop’ up again next season as bookings, reviews, and repeat rates will discourage the poor-quality sites and encourage the high-quality sites.”
Sacha also felt there was good and bad in the new pop-up sites and commented: “Some sites have managed to get it right straight away by keeping holidaymakers happy in the UK when they would have gone abroad.
We can’t do much about the weather, but if the details of the glamper’s experience are thought through and the appropriate facilities are available, then these pop-up sites have probably saved a lot of families after a tough time with the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, some sites have tarnished the industry as their main intention has been to make a fast buck.”
With the experience being paramount, there is always scope for innovation, whether this is within the design of the glamping accommodation, or within the overall holiday experience.
Tom Burnell, Managing Director of Kata Tipis, saw an opportunity in the market, as a slight side-track from their standard offering of Wedding Tipis. Tom explained more: “The technology is moving on at a pace with new innovations and different structures being released into the UK Glamping Market to meet the ever- increasing demand for more exciting and interesting experiences for the increasing volume of guests,” said Tom.
“At Kata Tipis we wanted to transfer the scale and awe of our events tents and designed a glamping tipi that took people’s breath away. We believe that glamping should be an experience, not just in the view, or where a structure is sited, but the structure itself!
“We launched our new glamping tipi, which is unlike any structure on the market and in our opinion takes the traditional tipi design to the next level.”
Clear Sky has also identifed an innovative design they are working on, Mark was willing to share his plans: “There are several new directions that the industry is taking, all based around the enhancing of the glamping experience.
“In particular, we are seeing some great structures based around Stargazing in the black sky areas. We are currently working on a ‘Star Gazer Safari Tent’ with our designers, hopefully, ready for launch next season.”
The experience it offers is paramount, whether staying in one of the quirky options available, such as converted planes, or one of the popular tree houses, traditional pods, stunning safari tents, yurts, tipis, shepherd huts, the list of unit types is continuingly growing.
The Glamper is naturally akin to outdoor living, with a secluded location, hot tub, or outdoor cooking, still ticking boxes. The one key aspect that has changed following the pandemic is the washing facilities. Mark explained, “Accommodations that were able to provide separate washing facilities were at an advantage when the market reopened. Many smaller sites with shared washing facilities fell victim to the ‘one wash area per household bubble’.
Those with the separate facility were well placed. We have seen an increase in enquiries from customers about putting bathrooms in their existing safari tents.”
The Staycation is here to stay. Bookings have been high for 2021, with most places reported as fully booked, and into next season. Clear Sky mentioned a Tik Tok video shared by one of their client’s guests, and shortly afterwards their bookings filled through to the end of next season!
On the flip side, Tom did have a few words of caution: “The concern is that UK Glamping site operators may overcharge for their accommodation this year and be seen to be ‘profiteering’ from the demand in the market.
“This, in turn, may frighten guests of for future bookings in the following years – not offering good value for money,” he added.
The best tips from Tom, Mark, and Sacha are, firstly ensure that you have all the required planning, processes, and licenses as per your own Local Authority before you start, which may take longer than you expect. Plan, Plan, Plan, and never underestimate the time it takes to organise everything, down to the water, sewage, electric, etc etc.
Understand what you are going to offer, go through the customer experience in detail and make sure it works. Stick with both your budget and your niche market, don’t be tempted to be everything to all people.
Then get your marketing in place, know who you are targeting, and create the destinations and accommodation to suit their needs. Good use of social media alongside collaborations with relevant local businesses work well.
Mark commented: “The best sites are the ones who have committed to the overall experience by offering contactless check-in, high-quality bedding and partnering with the main sales channels such as Hoseasons, Canopy and Stars, or Unique Hideaway. All aspects from booking calendars to easy check-in are important.”
If the stats from GVR* come to fruition then we are in for some busy years ahead, and with that, we will continue to see innovation, including eco holidays, which are clearly on the cards. Young families and couples wishing to connect with the great outdoors, the natural side of our planet, is a great starting point.
