Best in Britain

Best in Britain

Best In Britain

ABOVE: Norfolk's Searles Leisure Resort has been crowned the UK's champion holiday provider.

Judges in the annual AA holiday awards have told the family owners of North Norfolk's Searles Leisure Resort they are the UK's champion holiday providers. Awards given by the AA – based on guest reviews and a ‘secret shopper’ visit by inspectors - are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the holiday parks industry. The park fi rst began welcoming campers over 60 years ago onto what was then a farm, and it has since grown to become one of Eastern England's largest and best-loved holiday centres.

PITCH PERFECT
best in britain image 6Searles' provides more than 800 holiday home and touring pitches, including luxury lodges to buy and rent, plus a raft of family-friendly attractions and outdoor activities. Attractions at Searles include an innovative new indoor ‘splash zone’ with a host of different water play features, a new outdoor gym, and an adventure play park plus nightly entertainment.The citation from the AA's award judges noted that Searles: “Never stands still, and every year offers something new to delight visitors seeking a truly memorable and high quality experience. "The park's success and popularity is thanks to the vision, passion and hard work of four generations of the Searle family, and their quest for ever-rising standards,” they continued.

 

STAFF PRIDE

best in britain image 4

Paul Searle says staff played a big part in securing the win.

"All the resort's facilities are spotlessly clean, and there is a general feeling of pride from the friendly and hard-working staff. Searles is a very worthy winner," the judges concluded. Searles is also a highly-regarded local employer with around 200 staff, and provides valuable training and skills development opportunities especially to younger workers. Speaking on behalf of the family, managing director Paul

Searle said that the AA award celebrates not just the park, but also the entire workforce: "Standards of customer service are an important criteria for these awards, so our team at Searles can take a major share of the credit for this achievement," he says. "So many of the reviews we receive from customers mention the great atmosphere here, and delivering this is very much in the hands of our park team. "We hope the publicity from this AA award will also benefit other local tourism businesses by putting the spotlight on north Norfolk as an amazing holiday destination," adds Paul. Earlier this year, the park was crowned as the region's perfect park destination in the holiday parks category of the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards 2018.

Searles Leisure Resort
Tel. 01485 534211
www.searles.co.uk

 

Shared Vision

Shared Vision

The Inside story on the rise and rise of Bridge Leisure..

Shared Vision 1

ABOVE: Witht he help of its experienced team, Bridge Leisure is stamping its mark on holiday park locations around the country.

Founded in 2008 by Andrew Howe and Simon Williams as a holiday park consultancy and management business, Bridge Leisure initially focused on operating holiday parks for third parties. Both Andrew and Simon worked in the holiday park industry before setting up the company and both shared the vision of wanting to own a portfolio of individual holiday parks across the country. Andrew has worked in the leisure industry for 16 years, within both independent and plc companies including Talarius PLC, the UK’s largest High Street slot machine operator, and UK holiday parkoperators, Park Resorts. He shaped Sandy Balls Holiday Centre into the UK’s benchmark independent park and developed Park Resort’s lodge strategy. Equally at home on the park or in the boardroom, he expertly bridges the gap between the two. With 20 years’ experience of holiday parks, including at Bourne Leisure’s and Park Resorts’ leading locations, Simon has extensive industry knowledge. He heads the operations of our parks, both owned and managed.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Their first office was based in the spare bedroom of Andrew’s house where they spent two years building the business and looking for an opportunity to work with financial backers to help them purchase their first park. In 2010, with the backing of Kings Park Capital, the pair expanded into the operation of owned parks with the acquisitions of Trevella Park in Cornwall and Sand Le Mere Holiday Village on the Yorkshirecoast, followed by Turnberry, in Ayrshire, at the end of 2012. The recent acquisition of Yorkshire’s Bowland Fell takes Bridge Leisure’s estate to nine parks as it continues to consolidate the fragmented UK holiday park market. The Milton Keynes based company has now trebled the number of parks it owns since completing a management buyout supported by Phoenix Equity Partners (“Phoenix”) in 2015. Bowland Fell is a beautiful park set in an expanse of countryside between the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.

