Specialist lawyers to the holiday park sector, Tozers has clinched the Team of the Year accolade in the annual search by LawNet for lawyers delivering exceptional performance to their clients. The award judges recognised Tozers as having established an enviable reputation in their specialism which greatly benefits both the British Holiday & Homes Parks Association and its park members. The Exeter-based practice was among the 70 UK law firms competing for honours given each year by LawNet, the national consortium of leading independent legal practitioners. Tozers’ top team accolade came after an in-depth analysis of the scope of support and commitment it has provided to BH&HPA and its 3,000 member-parks. At a national level, judges said, the firm’s park team played a hugely important role in assisting the lobbying activity of BH&HPA when addressing laws affecting park businesses. Park owners are also able to access the expertise of the practice’s park specialists in a number of ways, including a telephone helpline to assist with legal issues and queries.
The firm additionally provides detailed guidance on park-related laws via the BH&HPA Journal, and team members regularly speak at industry conferences, branch meetings, and other events. Tozers can trace the practice’s roots in Devon back to 1785, and today employs around 170 staff at its Exeter headquarters and area offices around the county. Paul Kelly, head of the parks team and managing partner at Tozers, said the award reflected the commitment of his colleagues to supporting a dynamic and highly regarded industry. The team’s determination to achieve the best possible outcomes for BH&HPA and park businesses, said Paul, was a strength in which the whole firm could take pride. National Chairman of BH&HPA, Andrew Baragwanath, paid tribute to the knowledge and sound advice which Tozers brings to the holiday and residential parks sector: “This is a very well deserved award for a dedicated team of professionals who have made it their job to fully understand our industry, and to serve our best interests,” he said. Andrew added: “They have a thorough grasp of the myriad different laws and regulations which impact on parks, and the implications these have for business owners and the sector as a whole.”
Don’t Slip Up - Insurance
Bryony George reports on the most common holiday park insurance claims…
Specialists serving the industry have confirmed storm damage was the top holiday caravan insurance claim last winter, accounting for 20 per cent of all holiday caravan claims. Other common claims were escape of water and boiler damage, often caused by frozen pipe damage, highlighting the importance of draining down static caravans or lodges from November until mid-March, if they’re not in use. But one of the biggest risk facing most park operators remains liability claims, primarily from members of the public but also from employees. It is now no longer unusual to see claims north of £10m and there are numerous examples of claims no approaching £30m. “Park operators need to be mindful that their limits of indemnity for such incidents are set at the time of the incident but the eventual settlement, assuming the Park is found to be liable, is set based on the regime at the time of settlement,” advises David Moffat, Associate Director of specialist insurers, Wilby. “Given such claims take a long time to bring to a conclusion a Park could find itself without enough cover and they would be liable for any shortfall.”
David explains: “Insurers are rather focussed on this area following various changes to the Ogden Rate by the Government, which is a rate used by insurers and solicitors to calculate payments on serious, life changing, injuries, i.e. incidents involving paralysis. “As an example, a claim involving serious injuries say seven years ago but settled three years ago might have been settled for £3m - £4m so if the Park had £5m Public Liability cover at the time of the incident they would be fine. “If the same incident was settled today using the current Ogden Rates the settlement might be £12m to £15m and given the park only had £5m cover at the time of the incident they would now be facing a rather large bill which could threaten the very existence of the Park,” says Andrew. He adds: “It should be noted that the chance of a park operator causing the sorts of injuries needed to get to these levels remains as remote as it ever was but the chance of not having sufficient cover has increased considerably and as such operators need to review their cover now as they aren’t in a position to buy extra cover once the worst has happened.”
Another growing area of cover that operators need to consider is Cyber Insurance. The sorts of cyber policies now on offer covers much more than simple Data Protection issues. It will provide some cover for other things such as Business Interruption or Loss of Revenue if the Park Operators Computer System is hacked or affected by a virus or other Cyber incident. Traditional Business Interruption cover is based on a physical loss, such as fire, and would generally take no notice of the loss of revenue if the computer system was badly affected at the height of the summer. There are specific policies that will provide cover for data and system recovery, cyber extortion, privacy and network security liability, cyber-crime, telecommunication fraud amongst other areas of cover. Of course, no two holiday park businesses are the same, which means that every business’s insurance requirements are unique. Park owners should therefore seek out specialist cover specifically tailored to suit the needs of their individual business. Comparing what’s on offer from different providers will also be a useful exercise. Some covers, for example Employer’s Liability and Motor cover, are not only essential but are a legal requirement. Other covers need to be proportionate to a park’s individual risks and liabilities. Paula Hudson of Compass Insurance, who offer cover through its Binnacle scheme, advises: “So, a small park with no central facilities may find themselves well protected by a park-specific commercial combined policy. “Conversely a larger, multi-amenity park may need to increase some of the standard covers on offer by purchasing ‘excess layers’ such as property, public and employer’s liability cover. Common sense would suggest that the more facilities and services offered by a park, the higher the number of risks they may face, Paula points out. She continues: “Equally the nature of the service will dictate the size and seriousness of the risks that may apply. “For example, parks with a swimming pool will face more risks than a park without one; parks with a multi-depth pool featuring water slides and a wave machine will face more risks than parks with a small, single-depth pool that has no add on features.” Park owners and managers have a legal responsibility to manage risk, for example under Health & Safety Legislation, with some on-site facilities and operations requiring particularly careful supervision. Says Paula: “In the best-case scenario, a park owner will be able to provide comprehensive documentation to show that they had taken all reasonable steps to assess, manage and mitigate the associated risks. “Alongside other pertinent information, this documentation may need to be examined by a regulatory authority, such as the HSE, as well as the park’s and claimant’s insurers and solicitors.” Coastal parks, advise Leisure days, can be most at risk from flooding and stormy weather, as well as those near rivers and in exposed areas. Leisure days works with more than 1,000 parks who, in turn, introduce their customers to protect their business. “We handle thousands of customer claims, which range from simple accidental damage, to fires and floods that can wipe out multiple holiday caravans in one event,” says Gareth Walker, Head of Leisure days insurance. “Our most common customer claims are often weather related. Remember the Beast from the East, Storm Emma and Storm Doris in 2018 and then the severe flooding in 2015? “These weather events led to a huge spike in static caravan insurance claims for storm damage, flooding and damage caused by frozen pipes – highlighting the importance of park customers having the right level of specialist insurance cover. Holiday parks are continually checking their customers have adequate insurance in place and will write this into their park terms and conditions. Making sure customers have insurance gives parks re-assurance damaged units will be fixed, or removed and replaced, keeping the park looking its best. Choosing to work with an insurance partner can also boost income streams with parks earning insurance commission in return for introducing customers to the policy. Park operators need to look for specialist insurance cover for their customers, making sure all customers are adequately insured and that they’re dealing with a specialist and reputable insurance provider. There are some specific policy benefits worth looking out for. ‘New for old’ cover is essential for when disaster strikes and will make sure customers have the right sums insured to replace their damaged, written off unit with a brand new one. The main perils should also be covered, such as fire, flood, storm and theft. Look for benefits such as debris removal, so any badly damaged units can be removed quickly from your park, as well as pay-outs for re-siting and re-connection costs, and also use a provider who has experience of settling claims quickly, with prompt repairs and replacements.
Caravan Guard clients are always issued advice on how to take precautions to protect their pride and joy during these colder, winter months, as well as how parks can help owners drain down and advise on lagging any exposed pipes or adjusting boilers appropriately. It’s also worth checking that owners have taken any outdoor furniture and other outside equipment inside to avoid any external damage when windy weather strikes. Customer or parks have to report the claim first. If it’s a big event then the park would tell their Business Development Manager and we would arrange for specialist loss adjustors to attend the park and assess the damage. We’re well versed in handling multiple losses on parks after severe weather events such as flooding or storm damage. Our dedicated Claims Liaison Team make sure customer claims are handled quickly and fairly, keeping everyone informed along the way. The team also won Claims Team of the Year at the UK Broker Awards 2019. To make sure all park customers have extensive insurance cover in place so they are fully protected should the worst happen and to encourage customers to keep their unit in a good state of repair. Look closely at an insurance policy’s features and benefits, as well as the support you receive from your insurance provider, throughout the year, and in the event of a claim.
There are some claims that tend to affect parks more often than others. For example, the Compass claims team won’t be surprised to see claims for frost and water damage on holiday caravans over the next few months. Similarly, we may expect to see some theft-related claims, which tend to spike during periods of no occupancy. Equally, there are some claims that can be no more predicted than they are likely to occur on the same park again anytime soon, for example the ‘tornado’ wreaked havoc on one of our customer’s parks a few years ago. This varies greatly. The best-case scenario for a park owner or a caravan owner is that if they need to make a claim, the claim is approved quickly and paid-out in full. However, as aforementioned, this will always depend on whether or not the park has purchased adequate cover in the first place. If the insurer will need evidence to defend a claim such as evidence of risk management in the event of a liability claim being made against the park then the outcome of the claim will also depend on whether or not relevant risk management, operating procedures and systems, training etc are in place and have been adequately documented. Park owners are encouraged to see beyond price. For example, a broker’s approach to claims in times of crisis is especially important. The Compass Major Incident Hotline sets the benchmark for crisis response. Compass Insurance’s 24/7/365 disaster line is available to all of its park business customers and those that operate Compass’ Appointed Representative (AR) and Introducer Appointed Representative (IAR) schemes. Parks with private owners may also wish to consider working with an insurance provider to introduce or sell holiday caravan cover to their customers via an IAR or AR Scheme, advise Compass. Finally, it is important for park owners and managers to note that a condition of their park’s commercial insurance policy is likely to be that they must keep buildings and facilities in a ‘good state of repair’. If a claim is made and the loss adjuster believes that the affected building/facility and so on, has not been maintained adequately, this may lead to non-payment. It could even lead to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive. To avoid any slip-ups, operators are advised, in every instance, to consult with a specialist insurance supplier.
Tel. 0344 274 0277
Caravan Guard/ Leisuredays
Tel. 01422 396 693
Park Protect/Wilby Insurance
Tel. 01422 358 325
Get Out Of Jail - Indoor Play
Finding the recipe for success on indoor play will reap significant rewards…
The UK’s notoriously unpredictable weather means that indoor play facilities can be a real get out of a jail card for holiday parks and leisure venues. Whether it’s a soft play zone or an adventure course, parks that offer exciting indoor entertainment are sure to stand out from the crowd. The unpredictability of our country’s weather, coupled with the limited activities that are available to children indoors, means that soft play centres play a massive role in attracting customers to a venue. Of course, retaining those customers is a different challenge. This can be achieved by providing good customer service and a warm and inviting environment. Offering good range of quality food and refreshments is also a must. Based in South Yorkshire, House of Play provides a consultancy, design, manufacture, installation and after service package for all aspects of soft play. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, the company is the only soft play equipment manufacturer in the UK to both own and operate a soft play facility – giving them a unique insight into the operational aspects from a management point of view. “The biggest issue we see in the holiday park sector is the lack of maintenance on the play equipment or the lack of servicing by competent, trusted suppliers. Our advice is that you have made the big investment, now protect it,” advises Shaun. House of Play suggest that regular routine maintenance of play equipment should be performed to ensure that minor issues can be dealt with whilst they are minor, and to keep the yearly costs down to a minimum. As a rule of thumb, a minimum of six maintenance visits per month are recommended by House of Play, plus a daily cleaning routine and they also suggest refreshing the equipment every five years to keep it current. Shaun explains: “Ongoing maintenance for play equipment does not cost very much but it will protect your investment and prolong its lifespan. Plus it doesn’t matter who installed the equipment originally - we can still service it for customers. “Similarly, the refreshers do not need to cost the earth and we can work with customers to deliver very cost effective solutions and maximise impact.” Generally price points are dependent upon the scale of the play area, the location of the site and the offering as a whole. Shaun adds: “The majority of holiday parks that install small token play areas don’t tend to charge directly for the use of the play equipment. The larger sites can charge anything between £1 and £5 for admission and then of course there is the secondary spend in the café. “Ultimately, the scale and offering as a whole needs to be right if you are to maximise your profit potential.”
Brean Play has managed to get the balance just right, with a typical site in Brean Leisure Park in Somerset. Owned and managed by Holiday Resort Unity, the £2 million soft play attraction provides another reason for guests to visit the leisure park for the day, or to come for a holiday and stay at the resort. “Since we opened we have seen a lot of customers using the play centre on a regular basis,” says park director Kieran Spottiswoode. “We offer an annual membership scheme and this has proved popular, and we also offer a number of birthday party packages as we have 5 party rooms on the mezzanine floor. The soft play equipment for Brean Play was supplied by Cheer Europe and features three distinct areas for babies, toddlers and children up to the age of 11 with a large play frame, slides, trampolines, and a cannon ball zone. The Mezzanine floor also features five party rooms available for hire all year round. Kieran comments: “Before undertaking any new soft play project, it’s important to do your research. Be clear on what you want to offer and what age groups you are offering it to. It’s also worth looking at other operators, visit their facilities, talk to them about what works for them and what doesn’t. “It’s easy to get carried away with what other people or the suppliers say, but if you have done your research correctly you’ll be fine – stick to your vision.” Kieran also advises other holiday parks to look at the bigger picture and think about other aspects that will add to the play offering. Allowing a large enough area for spectator seating and tables is crucial, as is getting the food and beverage options right. Brean Play offer a varied menu in the cafeteria, and brew Starbucks coffee and frappuccinos. “Take your time, don’t rush the design phase. Getting this bit right is key to the whole project. We got two companies to pitch for the project initially but from the first time we sat down with the team from Cheer Europe there was a good understanding between us, which helped push the creativity forward.”
Visitors to Shorefield Holidays are spoilt for choice…
With an estimated £31 million impact in the local community and over £4.4 million spent annually with local business and suppliers, Shorefield Holidays is influential family-run business within the Dorset and New Forest areas where its eight parks are situated. “As a company we have a huge focus on sourcing locally, whether it be for fresh local produce to use in our restaurants or even our luxury holiday homes,” says Simon Pollock, Chairman and Managing Director. “One of our key suppliers for the ownership side of our business is Regal Holiday Homes, based in Wareham, Dorset,” Simon explains. “We do also make sure we are always up to date with a range of different suppliers and manufacturers, to ensure we’re choosing the very best for our guests and owners.” Shorefield Holidays was founded in 1958 when Dr Robert Pollock, the company’s founder, was unable to find an available pitch for his touring caravan.
He loved the area and regularly holidayed on the south coast with his family, however after finding that there was nowhere to stay, he bought a small caravan park next to a worked-out gravel pit…and so the company roots were formed! To this day, Shorefield Holidays is proud to still be family-run, with family remaining at the core of everything they do. Shorefield Holidays now boasts eight beautifully landscaped parks in Dorset and the New Forest, each with their own unique selling points and charm. Whether you’re looking for somewhere filled with entertainment and family fun, or a luxury retreat in peaceful surroundings, our parks cover everything. The sites offer a wide range of amenities but their proximity to both the picturesque New Forest and stunning local beaches offer a unique location from which to explore the very best of the south coast. Within minutes of leaving the park, you have some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes and idyllic walks just waiting to be discovered. This, coupled with our family values and warm welcome, is what keeps our guests returning year after year. You’re spoilt for choice on accommodation types and facilities across our parks, meaning there’s sure to be something to suit everyone. Families enjoy a range of caravan options, which we are constantly updating. This means that much of our caravan accommodation is no more than a few years old – something that really stands out to our guests and helps us to ensure we’re offering the best experience. Simon comments: “For something a little more special, our hot tub retreats are the ideal choice. Whether it’s an idyllic hot tub lodge our guests are looking for or a luxury house for the whole family, we have it all. “What could be better than returning to your accommodation after a day of exploring to enjoy a relaxing soak in the warm, bubbling hot tub? And when our largest house sleeps up to 14 guests, there really is room for everyone! Shorefield Country Park is at the heart of the holiday operator’s story and where the company began. It is also the largest, spanning over 100 acres, and has a range of fantastic facilities on site for all members the family to enjoy. “Our aim is to provide unforgettable family moments and memories that our guests will cherish for a lifetime, whilst minimising our environmental impact when doing so,” says Lesley. “We have implemented a range of CSR initiatives across all our parks - from joining the World Community Grid, enabling our idle computers to help power supercomputers research the likes of cancer cures, to regular beach clean initiatives. “We’ve even won multiple David Bellamy Conservation Awards in the process, something we’re extremely proud to be doing.”
Currently, the three family directors working alongside Simon include Sara Bertin as Finance Director and Lesley Lawrence as Marketing Director while Andy Bowden and Paula Curtis fill the roles of ICT Director and Company Accountant and Director respectively. The company recognises that its outstanding staff team are a huge factor behind its success, which is why they invest significantly in training, development and even awards nights to show our appreciation to our outstanding teams across all our parks. “Our stand out feature would have to be our highly skilled staff who regularly go the extra mile for our guests,” says Lesley. “We’re proud to say that many of our fantastic employees have been with us for more than 10 years and without them we would not be anywhere near as successful as we are today
A key challenge is ensuring a new guest experience and keeping guest retention high. As a business we are always looking for ways to refresh our offering for repeat holidaymakers, who are often our most loyal guests. Each year we invest significantly in new accommodation, ensuring we have the very best to offer our guests, in addition to introducing a range of new facilities and entertainment. We have some exciting plans in the pipeline for the coming year, which form just part of this strategy. Shorefield Holidays are extremely excited to be introducing luxury treehouse accommodation to our Milford-on-Sea park in 2020. Says Simon: “This investment encompasses our aim to continually grow and develop our guest experience.” He continues: “The stunning three-bedroom properties, situated in a secluded woodland area of the park, will offer a truly unique experience and even have their own private hot tub. “We are also looking to expand our portfolio in the coming years through the acquisition of new holiday parks along the South Coast.”
Tel. 01590 648 300
Heart Of The Appeal
We admire the five star quality of Northumberland’s Amble Links Retreat…
Just a short stroll from the quaint fishing town of Amble and a stone’s throw from the spectacular, unspoiled beaches of Northumberland, you could say the heart of the appeal of the Amble Links Coastal Retreat & Holiday Park is its location, or, its location – oh yes, and that location. Apart from the picturesque immediate surroundings, owners at the park are placed in the perfect location to take advantage of everything that Northumberland has to offer. Whether it’s a relaxing stroll and unwind on the beach, or an all-action day out full of exploration, owners can create their own perfect holiday. Alnwick, Bamburgh and their castles, Northumberland National Park, Kielder Water, Holy Island and miles upon miles of coast are but a few attractions. Even the sights and sounds of Newcastle are within reach, just 40 minutes’ drive away. So it’s true to say that location is vitally important. The team at Amble Links are always looking for new ways to enhance the on-park experience of the holiday home ownership team. This is our challenge and ambition for the future. “One of the biggest challenges for the Amble Links team is maintaining the high, five-star standard of service,” reflects Brian Docherty, General Manager at Amble. “We want to build on the work that has seen Amble Links receive this Visit England award for so many consecutive years,” Brian continues.
ALL YEAR ROUND
“Our 12-month season allows our owners to visit their holiday home 365 days a year, to see all those towns, villages and attractions and that make the North East so great in another light, without the crowds,” he says. “With most holiday parks, you’re restricted to certain times of the year. In the North East, it’s common for gates to close in November, not reopening until March. “During these quieter autumn and winter months, you’re missing out on Northumberland at its most beautiful. We’re talking refreshing morning walks across the crisp, wintery sand dunes. The spectacular sight of the frosty, rolling countryside. Cosy pub lunches by a roaring fire in Northumberland’s finest eateries. Fortunately, here at Amble Links, there’s a 12-month season.” A range of accommodation is offered at Amble Links from static caravans and lodges of various sizes and prices, new and pre-owned. Some of the most sought-after holiday homes at Amble Links would be the 2020 Willerby Vogue Classique or the 2020 ABI Beaumont. Behind their appeal are high-end interiors, spacious open-plan living areas, large free-standing sofas, kitchen and dining areas as well as two bedrooms, each with ensuite. At Amble Links, pride is placed on offering owners a lavish on-park experience. As well as an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and gym, there’s the owners’ bar and entertainment lounge. That’s not forgetting the on-site restaurant and pub, The Old Storehouse, where delicious belly warmers are being served throughout the colder months; for quicker bites to eat, there’s also our pizzeria and café, The Pantry.
The on-park children’s adventure playground and entertainment means that the little ones will be kept busy too. Brian again: “Many owners choose us because we also warmly welcome family members on four legs, as well as those on two. “The park is completely pet friendly, meaning owners don’t need to bother with the stress and expense of dog kennels when they’re planning their getaways.” Whether it’s the sales team, food and beverage team, our healthcare assistants, grounds managers or customer care advisors, everyone plays a crucial role in upholding Amble Links’ award-winning standards. It’s their proud job to ensure the park delivers a luxury holiday home ownership experience. “At Amble Links, quality is our passion. We’re dedicated to offering top quality service to match our five-star location and facilities" adds Brian I’m extremely proud of the team’s unbelievable work in achieving this and welcome guests to come and see for themselves just how special our park and community really is.”
Amble Links Coastal Retreat & Holiday Park
Tel. 01665 710530
Strong Man With Gentle Heart
Former chairman and non-executive director of the Hoburne Group, John Burry, has died at the age of 88. A strong man with a gentle heart, John had a huge influence on many people’s lives and was an inspiration to everyone at Hoburne and the wider tourism industry.
John was chairman of the Hoburne Group for 38 years, during which time, he not only grew the holiday park business, but he presided over the continuing success of the property and development arm as well. Golf courses were acquired, and hundreds of houses built under the Hoburne Development brand. Industrial and retail units, along with offices, were also constructed. John took on several distinguished roles. He was chairman of the National Caravan Council during the 70s, where he played a key part in the fight to improve standards in services within the industry. He served as Official Verderer of the New Forest from 1993 to 1999 for which he was awarded an MBE and in December 1994, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. John grew the holiday business by acquiring a further six stunning holiday park locations, but he presided over the continuing success of Hoburne Development until he passed the baton of chairman to his daughter, Rosie Kennar, in 2002.
Today, Hoburne owns eight holiday parks across the south and south west of England, plus three golf clubs under the Hoburne Golf brand and a residential and commercial development operation under Hoburne Development. Established in 1912 in Dorset, the family business is now in its fifth generation of the Burry family, creating one of the south’s largest and most successful family-owned tourism companies. John’s support for numerous organisations, charities, and individuals, extended beyond practical input where his expertise and wisdom were always highly valued. Through the Burry Charitable Trust, donations totalling around £1.75 million to date have been made to numerous organisations, and these were often given anonymously because John found it embarrassing to be thanked.
Hot Tub Expo Bubbles Over
Awash with hot tubs, the UK’s only dedicated water leisure exhibition, SPATEX 2020, takes place from Tuesday 28th to Thursday 30th January at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. For those looking to invest in hot tubs or swimming pools, the event is a must-attend event, with many exhibitors under one roof, including a vast choice of spa companies. SPATEX hosts a double programme of free seminars and workshops on all three days to help you hone water leisure skills.
Check out the website at www.spatex.co.uk to find out more and to register for free attendance.
Top Swimming Pool Honour For Butlin’s
The Art Deco influenced pool building represents a £40m water leisure investment staffed by a 48-strong daily team. The only pool in the world that has a Helter-Skelter, the pool centre also features a wave pool with themed music that has a Pool Party with DJ on every Peak Break!
Butlin’s seaside-themed, Bognor Regis swimming complex, has scooped the title of Holiday Park Pool Of The Year for 2019, in the recent UK Pool & Spa Awards.
A Lido Pool with beach huts allows bathers to relax and unwind with, another feature, a Stick of Rock designed slide that is 26m from top to bottom. All the slides joined together measure a combined total of 478 metres. A 12 metre high Adrenaline Flume with weather effect light strips throughout its journey while a family raft ride accommodates up to three people at a time. Jon Hendry-Pickup, Butlin’s Managing Director said: “The pool has already thousands of our guests have been able to combine fun, thrills, waves and flumes.
“Feedback so far has been glowing and justifies the time spent listening to our guests so that we delivered what they want and need,” he said, adding: “Our aim was to create an experience that takes our Bognor resort to a whole new level and ensures we continue to be at the forefront of British family breaks. We believe we’ve done exactly that.” Part of Bourne Leisure Ltd which also owns Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven Holidays, Butlin’s has three beach side resorts, Bognor Regis (West Sussex), Minehead (Somerset) and Skegness (Lincolnshire) and welcomes around 1.5m guests annually.
Fowler Group Swoops For Welsh Acquisition
John Fowler Holidays has announced its acquisition of Llanrhidian Holiday Park, one of Wales’ largest parks. The move will make the North Devon based holiday park group one of the principal privately-owned holiday park groups in the country. A family business, started in 1953, John Fowler Holidays has expanded to operate 12 holiday parks throughout Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wales. It employs almost 1000 people across the region. Every year more than 300,000 visitors stay at their parks.
Llanrhidian Holiday Park, on the Gower Peninsula, an area of outstanding natural beauty, was previously owned by the Richards family for more than 27 years. John Fowler Holidays managing director Martyn Fowler said: “We are delighted to have been able to add Llanrhidian to our business, it forms an important part of our planned expansion. It has been a pleasure to work with a family with a similar ethos to ours during this process and we are looking forward to continuing their excellent work as we take the park forward.” Ollie Fowler head of development for the group, added: “We intend to add further parks in exceptional locations in the future but it will be hard to beat the beauty of the Gower Peninsular.”
Farewell To Friend of Holiday Parks
The Conservation Foundation was greatly saddened to announce the death of Professor David Bellamy OBE, its co-founder and President in December. A passionate friend to the holiday park industry, he put his name to The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme -- one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The idea behind the awards has been to celebrate what the best parks are doing for the British countryside and to encourage others to follow their lead. One of the first comments David made about the scheme remains true today: “My dream is to upgrade all caravan parks up to some sort of conservation status so that they can educate the visiting public and help them respect and care for the countryside. “Help the environment and choose a park that has one of my awards,” he urged as he continued to work in close partnership with the British Holiday & Home Parks Association. Last year, 570 holiday parks received a David Bellamy Conservation Award for the work they’ve done to protect and enhance Britain’s natural environment. From the creation of new wildlife meadows and woodlands to the construction of solar-powered shower blocks and energy efficient lodges made out of recycled plastic, the variety of work being done by these parks is outstanding. The parks that take part in the scheme are all regularly assessed by the scheme’s team of local wildlife experts. The assessors look at the steps parks are taking to:
• Manage their land as a haven for wildlife
• Reduce their use of energy, water and other resources
• Reduce, reuse and recycle the waste they produce
• Support their local communities.
The idea of the scheme was first sown when David Bellamy gave a talk to members of the camping, caravanning and holiday home park industry in which he gave the audience members a challenge to be part of the environmental solution and not part of the problem. David, who was 86 when he died, was then invited to visit many parks and was amazed at the wide range of work that the most forward-thinking owners were doing for the environment as mini nature reserves. Known for his distinctive gravelly voice, the botanist and broadcaster was a larger-than-life character who inspired a whole generation. He became a household name, as a scientist and conservationist and will continue to inspire the holiday park industry in his name.
Shorefield Stages Charity Bake Off
Shorefield Holidays staged its own Bake Off-style coffee morning across two of its eight UK holiday parks to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The events at Shorefield Country Park and Oakdene Forest Park were part of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and raised £760.47 for the charity, which provides emotional, medical, practical and financial support for cancer patients and their families, as well as campaigning for better cancer care.
Juliet Dowrick, Digital Marketer at Shorefield Country Park, received the title of Best Baker on the day, while the Accounts Department won Best Department for its outstanding team effort. Harry Wells, Junior Graphic Designer & Marketer, and Katie Ward, Entertainment Manager, both received recognition for ‘Best Faker’ and ‘I Taste Better Than I Look’ respectively.
Cooler Months Still Packed With Appeal
Caravan and Motorhome Club members are continuing to embrace autumn and winter touring proving that caravanning and motorhomes are great holiday options no matter what time of year. Bookings for autumn and winter 2018 to 2019 were up seven per cent compared to the 2017 to 2018 season, and feedback from the Club’s recent social media polls show that its members think there is much to love about touring during the cooler and quieter months. Some 26 per cent of Club members questioned said they enjoyed the autumn colours and 22 per cent loved long walks on crisp bright days, with 35 per cent enjoying the quieter sites and attractions out of season. Nearly 20 per cent travelled out of season to appreciate the sheer beauty of the seasonal landscape. The resounding sentiment was that whilst members want to get out walking and visiting local attractions, many also love the warm and cosy feeling of being in their campervan, caravan or motorhome over the autumn and winter months, whatever the weather might throw at them.
