THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

 

FOLLY FARM’S new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business.

 

Families who holiday in South Wales will typically include a trip to Pembrokeshire’s fabulous Folly Farm Adventure Park. Located just 15 minutes from the popular seaside resort of Tenby, this fun-filled destination, complete with vintage fairground and world-class zoo, is now the largest privately-run, paid for visitor attraction in Wales.

A working dairy farm until the late 1980s, Folly Farm has expanded so much over the last 30 years that it’s now a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear commercial vision and a diversification strategy to match.

 

 

TAKE THE PLUNGE
And it was this never-stand-still spirit that led Managing Director, Chris Ebsworth, to take the plunge and open a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown. This 43-pitch five-star touring park and campsite - complete with four cool and quirky Showman’s Wagons - has been so popular over the last two years that Chris has now decided to diversify further into the holiday let market with the addition of six fairground-themed luxury lodges with hot tubs.

Chris knew introducing lodge accommodation was something he wanted to do to capitalise on continuing strong demand for UK breaks, but he also knew it would be prudent to call on the advice, guidance and support of a trusted expert partner to help bring his vision to life, his product to market and crucially to ensure the best possible return on his investment.

That’s when he turned to Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development at Awaze – the parent company of staycation specialist Hoseasons – a decision Chris says has ensured the location’s new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business as part of an all-round ‘stay and play’ package perfect for families looking for experiential breaks.

 

FOLLY FARM is a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear diversification strategy.

 

“We’ve always been farmers, it’s in our blood, but diversification is what keeps us thriving as a privately owned, family run business,” says Chris, adding: “We could see the lodges were a good idea, but it quickly became apparent as a relatively new accommodation business, that we would need to draw on the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of a brand like Hoseasons that has successfully been delivering family holidays for years.”

“We had many meetings with Luke to run through the options, weighing up the pros and cons of different types of accommodation before making our decision. He also supported us to perfect the presentation of our new lodges – from reflecting the Folly Farm brand in the interiors to making sure the landscaping and planting were right.

“Luke was also instrumental in bringing to our attention the importance of an arrival experience for our guests – something which has resulted in a brand new customer reception, along with plans for an onsite shop selling local produce, which we are hoping to open next year.”

 

FOLLY FARM opened a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown.

 

PAYING DIVIDENDS
Luke believes the care and attention Folly Farm have put into their new development will pay dividends over the next few years as families see the value of staying somewhere aspirational with fantastic facilities, activities and entertainment on their doorstep.

He says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Chris to bring his vision to market. He really understands the importance of continuing to evolve the offer so that they stay relevant in an ever-changing market. “Pressures on family budgets mean people will be looking to get the most out of their UK breaks over the next few years – something that bodes well for locations like Folly Farm Adventure Park who know they need to invest and innovate to keep pace with guest expectations.

 

CHRIS EBSWORTH worked with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons.

 

“You only have to look at their high occupancy rates and average 9.6 out of 10 rating on our independent review system Revoo to see their approach is working.” Working with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons has given Chris the confidence to push on with the next phase of development, including rhino-themed lodges overlooking the black rhino enclosure, lion-themed lodges and giraffe-themed safari tents – all of which are expected to be up and running by Spring next year. All the new lodges and showman’s wagons at Folly Farm Adventure Park are exclusively available to book via Hoseasons.

www.hoseasons.co.uk

POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER

POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER

 

SPATEX, the pool, spa and wellness trade show takes place early next year at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

 

For those looking to inject new pulling-power to their pool, spa and wellness offering, then SPATEX, at the Coventry Building Society Arena, from Tuesday January 31st to Thursday February 2nd presents the obvious shop window.

Showcasing products and innovations from around the world, such as the newest hot tub models, super insulating covers, solar heating, air source heat pumps, variable speed pumps, provides an opportunity to see, touch and compare the most up-to-date selection of energy saving equipment all under one roof.

With free attendance to a double seminar and workshop programme on all three days of the show, you can pick up the latest energy saving guidance from experts and glean impartial advice for your own individual projects. With knowledge, the latest technological advances and careful management, there are effective ways to significantly reduce energy consumption and bills,” says the event organiser, Michele Bridle. “It’s this positive message that, with the help of our exhibitors and experts, we aim to convey to our visitors.”

Register FREE www.spatex.co.uk for SPATEX 2023 and receive monthly updates

WORK ON LUXURY WELSH PARK UNDERWAY

WORK ON LUXURY WELSH PARK UNDERWAY

 

OAK VIEW WILL PROVIDE luxurious all-year round occupancy in an outstanding Welsh setting.