KEY PLAYERS
Andrew comments: “We are excited about the prospects for the park under Bridge Leisure’s ownership and plan to invest to further improve and grow the park in the coming years. “The park is run by a great team with lots of experience and enthusiasm, so we are really looking forward to joining forces and working together to take the park from strength to strength.” Bridge Leisure already own parks in Cornwall, Scotland, The Peak District and a second Yorkshire based park in Tunstall while in addition provides operational consultancy services to other park operators. Other key team players include Richard Hunt, chairman of the restructured Bridge Leisure Management, who boasts 20 years of board and executive level experience in senior general management roles in the leisure sector, with both private equity-backed businesses. Operations Manager, Alison Watson, has worked in the holiday park industry for more than 25 years, starting in 1989 as a children’s entertainer at Rockley Park in Dorset and then working across the country in roles covering retail, caravan sales and general management, running holiday parks in North Wales, Yorkshire and Scotland. As operations manager, Alison works closely with holiday park owners so that Bridge Leisure can help grow their business fi nancially and ensure a superb experience for their holiday home owners and holidaymakers. Andrew concludes: “It’s been a very successful few years for the company with a sustained period of growth and investment. “When we undertook the management buyout in 2015 we owned three parks but had a clear and ambitious plan to grow the group through acquisition and organic growth. “A little under four years later, with the backing of Phoenix, we have been able to add a further six parks and substantially grow both our existing and acquired parks.

Bridge Leisure
Tel. 01908 067900
www.bridgeleisure.com

 

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New Year Destination

New Year DestinationNew Year Destination

For those thinking of adding a swimming pool or hot tub, the UK’s only dedicated wet leisure exhibition, SPATEX 2019, is a must-attend. SPATEX is a shop window on all that is new and happening in hot tubs, swimming pools, spas, saunas, enclosures, steam rooms, all under one roof, at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, from Tuesday to Thursday, January 29th to 31st. The exhibition offers a unique platform for free professional training and education and repeating last year’s success of a double parallel programme, seminars will run on all three days of the show.

SPATEX
Tel. 01264 358558
www.spatex.co.uk

Smallest Rooms Present Biggest Challenges

Smallest Rooms Present Bigger ChallengesSmallest Rooms Present Biggest Challenges

The smallest rooms in the building can lead to the biggest frustrations, but the Cubicle Centre team is working hard to make your life as easy as possible. Porthdinllaen Caravan Park is located on the beautiful coast of North Wales. The site is next to spectacular Nefyn Championship golf club and the famous Ty Coch Inn. The Ty Coch Inn was recently voted in the ‘World’s Top Ten Beach Bars’ by a recent survey. In 2016, Porthdinllaen secured planning to almost double the size of the park from 36 touring units to 60. The expansion also included a brand new amenities block which includes, showers, washrooms, a canteen area and a shop. The Cubicle Centre provided the shower and toilet cubicles, wall panels and the vanity units. All of these were constructed in Compact Grade Laminate (CGL) which is water resistant, vandal-proof and extremely durable. It is important that the panels are a higher quality for shower blocks, so they can withstand the high volume usage and constant cleaning. “The new cubicles and vanity units look fantastic. Our visitors love the quality of the washroom block,” said Siôn and Sian Williams, the Park owners. With a wide choice of ranges, contact the Cubicle Centre to discuss your washroom challenges.

Cubicle Centre
Tel. 01924 457600
www.washroomcubicles.co.uk

Fit For Purpose

Fit For Purpose - Title Pic

Fit For Purpose

Look before you leap on holiday let hot tubs…

Educated estimates put the number of hot tubs in a holiday let setting, throughout the UK and Eire, at between 3,500 and 5,000 installations. Good news for some, with seven out of ten bookers looking for a hot tub with their holiday let while accommodation promoted as being supplied with a hot tub will generally sustain increased rates of around 30%.