Harvey Alexander, director of marketing for the Caravan and Motorhome Club, said: “Our members are an active and adventurous bunch so it’s no surprise that so many of them enjoy touring during autumn and winter, and we are striving to keep more and more of our sites open out of season to keep up with the demand. “It’s great to hear how our members all get away their way – whether that be curling up with a good book and a nice cuppa in a cosy motorhome or braving the chill and camping in a national park so they can spend the days walking and cycling. “I’ve especially enjoyed hearing the tips that our members have for getting away in the cooler months, not just the practicalities of being prepared, but the lovely feeling they have of being safe and warm inside their leisure vehicles and benefitting from the great facilities we have on our sites.” NEW SITE Meanwhile, work to develop a new campsite in the popular Sherwood Pines forest in Nottinghamshire will continue throughout the winter and spring, ahead of a planned opening during the 2020. The campsite will be run and managed by Camping in the Forest, a partnership between The Camping and Caravanning Club and Forestry England. It will span 20 acres of Forestry England woodland and brings the total number of Camping in the Forest Sites to 16 across England and Scotland.
Thomas Cook Staff By The Seaside
Park Holidays UK has invited more than 600 Thomas Cook staff and their families to enjoy a weekend by the seaside. The holiday park group will pick up the accommodation tab in fully-equipped holiday homes for up to three nights, and will lay on free entertainment. Scene of the huge reunion party will be Broadland Sands Holiday Park, near Lowestoft, which the group is opening up especially for the event from November 8-11.
Park Holidays UK marketing director Geoff Barnes said it would be a chance for staff to swap memories and let their hair down after Thomas Cook suddenly went into liquidation in September. “As members of the holiday industry ourselves, we were also deeply saddened by the news and wanted to reach out to try and soften the blow in some way. “We thought the best way to help would be to open one of our most popular parks, Broadland Sands, for a long weekend and to offer free stays to staff and their partners and children. “Within one day of making the opportunity known to Thomas Cook staff, we were delighted to have taken bookings for all of the park’s 150-plus holiday homes,” says Geoff. “It means that we’ll be welcoming over 600 guests in total for between two and three nights, and we hope it will create a truly memorable experience for everyone. “I’m sure there will be some nostalgic moments, but overall we simply want all the Thomas Cook team, and especially the children, to share a very happy time,” added Geoff. As well as the free accommodation, guests will have use of all of Broadland Sand’s leisure facilities, including a recently opened £1.6 million swimming pool complex. Charges will also be waived on some other activities usually paid for by holiday guests, such as the climbing wall, adventure golf course and Segway Scooters. In addition, Park Holidays UK will be laying on a full no-cost entertainments programme in the park’s clubhouse featuring professional family-friendly acts.
Holiday Park Innovation PREVIEW
Underlining its reputation as one of the leading holiday park shows in Europe, this month’s Holiday Park Innovation aims to attract over 4,000 key decision makers in the industry to the NEC for its unmissable annual gathering. For added appeal, the event from November 6 to 7 inclusive, reinforces its recipe for success by running other rural shows alongside, including the Farm Business Innovation Show, Family Attraction Expo, and our launch show, the Leisure Food and Beverage Expo. The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show is dedicated to providing the country’s most ambitious holiday park and resort owners and managers with the best advice, services, and products to make their holiday business stand out from the rest. With 400 exhibitors and 170 seminars dedicated to the industry, it’s the perfect opportunity to create the idyllic getaway for your customers. Learn the latest industry knowledge and gain insight into the newest innovations and technology currently available. If the exhibitors themselves were not enough to pack your visit, over the two days, the organisers offer a tempting seminar programme backed by insightful speakers.
Take some time to visit the Keynote theatre from 11 am to 4 pm. On both days speakers will be covering topics as broad as Post-Brexit Tourism, Maximising the Natural Environment, and Busting Outdoor Accommodation Myths while Hoseasons’ Shelley D’Arcy discusses the benefits of using land for the holiday market. Three other theatres offer stand-out presentations from 11 am to 4 pm daily covering subjects as varied as holiday hot tubs, playground design, to water conservation. Look out for Vicky Parr, from Visit England, discussing ways of boosting your business for holiday makers in the UK while Dave Courteen of Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs will outline How to Create a Profitable On-Site Leisure. So what are you waiting for? Register for your free tickets via the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show website with your chance to see the show first hand.
As the main media partner to the event, Holiday Park Scene is a B2B print and on-line magazine for the holiday park sector, earning itself a reputation as an essential read for anyone involved in holiday park management. Packed with fresh ideas and essential reading for anyone who runs or works in a holiday park the magazine is available on-line at www.holidayparkscene.com Holiday Park Scene offers the inside track on the latest market news and reports covering all aspects of holiday park management. Most importantly, Holiday Park Scene provides you with a targeted platform to promote your products and services across all areas of the UK and Eire holiday park sector. If you would like to get involved with this exciting publication, please don`t hesitate to visit the team at the show or make direct contact now, to help us understand how to make you stand out from the crowd.
British Holiday & Home Parks Association
Tel. 01452 526911
Family Holiday Association
Tel: 0203 117 0650
Tel. 01243 554455
Tel. 01983 282420
Tel. 0845 470 6060
Tel. 07722 187272
Tel. 0121-428 1155
Tel. 01536 517028
Wilby Park Protect Insurance
Tel. 01422 358 525
Tel. 01329 514000
Just One Click
The case for running an on-line booking system almost speaks for itself.
Because holiday destinations that move to full online bookings, typically, see increased in turnover – and profit -- of 40-50%.
You can cut overheads too. Parks who change to automated systems, regularly reduce staff administration costs by 30%.
I call that a win, win situation. Yet many older or smaller parks still work with wall charts, diaries and spreadsheets. So why the reluctance to make the switch?
“For a significant percentage, they have a small park and it is always full and they feel they don’t need a bespoke booking systems,” explains Dawn Bee, who runs one of the industry’s most popular systems in GemaPark.
“For others, it is a reluctance to lose the ability to talk to -- and vet -- their customers,” Dawn adds.
Allocate is a flexible online booking system you can embed in your existing website that is ideal for holiday home lettings and campsite bookings.
“There are some campsites that operate under the 28 day rule that don’t believe they would benefit sufficiently from a booking system,” comments Allocate’s Charles Holdsworth.
“Some of these are cash-only sites where few, if any, arrangements are made in advance,” he adds.
“Over the last five years though, the rise of payment systems that do not have a fixed monthly fee has made booking systems far more attractive to the seasonal market, even those with a low turnover.”
Smaller sites can be victims of their own success as they tend to have several lines of business and the time they can devote to each is limited. In this case, the booking system will ease the burden of taking bookings and simplifying all customer interactions.
Charles again: “The smallest of customers with just a handful of pitches that takes around 100 bookings a year would find it impractical to operate without an online booking system that make running a small establishment viable. Dawn says smaller business still need to be a step ahead on the competition.
“As the parks around them go online, offering more convenience to the newer web-orientated generation of customers, they will eventually have to follow,” she predicts.
“A booking system will undoubtedly make your life easier but more importantly it makes your customers life easier.
“It’s a question of service, of talking to a new generation of customer in the way they want to communicate. “ The benefits are significant. Customer service can increase massively because the process is consistent for every customer.
Booking documents, welcome letters and other documentation, can all be automated so if there is an issue, you fix it one place and it’s fixed for everyone.
Dawn points out: “Cash flow is better and by automating collection of deposit and balance before arrival, no-shows are massively reduced.” Driving direct bookings is key to maximising returns, she adds: “Without their own booking system, the lion’s share of bookings will have a hefty commission,” Charles emphasises.
“People expect to be able to book online, at any time of day or night. Sites are keen to keep all their bookings in one place, to that end, when they receive calls they will either direct the customer to make the booking online or enter the booking online for them.
As one smaller site operator said: “I’m fed up with all the interruptions to manage phone and email bookings”.
This is a common theme, the amount of time a booking system saves is considerably more than people estimate. Online bookings automate the collection of money too which was always a time -consuming burden.
The management information a good booking system provides is invaluable, whether to manage guest arrivals, to prepare on site services, or to organise third party activities.
An interface to an accounts package is another way a booking system can reduce overheads, there is no need for double entry of data.
The data can also be reviewed to analyse the customer base and booking patterns in order to appropriately focus marketing activity.
But what if the system crashed and the great Internet in the sky lets us down.
Dawn admits, it can happen but urges: “A ‘cloud’ solution is a lot more reliable than your work PC and will have full backups.
“They are very rarely down and then rarely for longer than a few minutes.
“You can still print off daily arrival reports, the night before as a fall back, if you want to.” Unfortunately, nowadays, even the most clued-up of businesses are still vulnerable to a cyber-attack. As a result, the popularity of cyber-specific insurance products is growing.
While existing insurance policies such as commercial property, business interruption or professional indemnity insurance may provide some elements of cover against cyber risks, businesses are increasingly buying specialised cyber insurance policies to supplement their existing insurance arrangements, particularly if they:
• hold sensitive customer details such as names and addresses or banking information
• rely heavily on IT systems and websites to conduct their business
• process payment card information as a matter of course.
Many insurers, including Compass, include technical assistance with managing a breach as part of the insurance policy.
Adding-on cyber insurance cover is widely available, but as with all insurance, quality can vary and from an economical perspective, it would be sensible for parks to seek out add on products that ‘wrap around’ their existing cover.
First-party cyber insurance covers your business’s own assets.
Third-party cyber insurance covers the assets of others too, typically your customers.
With reliable booking systems out there, and supplied with reliable safety nets, we would urge you to take the leap for your 2020 bookings – and reap the rewards.
Holiday Snaps - Gareth Walker
What was your career path into the industry?
After leaving school, I worked in the financial sector for HBOS (now
Lloyds Banking Group). I worked for the group in various departments from International Payments to Treasury in the big smoke. I was
working in the marketing department when an opportunity to join
Leisuredays came up. And 14 years on I’ve never looked back!
How has the market changed during your time in the industry?
The changes I’ve witnessed have been for the better. The customer
product has greatly improved, which in turn provides insurance
companies/brokers with a better risk. Holiday parks are open longer and
have much more to offer, with a wide range of facilities and activities.
Conversely insurance has become much more heavily regulated,
meaning parks need our help more than ever to stay compliant.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to 10 years?
I can see more online and digital engagement between parks and
their customers and also between us and our policyholders. We’ll use
technology to make it ever easier and quicker for customers to obtain
the cover and make a claim.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life?
Work vs life balance is my biggest challenge. Trying to keep my wife
and the kids happy whilst travelling around the country to support
my team and our parks. But I’m privileged to have a great team of
Business Development Managers and a flexible boss (and wife)!
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
The best piece of advice that’s stuck with me is from one of my first
mangers. And that’s to be honest and don’t be frightened to make
mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not learning or improving!
What do you most like to spend your time out of working hours?
In my spare time I’m an Academy football coach with FC Halifax Town.
Both my boys are big into football and this covers any hours I have
free. It is a great way to wind down after a day on the road.
If we could give you three guests? Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
It’s hard to just choose three but in no particular order: David Beckham
– Because he was a very successful footballer, dad, business man and all
round decent guy. Dynamo the magician - I just love magic! Plus, he’s
a good Yorkshire lad and would be guaranteed to keep you entertained.
Dr Steve Peters – I’ve read a few of his books now and think he’d be
very interesting to have as a guest to bounce thoughts and theories off.
Do you have any claims to fame?
At one of the first Soccer Aids, I gave Maradona a high five when
passing him in the corridor on his way out of the stadium.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
We often visit Tenerife, however, my two boys love a week away in a
holiday caravan or lodge and it’s those holidays they talk most about
to friends and family. There are some fantastic holiday parks and
locations in the UK, but the ones with a pool, football pitch and a bar
will always be most attractive for a young family like mine!
Wish You Were Here - Oyster Bay Coastal & Country Retreat
Oyster Bay Coastal and Country Retreat, is one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets and the only 5-Star, owners’only holiday park. You’ll find Oyster Bay set in the beautiful Cornish countryside, just a stone’s throw from the stunning, famous sands of Perranporth.
Oyster Bay’s brand-new development – Penpol Creek – boasts 23 spectacular holiday homes.
Imagine a mixture of extraordinary lodges, immaculately furnished. We’re talking contemporary, well-equipped kitchens, spacious open-plan living spaces and private sun terraces with unbeatable views of the Cornwall’s rolling countryside. Set in its own private gated community, there’s no better place to soak up the scenery – what’s more, it’s open all year round with a 12-month season. Unwind at the park’s exclusive facilities, including its indoor leisure complex – why not go for a calming dip in the pool, followed by a chilled drink on the decked terrace?
At the end of a busy day, enjoy a short stroll to Oyster Bay’s very own pub and restaurant, The New Inn.
They’ve laid on some delicious seasonal dishes to sample with your owner discount – and why not join in with the exclusive monthly wine club? Other benefits for owners include a chauffeur service and a calendar of special events.
Oh, and don’t even contemplate leaving your loved four-legged friends behind, either – Oyster Bay is completely pet-friendly.
At Oyster Bay, dedicated watersports instructors are available to help guests make the most of the surfing, paddle boarding and windsurfing
opportunities available nearby. You can make full use of the putting green, the tennis courts or get out and about to explore the endless, stunning countryside with complimentary electric bike hire.
Nothing has been missed in the quest to create a spectacular sanctuary all year round. Oyster Bay is the perfect home from home with everything required for endless holidays and lasting memories.
The Caravan and Holiday Home Expo 2019
26th September 2019
Hides Field, Beaulieu.www.caravanandholidayhometradeshow.com
The annual Beaulieu show gives both trade and public visitors the opportunity to see the latest and best that the major manufacturers within the industry have to offer and to examine the designs and luxurious accommodation available for the new season.The show is held on the Beaulieu Estate in Hampshire where they are joined by others for the Southern Caravan Trade Show on September 26th and the public show on the three following days. This the largest show of its type in southern England and provides a great opportunity for manufacturers and parks to showcase their latest products to the many thousands of visitors.
The shows are run by HERCMA (the Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association).
Holiday Park & Resort Innovation
6th - 7th November 2019
They say you should always save the best to last, so we finish this preview with The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show, providing leisure and resort industry professionals with an unparalleled opportunity to network and bring new revenue and diversification to their business.
This is the trade event to help holiday business owners grow, expand and evolve. The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show really is your one-stop event for industry leaders, world class speakers and 1-2-1 networking opportunities.
• 7,000 attendees of key businesses and industry decision makers • 400 industry leading exhibitors • 170 seminars from industry experts including Park Evolution, FSC UK, Wifinity and Wyldecrest Parks, plus many more!
• Exceptional networking and business opportunities including the chance\ to speak directly with business influencers • Advice and guidance on all areas of business, from marketing and PR to planning and finances
Want to know the best part? It is absolutely FREE! Free tickets to attend the show can be registered for via the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show website.
30th - 31st October 2019
SALTEX 2019 will feature over 300 exhibitors including some of the biggest names in groundscare.
The two-day event will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the very latest industry trends and innovations, enhance their education and learn from industry experts.
The exhibition is the longest-standing event of its kind in the world, having been held almost every year since 1938, and the show is continually evolving with the people of the industry in mind.
This year the show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations – and attendees can expect features such as:
• NEW! Eco Village – live demonstrations purely dedicated to environmentally-friendly products.
• Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s world-class free educational programme.
• Pathology and Soil Science LIVE – a look in detail at the symptoms of turfgrass fungal disease problems.
• SALTEX Innovation Award – celebrating the very best in new groundscare technology.
• Ask the Expert - free face-to-face turfcare advice.
• Outdoor Demonstrations – the latest products in action in an area directly outside halls 6,7 and 8.
• SALTEX College Cup - land based colleges compete in an academic test of turf management knowledge.
• Lawn Care Legends LIVE – a fantastic networking opportunity for landscapers and gardeners.
• Job Clinic – free one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques.
Registration is accessible through the SALTEX website and visitors can simply bring their email confirmation (on a phone or a printed copy to the registration desk) which will be located at the show entrance.
The Holiday & Leisure Park Development Forum
3rd - 4th October 2019
Whittlebury Hall, Northants
A brand new event for 2019, The Holiday and Leisure Park Development Forum will bring together the holiday and leisure park community to share best practice through an inspiring seminar programme as well as the opportunity to network and explore some of the most innovative products and services in the sector.
With the theme ‘Harnessing the growth in the UK staycation’ speakers include Jamie Christon, chief operating office of Chester Zoo who will be discussing managing sustainable growth, Paul Hardingham UK managing director of Landal GreenParks who will be talking about trends, innovations and expectations for UK holidays, and Matt Cartwright, director of Twelve Architects who will talk about ‘creating a destination’ with reference to Bodmin Jail museum and hotel in creating a leading visitor attraction.
Held over one and half days this must attend event will be attended by owner/operators and the key players involved in the design, build and management of holiday and leisure parks of all kinds. If you are upgrading, expanding or developing new parks then it is complimentary to attend including access to the seminars, executive accommodation, all meals, drinks receptions and our superb gala dinner. It will run in parallel with the physical activity facilities forum offering further networking opportunities. Please visit www.hlpd-forum.co.uk to register your interest in attending or contact Sue Ramcharan on 020 8288 1080 email: email@example.com If you are a supplier interested looking to meet with decision-makers please contact Leslie de Hoog email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8288 1080.
The Landscape Show 2019
17th - 18th September 2019
The Evolution Centre, Battersea Park (Chelsea Bridge Entrance), London SW11 4NJ
The LANDSCAPE Show is back again for 2019 and is already developing into
their most exciting show yet. The leading trade event is dedicated to bringing together an array of industry professionals from all over the UK and beyond, including garden designers, landscape architects and contractors.
Two days full of CPD accredited seminars enhances professional qualifications of practitioners and allows visitors to earn up to 11 CPD points with their attendance of sessions. This year’s show will host 44 seminars with leading members of the landscaping industry. With each seminar offering its own unique topic, there is definitely something for everyone!
Alongside the exhibition and seminars, The LANDSCAPE Show aims to inspire and entertain their visitors with a variety of events. This includes the return of the Pecha Kucha 20x20; an exciting event that derives from the Japanese term ‘chit-chat’. This discussion will be presented in a simple format, where the industry’s most creative and professional Landscape Architects will be presenting 20 images for 20 seconds each.
Additionally, they are also looking forward to bringing back the Best in Show competition, where exhibitors will be showcasing a particular product from their innovative ranges to introduce to visitors. It’s down to visitors to decide the Best in Show winner of 2019 so make sure you register to attend online so you can have your vote!
The LANDSCAPE Show will be open from 10am-6pm on Tuesday the 17th September, and 10am-5pm on Wednesday 18th September 2019 Both the exhibition and all seminar sessions are free to attend, simply register online!
Recipe For Success
Running a restaurant alongside a holiday park can be a huge undertaking, involving some big decisions… and not just with the menu, writes Karen Cotton.
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.
“Our guests expectations vary a lot,” explains Hayley Mount-Leonard, who looks after front of house. “While our campers are looking for the little extras to enjoy with their barbecues, holiday home owners are typically looking for a higher quality of food,” Hayley continues.
“We’ve found that the key is to ensure the quality of our food is as high as possible,” she continues. 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.
“About 40 years ago, we invested in a pizza oven and it all grew from there. Of course, we do a lot more than pizzas now and, unlike back then, it’s all made in-house.” The decision to take cooking in-house was borne from a desire to ensure guests were satisfied with what was on offer.
“Enjoying the outdoors and camping is what we are all about,” says Hayley of the site which holds a regional title for Best Park in Wales is has won a David Bellamy Gold Award.
“We wanted to make sure that our diners were enjoying the hearty, homemade meals that encourage them to be active.” Nine years ago, Hayley’s father, site owner Arthur Mount took up the role of head chef and the restaurant has gone from strength to strength – winning rave reviews and awards. The menu includes signature dishes, such as homemade pizzas, tiger prawns sautéed in white wine and sambuca, seafood linguine and homemade curries. Recipes are kept top-secret – including ‘Nan’s’ recipe for cheesecake.
While guests can enjoy a casual meal in the restaurant, there are also options available for those who want to dine alfresco.
“All of our meals can be ordered for takeaway,” says Hayley. “It ensures our guests can enjoy them in whatever setting they wish.
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.
“Summer of 76, for example, is a light hoppy summer ale that its name from the legendary hot summer of 1976 that heralded the start of Tyddyn Isaf under our ownership. Over 40 years and four generations later we are still going strong,” enthuses Hayley.
Switching location to Cornwall’s rugged North Coast, Landal Gwel an Mor aims to deliver guests with a memorable eco-escape.
Resort Director Matt Way ensures their eco-friendly ethos extends to every aspect of the business across the entire resort.
A fleet of electric buggies and vans allow staff to move easily on site – without emissions, while its luxury eco lodges, with their low-maintenance gardens and high-efficiency LED lighting, have been built to have a reduced impact on the environment.
Earlier this year, lights were dimmed throughout the site to mark Earth Hour 2019. “We wanted to make this an opportunity for our guests,” suggests Matt. “As well as dining by candlelight, our guests had an opportunity to see a flying display put on by one of our rangers and an owl.”
With such green credentials, Matt ensures their eco-friendly ethos extends to every aspect of the business across the entire resort and with catering this means, straw and plastic free. “We are continuing to reduce our use all the time. Our takeaways, for example, are provided in paper bags and cardboard boxes,” explains Matt.
Landal Gwel an Mor’s Terrace Restaurant, which has just launched a new menu, tries to source ingredients locally wherever possible. Seafood, for example is supplied by Matthew Stevens Cornish Fish in nearby St Ives. Because it is sustainably and ethically sourced, it ensures The Terrace’s inclusion in the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.
Mounts Bay Dairy, some 15 miles away in Penzance, is the chief supplier for local cheese and milk, while St Austell brewery supplies beverages.
Not all ingredients need to be sourced on site, as Matt explains.
“We keep a well-stocked herb garden just by the kitchen. It gives our chefs a convenient way of adding fresh flavour into our dishes as and when they need it.”
“Being in Cornwall, it’s hardly surprising that the Cornish Camembert with house chutney is a favourite,” Matt reveals.
“With the coast just metres from us, the same can be said for seafood dishes like our shellfish linguine and mussels with skin-on chips.”
Gwel an Mor
Tel. 01209 842354
Tyddyn Isaf Camping and Caravan Park
Tel. 01248 410203
White Lodge Caravan Park & Campsite
Tel. 01248 440230
Holiday park owners who improve the quality and choice of their accommodation and facilities are most likely to reap the rewards from increasing demand, particularly for UK short breaks.
Staycation specialist Hoseasons, which this year celebrates its 75th anniversary, is predicting a positive outlook for the industry for the rest of 2019 following an 11% Year-on-Year surge in bookings across its lodges and parks portfolio.
Mark Warnes, Vice President of Property Services at Awaze UK, Hoseasons’ parent company, says keeping up with changing customer habits has always been at the heart of the company’s success over the years, and that those who invest in ‘wowing’ their guests now are the ones most likely to benefit in the longer term.
“Standards of UK accommodation and facilities have made such a huge leap over the last 10 years that holidaymakers are now actively seeking out luxury, hassle-free short breaks closer to home at a time when they may have concerns about going further afield,” Mark says.
“Customer expectations have rocketed at the same time, though, so it’s no surprise that the locations we see performing best are the ones where owners have been prepared to invest and improve their offer.” Locations sold through Hoseasons that have recently invested in their offer include Go Active Holidays location Hemsby Beach Holiday Park, in Norfolk, which has had a £10m overhaul of accommodation and facilities.
The new look ‘super park’ features brand new luxury lodges with hot tubs, a Show Bar, Yacht Club Bar and a whole range of Go Active activities, including archery, zorbing, sea scooters, crazy golf and bowls.
Set just 350 yards from the golden sands and rolling dunes of Hemsby Breach, and close to the Norfolk Broads, the park also now boasts a Traverse Climbing Wall, an all-weather multi-sports court, soft play for the little ones, a Go Juniors activity programme for three to seven year olds and an amusement arcade.
Fellow Go Active location Cheddar Woods Resort and Spa, in Somerset, has also invested – unveiling 23 new properties earlier this year to cope with greater demand for quality short break staycations.
The mix of one, two, three and four-bedroom properties all offer spectacular views of the Cheddar countryside and have been purposely placed to maximise privacy and enhance guests’ sense of getting away from it all.
Each of the lodges comes with either a private garden, enclosed decking or an outdoor patio area, as well as non-reflective windows that allow the properties to blend into the Cheddar landscape.
Nine of the new units are one-bedroom lodges – a response to growing off-peak demand for couples’ romantic breaks.
Ninety minutes down the road Finlake Holiday Resort, in North Devon – another Go Active Holidays location - has a multimillionpound new facilities complex with waterpark and flume rides, spa and treatment rooms, and a state-of-the-art gym.
Finlake’s refurbished Retreat Bar and Restaurant offers lunch and à la carte evening meals and the nearby Cabin Café & Farm Shop offers a fantastic takeaway menu. Nature trails, outdoor tennis courts, two coarse fishing lakes and horse riding are also available, providing sporting opportunities for everyone.
All the parks have seen a rise in bookings since investing in their offer, with Warnes encouraging others to follow their lead.
“Capital investment is not something the owners we work with rush into,” he says, adding: “It’s a considered thought-though strategic approach, designed to make the most of a strong market and keep pace with what the public want when it comes to a short break.”
Lead Designer, Sue Brodie has worked with Willerby for almost seven years having previous worked on executive homes located in the prestigious London boroughs of Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea.
Sue says you need to strike a balance between the design aesthetics and the practicality of the home.
“There is a balance between the two – clever storage solutions can be aesthetically pleasing and enhance the interior,” Sue emphasises.
“It’s no good if the unit looks beautiful but fails to function as a living space, we always ensure there is enough seating, storage and the layout flows.
“We try to create furniture with a freestanding appearance so it appears more domestic but still includes that vital storage.” Sue stresses that owners are looking for comfort, a real home from home experience, although they are not looking to replicate their own homes.
“Their expectations are high along with their desire for better features and décor,” she says.
Many of Willerby’s unique designs grow from an innovative layout, offsetting the linear roof line and introducing an appliance bank allowed us to create a nearside corridor and internal bathroom. These internal bathrooms were made possible by the introduction of the ‘sun tube’ which in effect is ecofriendly mini skylight.
Willerby were also the first to introduce a larder unit into the kitchen with sliding baskets drawers and open shelving the unit is now available in two sizes. Other features include the Sheraton fireplace and bed surround shelving which were influenced by the New England, American interior designs.
Says Sue: “We now have access to some wonderful materials and finishes which allow us to create authentic looking interiors and are no longer constrained by our manufacturing capabilities.
Because we manufacture our own furniture, elements are completely bespoke and produced to our specification in just the right style, size and colour to complement the unit. Adds Sue: “We can co-ordinate our finishes though out the unit so the finished product looks cohesive and resolve.”
Previously static caravans adopted styling used in touring caravans, with lots of wall to wall storage and clunky furniture. We are now looking to popular high street brands for our Styling cues.
Fabrics were supplied by manufacturers to the caravan industry, we are now using domestic fabrics you would find on the high street.
With the improvements in LED lighting, we have substituted decorative wall and ceiling lighting for integrated spotlights bringing a cleaner modern look to our units.
We have introduced improved MP3 players with integrated speakers and USB sockets for phone charging and ipads.
We are seeing recent trends shift and evolve as oppose to completely new trends emerging. The Country Heritage trend is still strong with the addition of new colours, pebble greys and truffles.
Black fittings are popular this year and we have introduced Graphite handles and light fittings in birdcage deconstructed styles.
The colour trends are teal, blue terracotta, warm grey and sage with gold accents while authentic woods, sit alongside luxury fabrics, windowpane checks and pinstripe fabrics.
Pathfinder Homes have over 25 standard homes customers can choose from, however, the company offers a fully bespoke service giving the opportunity to create homes as unique as they are.
The Pathfinder Homes team is fully trained and committed to providing customers with not just a memorable selection process but a home that suits every requirement and desire.
“All standard home start their life with me,” explains Creative Manager, Kelly Martyr. “I am constantly listening to feedback from customers and keeping up to date on fashion and trends.
“Creating a new standard home initially starts with seeing a gap in the market, inspiration from other industries or even a popular request. Initially, I will sit down with our Architectural Technologist and Technical Manager and discuss the sometime outlandish ideas that occur to me.
“I try to take all advice on board and then start to sketch out initial ideas and mood boards,” reveals Kelly. “Once I am confident with the design I will present to our directors, along with rationale, budget and where this sits in the market place.
“As soon as approved all the technical drawings are completed, we pass over to our production team and begin the build.” The whole process from inception to completion can be about six months, and offering a fully bespoke service is something Pathfinder Homes is particularly proud of.
“We understand everyone is different as is their customisation,” Kelly asserts. “For those who know
exactly what they want, our Selection Studio is like heaven.
From carpets to curtains, decking to door handles, the Selection Studio is the perfect place to be inspired and the Pathfinder team can help dreams come true. For those who want a little more guidance, then that’s exactly what they get.
