JABS BOOST FOR LONGER SEASONS

JABS BOOST FOR LONGER SEASONS

AUTUMN WILL STILL feel like peak season for holiday parks says Caravan Sitefinder CEO Michael Paul.

Vaccinations are giving a shot in the arm to the business hopes of British parks this year – and with every likelihood that the busy season will continue well into autumn. Caravan Sitefinder’s annual spring survey reports more than half of those surveyed (57%) planned an exclusive UK holiday in 2021, whilst around another third (31%) hoped to enjoy both a domestic and a foreign holiday. Almost half (43%) said that the success of the vaccination programme and the sharp fall in Covid infection rates were the main reasons they felt confident of taking a break.

The Caravan Sitefinder website, which has around one million visitors annually, provides booking facilities and user reviews for thousands of camping, glamping and holiday parks. Caravan Sitefinder CEO Michael Paul, whose company is marking its tenth anniversary in 2021, said the survey results contained many positive messages for UK parks: “The faith of people in the ability of British parks to provide a safe holiday environment came across strongly and is testimony to the precautionary measures these businesses have adopted. “But given the unpredictability of this crisis, it’s not surprising that many customers wanted a refund safeguard in place if anyone in their party had to pull out for Covid-related reasons,” Michael continued.

“Parks may also want to heed this concern, and to encourage customers to have a refund plan in place so that their business will be protected from possible revenue losses. “Very encouragingly, almost a quarter of those canvassed said they planned to take a holiday in autumn this year, supplementing in many cases their summer break. “At present, this seems an unlikely prospect – but we should not ignore the possibility that some UK bookings are predicated on the assumption that overseas simply isn’t an option,” said Michael.

LOCK IT OR LOSE OUT – CYBER SECURITY

LOCK IT OR LOSE OUT - CYBER SECURITY

Cyber-crime prevention advice from Compass Insurance...

Parks are far from immune when it comes to cyber security breaches and attacks. If something like this happened to you and your business, what would you do? Could you handle it internally? Or would you need help? If so, where and who would you turn to for support? If you can’t immediately answer these questions, you may be unprepared to deal with a cybercrime incident. As almost half of UK businesses (46%) have reported a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, there’s unfortunately no doubt that park businesses like yours could see their own IT systems compromised in the future.

CRIPPLING EFFECT
The damage a cyber breach/attack could inflict on your park business cannot be overstated. They can cripple operations by interrupting normal services and it can be very expensive and time consuming to put things right. The average annual cost to small and micro businesses which lost data or assets after breaches is £8,170. For medium to large businesses, this average rises to £13,400. Losing information or being held to ransom is bad enough, but on top of this, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) could levy a fine of up to 4% of your turnover against you if you’re found to have lost customer information. Additional issues, such as the bad PR that can come with the loss of other people’s personal information means there will be any number of things you’ll need to manage quickly and skilfully if you fall victim to this kind of attack. As cyber criminals evolve and hone their techniques all the time it’s a huge challenge to consistently prevent breaches and attacks. Keeping up with cyber crime ‘trends’, learning how to protect your IT systems and training ALL staff to be vigilant is key. Nevertheless, the sad fact of the matter is that it’s near impossible to make an IT system 100% safe from the determined cybercriminal.

REMAIN VIGILANT
This is just one of the reasons why more and more businesses are turning to bespoke cyber insurance cover as their ‘second layer’ of protection. You may well already be insured against some cyber risks, though this is more likely to be through your general commercial insurance policy rather than a cyber-specific one. A comparison table above gives an indication of the likely differences between the two different types of cover. As can be seen from the table, a cyber policy will take care of a lot of the things that most of us wouldn’t really know where to start. Technical support, forensic analysis expertise and help with communications are particularly important aspects of specialist cyber cover, as these benefits would help to get your business back on its feet in the quickest and best possible way. The financial assistance will also be of real value. If you don’t have enough money in the bank to fund a recovery and/ or or the specialist skills to respond to an attack and any corresponding reputational damage your business could literally find itself on the edge – or worse. An insurance account executive should be able to run through the levels of cover provided in your existing policies and highlight any areas of cover that you might need to consider.

