GREAT EXPECTATIONS

great expectationsGREAT EXPECTATIONS

Boosted by what was the hottest summer on record, the UK’s holiday park sector has never been so appealing. More Brits each year are continuing to enjoy all that the country’s parks have to offer - and what an offering it is. From quirky wigwams and shepherds tents to deluxe lodges and cabins, today’s holiday parks and campsites are better equipped than ever before for their increasingly discerning guests. Accommodation features that were once considered luxurious are now seen as the norm. Take glamping as an example. Nobody needs to be reminded of the rise and rise of glamping, but what is noteworthy is how such accommodation is fast moving from fringe to mainstream. Rather than just providing a handful of pods alongside their traditional holiday homes, some parks are now dedicating large sections of their grounds to a variety of glamping modules, creating in effect a mini-village for guests seeking this type of experience. There are also instances of parks swapping a number of their seasonal or touring pitches for this style of accommodation, purely as a response to customer preference.

BROAD APPEAL

Glamping is also broadening the appeal of taking a holiday on a park to couples and families who might otherwise not have considered the option. In many cases, this might have been because they hadn’t quite grasped the concept of what a park offers in terms of its rented accommodation, or simply because the guests weren’t keen on camping. By contrast, the idea of staying in a shepherd’s hut, safari tent or hobbit house is easy to understand, and provides an element of adventure and fun with which it is easy to engage. “If glamping is an example of camping on an upward trajectory as far as quality is concerned, then the same can also be said of caravan holiday homes,” comments Jon Boston, a spokesperson for the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA). “Many of these now have levels of refinement far beyond what a customer would expect as standard a decade ago, including features such as en-suite bathrooms, exterior decking, wide-screen TVs and sophisticated sound systems.” Jon adds: “UK manufacturers have proved themselves adept at constantly refining their product, but there may be some evidence that holiday lodges will become more dominant in the future. Some park groups are now favouring lodges over holiday caravans when developing new pitches, both for sales and rental.”

COMFORT FACTOR

Great Expectations 2The extra space in a lodge can make for a more comfortable stay, especially if the customer is holidaying with an extended family or friends. For rental purposes, lodges also enable parks to offer a more luxurious experience. Some lodge breaks are now being styled along the lines of a boutique hotel with added features such as robes and slippers, upscale toiletries, bubbly in the fridge, and even fresh croissants delivered in the morning. Says Jon: “The trend towards more highly specified caravan holiday homes and lodges is also consistent with the move by many parks to extend their opening seasons. Local authorities would appear to be increasingly more accommodating when faced with such requests from parks, recognising the wider economic benefits to be gained from lengthening the holiday year, not least among the many businesses in their area which depend on visitor spending.” He adds: “With modern holiday homes now providing highly efficient central heating systems as well as double glazing and increased levels of insulation, holidays throughout the four seasons become much more practical.”

PARK PRODUCT

At Skelwith Fold caravan park in the Lake District, new accommodation trends are enabling park owner Henry Wild to broaden his customer base. The Ambleside park has around 450 pitches for holiday home owners and touring guests – but camping is not permitted: “This once meant that Skelwith Fold was only open to people with a touring caravan or motorhome, so we were limiting our guests to people who already understood the park product,” comments Henry. “A few years ago, however, we decided to remedy that by introducing top-end glamping modules for hire, based on the Swift S-Pod. This immediately extended our appeal to couples who might never before have considered using a park for a holiday.” He adds: “Their success encouraged us this year to invest in two safari tents, fully furnished and kitted-out, which are also proving immensely popular, especially with younger families.” While glamping is great for generating additional revenue, Henry believes that the real value of this accommodation is in generating interest in holiday home ownership. At least fifteen sales of holiday homes on the park over the past few years can be attributed to glamping stays.

TASTER BREAKS

Great Expectations 3“Many people typically book for three or four nights and that is sufficient for them to get an idea of what life could be like for them as owners. It’s surprising just how many on their last day ask if they can just take a quick look at one of our show homes before they leave!” says Henry. He adds: “As an industry, we have always known that a better understanding by consumers of what we offer could widen considerably our market potential. Glamping is doing the job far more effectively and economically than any amount of advertising could achieve.”
Switched on park owners who want to keep abreast of the everevolving world of park accommodation can get a first glimpse of the new 2019 models at the HERCMA Shows at The Lawns and Beaulieu this Autumn. Some 300 models of touring caravans, holiday homes, lodges and park homes will be on display at the shows, which run from September 4th – 6th (The Lawns) and September 21st – 23rd (Beaulieu).

