PAW-SOME HOLIDAYS – DOG FREINDLY

PAW-SOME HOLIDAYS - DOG FREINDLY

THESE DAYS, family holidays mean including Fido and Bruno. Pic. Park Holidays

Going that extra mile for our furry friends...

This summer, the Great British public reconnected in their droves with our furry housemates – that’s our pets, not the partners who have stopped shaving during lockdown. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, a whopping 3.2 million people welcomed a new pet to the family during the pandemic. Switched on holiday parks up and down the country recognise the earning potential and have made themselves ready to host guests and their furry plus ones.

But what makes a truly pet-friendly holiday?

We’ve spoken to experts and holiday parks to find out how they plan to make a dog’s dreams come true this summer - and some other quirky creatures too. Sarah Ferguson is Head of Business at Paws Holidays, a website dedicated to collating information about the UK’s most dog-friendly holidays. So, Sarah knows what a complicated minefield planning a holiday with your pet can be: “Finding a dog friendly resort or destination can be mind-blowing, as dog owners have to think about so much,” she says.

Typical questions on booking are:
• Will the resort have a dog exercise area? And if so, is it enclosed?
• Will they be able to let the dog off its lead?
• Are there dog drinking stations?
• Will there be a designated area where the family can eat but the dog is allowed in too?

And then there’s accommodation which is a massive consideration. Sarah explains: “Some Park operators remove carpets and have just a wooden floor or a very high standard of lino which makes it so much easier if the dog does have an accident. “Dog owners expect the dog to be welcomed as a guest, just as much as they are. They will expect to see dog waste bins dotted around the resort, dog-wash areas and some park operators such as Haven even have a dog playpark.

FOREST HOLIDAYS actively promote its Dog friendly holiday options.

WELCOME PACK
“Forest Holidays provide a Doggy Welcome Pack – containing a healthy biscuit and poo bags. And some parks will provide a dog blanket and dog toys.” Sounds like pure luxury. But does being ‘dog-friendly’ also mean extra cleaning/maintenance? Sarah again: “Most park operators have very high powered hoovers that will pick up any dog hair, and also have a wet and dry hoovers, just in case a dog has an accident. “And the smell of the previous dog can be eliminated before the next guests arrive.” What can go wrong? Sarah points out: “If a guest leaves the dog in the accommodation unattended it can cause the dog stress, and they could scratch away at the soft furnishings, or start to chew, or even constantly bark, which might upset or annoy other holiday guests.” And its not just dogs who are welcome this summer, other pets deserve a break too and there are many pet-friendly places.

CATS AND FERRETS
Sarah recalls: “Over the years, I have seen guests on holiday parks with a cat on a lead or a ferret on a lead. “One holiday guest brought their African Grey Parrot and one family brought a horse and checked him into the holiday park’s stables.” Debbie Dangerfield is the owner of dogsinvited.co.uk and another expert on what makes a holiday great for a pet and an owner. “Visitors especially look for an enclosed area, so they can relax with their dog by their side,” says Debbie. “And many holiday properties supply throws so that they can be put on the furniture to let dogs on. “Dog bowls, towels, and even a temporary dog tag in case they run off are a nice touch too. “For real luxury, some places now supply a warm dog shower to give the dogs a clean after a muddy walk or sandy day at the beach.” Debbie echoes Sarah when she says that dogs left alone are the biggest problem: “Dogs are usually left on their own if they aren’t allowed to go where the rest of the family are going.” So that is what the experts think, but what about a holiday park that does some of the above really well? Caroline Povey is the Marketing Director for the Coppice Spa Lodges at the Darwin Forest Luxury Lodge Holidays. It is a spectacular development of seven luxury pet- friendly lodges designed with pets in mind.

