Making It Count

Making It Count - Title Pic

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.”

Making It Count 2WEATHER-PROOF

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.

Making It Count 3LASTING IMPRESSION

“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,

Making It Count 5Back 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.”

COMPANY CONTACTS

BACK OF BEYOND TOURING PARK
Tel: 01202 876968
www.backofbeyondtouringpark.co.uk

FORDINGBRIDGE
Tel: 01243 554455
www.fordingbridge.co.uk

GREENMECH
Tel: 01789 400 044
www.greenmech.co.uk

HOBURNE HOLIDAYS
Tel: 01425 689293
www.hoburne.com

NBB Recycled Furniture
Tel: 0800 1777 052
www.recycledfurniture.co.uk

THE UK RAMP CO.
Tel: 01923 678432
www.modularpumptracksuk.com

Smallest Rooms Present Biggest Challenges

Smallest Rooms Present Bigger ChallengesSmallest 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.

Cubicle Centre
Tel. 01924 457600
www.washroomcubicles.co.uk

Holiday Snaps – Niall Norris

Holiday Snaps - Niall NorrisHoliday Snaps

Niall Norris is the sales director at CampManager

(www.campmanager.com), a company that provide Park Management and Booking Systems to campsites and holiday parks throughout the UK & Ireland.

What was your career path?

Having spent 29 years in sales within corporate banking, developing client relationships and providing added value solutions for their businesses, the opportunity arose to leave the banking world and work with my brother in CampManager. That was 10 years ago, and the business has grown to have over 400 campsites and holiday parks using the CampManager software solution.

What changes have you seen?

10 years ago, most bookings were being made via the telephone. We have seen significant growth in the number of online bookings, with some of our customers receiving up to 90% of their bookings online. With CampManager you take commission-free bookings on your own website, saving staff valuable time, automating the booking process, and generating more bookings for your business.

How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?

Customers are tending to go away on breaks more regularly but for shorter periods and are booking last minute. The Glamping market has seen considerable growth with a great selection of luxury and different accommodation types attracting the younger generation.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom? My first sales director said, “Sales are important, but customer retention is more important.” Customers will remain customers if you provide a quality product which is competitively priced, with excellent customer service and always be available to speak to them.

What do you most like to spend your time doing out of working hours?

A good walk in the countryside followed by a few pints of Guinness. I enjoy good food, having the ‘craic’ and spending time with my family (4 children and three grandchildren).

Your dream dinner guests?

Jack Reacher and his creator, the thriller author Lee Child and Keith Floyd a restaurateur and food writer. I love his humour and alternative approach to cooking. Do you have any claims to fame? Sat beside and chatted to Faye Tozer on a flight from London to Belfast nearly 20 years ago and only realised when I got home and saw them on TV that she was in the band Steps. My daughter didn’t forgive me for some time for not getting her autograph.

Where do take your holidays?

I love the outdoors and have been tenting for over 40 years – nothing better than heading off with my wife in the car with our tent and going where the mood takes us. If I need to get away to the sun – Majorca in the mountains with a good bottle of red wine.

Great Outdoors ‘On Prescription’ Call

Great Outdoors On Prescription Calls 2Great Outdoors 'On Prescription' Call

Camping, caravan and motorhome holidays can encourage people outdoors and towards a potentially healthier lifestyle, says TV’s Dr Hilary Jones, who appeared at October’s Motorhome and Caravan Show 2018 at Birmingham’s NEC. Dr Hilary says there’s many aspects of camping and leisure vehicle activities that support both mental and physical well-being. “Camping and leisure vehicle holidays provide the perfect opportunity to get up and go on shorter trips and adventures, and encourage family time as well as getting outdoors, exercise, a change of scenery, new adventures and socialising. Dr Hilary suggests scientific evidence shows people also benefit from getting closer to nature, which is a fundamental connection for humans and the opposite of connecting to screens and electronic devices. “The outdoors even impacts on recovery after surgery, concludes Dr Hilary Jones. “In a gall bladder surgery experiment, half the patients post-surgery had a view of hospital walls only, half had a view of the outdoors. The latter group reported less pain during recovery than those looking at just hospital walls.”

Defibrillator Coverage

Defibrillator Coverage

DefibrillatorTingdene Parks have installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at their 80-home Bedwell Park residential site in Witchford, near Ely, Cambridgeshire. Defibrillators are simple to use and can restart someone’s heart if it stops. They will not work if there is a pulse.

Bedwell Park is one of the first residential parks within Tingdene’s 20 sites and 1500 homes, to see the installations of defibrillators. The unit is due to be officially unveiled by local MP Lucy Frazer in the near future, however, the potentially life-saving kit, easily accessible at the park office, is already available for use.

