PEOPLE POWER

PEOPLE POWER

WE MAY SEE PEOPLE from other sectors making the move into our industry

The effects of the pandemic on staff retention and employment…

It would be fair to say that staff retention has been a hot topic over recent months, in light of COVID-19 implecations, writes Sue Hollingshead. As we entered Lockdown in March, it was naturally a difficult time for everyone and also an unknown entity. Staff being furloughed, not being able to physically go to work, not being able to go anywhere for that matter, created a scenario that was totally new to us all. Holiday Park Scene has been researching how it affected employers within the holiday park sector and we have been pleasantly surprised by the positivity. Lisa Charles-Jones, HR Director from Parkdean Resorts reflects: “The response of our teams was fantastic. For example, we were first forced to close just before Easter, and rather than all our fresh food and drink going to waste, teams decided to donate to local foodbanks in their communities. “We also worked with the NHS to provide accommodation for key workers at four of our parks, which was our own small way of saying thank you,” says Lisa. “We were fortunate that we were able to keep hold of all our staff under the furlough scheme, and each park had regular online socials to check in on everybody and maintain the family spirit that is so important for our teams.”

FURLOUGH SCHEMES

Danielle Lasky, Head of People Operations at Away Resorts shared how their teams faired: “COVID-19 has made our team stronger than ever and the spirit that has been shown from our team members during Lockdown has been incredible! “We used our internal social media platform to engage with our team members while they actively took the initiative to pioneer some of their own engagement events – interactive quizzes, bingo, comedy nights. “It was uplifting to see how much creativity there was across the business. We were really keen to keep the lines of communication open and our CEO, Carl Castledine, very much led from the front. “At the height of Lockdown Carl was providing three recorded updates a week to all team members, ensuring teams were fully informed as to what movements there were across the business but also providing some well needed reassurance in what was such an uncertain, vulnerable time for all.” The approach by Parkdean Resorts and Away Resorts is refreshing, it was also a framework adopted by many companies throughout the country. A key part of retaining staff revolves around investing in their mental wellbeing, whether this is to support them in their role, tipping into their personal life, financial or otherwise. The true results of how companies have handled and supported their staff during Lockdown will be evident post- Lockdown. Danielle said: “We could not be prouder of how our team have adopted the new safe ways of working. “The hospitality and leisure industry can often be very demanding and the added need for protective equipment has made the demands on these roles higher – but our team have seamlessly taken on the challenge and excelled. It was such a great feeling to open our doors and welcome the team back when reopening on 4th July.” We are lucky to be in a buoyant market, with the Staycation having taken off massively as we were able to start travelling again. Parkdean reported huge demand and were able to bring back all of their staff from furlough and in fact hired a further 1,500 seasonal workers across the country to cope with the demand. A trend which we have seen throughout the market with its strength continuing to grow.

BIGGEST MISTAKES

With his experience in recruitment, Jim Gandon, Managing Director of Annesley Gandon, for offered valuable advice: “Recruiting is sometimes the easy bit, retaining them can be the challenge.When it comes to recruitment, the biggest mistake we see is the lack of due diligence undertaken,” he said. “Candidates can look great on paper, but we can all write a CV that looks good. The key is a good track record and previous performance.” Jim advises when interviewing always ask for specific examples of things that have gone well, this doesn’t always relate to financial it could be systems and processes put in place. If they are good, then they should have a few examples of these. “Always take references and ensure that they have worked at the places they say they have, ask for their last two previous employers as a reference. If they have an excuse why you shouldn’t talk to them then that should be a cause for concern.” Retaining a team is one of the biggest issues we come up against, Jim continues: “As an employer, we should be creating an environment that is a pleasure to work in. Believe it or not we still come across employers that think it is the employees’ privilege to work for them and they should be thankful!

PARKDEAN HIRED a further 1,500 seasonal workers across the country to cope with the demand.

EXTRA REVENUE

“We have put together teams that have made companies millions in extra revenue,” Jim says. “This has all been about the right people, in the right place, within a positive environment. For the most part recognition is the biggest driver for most people, small gestures like a thank you or a team night out goes a long way. “Yes, there are lots of employee benefit schemes around, but the simple things are the most important.” The next step, as advised by Jim, is to ensure that a new employee has the right level of induction and introduction into the company. This was endorsed also by Lisa and Danielle, and clearly a vital part of the process. Setting goals, targets, and review dates may seem unnecessary to the employer when employing someone they feel will be a perfect for the role, however the employee will flourish from having the guidelines and clarification of the employers’ expectations. So, what thoughts for post- Lockdown and the immediate future, we wonder. Jim commented: “The strength of the market is almost as unprecedented as the pandemic itself. “The appetite for the UK holidays and holiday home ownership post- Lockdown is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my 30 years in the industry.