What suits your business will depend not just on size, but relative risk. However, a cyber-specific policy would be especially useful for parks which:
• 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

GOOD NEWS
Add-on cyber insurance cover is widely available, but as with all insurance, quality can vary. From a cost perspective, it would be sensible for parks to seek out add on products that complement their existing cover. The good news is that there is a lot of support out there, including a wealth of free guidance to assist you in risk assessing and managing their IT security.

Areas to consider will include:
• Keeping IT inventories
• Keeping up-to-date records on IT systems access
• Conducting regular IT Health Check
• Keeping on top of IT management – who is responsible for supervising and checking all the above?

Remember holiday / sickness / maternity cover. The BH&HPA also provides a wealth of specialist information and guidance to park business. Do contact them for more information.

Compass Insurance
Tel. 0344 274 0276
www.compassparks.co.uk

To read the full aritcle please subscribe online here

 

CLOUD-BASED SOLUTIONS

CLOUD-BASED SOLUTIONS

GemaPark cloud-based booking and park management system offers you not only an easy-to-use solution for taking and managing bookings and owner information, but also security and peace of mind that your data is protected and backed up. Cloud-based booking systems like GemaPark reduce the risk of data be lost or stolen by keeping it off site, secure and well backed up.

A standard GDPR data processor agreement requires us, the cloud solution provider, to protect your data appropriately for the data type being stored. Multi-factor authentication is enforced on all admin system logins ensuring all devices accessing the GemaPark system are verified using a second authentication method at least every 90 days. Multi-factor authentication is the number one way to protect against unauthorised access to data. The weakest link in most systems is that people need access.

Passwords can be guessed or stolen but multi-factor authentication will also verify the access using a token or authentication method usually linked to your email or mobile phone. This means even if someone has your password they still can’t access your system from an unverified device. This does not have to be onerous, for example a device could be verified once a month rather than every login, once the device is verified it can be used to login without using the second authentication method until the required period expires.

GemaPark is developed by Netguides Limited, based in the UK we have been providing web-based solutions for over 20 years.We make the transition to a new system as painless as possible by providing a full setup service including importing data from existing systems, we follow this up with first class easy to access support and training.

GemaPark
Tel. 01983 282420
www.gemapark.co.uk

BALANCING ACTS – OUTDOOR ACTIVITES

BALANCING ACTS - OUTDOOR ACTIVITES

FROM SEGWAYS to paddle boarding, there are a host of holiday based activities to offer guest appea

Emily Martin on serving up the best outdoor entertainment recipe…

Offering a holiday that suits the whole family can be a tricky game of swings and roundabouts. Excuse the pun. Making a holiday stay fun for the adults, the younger children and the teenagers too, is a delicate balance. Never have we been more grateful for the use of our outdoor space than coping with the challenges of the pandemic. Outdoor play, outdoor activities, outdoor entertainment – have all become part of the Al Fresco holiday menu.
Don’t take our word for it. We’ve spoken to some outstanding UK holiday parks that strive to make sure there’s really something for everyone, Covid- distanced, when guests book in. And they are constantly coming up are some great ideas on how to get that balance just right. Richard Silver is the owner of Ilfracombe Holiday Park on the beautiful western shores of England. “We get all ages visiting us and we’ve spotted a really big current trend where grandparents will pay to take whole family away. “In terms of entertainment that means putting on what is appropriate for the right age group at the right time. “There are a few options for family entertainment – something a spread of ages will enjoy are things like: a magician or mind reader, maybe a family quiz. “We have a movie area, a games hall with table tennis, snooker and badminton. Plus, we have lots of games and activities for younger people, sports competitions, quizzes and even a teens got talent night.

