Raising The Bar

Raising The BarRaising the bar

More than 20,000 people have stayed at Shropshire’s new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort since it opened last year and advance bookings continue to pour in. Although managers of the Love2Stay at Emstrey, Shrewsbury were expecting an initial surge of interest, they have been overwhelmed by the positive public response to the new resort, particularly to the range of activities on offer. The resort, which aims to raise the bar for quality UK holidays, has 124 touring caravan pitches and a village of 11 luxury glamping lodges opened last month. Each safari lodge has its own private hot tub and fire pit. Developed by Salop Leisure, one of the UK’s premier caravan and leisure companies, the resort offers visitors a luxurious natural retreat within easy reach of the pretty market town of Shrewsbury. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Laura Plumridge, who manages the resort with her husband, Geoff “We opened the weekend before Whitsun and the resort has been full every weekend since,” adds Laura, praising the teamwork of the resort’s 14 full and part-time staff and activity suppliers who all live locally. “Forward bookings were full for half term in October and filled up fast for Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, as well as Easter and August this year. In fact 65 per cent are rebooking before they leave,” Laura continues. “One of the things that has surprised us most is the demand for activities. We had no idea just how popular they would be – our record to date is 220 children in one day and we had 60. “We arrange up to 12 activities a day and have families staying with us just to participate. Our guests have really embraced the ‘back to nature’ ethos and there is a hunger for parents to be able to facilitate that for their children. “Children are on the go all the time they are here and we’ve had some that don’t want to go home after their holiday. Parents also find time for themselves to relax and enjoy the facilities. “We are privileged to be chosen for people’s holiday, especially when they have young children. They look forward to spending two weeks of quality time together, so we have an obligation to make their stay the best it can be.”

Love2Stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature.

Love2Stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature.

CORPORATE HOSPITALITY

Guests have predominantly been young families or active grandparents with grandchildren this summer. The resort is also hoping to provide twoday packages for the corporate hospitality market. As daily lives become dominated by technology and children are easily glued to i-pads and the Internet, Love2stay aims to create an environment which is in harmony with nature and where guests can experience the grass between their toes. The stunning centre piece is a natural swimming pool which is flanked on three sides by spacious teak decking and thermal hot tubs, sunbeds and seating, where guests can enjoy light refreshments from the in-house coffee shop. This pool was designed and supplied by Poolscape Ltd in collaboration with multiple RHS Gold Medal winning landscape design practice, MOSAIC. The team used the latest technology from Austrian natural pool specialists BIOTOP to offer swimmers crystal clear, chemical free water, which is naturally filtered. During the evening, the indoor and outdoor area turns into a trendy Italian eatery, with most dishes being cooked in the huge woodfired pizza oven. There’s also a cinedrome where guests can relax and watch films. For more energetic guests, complementary access to the on-site fitness suite is available and a marine style assault course is a must for adrenaline seekers. Regular yoga, pilates and meditation classes are available together with a menu of spa treatments for a more holistic experience. Upon placing a booking, guests receive an activity diary offering the opportunity to pre-book activities such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, raft building and a range of sports. They can learn a wide range of bush-craft skills with an in-house forest ranger, including foraging, survival skills and there’s even a teddy bears picnic. A recreational fishing lake, an adventure playground for children, craft activities, animated storytelling, super hero yoga, a barefoot sensory walk, den building and a woodland hideout are also on the list of things to try.

Advance bookings continue to pour in for Shropshire's new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort.

Advance bookings continue to pour in for Shropshire's new £6 million caravanning and glamping resort.