THE TRUE RESULTS of how companies have handled and supported their staff during Lockdown will be evident post-Lockdown

JOB LOSSES

“The tougher side is where operators have realised they need to make redundancies, however there are also many opportunities for people as other companies grow.We have seen some very forward-thinking operators using this period of time to invest in their products and services for 2021.” Lisa agrees: “Unfortunately a lot of people have lost their jobs, but that could provide a great opportunity for sectors like ours which have been thriving over the past few months. “We’re always keen to recruit from a variety of professional backgrounds, and we may see people from other sectors making the move into our industry. “There was a fantastic level of co-operation across the sector as we all worked together to lobby the Government and local MPs. There’s no doubt that together, we’re stronger, and hopefully we’ll continue to collaborate together in the future.” Danielle concludes: “It has been such an unfortunate period watching so many people become vulnerable to redundancies, from a recruitment perspective it has infiltrated the market with some truly fantastic candidates! “We are continuing to grow as a business and have some amazing opportunities at all levels so I hope we can provide some stability for job seekers that have found themselves in an unfortunate circumstance this year.” Despite having had a challenging year which has affected Human Resource departments massively, there is clearly positivity for the holiday sector with some strong feedback, advice, and strength for future employment.

 

COMPANY CONTACTS
Annesley Gandon
Tel: 01223 843888
www.annesleygandon.co.uk

Away Resorts
Tel: 01442 817398
www.awayresorts.co.uk

Parkdean Resorts
Tel: 01912 560795
www.parkdeanresorts.co.uk

 

The Holiday & Leisure Park Development Forum

The Holiday & Leisure Park Development Forum

3rd - 4th October 2019

Whittlebury Hall, Northants
www.hlpd-forum.co.uk

A brand new event for 2019, The Holiday and Leisure Park Development Forum will bring together the holiday and leisure park community to share best practice through an inspiring seminar programme as well as the opportunity to network and explore some of the most innovative products and services in the sector.
With the theme ‘Harnessing the growth in the UK staycation’ speakers include Jamie Christon, chief operating office of Chester Zoo who will be discussing managing sustainable growth, Paul Hardingham UK managing director of Landal GreenParks who will be talking about trends, innovations and expectations for UK holidays, and Matt Cartwright, director of Twelve Architects who will talk about ‘creating a destination’ with reference to Bodmin Jail museum and hotel in creating a leading visitor attraction.
Held over one and half days this must attend event will be attended by owner/operators and the key players involved in the design, build and management of holiday and leisure parks of all kinds. If you are upgrading, expanding or developing new parks then it is complimentary to attend including access to the seminars, executive accommodation, all meals, drinks receptions and our superb gala dinner. It will run in parallel with the physical activity facilities forum offering further networking opportunities. Please visit www.hlpd-forum.co.uk to register your interest in attending or contact Sue Ramcharan on 020 8288 1080 email: sue@stable-events.co.uk If you are a supplier interested looking to meet with decision-makers please contact Leslie de Hoog email: leslie@stable-events.co.uk or call 020 8288 1080.

Thinking Outside The Box

Imagination Playground is a mobile play system made up of big blue blocks in many unique shapes and sizes.

Imagination Playground is a mobile play system made up of big blue blocks in many unique shapes and sizes.

Thinking Outside The Box

Imagination Playground is an ideal solution for leisure venues with limited space. It is a unique mobile play system designed to unlock the creative powers of children through open-ended, unstructured play.

The portable playground comes in two storage-friendly carts that can be wheeled through a standard sized door and then packed away easily after use. Think of a giant-sized construction game, with soft, lightweight blue blocks in a variety of shapes and sizes. The blocks can be stacked, connected, channelled or just lined up - all to make children’s ideas a reality.

“The driving force behind Imagination Playground is to provide a way to encourage children to do what they do best - to be creative and to use their imaginations,” says David Rockwell, CEO of Rockwell Group and designer of Imagination Playground. “Researchers have long known that playing with blocks helps children develop cognitive and social skills. Unstructured, child-directed play is a critical component of healthy, social, emotional and intellectual development.”

Available from HAGS, the Classic 105 Big Block Set features 75 biodegradable blue blocks and parts, 15 noodles, 15 plastic balls and two weather resistant carts for simple storage.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, Imagination Playground is currently priced at just £4,499* including delivery. Quote LEISURE-JAN17 when ordering.* *Offer price available from 1st Jan 2017 to 31st March 2017. Price excludes VAT. Price includes delivery to Mainland UK only, excludes Scottish Highlands.