The bad news is that any of those hot tubs, installed pre 2018, are probably out of date and do not comply with current regulations of HSG282. Not a problem, some would say, fiercely clutching their risk assessment paperwork. Not a problem, that is, until there is a high profile incident which will send the prospects for hot tubs and their non-conforming holiday park operator, down a rather large drain. “If you speak to any online booking agent they will usually place a hot tub in the top three options search or ticked; people really do want one,” says Dan Johnson of Marquis Spas, that markets a fully-compliant range of hot tubs for the holiday let market. “While some dealers have been specifying or retro-fitting continuous feeders to outdated models, the bather capacity and water turn over rates, will still make many hot tubs fall foul of HSG282,” explains Dan. “I think the big operators are paying attention as they understand the power of the HSE and thus the importance of following guidelines – it is built into their management infrastructure,” adds Dan.

Fit For Purpose 2POOR ADVICE

“My worry is people are getting poor advice from companies who are unaware or choose to ignore the guidelines because their product does not comply,” agrees Gareth Jones, of UK Leisure Living, the reigning UK Hot Tub Retailer Of The Year. “I would emphasise that 95% of our customers take the advice we give but there is a small percentage who disregard them dismissing them as just guidelines. “Some companies change their hot tub stock every two years however, we believe, between five and ten years is achievable, if they are properly looked after and investment has been in a quality product from the start,” Gareth emphasises.

Jessica Anthony of Award Leisure, UK distributors of Coast Spas, agrees. She warns of false economies: “If you think its expensive buying a better spa, wait until you find out how much it costs in the longer term, to buy a cheap equivalent.” Jessica also believes passionately that knowledge is power and that properly trained staff are essential. “Consistent attention to water quality that is clean and well-balanced is important,” she says. “Over-chlorinated water, which is a solution to inefficient system, effects the user’s skin, respiratory system and even their bathing costumes. “Over chlorination also has a detrimental effect on the plastics of the spa and erodes the filters,” warns Jessica. “It causes skin issues, upset stomachs, eye and ear infections, sickness and serious illness.”

Fit For Purpose 5

The award-winning Rotospa currently have units fitted in excess of 110 holiday parks throughout the UK and Eire. “There are several important criteria when considering which spa would be best for you,” emphasises Rotospa’s Jason Smith. “If your spa isn’t fully HSG282 complaint, or you aren’t sure how to make it compliant, you really need to discuss this with the supplier as it is key when providing spas in a holiday setting.” Buoyed by 15 years’ experience supplying to the holiday park sector, Rotospa have now developed a fully compliant HSG282, holiday park specific spa.

CUSTOMER SAFETY

“As a manufacturer we have a responsibility to ensure people have a product fi t for purpose and that our customers are trained in product use and ensuring safety of their customers,” Jason says. “In the early days, it seemed that people paid little attention to the compliancy and people were selling domestic spas for a commercial setting with little or no guidance,” he adds. “Since the introduction of HSG282, businesses now need to be more aware of their responsibilities and as a company this is something we shout about, as it is a major considerate when purchasing a holiday spa.” Jason believes it is imperative that site owners are informed of the benef ts and opportunities that offering a hot tub as a part of their accommodation, can bring. He says: “Not only can they drive out-of-season bookings, but increasing occupancy levels by at least 25% and increasing revenue is essential.”

LEARNING CURVE

Fit For Purpose 3Dan Johnson of Marquis Spas agrees and warns: “I am aware that cases of infection are ongoing now, but are being settled out of court with NDA’s – I can only hope those who fall foul of poor operational controls learn from their mistakes. “I am seeing truly ancient hot tubs in situ, which is understandable as operators try to wring every last penny out of them and recoup their ROI, albeit as a false economy not only in running costs but also client experience,” says Dan.

“The real worry is someone will lose their life, that’d be tragic and pointless,” warns Dan and adds: “The damage would impact the whole sector as the HSE will come down on everyone hard and the Press will be extremely negative on hot tubs as a whole.”

COMPANY CONTACTS

AWARD LEISURE (COAST SPAS)
Tel. 07387 140283
www.sellhottubs.co.uk

MARQUIS SPA
Tel. 07722 187272
marquishottubs.co.uk/holidaypark

ROTOSPA
Tel. 0121 354 3428
www.rotospa.co.uk

UK LEISURE LIVING
Tel. 08450 343550
www.ukleisureliving.co.uk

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

Test Pilots

Test Pilots - Outdoor Essentials

Test Pilots

Let your guests be the judge of your outdoor improvements...