Kelly explains: “I can meet the customer at the Selection Studio and walk them through the whole process and offer advice and assistance every step of the way. Customers can start from a blank canvas or from a preselected, standard design.”
One thing is for certain, there’s no shortage of inspiration, the studio overlooks the famous Haytor in Dartmoor’s National Park, is fully equipped with all the aesthetic examples you might need, from kitchen units to soft furnishings, all to make sure that the new home is exactly how they want it,” says Kelly.
“Pathfinders’ Selection Studio really gives presents a tangible design experience,” she continues. “Customers can touch and feel the fabrics, walk through the kitchen and enjoy a coffee on the couch.
Kelly says Pathfinders’ suppliers play a significant part in the company’s design success. She says: “Over the years we have built up a base of fabulous, supportive and loyal suppliers.
“The relationship we have built together is so important. There are a select few who I work with on almost a daily basis and consider them part of the team here at Pathfinder Homes.
“Our suppliers are constantly sending over innovative products, new samples and exciting developments within their industry – this allows us to continue to lead ours!”
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Simply The Best
Newly-opened luxury resort Ullswater Heights has a simple but clear mission – to be the UK’s best holiday park.
Situated on the site of an abandoned quarry at Newbiggin, Penrith, this stunning new location on the edge of the Lake District officially opened its doors to customers in July, promising new standards in UK self-catering.
Just six miles from Ullswater and 40 minutes from Windermere, it’s not hard to see why the park’s owners – five-star resort operators Leisure Resorts - chose this spot for their £20m new location and why they believe it should be considered among the best in Britain.
Set around 70 acres of landscaped gardens and an eight-acre lake, the park features 74 one to four bed luxury lodges and 10 one and two-storey centrally heated glamping tents - all of which come complete with their own decking and steamy hot tubs.
There’s an on-site farm and a playground for the little ones, while the Lake House Bar and Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves a menu featuring locally sourced Lakeland produce and ingredients.
LURE OF LAKES
Leisure Resorts director Grant Gidman says the range of topquality accommodation and facilities on offer reflects the varied customer base the park expects to attract. “The lure of the Lakes is undeniable - whether it’s families wanting to get their kids out and about, groups of friends on a walking holiday or couples looking for an indulgent romantic break, this incredible area has it all - but that doesn’t mean ‘average’ is going to be good enough when it comes to where they stay,” says Grant. “Customers quite rightly expect more and more from their staycation these days, and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to make a stay at Ullswater Heights as memorable as possible.”
Guests who really want to live the high life will soon be able to have their every whim catered for by indulging in the park’s concierge service. Transport arrangements, restaurant reservations and entertainment bookings will all be taken care of, as the park looks to make good on its commitment to premium customer service.
It’s a quality mark Leisure Resorts are backing with investment in a 40-strong Ullswater team, led by General Manager, Laura Corner, who has been brought in from sister park Aysgarth Lodges to make sure standards exceed expectations.
That means for pets as well as their owners - Ullswater Heights is dog-friendly with cosy beds, water bowls and dog toys available free of charge. There’s also dedicated bins dotted around the park to make dog walking as stress-free as possible.
Leisure Resorts initially had no intention of including holiday lets at the park, but it thought again when bookings for sister park Aysgarth Lodges did so well through self-catering specialist Hoseasons.
Gidman says working with the firm famous for its luxury hot tub breaks is one of the best decisions the business has made since being set up by former Park Leisure boss Gary Molloy in 2017.
He says: “The team at Hoseasons have been so integral to our success at Aysgarth that bringing them on board here was a complete no brainer. The relationship is evolving all the time and now we’ve got to know them I can’t imagine what it would be like without them.”
Ullswater Heights, like Aysgarth Lodges, is part of Hoseasons’ luxury Evermore Lodge Holidays Collection - an exclusive range of 23 hot tub lodge locations designed for families and groups of friends to relax and spend quality time together in beautiful surroundings.
This investment at Ullswater comes at a time when Hoseasons says it is, for the first time ever, selling more holidays with hot tubs than without. The company has seen a 20% increase in the number of hot tub holidays it has sold in 2019, compared to the same time last year.
Holiday lodge rentals at Ullswater Heights start from £464 per week and range up to £2,200 for the most luxurious rentals at peak times.
Park To Park Charity Challenge
North Wales parks boss David Thornley Jnr has pedalled to victory in his bid to raise much-needed funds for a children’s hospice appeal.
David, a director of Thornley Leisure Parks, led a group of seven amateur cyclists this summer in a gruelling 186-mile sponsored ride which was completed in a single day.
Now, thanks to the team’s efforts, Hope House Children’s Hospices will shortly be handed a cheque for £8,500 to help support its vital care for young sufferers. The donation brings to a remarkable £170,000 the total that Thornley Leisure Parks has raised for the UK-wide hospice charity over the years.
David’s epic ride began at Green Pastures Holiday Park in Abersoch and followed mostly minor roads before finishing at Gallaber Holiday Park in the Yorkshire Dales. The two parks are among the nine multi-award winning holiday centres now owned by the Thornley family’s business which was established over 55 years ago.
The group’s connection with Hope House Children’s Hospices, said David, goes just as far back: “It was my grandparents Dorothy and William who opened our first park, Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park in Conwy, which we still own today,” he said.
“They both became supporters of the charity from the outset, and it’s a tradition which my family has been very happy and proud to continue to this day.
“Many of our park staff are also enthusiastic fundraisers for Hope House, and take part in a wide range of events and challenges to swell our donations. We owe a big debt of thanks to all our sponsors for their fantastic generosity,” added David.
There is more information about the charity on its website at www.hopehouse.org.uk
Ten Year Holiday Milestone
Since the partnership between Canvas Holidays and the Family Holiday Association began back in 2009, 450 families, struggling with terrible circumstances, have been gifted a much-needed short break at the seaside, or local day out.
The funds have been raised solely through customer donations at the point of booking a Canvas Holiday and staff fundraising activities, both on Canvas campsites throughout Europe and at the company’s head office in Dunfermline.
The short breaks offered by the charity enable individual families to spend a few nights in a caravan at a holiday park at the British seaside.
Michael Thompson, International Call Centre Manager at Canvas Holidays said “We are so happy to have been able to help these families over the past ten years and we’d like to thank all our staff and customers for supporting the Family Holiday Association and the invaluable work they do.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Family Holiday Association in the future.” To help Canvas Holidays cover the costs of keeping the caravan in tip-top condition, enabling even more families to have a vital break for another year, you can donate via www.justgiving.com/campaign/Canvas
Champagne Compass Celebrations
Binnacle was established in a unique, strategic alliance between BH&HPA and Rural & Commercial Holdings back in December 2018.
The name Binnacle was chosen for the business because a binnacle supports and houses a ship’s compass.
Some six months later, it was celebrations all round this summer, when the Compass team were able to finally and formally celebrate the re-birth of their scheme.
The official grand opening of the airy new Binnacle/Compass offices took place in Pullman Court in Gloucester, which is also home to the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA).
Invited guests were welcomed by both the Compass and BH&HPA teams for a champagne lunch and a blue ribbon was cut to mark the occasion.
In welcoming everyone to the event, BH&HPA National Chairman Andrew Baragwanath explained how important it is to the Association to ensure that the right insurance cover and services are available to park business and their customers. He also outlined some of the history of the Compass Scheme, which dates back to 1976, and explained the work involved in establishing Binnacle.
Tel: 0344 274 0277
Award Winners Moved To Lincs Parks
The focal feature of an award-winning entry at the prestigious BBC Gardeners World Live show has moved to two Lincolnshire holiday home parks.
The life-size wooden horse sculptures which were hand-carved by an artist in Asia are now on permanent display at Lakeside Park in North Somercotes and Whispering Waters, Mablethorpe.
The ambitious show garden created by Horticulture and Construction students at Derby College Group’s Broomfield Hall won a silver merit medal at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre in June.
The college teamed up with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and a range of sponsors headed by Don Amott Parks which has five Lincolnshire holiday parks. Key features of the garden, including the spectacular wooden horses, have now been rebuilt at Lakeside Park, close to the village of North Somercotes, just 12 miles from Louth.
Chairman, Don Amott said: “Having lost a cousin to Multiple Sclerosis, I was particularly keen to work alongside the MS Society on this project. It is a charity that is close to my heart.”
Don Amott Parks
Tel: 01507 358428
Ssh! Pitches For Lovers Of Peace and Quiet
One of Devon’s most beautifully located holiday parks is wooing holiday home buyers with a list of all the attractions which they won’t be able to enjoy. But rather than putting people off, Nichols Nymett Holiday Park owner Angela Stupiak believes her unusual pitch will be well received by the right type of customers. They are being told that the park doesn’t have a disco for late-night revelries, or the chance to win a fortune on bingo, or sing-alongs in the clubhouse, nor a children’s talent contest. In fact the only live entertainment on her park near Okehampton, Angela cheerfully admits, is a constant chorus of birdsong - plus delightful views of the peaceful Devon countryside. In other words, she says, it’s the perfect bolt-hole for those seeking escapes to total tranquillity. Angela and her husband Michael took on the business almost 25 years ago after being ‘smitten’ by its picture postcard location near Dartmoor in the village of North Tawton.
Holiday Park Eco Heroes Praised
Anti-litter warriors at a Dorset holiday park have been honoured with an award for helping to make the area’s beaches and sea even more welcoming to visitors. The staff team at Highlands End Holiday Park in Bridport received the accolade from the Litter Free Coast and Sea Dorset campaign in recognition of their many anti-waste initiatives. It was presented after the park was audited by the organisation and received a thumbs-up for its success in minimising wastage, reducing litter, and stamping down on single-use plastics. Martin Cox, a member of the family which has owned Highlands End for almost 50 years, said that everyone was immensely proud to have received the honour: “Minimising waste is an important part of our sustainability polices, and it’s not just about reducing the environmental footprint of our business, important though that is.
“It’s also about ensuring that our holiday guests can enjoy clean beaches on which to have fun and relax, and safe seas in which to swim or take part in watersports. “Our family and the vast majority of our staff were born and brought up in this area, so we naturally feel very strongly about safeguarding its fragile beauty and protecting the natural world. “The Litter Free Coast and Sea campaign does a fantastic job of involving local people and businesses in its work, and we’re very proud to be giving them our full support,” said Martin. He said that Highlands End and its four neighbouring sister parks were now close to achieving their target of recycling 50 percent of all waste materials produced.
Spa Is Up On The Park Home Roof
Tingdene Homes partnered with spa specialists, Park Leisure Solutions, to design its show-stopping Quantum Leisure Lodge that will form the centrepiece of the Northamptonshire company’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Stealing the show at the recent World of Park & Leisure Homes show at Stoneleigh, The Quantum Leisure Lodge has now moved to Tingdene’s Visitor Centre in Wellingborough but will appear at various exhibitions throughout the UK during the course of the year.
Unrivalled in the industry, the 52’ x 22’ Quantum Leisure Lodge boasts spacious living areas with luxury fittings and furnishing throughout. The huge 1,114 sq/ft footprint of the Quantum has been fully optimised both inside and out with the design of a fantastic edge to edge, fully decked roof terrace, with seating and entertainment areas as well as an energy efficient spa adding that final touch of luxury living.
Installed on the roof terrace the unique design will allow guests using the spa to enjoy 360-degree views from the comfort of the spa, in the privacy of the roof terrace.
Park Leisure Solutions Managing Director Stuart Mulchay said: “We were delighted to be involved with such a prestigious and challenging project that breaks new boundaries in leisure lodge development.” “From initial ideas-to plans and build specification, to final production and installation both teams used their skills and knowledge to deliver what will be a very unique customer experience when relaxing in the spa.”
Tempting Menu At Stoneleigh Show
The World Of Park and Leisure Homes once again served up a Smörgåsbord of design and operational ideas to tempt all palettes at it returned to the Stoneleigh showground in June. With many big name players on show, one team standing out from the crowd were Suffolk-based Country Homes (Anglia) who felt being a smaller player worked better for its customers who could expect unrivalled design, install and after sales support.
Meanwhile the team from Oakwood Park and Leisure Homes, a family run business offering a choice of high specification park and leisure homes, shined their spotlight on its Maple design, a contemporary three bedroom, two bathroom lodge with a combined kitchen and dining area.
Other stand out exhibits included Littlehouse Glamping offered a competitively priced range of gipsy-style caravans and shepherds’ hut on an individual, bespoke basis.
If its leisure or residential – Pathfinder Homes had it covered -- with some head-turning display lodges topped off by its outstanding Hawthorne design. Custom-built for the Grange Park golfing resort, in North Lincolnshire, the Hawthorne design changed the game when it was first built, being the first centrelounge home on the market and arguably the most impressive to date.
Knowledge Is Hot Tub Power
Knowledge is power when it comes to reducing the risk of Legionella outbreaks associated with spas and hot tubs in holiday park locations. So a newly launched modular training course, available on-line, from industryleading experts Tintometer, offers vital support for operators who want to be safe rather than sorry and show due diligence when it comes to holiday hot tub compliance. Crucially, the course covers the practical aspects of complying with the Health and Safety Guideline 282 (HSG282) which came into effect in early 2017.
The guideline covers all spas and hot tubs in a commercial setting i.e. all those hired out and used by more than one party – for example, holiday lettings. Section five of the guideline concentrates on water testing with the following emphasis:
• Reducing the risk of Legionella and microbiological contamination
• Emphasizing that this is the operator’s responsibility
• Ensuring testing is frequent and planned (at least two or three times a day)
• Highlighting that results should be recorded
• Stressing that there should be a written action plan if required
The guidelines focus on three main parameters; Disinfectant, pH and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). Don’t be baffled by the science, say leading experts, Tintometer, who offer professional photometer test kits that are the only way for the operator to accurately measure all the tests mentioned in HSG282 and evidence your findings. Contained within the kit is a professional photometer for the measurement of chlorine, bromine and pH and a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Pen. Importantly these kits measure both chlorine and bromine so, if different disinfectants are used across your site, the same kit will cover both.
For more information and to sign up for the course, which can be undertaken in stages at your own pace, simply email: email@example.com
Set in 40 acres of beautiful East Yorkshire countryside, the multi awardwinning Patrington Haven Leisure Park is celebrating its 35th anniversary by engaging with its customers and the local community. Founded by Graham Sparkes in 1984 on a disused RAF base near the East Yorkshire coast, after he sold his caravan-building business, the site is now run by Graham’s son, Guy Sparkes, his wife Karen and their extended family, who have grown the team from 35 employees, five years ago, to more than 70 today.
With a growth in turnover from £2.7m in 2014 to £5.6m last year, the owners-only park close to the Holderness coast is forecasting £6m in revenue for 2019 and is experiencing its highest ever occupancy rates, with just 15 of 485 plots currently free. Patrington Haven Leisure Park sells a wide range of quality new and used holiday homes, with customers enjoying a choice of their own private garden plot with designated parking. Holiday homes currently available range in price from £14,995 to £69,000. After investing £5.5m in the leisure park’s Country Club and infrastructure over the past five years, the business is continuing to push forward with new services for its owners and visitors and to reach out to the local community.
Significant investments have been made in Guy’s Café Bar and Restaurant, new technology in the state-of-the-art gym, and three new vans for the maintenance team, which have helped to improve rubbish collections and the upkeep of caravans. In addition, the business has invested thousands of pounds in a rubbish compactor, which has ensured not a single piece of commercial waste has gone to landfill since it was installed, and launched The Spa at the Country Club, providing luxury health and beauty treatments to caravan owners and the local community. A takeaway delivery service offering food from the park’s restaurant menu has also been set up to operate within a seven-mile radius, delivering everything from pizza to fish and chips, romantic meals for two and family feasts, as well as an alcohol delivery service, to caravans on site and local homes, with orders taken via the Just Eat service and delivered by two new vans. Meanwhile, an innovative, free mobile phone app has been launched to communicate with people on and off the park, with options for them to choose the news and notifications they receive, and a new website is due to launch this summer. Managing Director Guy Sparkes firmly believes the park’s committed team and loyal customers are the foundations of its success. Guy said: “We’ve seen a really strong five-year growth period and I put that down to belief, supporting the team and allowing them to be in charge of their own destinies.
SIMPLY THE BEST
“A leisure park is only as good as its owners and its guests and we have some of the best. Our main aim is for all our customers to be proud of our team and our team to be proud of our customers. “I can’t say it’s like coming to work here. It has various pressures, but at the same time, you’re coming in to collaborate with people who believe in the same things. When you have shared beliefs, you can achieve anything.” The park has been awarded the Remarkable Holiday Park/Holiday Village Award in the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs) for the past three years, racking up the latest win in March. It also received the Visit England Gold Award for exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service 2018/2019. The success is based on creating a home away from home environment for owners and making the leisure park a hub for the local community. Although the pool and gym require membership, appointments at the Elemis spa can be booked and the restaurant, bar and other facilities are open to everyone all year round. The leisure park draws its customers from across Yorkshire, the M62 corridor and the Midlands and enjoys remarkable loyalty, with the longestserving caravan owners having called Patrington Haven their home away from home for more than 20 years. Andy and Kerry Naylor live in nearby Hedon and have owned a caravan on the park for four years, regularly staying in their current Willerby Vogue with their cocker spaniels, Charlie and Rosie. Mr Naylor, 57, said: “This is the third caravan we have had on the site. It’s like home away from home. “As well as my family, I bring work colleagues and engineers I know through my business to stay in the lodges and they all love it. “We like the takeaway service too. They’ve got it right with good chefs, and you can order online through Just Eat.” Eric and Linda Thompson, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, first bought on the park in 2003 and have owned three caravans during that time, including their current Winchester model. Mrs Thompson, 66, said: “We came to look at Patrington Haven one Saturday morning and we loved it straight away, so we bought our first caravan on the same day. “The plots all have their own gardens and it’s a very healthy environment. I walk, as well as swim, most days. The people are lovely and it’s like a small village. We’ve made friends here and everyone looks out for each other. “The park is family-run and that family feel is reflected in everything. We really feel part of that," she adds.
Retired couple Keith and Denise Wright bought their first Willerby Vogue caravan on the park last month, going ahead with the sale within 24 hours of arriving and falling in love with the surroundings. Originally from Manchester, they have owned a narrowboat for the past nine years and Mrs Wright said she is pleased to have found an ideal holiday home for their two children and five grandchildren to visit at various points throughout the year. Mrs Wright, 66, said: “We thought we’d go to lots of different sites to see what was available, but we never went anywhere else. “The staff took us round and we fell in love with it. When you need anything, someone is there straight away and nothing is too much trouble. There is such a lot going on for all ages and the park has a really nice feel about it. “Everyone has been so friendly here and made us feel so welcome. The park is really well cared for and has such pleasant surroundings.”
At A Glance
• The park operates an 11-month season for owners t o enjoy, but its five-star facilities are open all year round.
• Every holiday home comes with its own private garden.
• Guy’s Café Bar and Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and a superb Sunday carvery.
• The Country Club and Pool, which is open from 6.30am, 364 days of the year.
• The Spa open daily and offers a wide range of treatments using only the very best Elemis products.
• A well-stocked fishing lake
• A jam-packed events programme, from the all-day music extravaganza, Patfest, to the exclusive Owner’s Select private dinner.
Patrington Haven Leisure Park
Tel: 01964 630 071
Making A Splash
Taking the plunge with a holiday park swimming pool can be as daunting as diving off the highest board. But be bold. Investing in on-site swimming offers many avenues for return on investment from initial visitor appeal to encouraging maximum ‘on park’ spend. But don’t just think swimming pool – rather, think water leisure and entertainment. After all, maximum payback will come from an aquatic feature that does not just offer lane swimming, but entertains all ages and abilities with excitement and splash appeal.
A perfect holiday should provide plentiful opportunities to have fun, and opportunities to de-stress and recharge batteries. A swimming pool is an ideal choice for holiday operators wishing to attract and retain visitors, whilst promoting good health and wellbeing in their guests. “It is our experience that holiday park operators view swimming pools as a very necessary evil,” advises Tim Bareham of leading holiday park pool specialist, Cresta Leisure. “Some small privately owned operators resist the need for a pool, particularly if they are not family oriented,” Tim continues. “Larger operators invest heavily to deliver ‘water leisure’ facilities to customers.” With the trend to offer longer seasons or even all-year round appeal, many parks now have both indoor and outdoor pools.
When holiday park operators first contact potential suppliers, they will generally have carried out some research and could have an initial wish list. the available space to maximise and enhance their guest experiences, how much will it cost to establish, how long it will take to build, and what maintenance will be required,” reveals Michelle Minns-Sykes of water play specialists, Ustigate. “The installation of a pool and a flume alone is a mistake as the overall aim should be to create a wet environment that pleases many people in one space at the same time,” Michelle advises. “Whilst a flume is great and exciting it is an attraction that has to limit rider’s descents for safety reasons. “In a one pool and one flume scenario, the flume would be in great demand and holiday guests would spend more time queuing than playing!” Swimming is
certainly an activity that many of visitors enjoy when on holiday, and therefore a swimming pool will influence bookings.
An outdoor pool will be very popular in the summer while an indoor pool will continue to attract guests all year round. Michelle again: “Holiday operator’s main objectives are to create a destination for guests to take time out of their busy work schedules, to deliver a balance between work and play where guests can enjoy precious time with families and friends. “Access is very important in design. Where there is a depth of water, life-guarding staff will need to be constantly present to guarantee public safety. Every project is unique in its location and its product mix and the cost is dependent upon size, features and the water management system. Says Michelle: “The favourites have got to be tipping buckets and cannons, because we have witnessed the shrills of excitement that come from everyone on the receiving end of a large tipping bucket and the laughter that comes from the one at the firing end of a cannon!” Thinking outside the pool box, a splashpad is a safe and economic way to provide aquatic play; safe because of it being a zero standing water concept and economic because a splashpad generally uses less water than a pool and requires no life-guarding staff. A small installation with a couple of above ground products and some ground sprays is feasible to operate directly from the mains under a flow through water management system.
When designing a splashpad, Ustigate designers start by separating the area into three zones; incorporating a toddler, family and teen bay. The toddler bay would feature above-grade devices scaled down to a level that’s not intimidating for little ones, with products such as a low level Water Journey™ complete with a water pump, water channels and weirs or a PlayNuk™ two-deck exploration hub with softer spray features, small steps, double handrails, shaded spaces, and age-appropriate games that enable young children to explore exciting new frontiers on their own safely.
The family bay encourages cross-generational play. An adult, for example, might pick up a small child and walk through a series of tipping buckets or a spraying arch or loop. This isn't a high-energy play area, but instead an area that encourages socialising in a casual walk-through, park-like experience. The teen bay is focused on high-energy, incorporating cannons and where the space allows, a large tipping bucket that gives promise of a jolly good soaking! The majority of the Vortex product range is available with a safe-swap anchor system, enabling products to be exchanged for alternatives in the future without the need to break the ground. This system enables an aquatic play area to stay as fresh and as unique as the day it was installed, whilst keeping visitors intrigued and entertained with the essence of new. Holiday operators that have several sites can benefit from the safe-swap system by rotating aquatic play features between parks. It is important to allocate some forward thinking in the design to ensure any changes or add-ons have been allowed for in the initial design and build of the water management system. Ustigate Waterplay has launched a new user-friendly controller this year that features access to all of the controls and data on one screen, also available with remote access if an internet connection can be made available in the plant room. The controller enables you to set hours of operation, a sequence, to monitor the pumps, filters, water usage, and water treatment. With the remote access package, Ustigate Waterplay will email alarms to clients by text or by email, should anything require immediate attention. Taking expert advice on essentials such as water treatment is a no-brainer.
Bather load is critical to all, when the sun is shining the outdoor pools become very busy and when the weather is inclement customers all want to be indoors. Investing in indoor, weather-proof water leisure appeal upon the type and size of the park and whether it has potential to operate for 12 months of the year. Cresta Leisure’s Tim Bareham again: “Many larger operators who have appropriate planning permission, open indoor pools to local residents during the winter months but this is dependent upon the potential revenue and the cost to open.” Tim says there are many challenges to water leisure investment but probably the most significant is safety, life guarding and plant operation. “An outdoor pool needs to be warm and inviting and correctly sized to anticipated bather load. “A large freeform pool looks appealing but is impossible to cover and expensive to heat. An indoor pool without adequate dehumidification will cause serious problems to the fabric of the building.” The good news is that pools do not have to be built out of reinforced concrete and finished with mosaic tiles, there are more cost effective solutions. However there is no cutting corners when it comes to safe operation. “Commercial pools require high capacity pumps to meet turnover periods required but the inclusion of inverters and variable speed drives will improve efficiency,” advises Tim. The ability to cover the pool, when it is not in use, will reduce energy costs as well as insulating the pool tank when building the pool. Heat pump technology must be considered for both outdoor and indoor pools to minimise pool water heating dehumidification costs. Ultra-Violet disinfection units and PAC dosing improves filtration and water quality thus saving on pool chemicals and can reduce backwashing to make significant savings on water and reheating costs. If you are already feeling daunted then make sure you make a good start by seeking expert advice from experienced suppliers like Cresta Leisure and Ustigate. A pool investment does require capital payment but when you choose an aquatic partner wisely, you will get a great return for your investment because your guests will keep coming back.
Ustigate's 31-station Dippy the Dinosaur inspired splashpad has met its original goal in making Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Norfolk, even more popular than before.
Dippy’s Splash Zone has been successful at extending the length of a visit and has increased park revenues through locker availability, the sale of towels, shirts, diapers, and refreshments at Dippy’s Snack Shack. The facility provided the park with an extra influx of visitors, growing visitors by 18% in its first full year.
Rather than spend money on renovating the outdated outdoor pool, Freshwater Beach Holiday Park on the Jurassic Coast, decided to undertake a temporary upgrade to the filtration plant and line the pool with a commercial pool liner. They also decided to undertake a feasibility study, to develop a brand-new indoor pool facility. Cresta Leisure was invited to join the project design team, to develop and deliver a wet-leisure facility that would appeal to all ages. This co-operation has resulted in a very popular, purpose built pool complex that incorporates a splash zone, a paddling pool, a play pool, interactive tower with tippers, sprays and slides, a stand-alone four-lane slide with integral catch, a 20m deck level swimming pool and a spa. Following the success of the new indoor pool complex, Freshwater asked Cresta Leisure to come up with a scheme to improve the outdoor pool facilities. Because the filtration and circulation on the existing outdoor pool was below current standards, it was decided to break out the old pool and start afresh. All the groundworks were undertaken by Freshwater’s own team. In just five months, Cresta has built a brand new 25m x 12m outdoor pool with 12m2 paddling pool packed full of interactive water play features from Hippo Leisure. This new pool facility is fully compliant with European standards and is proving to be a smash hit with everyone.
Tel. 01305 259253
Tel. 01752 771740
Tel. 01322 424445
Set just two miles from Newquay’s golden sand beaches, Hendra Holiday Park welcomes up to 3,800 guests a night during peak season. The family-owned business began in 1972 as a site offering camping and touring. Nowadays, Hendra’s 80- acre site is home to more than 300 luxury holiday homes and 600 pitches (from standard grass to super), ensuring it caters to a wide range of guests and budgets. Newquay has undergone a transformation in recent years, as Director Jon Hyatt explains: “The town has come a long way since the days of nightclubs, stag and hen dos. “It’s now a five-star family-friendly holiday destination and that makes the job of keeping our guests safe and secure that bit easier.” On-site security is handled by the Nitoe Group Ltd, a company launched more than a decade ago to support Newquay’s bustling nightlife. The experience brought with it some valuable lessons. “In bars and clubs, security needs to be managed carefully to avoid ruining the experience for everyone,” says managing director Tom Peel. “Holiday parks are very much the same. “Our primary goal is to make sure guests feel safe and secure – without compromising on their enjoyment. Being approachable plays a big part in this – especially in a holiday park where very young guests might find themselves needing help.”
Hendra and Nitoe work in close partnership to achieve this: from choosing the appropriate measures and policies to sharing recruitment events. “The Nitoe Group team is very much an extension of our own workforce,” says Hendra director Jon Hyatt. “Their approach is more front of house than door supervisor and that’s a credit to the training they’ve received.” Security personnel on site understand the importance of customer service and know the skills to deliver it. In addition, they are trained to deliver first aid and can take on basic maintenance tasks, too. Jon continues: “With such a wide-range of functions, it means that, especially in peak season, we can enjoy an ‘all-hands-on-deck approach to give our visitors the experience that will see them returning year after year. “In addition, our staff has been trained on how to work with security, including how to get help in the event of issues on site, such as disruptive guests.” In such a big operation, data security is a significant concern. To protect against cyber threats externally, Hendra’s booking systems are isolated from the WiFi, feature a firewall and use subnets for added protection. On top of this, systems undergo external testing quarterly to ensure PCI-DSS compliance. “At Hendra, we go out of our way to treat our guests with the utmost respect and that extends to their personal information,” comments Bookings and IT manager Scott Dickinson. “Any data we hold is fully encrypted and we’ve made the decision not to store credit card details. “Sensitive information like this is only needed in the event of a refund; this affects no more than 5 per cent of our bookings. In our experience, when refunds are necessary, guests are usually more than happy to share their details again if it will help resolve the issue.”