HOTEL CALIBRE

Love2Stay aims to provide holidays with facilities and levels of customer service akin to a luxury boutique hotel. There is a separate reception and concierge service desk, food delivery service and even the opportunity to book private dining with a personal chef at one of the pre-bookable outdoor kitchens and barbeques The resort is set in 22 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with panoramic views across to Wales from one side and over to the Shropshire Hills from the other. Salop Leisure’s managing director Mark Bebb, explained the thinking behind the resort. “We know that we need to put effort into the re-generation of our industry and it’s our vision that Love2stay will accomplish this,” he said. “We have been mindful when developing the park that we needed to create an offering which appeals to a younger, fresher audience, in order to ensure the success and longevity of the business. “The location of the park, adjacent to one of the premier dealerships in the UK, works well too – there’s a huge accessory shop and access to the aftersales and service team for any advice customers may need,” Laura continues. “We want to breathe fresh air into the industry and this is the next step in staycations. “We know it’s cliché to say we want to put the quality back into family time, but it really is the vision we’re working towards and we hope that others will follow suit and help us regenerate the industry for everyone’s future.”

The Love2Stay Tel: 01743 583124

Bunn Leisure Entertainment Investment

Bunn Leisure Entertainment Investment

Bunn LesiureAward-winning holiday park operator, Bunn Leisure, is continuing to invest heavily in a new state-of the-art entertainment complex and a purpose-built main reception and head office facility. The 300-acre holiday park on the stunning Selsey Peninsula is split into four villages and is mid-way through an ambitious £16m refurbishment programme replacing the 60-year-old White Horse entertainment complex.

“The White Horse was a much-loved feature at Bunn Leisure, but some parts date back to 1959 when the park was created,” Managing Director John Bunn said. “The new complex will be a very modern 21st century entertainment venue – much larger and with fantastic new facilities for our parks. With Bunn Leisure’s entertainment budget at around £2million each year, the new club will be able to welcome twice as many guests, and is expected to quadruple turnover.

“We continue to re-invest heavily in our facilities and Parks which clearly demonstrates our ongoing commitment as an innovative leader in the UK family holiday sector,” adds John. “The money we are investing into these latest improvements takes the total reinvestment value in the parks over the last 20 years to £75m.” Bunn Leisure’s new head office and visitor reception is now complete, and staff are currently relocating in stages to their new offices. Bunn Leisure employs 350 full-time and a further 350 seasonal staff, and welcomes more than 100,000 holidaymakers every year. It generates more than £60m for the local economy and the new developments will create future employment opportunities for the region.

Holiday Pools Shortlisted For Awards

Holiday Pools Shortlisted For Awards

AWards WinnerEntrepreneur, television celebrity and former winner of The Apprentice, Michelle Dewberry, will be the VIP guest at the UK Pool & Spa Awards at the NEC, Birmingham on December 4th.

With record-breaking entries, the Holiday Park Pool category is shaping into one of the most hotly-contested groups with ten shortlisted entrants vying for success. Last year’s category winners, Tydd Giles Golf & Country Club, return to defend their title. They are joined by 2016’s gold standard winners; Lady’s Mile Holiday Park, Brean Leisure and Holiday Park Unity, and Plas Coch Holiday Homes.

New entrants this year include Bourne Leisure, Ladram Bay Holiday Park, Ribby Hall Village Holiday Park, Seashore Holiday Park, Calypso Cove Waterpark, and Kelling Heath Holiday Park make up the ten parks battling it out to be crowned ‘Holiday Park Pool of the Year 2017’.

With entries for the hotly-anticipated UK Pool and Spa Awards closed, and votes pouring in across over 30 categories, the tenth anniversary of the awards are shaping up to be most tightly contested yet.

AWards

Log on to www. ukpoolandspaawards.com to see this year’s entrants, cast your vote and book your place at the awards show.

 

 

Stitch In Time – Landscaping

Stitch In Time - Landscaping Focus

Stitch In TimeThey say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought-out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. A useful starting point is to focus on the ‘unique selling point’ of your park or for types of clientele.

If a significant proportion of your guests are young adults on a short stay, you will want to provide ‘robust’ spaces with plenty of secure seating. Clever use of security-style planting such as prickly or thorny plants, will deter access to other protected areas. On the other hand, if the bulk of your long-term residents are more mature, ensure that there are safe and attractive ornamental spaces immediately around the living areas and communal spaces, but keep them clear from debris and obstacles and use non-slip surfaces.