Caroline adds: “Our Coppice Spa lodges are very popular. Each one has a separate utility room and everything you need to pamper your pooch, complete with a doggy shower, hairdryer (fur dryer), towels and space for their bed and feeding bowls, your dog can have its own bedroom. “Stable doors separate the utility area from both the decking and the internal living space enabling you to keep your pet safe and secure.” Another favourite with dog-owners are the Forest Holiday cabins with locations in England, Scotland and Wales. Amy Teige from Forest Holidays explains: “The cabins are the ultimate base for dog owners who want the freedom to explore the forest and woodlands surrounding the locations. “Over half of our cabins are pet- friendly, offering doggy treats, wipe- clean sofas and plenty of space for the animals’ favourite bedding and toys, plus we have the gentle warmth of underfloor heating throughout.” It can be tough finding a park that will allow guests to bring more than two dogs, but Forest Holidays allow up to four pets per cabin. Caroline explains: “It’s usually dogs but other pets are welcome too, and we charge £15 per pet, per night.” Helen Scott is the Director of Cofton Holidays and explains: “We’re set within 80 acres of glorious Devon countryside, and have four dog-friendly cottages on the Eastdon Estate where we’ve designed six of our holiday homes with pet-owners in mind.” Helen continues: “The cottages on the Eastdon Estate are set a short walk away from the main park and boast incredible views of the Exe Estuary and Devon countryside.

“All dog-friendly accommodation features hardwood floors, dog food and drink bowls, a dog mat, a blanket plus some delicious handmade local treats.

“What if your dog fancies an ice- cream? Not a problem! Says Helen: “Our Waggy Doggy Doodah doggy ice cream is served inside our on-site pets- welcome pub, The Swan Inn.” Guests can also look forward to the annual Cofton Dog Show. They offer a dedicated dog exercise field and have developed woodland walks through the Eastdon Estate. Sounds like dog paradise. And there’s more. Helen continues: “Our on-site shop has a good selection of dog supplies and guests can find dog mess bins across the site which are emptied regularly. “Plus, there’s no additional charge for dogs when visiting in low and mid-season and we don’t charge for registered assistance dogs. “We are located next to the award- winning Dawlish Countryside Park which was developed for local dog walkers and is an excellent facility for customers staying at Cofton.

DOG WASH
“We also have a dog-wash planned in the new 12-acre camping site toilet block, and we’re planning four more pet friendly lodges with hot tubs due for launch later this summer.” To quote from the Forest Holidays dedicated dog-blog, 10 reasons why dogs love the forest: “We are a nation that adore our four- legged-friends and love taking them on holiday with us! “Sure, that means staying reasonably close to home, but watching the pure joy on their faces’ as they scamper about, snuffling happily at all those new smells, nose twitching, tail a blurry wag, makes it all worthwhile.” When it is done really well, helping dogs have a good time is just as satisfying for the holiday parks as it is for the guests.

 

HAVE LOO BRUSH – WILL TRAVEL!

HAVE LOO BRUSH – WILL TRAVEL!

PATRICK LANGMAID hopes holiday guests will step up to join his toilet cleaning chain gang.

Guests taking holidays at a major Cornwall holiday park this summer are being asked to help keep the park open – by swapping the beach for a toilet brush.

Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow says staff shortages could force the closure of his toilet blocks and is trying to rally a volunteer army of loo legionnaires. More than 20 people have so far stepped forward with offers to help, according to Patrick Langmaid, owner of the 30-year-old family business.

“Like many tourism providers we are desperate to recruit staff, but the staycation boom and the easing of lockdown has created more jobs than there are people to fill them,” said Patrick. “Unless we can find enough volunteers to give up part of their holidays to keep our toilets spotless, we could have to start cancelling stays already booked for this summer.”

TRIPLE TRIUMPH FOR BEST OF BRITISH

TRIPLE TRIUMPH FOR BEST OF BRITISH

SOUTH LYTCHETT MANOR won the overall gold title in the Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year

The family owners of three Best of British holiday parks are celebrating after winning top honours in the year’s South West Tourism Excellence awards. The awards drew hundreds of contenders from across Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the Isles of Scilly.
South Lytchett Manor in Poole, Dorset, won the overall gold title in the Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year category.
In the same hotly-contested category, Polmanter Touring Park in St Ives, Cornwall, took the silver trophy for the standard of excellence it provides to holiday guests. Owned for over 50 years by the same family and run today by husband-and-wife team Phil and Becki Osborne, the seaside park provides spectacular views along the Cornish coast.
In the Holiday Park of the Year category of the awards, Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, came away with one of the main awards. The Carter family has owned the park for over 60 years and, like the two other BoB winners, has received many regional and national awards for its high standards and welcoming atmosphere.