Alongside external scans and testing, Hendra’s IT team regularly run internal vulnerability scans. Scott adds: “With so much data to protect, we are always on the lookout for flaws in the system which could result in data breaches and issues for our customers.” This robust-but-friendly approach to security has paid dividends, according to Hendra Director Jon Hyatt. “We’ve been welcoming guests from across the UK and beyond for nearly 50 years’ now. “Indeed, many of our guests nowadays first came here as young children and, because of our customer-focused approach – across every aspect of the business – they continue returning each year, bringing children and grandchildren in tow.”
Situated on beautiful Mersea Island, overlooking the sparkling Blackwater Estuary, Waldegraves Holiday Park offers a great mixture of static holiday homes and touring areas. While guests can enjoy all the creature comforts in one of the site’s luxury static caravans by the coast, those looking to connect with the great outdoors can choose from a range of pitches, including electric, non-electric and hardstanding. The sprawling site includes family friendly facilities, including an outdoor heated pool (May to September), restaurant bar and shop. In addition, there are four wellstocked and popular fishing lakes, children’s play areas, an entertainment venue and much, much more. For the site operator, keeping guests, staff and facilities safe is a top priority, as marketing manager Roberta Puze explains: “We want our guests’ stays to be memorable for the right reasons. Our team works hard to instil a culture of respect throughout the operation.” This is echoed throughout the guest’s experience: from booking to departure. The site’s Code of Behaviour can be found within the park rules that are listed on the website, within booking information and in arrival packs. Once on site, guests are reminded to respect their neighbours on site, at all times of day, through carefully placed signage and posters. Day-to-day security issues are handled by the site’s park warden. “Guests need to be comfortable raising issues or asking questions, so approachability was something we were looking for in a park warden,” comments Roberta. During weekends and school holidays, Waldegraves employs an external security company to look after the doors on the clubhouse, as well as patrol in the evenings and overnight. However, there are drawbacks to this approach. “Previously, we have had issues where external staff weren’t able to work out the layout of the park quickly enough,” adds Roberta. “This meant we did have some complaints that areas of the site weren’t being policed efficiently. “Ideally, we would like to employ an in-house security team. But, because it could only ever be a seasonal position, it is almost impossible to find the right candidates. Alongside a range of security equipment, including CCTV, ANPR and automatic barriers to keep guests safe, the team at Waldegraves is also working to tackle antisocial behaviour.
Waldegraves is accredited to the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). The scheme targets organisations that play an active role in safeguarding communities with the tools to make them more effective in their efforts to reduce crime and disorder. “Under the scheme,” explains Roberta, “some of our staff hold the authority to exercise powers, such as issuing penalty notices for consuming alcohol in a public place and acting in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.” To gain accreditation from Essex’s Chief Constable, each selected team member was vetted, undertook an interview and completed a training programme culminating in an exam. She concludes: “We’re especially proud of these members of the team and the commitment they’ve made to making Waldegraves a much nicer and safer place to holiday.”
Hendra Holiday Park
Waldegraves Holiday Park
Tel. 01206 382898
Six parks strong, Away Resorts conducted a study last year that revealed 76% of the British public believe holiday operators need to do more to conserve wildlife in and around their locations. Since then, Away Resorts has taken measures to become more environmentally aware including installing electric car charging points at Sandy Balls, its New Forest Holiday Park, moving all barbed wire fencing and enforcing speed limits to protect wildlife that wanders into their park. The Away Resorts team has also created an on-line resource bank with information about the wildlife found near their 100-year-old holiday resort. The resource allows visitors to learn more about the National Park’s wildlife, including rare birds, mammals, endangered insects and unique plants. Readers can discover facts about the creatures and foliage, where in the New Forest they can be seen and tips on how the public can ensure the conservation of all that call the National Park their home.
Clare Watkins, the General Manager at the New Forest Holiday Park, said: “It is naïve to think that tourism isn’t having an effect on wildlife, this is why it is important that holiday park operators in the UK, like ourselves, take responsibility and make changes to lessen the impact. “We are taking steps to ensure our parks respectfully co-exist with the wildlife that surrounds them, we hope that by creating this resource we can raise awareness and encourage our guests to also become more conscious of the species in the New Forest, ensuring their impact on wildlife is only positive while they holiday with us.” Trevornick Holiday Park in Holywell Bay, Cornwall, is encouraging guests to join them in going green. The five-star family caravan and campsite, located behind the sand dunes at Holywell Bay, was the first in Newquay to install Oltco walkways made from a combination of recycled plastic drink bottles, food packaging and straws. The area surrounding the pool used the equivalent of nearly 100,000 straws alone.
This sustainable re-use of materials can be seen throughout the business as they continue to increase their efforts in becoming even more environmentally friendly. The park has joined the Final Straw campaign, replacing plastic straws in the three onsite bars with paper alternatives. Staff also organise their own beach cleans on Holywell Bay to ensure the location and its wildlife remain unharmed by plastic waste, whilst also encouraging guests to adopt this mindset and asking them to leave the beach as they find it. “We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and it is our responsibility to ensure it remains this way,” said Trevornick’s Manager Adrian Tribe. “We have all benefitted from the increase in tourism as a result of hit TV shows like BBC’s Poldark much of which was filmed at Holywell Bay and we feel we have a duty to highlight the dangers of single use plastic and its effect on our beautiful coastline. “This year we have introduced initiatives such as the ‘Drop an Swap’ station where guests can leave their beach toys and bodyboards to reduce this type of waste, as well as joining the ‘Re-Fill’ app which highlights locations nearby where people can fill up their water bottles,” he added. Other measures the park are taking to reduce their single use plastic waste and improve their recycling capabilities includes easy access to recycling points throughout the campsite for camping and touring guests and trialling recycling waste such as crisp packets and bottle tops which aren’t widely recycled and can be made into things such as children’s play parks.
When project planning, it always makes sense to build in green credentials to schemes, not just for the cost-effectiveness but also for its marketing appeal. Olicana Cottages in Ilkley commissioned the construction of five, two bedroom timber built lodges on the banks of the River Wharfe. Boasting saunas and hot tubs the luxury lodges that take full advantage of the peaceful riverside setting, they had sustainability very much on their minds. Perhaps most interesting is how the lodges and new café bar are heated – by a central ground source heat pump, giving the lodges and café independent control of heating and hot water. With this type of sustainable heating system the holiday park owners will receive Renewable Heat Incentive payments which have been calculated to be in excess of £103,000 over 20 years – the period of return for commercial installations. Golden Leas in Sheerness, Kent, has 350 privately-owned caravan holiday homes and lodges, and a newly-opened clubhouse will provide the focus for a raft of social activities and entertainment. Sustainability was an important part of the park’s business philosophy, and the clubhouse has solar panels on its roof to generate heat for the building. Golden Leas also has plans to convert the heating of its 20-metre outdoor swimming pool to use green energy and reduce even further its carbon footprint. There are plans as well to make the park even more welcoming to wildlife with the creation of new habitat areas, and the planting of nectar-rich flowers for foraging by honey bees and butterflies.
Great Field Farm is a 45 acre site in Stelling Minnis, near Canterbury, with existing self-catering accommodation that includes two barns and a lodge, as well as bed and breakfast accommodation within the main farmhouse. The site was set up in 2007 by husband and wife, Malcolm and Lewana Castle. Oxfordshire-based Green Unit installed their ARC™ eco-building at the environmentally-conscious, self-catering holiday resort, Great Field Farm, near Canterbury. The 90 m2 building is equipped with environmentally-friendly features such as a green roof, a heat exchange system with infrared underfloor heating, and smart sensors to regulate pollen, CO2 levels, ventilation, heating and lighting. Marketed as the Bumble Barn, the accommodation offers a unique opportunity to expand the environmentally-conscious business, allowing the couple to cater to the demand for larger families and groups. Lewana Castle said: “We pride our business on offering guests the space and freedom of the outdoors, but with the warmth and comfort of a house, and the new ARC building offers exactly that. “Our guests will love the new experience of living in the round of the curved building, and I think they’ll be interested in the ARC’s sustainable features and clever technology.” The family owners of a Lake District holiday park are also helping visitors to enjoy even greener stays in Cumbria following a new series of environmental initiatives. Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park, on the shores of Ullswater near Penrith, says its latest steps will help further ensure that guests can enjoy their holidays with a clear conscience. Measures taken include the construction from local stone of a new amenity building for campers which is kept warm with underfloor heating from the park’s biomass boiler. Park Foot has also increased its reliance on green energy with new solar panels on its recycling centre which will feed excess electricity into the national grid. A super-efficient new heating system has additionally been installed to minimise energy usage. Park Foot, which employs around 80 locally-recruited staff in high season, has also decided from this year to ban single-use plastics in its clubhouse.
The club’s restaurant has been re-equipped with energy-saving catering equipment, and will continue to feature Cumbria-sourced ingredients in its dishes to minimise food miles. Founded over 60 years ago by the Allen family on their farm, Park Foot has around 140 caravan holiday homes spread throughout the 40-acre grounds, and 400 touring pitches. The business is today run by Fiona Bell and Barbara Allen, the daughters of founder Jimmy Allen, along with Fiona’s husband Malcolm. “But as a farming family, we know how important it is to help safeguard Cumbria’s beautiful but fragile countryside for future generations to enjoy,” comments Fiona. “Our policy has always been to run the park along sustainable lines, and we’re pleased that our latest developments are making greener holidays even more possible,” she adds.
Thanks A Multi-Million Bottles
A significant supplier in the greener credentials of many holiday parks is NBB Recycled Furniture. In 2018 alone, the UK-based team saved 27.4million plastic bottles from entering landfill sites. This is set to drastically rise in 2019 and 2020 as the desire for recycled furniture soars. Tables, picnic-sets and benches accounted for over 50% of the saved bottles with organisations such as holiday parks, hotels and schools opting for recycled plastic for its safety, maintenance-free and eco properties. NBB Business Manager, Sharon Jenkins comments: “We have seen a significant rise in sales of recycled plastic products over the last five years. Consumers are now very aware of the environmental impact of plastic waste and would rather opt for a hardwearing, low maintenance option that largely contributes to the reduction of plastic pollution.”
NBB Recycled Furniture
Tel. 0800 1777 052
Wish You Were Here - Rimington Leisure Park
The countryside haven that is Rimington Leisure Park, deep in the heart of the Ribble Valley, is the newest Park to join the award-winning family owned Holgates Holiday Parks.
Open 12 months of the year offering top quality holiday home ownership, the park is set for more than half a million pounds worth of investment before the end of 2020, which makes it an exciting time to be a new owner on Rimington.
With lush green panoramic views out to the beautiful Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill, Rimington is perfectly situated (on the edge of a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB – no less) for reaching the Yorkshire Dales, Morecambe Bay, and the Lake District.
It feels wonderfully remote and untouched by man, so its no surprise that the Forest of Bowland is home to some of the most unspoilt and picturesque rugged landscapes in the UK. Rimington really is the holiday park of choice for nature lovers and those who enjoy walking and spending time in the great outdoors.
Its tranquil location, in the shadow of the atmospheric Pendle Hill and surrounded only by fresh green countryside, provides peace and quiet in abundance – albeit mixed with the gentle tinkling of birdsong! Walks of varying effort can be enjoyed from the park – from short strolls to brisk climbs. Views from the 557-metre summit of Pendle Hill are certainly worth the effort as pretty much the whole of Lancashire opens up as a reward for reaching the top.
Two and three bedroomed pre-owned holiday homes priced from just £15,950 and brand new 2019 models available from £37,950.
Rimington Leisure Park
Tel. 01200 445355
Holiday Snaps - Helen Scott of Cofton Holidays
Helen Scott is a Director of multi award winning holiday park, Cofton Holidays. Having grown up at Cofton Holidays, Helen has a passion for tourism and sits on the Area Tourism Partnership and Visit South Devon boards and chairs the local Dawlish Warren Tourism Group...
What was your career path into the industry?
I grew up on the Park so have worked and helped my parents from a very young age, learning the basics, and have always been taught to have a good work ethic. I studied for my NVQ 4 Business and Finance Diploma in the evenings at Exeter College whilst working full time for BT. I found working for another corporate company gave me a big insight into working for a different industry and it gave me a good grounding for one day helping run a busy holiday park.
How has the market changed during your time in the industry?
When I was a teenager, we were a seasonal business open from Easter through to the end of October. We loved the down time with nobody staying in the winter months and only a few sheep for company. Now, the popularity of staycations has grown massively and to meet this demand, we are open 365 days of the year. Many holiday makers do not limit themselves any more to just one holiday a year.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
I feel that the ‘staycation’ is here to stay; it’s all about demand and supply. Customers will continue to stay in the UK and travel around to see more of the country they live in. I think we will see a bigger boom in motor home sales, particularly amongst retired couples that enjoy touring to different areas.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life?
The biggest challenge for me is juggling work with home life. I often feel pulled in both directions and very rarely switch off when I am at home. Sometimes, you need some time away from work to be able to think clearly and come up with creative solutions to challenges at work.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
Derek Blackburn of Sidona Group gave me some excellent advice during some in-house management training. The advice was to have faith in your staff and give them the tools and training they need so you can delegate responsibility to them.
If you could invite any three guests, who would you most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
Ben Fogle as he is a dog lover and we welcome dogs big and small here at Cofton! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as he lives in Devon and can relate well to the local area. Dawn French as I find her funny and feel I have a similar sense of humour.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
I can only take a holiday in the depths of winter so have found going abroad to Tenerife is a nice way to get some sun. I also try and take a few days here and there and go away in our touring caravan. It is good to visit other holiday parks and enjoy being a customer and relaxing.
Away Resorts Ticking All Visitors Boxes
UK holiday park operator Away Resorts has kicked off the 2019 season with a £5.25 million investment in its lakeside retreat of Tattershall Lakes Country Park, which opened in time for the Easter holidays. Guests holidaying at the Lincolnshire holiday village this summer will be able to make the most of a new skyline bar, splash zone, beach and accommodation that ticks all the boxes when it comes to the ultimate luxury holiday home. The skyline bar will be called Bar 49 after a poll of guests on Facebook decided to opt for the name, which refers to the number of airfields in Lincolnshire during World War II. Bar 49 will be an elevated open-air space that will give holidaymakers the opportunity to enjoy a drink and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding lakes. The new indoor Splash Zone will give families and kids of all ages the chance to enjoy some interactive water fun with lots of fantastic water experiences - so get ready for sprays, streams and super slides. The new Splash Zone will be a welcome addition to the indoor pool, spa and gym as well as the adventure playground, sports court and high ropes course, which was introduced last year and has proved to be a great success. The operator is also introducing a range of glamping options due to the increasing popularity to enjoy the great lakes with a bit of home-from-home comfort.
National Installation Network Launches
Rolec Services have launched a new nationwide electrical hook-up installation network called ParkServ, to accommodate the changing demands of the caravan and residential park industries. The network consists of Rolec-trained, Rolec-supported, and Rolec-managed electrical contractors located in local areas - all able to provide a host of corporate services at local rates. “For almost 30 years, Rolec engineers have travelled the length and breadth of the UK undertaking the installation of electrical hook-up, distribution and lighting systems - as well as providing electrical testing and support services to the caravan and residential park industries,” comments Rolec’s Sales Director Martin Georgeson. “Times are changing,” Martin continues. “ParkServ has been designed to offer our customers Rolec’s experience, quality and corporate performance, fused with local installers’ pricing and knowledge.” Rolec’s ParkServ services includes free-of-charge site surveys and no obligation quotations based on local rates as well as installation work, and rapid response callout services, by local engineers. Add to the equation, local aftersales support, electrical testing at local rates and locally stocked spare and replacement parts by local engineers – and it is not hard to see how Rolec’s team will underline their position as the industry’s leading hook-up specialists.
Kent Park Unveils New Clubhouse
Local MP Gordon Henderson officially opened the new clubhouse at one of Kent’s most popular holiday parks, Golden Leas in Sheerness. The clubhouse is part of a recent £500,000 investment project at Golden Leas by Lovat Parks which acquired the business almost a year ago from its longstanding family owners. During his visit, Mr Henderson, who is MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, toured the park’s 22-acre grounds in the company of its general manager Jo Treadgold. Golden Leas has 350 privately-owned caravan holiday homes and lodges, and the new clubhouse will provide the focus for a raft of social activities and entertainment. It also includes a bar and cafe, a children’s club, and a shop which will focus on locally sourced food and drinks including many specialities produced in Kent. Sustainability, said Jo, was an important part of the park’s business philosophy, and the clubhouse has solar panels on its roof to generate heat for the building.
Five Star Holiday Nature Trail Unveiled
On the southern edge of the beautiful New Forest, Shorefield Holidays’ five-star Shorefield Country Park has direct access to miles of peaceful forest walks, as well as a series of walks and nature trails on its 100 acres of landscaped parkland. Following three years of careful planning, the Shorefield gardening team has created a new woodland nature trail in a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, which links up with the park’s existing woodland walk, as well as a network of paths owned by Milford Parish Council. Classed as ancient woodland, the area is carpeted with seasonal wildflowers and features a huge diversity of trees and wildlife. The new trail also gives guests and holiday home owners at the park better access to the surrounding area and nearby seafront. Head Gardener Ian Colverson says: “This is one of the biggest projects our gardening team has undertaken. The nature trail winds under a canopy of trees, and there is an abundance of wildlife and woodland flowers. Since we’ve completed the path, it’s become apparent just how many bluebells are emerging.” Shorefield Holidays is an award-winning family run business operating eight holiday parks across Hampshire and Dorset. It contributes more than £27m a year to the local economy and has won a number of conservation awards over the years. Formed just over 25 years ago, Park Holidays UK has its headquarters in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, and in high season employs some 1,600 full and part-time staff. Prior to joining Park Holidays UK, Richard spent five years as divisional director of Enterprise Inns plc, Britain’s largest pub company with around 5,000 properties.
Because happy and entertained children equal content and relaxed parents, play facilities fulfil a vital ingredient for successful holiday parks, both attracting and retaining the family spend. With sufficient pre-planning and attention to detail, the initial investment will definitely pay back, triggering a large percentage of repeat visitors, as well as attracting fi rst-time bookers. Installing a play area close to the holiday park site reception makes a lot of sense, as it allows for natural supervision. Thinking of added revenue opportunities, ideally, the play area would also be close to the café. This allows parents to have a drink while the kids play, therefore increasing secondary spend.
FUN AND CHALLENGING
The more attractive, enticing, challenging and fun the outdoor play equipment is, the more likely it will be that visitors to the play area will continue to visit and enjoy all the facilities on offer; generally acknowledged as one of the deciding factors on choice of holiday destination. It’s important for guests to be reassured that faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behaviour won’t spoil the fun. It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds each year which result in a hospital visit. Not all accidents are related to the equipment - perhaps as few as 40% - and of these 80% result in a fall to the surface. Of the remaining accidents, at least 4% involve children being struck by a swing seat (although the resultant injury is usually not serious. A similar number being bitten by dogs and being cut by glass within the designated play area.
Of the equipment involved in fall injuries the figures suggest these percentages: • Swings 40% • Climbers 23% • Slides 21% This does not mean swings are more dangerous - just that there are more of them and they are more popular. One of the most dangerous items on the playground are overhead bars which rotate. The most important factors, in evaluating the safety of any playground, are proper surface, design and spacing, and equipment inspection and maintenance. An appropriate playground surface is one of the most important factors in reducing injuries — and the severity of injuries — that occur when kids fall from equipment. The surface under the playground equipment should be soft enough and thick enough to soften the impact of a child’s fall. Keep in mind that even proper surfacing can’t prevent all injuries. Also, the greater the height of the equipment, the more likely kids may get injured if they fall from it. When planning your play area be age aware. Playground equipment should be designed for three different age groups: infants and toddlers under two, then two to five-year-olds (pre-schoolers), and five to 12-yearolds (school-age kids).
In the safest playgrounds, play areas for younger children are separated from those meant for older kids and signs should clearly designate each area to prevent confusion. Younger children should not play on equipment designed for older kids because the equipment sizes and proportions won’t be right for small kids, and this can lead to injury. Likewise, older kids shouldn’t play on equipment designed for younger ones. Smaller equipment and spaces can cause problems for bigger kids. Select a material for the play area that is not only durable, but that also suits the theme and location of the holiday park. Those products should comply with the European safety regulations for outdoor play equipment EN1176. Having selected equipment and surfacing which meets the Standards and have a post-installation inspection carried out by an independent body.
When planning a play area or a refurbishment of a playground it always makes sense to obtain professional design and layout advice. It is essential to inspect the playground and equipment regularly weekly, quarterly and annually. If you are carrying out in-house inspections, find a training course, to ensure you or your staff are adequately qualified. Either way, the annual inspection should be carried out by an independent specialist. Have an effective maintenance programme which repairs faults quickly. Don’t rest on your laurels either and have a timescale for improving and up-dating playgrounds, ideally, every season. A clear evidence trail to demonstrate your due diligence will uphold the demonstration of your duty of care should an incident occur. The safety of children on their playgrounds doesn’t just depend upon the initial design of the area and the selection of equipment within it. Its continued management and the delivery of high quality inspection and maintenance schedules are crucial if the safe opportunities for children to play creatively are to be preserved. Of course, a good maintenance regime will significantly extend the life of your equipment and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Regular servicing and replacement of worn out parts is essential to keep your play area safe and compliant.
There are some clear checklists available, to ensure the equipment is designed and spaced to be safe such as guardrails and protective barriers should be in place for elevated surfaces, including platforms and ramps. Play structures more than 30 inches high should be spaced at least nine feet apart while swings, seesaws, and other equipment with moving parts should be located in an area separate from the rest of the playground. Swings should be limited to two per bay and tot swings with full bucket seats should have their own bay. Swings should be spaced at least 24 inches apart and 30 inches between a swing and the support frame. Be sure there are no spaces that could trap a child’s head, arm, or any other body part. All openings on equipment (for example, rungs on a ladder or bars on a guardrail) should measure less than 3½ inches or they should be wider than nine inches. Climbing nets should have openings that are either too small to allow a child’s body through or large enough to prevent entrapment of the head. Net perimeters which are 17-18 inches pose entrapment hazards. Playground equipment with moving parts — like seesaws and merry-gorounds — should be checked for pinch points that could pinch or crush a child’s finger or hand. Remember, not to become a victim of your own success. Too many kids on the equipment at one time can be dangerous. Everyone should start on the same side of the equipment and move across it in the same direction. Play is an important part of kids’ physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these safety tips will help your guests enjoy their holiday visit, and keep them coming back year, after year, for more.
In The Fun Driving Seat
World of Rides have served the holiday park industry with a fully comprehensive range of coin-operated leisure rides and equipment for nearly five decades, ranging from battery rides and static rides to quadricycles and rowing boats. “2019 is going to be a milestone year for the UK’s holiday parks, as Brexit and the fluctuating exchange rates are making more and more families stay at home in the UK for their holidays,” says David Robinson of World of Leisure. “However, if operators do not invest in new equipment to entertain their visitors and guests during this exceptional year, then they may not return in future years,” David advises. “For the past few years our Go-Karts, Super Hero Trikes and licensed character static rides have been the firm favorites with children, but for holiday park operators are suddenly asking for our driving school cars and above ground pools with bumper boats, in order to satisfy the demand of their customers for new experiences,” he adds.
World Of Rides
Tel. 0191 49 20 999
On A Play Mission
If you are looking for expert guidance on creating or refurbishing a holiday park play area, then, look no further than Fenland Leisure Products. The fun areas that are created by Fenland Leisure Products team will be safe and happy places for family members of all ages to play, stay active and aid in the building of healthy relationships. To do this, the Fenland Leisure Products team will design, manufacture, supply and install quality commercial playground equipment and associated components with care and professionalism at all times. Fenland Leisure Products create a welcome and happy working conditions for all of staff members; this aids in the provision of excellent customer service to all who are in contact with them. For project assistance or any playground product information call to discuss your project plans, however far in the future.
Fenland Leisure Products
Tel. 01354 638 359
Flushed With Success
We humans share five common activities every day: breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping and toileting. When you’re away from home, it’s often the latter which creates the biggest cause for concern. Despite this, washrooms are often overlooked, even in the hospitality and leisure sectors, where guests of all ages will need to make use your facilities. Whether you have a positive or negative experience as a customer, chances are you’ll share it with family, friends and colleagues, or even make a few negative comments on sites like Trip Advisor and Facebook.
Maintaining high standards for your washroom provision can separate you from the competition in a crowded industry. Established in 1987, the Loo of the Year Awards provide a tried-and-tested, cost-effective, independent annual assessment of your operations. Entrants are recognised through an annual grading scheme – including a new grade (Diamond) in 2019. Participants in the event include the UK’s leading retail, hospitality, leisure and entertainment companies. And many holiday park owners already reap the benefits of taking part. In 2018, the national winners included Hillcroft Park (Penrith), Ord House (Berwick on Tweed) and Trotting Mare Caravan Park (Wrexham). All gained significant publicity – both nationally and locally – as a result.
Entries are awarded a star grading (Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond), following an unannounced visit by an authorised LOYA inspector. Every entry is assessed against more than 100 criteria which cover male and female facilities, as well as any baby changing or changing room facilities provided. LOYA criteria, where appropriate, is based on British Standards and the Equality Act, and includes hygiene equipment, cleanliness, fixtures and fittings, décor, maintenance and value-added extras. Providing good facilities for families with babies and young children is particularly important in holiday parks. Assessors will look closely at toilet accessibility and the condition and safety of changing units. Extras, such as baby baths and nappy dispensing facilities all add value: increasing the level of the Award achieved. LOYA organiser Mike Bone has some advice for anyone thinking about entering. He says: “An award-winning holiday ark entrant’s washroom has the ‘Wow’ factor as the provide attractive loos that make toilet use away from home a pleasure – not a concern. “Excellent ventilation, dry floors, constant availability of toilet tissue and hand soap and a safe hygienic environment are what separate winning loos from those which deter visitors from booking again. “ Winners of the Loo of the Year Awards 2019 will be recognised and celebrated in a prestigious daytime Awards Event in December. Whether your site has new or existing washroom facilities, there are several areas of insurance which apply, according to a Compass Insurance spokesperson. Your buildings and structures should be covered under your park’s commercial (business) policy and that should also offer Public Liability (PL) cover, which would be relevant toany washroom-related accident or incident that may lead to a claim by a member of the public. “It is essential to ensure that your PL cover amounts are adequate for your individual business,” notes programme manager Richard Walker. “The standard level offered by your insurer may not be sufficient and an add-on amount may need to be purchased.” For smaller parks, a minimum of £5 million PL cover is suggested. On parks with larger footfall, a minimum of £10 million might be more realistic. For help on choosing adequate PL cover, park owners and managers should speak to their insurance account executive. Employers Liability (EL) insurance cover is readily available as a part of a park’s commercial cover, though on occasion it may need to be bought separately – your insurance account executive should be able to guide you on this. Again, park owners should check that their EL cover is adequate for the individuals they employ and the nature of work they carry out. EL is a legal requirement and the Compass scheme offers cover of up to £10 million. It is the employer’s (i.e. the park owner/manager’s) duty of care to ensure that the washroom facilities are a safe environment for people to work in. As with all buildings and structures on a holiday park, it is essential that your washrooms are adequately insured. In addition to structural and fixtures and fittings re-build costs, your Sums Insured amount may need to take into account the cost of replacing any systems that might also need to be replaced as a result of a total loss, such as water heating systems and drainage.
The total loss of a washroom facility, especially on parks hat are touring/camping only, is the stuff of nightmares for park owners. Without washing and toileting facilities, a park can be left unable to operate. In this respect, the loss of washroom can mean a significant loss of income while the facility is repaired/ replaced. In this instance, an area of insurance called Business Interruption cover could pay dividends. When a business is ‘interrupted’ from normal trading following an insurable event, a Business Interruption (BI) policy can compensate for related financial losses. These might include lost bookings and the cost of refunding bookings that cannot be honoured as well as staff wages . It is important for park owners and managers to note that a condition of your park’s commercial insurance policy is likely to be that you must keep your buildings and facilities in a ‘good state of repair’. This means that if a claim is made and the loss adjuster believes your washroom facilities have not been maintained adequately, this may lead to non-payment. It could even lead to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
Remember also that washroom facilities can create ideal opportunities to communicate with your customers. LED screens are now appearing in washrooms across the UK. While many units are stand-alone, some are integrated into washroom equipment specifically as an advertising medium. If you are working with a smaller budget, clip frames offer an affordable and effective alternative. These can be placed within the cubicles or by the sink and allow you to promote everything from entertainment and activities to special offers and deals.