 

Work has started on a £2.2m Oak View Lodge Park in Denbighshire, North Wales, a development which will see 89 luxury lodges in landscaped surroundings. With sweeping views across the tranquil Vale of Clwyd, the 18-acre park is being created in the grounds of a former hotel which closed in January 2009.

Twenty lodges are being released in the first phase of the development, with prices starting from £225,000. Purchasers will be offered a choice of two and three-bedroom architect- designed lodges, selected from leading UK lodge manufacturers and complete with central heating and high levels of insulation.

Facilities include private hot-tubs, luxury furnishings and fittings, high-speed fibre broadband, and many other pampering touches such as an on-site concierge service. Business owner Jamie Hughes, who has 25 years of experience in the holiday homes and lodge industry said: “Oak View provides a glorious rural setting with superb walking opportunities right on the doorstep and is within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park and the North Wales coast.

“Our high-speed fibre internet connection ensures that those who are able to work remotely can do so in a peaceful, picture-perfect environment and enjoy a wonderful work-life balance.” Owners will be able to have full use of their lodges throughout the four seasons as Oak View has a 12-month operating licence which allows stays throughout the year.

BUBBLING OVER

BUBBLING OVER

The hot tub influence on increasing bookings...

 

THE VACATION RANGE, from Superior Wellness, boasts robust features designed specifically for the holiday let market.

 

For the holiday industry, 2022 has been another record year for staycations, delivering an estimated £15.5billion boost to the British economy. According to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ annual Staycation Index, 77 per cent of Brits holidayed in the UK this year, spending an average of £822 on their accommodation alone.

So how do you make your holiday destination stand out from the crowd and increase the odds of internet surfers pressing the book button? The simple answer – add a hot tub. “UK staycations with hot tubs consistently appears on a list of the most common staycation searches,” says Gareth Ward, Sales Director at Superior Wellness, one of the UK’s leading hot tub suppliers.

“A hot tub not only adds a touch of luxury but can also increase occupancy and revenue by up to 60%. “But much more than that, a hot tub allows families and loved ones to reconnect and spend quality time together,” Gareth adds. “People are also focusing on their wellness much more and a hot tub can help with this – soothing aches and pains, reducing anxiety and stress and relieving headaches. All reasons that may inspire a customer to book a holiday property with a hot tub.”

 

OFFERING A HOT TUB with your holiday let will increase bookings on average by 60 per cent. Pic. Rotospa

 

HOLIDAY LET
Jonathan Pritchard owns a holiday let based in Anglesey, he recently made the decision to add a Vacation Social hot tub, from the Superior Wellness stable, to his property. Jonathan purchased the hot tub from Superior Wellness’ partner at Concept Spa in Wales and he explains: “We wanted to increase bookings and people always say that it’s a bonus to have a hot tub, we were also recommended to get one by Sykes.

“I was recommended by Concept Spa to go for the Vacation social based on the value for money, the fact it’s simple and easy to use, less hassle/ maintenance, less things for people to break. “It has most definitely made a difference to my bookings; we are noticing that the winter months are also filling up much faster.”

If you are looking to purchase a hot tub for your holiday let, Superior Wellness recommend the Vacation Range or their Platinum Spas Holiday Let 5 hot tub. Both offerings are perfect for holiday homes, cottages, B&Bs and Airbnb as they designed specifically for the holiday let market these hot tubs offer a basic layout with no breakable or removeable components and are designed for heavy usage.

The robust but minimalistic design perfectly complements any garden, decking or outdoor environment. Gareth Ward again: “We do get a number of queries from potential buyers and this is a common question. But is the constant upkeep, care and maintenance is going to offer a decent return on your investment?

Gareth Ward again: “You need to look after your hot tub and ensure you provide the care and maintenance it needs and stick to the guidelines. However, the increase in revenue you will receive in terms of price per night and occupancy will outweigh any time and money spent on the upkeep.”

 

 

HEAT TIMES
Waiting around for a hot tub to warm up isn’t a holiday guest’s idea of fun, so Golden Coast’s exceptionally fast hot tub heat pumps are ideal for ensuring the spa is ready to enjoy in no time. The inverter-driven Golden Coast air source pump heats water quickly and efficiently.

During a test conducted on a hot tub in an ambient air temperature of 12 degrees, Golden Coast found that it took three hours and 40 minutes to heat the hot tub water from 10 degrees to 38 degrees. This was much faster than the electric heater previously being used.