ADDED VALUE
Ilfracombe strategically aims to add value to entertainment areas by putting restaurants or cafes nearby so the adults have something to do, while younger children play. Richard explains: “We have a restaurant and bar near where entertainment is. And we also have a soft play area for younger children, but in the same area we’ve put a sports hall for older children and teenagers which has all kinds of things going on.” Richard thinks there are important things to remember when trying to entertain the whole family. “You certainly need the right type of accommodation and location but crucially you need staff with lots of energy and ideas. “Every day has to be different and you’ll know if the children are having fun, because then so are the adults.” Torie Wilkinson is Chief Marketing Officer at Lovat Parks.With parks across the UK in Cornwall, Kent, the New Forest, its Green Hill Farm Holiday Village in the New Forest does things particularly well when it comes to entertaining a range of age groups within a family group. Green Hill offer activities such as archery, target shooting, laser clay, Segways, bungee trampolines and mini golf. There’s also den building, fire building, woodland art, bug hunting, bird boxes, orienteering and nature trails. And that’s just some of what’s on offer for families who like to stay busy. Torie says: “We offer a range of activities aimed at guests aged four right through to adult and this summer we’re introducing new activities for the under-fives too.

GREEN ACTIVITIES like Forest  Schools have never been more popular. Pic. Haven

DEN BUILDING
“We try and balance the mix we offer with lots of the Ranger activities being suitable for ages 4-10. And the activities like using the Segways or practising archery are more appealing to age eight through to the grown-ups. “However, what’s great about many of our activities is that the whole family can take part and build memories together. Green Hill is set in the New Forest and so many of our activities use this as inspiration. For example, our den building is done using fallen wood. “We offer bike hire on site with traditional and e-bike options allowing guests to explore the local area including routes that take in local business, pubs and restaurants.We get fabulous feedback particularly for our Ranger scheme, with many families returning to the park and booking their favourite activities in advance.” “Children get the chance to try new things and learn skills with our Ranger team building their confidence and creating unforgettable memories.We aim to relate as much as we can to our natural setting and offer guests something they might never have done before or could not at home.

COMMUNITY MATTERS
And it is not just for holiday makers. The local community plays a part in Greenhill’s offering too. Torie explains: “We have a partnership with a local primary school where we offer days on the park taking part in the Ranger programme across the year. “The activities are open to those of all abilities and the team also offer private sessions which can be tailored to a child’s particular needs. “ When it comes to planning things to amuse young people, what’s Torie’s advises: “Be inspired by your local area and natural surroundings, include a mix of fun and learning and try and create something shared for all age groups.” Covid safety is a massive consideration when hosting families and Torie adds: “We currently have a maximum of six participants per session, we observe social distancing at 2m where possible and our staff always wear masks.We also have hand-sanitising at all activity stations and all equipment is cleaned after each use. “Furthermore, just for general safety we carry out frequent risk assessments and have fire extinguishers and practices. The team hold monthly refresher courses as a group so they can learn from one another and at Lovat Parks we support the team by sending them on specialist training, for example if wider guidance for an activity changes and we need to incorporate that into our ways of working.” Cofton Holidays is another destination which has put some strategic thought into getting the balance right for families. Director Helen Scott says: “Cofton is an excellent toddler-friendly destination. Our facilities include a splash pad area - part of the heated indoor pool, a soft play area, outdoor play spaces include a play area with new equipment aimed at toddlers, and a Kid’s Club where little ones can meet Cofton’s mascot, Digby the Dinosaur, and participate in a range of activities. “In addition to all of this, we’ve created a host of kids’ clubs that run outdoors such as survival skills and nature trail experiences.”