ON LOCATION featuring Long Hazel Park

ON LOCATION featuring Long Hazel Park

TOURERS AND CAMPERS can be assured of well spaced pitches on the spacious Park.

GOLD STANDARD
Located in glorious South Somerset, Long Hazel Park has been awarded 4 Pennant Gold from The AA in their most recent Park inspection. This is a first for the park operators Alan and Pamela Walton who have been part of The AA’s prestigious inspection scheme for many years, beginning their journey as a 3 pennant Park in 2005. “Our new groundwork, installation of new fully serviced pitches and shower block upgrade has been influential in our new ranking this year,” explains Alan. “The 4 Pennant Gold accolade puts us in the category of the best of the best of small caravan and camping parks, based on our facilities, grounds and customer experience,” he adds. Open all year, Long Hazel is an adult- only caravan and camping park with ample space for RVs, motorhomes, caravans and tents of all sizes. A new serviced touring caravan and motorhome hardstanding pitches available for 2021 while a shower and toilet block was completed in May this year.

PAMELA AND ALAN WALTON show off their latest award

FULLY ACCESSIBLE
Long Hazel also offers two self- catering holiday lodges providing accommodation for up to four people and are available all year for both long or short breaks. Long Hazel provides one of the only fully wheelchair accessible holiday lodge rentals in Somerset and the South West with their fully adapted Blackforest Lodge. Both holiday lodges have parking directly outside together with decking areas for al fresco dining The lodges have double glazing, are substantially insulated and fully heated for your comfort in all seasons. Fully furnished and equipped, the Park provides duvets, pillows and blankets but ask guests to provide their own bed linen and towels. Free WiFi with HD ready Freeview colour TVs are available in each lodge.

A NEW SERVICED touring caravan and motorhome hardstanding pitches are available this year.

QUALITY SCORE
AA Hotel Services Inspector Chris Pike awarded the Park a 90% Quality Score during the impromptu inspection. Mr Pike noted: “The purpose of this visit was to verify the standards of maintenance and cleanliness were consistent with the Quality Standards requirements. “Extensive work has been carried out in the last two years. The facilities were spotless with detail paid to the cleaning and top-grade fixtures and fittings. “In reading the list of the enhancements to the park, I have no hesitation in recommending Long Hazel Park 4 Pennant Gold status with a quality score of 90%” Alongside their fantastic 4 Pennant Gold achievement, the Park is also celebrating success in this year’s Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards where they have won a Gold Award in the Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year category, as well as becoming an award-winner in the Theo Paphitis Small Business awards last month.

“For us, being “green” isn’t a new thing; even our logo reflects how running an eco-friendly business is at the centre of our values,” says Pamela. Over 24 years at Long Hazel Park, the couple have planted over 2000 trees. Since 2019, they have worked on filling planters with plants more suited to tropical weather. Their plants are primarily watered with rainwater collected in large water butts and they use a special built-in, water saving formula in our hanging baskets to ensure that the highest amount of water is absorbed. Pamela again: “In the recent shower block overhaul, we switched to LED lighting throughout and changed over to eco-friendly hand driers to avoid extra paper waste.We have push taps and showers throughout to ensure that taps aren’t left running and our showers and washing areas are clad with recycled plastic.

We used local tradesmen and suppliers to help with our makeover.” “In 2019, they installed environmentally friendly solar panelling and the shower block is now successfully run on solar energy. Any energy not used by us on site is fed back to the National Grid.” Opting for eco-friendly cleaning products throughout the shower block and lodges with custom-scented air fresheners even use natural oils rather than aerosols, theWaltons sell their own eggs on site from their own chickens whose byproducts are used as an eco-friendly fertiliser for our plants. They also use grass cuttings as mulch around the trees and hedges and homemade bird boxes for the trees. Many of our hedges also house insect hotels to ensure sustainable pollination from wild bees with several hedgehog houses hidden away in hedgerows. “A particularly long-lived feature of our park is the recycling system and we are always over the moon when our guests help reduce, reuse and recycle too,” says Pamela who adds: “We are experiencing a wonderfully busy summer season already, bouncing back from closures last year and are enjoying welcoming guests old and new back to Somerset.”

