Make ‘Em Laugh

Make Em Laugh - Title Pic

Make 'Em Laugh

Entertain to gain, advises Karen Cotton…

With more Britons choosing to holiday in the UK, according to research from Travelodge, the pressure is on park operators to attract and retain this new business. Guests expect great facilities and food, but they also are hoping for great entertainment. For many, it’s the nightlife and shows which add value to their break – making it truly memorable. Nowhere is this truer than at Bunn Leisure in Dorset, where four parks on one combined site cater to different tastes and budgets. Head of Entertainment Adrian Douthwaite explains: “Our clients expect a consistent, high quality and diverse range of entertainment.” He adds: “As technology has drastically advanced in recent years, so have expectations as to the ‘look and feel’ of the entertainment, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising.”

Make Em Laugh 3STAR CAST

In recent months, the Dorset holiday park has hosted names including Pop Idol alum Gareth Gates and X-Factor star Sam Bailey. Names like these deliver real value, as Adrian explains. “Big named artists and shows that create a ‘buzz’ have more impact than ever before, as the use of social media amplifies the desired value of the entertainment.” Careful planning is essential to ensure you hit the right note with all your guests. Stephen Pearce, Marketing Manager at Beverley Holidays says: “Entertainment really is the most subjective thing in the world, as trends and people’s expectations and perceptions of entertainment change… “Whilst not everyone will absolutely love everything we do, by having an exciting range on offer we aim to ensure that whilst somebody may not like something, there will, within the product, be something they do like.”

 

Make Em Laugh 2MULTI-APPEAL

The aim for the park on the English Riviera, is to keep its entertainment fresh and current… but there is a space for oldies-but-goodies, too. Stephen continues: “There will be nostalgic moments, games and concepts, however these must be delivered appropriately to an audience in 2018. A knobbly knees contest doesn’t go down as well now as it may have done in the ‘80s.” At Beverley Holidays, near Torquay, guests have a wide range of daytime activities to choose from. Its ‘Be-Active’ umbrella houses high-energy sessions that are popular with guests of all ages, with soft archery, Water Walkerz and body Zorbing. The Kids Be-Active programme allows younger guests to find their inner princess, pirate or superhero. “These sessions aim to capture the creativity and imagination of our younger guests,” says Stephen. “For our older guests, we offer something a little bit more laid back – whether it be a poolside quiz, coffee morning, line dance or darts tournament, we have it all covered.” Bunn Leisure also sources a wide range of entertainment spanning all areas and tastes. For Head of Entertainment Adrian, this can be tricky. He says: “The teenage and young adult market consistently proves difficult, whereas the children and 50+ age group are much easier to cater for as there is much more product to choose from when buying in.”

Make Em Laugh 4BEST VALUE

Working with an annual budget of approximately £1.5 million, Bunn Leisure’s in-house product offering is generated and produced internally – with little to no outsourcing of services. “This, in turn, helps to control quality and costs,” adds Adrian. “Routing and increased frequency of appearances for outsourced artists and shows can also help a little with regards to value – but isn’t paramount when devising the product offering.” At Beverley Holidays, the secret to getting the most from your budget is simple. Stephen reveals: “The best way to get value for money is to invest in the people who are most passionate about the performance. It is the individuals that are responsible for the delivery of the product, and of course the delivery of the product, on the whole, that creates that experience guests remember forever. “By far, alongside great show concepts and animated daytime activities, bottom line is the ‘coat-style’ entertainer and their approach to the role – as the ‘face of the holiday’ – builds relationships with guests, making them feel welcome and appreciated.”

 

