Flushed With Success
We humans share five common activities every day: breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping and toileting. When you’re away from home, it’s often the latter which creates the biggest cause for concern. Despite this, washrooms are often overlooked, even in the hospitality and leisure sectors, where guests of all ages will need to make use your facilities. Whether you have a positive or negative experience as a customer, chances are you’ll share it with family, friends and colleagues, or even make a few negative comments on sites like Trip Advisor and Facebook.
Maintaining high standards for your washroom provision can separate you from the competition in a crowded industry. Established in 1987, the Loo of the Year Awards provide a tried-and-tested, cost-effective, independent annual assessment of your operations. Entrants are recognised through an annual grading scheme – including a new grade (Diamond) in 2019. Participants in the event include the UK’s leading retail, hospitality, leisure and entertainment companies. And many holiday park owners already reap the benefits of taking part. In 2018, the national winners included Hillcroft Park (Penrith), Ord House (Berwick on Tweed) and Trotting Mare Caravan Park (Wrexham). All gained significant publicity – both nationally and locally – as a result.
Entries are awarded a star grading (Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond), following an unannounced visit by an authorised LOYA inspector. Every entry is assessed against more than 100 criteria which cover male and female facilities, as well as any baby changing or changing room facilities provided. LOYA criteria, where appropriate, is based on British Standards and the Equality Act, and includes hygiene equipment, cleanliness, fixtures and fittings, décor, maintenance and value-added extras. Providing good facilities for families with babies and young children is particularly important in holiday parks. Assessors will look closely at toilet accessibility and the condition and safety of changing units. Extras, such as baby baths and nappy dispensing facilities all add value: increasing the level of the Award achieved. LOYA organiser Mike Bone has some advice for anyone thinking about entering. He says: “An award-winning holiday ark entrant’s washroom has the ‘Wow’ factor as the provide attractive loos that make toilet use away from home a pleasure – not a concern. “Excellent ventilation, dry floors, constant availability of toilet tissue and hand soap and a safe hygienic environment are what separate winning loos from those which deter visitors from booking again. “ Winners of the Loo of the Year Awards 2019 will be recognised and celebrated in a prestigious daytime Awards Event in December. Whether your site has new or existing washroom facilities, there are several areas of insurance which apply, according to a Compass Insurance spokesperson. Your buildings and structures should be covered under your park’s commercial (business) policy and that should also offer Public Liability (PL) cover, which would be relevant toany washroom-related accident or incident that may lead to a claim by a member of the public. “It is essential to ensure that your PL cover amounts are adequate for your individual business,” notes programme manager Richard Walker. “The standard level offered by your insurer may not be sufficient and an add-on amount may need to be purchased.” For smaller parks, a minimum of £5 million PL cover is suggested. On parks with larger footfall, a minimum of £10 million might be more realistic. For help on choosing adequate PL cover, park owners and managers should speak to their insurance account executive. Employers Liability (EL) insurance cover is readily available as a part of a park’s commercial cover, though on occasion it may need to be bought separately – your insurance account executive should be able to guide you on this. Again, park owners should check that their EL cover is adequate for the individuals they employ and the nature of work they carry out. EL is a legal requirement and the Compass scheme offers cover of up to £10 million. It is the employer’s (i.e. the park owner/manager’s) duty of care to ensure that the washroom facilities are a safe environment for people to work in. As with all buildings and structures on a holiday park, it is essential that your washrooms are adequately insured. In addition to structural and fixtures and fittings re-build costs, your Sums Insured amount may need to take into account the cost of replacing any systems that might also need to be replaced as a result of a total loss, such as water heating systems and drainage.
The total loss of a washroom facility, especially on parks hat are touring/camping only, is the stuff of nightmares for park owners. Without washing and toileting facilities, a park can be left unable to operate. In this respect, the loss of washroom can mean a significant loss of income while the facility is repaired/ replaced. In this instance, an area of insurance called Business Interruption cover could pay dividends. When a business is ‘interrupted’ from normal trading following an insurable event, a Business Interruption (BI) policy can compensate for related financial losses. These might include lost bookings and the cost of refunding bookings that cannot be honoured as well as staff wages . It is important for park owners and managers to note that a condition of your park’s commercial insurance policy is likely to be that you must keep your buildings and facilities in a ‘good state of repair’. This means that if a claim is made and the loss adjuster believes your washroom facilities have not been maintained adequately, this may lead to non-payment. It could even lead to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
Remember also that washroom facilities can create ideal opportunities to communicate with your customers. LED screens are now appearing in washrooms across the UK. While many units are stand-alone, some are integrated into washroom equipment specifically as an advertising medium. If you are working with a smaller budget, clip frames offer an affordable and effective alternative. These can be placed within the cubicles or by the sink and allow you to promote everything from entertainment and activities to special offers and deals.
ABOVE: Jane and Paul Lancaster splashed over £300,000 on the award-winning new washrooms
Spending Wise Park Pennies
When Paul Lancaster and his wife Jane opened Donkey Creek Farm Caravan Park on Lancashire’s Fylde coast, they understood the importance of offering great facilities. Donkey Creek was opened to cater for those seeking a high-quality location to pitch on the Fylde coast, which is close to the scenic countryside and its famous resorts. One of the first tasks was to build a state-of-the-art washroom facility for guests pitching up at the park with motorhomes, touring caravans and tents. Enabling them to spend a penny in five-star surroundings cost around £300,00 – and has helped Donkey Creek earn a raft of glowing reviews… and a top Platinum Award from LOYA just a year after opening. New facilities include large shower and drying areas, private family bathrooms, hairdryers, underfloor heating and full access for people with limited mobility. In addition to the Award, LOYA inspectors also gave the washroom cleaning team a special certificate for the outstandingly high standards of cleanliness maintained. For Paul, the washroom building reflects the park’s aspirations. He explains: “Donkey Creek has a very special appeal to people who enjoy away-from-it-all holidays in gorgeous surroundings, and we've tried to provide the perfect backdrop for that.”
Pinewood Holiday Park is at the heart of the North Norfolk coast in Wells-next-the-Sea. They offer modern and luxury holiday accommodation and wanted their two new washroom blocks to reflect the high standards that Pinewood strives for across all areas of the park. Having worked with caravan and camping sites for many years, Dunhams Washroom Systems had no hesitation in recommending its Challenger system. Challenger WC, shower and changing cubicles are a long-lasting and versatile cubicle systems designed for high traffic and wet area use. Along with this, Dunham Washroom System vanities, seating, shower rail systems and accessories completed the package.