Caravans Gear Up For Another Busy Year

Caravans Gear Up For Another Busy Year

Salop Leisure chairman Tony Bywater predicts a big year from caravan and motorhome sales.

Salop Leisure chairman Tony Bywater predicts a big year from caravan and motorhome sales.

As caravan parks across the Mid Wales and the Heart of England prepare to reopen on March 1, a leading Shropshire-based leisure company says there are positive early signs of another busy season ahead. Tony Bywater, chairman of Salop Leisure, which has caravan and motorhome sales centres in Shrewsbury, Machynlleth and Stourport-on-Severn, believes staycationing is still as popular as ever with the British public. “We were a bit concerned about the impact of the wet end to last summer, but the disappointing weather has not dampened enthusiasm for caravan holiday homes, motorhomes and touring caravans which allow people to get away whenever they wish to a location of their choice,” he said. “The bills for rents and rates for the forthcoming season have gone out to caravan owners and there are very few that have decided to pack up their caravan, except through illness or bereavement.

TOURISM BUSINESS
“That’s a good sign that it’s going to be a very good year for sales of caravans and motorhomes. We feel that 2018 is going to be a great year of opportunities for our company and other tourism businesses.” He predicts that the devaluation of the pound against other currencies and the increased expense of flying abroad will persuade even more British people to staycation. Having enjoyed another successful trading year, Tony Bywater is very optimistic about what the new year has in store for both Salop Leisure and its associated businesses and caravan parks.

RECORD SALES
The 2017 year saw the opening of the company’s £6.5 million Love2Stay touring and glamping resort on land adjoining Salop Leisure’s Emstrey headquarters. Away from Shrewsbury, the company is investing £1.5 million on the complete redevelopment of Glan-y-don Holiday Park to provide 68 pitches on the seafront at, Tywyn, near Aberdyfi . The park is scheduled to open on June 1 this year. Further north along the coast, work has begun on a new £500,000 reception building at Min-y-Don Holiday Park in Harlech, which is set to open in March. During the year, Salop Leisure has created 35 extra jobs, taking the company’s workforce to more than 200 and reported record sales of touring caravan and motorhomes. “We remain very excited about the prospects for touring caravan, motorhome and caravan holiday homes sales in 2018,” added Mr Bywater. “We feel that 2018 is going to be a great year of opportunities for our company. “I think it’s going to be and outstanding year for all forms of self-catering accommodation. The devaluation of the pound against other currencies and the increased expense of flying abroad will persuade even more British people to staycation. “Investing in a caravan holiday home, touring caravan or motorhome provides excellent value for money for people who wish to enjoy a holiday or short break with their family anytime they wish at a location of their choice.”

From Humble Beginnings…

From Humble Beginnings..

The rise of park champions, Berkley Parks

Cauldron Barn Farm Park occupies an idyllic 14-acre site among the Purbeck Hills with outstanding views

Cauldron Barn Farm Park occupies an idyllic 14-acre site among the Purbeck Hills with outstanding views

It was back in the 1950s when teenage entrepreneur John Berkley, rented a piece of land for £1 a week and started selling touring caravans on sale or return. For 12 years, seven days a week, John grafted to build the Yeovil Caravan Company into a respected, local business. Over time, he was well placed to take advantage of the demand for holiday accommodation in the beautiful Somerset countryside. It wasn’t long before John also spotted a gap in the market for residential mobile homes and in 1955, Berkeleyparks precursor, Mobile Home Parks Ltd, was born. The name change to Berkeleyparks came later and any resemblance to John’s own surname is somewhat coincidental. Berkeley Coachworks was a well-known caravan manufacturer with an exciting sideline in racing and sports cars. Sadly, when the bottom fell out of the caravan market in the 1960s, the company went into liquidation but John Berkley purchased the rights to the name.

HALF CENTURY

The Berkeley Leisure Group Ltd, trading as Berkeleyparks, has grown substantially over the years to become one of the most prolific park operators in the UK. The Group’s portfolio now stands at 50 parks in 21 counties of England and Wales, with around 6,000 homes and 10,000 residents. Founder John Berkley, now Chairman and Managing Director, is still firmly at the helm, steering the Berkeleyparks business into the future with the aid of his wife and fellow Director, Anne Berkley. Other Directors include David Curson (Operations), Paul Tarr (Sales and Marketing) and James Leese (Projects and Development). The Berkeley Leisure Group Ltd employs around 200 staff in total across all of their parks. At least 30 of the team are based at the magnificent listed building, West Coker House, on the outskirts of Yeovil, which has been the company’s Head Office since 1968.

Residents of New Park in Bovey Tracey, Devon, benefit from its stunning location on the doorstep of Dartmoor.