A Golden Coast heat pump operates on a lower current so uses much less energy than electric heaters without compromising on performance. For each kilowatt of energy consumed, the heat pump offers an output of up to 13 kilowatts of heat – that’s 13 times more efficient than a standard electric heater.

A Golden Coast pump can reach an extremely high coefficient of performance meaning that once the water reaches the desired temperature (up to 40°C) the heat pump turns off while maintaining the temperature. “It is quicker to heat a hot tub with warmer air temperature, but a Golden Coast heat pump performs even in cold weather, so hot tubs can be enjoyed all year round,” says Adam Clark, General Manager at Golden Coast.

“Our heat pump is extremely energy efficient, allowing park owners to make significant savings on their bills. The more hot tubs a holiday park has, the more savings that can be made. Golden Coast has supplied air source heat pumps to a number of holiday parks with great success and with extremely positive feedback from park managers.

Golden Coast’s General Manager, Adam Clark, advises: “Whereas some heat pumps can be loud, a Golden Coast heat pump uses a unique ventilation structure enabling it to maintain noise levels as low as 25dB — ensuring peace and quiet for guests and peace of mind for owners.” When it comes to holiday hot tub insurance, Compass Insurance advise, to make sure that your insurance covers you for loss or damage as well as any possible legal liability arising from them being used.

 

GREAT FOR FRIENDS and family who want to relax on holiday, the Vacation Lounge hot tub is for 5-6 people and offers the perfect combination of one lounger and five seats. This 13 amp hot tub has R10 insulation and 25 jets.

 

INSURANCE COVER
Most insurers will include hot tubs in their general definition of structures, hire fleet or caravans (at Compass they do) but it’s worth checking the definitions in your policy to make sure. From there it’s also really important to make sure that the replacement cost of the Hot Tub is factored into any sum insured you have for your hire fleet. As well as the Hot Tubs themselves being insured your legal liability to the public using them should also be checked.

Have clear and documented guidance as to who should and shouldn’t use Hot Tubs. Holidaymakers with health conditions, including those with serious illnesses, respiratory and cardiac conditions and diabetes, as well as pregnant women or those on certain medications, should seek advice from their doctor before using a hot tub. Similarly, infections and disease can be spread, so those with body infections and open sores/ wounds etc, should not use a hot tub.

Comprehensive signage and instructions on the use of the hot tub are also important. Most of the claims we see in relation to Hot Tubs, and wet areas in general, relate to slips and trips when getting in and out. Cleaning and maintenance are critical and any hot tub owned by the park should follow a documented and robust process. Where possible this should also be in line with the manufacturer guidance and regular evidence, checks and logs kept.

Regularly checking the water, systems and filters is also essential. Parks have responsibilities even where they do not own the hot tub in question. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 does not apply to privately-owned hot tubs where there is no financial gain and they are used exclusively by the private owner, family members and occasional guests.

Park owners should also consider the matter of Employers’ Liability. We have seen a case in the past where an employee was known by their employer to have a reaction to chemicals, but the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) was not enforced. It is almost impossible to defend a claim when a relaxed approach to employee safety is taken. This highlights the importance of training staff appropriately and having systems in place for them to follow when they are involved in the cleaning and maintenance of hot tubs.

 

 

COMPANY CONTACTS

Golden Coast
Tel. 01271 378100
Email: swimmer@goldenc.com
www.goldenc.com

SuperiorWellness
Tel. 01246 559071
Email: info@superiorwellness.co.uk
www.superiorwellness.co.uk

Compass Insurance
Tel. 0344 274 0276
Email: enquiries@compass.co.uk
www.compassparks.co.uk

FIVE OUT OF FIVE FOR WATERSIDE

FIVE OUT OF FIVE FOR WATERSIDE

WATERSIDE HOLIDAY GROUP scored top marks in a Which? holiday stay survey

 

Waterside Holiday Group has come up trumps in a survey of the UK’s best value holiday parks by consumer champion Which? The company, which operates holiday parks in Dorset and Cornwall, scored 87 per cent in a survey of more than 2,200 stays.

Waterside Holiday Group scored five out of five stars in every category, including quality of accommodation, facilities, and value for money. Visitors highlighted their appreciation for the company’s choices of luxury caravans, as well as accommodation features including widescreen televisions and private hot tubs.

Dave Bennett, CEO of Waterside Holiday Group commented: “We are thrilled to have received such an incredible score as part of a renowned nationwide survey, which reflects genuine visitor reviews. “We have invested heavily in all our holiday parks to ensure we offer a five-star holiday experience to our guests, with exceptional quality accommodation, facilities, and customer service.