Make Em Laugh 5PLAN AHEAD

While planning at Bunn Leisure begins 18 months in advance, at Beverley Holidays the team plans for the following year each September. By reviewing and evaluating the uptake and successes of the previous year, the team can make the informed decisions necessary to develop their product moving forward. Where visiting acts are involved, timing is everything according to Stephen from Beverley Holidays. He says: “To ensure we are able to book what we want and not just what is available, [our] process is on-going.” This is especially important when operators are looking to secure big-name attractions. Sometimes bookings are required as far as 18 months in advance.
With 20 years’ experience booking acts for holiday parks, Live Music Management has worked with numerous operators across the UK and suggests that bookings be made at least nine months in advance and promoted as part of the offer Managing Director Rick Baines explains: “It’s increasingly difficult to get people into club houses as home drinking has become the norm. But people will come out if there is consistently good entertainment on.” Budgets will differ depending on the size of the venue. If you’re working with smaller budgets, he sagely advises: “It’s better to have a high-quality act once per weekend, then two ‘pub-quality’ acts!” It’s important to widen your scope, too.Make Em Laugh 7
Rick suggests: “Look at who the national companies are booking with and consider them, as well as local agents. You might find better quality at similar prices.” One of the most popular trends he’s spotted is Bandeoke, which is also known as live band karaoke. He says: “It’s still massive. It allows all the family to join in and brings Instagram moments that will stay with the guests.” He adds: “Pop-up entertainment, not necessarily fixed to a stage area, also brings an immersive experience which will thrill guests and lead to social media sharing.”

Which Trip Advisor Reviews Would You Prefer This one?

“Park lovely… entertainment awful” - Natasha L

“Great views, awful entertainment” - Superdave10uk

“Nice grounds, perfect caravan, poor entertainment” - Gwen L.

Or

“Best entertainment, great stay!!!” - Pixie G.

“Entertainment team were amazing!” - Andreacleaton60

“Night life was very good can’t wait to book again for next year” – Janetholmes2724

“Brilliant [80’s] weekend. Everyone dressed up. Looking forward to the next one…” - Biff0r

Company Contacts

BEVERLEY HOLIDAYS www.beverley-holidays.co.uk

BUNN LEISURE www.bunnleisure.co.uk

LIVE MUSIC MANAGEMENT www.lmmuk.co.uk

 

Seaside Specials

Seaside Specialsseaside specials

Award-winning holiday park business Bunn Leisure has announced new plans for its 300-acre holiday complex on the stunning Selsey Peninsula in West Sussex.
Midway through a £17m investment programme, the family-run holiday park company is continuing to reap the rewards of a buoyant domestic tourism market, reporting a five per cent increase in turnover from 2016 to 2017.

Split into three holiday villages and a touring park, Bunn Leisure has already built a £5m new head office and reception building and is due to open a £12m new state-of-the-art entertainment complex at the end of the year, which will include a Riviera-style swimming pool and changing village, fully covered multi sports zone, numerous restaurants and bars and an exclusive lounge, a full size 10-pin bowling alley and a new entertainment venue seating 1,250. Boasting a beautiful seaside location in Selsey on the West Sussex coast, happy campers can pitch a tent or roll up in a caravan or camper and enjoy the park’s luxury 5-star facilities – perfect for when the weather doesn’t play ball. Warner Farm offers blue skies and fresh air, backed up by a host of children’s clubs and activities, and a fun leisure complex.

PRIVATE BEACH

Bunn Leisure’s mile-long stretch of sand and shingle beach runs in front of the park, perfect for sandcastle-building, swimming and sunset strolls.Warner Farm
All of the holiday park’s villages and attractions are linked by a free bus service and Bunni Express road train, and there are plenty of activities to make the week fl y by, from a fun leisure pool and spa to tennis, football, go-karts and fairground rides.
Bunn Leisure spends nearly £2m on its entertainment every year, with headline acts such as Billy Ocean, Gareth Gates, Heather Small, Right Said Fred, Robin Windsor and many more.
Managing Director John Bunn has now announced plans for the holiday park’s exclusive mile of private beach, which will include a new fi sh and chip shop, a beach side café and a beach shop to be built next year.
Continued investment across the parks will also see an extended go kart track, introduction of branded quick service restaurants, and further holiday homes sited on a new 92-base development on Claudia’s Field.
John Bunn said: “With the continuing growth of domestic tourism and the rise of the staycation, we are busier than ever, and 2017 was a record-breaking year for us.”
“We are investing in fantastic new facilities across all our parks - clearly demonstrating our ongoing commitment as an innovative leader in the UK family holiday sector.
“The money we are putting into these latest improvements takes the total reinvestment in the parks to over £40m since 2012.”

 

AT A GLANCE

Location : Selsey, West Essex
Season : March To January
Accommodation : 2500 static caravan pitches on a 300 acre site
Owner Occupied : Over 2000 Holiday homes
Other Attractions : Kids's clubs, evening entertainment and access to the Oasis pool complex is completely free.