UK’s Top Parks For Happy Campers

UK’s Top Parks For Happy Campers

Castlerigg Hall in Keswick, Cumbria, took the top spot as the Regional Campsite of the Year for the North West.

Castlerigg Hall in Keswick, Cumbria, took the top spot as the Regional Campsite of the Year for the North West.

Vale of Pickering Caravan Park in North Yorkshire has been crowned the Campsite of the Year 2017 at the AA Caravan and Camping Awards. The park beat off stiff competition from 860 sites across the country, which were all visited by the AA’s campsite inspectors to assess the touring pitches, facilities and hospitality.

 

Each park is graded from one to five pennants, with Gold Pennants awarded to the very best. Since winning an AA regional award in 2013, owners of the Vale of Pickering Caravan Park - Chris and Dianne Stockdale - have continued to invest in the park each year, including a new state-ofthe- art facilities block which has six fully-equipped wet rooms and a dishwashing room. New electric points and a dog wash, with a hot shower were also added to the park this year.

Another notable winner this year was Forest Fields Caravan and Camping Park in Powys, which was named AA Campsite of the Year for Wales. The family-run park, which is located near to Royal Welsh Showground, is popular with families and outdoor adventure groups. The park’s owners - the Barstow family - also has plans to expand the glamping offering in 2017.

Elsewhere in the country Castlerigg Hall in Keswick, Cumbria took the top spot as the Regional Campsite of the Year for the North West. Owned by the Jackson family since 1938, the park provides luxury caravan holiday homes for hire, plus eco-friendly camping pods and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes. A former farm which began by welcoming campers, Castlerigg Hall is today one of the Lake District’s most highly regarded parks. 2017 also saw the introduction of a new award – The AA Glamping Site of the Year, to celebrate the increasing popularity of glamping. The winner of this brand new award was Durrell Wildlife Camp in Jersey, which is situated in 32 acres of landscaped parkland and water-gardens offers guest the opportunity to stay overnight in stylish Ecopods with unlimited access to some of the rarest wildlife species on earth.

All the winners of this year’s AA Caravan and Camping Awards will appear in the new AA Caravan and Camping Guide 2017.

Pioneering Treatment

Pioneering Treatment

he Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal was thrilled with the generous donation from the Wilby family, which meant they reached their £160,000 target.

The Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal was thrilled with the generous donation from the Wilby family, which meant they reached their £160,000 target.

A huge charity donation from leisure insurance specialists Caravan Guard has helped to fund a pioneering new cancer treatment at the Yorkshire Cancer Centre. The family-run company, met a £68,000 shortfall needed to pay for a Nano-Knife device, which uses revolutionary, non-invasive technology for cancer patients.

 

Peter Wilby, Chairman of Caravan Guard and its sister company Wilby Ltd, heard of the appeal from a close family friend whose wife and son have both received treatment at the Leeds Cancer Centre. “As a family business we’re committed to supporting local and national charities by sharing some of our financial success,” said Managing Director Ryan Wilby. “This appeal struck a real chord with us as we’ve seen first-hand the benefits of treatment at the cancer centre. So we’re delighted our donation means more procedures can be carried out to prolong survival and provide a better quality of life for patients.”

Family Team Scores Awards Hat-Trick

Covering 12 acres of tranquil countryside, Trethem Mill attracts thousands of camping and touring caravan visitors each year from the UK and overseas.

Covering 12 acres of tranquil countryside, Trethem Mill attracts thousands of camping and touring caravan visitors each year from the UK and overseas.

Family Team Scores Awards Hat-Trick

Trethem Mill Touring Park in Cornwall is celebrating a triple triumph of awards, including an accolade for its work to protect endangered honey bees. The family-owned business celebrated its first honour when judges in the Cornwall Tourism Awards crowned it as the county’s finest caravan and camping park. The park’s environmental policies were marked in the second of the accolades it received this month from world-famous botanist David Bellamy. Professor Bellamy presented the park with his prestigious Conservation Award at its top gold level, recognising the raft of initiatives taken to safeguard the natural world. The hat trick of accolades was completed when David Bellamy also designated Trethem Mill as an official “Honey Bee Friendly” park as part of his new initiative to prevent the insects’ decline. Park owners Ian and Jane first moved to Trethem Mill with Ian’s parents – Derek and Lorna - 24 years ago, and Jane says the park’s success has been very much the result of a team effort: “Very sadly, Lorna passed away earlier this year – but she believed strongly, as we all do, in trying to make Trethem Mill a place for creating truly memorable holiday experiences,” said Jane. “We would like to see these awards as a tribute to her passion for this part of Cornwall, and to making the park a match for these beautiful surroundings.”