I would like to thank everyone at Waterside Holiday Group for their hard work in helping us continually achieve excellence across our parks.” Waterside Holiday Group has made multiple enhancements to its parks over the past two years, including introducing a range of luxury holiday homes with hot tubs and updated dining areas across sites.

The company has also continued committing to sustainability improvements across its parks, including the creation of natural habitat areas using native plants and species, introduction of beehives and installation of solar panels.

HOT TUB COSTS

HOT TUB COSTS

A Golden Coast air-source hot tub heat pump uses less electricity than standard electric heaters and runs on a lower current, so it won’t overload your park’s supply – all while delivering higher output for fast, effective heating.

By saving money on operating costs, you get a quicker return on investment, and that’s just a few of the reasons holiday parks around the UK have already made the switch.

To find out how a Golden Coast heat pump can help you stay in control of your bills, contact our sales team today.

Golden Coast
01271 378 100
www.goldenc.com

VACATION RANGE

VACATION RANGE

Superior Wellness is excited to announce that they have launched two brand new hot tubs in the new Vacation Range.

This range is perfect for holiday homes, cottages, B&Bs and Airbnb. Choose from the Vacation Lounge or the Vacation Social depending on your customers’ needs.

The Vacation Range hot tubs are ready to order now. Contact us today for more information and spec sheets.

Superior Wellness
01246 559071
www.superiorwellness.co.uk/ vacationrange/

MAKING IT MAGNIFICENT!

MAKING IT MAGNIFICENT!

Windmill Retreat and Spa offer's the 'wow' factor to woo guests...

WINDMILL RETREAT & SPA’S new luxury lodge development

 

Outdoor baths, balconies and fire pits are just some of the features designed to attract luxury-loving guests to Glastonbury lodge resort Windmill Retreat and Spa this summer. All are included in four new state-of- the-art lodges owner Nick Ridgment is adding at his rural Somerset escape and selling exclusively through staycation specialist Hoseasons.

“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries when it comes to what we offer our guests,” Nick says, adding: “There are lodge parks everywhere these days, so it’s vitally important to stay one step ahead and give customers everything they need for an unforgettable holiday experience when they weigh up their options for a UK break.” Panoramic views of the Somerset Levels, roomy open-plan living, and hot tubs also come as standard with these large three-bedroom properties – the addition of which brings to nine the number of beautifully-designed bespoke lodges to choose from at the park, which Nick opened as a newcomer to the industry in 2015 and chose to partner with Hoseasons to bring to market.

 

CONTEMPORARY LIVING styles are offered in both apartment and cottage accommodation.

 

Since then, the park’s high-end reputation has been cemented with the addition of its state-of-the-art Elements Boutique Spa, as well as an accompanying product range available in Holland and Barrett. The on-site Levels Country Kitchen also adds to the cool vibe with delicious breakfast and lunch options made with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers. Nick credits his long-established partnership with Hoseasons as being crucial to the success of the site over the last six years. “It’s one thing attracting customers and another staying ahead of the competition to keep them coming back for more,” says Nick.

“We always had the vision to develop our offering but working with the team at Hoseasons has really helped us realise the potential of the business. “They gave us the confidence to believe in our product in the early days and have offered invaluable insight and guidance over the last few years to ensure we get the best return on our investment in this new development.” Much of that guidance has come from Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development, at Hoseasons who says Windmill Retreat and Spa is the perfect example of a location that knows it has to develop its offer to stay relevant in the modern UK holiday market.

THE ELEMENTS BOUTIQUE SPA is a huge draw for the Windmill Retreat & Spa

 

ASPIRATIONAL QUALITY
“The innovation and diversification we’ve seen in our industry over the last 18 months has been remarkable, with those used to holidaying abroad pre-pandemic now looking for the same level of aspirational quality in their UK staycation. “The data clearly shows people want more from their UK break and that’s exactly what we’re able to give them through Windmill Retreat and Spa and other high-end locations in our portfolio.”

The exceptional standard of lodge and cottage-style accommodation and facilities at Windmill Retreat and Spa recently led to it being one of only five wow-factor locations included in Hoseasons’ new Magnificent Collection - something the staycation specialist has launched to recognise new standards of quality and innovation across the self-catering holiday industry. Inclusion in the new collection means Windmill Retreat is being marketed to millions of Hoseasons customers looking for top quality accommodation design, premium on-park facilities, exceptional customer service and a genuine commitment to sustainability – something Nick hopes will help to mark it out as one of the country’s premier locations for an aspirational getaway.