What better time than peak season to carry out an audit of your outdoor amenities. From weather-proofing al fresco entertainment areas, to checking the popularity of new playground features; your guests are the ultimate test pilots. It is your customers who will ultimately decide on the return on investment of your winter improvements; voting with their feet, this year’s – and crucially – next year’s holiday budget. Now is the time to start the appraisal process, You need to spot what look like winners or losers. Modifications may be needed and some may have to wait until the winter months. But it may not be prudent to wait when a stitch in time could reap rich rewards in the form of repeat business and maximising spend.
Quick fix amendments could be something as simple as adding more bins or sprucing up your signage, or garden displays. If outdoor spaces are well maintained, they will encourage user-participation by inspiring visitors to be outdoors in the grounds, making full use of the facilities,” points out Christine Virginie, Marketing Manager for Test Pilots 2Fordingbridge, who are key suppliers when it comes to maximising outdoor space. “This can create great word of mouth and repeat business from visitors having just had a great experience at your park,” Christine continues. “Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing and the best aspect is, it’s free! “If your equipment is covered by a canopy, it also increases the life span and therefore reduces maintenance and replacement costs,” adds Christine.

Offering customer-friendly outdoor dining is a no-brainer. An inviting al fresco experience with smart furniture and heaters for chilly evenings will increase the number of covers you can serve and ultimately increase your bottom line. One of the key decisions when planning to utilise external areas, is whether the space is for activities, that can generate income or that simply add value to your overall offering. “Presentation of all areas is important, whether a playground, a dining area or a wild flower meadow – they all need to be maintained,” says Simon Williams, Commercial Director at Bridge Leisure Parks. According to Simon there is also a growing trend of people wanting to reconnect with nature and to be active outdoors – and this has been an area of focus for Bridge Leisure Parks. “Our recent outdoor developments include foot golf, archery, dog agility courses, pitch and putt and crazy golf. At Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire, we’ve recently invested in a foot golf course for one of the fields and developed a nature trail through the woods.

Test Pilots 3

Bridge Leisure not only provides active areas on its parks – the operator also promotes ranger activities to take advantage of their parks’ surroundings, providing expert knowledge about the local landscape and wildlife. This is complemented with on-park signage providing more detail about the plants and animals that can be found. There is no better way of enhancing and enriching an outdoor space than by investing in play equipment. Creating an innovative play space that fi res a child’s imagination and creates a pleasant environment for parents to get together is a winning formula for holiday parks. If you are looking to breathe new life into your play offering then HAGS boasts a huge portfolio and bucket-loads of experience. The company provides a turnkey solution with services including landscaping, fencing, decking and even artificial rock faces. The play specialists manufacture a vast range of products including play equipment for all ages, outdoor gym and fitness equipment, multi-use games areas, skating, ‘parkour’ and furniture. Camber Sands Holiday Park is a typical example. The park owners wanted separate areas for toddlers and juniors and a wide range of equipment. HUGE HIT They enlisted the help of HAGS-SMP to design and install the scheme, which included themed multi-play units, dynamic equipment, a zip line, sunken trampolines and a trail with an 8m traverse wall. The play area has proven to be a huge hit with customers, and according to HAGS, the only complaint from site has been to ask how to keep the adults off the equipment! “Theming seems to be a constant favourite with our clients. From pirate ships to fairytale castles you can add real play value to your areas by engaging a child’s imagination,” comments Simon Wright, Head of Sales at HAGS. Simon advises: “If your budget is tight you might consider planning your scheme in phases, this way you can add to the playground over a period of time that suits.” Specialists in recycled furniture, NBB’s furniture designs are enjoying unprecedented interest this season. “They not only look great and are eco-friendly, but they’ll also will save the park owner money in the long run!” exclaims the company’s Group Marketing Manager David Dean. “In today’s world we all need to be more aware of the materials we use and ensure sustainability is on the agenda. “All of NBB’s recycled furniture products are manufactured in the UK from recycled plastic milk bottles. Purchasing a standard A-frame picnic table, for example, will save over 2,000 milk bottles from entering our waste chain,” adds David.

TOP TIPS

Maximising Your Outdoor Space :

Provide weather protected outdoor spaces.
Offer safe and secure bike storage for visitors.
Have all weather sports facilities such as MUGAs and covered green gyms.
Provide shaded areas for seating and dining.
Use walkway canopies to offer weather-protected connections between buildings.