 

Gates Tops Bunn Leisure Entertainment

Gates Tops Bunn Leisure Entertainment

Bunn Leisure has confirmed Gareth Gates as one of its headline entertainment acts.

Pop star Gareth Gates is one of the top acts in West Sussex holiday park Bunn Leisure’s 2018 entertainment line-up. On May 12 this year, the 33-yearold singer will be heading to the south coast holiday park to perform an eclectic mix of pop classics including Spirit In The Sky, Summer of 69, and Suspicious Minds. It’s been 16 years since Gareth Gates won the hearts of the nation on the UK’s first Pop Idol, wowing the judges and finishing a close runner-up to Will Young. Since then, the Bradford-born star has carved out a hugely successful career, selling over 3.5 million records worldwide, with four UK No1 singles. He’s starred in West End musicals, come fourth in Dancing On Ice, made a TV documentary about the struggle faced by people who stammer – and has recently launched the world’s first range of coconut teas!

Bunn Leisure Entertainment Investment

Bunn Leisure Entertainment Investment

Bunn LesiureAward-winning holiday park operator, Bunn Leisure, is continuing to invest heavily in a new state-of the-art entertainment complex and a purpose-built main reception and head office facility. The 300-acre holiday park on the stunning Selsey Peninsula is split into four villages and is mid-way through an ambitious £16m refurbishment programme replacing the 60-year-old White Horse entertainment complex.

“The White Horse was a much-loved feature at Bunn Leisure, but some parts date back to 1959 when the park was created,” Managing Director John Bunn said. “The new complex will be a very modern 21st century entertainment venue – much larger and with fantastic new facilities for our parks. With Bunn Leisure’s entertainment budget at around £2million each year, the new club will be able to welcome twice as many guests, and is expected to quadruple turnover.

“We continue to re-invest heavily in our facilities and Parks which clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment as an innovative leader in the UK family holiday sector,” adds John. “The money we are investing into these latest improvements takes the total reinvestment value in the parks over the last 20 years to £75m.” Bunn Leisure’s new head office and visitor reception is now complete, and staff are currently relocating in stages to their new offices. Bunn Leisure employs 350 full-time and a further 350 seasonal staff, and welcomes more than 100,000 holidaymakers every year. It generates more than £60m for the local economy and the new developments will create future employment opportunities for the region.

£14m Upgrade

Bunn Leisure is investing heavily this year in improving its on-site facilities.

Bunn Leisure is investing heavily this year in improving its on-site facilities.

£14m Upgrade

Bunn Leisure, a five-star holiday village complex in West Sussex, has embarked on an ambitious £14m refurbishment programme, which will create jobs and provide a welcome boost to the local economy. The first phase of the plans passed by Chichester District Council will see the creation of a new head office and main visitor reception, with a new entertainment complex and improvements at the White Horse and Green Lawns sites following 12 months later.

John Bunn, managing director of the 300-acre park, said: “Bunn Leisure offers outstanding family holidays at our four wonderful parks and this refurbishment programme will enable us to provide an even better service. “We begin 2017 investing heavily in our facilities and it shows our ongoing commitment to be an innovative leader in the family holiday sector. “Our park employs 350 full-time and 350 seasonal staff, and we welcome 100,000 holidaymakers every year.

Bunn Leisure already generates more than £60m for the local economy, and we hope these developments will create future employment opportunities and increase our popularity as a tourist destination.”

Holiday Snaps

Holiday Snaps

snaps

Neil Ainsworth
Head of Operations & Retail at Bunn Leisure

After spending eight years working for Bourne Leisure and three years with Bridge Leisure, Neil moved to Bunn Leisure in West Sussex in January 2016 to become Head of Operations and Retail. His responsibilities include oversight of all retail experience at the Bunn site; bars, catering, shops and the Oasis pool complex.

You’ve spent most of your career working in holiday parks, how have they changed?

Without a doubt it’s our visitors’ expectations – they have risen enormously. The difference in expectation when I started with Rank in the early 1990s to now almost can’t be compared. What visitors expect to see in their caravan; anything from double-glazing to central heating, plus the basic functionality of them has risen and so has their expectation of how their children will be entertained, both during the day and the evening.

What’s the most important aspect of your job?