ZIP LINES
Cofton’s £50,000 Woodland Adventure Area features a 25m zip line, a climbing cage, rope ladders, a balance beam, balance lines and scramble nets. Young guests can enjoy fishing experiences on the five coarse fishing lakes and we offer pond dipping experiences too, which are always hugely popular. There are miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take visitors through woodland to the golden sands of Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve. There’s a gym, fitness studio and added entertainment opportunities, such as the bowling alley Helen continues: ‘We’re always looking for fun ways of engaging with our young visitors. In July 2020, guests were given complimentary duck-whistles to alert other guests to their presence whilst out and about on site maintaining social distancing. Children visiting really loved it and TV and national papers even picked-up on the story.’ With potentially only a week (or maybe two) breaks in the year, holiday parks don’t have long to impress their guests. To ensure everyone has a good time and, crucially, to secure a rebooking or a recommendation, parks need to think about layout, adding value, and providing activities that families can enjoy together in a safe and stress-free environment, in order to foster and help create those precious memories. You need the right staff team and to create those precious opportunities for families to make special memories together. If you can crack that, then you’re on to a winner.

(*All COVID guidance being observed by the parks featured was correct at the time of writing).

KOMPAN offer a huge scope of play offerings across multiple age range

MORE MEANS MORE FUN!

MORE MEANS MORE FUN!

HAPPY CHILDREN equal happy and relaxed parents and carers.

In an increasingly ‘more is more’ world, businesses, especially holiday venues, are starting to realise the benefits of developing their sites to provide more than just a one-off experience.We are seeing more and more business owners begin to invest in a well-designed play area to not only attract customers but retain them for longer providing them with a greater return on investment.

External play areas can:
• Attract families to your site - External play areas are no longer an after-thought but are fast becoming essential in all redevelopments as operators understand that play facilities are a key driver and drawcard for families.
• Increase dwell time – Research has shown that children’s play facilities influence customer’s decisions on where to visit, dine out or holiday. Installing a well-designed play area illustrates how businesses are working to improve the customer experience.
• Boost foot traffic - Parents often use the promise of visiting a play area as a motivation to visit somewhere more frequently.

As the play areas are safe and secure it gives families peace of mind to allow their children to play. It’s also an inexpensive option to entertain the children, whatever the occasion. As any commercial operator will tell you, happy entertained children mean happy and relaxed parents! An exciting and challenging play area gives children somewhere to let off steam and make new friends. Investing in new or existing play equipment is a great way to show customers that your commercial establishment caters for families with young children who want to be entertained and have fun. HAGS, a world leader in outdoor play equipment helps clients understand how to design play spaces that attract customers to your destination.

HAGS
Tel. 0845 2601655
www.hags.co.uk

PLAY REMAINS CRUCIAL DRAW

PLAY REMAINS CRUCIAL DRAW

FAMILIES STILLWANT TO ENJOY traditional playground facilities

Independently commissioned research by leading outdoor play and sport provider Proludic has shown that the public still wants to see high-quality outdoor play facilities at leading leisure attractions across the UK. In 2018 Proludic researched what adults thought about play facilities at leisure and hospitality venues. The results were revealing and showed a clear relationship between the availability of play facilities and time spent at leisure venues. Furthermore, it led to greater loyalty.

There is a clear desire to see play as an integral part of the offering. Three years have passed since the last research. We wanted to revisit it to see the current situation, particularly in the aftermath of the global pandemic. We, therefore, asked the same questions to a randomly selected representative sample of 1000 adults. Over half (51%) of the respondents said play areas were an important consideration for them when visiting a pub, holiday park, or visitor attraction. Furthermore, 41% said they were more likely to book a UK holiday park vacation if they had made good provisions for children’s play.

As you would expect, this was more of a factor for families (83%) with children under the age of 16. The results clearly show that, despite the pandemic, families are keen to get out and about to tourist and leisure attractions with play facilities.

Proludic
Tel. 0115 982 3980
www.proludic.co.uk

MAGICAL PLAY FOR ALL AGES

MAGICAL PLAY FOR ALL AGES

KOMPAN believe in working together when it comes to designing and building playgrounds for children, sports arenas for teenagers, effective outdoor fitness equipment for adults, and stay fit solutions for active seniors. KOMPAN achieve this through developing playful and inspiring solutions that trigger the fantasy and curiosity of children, and drive adults to become fit for life.