Residents of New Park in Bovey Tracey, Devon, benefit from its stunning location on the doorstep of Dartmoor

For more on this story click here to subscribe.

 

 

Raising The Bar

Raising The BarRaising the bar

More than 20,000 people have stayed at Shropshire’s new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort since it opened last year and advance bookings continue to pour in. Although managers of the Love2Stay at Emstrey, Shrewsbury were expecting an initial surge of interest, they have been overwhelmed by the positive public response to the new resort, particularly to the range of activities on offer. The resort, which aims to raise the bar for quality UK holidays, has 124 touring caravan pitches and a village of 11 luxury glamping lodges opened last month. Each safari lodge has its own private hot tub and fire pit. Developed by Salop Leisure, one of the UK’s premier caravan and leisure companies, the resort offers visitors a luxurious natural retreat within easy reach of the pretty market town of Shrewsbury. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Laura Plumridge, who manages the resort with her husband, Geoff “We opened the weekend before Whitsun and the resort has been full every weekend since,” adds Laura, praising the teamwork of the resort’s 14 full and part-time staff and activity suppliers who all live locally. “Forward bookings were full for half term in October and filled up fast for Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, as well as Easter and August this year. In fact 65 per cent are rebooking before they leave,” Laura continues. “One of the things that has surprised us most is the demand for activities. We had no idea just how popular they would be – our record to date is 220 children in one day and we had 60. “We arrange up to 12 activities a day and have families staying with us just to participate. Our guests have really embraced the ‘back to nature’ ethos and there is a hunger for parents to be able to facilitate that for their children. “Children are on the go all the time they are here and we’ve had some that don’t want to go home after their holiday. Parents also find time for themselves to relax and enjoy the facilities. “We are privileged to be chosen for people’s holiday, especially when they have young children. They look forward to spending two weeks of quality time together, so we have an obligation to make their stay the best it can be.”

Love2Stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature.

Love2Stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature.

CORPORATE HOSPITALITY

Guests have predominantly been young families or active grandparents with grandchildren this summer. The resort is also hoping to provide twoday packages for the corporate hospitality market. As daily lives become dominated by technology and children are easily glued to i-pads and the Internet, Love2stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature and where guests can experience the grass between their toes. The stunning centre piece is a natural swimming pool which is flanked on three sides by spacious teak decking and thermal hot tubs, sunbeds and seating, where guests can enjoy light refreshments from the in-house coffee shop. This pool was designed and supplied by Poolscape Ltd in collaboration with multiple RHS Gold Medal winning landscape design practice, MOSAIC. The team used the latest technology from Austrian natural pool specialists BIOTOP to offer swimmers crystal clear, chemical free water, which is naturally filtered. During the evening, the indoor and outdoor area turns into a trendy Italian eatery, with most dishes being cooked in the huge woodfired pizza oven. There’s also a cinedrome where guests can relax and watch films. For more energetic guests, complementary access to the on-site fitness suite is available and a marine style assault course is a must for adrenaline seekers. Regular yoga, pilates and meditation classes are available together with a menu of spa treatments for a more holistic experience. Upon placing a booking, guests receive an activity diary offering the opportunity to pre-book activities such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, raft building and a range of sports. They can learn a wide range of bush-craft skills with an in-house forest ranger, including foraging, survival skills and there’s even a teddy bears picnic. A recreational fishing lake, an adventure playground for children, craft activities, animated storytelling, super hero yoga, a barefoot sensory walk, den building and a woodland hideout are also on the list of things to try.

Advance bookings continue to pour in for Shropshire's new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort.

Advance bookings continue to pour in for Shropshire's new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort.

HOTEL CALIBRE

Love2Stay aims to provide holidays with facilities and levels of customer service akin to a luxury boutique hotel. There is a separate reception and concierge service desk, food delivery service and even the opportunity to book private dining with a personal chef at one of the pre-bookable outdoor kitchens and barbeques The resort is set in 22 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with panoramic views across to Wales from one side and over to the Shropshire Hills from the other. Salop Leisure’s managing director Mark Bebb, explained the thinking behind the resort. “We know that we need to put effort into the re-generation of our industry and it’s our vision that Love2stay will accomplish this,” he said. “We have been mindful when developing the park that we needed to create an offering which appeals to a younger, fresher audience, in order to ensure the success and longevity of the business. “The location of the park, adjacent to one of the premier dealerships in the UK, works well too – there’s a huge accessory shop and access to the aftersales and service team for any advice customers may need,” Laura continues. “We want to breathe fresh air into the industry and this is the next step in staycations. “We know it’s cliché to say we want to put the quality back into family time, but it really is the vision we’re working towards and we hope that others will follow suit and help us regenerate the industry for everyone’s future.”