 

Long Hazel Park
Tel. 01963 440002
www.longhazelpark.co.uk

ENGINE ROOMS – HOLIDAY POOL LOCATIONS

ENGINE ROOMS - HOLIDAY POOL LOCATIONS

THE PICKAQUOY CENTRE Trust offer the complete swimming package for campers making the long trip to Orkney.

Plant rooms are the power houses behind top holiday park pools...

It may be the shots of happy swimmers that fill the glossy advertisements but the real heroes of our holiday park pools are hidden behind the scenes. Packed with automatically controlled, and remotely monitored, water and air quality technology, today’s modern plant rooms are almost a match for a NASA flight deck. A hidden technological treasure trove beneath the pool surface, the vital role of the plant room should never be underestimated. Combining the iconic Butlins, Haven and Warner brands, the mighty Bourne Leisure has been undertaking a £3.5m upgrade of its swimming pool plant rooms. “By the very nature of the beast, many holiday location swimming pools are 30 to 50 years old,” points out Craig Valentine, Bourne’s Regional Health & Safety Manager. “A lot of pool equipment is inherited and, of course, you inherit the problems that go with them. “A future-proof wish list would need a budget between £16 – 20m which we cannot do in one hit so we spread it over several years.” Temporarily halted by the pandemic, Bourne’s current investment programme has included remedial work on 16 of its pools with upgrades planned on 17 more pools next year. Craig says: “We identified our worse performing pools and worked our way up the list to generally raise the bar across the swimming pool stock.”

POOL UPGRADES
Phase one of those upgrades has involved installations of UV water treatment equipment, sand filter changes and the additional of updated chemical controllers. Phase Two will concentrate on updating pipework. Craig explains: “Some were performing at circulation rates of four to five hour turnover and have now been switched to 1.5 hours to two hours which enables us to not only comply with industry guidance but to keep the pools open for longer.” A significant plug of £300k has been invested in leak detection, halting water wastage on a few badly performing pools. “Some people forget about the plant room which is the engine room of the swimming pool, because it is covered up; out of sight and out of mind. “Instead they concentrate on the aesthetics -- but really you have to get the equipment right before you think about the design, because that keeps the swimming pool running efficiently,” he continues. “Generally, the industry has an issue with pool plant sizes,” says Craig. “Sometimes, rather than throw good money after bad; it requires a major strategic rethink in order to tackle plant room issues.” Craig advises choosing equipment that is fit for purpose with improved eco- performance, using less chlorine and less water as well. “Make sure, if you buy new equipment, that it is compatible with what other equipment and don’t just go for salesmen speak,” advises Craig. “Look at new things coming up and try to minimise your chemical handlin,” he adds. “Look for alternatives such as salt chlorination,” he adds. With no laws, regulations or British Standard concerning swimming pool water, it is not always obvious how to demonstrate to customers and staff that you pool is fit for purpose. A free online Code of Practice that codifies the information in the authoritative book Swimming Pool Water published by the Pool Water Advisory Group. (PWTAG). The publication provides pool operators with a structured plan for the technical operation of their pool.

PEACE OF MIND
It makes sense to follow the PWTAG guidance because, if anything does go wrong at the pool, you will be able to demonstrate - in court if necessary – that you were following the best available guidelines.Without this protection, you are vulnerable. It is incumbent on everyone involved in the provision of holiday packages and accommodation to ensure that pools and spas at their destinations are fit for purpose. “We use PWTAG as guidance setters but I get frustrated at people quoting the law at us.” Craig points out. “If you have robust system; good testing; good plant policy and an emergency action plan then you can prove you are adopting best practice.” Craig has worked with Bourne Leisure for 33 years including in his present role for 21 years. “We learned some lessons through restricted pool use during Covid,” Craig reveals. “We understood that some people like to have a structured day and want to know when they are going to swimming and for how long while others want a more relaxed approach. “The pools have not been the problems but the changing facilities. “Getting the guests in the pool and spreading them by 2m in changing rooms – that by their very nature are confined spaces has resulted in a lot more labour, sanitising and ultimately asking people to arrive swim-ready.