Founded in 1969 the Tingdene Group of companies first established itself as the leading Park Home manufacturer in the country and since then has expanded its range of operations into becoming one of the UK’s largest operators and owners of residential Park Homes Estates, Inland Marinas, Caravan Parks, Lodge Parks and Chalet Parks.

Lock Down

Lockd ownLock Down

In light of recent events, security in the UK is at an all time. While we are assured that the chance of a security breach or incident is highly unlikely, holiday park owners and facility managers are right to be cautious and take appropriate measures to safeguard themselves, staff and visitors.

When the owners of Hampshire-based touring and caravan park Sunnydale Farm were looking for a solution to reduce uncontrolled vehicle access to the site, it was the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system from IDS Group that caught their attention. Open all year round, the park is visited by many campers, tourers and suppliers each day. Having previously tried traditional gates and overhead height barriers to control access to their site, owners Stella and Bill Matthews were looking for a more secure, efficient and automated solution.

For the entrances, IDS Group installed two electronic barriers and two ANPR cameras for incoming vehicles. They also incorporated 1080p HD resolution IP CCTV cameras with infrared night vision to automate the access to the site and give a general overview. As the vehicles are typically caravans and longer than the average car, it was important to strategically position the ground loops effectively to avoid the barrier coming down too soon, due to the length of the vehicle.

The exit required more consideration, such as the safety of children, cyclists and proximity to the main road so IDS Group installed an electronic barrier with a longer loop for the delayed exit. The ANPR cameras provide barrier control and create time log recordings of length of stay.

Barrier“In a lot of cases holiday parks have several entrances and exits and receptions desks are not always located at either of them - this makes it difficult to monitor who leaves or exits their sites. So many holiday parks are having to deal with unwanted guests, as such, this can lead to theft, vandalism and a threat to customer security,” explains Tas Kyriacou, Head of Business Development at IDS Group.

ANPR and barrier solutions have been growing in popularity over the years and the control this security solution provides to staff can significantly reduce risks to the park. According to IDS Group, an ANPR solution can start from around £6,500 up to £12,500 depending on many variables. CCTV solutions can start from £4,000. “Just like anything else in life, you get what you pay for, so if you invest in the right technology, you will be sure to enhance the safety of your customers and property and since your customers are what generates revenue, you will need to protect your assets,” says Tas.

“However before thinking about the technology, it is important to find a security company that can understand your requirements and have the ability to deliver what is required. A good security company is imperative to the delivery of the right solution.”

DAYLIGHT ROBBERY

Earlier this year a caravan was stolen from Bynea’s Gateway Caravan Park in South Wales. The high-value caravan was taken in broad daylight between 9am and 11am in the morning. Elsewhere in the country, offenders gained access to a window of a static caravan at a holiday park in Dorchester and stole valuable items of diamond jewellery. And in Scotland, police appealed to the public for more information after two mountain bikes were stolen from a caravan park in Peebles in August last year. The bikes had been taken along with the chains that had been used to secure them to a tree.

Unfortunately, cases of holiday park crime like these are not uncommon. And worryingly, crime levels across the country are on the rise. The Office for National Statistics said that recent police data showed a nine per cent rise in overall crime in 2016. Last year Avon and Somerset police pledged to increase resources in Burnham, Brean, and Berrow after a number of incidents at holiday parks over the summer months. Police officers and holiday park owners met to discuss ways of cracking down on crime in the area. Owners of holiday parks in BCodeurnham, and its surrounding areas, said they had to deal with a number of caravan thefts, as well as drunk and disorderly behaviour on a regular basis.

This prompted the police to upgrade their Pubwatch scheme - a partnership where independent groups of licensees work with police to pre-empt crime and antisocial behaviour in licensed premises. The scheme saw the installation of more high-quality radio systems and more staff onsite who are able to connect directly with the police. In Lincolnshire, the local police force offers a Caravan Park Watch Scheme to tackle caravan related crime across the county.

Caravan site owners, Lincolnshire Police and other representatives from the caravan industry meet regularly to discuss caravan related issues. The initiative was set up initially to tackle a growing number of burglaries occurring on holiday parks, especially during the winter close down period. Since the Caravan Park Watch scheme was implemented in 2014, caravan related crime rates in the area have dropped by over 45 per cent.

To find out more about security measures subscribe to Holiday Park Scene

Company Contacts

Crosby Intruder Alarms  Tel. 0800 917 1441  www.crosbyintruder.co.uk

IDS Group  Tel. 0208 819 1044 www.idsgroup.uk.com

Leisure Days Tel. 01422 396 770 www.leisuredays.co.uk

Wilby  Tel. 01422 358 525  www.wilbyltd.co.uk

 

High Praise

High Praise

Center Parcs has achieved double reconition for delivering excellent service.