Spending Wise Park Pennies
When Paul Lancaster and his wife Jane opened Donkey Creek Farm Caravan Park on Lancashire’s Fylde coast, they understood the importance of offering great facilities. Donkey Creek was opened to cater for those seeking a high-quality location to pitch on the Fylde coast, which is close to the scenic countryside and its famous resorts. One of the first tasks was to build a state-of-the-art washroom facility for guests pitching up at the park with motorhomes, touring caravans and tents. Enabling them to spend a penny in five-star surroundings cost around £300,00 – and has helped Donkey Creek earn a raft of glowing reviews… and a top Platinum Award from LOYA just a year after opening. New facilities include large shower and drying areas, private family bathrooms, hairdryers, underfloor heating and full access for people with limited mobility. In addition to the Award, LOYA inspectors also gave the washroom cleaning team a special certificate for the outstandingly high standards of cleanliness maintained. For Paul, the washroom building reflects the park’s aspirations. He explains: “Donkey Creek has a very special appeal to people who enjoy away-from-it-all holidays in gorgeous surroundings, and we've tried to provide the perfect backdrop for that.”
Pinewood Holiday Park is at the heart of the North Norfolk coast in Wells-next-the-Sea. They offer modern and luxury holiday accommodation and wanted their two new washroom blocks to reflect the high standards that Pinewood strives for across all areas of the park. Having worked with caravan and camping sites for many years, Dunhams Washroom Systems had no hesitation in recommending its Challenger system. Challenger WC, shower and changing cubicles are a long-lasting and versatile cubicle systems designed for high traffic and wet area use. Along with this, Dunham Washroom System vanities, seating, shower rail systems and accessories completed the package.
Holiday Snaps - John Bunn
Boasting state-of-the art facilities including a 10 pin bowling alley, indoor sports area, a new outdoor pool, a bar and restaurant plus a beautiful new lounge and 1,400 seater Show Bar, John Bunn, Managing Director at Bunn Leisure, wants to continue to make serious waves in the industry…
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variety in the type of work, as no day is ever the same.
What’s been the landmark moment of your career?
Completing the coastal works that now protect our business. It has created some incredible beaches and habitat as a by-product. How do you see the holiday park industry at the moment? I think it has been undervalued as part of the British tourism industry, but it is now starting to make its mark! It has been much sought after as an investment vehicle, but I feel that this could be the root cause of some of the industry issues that are starting to surface.
What are the biggest challenges facing the sector?
Reputation as a bucket and spade holiday when in fact Holiday Home Ownership is a luxury costing anything from between £16,995 to £249,995.
What’s the best piece of business advice that you have been given? And by whom?
Never worry about what someone else is paid and never turn away a salesman who will earn £100k a year, because if you have structured his pay correctly, he will earn 10 times that for your business! Cecil Redfern
Where do you go on holiday?
Caribbean generally to relax, or the Alps, but I need to expand the horizons and learn to take all my holidays now the major projects are complete.
Although a small independent, we are one of the biggest caravan holiday parks in the world so we haven’t gone unnoticed by the big players in the industry. We have and continue to make serious waves in the industry and have been the apple of many eyes over the years.
At Your Own Risk
The marmite of the holiday industry, holiday letters either love hot tubs or they loathe them. A necessary evil, the plus side of hot tubs is that they will increase ‘letability’ offering the opportunity to put premium prices on accommodation offered with a spa. In fact, seven out of ten bookers are looking for a hot tub with their holiday let, while accommodation promoted as being supplied with a hot tub ,will generally sustain increased rates of around 25% -30%. On the down side, hot tubs are high maintenance on changeover days; a pain to heat up, with inevitable customer complaints. The in-coming visitors are chomping at the bit to take the plunge and social media the ‘in the tub’ photographs to show all their friends how they are living the dream. As hard as you try, damage and tampering by clients, especially on covers and controls, however well meaning, can be costly in terms of ongoing maintenance. There are also huge health and safety responsibilities on regular water changes, safe water balance and generally demonstrating your duty of care. A relatively new set of guidance, namely HSG282, has split opinion with many specialist suppliers hot-footing it to play the compliance card. “It is recognised that hot tubs and spa pools can be a source of diseases caused by infectious agents including the organism that causes Legionnaires’ disease, primarily Legionella pneumpohila,” advises industry expert and PPG national sales manager, Jimmy Lamb. “There have been a number of outbreaks linked to hot tubs and spa pools in leisure centres, hotels, holiday homes, on cruise ships and on display,” he warns. There was limited information applicable to hot tubs/spas located in holiday lets before the HSG282 was produced. HSG stands for Health and Safety Guidance. One of the opening paragraphs in HSG282 reads: This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. But, if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. In the event of an incident, Health and Safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance. Jimmy again: “I have noticed a number of hot tub supplier and manufacturers marketing their hot tubs to the holiday park/let market as ‘HSG282 Compliant’. “The use of the word compliant in my opinion could suggest that HSG282 is law but it is not legislation – it is guidance.” Suppliers, like Darlly Europe, the inventors of the Slipstream in-linefiltration system, believe the guidance is helpful to the holiday let sector. “Though we can understand why some owners and operators would view it as being a sales tool, given that, before its introduction, there was no specific regulatory framework covering the use of domestic type hot tubs in holiday let environments,” says Darlly 's Gil Gingell. “So, to go from a situation where there was perceived to be no restrictions to where there has to be a level of compliance will be seen by some to be bureaucratic and imposing unnecessary costs by those of that mind-set. “In the absence of any specific guidance, it was only a matter of time before a serious public health incident occurred which could have potentially devastating repercussions on the industry and public perception of it, as well as, of course, the unfortunate people affected, Gil Gingell." “It therefore benefits owners and operators, who will have the peace of mind, that if they follow the guidance - and are seen to be following it - they won't have any issues which could potentially harm their customers. Leading hot tub supplier Rotospa agrees: “The new guidance allows holiday parks to make an informed decision when choosing the right spa for their park, in order to ensure the product is compliant and fi t for purpose, whilst also meeting their own needs,” says Rotospa’s Charlotte Hotchin. “The document also puts emphasis on the supplier of the product to ensure a compliant and fi t for purpose product is supplied, to ultimately ensure the safety of its users. “When the spas are in this particular context, there is also an obligation for the supplier of the spas to provide training and instructions to its customers to ensure the customer is knowledgeable on the correct use of spas,” says Charlotte who adds: “Both of our holiday park specific spas are fi t for purpose and fully HSG282 compliant.” One of the country’s leading hot tub retailers, Gareth Jones of UK Leisure Living believes HSG282 is a positive move. “It is good we have some standards to work to and something to ensure a reasonable quality tub with a reasonable spec is being fitted in the holiday sector,” says Gareth.
“However I feel some of the requests are not feasible for owners and puts lots of parks and cottage owners off ownership. “Also, I think there are some situations that are in between the guidelines and again provides confusion for owners.” Gareth says he and his UK Leisure Living team try to help their holiday let clients navigate through the maze of options and ensure, as much as reasonable practicable, safe hot tub ownership. “We have a variety of spas that we sell into the holiday market. All spas will come with an ozone, inline chemical feeder as well as some form of way of locking the control panel off. “We tick as many as we can, some clients want more depending on their site regulations. We fully communicate with the client the specifi cation and ensure they are compliant in spec and in running the spa afterwards.”Gareth warns: “Extra bookings don’t always equal extra profi t, as the operator needs to consider the management of the tub and factor this into the pay back. “However we feel a £5-6k hot tub, should pay for its self within one to three years with a good quality booking agent. “Some people charge an extra £50-£100 a booking for having the hot tub and then factor in a 25% up lift in bookings, and that gives you a great payback,” he estimates. If you speak to any online booking agent they will usually place a hot-tub in the top three options search or ticked. But rushing into a purchase, to tick the hot tub box, could be a mistake if operators do not follow the latest advice. Dan Johnson of the American brand, Marquis Spas, markets a fully compliant range of hot tubs for the holiday let market. Dan reveals: “Many of the smaller holiday park operators, I have spoken to, left me feeling they had no idea of the HSG282 guidance but felt that filling out a risk assessment exempted them somehow? “I think the big operators are paying attention, as they understand the power of the HSE and thus the importance of following guidelines – it is built into their management infrastructure,” Dan continues. “While some dealers have been specifying or retro-fi tting continuous feeders to outdated models, the bather capacity and water turn-over rates, will still make many hot tubs fall foul of HSG282,” explains Dan who calls on personal experiences. “I recently booked an October break for my family online. I was offered an inflatable hot tub more than once – how does that get anywhere near being compliant – the operator didn’t know, nor care.”
Dan says: “Many clients report their first experience as coming from a weekend away with a hot tub – It really helps people overcome the lack of understanding of just how great you feel after bathing in hot tub and how it helps the modern ‘disconnected’ family reconnect,” Dan observes. “I am now encountering people who go away to a stunning location, only to find a woefully poor performing hot tub, compared to their own at home. “Trip Advisor, and the likes of, will, in my opinion, start to see a rise in moans about this,” he adds. “My point to holiday operators and letters, would be not to forget why you are buying a hot tub in the first place – for guests to enjoy!”
Hot News For Changeovers
As an industry standard, using conventional methods, a holiday hot tub, with a normal 3kw heater, will heat water on changeover at one degree an hour, that is up to 24 hours to get up to optimum temperatures. So take note of a ground-breaking new state-of-the-art product, called the Climacube that will heat a hot tub at seven to eight degrees per hour. The Climacube will heat hot tubs in around 4-5 hours from cold with a consumption of only 1KW per/hour with a COP of over 3.5 in minus temperatures. If I then told you the Climacube guarantees to cut energy costs by 70 to 80 percent and can be used to provide hot water and power to your holiday lodges themselves….yes, keep calm and form an orderly queue. RETRO-FITS Available as a stand-alone unit, the ClimaCube can be retro-fitted to all makes of hot tubs. It is also available as a pre-installed feature in a bespoke range of hot tubs by ClimaCube’s creator, Park Leisure Solutions. Launched at the start of the 2018 season; good news travels fast. Big names like Parkdean, Shorefield and Hoburne Holidays have been the first to snap up the new technology that already features on over 70 hot tubs at holiday parks in Poole, Norwich and Skegness.
Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 69 1166
The Smart Cover Option
The spa cover you have always wanted and the last you will ever need, the Smartop, by Leisure Concepts, combines strength and good looks as the first choice for the holiday let sector. An array of colours and finishes to choose from, the Smartop will not develop mildew, mould or odour over time. Its durable and rugged materials handle outdoor elements with ease yet is feather-light to manoeuvre. Custom-designs are available on large orders – so you can have your hot tub cover, company
Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 69 1166
Less than two miles away from seven of Newquay’s world famous beautiful golden sand beaches, Hendra Holiday Park aims to offer something for everybody. Located in glorious countryside, just outside Newquay in Cornwall, with 80-acres of landscaped parkland, Hendra welcomes approximately 1,000 to over 3,500 people a night during the peak season, in a range of accommodation options, including camping, touring, glamping, holiday homes and lodges. It may come as a surprise to many that for such a large park, Hendra has been owned and operated by the same two families for over 47 years. Hendra was started in 1972 with just camping and touring but grew and grew as time went on and now has over 300 luxury holiday homes of different types, sizes and styles and over 600 pitches ranging from standard grass ones to super ones with water, electricity and cable tv connections. Family holidays are Hendra’s passion. The second and third generations of the Hyatt and May families are both involved with the day-to-day running of the Park and the fourth generation are small children themselves. The families live nearby, and with everything, including administration, located on the Park this makes the day-to- day running of the business very efficient. Hendra’s guests span several generations too, many have been coming to Hendra since they were young children and now bring their children and grandchildren to the park – so they have grown with the business. Hendra is passionate about sustainable tourism and is committed to protecting the Cornish heritage and landscape by making sure providing family holidays has no impact on the environment!
Hendra has its own solar farm, which provides over 70% of electricity to the Park, and two Biomass boilers which heat the Oasis Fun Pool using locally sourced wood chips. Hendra’s commitment to being a sustainable business has been recognised with the Gold Award for Sustainable Tourism at the 2016/17 Cornwall Tourism Awards, building on the ‘Winner of Winners’ award at the Cornwall Sustainability Awards in 2011. Hendra not only has great accommodation and a wonderful location, one of the things that keeps guests coming back are the facilities. The Oasis Fun Pools are one of the main attractions of staying on the park. The indoor pool has a river rapid ride to take your breath away, water cannon and geyser for a real soaking, then get drenched under the giant tap, fountains and waterfalls too.
There are three water flumes, the fast and furious high-speed aqua whiz flume, the exciting wet & wild 265ft super flume, and the fun for all gentle fun slide! There’s a brilliant toddlers’ pool for safe water splashy fun with a slide, squirty creatures, and lots of warm water to splash about in! In the summer months the outdoor pool is open, a perfect place for cooling off, with sun loungers around the pool for relaxing in the sun – bliss! There’s so much to do for kids, so t hey won’t be bored. The indoor play centre Henry’s Play Loft will keep little ones occupied for hours, a skate and scooter park for older kids to enjoy their skateboard or scooter in a safe environment, an outdoor gym, a play park and indoor amusements too. Families love the Hendra Safari Train, which goes around the park each morning. Hendra has a range of dining options, the terrace bar and restaurant is open early until late, and a coffee bar offering hot and cold drinks and snacks. There’s a fish and chip takeaway for a traditional seaside supper, or Mario’s Pizzeria for freshly baked pizzas served in its Italian themed restaurant or as takeaway. Both have outside seating, which overlooks the children’s play area. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Lots of evening entertainment make a night in our Venue cabaret club a must. The evening starts with mascots Henry and Henrietta Hippo entertaining the kids and then the holiday favourite bingo, followed by live acts on stage including comedians, theme nights, variety acts, game shows, bands, karaoke, talents shows, illusionists and more. Hendra has won many accolades, in 2018 alone it scooped AA Platinum Award ‘elite park’ 5 Pennant rating, Gold 5 Star Visit England ‘exceptional’ quality grading, two South West in Bloom Awards, a Gold award for Tourism and Leisure category, The Bruford Cup for Best Horticultural Display, Platinum Loo of the Year Award and the Hoseasons Diamond Award. The awards show the Park's commitment to excellence as a top destination for family holidays.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Hendra chooses a charity each year to raise money for, and guests kindly donating an optional 50p on each booking. This is small change but makes such huge difference and last year, together with collecting tine on the park, raffles and other fund raising events Hendra raised a record-breaking £13,398 for Macmillan Cancer Support. This year the chosen charity is the Alzheimer’s society, which is the UK's leading dementia support and research charity. Another way Hendra’s guests help to make their stay green and sustainable is by ‘freecycling’ a facility provided on the park so they can leave behind unwanted holiday items like beach toys, windbreaks and BBQs at the end of their break for other guests to enjoy. The park actively encourages guest feedback, via surveys, reviews and social media, which is always valued and responded to. It’s vital to continue to make Hendra the holiday destination for future generations too, so it’s important to keep improving, developing and maintaining the Park, whilst being sustainable. It is a challenge, but one that’s relished by owners and staff.
Paperless Policies Keep Giving
Caravan, lodge and park owners continue to go paperless – helping their insurance provider, Leisuredays, to raise more and more money for national charity, Heart Research UK. As part of Leisuredays’ commitment to helping hearts, the company donates £1 to Heart Research UK every time a customer opts for an emailed policy rather than receiving their documents through the post. Throughout 2018, Leisuredays’ Paperless Policies campaign raised a hearty £14,292. Leisuredays’ Paperless Policies initiative has raised a massive £91,970 in the last nine years. Associate Director Laura Wilby presented Heart Research UK with a cheque during the Halifax-based company’s Healthy Heart day. As a big thank you, the charity delivered heart and cholesterol checks, plus lifestyle advice to staff, who celebrated with a health fair, eating healthy snacks and sharing recipes and exercise ideas.
One Stop Ideas Shop
If you are searching for the latest design ideas as part of your continuous accommodation upgrades, or a choice of holiday park services, the World of Park and Leisure Homes has a solution for you. The show plays host to multiple park home providers, aiming to give owners and operators a unique opportunity to spend quality time with the manufacturers, viewing new models and other homes on display and considering new concepts and designs. But accommodation is only part of the event appeal. There are a plethora of suppliers of services and products from finance and security to insurance and electrics, all keen to meet with existing and potential new customers. Cutting out the travel for many south of England operators, the South of England Showground, at Ardingley, was the location for the April event; the first of two shows. Highlights included a floating mobile home by The Floating Lodges Company and a Gypsy Caravan by Erpingham Lodges. With free parking and entry to the event, the next World of Park and Leisure Homes Show will take place next month at the Stoneleigh showground. The trade-only day is Thursday June 6th while the public will also have access from June 7th to 9th.
Hornsea Making Waves
MP Graham Stuart swapped Parliament for a Hornsea holiday park to help celebrate English Tourism Week in his constituency. Mr Stuart was at Longbeach Leisure Park during the annual event to highlight England’s tourism sector, and the huge annual contribution it makes to the UK economy. The Beverley and Holderness MP met with directors Martin Varley who founded the cliff-top seaside park almost 30 years ago, and his daughter Laura Firth. Still under the same family’s ownership, it provides 450-plus privately-owned holiday caravans and lodges which enjoy sweeping coastal and countryside views.
War On Plastics
Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow has stepped up its fight to keep local beaches clean by investing in special equipment which can rid the sand of micro-plastics. Called a trommel, the machine sieves the sand to separate out ‘nurdles’, the small plastic pellets produced in their billions each year during the manufacture of plastic products. The anti-pollution device, which is operated manually, has been designed and manufactured by Nurdle, a not-for-profit business based in North Devon. Staff at Mother Ivey’s Bay carry out regular beach clean-ups throughout the year. Once the nurdles have been separated, they are up-cycled and used by local artist Veronika Niewiadomsk, to create special pieces of creative work.
Praise For North Yorkshire Holiday Park
North Yorkshire MP Kevin Hollinrake has praised a family’s award-winning Yorkshire Moors holiday park for its ‘tremendous contribution’ to tourism. Mr Hollinrake, who represents Thirsk and Malton, made his comments on a special visit to Wayside Lakes at Wrelton, near Pickering, during April’s English Tourism Week. The 10-acre park, recently subject to a £500,000 investment, is based around two picturesque lakes, and provides luxury lodges for private owners. Mr Hollinrake said business owner Mark Goodson was to be congratulated for his vision and commitment: “This is an excellent and very attractive development which provides the perfect base to explore some of the most beautiful parts of Yorkshire,” said Mr Hollinrake. “Tourism is one of Yorkshire’s most important industries, and it is five-star developments such as Wayside which stimulate the sector. “The knock-on effect of an inspirational holiday park like this, in terms of jobs and investment in Ryedale, is very significant, and it has been a privilege to come here,” he added. Mark Goodson, who owns Wayside Lakes and the adjacent Wayside Holiday Park, commented: “Last year was very strong for us with almost £400,000 of holiday home sales, despite Brexit, the chilly start to the season, and the football World Cup when everything stopped. “Most of our new owners are more mature folk who want a comfortable and attractive holiday home in tranquil countryside with easy access to popular destinations.” Mr Hollinrake also took the opportunity to present an Exceptional Service Award to Wayside’s manager and co-director Trevor Jones who has worked on the park for 27 years. The award is the highest honour given to outstanding park personnel by the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, the park industry’s professional body.
Overwhelming Holiday Booking Process
Millions of Brits admit feeling ‘under pressure’ and even ‘stressed’ when planning holidays - due to the sheer volume of recommendations they are given by friends, family, TV and social media. Researchers, who carried out a detailed study, found a large percentage believe the deluge of information, tips and advice makes booking a break a daunting prospect. It also emerged around four in 10 said it can take away the enjoyment of searching for and find the perfect getaway. This huge amount of resources has resulted in one in five feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and many others ‘confused’ and ‘anxious’ about what they should and shouldn’t book, the poll of 2,000 holidaymakers found. A further 43 per cent said they have felt ‘worried’ about missing out on experiences during their holiday as they try to tick off everything on their lengthy to-do list.
The study also found fake reviews have affected how trustworthy advice is, with 60 per cent being more aware of them today than they were five years ago, resulting in four in five trusting reviews less. The most reliable sources were revealed as friends, according to 49 per cent, followed by family. Social media has had a huge impact on holiday choices, from location to activities, with one quarter admitting they have felt the need to visit somewhere because they’d seen it on a social platform. Still on bookings processes, the Competition and Markets Authority recently warned that companies cannot automatically keep a large deposit if a customer cancels owing to unforeseen circumstances. Such a contract may be unfair, even if written into terms and conditions, the CMA has warned. For example, somebody may cancel a booking owing to illness or a family bereavement. If the company has plenty of time to re-sell the holiday, or if it becomes available at a peak time, then the company should refund the payment or a hefty deposit.
Any amount it charges should reflect its costs. If the company includes a blanket ‘non-refundable deposit’ demand or cancellation fee in its terms and conditions then this could be an unfair contract, not legally binding, and unenforceable - even if the customer has signed it. The watchdog has no plans to launch an investigation into specific operators, but is working with trade bodies to raise awareness of the rules through its ‘small print, big difference’ campaign.’ It is not the first time the CMA has raised the issue of unfair contracts. In 2016, it gave a general warning to firms, and specifically wrote to wedding venue owners to remind them of their legal obligations.
Staying Ahead Of The Arcade Games
Aimed at owners and operators from soft play centres to holiday parks and resorts, Interfun Expo is a brand new event that will showcase all the latest products and trends in the world of indoor and outdoor play, amusements and adventure activities for families. It will incorporate a product showcase and a series of inspirational seminars for all those involved in the business of providing family fun and entertainment. Taking place at the New Dock Hall, Armouries Square, Armouries Drive, Leeds, on April 30 and May 1, holiday park managers will find inspiration and innovation to help attract families to their locations and keep their parks ahead of the curve. In addition to a product showcase there will be a series of free seminars. InterFun Expo’s manager director, Christine Butterworth, commented: “We are looking forward to welcoming the holiday park industry to this new event in the north of England where there is a wealth of interest. “The Royal Armouries in Leeds is an extremely easy location to reach from anywhere in the UK and there will be a wide range of products on show. Information is also key to this type of event and our seminar programme will both inform and stimulate.” The InterFun Expo is free to attend by registering www.interfunexpo.com/
The InterFun Expo will take place from 30 April to 1 May, 2019 in New Dock Hall, set amid the Royal Armouries canalside complex in Leeds, UK.
Ensure Your Hot Tubs Are Compliant
Unfortunately, few hot tubs sold on the UK market feature inline disinfectant feeders. Worse still, HSG282 made no legacy-exemption provision, meaning many thousands of hot tubs already in the field became non-compliant overnight. SaniStreamTM heralds the solution to this issue. The award-winning SaniStreamTM Direct Line Filtration system is a high quality Darlly hot tub filter, combined with an adjustable and refillable chlorine or bromine tablet erosion feeder, called SpaPodTM; to make a highly effective combined, integrated hot tub water treatment system. The SaniStreamTM system offers a solution to Section 76 of health and safety guidelines, HSG282, which states that hot tubs installed in a setting where used ‘... as part of a business activity (eg in a holiday park rental unit or hotel bedroom(s) with their own dedicated spa, or as part of a rental agreement for a single family or group use)’ must be ‘disinfected using bromine or chlorine through the use of an inline disinfectant feeder’. Heather Gilmore of Paith Holiday Cottages near Aberystwyth thinks the SaniStreamTM system is “fantastic”. Heather says: “I hardly have to intervene, and the dosing works very well. It gives me great peace of mind knowing my customers are in safe hygienic water conditions, and inspection and maintenance for us is easy and painless. “Not only that, but switching to the SaniStreamTM system was incredibly easy, very cost-effective, and required no modification to the hot tubs’ plumbing or equipment.”
Tel. 01952 580500
Second Date For Park Show Team
The World of Park & Leisure Homes show team has added a second date and venue to its successful event concept, with a spring show at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. The World of Park & Leisure Homes provides park owners and operators a comprehensive shop window experience, with a massive collection of leisure lodges and park homes on display and the chance to discuss your particular requirements and options in privacy and comfort. Save the date for the Trade Preview Day on Thursday 11th April 2019 with the South of England event open to the general public from Friday to Sunday, 12th -14th. Meanwhile, the World Of Park & Leisure Homes will return in the summer, to its more familiar Stoneleigh venue, from June – 9th.
World Of Park & Leisure Homes
Tel. 01789 491451
Park Holidays Investment Agenda
The Park Holidays UK has signalled another year of major investment in its parks with the appointment of Richard Ullman to the group’s main board of directors. Since joining Park Holidays UK six years ago, Richard, 45, has led the company’s capital expenditure programme across its portfolio of 30 parks in southern England. Last year alone, the group invested £28 million in a raft of upgrade projects from the building of new clubs and leisure facilities to the expansion of its holiday home rental fleet. Richard, who now takes the title of Chief Operating Officer, says he will continue driving the programme forward with the emphasis on the development of customer-facing facilities: “Our aim has always been to continually raise the bar on both the quantity and the quality of what our parks provide to guests and holiday home owners,” said Richard. “Much of our business is generated by repeat sales and personal recommendations - and we achieve this by delivering experiences which people know can’t be replicated elsewhere. “For that reason, our board is committed to a policy of escalating investment in new facilities both at our long-held parks and at those we have taken on through acquisition,” added Richard. Formed just over 25 years ago, Park Holidays UK has its headquarters in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex, and in high season employs some 1,600 full and part-time staff. Prior to joining Park Holidays UK, Richard spent five years as divisional director of Enterprise Inns plc, Britain’s largest pub company with around 5,000 properties.
Park Holidays UK
Tel. 01424 234234
Ready, Steady, Go Camping
Ready Camp, the glamping brand owned by The Camping and Caravanning Club, has added three new locations across England for 2019. With new safari-style tents at Clitheroe (Lancashire), Kingsbury Water Park (West Midlands) and Devizes (Wiltshire), there is now a network of 242 pre-pitched Ready Camp tents at 48 locations across the UK. Bob Hill, Club Sites Director, said: “Ready Camp remains a top pick for hassle-free breaks and we’re pleased to extend the coverage of our glamping holidays across England this year. “It’s reported that 59% of people are planning a domestic UK break in 2019* and we’re growing to meet this demand.” Since its launch in 2015, Ready Camp coverage across the UK has more than doubled. Each Ready Camp tent is wellequipped with a kitchenette, decked area, table and chairs, triple bunk bed and a single stow away bed. Campers need only bring their bedding, towels and a sense of adventure. On-site facilities are of a high standard and benefit from regular investment. Facility blocks are within walking distance of each tent and many have locations have dedicated parent and baby rooms. Ready Camp has scooped several awards in recent years including the Best Holiday Rental for Families award at the Family Traveller Awards 2017. Ready Camp at Clitheroe sits in the heart of the Ribble Valley with several bustling market towns nearby. Further north, The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers 312 square miles with rare wildlife and pretty villages that can be explored by bike or on foot. Kingsbury Water Park is located in the heart of the Midlands with attractions such as Cadbury World and Black Country Living Museum close at hand. The water park is adjacent to Ready Camp at Kingsbury and has miles of walking and cycling tracks plus canoeing and sailing opportunities. Nearby Lichfield is one of the UK’s smallest cities with historic streets, quirky shops and a stunning 13th century cathedral. Ready Campers at Devizes can enjoy the famous Caen Hill locks, a flight of 29 locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal that can be reached direct from site. It’s in a perfect location too for prehistoric sites such as Stonehenge and the Avebury stone circle. The nearby Longleat estate has 900 acres of parkland and the biggest hedge maze in Britain.