BIOMETRIC CONTROL
When it comes to swimming pools, there are plenty of examples of good practice around the UK’s holiday parks. Completed in 2019, the swimming pool at Seldons Golden Gate Holiday Centre, in North Wales, is used by holiday home owners and holiday makers.  Consideration for the build included environmental impact, aesthetic appeal and user experience. The pool hall is an energetic space with high ceilings, a glass facade and clean lines. Sub-floor ventilation voids omit the need for an overhead ventilation infrastructure and provide advanced energy efficient climate control including pool water heating. The pool timetable includes owner- only, adult-only and family swim sessions, along with a lively programme of activities including Water-Walkerz, Water-Peddlerz, RC Watercraft, pool parties and swimming lessons. A bespoke booking system provides customers with the control to use the facility to best suit their requirements. A ‘state of the art’ chemical dosing system ensures water quality is optimal at all times. The integrated Spa areas allow adults to relax and unwind using a variety of bubble stations and high pressure jets.  An integrated children’s pool accommodates safe play incorporating a huge mushroom fountain whilst being at the heart of the pool hall. The pool and changing village access is biometrically controlled allowing ‘real time’ information of users, identify booking trends and peak user times and ensures only pool users are granted access.

HAFAN Y MÃR’S Splashaway Bay pool is the largest in North Wales.

RACING SLIDES
Complete with parachuting penguins, three, 100m flumes and a four-lane racing slide the Hafan y Mar Holiday Park’s Splashaway Bay swimming pool has benefited from a major upgrade. The £3.1m investment included the addition of a new toddler pool, multi-lane swimming pool and food outlet. The wave pool, rapids, main pool slides and flumes were all refurbished, as well as introducing additional fun filled water features. The Lady’s Mile Holiday Park in Dawlish, Devon, removed the old boiler system on its swimming pool and replaced it with brand new eco-boilers. They added new energy efficient pool covers fitted to maintain the temperature of the pool, which in turn reduces energy consumption. They have also purchased a pool hoist, allowing customers with mobility issues to gain access to our pool. Regularly investments in your water features, especially the plant equipment, will ensure your holiday park pool remains the jewel in your visitor crown.

 

ARRESTING POOLCOP EFFICIENCY

ARRESTING POOLCOP EFFICIENCY

When it comes to enhancing the energy efficiency of a pool, the key is good management. Taking care of a pool has never been easier thanks to GC PoolCop Genesis – available from Golden Coast.
The system remotely monitors every aspect of a pool, from temperature, lighting and water levels, to filter status, dosing and disinfection. “GC PoolCop Genesis offers holiday park owners complete visibility of their pool 24/7,” says Adam Clark, Sales Director at Golden Coast. “For example, you can see how much electricity is being used by the pumps, lights and heating, and you can adjust them accordingly in order to reduce energy consumption, water waste and running costs.”
When a fault is found, or something in the pool requires attention, the system sends alerts via a web interface. This enables engineers to act quickly, helping to minimise downtime and lost resources. “Keeping holiday park guests happy means being able to guarantee the use of the swimming pool,” says Adam.
“With GC PoolCop Genesis, you can proactively manage your pool, as you’ll always be able to see how it is performing. You won’t have to worry about unexpected technical problems, pool closures, or disappointed guests.”

Golden Coast
Tel. 01271 378100
www.goldenc.com

FIFTH MVP AWARD FOR VORTEX

FIFTH MVP AWARD FOR VORTEX

Available in the UK via Ustigate, Vortex has received a Most Valuable Products award in 2021 for its Astra collection, as voted for by the readers of Aquatics International Magazine.
The new Astra offers three unique Splashpad® experiences, each with its own fun. Astra No.1 and No.3 provide a halo of water which rains down from above for children to run through. No.3 also features a Twirltec™ ball so children can rotate the water stream to create a beautiful spiral pattern. With three spilling Seeflow™ buckets, Astra No.2 encourages social interaction. Many children can play at once, and anticipation builds as the children see the buckets fill up before they spill.

Ustigate Water Play
Tel. 01322 424445
www.ustigatewaterplay.co.uk

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

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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