Center Parcs has achieved double reconition for delivering excellent service.

Short break provider Center Parcs has been recognised by two industry standard organisations for continuing to deliver excellent service to its guests. All five Center Parcs villages retained their five star status from Quality in Tourism whilst the company also maintained its Hospitality Assured Premier position.

Center Parcs achieved an average score of 92 per cent and the Quality in Tourism assessors commented on the high standards of presentation and service throughout and also praised the number of new initiatives and investments made by the business. Paul Kent, Center Parcs Operations & Development Director said: “We’re really pleased to have maintained a five star status from Quality in Tourism across our villages and uphold our Hospitality Assured position. “The recognition from these external industry assessors is really important to Center Parcs and a testament to everyone who works hard to continually deliver excellent service to our guests.”

Hot Tubs Are The Golden Goose

Hot tubs are a highly profitable addition to a holiday letting. Pic: Caldera Spas.

Hot tubs are a highly profitable addition to a holiday letting. Pic: Caldera Spas.

Hot Tubs Are The Golden Goose

Hot tubs are the must-have ingredient in the recipe to holiday booking success it has been revealed.

According to self-catering specialists Hoseasons, a private hot tub is the number one searched for item on the website, accounting for more than 100,000 searches each month.

“Hot tubs really are the golden goose of the holiday market,” comments Jon Moxon, business development manager at Hoseasons.

“There’s been a meteoric rise in the popularity of hot tub holidays since our first unit went on sale at Faweather Grange, Yorkshire, in 1997. These days there are more than 2,500 lodges and luxury holiday homes with hot tubs across our portfolio, with unit numbers increasing by 21% since 2013.”

A highly profitable addition to a holiday letting, there are however, potentially hazardous pitfalls to avoid before taking the hot tub plunge. Although more affordable, domestic hot tubs are designed solely for home use and are not intended for commercial use. “Avoid the temptation of buying a cheap spa on the internet,” advises Chris Brady of Lincolnshire-based 1 Stop Spas, who is heading up the UK branch of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.

“We come across plenty of customers whose opinion when buying was ‘I only want a cheap spa because I’m only renting it out’. Like most electrical equipment, buying cheap isn’t always cost effective over a few years.”

He adds: “Cheap spas can cost up to ten times as much to run, meaning higher overheads. They are often fitted with cheap components, therefore the reliability is not very good meaning in inconvenient downtime for you and rental customers.”

Show Business

Show Business

recipeforsuccessThe Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show will return to the NEC Birmingham in November and is set to be even bigger than last year.

Expanding into Hall 8 at the NEC, the 2016 show brings together top industry experts, leading suppliers, interactive workshops, live debates and seminars all focused on providing the inspiration, advice and resources that holiday park owners really need to put their business on the map. The show will also run alongside Farm Business Innovation & Country House Innovation in Hall 9, the UK’s leading trade show for farmers, landowners and estate and country house owners.

“Once again in 2016 the Holiday Park Show we delighted to be working alongside Holiday Park Scene as our main media partners for the event and we are excited to develop this successful and exciting partnership further for the next show,” says Will Mansfield, event organiser.

The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show returns to the NEC Birmingham on November 9 – 10. Visit www.holidayparkshow.co.uk to view the full list of exhibitors and to order your free tickets.

£960 Million Parks Merger Deal

£960 Million Parks Merger Deal

The proposed merger of Park Resorts with Parkdean Holidays will create the UK’s largest holiday park operator.

The proposed merger of Park Resorts with Parkdean Holidays will create the UK’s largest holiday park operator.

A planned merger between Park Resorts and Parkdean Holidays would create the UK’s largest holiday park operator with 73 holiday parks with an enterprise value of £960m, turnover of £370m and EBITDA of around £92m. The combined portfolio would serve 1.8 million customers including 22,200 caravan owners and 35,400 pitches. With Parkdean’s strength in the South West and Scotland, and Park Resort’s sites predominately located on the East Coast and the Northwest, including the Lake District, the merger combines diverse portfolios to create a business with UK wide, national coverage. If given the go ahead by the Financial Conduct Authority, John Waterworth, the current chief executive of Newcastle-based park operator Parkdean Holidays is to remain in the top role. Both head offices in Newcastle and Hemel Hempstead will be retained. Alan Parker, chairman of Park Resorts, said: “The Park Resorts Group and Parkdean Holidays are an outstanding strategic fit with highly complementary estates and revenue mixes. “I am greatly looking forward to working with the teams to deliver further growth.”

Parkdean Ltd
Telephone: 0191 256 0795
www.parkdean.com

Park Resorts
Telephone: 0843 561 1239
www.park-resorts.com