RETAIL SALES

“The industry overall is enjoying a good year with retail sales on the rise in all sectors, in particular with holiday homes and park homes,” explains Michael Ritchie, Event Manager of the Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association (HERCMA) Shows. “Customers want more and more creature comforts in their holiday homes and manufacturers strive to keep pace. Electronic gadgetry is now common in many of the higher priced units and in recent years there has been a rise in the popularity of twin units for both holiday and residential use. In fact, there will be a record number of twin units on display at The Lawns show this year – nearly 40 of them from 13 different manufacturers.”The Lawns show has been running for more than 40 years at The Lawns in Cottingham. It is run by HERCMA, which comprises five manufacturers from the region: ABI, Carnaby, Coachman, Swift and Willerby. Open to the public, the show attracts well over 20,000 visitors each year. “There will be numerous new product launches – as always at The Lawns,” promises Michael. “ABI and Swift are unveiling additional twin units with highly imaginative layouts; Willerby will be unveiling its range of park homes; and companies such as Pathfinder, Prestige-Homeseeker and Omar-Wessex always have stunning new designs on show and are promising the same this time.” Commenting on the future of holiday park accommodation, Michael adds: “I think that holiday caravans, lodges and park homes will continue to evolve, according to customer requirements, becoming, along with parks, more and more energy efficient, providing some of greenest and most environmentally holidays and residential accommodation available. While there may be short-term problems with issues such as Brexit, the longer-term future looks pretty good.”

Company Contacts

ASSOCIATION
Tel. 01452 526911
www.bhhpa.org.uk

COMPASS INSURANCE
Tel. 01452 511430
www.compass.co.uk

THE LAWNS AND BEAULIEU SHOWS 2018
www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com

No Quick Fix

no quick fixNo Quick Fix

I will start with a confession. Wisper it quietly, but there is no ‘quick fix’ that will instantly fill your holiday park with customers, especially in the quieter months. That magic button for your website – the one that will send bookings through the roof is, well, I’m afraid just a myth…
So, it’s time for a reality check. The only way to ensure your park is best placed to turn those clicks and enquiries into bookings and sales is to have a proper strategy in place. It can be really frustrating to see large volumes of traffic coming to your website but so few of those continuing to book their holidays. Abandoned bookings and poor conversions rates are an obvious sign that all is not well somewhere in the online booking process.

JIGSAW PIECES

Whether you own a large group of holiday parks or you’re just starting out with a few touring pitches, your online booking platform is arguably the most important piece of the jigsaw. You can spend thousands of pounds per month on marketing but, if it’s all let down by a process that inhibits the booking process then you’re wasting all your hard-earned cash. Online booking systems vary greatly from one another - and the most expensive one may not necessarily be the best for your park. You need a system that not only fulfils your requirements from a park management perspective but is, crucially, easy for your customers to navigate and book online.

It is too easy to forget the customer booking journey with parks too often spending more time focusing on the back-office functionality of an online booking system. But these online booking steps are, potentially, far more important than whether the system can produce all your different financial reports. Most systems (but not all) on the market will come with a set of online booking steps that will be the link between your website and booking system. It is crucial that you choose a system that has booking steps that are clear, straightforward and easily navigable for your customers.Why not take the journey yourself, as a customer would (we recommend trying this on a mobile too). If you find yourself getting frustrated then multiply this by the average number of people who visit your website and you’ll soon see why so many people abandon their bookings.

GDPR COMPLIANCE

hate to be the bearer of bad news but complying with GDPR wasn’t just sending out a few re-subscribe emails to your database at the end of May. It’s fair to say that it’s had (and will continue to have) a big impact on the holiday park industry. One thing’s for sure – it’s already had a big impact on the online booking sector, with many changes having been made to systems to comply as best they can with the new regulations. A cornerstone element of GDPR is customer data. Your online booking system is, potentially, storing thousands of customer records, accounts and, in some cases, payment details too.