One Stop Be My Guest Roadshow
Offering a combined destination for independent accommodation providers, the Be My Guest team brings together a multi-billion pound industry through its innovative regional roadshow series. The BMG 2019 dates kicked off in Bournemouth in February, offering a one stop shop for holiday let providers who want to network, learn, grow, save money...and become top rated. In just one day, the organisers promise a hive of opportunity whether that’s exclusive show-only deals, inspirational speakers in our fact-packed seminar programme or the chance to speak and meet with experts and other owners in our networking area. More than 150 companies will be showcasing the very best of hospitality at the BMG Marketplace, the ideal stopping point for finding new products, services, ideas and inspiration. The second event, in the series of three, takes place in Scarborough on Tuesday March 5th followed by the third and final event, this year, in Swansea on Wednesday October 16th. The organisers are keen to provide a hub of information and a meeting place for the 45,000 + independent accommodation providers in the UK. Find out more at www.bemyguest.live
Macmillan Cancer Support Boost
A charity gala dinner held at Beaulieu during the annual Holiday Caravan and Park Home Show in September raised a remarkable £22,246 for MacMillan Cancer Support. An initiative by three of the manufacturers at the show – ABI UK, Carnaby Caravans and the Swift Group – the event was supported by four of the other manufacturers – Atlas Leisure Homes, Pathfinder Homes, Prestige Homeseeker Park & Leisure Homes and Stately Albion. The 300 guests, who came mainly from holiday and residential parks across the south of England, enjoyed a drinks reception in the worldfamous National Motor Museum before for a sumptuous three-course meal, during which they were entertained by performances from three outstanding magicians. The evening concluded with a hugely entertaining presentation by the brilliant ventriloquist, Nina Conti. Macmillan Cancer Support described the donation as ‘absolutely fantastic’ and said it would all be used to help people living with cancer and their families to receive essential medical, practical and emotional support. For example, it requires £21,510 to fund a Macmillan nurse for nine months. Meanwhile, Hendra Holiday Park, in Newquay Cornwall, handed over £13,398 to Macmillan Cancer Support, the proceeds from fundraising at the Park throughout the year. Janine Hyatt, Director, said: “We chose MacMillan as we want to help them continue their very important work of supporting people through cancer. This is the largest amount we have raised and is certainly the result of the hard work of Hendra team members. Our guests opted into making a donation with their accommodation booking, took part in fundraising activities and dropped cash into charity tins on the park, and we are grateful for their support.” Emma Wright, Senior Fundraising Manager: ““We would like to say a huge thank you to Hendra Holiday Park and all of their guests for raising such an amazing amount of money for Macmillan Cancer Support. “We want to help everyone with cancer find their best way through, from the moment of diagnosis, so they’re able to live life as fully as they can. That’s why this money is so vital to us and will make a real difference to those trying to find their best way through cancer with Macmillan’s support.”
The staycation boom of recent years means that UK holiday park operators now have access to more potential customers than ever before. This growing market brings extra challenges: how can parks best increase their visibility and rise above the competition? “Now, more than ever, understanding and creating a joined-up marketing approach is vital to your holiday park or campsite’s ongoing success,” says Andrew Hampton, one of the Directors of tourism marketing specialists Pitched. It’s taken as a given in these digital days that at the centre of any integrated marketing strategy is a well-designed website. “As the saying goes, first impressions count,” says Andrew. “Your website will be the first port of call for 99% of your customers, so it not only needs to stand out from the crowd but work seamlessly too – across all devices.” With traffic from mobile devices likely to equate to over 60% of all traffic to a website, Andrew advises his clients to spend more time thinking about the user experience on mobile: “Does the site display properly, is it easy to navigate, can users easily start an online booking, and can they find all the information they need?”
Visual appeal is key in creating a lasting impression on potential customers and authenticity helps to avoid potential pitfalls later. According to Andrew, park operators shouldn’t be tempted to scrimp on imagery and video: “People can spot a stock image from a hundred paces – they want to see pictures of where they will be staying, not something from a magazine shoot in America.” To be effective, websites must not only look good but drive bookings and enquiries. More often than not, customers need a nudge in the right direction and adding high visibility Call To Action (CTA) messages throughout a website helps to get people into the online booking process quicker. Ensuring high visibility of your website means embracing the so-called ‘dark arts’ of SEO and PPC. Nurturing your website with regular, well-considered content as part of aSEO strategy is almost certain to help your organic traffic build over time but PPC can offer quick wins for those with bigger pockets. According to Andrew, PPC can be an effective way to cheat the system and propel your site to the heights of Google but a word of caution… “£100 here and there really isn’t going to cut it. During peak booking periods, park operators must be prepared to spend well over £1,000 a month if they want to get their ads in front of enough eyeballs to have any sort of impact.” Modern technology is continually opening up new marketing channels. According to Industry Expert and Managing Director of Key Digital Agency, David Lakins, Voice is an area that is having a huge impact. Incorporating Voice into your marketing strategy means focusing on two areas: Optimising your website for voice search, and developing your own voice assistants. “Voice searches change how your guests are searching. If your park website is going to answer the natural language questions people now use to search, your content is the first thing that should be reviewed,” explains David. In simple terms, this will mean incorporating longer voice-friendly key phrases and using question phrases in your content, for example, by creating an FAQ page on your website. Most voice searches take place from a mobile device, which gives an even greater reason to ensure your site is optimised for mobile. For David, effective marketing for holiday parks is about “having a strong digital presence - not necessarily being good at everything - but showing your guests that you understand them and the way they want to connect with a park.” Key Digital is at the forefront of looking at ways in which parks can use Voice for connecting with guests - particularly ‘in-stay’.With the popularity of voice control devices increasing in the home, it seems natural that the next step will be their use in holiday accommodation. Last year, Amazon started to trial their new Alexa for Hospitality system and as David says, “Watch this space…” Increasingly, Social Media channels are a vital route to market, as well as a key customer service tool. David believes that “more than anything, parks need to focus their attention on treating social networking as a preferred way to connect with guests.” He recommends looking beyond the three main channels of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keeping an eye on the chosen platforms of the next generation of consumers. David also advises that park operators consider using influencer marketing as part of their content strategy. This means developing “meaningful customer relationships and turning them into park advocates”, as well as building links with existing influencers. Harnessing the power of video is also critical to successfully generating engagement and building followers. For most parks, effective digital marketing means time to call in an expert. According to Smart Marketing’s Caroline Farrar, using an outsourced marketing expert brings “a valuable, outside perspective to your park, leading to fresh ideas and programs that drive results.” Caroline has worked as a Marketing Consultant for Holgates Holiday Park Group (six 5 star parks in North Lancashire and South Cumbria) for the past three years. “Initially, my core focus was on their digital strategy, social channels and a new website build. Now this extends to a monthly, retained service providing marketing support and strategy guidance. Measurability and budget management is also key to this support.” According to Holgate’s owner Michael Holgate, Caroline’s great digital knowledge fills an obvious “skills gap” in their business.With digital activity now accounting for 80% of the Holgate’s marketing budget, tracking and being able to offer a demonstrable return on investment is an important part of Caroline’s remit. A fundamental advantage of digital marketing is the ability to more easily measure success and ROI. Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools, and the good news is it’s free and easy to use! Andrew Hampton says Google Analytics should be “your best friend.” His agency, Pitched, use it on a daily basis. “Once configured, Google Analytics will record everything you need to know,” says Andrew. “From revenue from social media and email campaigns to your PPC performance, this is the place where you can view it all with relative ease.” With this increased, modern focus on digital marketing, it’s important that park operators implementing an integrated marketing strategy don’t ignore offline opportunities such as print (see case study) or more traditional communication channels.
PR may be ‘old-school’ but park owners should not dismiss it. Jon Boston specialises in PR consultancy for holiday parks. The bulk of his work, he says, is helping parks to gain editorial coverage both in print and online, and where possible on television and radio. But he wonders if some parks aren’t missing a trick when it comes to gaining free publicity: “The staycation boom is increasingly putting the spotlight on Britain’s tourism industry, and editors are often keen to feature interesting examples of what accommodation providers are doing to woo new customers,” he says. “Parks have a particularly strong hand to play here because they can usually offer a much more diverse and exciting alternative to more traditional options such as hotels and holiday cottages.” Jon recommends picking up on an interesting news angle that is likely to engage editors, and including quality imagery: “Fielding a good story is important – but just as crucial is supplying a great photograph to go with it.”
Finally, park operators should consider developing partnerships with larger groups to achieve greater economies of scale, or even working with Online Travel Agents (OTAs). David Lakins believes that OTAs are “the biggest threats to parks at the moment” due to the size of their budgets and their powerful marketing spend, which leaves many parks unable to compete. But if you can’t beat them, why not join them? Mara Casadio, Marketing and Content Executive for Pitchup.com, says that OTAs can help parks avoid risk associated with promotional activity since commission is only payable on a successful sale. They can also help parks reach certain customer segments more efficiently. “With international tourists to the UK at an all-time high, parks can target this untapped market via OTAs,” explains Mara. “Pitchup.com is now translated into 16 languages. Nearly 25% of our traffic now comes from outside the UK as a result of media promotion, as well as other international activity including SEO, paid search and newsletters.” Pitchup.com’s investment in their award-winning mobile site means that they have a strong appeal to a younger, international audience who can book in just a couple of minutes, even whilst travelling. Parks are not necessarily investing twice or competing for the same sales lead. Mara explains: “One major group found an overlap of only 3% between their Pitchup customers and their existing customer database.” According to Jon Moxon, Business Development Manager of Hoseasons, the Booking Agent’s size and scale, accommodating over 1.75 million holidaymakers each year, means they can offer “unrivalled access to the UK self-catering market.” Parks can benefit from cutting-edge technological and booking solutions, as well as dynamic pricing software to maximise yield. Jon continues: “As part of the partnership, owners also have a dedicated account manager who draws on a huge bank of expert knowledge and data to provide our partners with the insight they need to best run their businesses.”
The Power Of The Print Brochure
Located near Penzance in West Cornwall, Kenegie Manor offers self-catering cottages, bungalows, apartments and barn conversions. Alongside website development, SEO and PPC services, Pitched also handles the park’s printed material. The annual brochure continues to be a big source of bookings and enquiries. The park also sends out several postcards and mailers to promote offers or to push quieter, shoulder weeks and months. Ed Newbold, owner of Kenegie Manor, says: “Print still has a huge role to play in the industry and, even in this digital world, is a vital part of our overall marketing strategy.” He continues: “In this post GDPR era, where email databases have been reduced, print continues to serve us well. An email can be deleted, easily forgotten or go unnoticed. A brochure will be picked up time and again and serves as a reminder to regular and new guests. Our brochure and mailshots have proven to be not only excellent marketing tools but also an important driver of bookings.”
Think back to your earliest holidays… or even your most recent one. Chances are your memories include at least one desperate attempt to strike it lucky on a coin - flipping machine or prize grabber. It’s no wonder really. Amusements like these inject fun and excitement into a family’s holiday experience – keeping them wanting for more. While we all want our guests to enjoy themselves, our main objective is to generate revenue. And amusements, attractions and ride-on equipment do just that by allowing you to increase your sources of income. It’s important to remember, however, what a big investment holidays represent for most families. Here in the UK, research from travel booking site Expedia found that, on average, a nine day holiday comes with a £2,417 price tag. Importantly, this figure includes the little extras, such as a flutter on the fruit machines or enjoying activities together. And those extras can quickly add up to something significant.
That’s why it’s important to identify the right mix of amusements and attractions to boost your bottom line. While there are a wide-range to choose from, we look at the latest trends in the hopes that one (or more) will enhance your offering. We Brits love a good amusement or attraction when we’re on holiday. Indeed, at some point in their lives, 72 per cent of adult consumers have played with amusement equipment, according to research from Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC).British Amusement Catering Trade Association, estimates there are more than 310,000 machines in the UK alone played regularly by 14 million people. While many can be found in pubs, clubs and adult entertainment centres (AEC), a large number can be found in the UK’s more than 1000 family-entertainment centres (FEC). Many will be familiar with destination venues, such as Brighton Palace Pier – which attracts more visitors than Stonehenge – and Namco Funscape in London, on London’s South Bank, as well as the multitude of smaller operations, including those at holiday parks.
In the pub, however, some machines are starting to lose their appeal, according to Bacta. “Whilst the Category C AWP remains the most profitable four square feet of pub floor space, the trend is a downward one, accentuated by the proliferation of Licensed Betting Offices and the lure of FOBT (fixed odd betting terminals).” According to some experts, this has cost the sector dearly. There’s believed to have been a 25% reduction in average weekly income from them since 2007 and, so far, it’s cost the industry more than £600 million. Fortunately, all is not lost. Bacta explains: “Advances in technology have seen something of a revolution with pubs featuring the very latest in digital gaming equipment and internet-empowered jukeboxes.” Say the letters G-D-P-R and you’re sure to hear a sigh. However, big data plays a big role in making sure our machine investments pay dividends. “If you measure it, you can manage it. Appreciate the value of your site and machine data,” advises John Dorman, Marketing Manager for Playsafe Systems (www.playsafe.systems) in Bath. The company works with the AGC and FEC sectors to collect, record and secure customer site data, which it converts into the useful information businesses need to drive their amusement revenue streams forward… even when they’re off-site. To get best value from your equipment, John suggests site owners “consider introducing an integrated system of hardware and software that collects and stores all their gaming and machine information to track/measure performance and increase onsite security.” He adds: “And, if you use technology to help secure your site data and cash, you can enjoy better piece of mind – even if you are offsite.”
Tel. + 31 20 893 2161
Tel. 01707 280 020
When it comes to accommodation, the ‘one size fits all’ philosophy is long gone, as parks now strive to provide bespoke options to suit all tastes and clientele. Today’s holiday parks are more inclusive than ever before. With a vast selection of accommodation and activities now available to choose from, it’s no wonder that an increasingly broad clientele of people are opting to holiday close to home. Parks up and down the country are expanding their horizons when it comes to accommodation, with most offering a good range of options for families with small children, teenagers and young couples as well as the older generation. And what’s more, it’s a shift that’s paying off, with more and more parks reaping the financial rewards. Henry Wild, of Skelwith Fold caravan park in the Lake District, says that new ways for guests to stay on parks are helping to ensure bookings and drive down the average age of visitors: "About a decade ago, many park industry commentators became concerned at what they saw as an increasingly mature market of visitors and holiday home buyers. Their conclusion was that without new blood being drawn in, numbers in these sectors would be sent on a downward trajectory. "What they didn't foresee was a combination of factors, which has led many younger couples and families to become familiar with the park product, helping to underpin this industry's future.”
BANG ON TREND
Leading the way has been glamping in all its different forms. What began as a type of accommodation characterised by quite basic timber huts has now evolved into a sophisticated and often luxurious staying option for people seeking a new holiday experienceIn addition, park-based glamping holidays are being increasingly featured in the media where they are often described as ‘cool’, and highlighted as a much more exciting type of escape than a hotel or rented cottage. "Often these types of accommodation attract younger generations, and we see plenty of evidence of this with those booking our fully equipped safari tends and top-end glamping modules based on the Swift S-Pod,” says Henry. "Motorhomes are also very much on-trend with younger holiday guests, and last summer we saw a rise of eight percent in the number of motorhome bookings compared with the previous year, with the result that motorhomes now occupying almost half of our touring pitches.” Henry goes on to explain that the continuing confusion surrounding what Brexit will mean for travel in Europe next year also appears to be driving UK holiday makers to play it safe and holiday closer to home.
CLOSE TO HOME
"Another factor which couldn't have been predicted a decade ago, and which has also broadened the appeal of parks to new markets, are concerns over Brexit and the accompanying fall in the value of the pound .which has driven up the cost of holidays overseas,” he comments. "Combine this with a series of spectacular summers in recent years, and many people are now questioning whether a UK holiday might offer more fun and a lot less stress than going abroad. The superbly high standards of modern holiday homes reinforces the argument, and makes a pretty persuasive case for owning a holiday home in this country.” According to holiday park owner and operator Bridge Leisure, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is already having a positive impact on UK staycations. Their advance bookings for 2019 have seen a 30 per cent increase across their nine parks, with Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire already up by 150 per cent on the same period last year. CEO Andrew Howe believes they are definitely benefitting from the Brexit effect, he said: “Staycations are becoming increasingly popular anyway but with the lack of clarity around what a deal or no deal Brexit means for travellers, people just want to avoid any nasty surprises and seem to be opting for a UK holiday instead.” To meet the demand, Bridge Leisure are continuing to invest in their accommodation options, to ensure that they are hitting the spot when it comes to their customer’s expectations. “Staycations are becoming more and more popular, so the various types of accommodation continue to evolve and develop to meet what the customer is looking for in all sorts of shapes, styles and sizes,” says Andrew.
“You only have to look at the popularity of lodges with hot tubs to see that the demand is still there and growing.” He adds: “Above all people are looking for experiences, good quality and choice. They are also looking for something a bit different which you can’t get everywhere like our two storey safari lodges. They are very popular with families and provide a sense of adventure with the added touches of luxury.” The group recently invested in Safari Lodges at Trevella Park in Crantock, Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire and Hedley Wood near Bude, to offer guests the ultimate glamping experience. Set over two floors, each lodge features a spacious double bedroom and a second bedroom on the upper floor, as well as a fully equipped kitchenette with hob, microwave, fridge and sink, and WC with shower. The lodges also boast an outdoor hot tub with a large porch and parking. Andrew believes that today’s guests have ever increasing expectations but as ever cleanliness is king: “Generally our guests are looking for a home away from home experience with all the added comforts. We offer ready erected tents to minimise stress and packing and en-suite touring pitches for added comfort and convenience. It’s the extra touches which can make the difference.”
In terms of maintaining a high standard of accommodation on their parks, Bridge Leisure have a dedicated on-site team who carry out regular checks and keep everything in tip-top condition. “There isn’t really a hard and fast rule for when accommodation should be replaced. Different types will have different life cycles,” says Andrew. “We have an annual refurbishment programme across all of our parks and this year we are investing over half a million in new units. We want to make sure customers have a choice of different accommodation to suit different requirements and budgets.” For park owners that are looking to invest in new accommodation, choosing the right supplier is a key decision. A good supplier is easy to deal with, consistent, reliable and provides quality products and suitable prices. In turn, this helps you to focus on your park and deliver a high-level of service to your guests. An average supplier can, at best, take up your valuable time and, at worst, can cause a knock-on effect that impacts your service, guests and profit. “When choosing an accommodation supplier I’m sure top of most people’s lists will be value for money, quality and innovation,” comments Andrew. “But in addition, we look for suppliers who understand the demands of our business and deliver within agreed timescales.”
From an insurance point of view, the potential for an insurance claim to arise is ever present, even on the best run holiday parks. Identifying and managing the risks associated with all types of park-owned accommodation units relies upon a park carrying out regular and thorough risk assessments. The demand for high-end accommodation and luxury facilities such as hot tubs continues. Apart from the extra operational demands of these facilities, they can increase risk and as such may have insurance implications. “It is all too common for a liability claim to arise in respect of park-owned units,” explains a spokesperson for Compass Insurance. “For example, steps, beds, showers, baths, hot tubs and wet surfaces are associated with slip, trip and fall claims. Park owners will also understand that carbon monoxide poisoning can pose a life-threatening risk to customers staying in various types of accommodation units and of the need to ensure that the necessary detectors are in-situ.”
There is no shortcut to risk assessing each and every park-owned unit onsite. The risks associated with a caravan holiday home or lodge will differ from those associated with a glamping pod, which will differ still to those associated with a tepee, safari tent or ready tent. Parks should ensure that all park-owned accommodation meets relevant regulatory safety requirements. This is also required by the Policy wording. Subsequently, units should be kept in good condition and it is crucial that records of all operating procedures, maintenance, checking and cleaning are meticulously documented and kept readily accessible. The Compass spokesperson warns: “If a park cannot prove, using up-to-date and documented evidence, that it has taken all reasonable steps to minimise health and safety risks, it may be impossible for an insurer to defend a liability claim. The park could also end up in trouble with the HSE!” According to Compass, the type of cover and the cost of insurance will vary according to the type of accommodation on a park. This is relevant to the risk presented. For example, it may be more expensive to insure a pod with a wood burner than one without, simply because there is more likelihood of a fire-related incident where a wood burner exists. Premium costs will also vary depending on the number, variety, age and value of the units requiring cover. “Insurance can be expensive so while it is very important not to underinsure, over-insuring won’t help either! In this regard, maintaining an accurate valuation of park-owned accommodation is vital,” advises the spokesperson. “The value of accommodation should be reviewed on an annual basis, but policies can and should be amended mid-term too if new units are purchased or sold. It is important to keep your insurer informed about investment and development throughout the year so that they can ensure your policy is fully up-to-date.” To keep things as simple as possible, park owners would be wise to choose a specialist provider that can cover all of their park-owned accommodation under a single policy avoiding issues, should a claim occur, over which provider is responsible.
Tel. 01908 067 900
Tel. 0344 274 027
Tel. 01327 349297
SKELWITH FOLD CARAVAN PARK
Tel. 015394 32277
Cofton Holidays has been welcoming holiday-makers for over 40 years..
Nestled in its very own glorious corner of Devon, surrounded by 80 acres of Devon countryside and close to the pretty coastline of Dawlish Warren, Cofton Holidays has been welcoming holidaymakers from far and wide for over 40 years. Guests return year after year to enjoy its beautiful and convenient location, extensive facilities and wide choice of accommodation to suit the needs of all visitors. Purchased by the late George Jeffery in 1975, Cofton Holidays was transformed from what was a basic operation into the stunning landscaped grounds that it is today. The beautiful gardens and established plants that you can see around the multi award-winning holiday park were created by George. Now, Cofton Holidays continues to run under the Jeffery name, with George’s children Roger, Helen, Mellony and Christopher firmly at the rei ns. Cofton Holidays, Holiday Park of the Year at the Visit Devon Tourism Awards 2018, offers a range of accommodation, entertainment and facilities for the whole family to enjoy. When guests drive through the gates of Cofton, they can immediately escape to a tranquil world, leaving the mundane routine of everyday life behind. Guests are greeted by the newly refurbished reception area with the friendly team on standby, ready to check-in visitors to their home away from home. From stylish holiday homes to indulgent hot tub cottages and luxury Georgian apartments, Cofton Holidays offer a wide range of accommodation for guests to choose from. Cofton’s selection of holiday homes is like no other. With two or three bedroom holiday homes available which can sleep up to six guests, there’s plenty of space for the whole family. The dog friendly Dart holiday home is a great example of the high-quality accommodation available at the South Devon holiday park. The Dart features one double bedroom and one twin and also has an additional sleeping space in the lounge with a fold-out bed. Furry, four-legged guests will feel right at home with the addition of a pet mat, small pet blanket and stainless-steel water and food bowls. Suitable for all seasons, the Dart has full central heating and double glazing, ensuring that the family is kept warm and cosy throughout the winter months.
HOT TUB COTTAGES
Embracing the popularity of hot tub holidays, Cofton launched its range of hot tub cottages in 2016. The three exquisite homes can be found on the Eastdon Estate, set away from the main park yet close enough to enjoy its facilities and entertainment. Each cottage has breath-taking views including classic Devon farmland and beautiful views of the Exe Estuary. Newly refurbished for 2018, Cofton’s five holiday apartments are located within the Georgian Eastdon House on the Eastdon Estate. Interior designer Julie Jeffery transformed the apartments into highend, luxury accommodation complete with elegant furnishings, 55” TVs and high-specification kitchen areas. For those who prefer traditional camping holidays complete with roasted marshmallows and their own home comforts, Cofton Holidays offers a range of camping and touring pitches to suit guests needs. Rated number one for Dawlish campsites on Trip Advisor and holding the coveted AA 5 Pennant Gold Award for its caravan and camping facilities, Cofton Holidays offers grass, hard standing and fully serviced pitches perfect for tents, caravans or motorhomes. The fantastic range of facilities on offer at the family-run holiday park is just one of the reasons why guests return year after year. With two pools, one outside and one indoors, guests can enjoy splashing around whatever the weather.
The heated indoor pool includes a fun splash pad area and hydrotherapy loungers, perfect for parents to relax on whilst the kids play. Other on-site facilities include 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. Cofton Holidays has recently invested £20,000 in its indoor cycling studio in addition to adding brand-new classes to the gym’s timetable, located within Ashburn Springs Spa and Leisure. Widening its kid-friendly activity offering, Cofton Holidays has also invested £50,000 in a new Woodland Adventure Area which features a 25m zip line, a climbing cage, rope ladders, balance beam, balance lines and scramble nets. Free kids’ club take place each day throughout the school holidays, from Easter through to the October half term.
South Devon is home to an abundance of picture-perfect landscapes and attractions. Famous for its beaches, Devon is THE place to go for sand, sun and fun. Cofton Holidays is only a short walk away from the golden sands of the Blue Flag beach at Dawlish Warren and its fascinating Nature Reserve. Also close by is Teignmouth, the location for the 2017 film The Mercy, starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz. Cross the bay and you will end up in the picturesque village of Shaldon where the ‘Smugglers Tunnel’ is located. Walk through the tunnel and discover the secluded Ness Cove beach, perfect for a relaxing picnic by the water’s edge. Speaking on behalf of the family, Director Helen Scott is incredibly proud of how Cofton Holidays has developed over the years: “As a family business that’s been running for over 40 years, we know how imt98009portant it is to create a customer experience that guests want to share. We invest in our facilities so that our customers can have an even richer experience, encouraging them to return year after year, generation after generation. Throughout 2019, we will continue to add to our offering which includes expanding our dog friendly accommodation offering.” With so much to see and do in this glorious corner of Devon, it’s no wonder that Cofton Holidays has such a loyal customer base. The Warren family said of their recent visit: “We have had a wonderful experience. The site is very clean, all the staff were friendly and helpful, especially the bar supervisor and the entertainment was second to none. We’ll 100% return.” Peter from London said: “The best holiday park we’ve been to in our motorhome. Our children aged two and four love it. Great facilities, entertainment and activities in one of the best parts of Devon.” Cofton Holidays has secured a number of accolades in the last 12 months including Gold Holiday Park of the Year and Silver Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable Tourism awards at the Visit Devon Awards 2018, as well as the Hoseasons Diamond Award for Family Run Lodges and Parks. In February 2019, Cofton Holidays will attend the South West Tourism Excellence Awards as a finalist. It looks like 2019 will be another memorable year for the family-run, South Devon holiday park.
Tel. 01626 890111
Serving Up Lobster Dressing
Shell clothing has taken on a whole new meaning at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon, which has just launched its own exclusive range of casual wear. Lobster Blue is the brand name of the park’s first-ever collection of t-shirts and hoodies. Made from top-quality pure cotton and designed for easy care, the garments have a relaxed style and comfortable feel with a very distinctive look. The clothing’s striking logo isn’t just the creative inspiration of Ladram Bay’s graphics designer, for it recalls an eye-opening incident at the park a few years ago. It occurred when one of the directors of the family owned business, Robin Carter, landed an actual blue lobster from one of the pots he had tended in the bay for over 60 years, sparking a media frenzy.
Labour Of Welsh Love
The much-anticipated Maes Mynan development in Afonwen, near Caerwys, is to open this September after receiving planning permission from Flintshire County Council. Acorn Leisure – which also owns holiday parks in nearby Lloc and Cilcain – has approval for 47 luxury lodges and more than 130 static and touring caravans on the old quarry site, which has lain empty for more than 20 years. Recently named one of the top 10 ‘biggest property stories in Wales’, the Denbigh Road scheme is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and will inject new life into the region, blending into the stunning Flintshire scenery with added landscaping and protection for nature and biodiversity. Owners Peter and Louise Barlow have also earmarked a section for boutique glamping, and one of three beautiful lakes – already home to swans and cygnets - will be used for conservation and ecology research.
Flushed With Success
Donkey Creek Farm Caravan Park on Lancashire’s Fylde coast is officially one of the best place to ‘go’ in Britain, according to judges of the annual Loo of the Year awards. The park’s washrooms have been named as top platinum winners in the latest Loo of the Year awards, bringing a chain of honour to the family-run business. The prestigious accolade was made to Donkey Creek after the shower and toilet facilities provided for guests were ‘mystery shopped’ by inspectors. Celebrating the news of the award are Paul Lancaster and his wife Jane who opened the park last summer in a quiet rural location near the market town of Freckleton. One of their first tasks was a built a state-of-the-art washroom facility for guests pitching up at the park with motorhomes, touring caravans and tents. Paul and Jane also know that their success is not just a flash in the pan because, they say, advance bookings for 2019 are ‘way beyond our expectations.
The Hoburne Group has acquired a new holiday park on the edge of Bodmin in Cornwall, which will boast a new range of bespoke luxurious Hideaway lodges. Established in 1912, Hoburne is an expert in providing UK holiday breaks and holiday home ownership already owning seven holiday parks across the most picturesque counties in Great Britain, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and the Cotswolds. Hoburne acquired the new 17-acre site in the village of St Mabyn for its eighth park. With a primary focus on holiday home ownership, the new development at Hoburne St Mabyn will house ‘Hideaway’ lodges and aims to create an idyllic lodge escape for owners and holiday makers, enabling them to relax and unwind in an environment which offers a tranquil quiet space without the busier traditional park facilities and can be used as a base from which to explore the local area. The first phase of the new Hideaway lodges development includes 25 plots, 17 of which are available for ownership and eight for holidays, as well as a lodge reception for two full-time park management personnel.
Green Motorhomes Deserve Red Carpet
Fragile areas such as the Lake District should be doing all they can to woo visitors in motorhomes, according to the owner of a major Cumbria holiday park. Henry Wild of the 130 acre, Skelwith Fold, in Ambleside, says that people using such vehicles are helping to drive up the use of transport considered more environmentally friendly. Buses, bicycles and two legs are the preferred ways of exploring Lakeland for many of Cumbria’s thousands of motorhome users each year, says Henry. As such, he says, motorhome visitors help reduce congestion on the roads, and minimise the release of harmful greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Last summer, Henry reports, motorhome visitors to his park grew by 8% compared with the previous year, and are fast gaining ground with many younger couple and families. But despite their size, he believes, motorhomes should be hailed as green holiday heroes – as long as they opt for holiday park pitches and not roadsides or public car parks.