To makes users stay for longer and visit time and time again, we pack playgrounds full of high variety and increasingly challenging play features, so it keeps on being fun, adventurous, and stimulating. The designers at our Design Studio are ready to customise a unique concept based on your local vision, enabling you to say something important about where you live.We use the highest quality playground materials and advanced engineering to ensure that they last a lifetime. In the years ahead, today’s children will be able to enjoy the same KOMPAN activity area with their children.

KOMPAN
Tel. 01908 201002
www.kompan.co.uk

TURNING TIDES

TURNING TIDES

LEEDONS RESIDENTIAL PARK IS THE FLAGSHIP in Allens Caravans residential portfolio.

Planners are favourable to Park Home applications reports Jane Herbert...

Back in the mid-1930’s, when auto trader Bill Allen decided to display touring Allens Caravans on his garage forecourt in Wolverhampton to fill some empty space., He could never have foreseen that Auto Selling Cars would grow into the huge success Allens Caravans is today. But times were changing, and caravan sales took off. Bill’s curiosity was piqued. Just a few years later in the 1950’s, with business growing, Bill moved the company to the historic stately home of Wootton Hall inWarwickshire’s Henley- in-Arden, which is still Allens Caravans headquarters today. Here, he hosted the first-ever Annual Midlands Caravan Exhibition, and its success made Bill realise that he was onto something. In the 1960s he travelled to the USA where he was inspired not just by the trend for caravan holidays, but also by the increasing popularity of Allens Caravans for all-year residential living. Bill returned toWootton Hall convinced of the potential growth for residential caravan parks in the UK, and with caravan sales soon outstripping car sales, Allens Caravans was born. Today, Allens Caravans is one of the country’s leading Park Operators with a portfolio of 13 Holiday and Residential Parks across the Midlands and Wales. The business, which now employs around 160 staff, is still managed by Bill’s grandchildren and other family members, with joint Managing Directors, Joe Folkes and James Allen, heading up the team.

THRIVING BUSINESS
“Allens Caravans has come a long way since its foundation in the 1930’s,” explains Joe Folkes. “But at heart we are still a thriving family business, the owners of which are not just faceless names, but third generation working Directors who can be found at our Head Office or on the Parks looking after the day-to-day running of the company,” he continues. “As a whole team, we ensure the highest possible standards are delivered at our Parks, for the benefit of our customers,” he adds. “We are so proud of the excellent reputation we have built with those customers, and also our colleagues within the caravan industry.” Currently, five of Allens Caravans 13 Parks are residential: Broadway Park with 82 residents and Leedons Residential Park with 129 residents in Worcestershire; Wootton Hall in Warwickshire with 290 residents; Pendeford Hall inWolverhampton with 62 residents; and Overstone Solarium Residential Park with 80 residents in Northamptonshire. Typically, Allens Caravans Parks have all been chosen for their stunning locations in the great British countryside. Residents of both Wootton Hall and Pendeford Hall can enjoy the outstanding surrounding scenery of two former historic country estates. Similarly, Overstone Solarium is set amongst 115 acres of beautiful woodland – the perfect spot to relish in the peace and quiet of retirement.


