British Tourism Oscars

British Tourism Oscars

Contenders for the British Travel Awards - which include entries from the leading holiday parks nationwide – have now been whittled down toBritish Tourism Oscars the finalists. The awards, dubbed Britain’s ‘Tourism Oscars’ attracted 1.3 million public votes last year, with Devon’s Beverley Holidays amongst the select final seven in the “Best UK Family Holiday / Holiday Park Operator” category. Director of Beverley Holidays, Nicola Furneaux, said news of its shortlisting is a thrilling climax to a very successful summer at the park: “Here at Beverley we have been welcoming guests to the English Riviera for almost sixty years, and our big-hearted team are passionate about providing holiday memories that last a lifetime.

“We are committed to offering our guests a seaside escape like no other, and have invested heavily in our accommodation and facilities this year to ensure we offer the best possible holiday experience,” said Nicola.The British Travel Awards are the largest and most influential poll of consumer opinion on tourism providers, with high quality standards and service being the main criteria.

Really Wild Show For Elms Residents

Really Wild Show For Elms Residents

Really Wild ShowElms Retirement Park enjoyed a safe and informative fundraising experience. With the Lincolnshire park finding a touching way to aid animal welfare, the addition of exotic guests helped raise vital funds at the packed wildlife discovery day. Residents at the Torksey Park were joined by friends and family, with meerkats, pythons and skunks among the centrepiece critters on show. Visitors enjoyed a hands-on experience, petting and holding the animal in return for a small donation for pictures.

Tracey Coulson, a director of The Elms and a member of the park-owning family, said the day had proved a fantastic success for all ages: “It was a great experience for everyone,” said Tracey, “And the animal experts present did a superb job in telling us about the different species, and how they were working to protect them,” she added. “We have around 300 homes on the park, and many of the residents came along and also invited other members of their families, including lots of children. “Residents and guests were also very generous with their donations, and the park has received a big thank-you from the organisers for supporting their work,” added Tracey. The animals were brought along by Meercats And More which visits schools and other institutions to provide education about wildlife and some of the threats it faces.

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.

Quick Service For UK Parks

Quick Service For UK Parks

Quick Move Properties has teamed up with some of the biggest leisure home manufacturers to offer a turn-key solution for independent leisureQMP park operators. Their Stock Support service is designed to shorten the timescales usually associated with lodge purchases, speeding up the process to bring forward completion dates and aid cash flow.

The service is available for no charge to any UK leisure park operator when their customer uses Quick Move Properties’ house buying services to help fund their holiday property purchase. The units on offer are ordered from manufacturers such as Prestige, Homeseeker and Pathfinder.

New Seaside Star For Park Holidays UK

PevenseyNew Seaside Star For Park Holidays UK

Park Holidays UK has completed the acquisition of Pevensey Bay Holiday Park near Eastbourne in Sussex. Formerly known as Martello Beach Holiday Park, the site boasts private beach access and a jetty for boats and jet-skis, and is the 28th park to join the Park Holidays UK group.

The site presently provides 265 holiday homes, both privately owned and available to rent, all set in picturesque landscaped grounds amid the countryside of the Sussex Weald. Owners and holiday guests are provided with a long line-up of leisure facilities including an indoor swimming pool, spa pool and sauna, and a fully equipped gym and fitness centre. Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish said the Pevensey Bay’s previous owners had done a magnificent job in creating a park which provides a true sense of privilege: “The lovely setting obviously gives Pevensey Bay a head start, but the park and its superbly high standards is a perfect match for its surroundings,” said Tony.

“As a group, we have always been committed to operating parks which offer only the very best customer experiences and the best value in their class. “That’s why we will ensure that Pevensey Bay continues as an ideal base for families and those who enjoy activities such as sailing, rowing, jet-skiing and sea fishing. “All of our parks make important and substantial contributions to the local economies where they are based by generating millions of pounds of visitor spending,” said Tony. “Our intention is that Pevensey Bay will build even further on the support it already provides to many local small businesses and the people they employ,” he added.