Much of the tourism traffic seen on Lake District roads is likely to belong to people who have already checked in to their destination, and who are now enjoying the sights,” said Henry. “By contrast, motorhomes will often spend the entire duration of their stay parked-up whilst their users find alternative ways to tour around and get to where they want to go. “The same will apply in many other rural areas, and suggests that we should be encouraging motorhome visitors in parts of Britain where the countryside is deemed to be at risk,” added Henry.
Generating £9.3 Billion Spending
Holiday parks and campsites around the UK generate £9.3bn in visitor expenditure and support 171,448 full-time employees, a major report has revealed. The independent report, ‘Pitching the Value’, is the first time holiday parks and campsites across the UK have been analysed to show the value of the sector to the nation’s economy. ‘Pitching the Value’, which focusses on the economic impact of the sector together with the health and wellbeing benefits of such holidays, was carried out by Frontline Consultants on behalf of the UK Caravan and Camping Alliance (UKCCA). The alliance is an umbrella group comprising The National Caravan Council, The Camping and Caravanning Club, the Caravan and Motorhome Club, and the British Holiday & Home Parks Association. Bob Hill, who led the UKCCA joint working group, said: “This is a ground-breaking report that clearly demonstrates the important benefits to the economy brought by the UK’s many holiday parks and campsites. “Pitching the Value will help the industry attract more investment and ultimately improve opportunities for it to grow, develop and create new jobs. Our findings reinforce the importance of holiday parks and campsites to the country’s tourism economy. That will help us to improve holidaymakers’ on-site experiences and choice, which in turn will also attract more overseas visitors to these shores.”
Holiday Park and Campsite operators also support local communities through capital and operating expenditure, and wages. Nearly half of those companies and organisations that took part in the report cumulatively spend nearly £303 million per year in this way. The research also found they engage with local communities through support for events such as fundraising activities, participate in recycling and environmental initiatives, and promote healthy active lifestyles in the great outdoors through pastimes such as walking and cycling. The four sponsoring organisations of the UKCCA own or are affiliated to 6,243 holiday parks and campsites across the UK with a combined total of 438,076 pitches. Those sites offer holidaymakers a diverse range of accommodation such as touring pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes, rented holiday homes, lodges, and chalets, plus glamping units like tipis and yurts, together with a wide selection of on-site facilities. Bob added: “We want to use this compelling evidence to ensure key influencers and decision-makers support the development and growth of our industry at a national, regional and individual business level for the benefit of our economy and for holidaymakers themselves.”
Visit www.ukcca.org.uk for further information or to download a copy of the Pitching the Value report.
Sites Celebrate Blooming Success
Black Knowl Club Site in Hampshire and Englethwaite Hall Club Site in Cumbria fought off stiff competition to win the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s ‘Sites in Bloom’ 2018 Awards. The Sites in Bloom Awards were introduced in 2003 by Caravan Club Life Member, the late Alan Payne OBE, who wished to recognise the creative and horticultural skills of site staff and volunteers, and to showcase their success in making their sites colourful and welcoming. The displays were evaluated using criteria including layout and creative use of space, variety, innovation, flair and colour coordination, with particular attention being paid to economy and low maintenance. The geographical location of the site is also taken into account by the judges and the fact that plant species are chosen to suit the local environment. Located within walking distance of the village of Brockenhurst in the New Forest National Park, the recently redeveloped Black Knowl site is one of the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s most popular. The Hampshire site took the prestigious Sites in Bloom award in the ‘multi-couple’ category (a set of site wardens and a set of assistant site wardens). First place in the ‘single couple’ category, the Englethwaite Hall site is a tranquil oasis scattered with rhododendrons from the garden of the former Old Hall.
North Wales’ Premier Park Named
Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park, the flagship of the Thornley Leisure group, has been named by judges in the regional tourist board awards as the top holiday park destination in North Wales. Situated on the north coast of County Conwy, between Anglesey and the Menai Straits, the park provides tranquil landscaped grounds in a picture-postcard setting. The park is owned and run by the family owned Thornley Leisure Group that, established 55 years ago, now comprises nine parks in total with facilities which include holiday homes to buy and rent, glamping, and touring pitches. The park’s many awards include a top five star tourist board grading – but according to managing director David Thornley, this latest Go North Wales accolade has an extra significance: “The award is especially important to us because it recognises not just the quality of the park’s facilities and surroundings, but also the levels of hospitality and service provided to guests. “It’s our staff team which deserves the lion’s share of the credit for this, and they do a great job in making everybody feel welcome and helping them enjoy their stay. “It’s been a superb year for Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park and the group as a whole, and I hope the publicity from this award will help benefit all tourism businesses here in North Wales,” added David. The Go North Wales event was organised by North Wales Tourism which represents more than 1,500 tourism-related businesses across the region, including scores of holiday parks.
Seaside Lodge Ultimate Location
Speculation is rife as to whether an ultimate fantasy escape at Sandhills Holiday Park in Dorset, is the most expensive holiday lodge in the UK. It takes the form of a high-tech £420,000 bespoke luxury lodge with one of the most picturesque beach-side settings to be found anywhere in Britain. This autumn, the keys to the holiday home were officially handed over to its extremely proud new owner. The visually striking and lavishly equipped lodge is the result of a design collaboration with Prestige which was sparked by Park Holidays UK earlier this year. It arose when Sandhills had to opportunity to develop a new holiday home on the sea-facing front of the park, just a few paces from the sandy beach at Mudeford near Christchurch. According to Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish, it was agreed that the breathtaking position warranted the creation of a unique and very special holiday home: “Only very rarely do pitches become available on Sandhills’ front row, and we wanted the new owners to enjoy surroundings that were just as amazing as the views,” he said. “Together with Prestige, we developed a blueprint which included large areas of glazing to give the outlook star billing from the interior, but maintained a warm and homely feel. “Natural materials, including timber, are a big feature together with ocean-inspired colours and decoration to evoke the glorious seascape vista,” added Tony.
Substantial investment in Sandhills by Park Holidays UK has introduced many new modern-day facilities to the park including a country club, gymnasium, and a heated outdoor pool. The split-level 40ft x 20ft lodge has a large elevated lounge, two spacious bedrooms, modern kitchen and bathrooms, and a 3502 ft decking surrounded by infinity glass. Its new owner is haulage entrepreneur John Dean who, with his partner Carol can now spend leisure time away from their Salisbury home in surroundings he describes as “simply stunning”. John, aged 79, founded his distribution company almost 50 years ago with a single truck, and grew the business to serve both national and international customers. His love of the sea led him to acquire a 65ft motor cruiser and then, last year, a holiday home at Sandhills Holiday Park with a view of Christchurch Harbour. Having made new friends at the park and found a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere very much to his liking, John was quick to seize his chance when the sea-front lodge became available. For buyers on a more modest budget, holiday homes at the park start from around £150,000 – in an area where wooden beach huts are regularly reported as changing hands for up to £300,000. Meanwhile, the park has just released a second bespoke holiday home on its front row which features a roof-top garden – and a slightly more accessible price tag of £399,950.
Tel. 01425 200744
Strong Motorhome and Caravan Show
The 2018 Motorhome and Caravan Show closed its doors after six days of new product launches, live theatre entertainment and other attractions for all the family, making the show a destination for those looking for new leisure vehicles and holiday inspiration. The annual show at the NEC, held by NCC Events, covered 11 halls of the exhibition centre. More than 96,000 visitors confirmed the show’s appeal as the one-stop destination for all the new-for-2019 leisure vehicles: over 1,000 motorhomes, touring caravans, campervans, caravan holiday homes and trailer tents, with a combined value of more than £36.5 million were displayed by more than 400 exhibitors. The Motorhome and Caravan Show is at the NEC from 15 to 20 October 2019 and the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show from 19 to 24 February 2019.
Wish You Were Here - Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park
Located at the foot of the Penmaenmawr Mountain, overlooking the spectacular coastal views from Llandudno and across to Anglesey, Puffin Island and beyond, Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park is truly a holiday location that stands out from the crowd.Surrounded by natural beauty, this secluded luxury park is perfect for a peaceful get away, but at the same time is close to popular resorts and attractionsand has easy access to lovely mountain walks. On site,Craiglwyd Hall offers visitors a play area, on site bar, games room, gym and is a dog-friendly location.The flag ship of the Thornley Leisure group, the park’s many awards include a top five-star tourist board grading – but according to managing director David Thornley, the latest Go North Wales accolade has an extra significance “The award is especially important to us because it recognises not just the quality of the park’s facilities and surroundings, but also the levels of hospitality and service provided to guests. “It’s our staff team which deserves the lion’s share of the credit for this, and they do a great job in making everybody feel welcome and helping them enjoy their stay. “It’s been a superb year for Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park and the group as a whole, and I hope the publicity from this award will help benefit all tourism businesses here in North Wales,” added David. Situated on the north coast of County Conwy between Anglesey and the Menai Straits, the park provides tranquil landscaped grounds in a picture-postcard setting. It has long proved popular with families wishing to own a caravan holiday home in one of North Wales’s most popular areas for lovers of natural scenic beauty.
Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park
Tel. 01492 623355
Holiday Snaps - Nick Lomas - The Caravan & Motorhome Club
Nick Lomas is Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, the UK’s largest club for owners of Leisure Vehicles, representing one million users. The Club operates over 200 UK campsites and provides 2300 exclusive CL locations for members. It also provides travel services to over 330 sites throughout Europe.
What was your career path into the industry?
My first job in hospitality was working behind the bar in a local pub. I graduated from University and worked in Financial Services for 17 years. I worked on the sales and marketing side promoting insurance, pensions and banking. My last job was at LV where I worked in their affi nity business providing discounted insurance and credit products to members of national motoring, travel and membership organisations and trade unions. That’s when I came across the Caravan Club, now the Caravan and Motorhome Club. The outdoors held much more appeal to me and I ended up becoming Marketing Director in 2005 and subsequently Director General in 2010.
How has market changed during your time in the industry?
The market grows ever more sophisticated. Consumers want higher quality accommodation and service delivered much faster through technology like booking apps. More people are buying motorhomes and spending short breaks glamping.
How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
The shift to motorhomes and growth of shorter breaks over longer holidays is likely to continue. I think the changes to vehicles with electric cars replacing diesel and petrol vehicles will be important to cater for. Also wider ranges of experiences in terms outdoor activities in the day, matched with relaxing food and drink and pampering experiences in the evening will continue to grow.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life?
Supporting the Club staff of over 1000 people to give consistent, reliable quality service day in day out is the driving force of the club. Helping everyone to see how change is necessary and constant keeps me interested and excited. The future is bright but bringing it to life is hard work.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
Be true to yourself and do what you believe is the right thing based on sound research – advice from a well-respected colleague.
What do you most like to spend your time out of working hours?
I love walking and cycling in the Peak District. Spending time there with friends and family restores my soul. When it’s dark, you can’t beat a good fi lm at the cinema, or a rock concert - I really enjoy watching a live gig.
If we could give you three guests? Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
Winston Churchill - he’s a hero but also a hugely complex and controversial character, Meryl Streep an amazing actress well placed for the gossip of Hollywood, and Prince Harry - youth and passion for helping others makes me think he’d be an interesting dinner guest, given his mental health and military veteran charity interests.
Do you have any claims to fame?
The Club’s Patron for over 66 years has been The Duke of Edinburgh - it’s been a pleasure meeting him and dealing with the Royal Household from time to time. Especially for our Club Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
I go skiing in Austria - snowy mountains and blue skies are a tonic in the gloomy depths of winter. I’ve driven a caravan through Greece and a motorhome to Istanbul. I love the challenge and adventure of getting somewhere new.
Playing It Cool
Having experienced the warmest summer on record in 2018, Britain is facing the coldest winter in living memory according to experts, with the weather set to bite right up until the end of February. The UK’s notoriously unpredictable weather can be a turn-off for would-be holidaymakers who aren’t willing to brave the elements, especially during the winter months. But savvy holiday park owners have got it covered when it comes to weather-proof activities for all the family, and providing indoor play facilities to keep the kids entertained is top of the list. Indoor play can take many forms, from conventional soft play zones to indoor rides, amusements and water leisure areas. Parks that offer exciting indoor entertainment are sure to stand out from the crowd. At Hendra Holiday Park in Cornwall, offering all-weather activities for children is a top priority. The fi ve star park invested in a new soft play area in 2017 and is reaping the benefits.
“Offering indoor play is a huge benefi t to parents holidaying in the UK. It is good to have an indoor weather attraction for children, so there is always something to do,” comments Clare Jackson of Hendra Holiday Park. The park’s soft play area, known as Henry's Play Loft is designed for children from the ages of 0-10 years old and has a tots area for the under twos. Meanwhile parents and families can relax in the comfortable seating area and there are refreshments available too. “We continue to update and maintain the areas as required to keep them clean and in tip-top condition,” says Clare. “The soft play area is generally popular among the smaller children, as is our Oasis indoor pool, which is one of the reasons we get many repeat bookings. There is a small charge for guests to use the pool facilities, but the soft play area is free.” According to the Play Providers Association (PPA), there are well over 600 independently operated indoor play sites across the country, with an increasing number of pubs, restaurants and holiday parks now offering indoor play equipment. “Over the last few years there has been a considerable increase in the number of indoor soft play areas. At the same time the scope of activities in these areas has increased and more adventurous items are constantly being introduced,” comments a spokesperson for the PPA.
Steve Sylvester, Managing Director of KOMPAN UK and Ireland agrees: “A cleverly designed indoor play space will have the end result of happier, more positive visitors who will thrive in your environment and forever long to return.” He adds: “Your play area can be part of your success story, inspiring great tales of the perfect family holiday or day out.” KOMPAN is a leading supplier of playground equipment for play areas, parks and sports areas. The company specialises in the design of innovative equipment for all ages and abilities. “Young children love a space filled with bright colours, friendly shapes and rounded edges. A well-planned play area can be one big play invitation to role-play; firefighter or princess one day and pirate captain the next" says Steve.
HENDRA HOLIDAY PARK
Tel. 01637 875 778
Tel. 01908 201002
PLAY PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
Tel. 02476 414 999
WORLD OF RIDES
Tel. 01914 920999
Protect Your Assets
With so much of its notorious jargon and fine print to review, insurance can be a minefield of confusion for holiday park owners. But beware. Uncertainty over coverage can come at a heavy cost – especially if oversights are only spotted after events occur. “Park owners should seek out specialist brokers that offer cover specifically designed and tailored to suit the diversity of the parks industry,” advises of Compass Insurance. “Adequate cover will address both common, everyday losses and the more substantial losses that can be sustained in the event of a major disaster.” According to Compass, the most common holiday park claims involve:
• Tripping and slipping incidents
• Use of playground and activity equipment
• Material damage to third party property
• Injuries to employees
• Damage to holiday home stock
• Damage to communal buildings.
Claims are also impacted by major weather events from time to time. In early 2018, the Beast from the East and Storm Emma resulted in a high rate of weather-related damage claims. For owners, matters are made more complicated as no two park businesses are the same: every business’ insurance requirements are unique. “Your customers will want the reassurance of extensive insurance cover for accidental damage, fi re, theft, storm, flooding and vermin,” advises Liz Harrison from Leisuredays. “Severe flooding, storms, or fire can cause signifi cant damage to a holiday park and if you’re in the unfortunate situation where many units are written off, then you’ll want these quickly removing from your park,” Liz continues. “The Leisuredays policy automatically includes £10,000 for each damaged unit to be removed, and for a new unit to be resited and connected to utilities.” Many industry brokers operate a network of local account executives who can support you in identifying your individual insurance needs.
Tim Smyth, MD of Compass: “A good account executive will take time to fully understand your business and how it operates – and will support you in deciding on the appropriate levels of cover you need accordingly. “They will look for hidden and not-so-obvious risks which, left undetected, may pose a threat to your park. Sometimes optional/additional covers may be necessary, and your AE should be able to fi nd what best suits YOUR needs.” In addition, a good account executive should also be committed to regularly visiting your park and building a good relationship with you. Tim suggests: “They should aim to carry out an insurance review at regular intervals to check whether the insurance needs of your business have changed. If they have, your cover may need to be adjusted to reflect this.”
Some other key areas to consider when arranging insurance cover include the adequacy of your Sums Insured, the changing needs of your business and the terms, conditions and exclusion attached to your cover. Tim explains: “We sometimes see new clients whose previous cover or sum insured would not be adequate should an incident impact their income over a long period of time (e.g. longer than just 12 months). Protecting any Liability to the public through products or activities provided on the Park is also crucial.” At Wilby, holiday park insurance specialists through their Park Protect scheme, a campaign has been launched to help businesses protect themselves by raising the limits of their liability insurance. Wilby is recommending that businesses increase their indemnity limit for employers’ public and products liability cover to at least £30m. The company of trusted independent chartered insurancebrokers argue that recent cases mean that the bar has been raised, and businesses and individuals need to increase their level of protection.
Wilby’s Managing Director Richard Blackburn explains: "It can be hard to imagine that when you have employers’, public or products liability cover of £5m, £10m or even £20m that there may be times this can be insufficient. “However, we live in an age where levels of litigation have never been higher. Businesses and individuals have an increased awareness of their legal rights, coupled with the relative ease of accessing the UK legal system to pursue a compensatory award where negligence is alleged.” The issue has been made worse by the fact that the costs attached to claims are also being driven ever higher, with previous awards used as a basis for future settlements. Changes to the discount rate, the figure used to help set compensation pay-outs when people suffer serious injuries, made in March 2017 mean the potential for even higher personal injury settlements is even greater. The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), one of the leading UK insurance bodies which issues periodic advice to its members, now recommends a minimum indemnity limit of £23m. But, with the legal environment continually evolving, Wilby recommends that serious consideration is given to purchasing liability limits of no less than £30m.
Tel. 0344 274 0277
Tel. 01422 396 772
Tel. 01422 358 525
Best in Britain
Judges in the annual AA holiday awards have told the family owners of North Norfolk's Searles Leisure Resort they are the UK's champion holiday providers. 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 fi rst began welcoming campers over 60 years ago onto what was then a farm, and it has since grown to become one of Eastern England's largest and best-loved holiday centres.
Searles' provides more than 800 holiday home and touring pitches, including luxury lodges to buy and rent, plus a raft of family-friendly attractions and outdoor activities. Attractions at Searles include an innovative new indoor ‘splash zone’ with a host of different water play features, a new outdoor gym, and an adventure play park plus nightly entertainment.The citation from the AA's award judges noted that Searles: “Never stands still, and every year offers something new to delight visitors seeking a truly memorable and high quality experience. "The park's success and popularity is thanks to the vision, passion and hard work of four generations of the Searle family, and their quest for ever-rising standards,” they continued.
"All the resort's facilities are spotlessly clean, and there is a general feeling of pride from the friendly and hard-working staff. Searles is a very worthy winner," the judges concluded. Searles is also a highly-regarded local employer with around 200 staff, and provides valuable training and skills development opportunities especially to younger workers. Speaking on behalf of the family, managing director Paul
Searle said that the AA award celebrates not just the park, but also the entire workforce: "Standards of customer service are an important criteria for these awards, so our team at Searles can take a major share of the credit for this achievement," he says. "So many of the reviews we receive from customers mention the great atmosphere here, and delivering this is very much in the hands of our park team. "We hope the publicity from this AA award will also benefit other local tourism businesses by putting the spotlight on north Norfolk as an amazing holiday destination," adds Paul. Earlier this year, the park was crowned as the region's perfect park destination in the holiday parks category of the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards 2018.
Searles Leisure Resort
Tel. 01485 534211
The Inside story on the rise and rise of Bridge Leisure..
Founded in 2008 by Andrew Howe and Simon Williams as a holiday park consultancy and management business, Bridge Leisure initially focused on operating holiday parks for third parties. Both Andrew and Simon worked in the holiday park industry before setting up the company and both shared the vision of wanting to own a portfolio of individual holiday parks across the country. Andrew has worked in the leisure industry for 16 years, within both independent and plc companies including Talarius PLC, the UK’s largest High Street slot machine operator, and UK holiday parkoperators, Park Resorts. He shaped Sandy Balls Holiday Centre into the UK’s benchmark independent park and developed Park Resort’s lodge strategy. Equally at home on the park or in the boardroom, he expertly bridges the gap between the two. With 20 years’ experience of holiday parks, including at Bourne Leisure’s and Park Resorts’ leading locations, Simon has extensive industry knowledge. He heads the operations of our parks, both owned and managed.
Their first office was based in the spare bedroom of Andrew’s house where they spent two years building the business and looking for an opportunity to work with financial backers to help them purchase their first park. In 2010, with the backing of Kings Park Capital, the pair expanded into the operation of owned parks with the acquisitions of Trevella Park in Cornwall and Sand Le Mere Holiday Village on the Yorkshirecoast, followed by Turnberry, in Ayrshire, at the end of 2012. The recent acquisition of Yorkshire’s Bowland Fell takes Bridge Leisure’s estate to nine parks as it continues to consolidate the fragmented UK holiday park market. The Milton Keynes based company has now trebled the number of parks it owns since completing a management buyout supported by Phoenix Equity Partners (“Phoenix”) in 2015. Bowland Fell is a beautiful park set in an expanse of countryside between the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Andrew comments: “We are excited about the prospects for the park under Bridge Leisure’s ownership and plan to invest to further improve and grow the park in the coming years. “The park is run by a great team with lots of experience and enthusiasm, so we are really looking forward to joining forces and working together to take the park from strength to strength.” Bridge Leisure already own parks in Cornwall, Scotland, The Peak District and a second Yorkshire based park in Tunstall while in addition provides operational consultancy services to other park operators. Other key team players include Richard Hunt, chairman of the restructured Bridge Leisure Management, who boasts 20 years of board and executive level experience in senior general management roles in the leisure sector, with both private equity-backed businesses. Operations Manager, Alison Watson, has worked in the holiday park industry for more than 25 years, starting in 1989 as a children’s entertainer at Rockley Park in Dorset and then working across the country in roles covering retail, caravan sales and general management, running holiday parks in North Wales, Yorkshire and Scotland. As operations manager, Alison works closely with holiday park owners so that Bridge Leisure can help grow their business fi nancially and ensure a superb experience for their holiday home owners and holidaymakers. Andrew concludes: “It’s been a very successful few years for the company with a sustained period of growth and investment. “When we undertook the management buyout in 2015 we owned three parks but had a clear and ambitious plan to grow the group through acquisition and organic growth. “A little under four years later, with the backing of Phoenix, we have been able to add a further six parks and substantially grow both our existing and acquired parks.
Tel. 01908 067900
Hot Tub Breakthrough Products Triumph
National hot tub supplier Park Leisure Solutions has won the UK Pool & Spa Awards 2018 for Spa Product of the Year and Energy Efficient Product of the Year for its ground-breaking Climacube heat system. The arrival of the UK designed Climacube is set to revolutionise the commercial hot tub and spa industry, say creators, Park Leisure Solutions. In test results against current conventional heating systems the Climacube saved on average just under 60 per cent less time to heat up a Hot Tub and a massive 85.7 per cent reduction in energy cost, which is great news for both customers and the environment. With major UK Park Operators already using or ordering the energy effi cient design, saving them energy, time and money. Backed by a worldwide patent the Climacube works off a standard 13 amp power supply and can either be supplied from new or retro fitted to any contemporary hot tub or spa.Park Leisure Solutions, Managing Director, Stuart Mulcahy commented: “Our design offers the very latest energy saving heat technology, dramatically reducing running costs, reducing the carbon footprint and enables customers to use their hot tubs and spas all year round, at the desired temperature without the concern of cost.”
Co-winners of the Spa Product Of The Year Gold Award at the recent UK Pool & Spa Awards in Birmingham marked the latest milestone in the rise of Darlly Europe’s unique and ground-breaking SaniStreamTM Direct Line Filtration system. The SaniStreamTM Direct Line Filtration system, it is a high quality Darlly hot tub filter, combined with an adjustable and refi llable chlorine or bromine tablet erosion feeder, called SpaPodTM to make a highly effective combined, integrated hot tub water treatment system. The SaniStreamTM system offers a solution to the problem posed to holiday let owners and operators by Section 76 of health and safety guidelines, HSG282, which states that hot tubs installed in a setting where used ‘... as part of a business activity (eg in a holiday park rental unit or hotel bedroom(s) with their own dedicated spa, or as part of a rental agreement for a single family or group use)’ must be ‘disinfected using bromine or chlorine through the use of an inline disinfectant feeder’. The big issue with Sec. 76 of HSG282 is that few hot tubs sold on the UK market feature inline disinfectant feeders. Worse still, HSG282 made no legacy-exemption provision, meaning many thousands of hot tubs already in the fi eld became non-compliant overnight. Following much investment by Darlly Europe in R&D and fi eld-testing over the last eighteen months, the launch of the SaniStreamTM system at the Spatex 2019 expo heralds the solution to this issue. Heather Gilmore of Paith Holiday Cottages owns three holiday lets with hot tubs near Aberystwyth and sources the SaniStreamTM system from local supplier, Welsh Hot Tubs. Heather says: “The SaniStream gives me great peace of mind knowing my customers are in safe hygienic water conditions, and inspection and maintenance for us is easy and painless.”
Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 691166
Young Picking Up Park Habit
On-trend experiences, such as glamping and motorhomes, are wooing more younger first-time visitors than ever before onto parks, according to the Best of British consortium. The 2018 rise in ‘park novices’ was among the subjects discussed when BoB members met in November for their annual conference in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Comprising over 50 independent family-run parks, the group also welcomed six new members, and heard of plans to step up its successful digital marketing campaign. BoB’s online activity, reported chairman Richard Legg, had this year generated a raft of bookings and enquiries from holiday guests seeking top-end park experiences: “This is an important emerging market of younger guests who are likely to underpin our future by providing tomorrow’s customer base of visitors and holiday home buyers. “There’s every reason to believe that the growth of new park customers will remain on an upward trajectory as long as we continue to meet their quality expectations,” said Richard
£7.5m Winter Investment
The Camping and Caravanning Club will invest £7.5 million into its network of 106 UK Club Sites in the coming months, with large-scale capital works taking place at seven sites, including Wyeside near Rhyader in the Cambrian mountains of mid-Wales and West Runton on the north Norfolk coast. Money has been spent as part of the Club Sites investment programme which improves facilities for the future enjoyment of campers; both members of the Club and non-members. Proceeds raised by the Club through camping on Club Sites over the course of the year are invested into the site network annually as part of the programme. Bob Hill, Sites Director, said: “The site investment programme has been running in its current form since 2010 and in the last five years alone we’ve increased the number of hard-standings on our Club Sites by 7%, helping more members to enjoy camping year round – plenty to keep us busy.”
Holiday Park Pool Of The Year Title For Plas Coch
Plas Coch Coastal & Country Retreat has scooped the title of Holiday Park Pool Of The Year in this year’s UK Pool & Spa Awards. The Leisure Complex, part of an outstanding holiday resort in Anglesey, has recently undergone some remodelling, in order to offer more privacy for guests and to improve the exterior pool area. This year has seen the addition of an even wider variety of water based activities to our calendar, such as kayaking, underwater explores and birthday pool parties Exclusive to Plas Coch members, Plas Coch’s luxury hydrotherapy pools are designed to provide state of the art hydrotherapy treatments. Being immersed, buoyant or massaged in water relieves the body in a variety of different ways, ensuring guests feel fully relaxed. The pools use varying temperatures and speeds of water, allowing a different pampering experience as guests travel through the pool. The facility is overseen by Leisure Complex Manager, Luke Mitchell, Assistant Complex Manager, Cole Whittle and Complex Supervisor, Chris McNaught with Estelle Loynd as Activity Coordinator.
Luke says: “Each year, we invest in the development of the team in various ways. We ensure that our team members are Pool Plant Operator qualified, in order to guarantee that all technical aspects involved in the running of the pool are taken care of.” Luke adds: “We invest heavily in training our team members in activity instruction, with industry leading providers In2Action - who deliver a number of exciting and exhilarating activities such as; Archery, Underwater Explorers, Body Zorbs and much more.” The judges, that included category sponsors, BioChemica Leisure, commented: “The quality on display at Plas Coch was astonishing; words and pictures did not do it justice. “The pool was quite clearly well-kept and had a really clean nonchlorine smell. The hydro pool was a great extra and the treatment rooms were out of this world. We were all left purring over the features of this amazing pool.”