 

WEATHER-PROOF SOLUTIONS

Weather Proof SolutionsSpecialist design and built contractors, Fordingbridge is a one-stop shop when it comes to outdoor weather-proofi ng solutions. A typical installation recently took place at the Cotswold Country Park and Beach provides water sport activities on a wide expanse of lake. The owners wanted to create a weather-protected, outdoor dining/spectating space where friends and family of those participating in the water sports could dine and watch in comfort, sheltered from the elements. After conducting a free site survey, Fordingbridge proposed a twin-span, barrel-vaulted timber canopy to provide 128m2 of covered space overlooking the lake. The Opal 60 fabric roof covering was designed exclusively for Fordingbridge and is known for its longevity, high tear strength and UV resistance. The install team delivered the project in four days, keeping disruption to a minimum.

Fordingbridge
Tel: 01243 554455
www.fordingbridge.co.uk

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PLANET FRIENDLY FURNITURE

Plane Friendly FurnitureGreat for park operators and the planet, increasingly the holiday sector is choosing recycled plastic furniture over traditional wooden furniture. The reasons are clear. Not only will it never rot, splinter or rust but it is guaranteed against rot for 25 years. There are no long-term maintenance commitment such as painting or sanding down. It’s waterproof and not affected by exposure to chemicals, severe weather or intense sunlight, meaning it can be left outside all year round without any effect on its look and feel – and no unsightly green algae. New for this season from NBB is its London Dining Set – a contemporary table and bench set manufactured in grey plastic, seating up to six guests and saving nearly 4,000 plastic milk bottles from going to landfi ll.

NBB
Tel. 0800 1777 052
www.recycledfurniture.co.uk

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CHARGING POINTS DEMAND

Charging PointsRolec Leisure is seeing a growing number of parks installing charging stations for electric vehicles. Something that park operators are probably encountering more and more are visitors with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs). “Demand for EVs and PHEVs is at an all-time high in the UK, with year-on-year sales having increased by more than 27% explains,” explains Martin Georgeson, Sales Director of Rolec Services, the award-winning company is widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of EV charging points and accessories. “We are aware of a number of disgruntled visitors to other leisure parks around the country who have aired their disappointment at the lack of EV charging points on EV internet forums, highlighting the fact that demand is out there,” warns Martin. Rolec’s EV charging points are specially designed to be easy and economical to install, safe, and adaptable to a holiday park requirements.

ROLEC
Tel. 01205 724754
www.rolecserv.com

 

 

Swim Star Opens Devon Splash Pad

splash padSwim Star Opens Devon Splash Pad

Olympic Gold-medallist swimmer Liam Tancock took time out from the fast lane recently to open the new Splash Zone at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in East Devon. Set alongside the park’s main swimming pool, the 160m2 zone includes interactive water features, spray guns, and even a sea serpent that sprays water. The ocean-themed Splash Zone is part of a £1 million investment made by the family-owned park in the run-up to the 2018 summer season when its 75 anniversary is being marked. With its own private beach and longstanding appeal to young families, Ladram Bay has prided itself on continually expanding its range of attractions.

In 2017 Ladram Bay Holiday Park approached Ustigate Waterplay to request a design and build program to establish a splash zone outside their indoor pool complex. The splash pad consists of 19 products to please all ages. There is a low level interactive fi sh, six jet stream geysers and six wave geysers to tickle small children and a boat feature, tipping bucket, cannons and a sea serpent to cater for all those that love nothing more than being soaked in splash. One of the wonders of a splash pad with zero standing water is the creation of an environment where children of all ages and abilities can access aquatic recreation and play together safely.

Ladram Bay director Zoe House, who is a member of the parkowning Carter family, said it was a great privilege to welcome Exeter-based Liam to Ladram Bay: “Although the Splash Zone is all about having fun, Liam knows that youngsters just enjoying themselves in the water can be a great introduction to swimming as a sport,” she said. “We have many guests which return here year after year, and we’re often told that one big reason is the wealth of things to do for all ages, no matter what the weather. “Our main aim has always been to create amazing holiday memories with fi rst-class facilities, and I think that our new Splash Zone comes right up to the mark,” added Zoe.