The Love2Stay Tel: 01743 583124

Put Fun Into Fundraising

Put Fun Into Fundraising

Put Fun into Fundraising

Big-hearted team members at Paignton’s Beverley Holidays are being celebrated as charity champions after creating a £7,500-plus windfall for good causes in 2017.
They raised not just cash but also smiles a-plenty through a raft of fun activities in which staff and often holiday guests took part.
The charity total will be split between the park’s chosen charities which include Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, the Marfan Trust, and Ovarian Cancer Action.
Receptionists, entertainers and other members of the holiday park’s award winning team all took part in a series of imaginative money-raising initiatives.

Camping Education Boost

Camping Education Boost

ABOVE: Children receive education boost from camping experience.

A recent study for The Camping and Caravanning Club reports four out of five parents believe camping has a positive effect on their children’s education, with 59 percent agreeing it should be added to the national curriculum.
The One Poll Survey revealed one in three adult campers believe children are happier when camping, and 64 percent agreeing camping holidays can improve a child’s social skills and mental health.
Geography, history and science were flagged as the subject areas most likely to be positively affected by nights under canvas, a result of children experiencing time closer to nature.
Encouraging youngsters to experience camping first-hand, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) gives 14 to 24 year olds the chance to explore the great outdoors, learn valuable skills and enjoy life-enhancing experiences.

Parkdean Resorts Pledge £42 Million

Parkdean Resorts

Parkdean Resorts has invested £130 million in its parks since 2016

Parkdean Resorts Pledge £42 Million

Parkdean Resorts is to invest £42 million across its parks this year with a primary focus on new accommodation.
Following a record £50 million worth of investment last year, the 2018 roll out takes Parkdean Resorts’ investment total to £130 million since 2016. The business now has 72% double glazed and central heated caravans due to an increase of over 1,450 in the last three years. The company is spending £13 million on 800 new caravans to meet higher demand for holidays and ownership opportunities. In response to customer feedback, these models will include the introduction of more one and four-bedroom caravans – and particularly those with a higher specification. Features include en-suite bathrooms, new and upgraded entertainment units, spacious seating and homely touches to ensure a really enjoyable stay.
“This year our £42 million investment plans really show our commitment to continually developing our parks, and creating the best possible holidaymaker and owner experiences,” comments John Waterworth, chief executive at Parkdean Resorts.:“In 2018 we have a focus on bringing in new caravans and lodges to follow the growth in consumer demand. We also regularly collect guest feedback, and from this made the decision to introduce more one and four-bedroom models. “
NEW LODGES
Vauxhall in Great Yarmouth, one of the company’s biggest parks, has enjoyed an extensive replacement programme since its acquisition by Parkdean Resorts in 2016. The park will welcome 60 modern double glazed and centrally-heated models to upgrade the caravan offering on park. New lodges including a range of four-bedroom models are also set to be added to a variety of parks offering wider choice following a£1.3 million investment.
Nodes Point on the Isle of Wight is receiving 11 new lodges in a£0.75 million investment – six for holidaymakers and five for ownership opportunities. Meanwhile £0.52 million will bring four luxury lodges with hot tubs to the popular Fallbarrow Holiday Park in the Lake District. A further £3.9 million has been allocated to refurbishing existing accommodation to enhance holidaymakers’ experience. Additionally,upgrades to retail and leisure facilities will be completed for the 2018season, as well as extensions of touring and camping areas at key parks.
Says John: “As we look ahead to peak season, work is underway at the majority of our parks to boost their offering, making for an even more enjoyable time whilst staying with us. We hope this is well-received by our customers, and look forward to welcoming them throughout the course of the year.”

Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award

Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award

Sara Scoops PrestigiousSara Bertin, Finance Director at Shorefield Holidays, has been named Board Level and Senior Executive of the Year at the prestigious Women in Business Awards. Now in its fourth year, The Business Magazine’s 2017 WiB Awards aim to celebrate, encourage and inspire successful and aspiring business women in the south.

Simon Pollock, Chairman and Managing Director of Dorset and Hampshire-based Shorefield Holidays, says: “We are delighted that Sara’s commitment and dedication have been recognised with this award. “Two-thirds of our management team and half of our whole team are women, and learning and development are encouraged at all levels throughout the business.”

Sara joined the family-run company specialising in holiday homes and holidays on the south coast in 1980, after qualifying as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton, and is the daughter of Dr Robert Pollock, who founded the park in 1958. At that time, Shorefield owned one park and over the years this has grown to seven parks.

Generation Game

Generation Game Generation Game

In a sector still dominated by family-run businesses, the Barton Homes Group is the very definition of a close-knit family concern. Managed by a father and son team, the group has 40 years’ experience of managing high quality residential parks across the UK.