Do you know for sure where all that customer data is? Is it stored directly on the computer in your office – and is this vulnerable to hackers? Or is the data stored in the cloud? Is it encrypted to the highest level? Are your online booking steps collecting marketing information even from those who don’t complete a booking? If so, what’s being done with all that data? All these are vitally important questions you should ask your current provider or ask yourself before changing to a new system as you will be liable, should the worst happen.If your online booking is the final part of the jigsaw, then getting your customers into that booking process, is the first. How do you attract the right sort of customer to your park to begin with?
Before you commit to spending hundreds or thousands of pounds per month on a Google AdWords PPC campaign or such like you need to ask yourself one fundamental question – who are your customers? How old are they? Where do they live? What interests do they have? What do they spend on an average holiday? Once you have a clear idea of the people you’re targeting then you’re more likely to achieve the desired result. Depending on the sort of customer you’re targeting, your marketing can be grouped into various activities, including your website, email, social media, pay per click (PPC) or printed media. All of this will filter back to the online booking process.

KEY WORDS

A good website that’s well optimised for all the relevant keywords is certainly a good start and will be integral for just about everything you do but it will not, necessarily, be the huge driver of traffic on its own, that it once was. Things are ever-changing in the world of the web and the level of competition has gone from stiff to fierce, especially in popular holiday destinations such as the South West of England.

That being said, there are some key things to consider with your current website to help it work best for you:

• Does it stand out from the crowd? Does it have a ‘wow’ factor?
• Is it quick and easy to use on a mobile device?
• Do the images properly showcase your setting and accommodation range?
• Are your CTAs (calls to action) clear and consistent – ‘book now’ ‘check prices & availability’ ‘call now’

How much do you spend on your marketing and what sort of Return on Investment (ROI) are you getting? Do you know? If the answer to this last question is a resounding ‘no’ then it’s time to take stock of your current activity…and think again. If, for whatever reason, you are not able to apportion revenue against your marketing then you are working with one hand behind your back.

MEASURE SUCCESS

E-commerce tracking really is the cornerstone of measuring a campaign’s success, whether it be a promotional email or a Google AdWords campaign. Without this knowledge it’s almost impossible to know if what you’re doing is right. So many people are obsessed with the volume of clicks and traffic that a campaign sends to their website but this can often be very misleading. Always think – quality over quantity! You’re aiming for ‘qualified’ clicks; those that come from an audience who are in-tune and interested in your product, not those who may have clicked your banner ad by mistake. To this end, your external marketing should follow the same premise. As mentioned, know your audience and aim your marketing at this focused bunch of people, don’t waste your time and money on a scattergun approach because it simply won’t work.

Pitched
Tel. 01726 418118
Pitched.co.uk

Hot Tub Revolution

Hot Tub Revolution

hot tub revolution

We have all been there. It is the height of the season. The clock is ticking on your holiday lets. Just a six-hour changeover window to dump the old hot tub water and heat the fresh water in time for the new arrivals who are chomping at the bit to take the plunge. This typical scenario is generally a twice-weekly race against the clock; the quickest of rollovers that needs to be completed seamlessly if we are to side-step the inevitable complaints and money-back claims. As an industry standard, using conventional methods, a holiday hot tub, with a normal 3kw heater, will heat water on changeover at one degree an hour, that is up to 24 hours to get up to optimum temperatures.

So take note of a ground-breaking new state-of-the-art product, called the Climacube that will heat a hot tub at seven to eight degrees per hour. The Climacube will heat hot tubs in around 4-5 hours from cold with a consumption of only 1KW per/hour with a COP of over 3.5 in minus temperatures. If I then told you the Climacube can cut heating costs by up to 70 per cent and this technology can be used to provide hot water and heating to your holiday lodges themselves....yes, keep calm and form an orderly queue. Available as a stand-alone unit, the ClimaCube can be retro-fittedto all makes of hot tubs. It is also available as a pre-installed feature in a bespoke range of hot tubs by ClimaCube’s creator, Park Leisure Solutions. Launched at the start of the 2018 season; good news travels fast. Forward thinking companies like Parkdean Resorts were amongst the first to snap up the new technology that already features on over 70 hot tubs at holiday parks in Poole, Norwich and Skegness. Based on a thermo-dynamic patented technology, working off a 13 amp supply, the all-singing, all-dancing Climacube is a refrigerant-based product.

In essence, it is the next step for heat pumps – heaven-sent for parks who can cut their reliability on piped or bottle gas supply lines and switch to reliable off-grid sources.

PROBLEM SOLVER

What Trevor Baylis was to the wind-up radio, so is Climacube creator, Stuart Mulcahy, for the holiday hot tub sector. Having over 20 years’ experience in the hot tub industry, Stuart dipped a toe into the holiday park market some five years ago and began searching for a product that would both solve problems and cut running costs. “I had worked in the industry long enough to understand the problems facing holiday lets with hot tubs,” says Stuart. “The solution, to supply quality built, energy efficient, commercial hot tubs that customers can rely on,” says Stuart.