In the beginning, glamping accommodation was simply a glamping pod, it can now be almost anything. Innovation such as Clear Sky’s Star Gazer Safari Tent for next season, Kata Tipis beautiful new Tipi and the superb Yurts by Yurts For Life, are great examples. It certainly makes you wonder what we can expect over the coming years.
Grand View Research
Tel: 01780 239 188
Yurts For Life
Tel: 01803 762 370
Clear Sky Safari Tents
Tel: 0333 241 2660
ICING ON THE CAKE
Adding a touch of hot tub luxury pays off for holiday bookings…
With the rise in staycations, Yvonne and Graham Frost, owners of Slayleigh B&B in Matlock, made the decision to purchase a hot tub for their property. A hot tub not only adds a touch of luxury but can also increase occupancy and revenue by up to 60%.
With many choosing to stay in the UK, guests are looking to get away and relax with a hot tub often high on their list. According to Google, holiday cottages with hot tubs was the third most searched holiday phrase this year, up by 300% compared to the previous year.
A hot tub allows families and loved ones to reconnect and spend quality time together. People are also focusing on their wellness much more and a hot tub can help with this – soothing aches and pains, reducing anxiety and stress and relieving headaches.
All reasons that may inspire a customer to book a holiday property with a hot tub.
“We are purchasing a hot tub as they have become more popular and is very much a want from guests as well as ourselves and not just solely for the B&B,” explains Yvonne. “I have particularly wanted one for ages, but other priorities took over; they are an expensive luxury so you really need to want one and we do.”
Yvonne felt the hot tub would make a difference to bookings, occupancy and booking rates. She explains: “We are 9.6 and 5 star rated on review websites so we feel our guests already choose us on running costs and upkeep of the tub, we do not however envisage a mass profit margin more maybe a popularity in guests choosing our accommodation over another.”
Yvonne contacted Superior Wellness who were recommended to her by a relative who has one from them and is obviously very happy.
Superior Wellness recommend the Holiday Hot Tub, available as part of its Platinum Spas range, that is ideal for holiday settings from parks and resorts to smaller holiday lets.
This hot tub offers a basic layout no breakable or removable components with and designed for heavy usage. The robust but minimalistic design perfectly complements any garden, decking or outdoor area. The hot tub seats five people with 40 jets and is designed purely for the holiday let market.
Key features include secondary hidden controls, a tamper-proof control panel, in-line chemical dosing and crucially, quick draining.
With no headrests or diverters, the ‘plug and play, 32 amp, can have a WiFi module added so you can monitor the status and access the settings of the hot tub directly from your mobile phone.
“I have to say Superior Wellness, Jordon in the sales team, in particular, has been fantastic in dealing with myself, sourcing my hot tub at short notice and communication.
“They had the hot tub in stock and therefore we could arrange the delivery quickly.
“The delivery team have also been fantastic and I would definitely recommend Superior Wellness. We can’t wait for our guests to start using it.”
Yvonne again: “We thought a lot of where to position our hot tub given the UK climate and so our wow factor is very much the area we enhanced once which was once our summerhouse and potting shed.
“We have turned this into a fabulous relaxing space with mood lighting, artificial grass, spa panel interior, grey chic wood panelling, and bi fold doors.
“Guests can enjoy the tub in all weathers as is under cover. There is a seating area to cool down in between hopping in and out of the hot tub where they can take in the view of our beautiful south facing garden, light and airy by day or on a starry night sky,” Yvonne enthuses. “What more wow do you need?”
Gareth Ward, Sales Director, Superior Wellness reveals: “We have seen a huge increase in demand this year for our holiday let hot tub. We have had some in stock but they sell quickly.
“I would advise you to plan in advance and order your hot tub now to ensure it arrives in time for the start of the season for next year.”
Gareth adds: “We work with a large partner network and we can advise you who your nearest one is.”
“If you are looking to purchase a hot tub for your holiday home, we highly recommend a Platinum Spas hot tub.
Gareth point out: “Many people ask about the pitfalls and problems as it surely can’t be all about increasing revenue.
“The constant upkeep, care and maintenance is the biggest downfall. You need to look after your hot tub and ensure you provide the care and maintenance it needs and stick to the guidelines,” he emphasises.