DUTY OF CARE

For younger guests, preparing suitable landscaping options can prove even more challenging, ensuring that play areas are safety compliant and you can demonstrate appropriate ‘duty of care’. “People often stay in a holiday park to feel more connected with the local outdoor environment, explains Martin Howe of Wykeham Mature Plants, “But it is the holiday park itself that will bring repeat custom.

“A holiday park business cannot rely solely on their location or the surrounding countryside and must provide attractive, functional spaces,” advises Martin. “Why would you stay on a site, even if there are amazing views of the surrounding countryside, if the site itself is untidy, unloved, looks unprofessional, and even potentially dangerous?” Martin encourages holiday parks to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and how it will benefit the business and customers alike.

“Prioritise key areas and the timescale in which you need to address them,” he advises, “Large planting schemes, as well as needing significant initial outlay, will also require maintenance, so plan for this from the start and don’t take on more than you can handle in one go,” he continues. Stitch In Time 2

“Balance this with the logistical benefits (lower transport costs, less disruption in the long term, etc) of larger jobs and decide whether to undertake a single, major project or whether to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks,” Martin adds.

Knowledge of site conditions are also essential before preparing large scale landscaping works, specifically the growing conditions in each location (drainage, soil type, exposure, etc) as well as any other limiting factors, such as access by children and proximity to grazing animals. “Select plants accordingly – planting the right plant in the right place will avoid problems later,” warns Martin.

PLANTING SEASON

There is often a wider, or cheaper, selection of suitable plants available during the traditional planting season, which is during dormancy (November to March); for many holiday parks this coincides with the off-season, so this is the ideal time to plant horticulturally, commercially, and logistically to minimise disturbance to your customers. Naturally, demand for planting services at this time of year is high so plan ahead.

To read more about prepping and planning for landscaping work please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.

COMPANY CONTACTS

FORDINGBRIDGE Tel.01243 55 44 55 www.fordingbridge.co.uk

WOODLAND HORTICULTURE LTD Tel. 01458 441122 www.woodlandhp.co.uk

WYKEHAM MATURE PLANTS Tel. 01723 862406 www.wykehammatureplants.co.uk

Look Before You Leap

Look Before You Leap

Look Before You LeapWatch out! Watch out! There is a plethora of non-compliant holiday hot tubs about. And with the onus on park operators and holiday let landlords to show duty of care, the holiday sector is being urged to look before you leap and check those hot tub credentials.

Currently acknowledged as the must-have search criteria for holiday bookers, there are potentially hazardous pitfalls that many holiday park operators are falling into when offering the hot tub experience to guests. In recent years, a significant number of holiday park operators and holiday let owners have purchased and operate portable spas which are in fact, domestic hot tubs, only designed for home use, and not intended for commercial markets. Often these hot tubs are not suitable for rental lodges and do not comply with the guidance within the Health & Safety Executive’s control of Legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool system (HSG282), which was released in January 2017.

BEST PRACTICE

Although the HSG282 is not statutory law, it is considered best practice and is viewed as an approved code of practice. The standard would be used in a court of law as a measure of whether or not a risk holder has complied ‘as far a reasonably practical’ to meet the requirements of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. “A lot of holiday parks are not aware, or worse still, ignore the health and safety guidance that is published relating to hot tub use and control of Legionella in spa pools in business and commercial settings,” comments Chris Brady of 1 Stop Spas, Lincolnshire, whose sister company, SpaTech also runs training for holiday park operators and holiday let landlords.

