Peas In A Pod
One in four holidaymakers are now choosing to stay in the UK rather than travel abroad. So, having compromised on flights, when it comes to booking closer to home, the calibre of accommodation is undoubtedly the decision maker or the deal breaker for potential holiday park guests.
From lodges to hobbit holes and from safari tents to yurts, holiday parks offer multiple levels of accommodation, with both varied quality and pricing. Of these, it is the fast-moving pod sector that currently stands out from the crowd.
The explosion of interest in pods is one of the key factors behind the rejuvenation of British camping with increasing numbers of young people and families opting to experience ‘the great outdoors’ while still appreciating the comforts of home. Since its first appearance in 2008 the pod has become a well-established and much enjoyed alternative to the tent and the caravan holiday home and is now a widely available feature on many sites throughout the UK and Ireland as well as most of the countries in Europe.
Although selling the idea of the new concept pods to holiday park operators was a challenge ten years ago, owners are now seeing the perks and can create an interesting setting with the added benefit of using ground that may be unsuitable for camping or tourers. “Pods can and will provide a good stream of income as they are set up nicely to offer an exclusive visitor experience,” says Ian Bone, Director of the Original Pod Company. Creators of the trademarked Pod range, Newfoundland Lodges are the originators of the pod concept.
Ian says the growth in the industry is a cause for innovation. “Our recent wet summers have tempered the ‘canvas holiday’ to some degree which has certainly been to our advantage, plus the pods are an all year round option and will see occupancy outside of the traditional camping season,” comments Ian. The Cowshed - a ‘boutique bunkhouse’ hostel in Uig on the Isle of Skye - highlights where the Pod is well placed, and how to make the most of this sector of the industry.
The Cowshed site was initially transformed by the new owners and quickly became a highly popular stopping off point for visitors to Skye and the Western Isles. To increase capacity and add interest an area of ground was developed at the back of the hostel which offered excellent views down to the harbour and the island seascapes beyond.
Says Ian: “The north-west coast of Scotland is a tough place when it comes to weather so it was decided to use Thermowood as external cladding on all seven of the MegaPod-S units as well as using double skinned outer walls.” The hostel is open all year and comfort levels need to be maintained.
“Overall, I think the diversity on offer is healthy and gives this sector energy,” says Ian. “We have been here from the start and have seen ideas come and go but it does seem to be the case that you have come to the market with something original if you want to survive” Although the glamping experience may be usurping the traditional camping holiday, there are still a variety of options for visitors hoping to have a break under canvas.
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