Rich Harvest For Farm Diversification
Outdoor holiday accommodation specialist Pitchup.com has reported the strongest year to date for farm bookings on its website. The business, which represents more than 300 farms across the UK, has reported that 53,000 bookings on farm sites were taken in the last year, a whopping 32% annual increase. One site on Pitchup books took £90,000 in accommodation bookings in the last 12 months. Given that average Farm Business Income (FBI) is just £33,000, this is a real opportunity for farmers to invigorate their business and reap the rewards diversification brings. “Parts of the farming industry have struggled in recent years and large numbers have now embraced diversification to sustain their agricultural businesses,” said Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com. “Many farmers’ main asset is their vast swathes of land, much of which can lie unused. We want to encourage farmers to use the space for creating camp and glamping sites. It’s relatively inexpensive to set up a basic site - planning permission and licences are not always required - and the returns are immediate. “With our help these last few statistics can change. Farming is vital to the economy of Britain and to supplement core income from agriculture, we are actively encouraging more farmers to consider diversification. “The British domestic camping and caravan market is worth £2.2bn per annum and we’re encouraging farms to get on board and enjoy a slice of this income. Farmers already own the land in most cases – why not put unfarmed parts of it to use?
Brexit Boom For UK Holiday Sector
The UK holiday sector looks set to be in line for a Staycation boom as families steer away from overseas holidays, part of the Brexit effect. Fears over the stability of the pound, medical cover in Europe and travel concerns have led to a fall in bookings. And, it was revealed by The Sunday Times recently, that families will be advised not to book holidays after next March, according to contingency plans being drawn up to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The proposed guidance, which will shock the travel industry, was expected to be discussed at our cabinet level, after civil servants were told to ramp up emergency planning. According to a leaked report, steps are being considered to protect holidaymakers who have yet to book trips, amid fears a no-deal Brexit will see fl ights grounded and spark chaos at airports and ports. The European Regions Airline Association, which represents 50 airlines, wrote to the European Commission warning a no-deal Brexit could have ‘disastrous consequences’, affecting routes, aviation safety and border security. The Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary, said in September that a hard Brexit could lead to fl ights being grounded and that its likelihood was underestimated. Its rival, easyJet, has registered more than 100 aircraft to a newly created airline based in Vienna and switched pilot licences to German and Austrian permits, according to the Times. Meanwhile, the hottest new trends, from menopause, divorce, and grief retreats to ‘mumcations’, are forecast to make wellness one of the most infl uential holiday trends in 2019. With mental health being such a hot topic, fi nding ways to combat issues such as anxiety, stress and depression has become more important than ever before. According to specialists, Health and Fitness Travel, the global wellness industry is now worth $4.2 trillion with wellness tourism experiencing a 6.5% annual growth; more than double the growth rate for overall tourism.
Making It Count
Never under estimate the value of first impressions, advises Ashleigh Bissett…
You’ve heard it said that you never get a second chance to make a good, first impression. Not only are first impressions registered with lightning speed, but they also last a surprisingly long time. 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 2019 season. Quick fixes could be something as simple as adding more benches or sprucing up your garden displays.
If outdoor spaces are well maintained, they will encourage user-participation by inspiring visitors to be outdoors in the grounds, making full use of the facilities. “We believe it’s important to keep outdoor spaces well maintained as this is one of the first impressions visitors will experience at your park,” comments Stephen Toone, Managing Director of Fordingbridge – a leading manufacturer of canopies, walkways and inspiring buildings. “Your clientele are more likely t o return to your site and recommend to their friends and family if the external appearance is tidy and up together.” He adds: “With more competition than ever before within the holiday park and leisure sector, attracting customers with new and engaging ideas are vital to achieve this.”
Experts in creating communal spaces, Fordingbridge has supplied the holiday and leisure sector for many years. Their range of canopies and walkways provide rain and sunshine protection, to ensure that outdoor areas can be used all year round. “Downpours are not a problem with our canopies and walkways,” explains Stephen. “This will provide you with a competitive advantage and provoke word of mouth about how versatile your park is in all weathers. “Likewise, our statement buildings can be designed and built to any purpose. For instance, if you are planning an on-site café or perhaps a crèche for children, one of our buildings will fulfil that criteria.
With offsite construction methods, it shortens the lead time over traditional bricks and mortar.” Hoburne Holidays operates seven holiday parks in the South East, the outdoor areas of which are maintained by in-house teams of maintenance and leisure staff. Hoburne’s parks with activity areas were re-designed in time for the 2018 season and the company regularly monitors customer feedback to ensure its parks meet customer expectations. “A Hoburne holiday is about doing what you want at your own pace and we want to provide outdoor spaces where there is plenty to keep everyone busy and bring families together in one area to have fun,” explains Jake Harrison, Group Operations Manager for Hoburne Holidays.
“Therefore it’s essential to keep these areas well maintained so customers want to use them and feel safe whilst on holiday. We also ensure all our planting and green spaces are well maintained at all times to ensure a lasting impression.” The company maximises the outdoor space available at each park to its full potential by putting all the activities in one area and having a mixture of activities for all ages. The younger children can be entertained in the play areas whilst not far away the teenagers can be using the adventure golf or the multiuse games areas for football or basketball. The spokesperson explains that the biggest challenges faced with the parks’ outdoor spaces is the unpredictable weather, staffing, and making them low maintenance but suitable for high usage. “Our objective has been to make sure there is plenty to keep everyone busy but in one area meaning something for the whole family. We wanted our outside spaces to provide a fun and healthy environment for our guests,” says Jake. “My advice is to offer food and drink amenities where possible and make sure you have plenty of seating available.”
In contrast to some of the larger holiday operators, Park Owner Victoria Bowrey runs Back of Beyond Touring Park in Dorset and does all of the grounds maintenance herself to keep costs at a minimum. “To employ landscapers is costly, so I am learning as I go along and have taken advice from professional landscapers and garden centre staff along the way who have made suggestions as to what to plant,” says Victoria. “Well-kept outdoor areas are essential as it reflects the overall image of the park. If the flowerbeds and grounds are not maintained to a high standard then that immediately suggests that the park is not cared for or well managed.” Open to adults only,
Back of Beyond Touring Park is set in rural Dorset and boasts 80 pitches with electric hook-ups, 40 camping pitches and a glamping village, as well as an amenities block, reception and shop. Victoria takes pride in the park’s outdoor areas and keeping them well looked after is a high priority all year round. She comments: “As we are 30 acres we can't possible compete with beautiful natural foliage, however, we make the most of the busy areas of the park, such as the reception and shower blocks by planting carefully selected flowers, bushes and trees.
“We have learned to choose plants that blend into the environment and that come back every year. We are also particularly conscious of helping the bees at our park. We plant very few bedding out plants in favour of lavenders, alliums, verbena, ornamental grasses and easy care plants such as sedums. My advice is to go for plants that make a statement and also not to be scared to try out new things - even if they don't work!” Victoria says that time is the biggest challenge she faces in maintaining the park’s outdoor spaces: “Having enough time to keep the park’s outside areas ship-shape can be difficult, which is why we tend to choose easy-care plants that come back each year. At the moment we are still new so we are building up on what we have but we do try and add new plants to the landscaped areas every year.”
BACK OF BEYOND TOURING PARK
Tel: 01202 876968
Tel: 01243 554455
Tel: 01789 400 044
Tel: 01425 689293
NBB Recycled Furniture
Tel: 0800 1777 052
THE UK RAMP CO.
Tel: 01923 678432
Real People In The Frame
Pride of place in a new £1.5 million investment at Plassey Holiday Park in Wrexham has gone to a ‘glampers paradise’ of super-luxury guest accommodation. But when the 250-acre park organised a photo-shoot of its development this autumn, there were no professional models to be seen delighting in the hot tub lodges. Instead, the two families pictured had been selected from among the scores of customers who responded to Plassey’s website appeal to become its shooting stars.
The idea, said park director John Brookshaw, was to put ‘real people’ in the frame – and to capture their genuine reactions to the pampering experience on offer. The families are shown exploring the glamping lodges and their long list of top-end features including a glass balcony and a bubbling hot-tub from which to enjoy distant views. “We’re delighted that so many people applied to become the models for our photoshoot, and our two families did a fantastic job in showcasing them with real enthusiasm!” said John.
Sky No Limit For Hoseasons Team
Team members at Hoseasons in Lowestoft have braved a skydive, taken on the Tour de Broads cycling event and tackled a Tough Mudder, with more plans to climb Snowdon and hold their own Golf Day later this month in their efforts to reach their £10,000 fundraising target. The product team at Hoseasons are taking on this series of fundraising challenges to raise money for the Family Holiday Association, the only national charity providing seaside breaks and day trips for families struggling with issues such as severe and long-term illness, mental health issues, bereavement, domestic violence and disability.
Angie Watson, Head of Fundraising and Comms at the Family Holiday Association, said: “We are thrilled that Hoseasons have set themselves such a fantastic target, and the energy and ambition of the staff involved has proven to be simply wonderful! The support has been fantastic and the money raised will help many, many more families for whom a holiday is a lifeline – giving them relief from daily struggles, a chance to smile together and create precious memories to last them a lifetime. What a gift to give!” Scott Drew, Head of Product at Hoseasons, said: “We’re delighted to work with the Family Holiday Association and support such a worthwhile charity. Taking a break can make a real difference when it comes to family wellbeing and there’s no better place than the seaside to put a smile on people’s faces.”
Christmas Switch On
Shrewsbury’s glowing reputation for its Christmas lights display has rubbed off on a popular caravan park in the town. Every year, Oxon Hall Touring Park and Oxon Pool Holiday Home Park have an official switch-on of their own impressive Christmas lights a few days after the town’s lights ceremony. The 2018 switch-on will be celebrated with a hog roast on November 17, which is free for holiday home owners on the park and people staying on the touring park. In return, the managers will ask for a donation to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the charity chosen by parks owner Morris Leisure and sister company Morris Lubricants in 2018. Last year, the parks raised £2,865 for The Alzheimer’s Society.
New Year Destination
For those thinking of adding a swimming pool or hot tub, the UK’s only dedicated wet leisure exhibition, SPATEX 2019, is a must-attend. SPATEX is a shop window on all that is new and happening in hot tubs, swimming pools, spas, saunas, enclosures, steam rooms, all under one roof, at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, from Tuesday to Thursday, January 29th to 31st. The exhibition offers a unique platform for free professional training and education and repeating last year’s success of a double parallel programme, seminars will run on all three days of the show.
Tel. 01264 358558
Senior executives from the Caravan and Motorhome Club took a behind-the- scenes look this autumn at a major Lake District holiday park which is meeting new staycation opportunities. Skelwith Fold in Ambleside was the venue for the visit following a study tour earlier in summer to the Club’s Coniston Park Coppice by members of BH&HPA’s Cumbria branch.The delegation was headed by the Club’s director general Nick Lomas, and the aim was to see how one of the organisation’s commercial counterparts was adapting to an evolving market. Skelwith Fold director Henry Wild, who led the tour of the 130-acre grounds, said there was ample evidence this year that the demand for holidays in the UK was continuing to rise. The trend, he believes, is helping to introduce more families to the notion of a British park holiday, especially via “glamping” with its appeal to a very broad spectrum of visitors.
Tel: 01539 432277
Smallest Rooms Present Biggest Challenges
The smallest rooms in the building can lead to the biggest frustrations, but the Cubicle Centre team is working hard to make your life as easy as possible. Porthdinllaen Caravan Park is located on the beautiful coast of North Wales. The site is next to spectacular Nefyn Championship golf club and the famous Ty Coch Inn. The Ty Coch Inn was recently voted in the ‘World’s Top Ten Beach Bars’ by a recent survey. In 2016, Porthdinllaen secured planning to almost double the size of the park from 36 touring units to 60. The expansion also included a brand new amenities block which includes, showers, washrooms, a canteen area and a shop. The Cubicle Centre provided the shower and toilet cubicles, wall panels and the vanity units. All of these were constructed in Compact Grade Laminate (CGL) which is water resistant, vandal-proof and extremely durable. It is important that the panels are a higher quality for shower blocks, so they can withstand the high volume usage and constant cleaning. “The new cubicles and vanity units look fantastic. Our visitors love the quality of the washroom block,” said Siôn and Sian Williams, the Park owners. With a wide choice of ranges, contact the Cubicle Centre to discuss your washroom challenges.
Tel. 01924 457600
Fit For Purpose
Look before you leap on holiday let hot tubs…
Educated estimates put the number of hot tubs in a holiday let setting, throughout the UK and Eire, at between 3,500 and 5,000 installations. Good news for some, with seven out of ten bookers looking for a hot tub with their holiday let while accommodation promoted as being supplied with a hot tub will generally sustain increased rates of around 30%.
The bad news is that any of those hot tubs, installed pre 2018, are probably out of date and do not comply with current regulations of HSG282. Not a problem, some would say, fiercely clutching their risk assessment paperwork. Not a problem, that is, until there is a high profile incident which will send the prospects for hot tubs and their non-conforming holiday park operator, down a rather large drain. “If you speak to any online booking agent they will usually place a hot tub in the top three options search or ticked; people really do want one,” says Dan Johnson of Marquis Spas, that markets a fully-compliant range of hot tubs for the holiday let market. “While some dealers have been specifying or retro-fitting continuous feeders to outdated models, the bather capacity and water turn over rates, will still make many hot tubs fall foul of HSG282,” explains Dan. “I think the big operators are paying attention as they understand the power of the HSE and thus the importance of following guidelines – it is built into their management infrastructure,” adds Dan.
“My worry is people are getting poor advice from companies who are unaware or choose to ignore the guidelines because their product does not comply,” agrees Gareth Jones, of UK Leisure Living, the reigning UK Hot Tub Retailer Of The Year. “I would emphasise that 95% of our customers take the advice we give but there is a small percentage who disregard them dismissing them as just guidelines. “Some companies change their hot tub stock every two years however, we believe, between five and ten years is achievable, if they are properly looked after and investment has been in a quality product from the start,” Gareth emphasises.
Jessica Anthony of Award Leisure, UK distributors of Coast Spas, agrees. She warns of false economies: “If you think its expensive buying a better spa, wait until you find out how much it costs in the longer term, to buy a cheap equivalent.” Jessica also believes passionately that knowledge is power and that properly trained staff are essential. “Consistent attention to water quality that is clean and well-balanced is important,” she says. “Over-chlorinated water, which is a solution to inefficient system, effects the user’s skin, respiratory system and even their bathing costumes. “Over chlorination also has a detrimental effect on the plastics of the spa and erodes the filters,” warns Jessica. “It causes skin issues, upset stomachs, eye and ear infections, sickness and serious illness.”
The award-winning Rotospa currently have units fitted in excess of 110 holiday parks throughout the UK and Eire. “There are several important criteria when considering which spa would be best for you,” emphasises Rotospa’s Jason Smith. “If your spa isn’t fully HSG282 complaint, or you aren’t sure how to make it compliant, you really need to discuss this with the supplier as it is key when providing spas in a holiday setting.” Buoyed by 15 years’ experience supplying to the holiday park sector, Rotospa have now developed a fully compliant HSG282, holiday park specific spa.
“As a manufacturer we have a responsibility to ensure people have a product fit for purpose and that our customers are trained in product use and ensuring safety of their customers,” Jason says. “In the early days, it seemed that people paid little attention to the compliancy and people were selling domestic spas for a commercial setting with little or no guidance,” he adds. “Since the introduction of HSG282, businesses now need to be more aware of their responsibilities and as a company this is something we shout about, as it is a major considerate when purchasing a holiday spa.” Jason believes it is imperative that site owners are informed of the benefts and opportunities that offering a hot tub as a part of their accommodation, can bring. He says: “Not only can they drive out-of-season bookings, but increasing occupancy levels by at least 25% and increasing revenue is essential.”
Dan Johnson of Marquis Spas agrees and warns: “I am aware that cases of infection are ongoing now, but are being settled out of court with NDA’s – I can only hope those who fall foul of poor operational controls learn from their mistakes. “I am seeing truly ancient hot tubs in situ, which is understandable as operators try to wring every last penny out of them and recoup their ROI, albeit as a false economy not only in running costs but also client experience,” says Dan.
“The real worry is someone will lose their life, that’d be tragic and pointless,” warns Dan and adds: “The damage would impact the whole sector as the HSE will come down on everyone hard and the Press will be extremely negative on hot tubs as a whole.”
AWARD LEISURE (COAST SPAS)
Tel. 07387 140283
Tel. 07722 187272
Tel. 0121 354 3428
UK LEISURE LIVING
Tel. 08450 343550
Verdant Leisure is on the acquisition trail…
Verdant Leisure’s strapline - Relax, Enjoy, Experience – is key to understanding the company’s focus and why its parks are located where they are. Destination and service are the key pillars of its business strategy to deliver the best possible customer experience. A bespoke holiday park operator, Verdant Leisure offer self-catering holidays and holiday home ownership at eight holiday parks across stunning countryside and coastal locations in Scotland and the north of England. The company was founded in September 2010 following a management buy-in of Dunham Leisure Limited, owners of Pease Bay and Thurston Manor leisure parks in South East Scotland. Verdant went on to purchase Viewfield Manor Leisure Park in Ayrshire in July 2011 and Riverside Leisure Park in Northumberland in 2012. Kingfisher and Heather View holiday parks in Wear Valley and Coldingham Bay and Scoutscroft in Berwickshire were then acquired as part of an ongoing buy-and-build strategy.
When holidaymakers visit any of Verdant Leisure’s holiday parks across Scotland, Northumberland, and County Durham they can expect fantastic on-site facilities, outstanding customer service, excellent holiday accommodation and a superb range of holiday homes for sale.
Verdant’s holiday parks provide the perfect environment for families to spend precious time together, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Scoutscroft Leisure Park is located a couple of minutes’ walk ideally located from the breathtaking Coldingham Bay beach. Just under an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and close to the Scottish Borders, the park is ideally located for holidays and weekend retreats for all, with an abundance of attractions. Situated on the Berwickshire Coast, just an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, we then find Coldingham Bay Leisure Park. With 22 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, the park offers the peaceful tranquillity of a countryside setting. With the beach and a host of activities and attractions just a stone’s throw away, it is a wonderful holiday retreat.
Nearby, Pease Bay offers an idyllic beachfront location, the perfect place to enjoy time with family and friends. For those seeking a little more adventure, there are great water sport opportunities and a wealth of attractions available in this spectacular corner of Scotland.
Still in Scotland, Thurston Manor is nestled at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills near the stunning East Lothian coastline, amid 176 acres of breathtaking countryside. This beautiful holiday park is under an hour’s drive from Edinburgh so visiting the capital is easily done. Set in the heart of the beautiful Ayrshire countryside, Viewfield Manor provides an ideal base from which to explore the historic attractions, thriving market and seaside towns and world famous sporting locations that Ayrshire has to offer. Viewfield Manor is situated only 20 minutes from Ayr, and with attractions such as Culzean Castle, Kelburn Park, and Irvine, Troon and Ayr beaches all within a 30 minute journey.
Move down to the heart of the stunning Northumberland countryside, Riverside Leisure Park, sits on the edge of the Wooler Water. For those looking for a base to explore all that Northumberland has to offer, or those simply wanting to relax and unwind in a tranquil hideaway, Riverside combines superb facilities with a wonderful woodland setting and an abundance of wildlife to create a truly unique holiday location. Meanwhile, Heather View is the perfect base from which to explore everything that County Durham has to offer. Within a few miles you can be exploring the outstanding Durham Dales or the beautiful Hamsterley Forest with its endless walking, cycling and horse riding routes.
The local area is steeped in history with an abundance of castles and museums to discover. There are so many picture-perfect villages in the region, full of quaint shops and tearooms. Kingfisher Leisure Park is an exclusive holiday home ownership location. Ideally located on the banks of the River Wear, Kingfisher is the perfect base to explore the breath-taking scenery, historic attractions and miles of walking and cycling routes that County Durham has to offer. Onpark facilities include a children’s play area and exclusive fishing rights on a section of the River Wear, making Kingfisher the perfect location for fun-filled family holidays.
Verdant Leisure offers a wide range of holiday options to suit all budgets, whether guests want to buy or rent a holiday home or caravan. The company has invested over £6 million in its portfolio in the last two years and customer service is very much at the heart of the Verdant Leisure ethos. All Verdant Leisure’s holiday park locations have Tripadvisor ratings of 4 out of 5 and Heather View and Coldingham Bay have Facebook review scores of 5 out of 5 and 4.3 out of 5, respectively.
Recently Verdant Leisure has, this year, been awarded membership into the Green Tourism scheme; the world-leading sustainable certification for the tourism sector. Membership gives Verdant Leisure access to specialist advice and support for its business and recommendations for future improvements. All Verdant’s parks have recently been awarded the Bronze Green Tourism Award and company is looking to improve on this over the next 12 months.
This year Verdant Leisure is supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust following its success last year in raising money for When You Wish Upon a Star. Verdant Leisure aims to raise £30,000 for the charity by hosting fundraising activities at its head office and charity open days throughout the year at all eight of its parks. The company has also been shortlisted for a total of seven awards in the last 18 months – including both the Lloyd’s Bank Business Awards and the Amazon Growing Business Awards this year. Verdant has also been shortlisted for several customer service awards, in recognition of the hard work put in by the whole team to deliver exceptional customer service at all its park locations. Last month Verdant Leisure celebrated its eighth anniversary and the company is due to announce its ninth holiday park acquisition in the coming weeks. It looks like 2019 will be another pivotal year for the bespoke holiday park operator.
Tel: 03300 535524
The Extra Factor
Under new ownership at Scottish resort…
Summer has seen the launch of a substantial investment project at Callander Woods Holiday Park, following its acquisition earlier this year by Wood Leisure. Located in the popular tourist town of Callander, the Scottish holiday park is at the Eastern gateway to the Trossachs National Park and the dramatic Loch Lomond. It is also on the Rob Roy Way and the Birds of Prey Trail and is close to the famous Bracklinn Falls and the stunning Loch Katrine – meaning holiday makers can enjoy a great range of activities in the area. Within the upgrade plan, the majority of older static caravans have been upgraded to meet the high standards set within the holiday park group. In addition, brand new 2018 caravan holiday homes were introduced to the park. Boasting an airy open plan living and dining area, spacious double bedrooms, modern kitchen and ample storage space, these modern homes are providing luxurious holiday experience to families from the UK and beyond. To meet the ever-rising demand in glamping and camping in Scotland, brand new camping pods have been installed on the park sleeping up to four and up to six people. These pods are fully insulated and come complete with a small fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle. They are well suited to couples and families looking for a little break in nature away from hustle and bustle of busy cities.
The park is set to benefit from further investment as Group’s Operation Manager Bruce Thomson explained: “We are excited to be upgrading facilities at the park. We will create 10 new fully serviced pitches with new state-of-the-art touring bollards as well as increasing the number of hard standing pitches available for use throughout the Winter months. “We would like to welcome families from Scotland and beyond to come and make this park their second home,” adds Bruce. Guests seem to have appreciated the makeover. This is what Steven said in his review on TripAdvisor having stayed at the park in July: “Having only stayed at Lomond woods holiday park before we were sceptical about trying somewhere new. But were we delighted with our stay in Callander. “We were greeted by Cameron, really friendly and he explained all about the park and the area. Our caravan was brand new and it was perfect, stocked with everything you could need. “The park is large and the caravans are sited in a lovely spot at the back of the site, really quiet and peacefully, perfect for a relaxing stay. We travelled into Sterling on the bus which stops just outside the park, also travelled to the safari park which is just a short drive from the park. A wonderful site that we will visit again, good luck and best wishes to the Wood family on their new site.”
Some of touring guests have chosen to put down roots at the park. This is what a lady called Lynn said in her review on TripAdvisor after she stayed at the park in July: “We came here for two weeks in a tourer and loved it so much that we bought a static from the new owners. The site is extremely clean and well ran. The shower block is lovely and lots of showers so u don’t have to queue. The play is wonderful for the kids - they had a ball. I would very highly recommend this caravan park, you will come back again and again. Within the proposed plan for 2019, in line with other Wood Leisure holiday parks, the family are enthusiastic to extend the opening at Callander Woods to give holiday guests greater flexibility. They will be adding ten extra weeks to the holiday year and remain open until the end of December, instead of closing for the season in mid-October. Wood Leisure is a family-owned holiday park group that has been welcoming visitors from the UK and beyond since 1981. Committed to maintaining and upgrading their holiday parks to meet customer expectations, Wood Leisure’s efforts have been recognised with a number of awards including ‘Family Business of the Year’ at the Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards, Best Caravan Park Group and Best Glamping to name just a few.
Callander Woods Holiday Park
Tel. 01250 878123
AT A GLANCE
Location: Stirling Rd, Callander FK17 8LE
Season: March - December
Accommodation: Caravan rental, glamping, touring and camping pitches, residential park homes, lodges.
Amenities: Bar and bistro, small shop, children's outdoor play area, salmon and trout fishing, dog walking area, cot hire and high chair hire, laundry facilities, putting green, heated pool from March to October. Attractions: Nearby historic castles, swimming pools, Red Kite nature reserve, golf, fishing, Adventure Planet, children’s activities.
Greens Park homes are snapped up on recommendation…
With a career spanning some 35 years, Bill Green has seen a lot of changes in the residential parks industry but like all successful park owners he knows that customer satisfaction is key. Bill explains: “I always say to prospective purchasers, ‘Don’t ask me, my job is to sell homes. Go and have a walk around the park and chat with the residents to find out how they feel about living here.’ The people who live on your park are the best advertisement for your business.” As a young man, Bill spent many years working in Canada before returning to the UK and investing in rental parks. Today, Greens Park Homes owns two residential park home estates: the Wolds Retreat in Lincolnshire, and Pine Hill in Cambridgeshire. An exclusive, luxury estate for the over 50s, Green’s flagship park, Wolds Retreat, is set in 40 acres of beautifully-landscaped grounds in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Tranquil and scenic, the surrounding countryside is full of outstanding natural beauty and wildlife, and is popular with walkers, cyclists and bird watchers. The Roman town of Caistor is situated just a couple of miles away and provides many visitor attractions, shops, restaurants, fishing, and a choice of golf courses. Bill originally bought the site as a holiday lodge park 15 years ago but decided to apply for planning permission for a change of use to residential after repeated requests from customers wanting permanent homes. “It took over a year to get the planning permission in place,” explains Bill. “Our original application was refused and following a visit by the Secretary of State, and a number of agreed conditions, we were granted the licence.”
Two years of re-development later and the Wolds is now a shining example of a park planned with the customer very much in mind. At the centre of the park, a three-acre carp fishing lake is a popular attraction and there is a minibus service to Caistor (one of the conditions of the planning permission) for residents. “We have a large site here but have deliberately chosen not to cram in as many homes as possible,” says Bill. “We have permission for 60 homes but the land could easily take 100 or more. We wanted to retain a feeling of space and privacy. On a lot of parks the homes are laid out in rows, which feels like an army camp! Our plots are twice the size of those at most other parks and dotted around the parkland in a freeform and natural way.” Out of the 60 homes, 25 are already inhabited, and the remaining 35 pitches are available for sale, including five show homes.
“We are very lucky to have a steady stream of enquiries,” says Bill, “but the attractiveness of the park really sells itself. Each home has a block-paved driveway for two cars and many have sheds, decking and even garages. Visitors to the park are always surprised at the size of the properties saying they are larger and better equipped than their traditional brick-built bungalows. All homes on site are also set up for mains utilities, which puts the control back into the resident’s hands and helps keep their expenditure low. This way is more economical for the home owner and the park owner too.” Having pre-booked slots with the major manufacturers is a key selling point, which expedites the process for buyer and seller. “There can be as much as a year long wait on many parks,” explains Bill, “but we have moved a cash buyer in as little as six weeks from home order before now. On average, from point of deposit to moving in date is two to three months for most of our residents.” Greens’ second park is Pine Hill, situated in a pretty location in open countryside between St Ives and Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.
This site has been in the Green family for 50 years, originally being used for temporary accommodation for Council tenants. 15 years ago, Bill and his four sons, who all work in the family business, set upon a complete renovation of the park including new roadways, the provision of mains utilities, and major landscaping. Pine Hill now boasts 48 residential park homes; all are occupied and are quickly snapped up on the rare occasion that one is up for sale. Greens Park Homes is currently in negotiations to purchase a third park in the East Anglian area and Bill says that they are always looking for interesting opportunities to either invest in existing parks, or land that is ripe for housing development. Like most Park Operators, Bill expresses some frustration with the limitations of the current planning framework and legislation. “The parks industry is steadily being cleaned up and rogue operators are thankfully few and far between nowadays,” says Bill, “but the negative profile of parks in the public eye still needs some work.” “Sadly, it’s a lot easier to get permission to develop holiday parks with many unwitting customers buying ‘holiday homes’, mistakenly thinking that they can live in them all year round. Making it more difficult to open residential parks, means not only a shortage of homes for the 50+, but prevents the mainstream housing market freeing up larger ‘brick and mortar homes’ for families and younger people. Things are moving forwards, slowly, but there is still a long way to go,” adds Bill.