Look Before You Leap 2“This poses the greatest risk to the use of hot tubs, particularly in a business setting like a holiday park.” In accordance with regulations made by the Health & Safety Executive, regular testing of both pH and disinfection should be made at least three times a day and the results logged and kept for at least five years. A monthly microbiological test is also required, testing for Legionella every quarter. The Management of Spa Pools booklet insists that the tub ‘needs to have a continuous chemical feeder built into the spa to continuously treat it with disinfectant’. These devices are not always installed into a hot tub at the point of manufacture and would therefore have to be retro-fitted at a later stage.

TICKING BOXES

Says Chris: “The release of HSG282 is very particular for all the right reasons, however, there were little or no hot tubs available on the market that ticked all of the criteria that HSG282 recommends. “Now that the industry has taken time to digest the detail released in HSG282, we are starting to see manufacturers designing and producing hot tubs which will be fit for purpose and comply with HSG282 in the very near future.”

For more unmissable advice on hot tub rentals please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here .

COMPANY CONTACTS

1 STOP SPAS/SPATECH TRAINING Tel. 01522 300737 www.1stopspas.com

SPA SOLUTIONS Tel. 01536 540122 www.spasolution.co.uk

URBAN CEDAR HOT TUBS Tel. 01934 833 844 www.urbancedarhottubs.co.uk

Fun For The Family

Fun For The Family

Fun For The FamilyWhen Bert House, a Somerset dairy farmer, opened his farm to a group of scouts in the summer of 1948, it started a trend which continues to grow to this day. From its humble beginnings, the family-led team of Holiday Resort Unity have been aiming to get people smiling for over 65 years.

Grandson, Alan House, says: “Guests still enjoy many of the same things which that troop of scouts loved about their pioneering visit here fresh air, fantastic views and the sandy beach of Brean”. Today the four-star resort incorporates Brean Leisure Park and Golden Sands Holiday Park under the name of Holiday Resort Unity. “We have continued to develop the facilities of the resort with Brean Play Indoor Softplay centre, Brean Splash Waterpark and Brean Golf Club; and did we mention that we’re just 200m from the beach,” adds Alan.

 

CATERING QUALITY

As well as scooping numerous awards, including five in 2016 alone, Holiday Resort Unity boasts a vast array of on-site facilities and catering options which includes ten restaurants and a supermarket for guests. With such a large footprint on the Somerset countryside Holiday Resort Unity spreads its 76 static caravans and 445 touring pitches across three sites. The original Holiday Resort Unity is perfect for families with easy access to entertainment and facilities; Brean Leisure Park is closer to the action and onsite fun; and Golden Sands, the quietest site, with five miles of golden beaches. “As one of Somerset’s top camping and caravan parks, we have a great choice of accommodation to suit your needs and budget. Whether you’re a seasoned camper, wannabe glamper or looking for high-end luxury,” comments Alan.

HUGE ATTRACTIONS

Fun For The Family 2With on-site facilities such as the state-of-the-art gym and indoor and outdoor splash zones with views overlooking the Mendips, there is plenty for the whole family. The indoor and outdoor splash zones feature slides, interactive water features, tipping buckets, mini-slides, and a 25m six-lane swimming pool with male and female gym exclusive changing and sauna and steam room. Kids are also encouraged to enjoy the soft play centre, and big kids have the options of Brean’s Golf Course – open to beginners and pros – or Brean Theme Park with over 40 rides and attractions including rollercoasters and dodgems.

Brean Golf Club’s 18-hole course is set in 120 acres of lush green meadowland, the course is interspersed by several water ways and ponds that make formidable hazards around the flat landscape. “With the course being so close to the sea, you’ll find the fresh winds and breezes can change a hole dramatically from one day to the next. We also offer a range of services including coaching, club repairs and a selection of golf equipment to buy and rent,” adds Alan.

“If great fishing and beautiful surroundings are what you’re looking for, Holiday Resort Unity is the place for you. On the edge of yellow field nestled beneath the willow trees you will find our fishing lake.” Adding to the extensive list of attractions in 2017 was Sunshine Farm, a delightful experience for kids to meet and learn about some of the resident farmyard favourites with lots of animals to hold and pet.