Web Wise

Web Wise - Online Bookings

The sense that many potential customers are just looking, not booking is common. Web visitors often just want to get a picture of what’s available. At other times they’re unable to commit to plans until they’ve settled on exact dates with friends and family.

Whatever the reason, conversion rates in the travel industry are surprisingly low, and that’s why it is crucial for holiday park owners to get the booking process right. More people are using the web to shop around for holidays than ever before, and this WEb Wise 1means they’re only a swipe away from comparing prices with a competitor.

Research has shown that 37 per cent of consumers abandon travel purchases at the last minute because they want to do further research or find a cheaper price. But when margins in the industry are low, competing on price is difficult. Instead, holiday park owners should focus on delivering a streamlined shopping experience and a fuss-free checkout process. With so many holiday options on offer, it’s vital that potential customers don’t vanish at the finish line.

Choosing the most appropriate booking system requires park owners and managers to match their needs with the features of a product. But no two holiday parks are identical and it might seem difficult to find a system with all the necessary functions and flexibility. This is why CampManager, a leading Park Management Software provider, assists more than 300 campsites and caravan parks throughout the UK and Ireland with an online booking solution suited to the individual parks’ requirements.

“There are many different booking systems in the market, some of which have been adapted from hotel booking systems, which may not provide you with the pricing functionality that you require,” says Niall Norris of CampManager. “It’s important to select a booking system which is specifically designed to manage all your different pricing requirements – season dates, minimum stays and set arrival dates – and all your different rental accommodation and touring pitch characteristics.”

However, park owners should realise that the best solution may not come right out of a box. Sometimes choosing a booking system is more about modifying an existing offering to fit a park’s individual specifications. For Dafydd Lawrence, head of information systems at Bluestone National Park Resort, an award-winning retreat in the rolling Pembrokeshire countryside, it was important to create a bespoke solution that would fit with the park’s existing digital infrastructure. WEb Wise 2

“Having a web API in our main booking system allowed us to write our own online platform that talks directly to our booking system,” Lawrence explains. “Any system that makes you use an ‘off-the-shelf’ website or their own web booking engine can severely limit how much you can customise the experience for your guests.” The most obvious step to making booking on your site easy is to ensure that it works well on mobile devices.

To read more about getting 'Web Wise' please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.

COMPANY CONTACTS

CAMPMANAGER - Tel. 02081 331 005 -  www.campmanager.com
GEMAPARK -  Tel. 01983 282 420 - www.gemapark.co.uk
PITCHED - Tel. 01726 418 118 - www.pitched.co.uk

Haute Cuisine

Haute Cuisine

According to a 2017 report from the Office of National Statistics, Britons are spending more on eating out and short breaks than ever before. Great news for holiday park owners who, post-Brexit, are already reaping the benefits of the staycation trend. Increasingly demanding, UK holidaymakers want a whole lot more than a home away from home.

Cuisine 1

The trend for greater sophistication and refinement in holiday home design is filtering through to modern catering solutions too. A fine dining restaurant might not be the first thought when you think of a holiday park but Islawrffordd Caravan Park is no ordinary holiday park. Owned and run by the Evans Family since 1957, award-winning Islawrffordd provides the very best in quality facilities for its 201 holiday home bases, 75 fully serviced hard standing touring caravan/motorhome plots and 30 camping pitches.

Situated in the village of Talybont, at the southern end of the magnificent Snowdonia National Park coastline, Islawrffordd has seen considerable recent investment. In a park blessed with luxurious leisure facilities, even the toilet block of the touring area boasts under-floor heating. In 2015, a £500,000 investment brought to life a new fine dining experience, Nineteen57 restaurant.

“It was important to give the park bar and restaurant facilities that match the high standards of the rest of the site, explains Jane Evans. “Nineteen57 offers both formal and relaxed areas, and menus that appeal to the widest selection of customer tastes.”