It’s got to be the ability to understand the business from the customer view. I think it helps that I’ve spent a number of my holidays in the past either on holiday parks. If you’ve enjoyed this type of holiday it gives you invaluable experience to bring to the job.

Anything specific you’ve taken from your own experience at these places?

I remember being at Disney and noticing that the team there all had name badges which wasn’t particularly innovative but then they’d include the place they came from, such as ‘Jake from Denver, Colorado’. I introduced that at one of the parks I used to work on for Bourne Leisure. Little things like that can make a big difference – critical non-essentials, I like to call them!

What is the main focus of the retail side of holiday park work?

Ensuring good and consistent working practises and looking at everything we sell and how we sell it. I’m always looking into new ways and new products to retail – what do our customers really want to see in our shops, bars and restaurants – and how we can help our guests buy our products at the best possible price.

Is live entertainment still important?

Absolutely. I think we’re miles ahead on this - we spend more than £1.5 million a year on entertainment at Bunn Leisure and our guests and owners really appreciate it. They love the idea that they are getting world-class performers, such as Billy Ocean or Heather Small, as well as the activities we produce for teens and children.

 It sounds as if children and young people are increasingly the key?

If they are it’s because we attract so many families and one of the reasons for that – and for UK holiday parks still being so popular - is because it’s a safe and secure environment for children. There’s a feeling here that you can allow your children to roam free and enjoy a wide range of activities and facilities. When I was a child you could go out and play in the street but parents are far less likely to let their children do that now so it’s great they can still do this in holiday parks.

Bunn Leisure Announces Record Year

Bunn Leisure is celebrating its record-breaking 2014 results, which saw an increase in bookings, sales and turnover.

Bunn Leisure is celebrating its record-breaking 2014 results, which saw an increase in bookings, sales and turnover.

Bunn Leisure Announces Record Year

South coast holiday park Bunn Leisure has announced a record breaking year in 2014, with holiday bookings, turnover and caravan sales all reaching a new high.

The park in Selsey, West Sussex, benefited from last year’s sweltering summer and extended months of opening to post its best ever set of results. The park sold a record 420 caravans with sales up 12 per cent on the previous year. Turnover from bookings at Bunn Leisure and its sister campsite Warner Farm rose significantly, as did income from retail sales and site fees.

The company was also recognised by its industry peers with an award for 20 years of partnership from Hoseasons, a Hoseasons Diamond Award for customer service and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

John Bunn, managing director of Bunn Leisure said: “Our mission is to provide our owners and guests with a fantastic, fun and safe place to enjoy the traditional British holiday and our aim is to always exceed our customers’ expectations.

“Our success in 2014 shows we are getting the formula right – and we are continuing to invest in Bunn Leisure to grow this successful park where people love to holiday and our staff love to work.”

Pop Star Boosts Charity Coffee Morning

bunn

Abby Garner (far right) and members of the Bunn Leisure fundraising team with Billy Ocean.

Pop Star Boosts Charity Coffee Morning

Fundraisers who decided to hold a coffee morning to support a cancer charity, ended up raising £10,000 after it got Billy Ocean’s backing.

The group were surprised when the recording artist turned up at the event at Bunn Leisure Holiday Park in West Sussex. The friends had hoped to raise a few hundred pounds at most when they agreed to host a small event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care.

But the fundraiser took on a life of its own after the group asked Bunn Leisure Holiday Park, where they all own caravans, whether they could use a few tables at one its entertainment venues to host the event. Staff at the park offered their support and helped spread the word among owners and holidaymakers. Then pop star Billy Ocean, who was performing at the park, lent his support by posing for photos and offering a signed shirt for auction.

Fundraiser Abby Garner, said: “I had a vision that we’d get maybe 30 or 40 people and raise a couple of hundred pounds. I thought if a few of us got together we could do our little bit.

“We had raised about £5,000 before the doors even opened thanks to the raffle tickets and sponsorship. And on the day we raised that much again. We were stunned that from such a small beginning we raised so much.”

John Bunn, managing director of Bunn Leisure Holiday Park, said: “Abby owns a caravan here on the park and is a regular visitor – and when she asked for help, we were all too pleased to do everything we could to help her raise money for this worthy cause.” He added: “I’m delighted the team have raised so much and pleased that we were able to support those who put so much energy and effort into this extraordinary fundraiser.”