GAMES ROOM
Both Broadway Park and Leedons Residential Park are situated just ten minutes’ walk from the charming and picturesque village of Broadway in the prime location of the Cotswolds. With a scenic setting nestled beneath the Cotswold escarpment and overlooked by Broadway Tower, the Parks are blessed with plentiful wildlife and both Broadway and Leedons hold the prestigious Gold David Bellamy Conservation Award. Residents at the two sister Parks also benefit from an enviable array of facilities including an indoor swimming pool, a three rink bowling green, tennis court, social hall, launderette and games room. Leedons Residential Park is the newer development of the two, and the flagship in Allens Caravans residential portfolio. Originally acquired in the 1980’s, Leedons has been the focus of considerable expansion over the years and several £million investment both in its infrastructure and leisure facilities. A proportion of the Park is devoted to holiday home ownership (ten months of the year) but the focus is on delivering Residential Park Homes for the over 50s semi-retired and retired. Phase three of the Leedons development has recently been released and work is currently continuing on around 40 plots. Phase four is already in the planning with more luxury homes with exceptional countryside views coming soon. Prospective residents can choose from a variety of manufacturers including Willerby, Omar, Stately, Lissett, Homeseeker/Prestige, Tingdene and Pathfinder. Each home has its own garden area, a shed or greenhouse, and parking for up to two cars adjacent to the property. Pets are welcome on site and amongst the team of eight staff, there are resident Park Managers and Wardens for peace of mind.

Despite Allens Caravans obvious growth, long term expansion for the residential park sector as a whole is still reliant on the vagaries of the planning process. “We are always striving to expand our Park portfolio and there are a couple of Parks in the pipeline for the near future,” explains Joe. “The supply of new, modern sites for Parks is always going to be the biggest hurdle. “Fortunately, the tides are turning, and as local communities, councils and consumers start to see Park Homes (rightly so) on a par with conventional housing, the easier planning applications for Residential Parks will be.” Allens Caravans continued success is also evident in their Holiday Park portfolio. A brand new luxury Holiday Park, Bredon View, opened in Worcestershire on May 1st this year, bringing a five year development plan to fruition. No mean feat considering the tricky trading conditions of the pandemic. “Park Homes, much like every supply chain industry, has been hit by delays due to Covid,” says Joe. “With hundreds of supplies involved in manufacture and construction, this has inevitably resulted in a knock-on effect of price increases and, more significantly, longer waiting times,” Joe points out. “But we continue to invest back into all our Parks, both in terms of facilities and infrastructure.We have a solid history of investment spanning nine decades and this spirit is ingrained into every new generation who take on the stewardship of the Allens Caravans brand.”

Allens Caravans
Tel. 01564 792323
www.allenscaravans.co.uk

 

HOBURNE NEW CEO CONFIRMED

HOBURNE NEW CEO CONFIRMED

JIM FORWARD has taken the reins of the Hoburne Group

The Hoburne Group has confirmed the appointment of Riviera Travel chief commercial officer Jim Forward as its new CEO. He will take over from Rod Tucker, who will be retiring from his position of managing director at the end of this year after seven years of leading the family- run business.

Forward has worked in the holiday sector for over 25 years and has held senior management positions at companies including HF Holidays,Warner Leisure Hotels and Butlins.Most recently, as chief commercial officer of Riviera Travel, Jim has taken his team and the business through the challenges of COVID while maintaining his strong commitment to doing the right thing for customers, an approach that Hoburne has also taken through the pandemic.

“Hoburne has a fantastic history and as a family-run company, it genuinely believes in respect and integrity,” said Jim. “From my experience of meeting with team members, I am already impressed by their enthusiasm and concerted efforts to offer an outstanding level of customer service.”

 

SAT NAVS SET FOR NORTHWALES

SAT NAVS SET FOR NORTHWALES

THE RWST holiday lodge park in North Wales opened to guests this summer.

The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanrwst is welcoming the launch of ‘Rwst’, a luxurious new holiday lodge park. The £1.8m development opened its doors to its first guests in July, just as North Wales topped the charts as the UK’s most popular staycation destination, overtaking the coastal and rural charms of Devon and Cornwall for the first time, according to a survey by Sykes Holiday Cottages. Rwst occupies a prime location on the edge of the historic town, with scenic views across the River Conwy to the Gwydir Forest and Snowdonia mountains beyond. The park, which is a high-end redevelopment of the much-loved Trem Gwydir holiday village, includes 22, five-star holiday lodges, with one, two, and three-bedroom single-storey lodges available for holiday rentals