Their parks in Devon, Somerset and Lancashire are well run havens of peace, convenience and security for a retired and semiretired clientele. Barton Homes Group also has significant plans for expansion, recently adding the prestigious Seascapes Park, at Clevedon, to their portfolio. Barton Park Homes was established in 1978 when the Barton family opened their first residential park in Morecambe, Lancashire. At that time, there were just 20 traditional static caravans on the site.

The family completely redeveloped the site, replacing the caravans with stylish residential park homes. Since 1978, Barton Park Homes has gone from strength to strength, acquiring and developing residential parks all over the country. The current portfolio of parks consists of four parks (one currently undeveloped), each in a carefully chosen location in Devon, Somerset, Lancashire and North Yorkshire. The company head office is located in Lancashire, reflecting their roots in the North West.

Generation Game 2The Barton family enjoys building personal relationships with all their clients. Father and son owners of the Barton Homes Group, Charlie Senior and Charlie Junior, personally visit each park on a regular basis to ensure that everything is up to standard and, most importantly, that their residents are happy. “I have been visiting the parks with my father since I was a boy. Now I am proud to have taken over the reins and work alongside Charlie Senior keeping up the family traditions,” says Charlie Barton Junior.

Willowgrove Leisure Park and Fishery in Lancashire is Barton Park Homes’ northern flagship park, situated in the attractive Wyre Valley on the Fylde Coast. Voted one of the top ten places to live in the North West, this area is close to the shops and facilities of picturesque Preesall and Knott End-On-Sea, and only ten minutes drive from the attractions of Blackpool. The scenery of the beautiful Lake District is just an hour away.

To read more of this story please subscribe online

 

British Tourism Oscars

British Tourism Oscars

Contenders for the British Travel Awards - which include entries from the leading holiday parks nationwide – have now been whittled down toBritish Tourism Oscars the finalists. The awards, dubbed Britain’s ‘Tourism Oscars’ attracted 1.3 million public votes last year, with Devon’s Beverley Holidays amongst the select final seven in the “Best UK Family Holiday / Holiday Park Operator” category. Director of Beverley Holidays, Nicola Furneaux, said news of its shortlisting is a thrilling climax to a very successful summer at the park: “Here at Beverley we have been welcoming guests to the English Riviera for almost sixty years, and our big-hearted team are passionate about providing holiday memories that last a lifetime.

“We are committed to offering our guests a seaside escape like no other, and have invested heavily in our accommodation and facilities this year to ensure we offer the best possible holiday experience,” said Nicola.The British Travel Awards are the largest and most influential poll of consumer opinion on tourism providers, with high quality standards and service being the main criteria.

Show Time

Show Time

Show TimeHoliday park entertainment has significantly evolved from the first Redcoats of the 1930 and the Hi-De-Hi era of the Sixties. Operators of parks, large and small, still agree that getting the entertainment recipe right remains crucial to ensure happy, satisfied customers.

Celebrating their 75th year in 2018, Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon offers a packed family entertainment programme that would put any corporate chain to shame. “We do our best to make sure there’s plenty for families to enjoy all together,” explains Carla Newman, Marketing and Events Manager at Ladram Bay.

“As a family-run business, we know that spending quality time as a family is what really matters.” An entertainments team of five plus and an Entertainments Manager run all the daily entertainment at the park. This includes kids’ club sessions, activities and a full programme of family friendly entertainment from six until midnight in high season. Most evenings end with a spectacular team show.

AUTUMN AUDITIONS

As a former Entertainments Manager at Ladram Bay herself, Carla is well placed to explain how their entertainment ethos works. “We audition for team members in November and rehearsals start in January,” explains Carla. “We like to get our team in place early and design our shows around their skills. In this, our approach at Ladram Bay is very different to a corporate group.” Personalising the shows around the team is a positive step for both customers and staff. “We develop the programme together. All the team are involved in the creative process which helps everyone to perform at their best for our customers,” says Carla. Entertainments Manager Kelly works with an agency to source external acts such as bands, cabaret, singers and magicians that perform at the park every Saturday night and on Tuesdays in peak season.Show Time 2

The team at Ladram Bay work so closely with the Vern Allen Group that the park even hosts the agency’s Showcase event each November. Management teams from other parks often visit the Showcase to select their own acts for the new season. “We do get a good return on investment but it’s really not about the money,” says Anna. “It’s about creating an enjoyable experience for all of our guests. If we didn’t have this level of entertainment, Ladram Bay wouldn’t be the five star park we are today.” Searles in Norfolk, owned and managed by the same family for 83 years, boasts an entertainment programme created and managed by Entertainment Manager Anna Hallard of Resort Entertainments. She oversees an in-house entertainments team and is responsible for booking external acts. Through this connection, Searles also benefits from close links to the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton of which Anna’s father-in-law Brian Hallard and Paul and Andrew Searle are Directors.

To find out more about putting on a show, subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.