WORLDWIDE PATENT

Hot Tub Revolution“So many holiday park operators have been sold domestic tubs or modified tubs that are not easy to maintain, have domestic spa covers and present a serious amount of problems when it comes to customer care,” he adds. The lightbulb moment came with a variation on proven heat The Climacube Heat System offers the very latest energy saving heat technology, dramatically reducing running costs, increasing customer usage, reducing the carbon footprint and enabling customers to use hot tubs all year round, at the desired temperature without the concern of cost. Customers are already benefiting, with installations producing significant reductions in their energy heating costs.

Unlike conventional heat systems, Climacube will heat hot tubs in around 4-5 hours from cold with a consumption of only 1KW per/hour with a COP of over 3.5 in minus temperatures – meaning a dramatic reduction in your annual hot tub energy costs. pump technology that is now backed by a worldwide patent. Much more than a heat pump, significant techniques include the way air is brought into the unit and distributed via a compressor. Supplied with the appropriate European wide accreditations, the UK designed Climacube is in full production and is supplied and serviced nationwide. “This is very new and different way of heating that has been developed over three years with tests and proto-types in the factory and on site,” explains Stuart. “It would be very easy to say, I will buy that heat pump and see if I can adapt it,” he says. “Rather than do that, we have started from scratch to ensure the system draws minimum current but produces maximum results.”

Developments are already in the pipeline to offer remote control and apps to refine monitoring and diagnostics by the 2019 season. “Much more than heat pumps, this bespoke-designed system has been developed to specifically to speed the heating of hot water in the tub while drawing only 1kw of energy to put 7kw into the water. “ Offering their own nationwide team of hot tub installers and offering training to both the hot tub and holiday park industries, Park Leisure Solutions already has its system working on nearly 70 sites even though it is its launch year. They are working with leading suppliers on the strategic changeover of redundant hot tub stock, replacing them with the super energy-efficient and time-strategic alternatives. “Time after time, we are meeting with exasperated holiday park operators who find themselves with hot tub issues not of their making. “All too often running with out-dated product, or domestic units, trying to get as much rental income as possible out of them before making changes. “Often those tubs have been supplied with no back-up or service,” says Stuart, who warns that some operators are falling out of love with holiday hot tubs and a bucket-load of problems and potential client complaints.

“Having recognised the issues and developed commercial built, reliable solutions we are now working with leading industry names, including Parkdean Resorts, to re-invest in hot tubs. “For all the positives with encouraging bookings, we all know the pitfalls with hot tubs with customers tampering with controls, tearing covers that look terrible and do not insulate properly. “We are offering the right product that ticks all boxes,” emphasises Stuart. Made in Canada the Park Leisure Solutions hot tub range is made up of a five hand-picked models, specifically adapted for holiday park market. Stuart points out. “Our hot tub range is supplied with a strong white acrylic finish with luxurious silver and grey marbling, polysteel cabinetry with galvanized SureSteel Frame plus layered ROXUL® Insulation and industry leading warranties as standard.”

RESEARCH AND DESIGNHot Tub Revoltion 2

The Park Leisure Solutions team has worked with specialist health and safety consultants to ensure their models not just meet but exceed HSE hot tub guidelines. The company has invested  ignificantly in research and design, questioning some industry advice, such as erosion feeders, which they believe are not right for the holiday park marketplace. “There is so much misinformation out there,” Stuart despairs. “We have carried out extensive research, development and testing over three years before launch.”

“We can either adapt existing stock or simply supply alternative stock.” Stuart adds: “We can sell on the technology but the biggest bonus is avoiding the complaints that accompany changeovers,” As well as the positives it brings to holiday hot tubs, the Climacube offers huge promise for the improvement in energy efficiency of swim spas with impressive reduced running costs The technology is also available for swimming pools with scope to link to hot water and heating systems for holiday lodges and caravans – all offered off the national gas grid. Quick. That queue is getting longer!

Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 69 11 66
www.parkleisuresolutions.co.uk

Holiday Habits Revealed

Holiday Habits Revealed

holiday habits revealed

New survey data reveals the truth behind the nation’s holiday habits, and exposes exactly just how and what we’re spending on those all-important holidays. When it comes to holidays, the people of the UK certainly aren’t holding back on their spending. Ocean Florida’s data reveals that 16% of people in the UK are splurging between £3,000 and £10,000 on their summer getaway. It’s not just money, but time that people are willing to give as just under a third of holiday makers (31%) are opting to go on holiday, not once, but twice a year. Those with children are actually far more likely to take multiple holidays a year, with 34% of families taking two holidays a year, as opposed to only 28% of households without children. Millennials were also taking less holidays each year compared to families with kids, as only 32% stated they take two holidays a year. So, although it may be thought that millennials have more disposable income and time, it’s not always being spent on holidays. When it comes to spending money on holiday accessories, such as clothes, it’s those without children who are spending more. A third (30%) of respondents without kids spent between £101 and £250, compared to only a quarter of those with children.

For more information please visit www.ocean-florida.co.uk

Sensibly Economic

Sensibly Economic

Sensibilly EconomicInstant, continuous and sensibly economic for every type of commercial site, Rinnai, the UK’s leading manufacturer of continuous flow hot water heating units and systems, has recently completed an installation at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, replacing the old direct fired stored hot water system. Peckforton Castle, built in 1842 and completed in 1851, is a Victorian country house built in the style of a medieval castle and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade I listed building. Now a popular luxury hotel and spa, two HDC 1500i units were linked to solar panels as the main hot water heating source by contractor A P Mitchell.

Rinnai
Tel. 01928 531 870
www.rinnaiuk.com

More For Less

More For Less

More For LessIncrease bookings, automate tasks and effortlessly manage your glampsite with GlampManager GlampManager is an easy to use management and booking system designed specifically for glampsites. The software lets you create and manage your own bookings, process payments and send out email confirmations. Take commission-free bookings through your website and automatically remind customers when to pay their holiday balances online. GlampManager’s Channel Management system helps you to increase exposure and bookings by integrating with 3rd parties such as Glampsites.com, PitchUp, Booking.com and AirBnB, reducing the risk of double bookings. Get a free 30 day trial by visiting our website!

GlampManager
Tel: 02081 331 005
www.glampmanager.com

Payback Periods

Payback Periods

Payback PeriodsThe payback investment over the 10 years-plus life of a single Rinnai unit can be measured and shown to out-perform cheaper and much less efficient water heaters in a matter of months. The continuous flow units and systems offer heating efficiency, reliability, space saving, Legionella prevention and environmentally conscious Low NoX Outputs. A Limescale Check system ensures optimum performance throughout the life of the unit by constant monitoring and alerts for any build-up of limescale residue.

Rinnai
Tel. 01928 531 870
www.rinnaiuk.com

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

Cutting EdgeDesigned with simplicity, performance and reliability at its core, the ProCut 53 rotary mower from Trimax comes in four cutting widths. All can match the finish of a cylinder mower in a range of conditions while completely outclassing them on rougher terrain. The mowers can stripe, spread clippings, perform exceptionally in wet conditions, cope with rough ground and debris, cut cleanly at high ground speeds and mow in reverse. If you are interested in a demonstration get in touch with Trimax today.

Trimax Mowing Systems
Tel. 01933 652235
www.trimaxmowers.co.uk

The Ultimate Massage

The Ulimate Massage

The Ultimate MassageDon’t settle for cheap hot tubs, give your guests the ultimate massage experience. Defined and renowned for quality hot tubs, Superior Spas boasts an impressive holiday let hot tub portfolio all of which conform to HSG282 regulations. An award-winning customer service and support team offers constant support to each customer. Superior Spas’ Holiday Let hot tubs offer four, six and eight-person spas to cater for small to large lodges and cottages. Superior Spas are the official hot tub supplier to Sykes Cottages and supply their holiday cottages with their outstanding range of holiday let hot tubs.

Superior Spas
Tel. 01246 559071
www.superiorspas.co.uk

Insurance Matters

Insurance MattersInsurance Matters

As a caravan park insurance specialist, Wilby currently arrange insurance for more than 100 parks across the UK, from the North of Scotland to the South coast of England. Our caravan park insurance aims to cover most risks and contingencies you may face as the owner of a holiday or caravan park business. With detailed knowledge of the holiday and caravan park industry and related insurance risks, we can offer more than just insurance. We have our own team of risk management consultants who can help you to put procedures in place to limit the risks your park faces and therefore potentially reduce the likelihood of claims.

Wilby
Tel. 01422 358525
www.wilbyltd.co.uk