Holiday Resort Unity
Tel. 01278 751235
www.hru.co.uk

Luring Activity Lovers

Luring Activity Lovers 

Luring Activity LoversAn all-action holiday park near York, Thornton Lodge Country Retreats says its planned 20 bespoke lodges, to own and rent, are designed to satisfy the growing appetite for outdoor challenges among guests.

The park, based on a 220-acre farm owned by the same family for over 70 years, is winning a national reputation for the excellence of its country sport activities. Its extensive fishing lakes and clay pigeon shooting facilities provide the opportunity for all ages to learn traditional sporting skills under expert tuition.

There are equestrian facilities on offer including stabling, cross country, show jumps and regular events, plus instant access to some of North Yorkshire’s finest cycling and walking routes. The new lodges will sport luxury features such as hot-tubs, high-end furnishings, glass-fronted decking, and spectacular views across the park’s lakes and the surrounding Howardian Hills.

Tackling Booking Fraud

Tackling Booking Fraud

Tackle Booking FraudHaven, the holiday firm that runs the Craig Tara site, said it had recently introduced state-of-the-art software that seeks to target and report suspicious pages and listings across social media sites. This follows a report from BBC Scotland which highlighted that dozens of people had paid for holidays in caravan parks, only to discover the real owner knew nothing about their booking.

Fraudsters using fake identities have been using social media channels to book families into caravans they do not own and claiming the money. Jane Clark, from Stevenston in Ayrshire, advised people not to believe what they read and make proper checks after she booked a bank holiday weekend at the Craig Tara caravan and paid £180 plus a £50 deposit – all through Facebook.

A Haven statement said: “Whilst we have only experienced a relatively small number of people who have been duped into making fraudulent bookings, we are committed to proactively targeting these sites where we can.” Haven advised customers to only book through “trusted channels” such as official websites, ABTA agents or affiliated third parties. It said: “We would urge customers not to attempt to make bookings through social media channels.”

Surfing At Arnside

Surfing At Arnside

Surfing At ArnsideHundreds of households across south Cumbria have received a broadband boost thanks to a local holiday park group. Silverdale Park near Arnside were switched on to ultra-fast fibre broadband in October, with the community-led broadband provider B4RN installing junction chambers along the five-mile route.

This meant that instead of struggling with poor speeds, sometimes less than 1MB, local homes can now surf the web one thousand times quicker. The speeds they are getting are much higher than what the most efficient BT line can provide, at a fraction of the cost too.

Parks owner Michael Holgate said the much greater speed will make a vast improvement to the efficiency of his business - and will be welcomed by holiday guests: “Like many rural businesses in Cumbria, we rely on the internet to generate sales, communicate with customers, and keep our website up to date,” he said.

Acclaim For Former Dairy Farmers

Acclaim For Former Dairy Farmers

Acclaim For Former Dairy FarmersA family-run holiday business has claimed a double victory at this year’s Rural Business Awards (RBA’s).
Not only did Hoe Grange win the Best Rural Tourism Business category, it also pipped 12 other category winners to be crowned as the Champion of Champions. The Derbyshire farm, which specialises in high quality disabled access, was awarded the prize by Harper Adams University, ahead of runners-up Barleylands Farm Park and Craft Village in the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses.
David Brown from Hoe Grange Holidays said: “We started out as dairy farmers but spotted an opportunity to diversify our business and offer a positive experience for people to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside.
“To have our success acknowledged at the Rural Business Awards is testament to all our hard work and to the people who have supported us along the way. It’s obviously a great honour to be named as Champion of Champions at this year’s ceremony and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for our business.”
When David and Felicity Brown first investigated self-catering tourism to supplement their dairy farm income in 2005, market research showed there was a large supply of standard self-catering properties in the Peak District but a lack of accessible accommodation. Over the past decade Hoe Grange Holidays has become a specialist in accessible accommodation, winning many national awards.