“However, the increase in revenue you will receive in terms of price per night and occupancy will outweigh any time and money spent on the upkeep.”
“We recommend that the hot tub is replaced approximately every five years depending on usage.”
For more information about the Platinum Spas Holiday Let hot tub please visit www.platinum-spas.com/product/holiday-let-5/
First UK holiday park is awarded sustainability Queen’s Award…
A family-run Cumbrian resort has become the first holiday park to win a Queen’s Award for sustainability.
The Quiet Site in Watermillock is located near the shores of Ullswater where “green tourism” has been on the agenda for over 30 years.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development highlights Britain’s most environmentally responsible businesses.
Daniel Holder and his son George have been presented with a certifcate signed by The Queen and the Prime Minister, and a crystal glass vase. The Quiet Site is also now permitted to fly the Queen’s Award flag for the next five years.
“This is an immensely proud moment for us, and a fantastic spur to our efforts to allow people to enjoy this beautiful region without creating a negative impact,” said Daniel.
“Cumbria’s economy relies heavily on tourism to support businesses and provide jobs, and we believe this needn’t be inconsistent with protecting the natural world.
“For example, we have invested heavily in sustainable technologies over the years, including solar panels and biomass heating, as well as banning single-use plastics.
“We also operate a very popular “zero waste” food shop specialising in Cumbrian produce free from unnecessary packaging, and with the fewest possible food miles under its belt.
“The Quiet Site’s holiday homes, including our underground Hobbit Holes, are highly insulated, extremely energy effcient, and built from sustainable materials.
“At the same time they provide an exciting and memorable alternative to traditional holiday accommodation, and are especially loved by young families.
“Hopefully we are also sending out the message that, by making even minor adjustments to our lives, it’s possible to make a real difference to our environmental impact,” said Daniel.
Since acquiring the park 20 years ago as a simple camping field, Daniel and his wife Anne have created one of the Lake District’s most celebrated parks.
The Quiet Site is attracting 55,000 visitors annually. As well as its 15 Hobbit Holes stays, the park offers 15 camping pods, 15 glamping cabins, holiday cottages and 60 pitches for motorhomes and tents.
Innovative accommodation, marketed as Gingerbread Houses, are new to The Quiet Site for 2021. The 15 units produce more energy than they use so have a positive effect on their environment.
“Holidays should not cost the earth,” emphasises Daniel. “Our hugely popular Hobbit Holes were the starting point in our thinking.
“Gingerbread Houses boast all that works well in a Hobbit Hole being simple, warm and comfortable, with a large, covered deck and private facilities.
“To this we have added a full-size shower, a simple kitchen and the ability to generate its own power. Heating is provided by a remote ground source heat pump and electricity is generated from their solar PV panel roofs,” explains Daniel.
“The simplicity of this accommodation and lack of soft furnishings lends itself to an ease of cleaning and fogging that makes it incredibly safe,” he continues.
“They will be wrapped in a lovely beach hedge so will become virtually invisible – unless you know where to look! These hedges will become vital to helping our site become more biodiverse.”
Last year, The Quiet Site scooped another major national green accolade when it took a silver in the finals of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in the sustainable tourism category.
The Quiet Site
IDEAL LOCATION AT WELSH PARK
When property guru Phil Spencer wanted to showcase the beauty of North Wales for a recent episode of Location, Location, Location, it was a Wrexham holiday park which ticked all the boxes.
Plassey Holiday Park, Phil’s Channel 4 producers decided, would make the perfect backdrop to a key segment in the show when Phil discusses the options with his house-hunting couple.
That’s why the family-owned park, a winner of multiple quality awards, found itself playing a star role on television’s most popular property programme this autumn.
“We were delighted to welcome the TV crew to our park when the filming was carried out in spring,” said John Brookshaw who owns Plassey with his wife Sarah.
“The park has amazing views across the Dee Valley, and gave Phil and his couple the chance to chat whilst taking in some of the loveliest scenery in North Wales.
“The filming certainly turned a few heads among guests on the park when it took place, but we had promised not to disclose any details until after the broadcast.