A glance at the fine dining menu is enough to make your mouth water with such delights as pheasant with potato and thyme gratin and Welsh lamb, served with leek and cheddar croquette. Meals are prepared using locally sourced items and a 24 hour notice period for table bookings ensures the absolute freshest ingredients. Cuisine 2

Jane Evans says; “The project has been incredibly successful for both the park and the local area. The park leases the building to chef Sion Wellings. We don’t have the expertise to run such an operation ourselves and outsourcing has given the chance for Sion, a talented local young chef, to have his own business.”

Outsourcing to catering professionals or franchises may be the norm but keeping catering services in-house can have benefits too. “The case for franchising a park’s catering operation can be quite compelling admits Michael Holgate of the Holgates parks group. “For a start, you can say goodbye to a whole host of admin issues, not to mention staffing headaches…but franchising will never happen at Holgates.”

To find out why, and to read more about making the most of 'Haute Cuisine' subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.

 

Sub-Let Owner Pay Outs

SubLetsSub-Let Owner Pay Outs

People who turn their holiday homes into cash generators during the school summer holidays are now scooping pay-outs of more than £5,500 each, according to research undertaken by Park Holidays UK.

The group says that many owners let go of just six weeks in July and August to maximise income, and then enjoy well over 40 weeks of their own exclusive use. But such people aren’t necessarily missing out on a summer break, says Park Holidays UK, because what they earn can more than cover the cost of a holiday abroad.

Others simply prefer to make use of their holiday homes outside the main summer season, and to leave the busier weeks to fun-loving families and children.

Countrywide Park Homes Expansion

Countrywide Park Homes Expansion

Residential and luxury lodge park operator, Countrywide Park Homes has expanded its portfolio of successful parks across the UK with the addition of six new locations purchased from park operator Lifestyle Living UK.

Countrywide expansionThe company, which currently owns and operates 19 parks across the UK, purchased the new parks in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cumbria. The parks offer a selection of touring, camping, static caravans, individually designed luxury lodges and park homes. The deal comprises the business and assets of Lifestyle Living UK including the parks, lodges and future bookings.

Anthony Barney, Owner and Chairman at Countrywide Park Homes, said they saw a unique opportunity to expand the company’s portfolio through the acquisition, enabling them to purchase a group of popular parks based in desirable locations across the UK. “Norfolk, Suffolk and Cumbria are the perfect, picturesque destinations, offering sandy beaches to quaint villages, outstanding food and drink and enviable views. We remain committed to investing in locations which, like these, offer tranquillity for residents, yet are within easy access to towns or villages with essential amenities,” he said.

“We are very much looking forward to operating in these great locations, and contributing to the continued success of these sites, and providing the perfect escape for future and current residents.”

FRP Advisory, the business advisory firm, negotiated the sale following a competitive sales and marketing process. “The proposal from Countrywide Park Homes was chosen as it offered the best value and certainty in the interests of all of Lifestyle Living’s stakeholders. We wish Lifestyle Living the very best under new ownership,” explained Jason Baker, Joint Administrator and Partner of FRP Advisory.

Countrywide Park Homes

Tel. 0800 690 6060

www.countrywideparkhomes.co.uk

 

Record Breakers

Record newsRecord Breakers

It has been a record year so far for inbound tourism to Britain, with visits up by six per cent on last year.

In the first two months of the year there were with 5.2 million visits to the country from overseas visitors and visitor spend reached a record £2.7 billion in January and February, up 11 per cent on the previous year.

Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said: “This record-breaking start to the year once more underlines the strength of our tourism industry.

“Our fantastic welcome and world-class attractions are continuing to attract huge numbers of visitors from across the globe, which is great news for the whole country.” There were 3.6 million visits from the EU in January and February, up five per cent on the previous year. VisitBritain’s forecast predicts that growth is set to continue in 2017 with 38.8 million visits and with spending reaching £23.9 billion