NICK RIDGMENT AND ILZE PARANUKA are the owners of Windmill Retreat & Spa.

 

“We’re delighted to have been recognised as magnificent enough for Hoseasons’ new collection and are really looking forward to sharing our fantastic location with even more guests over the weeks, months and years to come.” Magnificent has been launched at a time when demand for luxury UK getaways is at an all-time high, and the number of high-end accommodations joining the Hoseasons portfolio continues to grow. Bookings for luxury properties this year are up 27% compared to the same point in 2019, while the size and scale of parent group Awaze’s luxury portfolio through brands including Hoseasons and sister company cottages.com has grown 45% over the last three years.

For more information about Hoseasons’ Magnificent Collection go to www.hoseasons.co.uk/magnificent

 

JOINED-UP THINKING

JOINED-UP THINKING

A complete park management and booking system...

Visitors to Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire’s award-winning tourist attraction of 30 years, often commented that you needed two days to do everything on offer. With 100 acres of land to the North of the attraction, the team listened to their visitors and set about creating their own Folly Farm Holiday Park. Offering a wide range of accommodation for the family market to suit all budgets, to date Folly Farm boasts a 43 pitch-touring park, a 20-pitch campsite, four Showman’s Wagons and six fairground themed luxury lodges with hot tubs. A further eight luxury lodges and six safari tents will open soon.

 

 

LOCKDOWN LAUNCH
“We were confident there would be huge interest in our accommodation offering from our strong and loyal customer base but then the pandemic hit and we found ourselves launching our touring park after the first lockdown in July 2020 with just three weeks’ notice,” explains Zoe Wright, Head of Marketing “We achieved a 76 per cent occupancy rate that first August and followed that in August 2021 with 94 per cent.” Ease-of-use was top of the list when Folly Farm was selecting a booking system so the team partnered with the highly recommended GemaPark . GemaPark has exceeded our expectations in terms of a booking system for our touring park and campsite,” confirms Zoe.

“In fact, we also import into GemaPark partner bookings for accommodation we don’t sell directly, because it provides top line booking, arrivals and performance information in a much more user- friendly way than our booking partners’ systems,” she adds. GemaPark is used by many members of the team at Folly Farm. Holiday park wardens use it to generate arrivals reports and to check if customers are returners so they can welcome them back. Office staff confirm all the bookings and chase payments while the marketing team can easily upload or change tariffs and run property performance reports and push any availability. The finance team can easily reconcile payments, run spend-per-head reports and financial forecasts.

EASE OF USE
“Every member of staff finds it easy to use and it’s one of the few software systems we use that the staff don’t moan about,” says Zoe. “Reporting was a key consideration as we’d little to no experience of running accommodation so to be able to easily query occupancy rates, property performance for our different accommodation options and check financial performance has been pivotal to the future development of the holiday park,”

Zoe continues. “CRM was also important as we were building an accommodation audience from scratch. “We would happily recommend GemaPark to anyone looking for a booking solution for their touring site or campsite and the fact they can easily integrate with leading booking partners is a bonus.”

Netguides/GemaPark
T: 01983 282420
W: www.netguides.co.uk
W: www.gemapark.co.uk

A WORLD OF HOLIDAY PARK IDEAS

A WORLD OF HOLIDAY PARK IDEAS

THE ELITE DYNAMICS team were focused on holiday park business at the recent WOPLH show.

 

Holiday Park Scene magazine was delighted to be involved with this year’s World of Park & Leisure Homes Show, that took place at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, earlier this summer. After a two-year break, due to COVID, holiday park suppliers enthusiastically raised awareness on a range of essential products and services.

They included several options for hot tubs in holiday settings, the chance to speak to the Compass Insurance team and the opportunity to catch up with the latest technology available through Elite Dynamics. An impressive display of about 40 leisure lodges, log cabins and park homes, from some of the leading UK manufacturers, gave visitors plenty of scope to explore an insight into the latest trends on the market.

 

PATHFINDER HOMES was among multiple holiday accommodation exhibitors at the show

 

Offering free parking and free entrance, the WOPLH show will return to Stoneleigh in 2023 – so save the dates of June 8 – for the Trade Preview Day and June 9 – 11th when the show will be open to the public.

World Of Park & Leisure Homes Show
Tel. 01789 491451
www.parkhomeandleisure.co.uk