“When it did go out in October, we received a flurry of enquiries after the show from people who had been captivated by the views they had glimpsed,” he added.
PALANTINE EXITS VERDANT LEISURE
PALATINE Private Equity has exchanged contracts for the sale of its stake in Verdant Leisure, the award-winning holiday park operator, to the management team backed by Pears Partnership Capital. The deal is subject to FCA approval.
Verdant Leisure is a bespoke holiday park operator offering lodge and caravan holidays and holiday home ownership at stunning sites across Scotland and Northern England.
The sale will see Palatine exit the business with a returns multiple of 3.7x, following a highly successful strategy of acquisitions and value creation which has grown Verdant’s annual turnover by 150% since 2016. Since investing in the business in April 2016, Palatine has supported Verdant to acquire six additional sites, increasing its footprint to 10 locations and 3,500 pitches, making it a leading operator in the UK.
Management’s value creation focus has increased both holiday home sales and the proftability of Verdant’s holiday let operations by enhancing on-site leisure facilities and investing in central management functions including a new head office and customer service contact centre.
POP-UP SITES SHOULD CARRY WARNING
Families should be warned of the risks if they are planning to stay on an unlicensed camping site, says major holiday parks booking agency Caravan Sitefnder.
Pop-up sites, the company believes, should make it clear that they do not hold a licence from their local authority, and are not subject to the same controls as permanent parks.
Without such a warning people may be in for a bitter disappointment when they find that quality standards fall far below their expectations.
“Allowing farmers to operate a campsite without planning permission for up to 56 days a year during the pandemic was a well- intentioned move,” said the firm’s Michael Paul.
“But the reality has been a raft of complaints from local communities and others about the safety, noise and pollution which these unregulated sites are generating.
“Some guests have also been shocked on arrival to find that aspects such as hygiene standards, proper supervision and distancing between pitches fall far below their expectations.
“There have been widely reported instances of inadequate toilet facilities, excessive noise and bad behaviour by other guests, and no efforts made to keep the site safe and clean.
“Permanent parks, by contrast, are subject to a raft of checks and balances by their site licences which ensure that everyone’s best interests are being served,” said Michael.
£200K SUPER PITCHES INVESTMENT
Cofton Holidays has invested £200,000 in 48 new super pitches to cope with record demand for staycations from caravaners and owners of recreational vehicles (RVs).
Named as the UK’s Best Caravan/ Campsite at the prestigious iTravel Staycation Awards 2020/21, the family-run holiday park, situated close to Dawlish Warren’s Blue Flag Beach, has increased the number of super pitches for RVs and caravans from 26 to 74 pitches, almost tripling its offering.
The holiday park experienced a dramatic surge in bookings from guests with caravans and RVs over the peak summer season. Bookings were up 20% on 2019, hitting a record high for occupancy levels. The lift in demand followed news that the number of people buying caravans in the UK has increased by around a fifth, according to caravan trader Robinsons Caravans*.
Solidifying its reputation as an all-weather all-year-round holiday destination, Cofton’s new super pitches feature brick paver and gravel bases which protect each pitch from the rain. To ensure that camping enthusiasts experience a stress-free staycation too, Cofton is also offering electricity access to those with tents during the peak summer season.
The new hard-standing super pitches include water and waste connections and 16-amp electric hook-ups.
Located towards the top of the park as well as close to the popular fishing lakes, users have access to covered washing up areas, a grass area behind the hard-standing pitches, an on-site laundrette, newly refurbished heated toilet and shower blocks, TV aerial points and Wi-Fi at an extra charge. Nearby, the camp shop stocks everything campers might need, ranging from freshly baked croissants to tent pegs.
CLUB EXTENDS CAMPING SEASON
Responding to demand, the Camping and Caravanning Club will be opening a number of campsites for longer this winter including those that will enable campers to pitch-up any time of year.
In total, 30 Club sites will be open beyond the traditional camping season, meaning people can still enjoy a much-needed break well into the autumn and winter, and over the Christmas period.
The Club’s Simon McGrath said: “Autumn and winter can be a fantastic time to enjoy your caravan, motorhome or even tent and we believe many people will be keen to continue to enjoy the fresh air on a camping break, even as the nights draw in.