Ustigate Waterplay
Telephone: 01322 424445
www.ustigatewaterplay.co.uk

The Bubble Factor

The Bubble Factor

Hot tubs

Hot tubs are simply too good to resist, offering the bubble factor for holiday lets up and down the country.

The most common Internet search term with accommodation and holiday properties, no-one can afford to ignore the hot tub appeal.
And hot tub investment adds up. The increased pricing of a hot tub accommodation upgrade can see payback in under one year on the initial hot tub investment. Hoseasons and Sykes have both conducted their own independent research and say you can expect a 25% uptake of bookings if offered with a hot tub.
“What most of the holiday park resorts are looking for are simple spas with basic controls, a great warranty and back-upservice,” advises Gareth Jones, of UK Leisure Living, the UK’s reigning Spa Retailer Of the Year.
“A good quality holiday hot tub should last 10 years, no problem,” Gareth points out. “But I would advise to replace a holiday spa every five years,” he continues. “A bit like a car, the older they get, the more things tend to go wrong.
Hot tubs can take a hammering over the course of a season. Covers in particular, typically see toggles ripped. But, as they are heated up from cold every week, compared to every three months in a domestic settings. its the overall wear and tear on the pumps and heating elements that really takes its toll. “Changing the spa when the warranty runs out would also make commercial sense. As a business you can lease or finance them and this a great way of funding hot tubs at your premises. They also have a residual value to sell on after your term has finished.”

COMMERCIAL SENSE
“As with anything in life you get what you pay for! Buy a quality product from the start that will last,” Gareth advises.  “Ensure you get an adequate warranty to match your needs. “Ensure your hot tub supplier has adequate part provisions of core components in the event the tub does break down.  “If you are planning to keep the spa beyond its warranty period check the prices on packs, pumps and heating elements.  You don’t want expensive parts to pay for outside your warranty period,” continues Gareth.  “Don’t forget we live in a world of web reviews and poorly maintained hot tubs are dirty water is any excuse to leave a bad review,” he advises. “This is why its essential staff are adequately trained. I am always a big believer that the tub quality needs to mirror the property.” With new HSG guidelines, parks need to be seen to have product that is compliant. 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 asa 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.
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. “A lot of holiday parks are not aware, or worse still, ignore the Health & 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, who offers a fully compliant Marquis Spa that ismore than fi t for the holiday let purpose.
Working with Marquis Spas, 1 Stop Spas have designed aHSG282 compliant hot tub which also boasts some additional features such as simple auxiliary controls, limited hands-on parts, plus filtration systems and in-line sanitisers to reduce the risk of water related illnesses.

TICKING BOXES
1 Stop Spas’ bestselling holiday hot tub is a Vita Spa Joli,which is a compact shape and has low sides that can easily be incorporated into new or existing decking. The Vita Spa range also uses off the shelf Balboa control system sand pumps, therefore sourcing parts quickly is easy, meaning minimal down time if you were unlucky enough to develop a fault.
Over the past ten years, a significant amount of holiday park operators and holiday let owners have purchased and operate what are in fact domestic hot tubs only designed for home, and not intended for commercial use.
Commercial spas, the type found at health clubs and spas, are generally much larger than the average portable spa with bigger and better filtration and sanitation systems along with other features that suit much heavier bather use.
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 thatHSG282 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.”Chris adds: “The biggest consideration which is often overlooked is aftercare. We recommend that you have the spa serviced at least every six months to ensure any wear and tear is identified early and rectified to avoid breakdowns. It is advisable to team up with a local hot tub retailer, who can provide aftercare on your doorstep.” For holiday park operators, adding a hot tub is an opportunity to enhance visitor appeal and to add a premium to the letting price of the accommodation. Appealing to families as well as couples, for many holidaymakers, having their own hot tub, is the highlight of their break.
Perfect any time of the year, hot tubs are especially indulgent when it is cold outside to add to the lure of an autumn or winter holiday offering. Potentially profitable, there are however, many pitfalls to avoid before taking the plunge and adding a hot tub to your holiday offering. Shrewd operators and owners will look before they leap when it comes to showing duty of care, not to mention doing the necessary sums to ensure a profitable bottom line.