“Given the huge popularity of pitching up on a campsite, we wanted to offer campers more choice of locations later in the year by extending the season of a number of our sites.”
The Club has 13 sites with extended opening:
• Barnard Castle, County Durham; Cannock Chase, Horsley, Surrey; Kendal, Lake District all plan to stay open until November 30th.
• Bellingham, Northumberland; Cheddar, Somerset; Polstead, Sufolk; Sandringham, Norfolk; Scone, Perthshire; Winchcombe, Gloucestershire; Windermere, Lake District; Wolverley, Worcestershire all plan to stay open until January.
A further 17 Club sites remain open year-round along with five Camping in the Forest sites.
EARLY WARNINGS OF HOLIDAY FAMINE
Park Holidays UK, one of Britain’s largest holiday park groups, says that almost 50% of its bookings are now for 2022 holidays – an unprecedented figure for this time of year.
They say the surge, which usually begins in December, could mean families struggling to get the holidays they want next year if they don’t stake an early claim.
Now, in a move to try and ensure customers get their preferred dates and locations, the group is offering to take 15% of 2022 holiday prices if they are booked and paid for now.
“This summer sadly saw a large number of people failing to secure their dream holiday because of heightened demand,” said Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish.
“They are clearly keen not to miss out again next year, and many others have been reading reports that the UK tourism industry will soon be hanging out “no vacancies” signs for 2022. “With forty-plus parks, we have the capacity to provide tens of thousands of holidays, but even so we are now looking at some centres nearing capacity next summer.
“That’s why we have decided to respond this autumn by encouraging early booking with a substantial discount available until the end of this month.
“It means families can enjoy peace of mind that their 2022 holiday is secure and that they won’t have to compromise on options such as where and when they go, or the type of accommodation”
PAW-SOME HOLIDAYS - DOG FREINDLY
Going that extra mile for our furry friends...
This summer, the Great British public reconnected in their droves with our furry housemates – that’s our pets, not the partners who have stopped shaving during lockdown. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, a whopping 3.2 million people welcomed a new pet to the family during the pandemic. Switched on holiday parks up and down the country recognise the earning potential and have made themselves ready to host guests and their furry plus ones.
But what makes a truly pet-friendly holiday?
We’ve spoken to experts and holiday parks to find out how they plan to make a dog’s dreams come true this summer - and some other quirky creatures too. Sarah Ferguson is Head of Business at Paws Holidays, a website dedicated to collating information about the UK’s most dog-friendly holidays. So, Sarah knows what a complicated minefield planning a holiday with your pet can be: “Finding a dog friendly resort or destination can be mind-blowing, as dog owners have to think about so much,” she says.
Typical questions on booking are:
• Will the resort have a dog exercise area? And if so, is it enclosed?
• Will they be able to let the dog off its lead?
• Are there dog drinking stations?
• Will there be a designated area where the family can eat but the dog is allowed in too?
And then there’s accommodation which is a massive consideration. Sarah explains: “Some Park operators remove carpets and have just a wooden floor or a very high standard of lino which makes it so much easier if the dog does have an accident. “Dog owners expect the dog to be welcomed as a guest, just as much as they are. They will expect to see dog waste bins dotted around the resort, dog-wash areas and some park operators such as Haven even have a dog playpark.
“Forest Holidays provide a Doggy Welcome Pack – containing a healthy biscuit and poo bags. And some parks will provide a dog blanket and dog toys.” Sounds like pure luxury. But does being ‘dog-friendly’ also mean extra cleaning/maintenance? Sarah again: “Most park operators have very high powered hoovers that will pick up any dog hair, and also have a wet and dry hoovers, just in case a dog has an accident. “And the smell of the previous dog can be eliminated before the next guests arrive.” What can go wrong? Sarah points out: “If a guest leaves the dog in the accommodation unattended it can cause the dog stress, and they could scratch away at the soft furnishings, or start to chew, or even constantly bark, which might upset or annoy other holiday guests.” And its not just dogs who are welcome this summer, other pets deserve a break too and there are many pet-friendly places.
CATS AND FERRETS
Sarah recalls: “Over the years, I have seen guests on holiday parks with a cat on a lead or a ferret on a lead. “One holiday guest brought their African Grey Parrot and one family brought a horse and checked him into the holiday park’s stables.” Debbie Dangerfield is the owner of dogsinvited.co.uk and another expert on what makes a holiday great for a pet and an owner. “Visitors especially look for an enclosed area, so they can relax with their dog by their side,” says Debbie. “And many holiday properties supply throws so that they can be put on the furniture to let dogs on. “Dog bowls, towels, and even a temporary dog tag in case they run off are a nice touch too. “For real luxury, some places now supply a warm dog shower to give the dogs a clean after a muddy walk or sandy day at the beach.” Debbie echoes Sarah when she says that dogs left alone are the biggest problem: “Dogs are usually left on their own if they aren’t allowed to go where the rest of the family are going.” So that is what the experts think, but what about a holiday park that does some of the above really well? Caroline Povey is the Marketing Director for the Coppice Spa Lodges at the Darwin Forest Luxury Lodge Holidays. It is a spectacular development of seven luxury pet- friendly lodges designed with pets in mind.
Caroline adds: “Our Coppice Spa lodges are very popular. Each one has a separate utility room and everything you need to pamper your pooch, complete with a doggy shower, hairdryer (fur dryer), towels and space for their bed and feeding bowls, your dog can have its own bedroom. “Stable doors separate the utility area from both the decking and the internal living space enabling you to keep your pet safe and secure.” Another favourite with dog-owners are the Forest Holiday cabins with locations in England, Scotland and Wales. Amy Teige from Forest Holidays explains: “The cabins are the ultimate base for dog owners who want the freedom to explore the forest and woodlands surrounding the locations. “Over half of our cabins are pet- friendly, offering doggy treats, wipe- clean sofas and plenty of space for the animals’ favourite bedding and toys, plus we have the gentle warmth of underfloor heating throughout.” It can be tough finding a park that will allow guests to bring more than two dogs, but Forest Holidays allow up to four pets per cabin. Caroline explains: “It’s usually dogs but other pets are welcome too, and we charge £15 per pet, per night.” Helen Scott is the Director of Cofton Holidays and explains: “We’re set within 80 acres of glorious Devon countryside, and have four dog-friendly cottages on the Eastdon Estate where we’ve designed six of our holiday homes with pet-owners in mind.” Helen continues: “The cottages on the Eastdon Estate are set a short walk away from the main park and boast incredible views of the Exe Estuary and Devon countryside.
“All dog-friendly accommodation features hardwood floors, dog food and drink bowls, a dog mat, a blanket plus some delicious handmade local treats.
“What if your dog fancies an ice- cream? Not a problem! Says Helen: “Our Waggy Doggy Doodah doggy ice cream is served inside our on-site pets- welcome pub, The Swan Inn.” Guests can also look forward to the annual Cofton Dog Show. They offer a dedicated dog exercise field and have developed woodland walks through the Eastdon Estate. Sounds like dog paradise. And there’s more. Helen continues: “Our on-site shop has a good selection of dog supplies and guests can find dog mess bins across the site which are emptied regularly. “Plus, there’s no additional charge for dogs when visiting in low and mid-season and we don’t charge for registered assistance dogs. “We are located next to the award- winning Dawlish Countryside Park which was developed for local dog walkers and is an excellent facility for customers staying at Cofton.
“We also have a dog-wash planned in the new 12-acre camping site toilet block, and we’re planning four more pet friendly lodges with hot tubs due for launch later this summer.” To quote from the Forest Holidays dedicated dog-blog, 10 reasons why dogs love the forest: “We are a nation that adore our four- legged-friends and love taking them on holiday with us! “Sure, that means staying reasonably close to home, but watching the pure joy on their faces’ as they scamper about, snuffling happily at all those new smells, nose twitching, tail a blurry wag, makes it all worthwhile.” When it is done really well, helping dogs have a good time is just as satisfying for the holiday parks as it is for the guests.