North-Wales based, UK Leisure Living offers 10 holiday hot tubs in its fully-compliant Aspen range from four seater to eight seater in a range of colours and sizes and at different prices.Supplying hot tubs to some of the country’s biggest parks,UK Leisure Living ensures its spas are fit for purpose whether residentially-owned or a holiday let.“Our spas are holiday compliant and have an ozone and in-line chemical feeder as standard,” explains UK Leisure Living’s Gareth Jones.“Our Aspen range have a simple layout and components canbe easily replaced,” adds Gareth.“We stock, in our large showroom, almost all of our holidaycompliant hot tubs. This means if a spa does go down, we can borrow a part of a floor model, repair quickly and get it back up and running very quickly, minimising down time.UK Leisure Living Tel. 0845 034 35 50 www.hottubsnorthwales.biz

North-Wales based, UK Leisure Living offers 10 holiday hot tubs in its fully-compliant Aspen range from four seater to eight seater in a range of colours and sizes and at different prices.Supplying hot tubs to some of the country’s biggest parks,UK Leisure Living ensures its spas are fit for purpose whether residentially-owned or a holiday let.“Our spas are holiday compliant and have an ozone and in-line chemical feeder as standard,” explains UK Leisure Living’s Gareth Jones.“Our Aspen range have a simple layout and components canbe easily replaced,” adds Gareth.“We stock, in our large showroom, almost all of our holiday compliant hot tubs. This means if a spa does go down, we can borrow a part of a floor model, repair quickly and get it back up and running very quickly, minimising down time. * UK Leisure Living - www.hottubsnorthwales.biz *

Away Resorts approached Urban Cedar at a recent Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show as they were interested in its contemporary hot tubs for use at their parks around the UK.Not only did they like the look of the Urban Cedar hot tubs but they also wanted a hot tub which was more commercial and designed specifically for a holiday home use as Urban Cedar’s are.They had experienced problems in the past with other hot tubs which allowed the guests to change the temperature and filter settings. Urban Cedar had a meeting with Away resorts and created a tailored solution to their exact requirements. This included chlorine auto-dosing, tamper proof jets and fitting a dual control system so the guest can only operate the jets and led lights. Away Resorts subsequently placed an order for over 40 hot tubs for three of their developments which were delivered and installed by April 2016. We have continued to work closely with Away resorts and are currently looking at design ideas for 2018. *Urban Cedar Hot Tubs www.urbancedarhottubs.co.uk*

Before you make a decision on which hot tubs are the best fit for your holiday setting, make sure you check out the Riptide range of spas. A quality build with a robust holiday let specification for a long trouble-free experience, Riptide offers a choice of three models. The four, five and six seater options are all available with built-in chlorinators, no pillows and no surface- mounted controls to be interfered with.All of the range offers easy filter removal for faster cleaning and includes courtesy lighting at the front steps to help avoid slips and falls.It is not too late to add a hot tub or two for the 2018 as Riptide has product in stock for immediate delivery. Large orders can be unloaded directly from containers on customers’ sites in just eight weeks.For one-offs or small orders of two to five units, Riptide offer an onsite handover service. For larger orders, Riptide prefer to train the park maintenance team to handle basic service and parts replacements.Riptide Spas www.riptidepools.co.uk

Before you make a decision on which hot tubs are the best fit for your holiday setting, make sure you check out the Riptide range of spas. A quality build with a robust holiday let specification for a long trouble-free experience, Riptide offers a choice of three models. The four, five and six seater options are all available with built-in chlorinators, no pillows and no surface- mounted controls to be interfered with.All of the range offers easy filter removal for faster cleaning and includes courtesy lighting at the front steps to help avoid slips and falls.It is not too late to add a hot tub or two for the 2018 as Riptide has product in stock for immediate delivery. Large orders can be unloaded directly from containers on customers’ sites in just eight weeks.For one-offs or small orders of two to five units, Riptide offer an onsite handover service. For larger orders, Riptide prefer to train the park maintenance team to handle basic service and parts replacements.*Riptide Spas www.riptidepools.co.uk*