Seaside Lodge Ultimate Location

Seaside Lodge Ultimate Location

Seaside Lodge Ultimate Location 1Speculation is rife as to whether an ultimate fantasy escape at Sandhills Holiday Park in Dorset, is the most expensive holiday lodge in the UK. It takes the form of a high-tech £420,000 bespoke luxury lodge with one of the most picturesque beach-side settings to be found anywhere in Britain. This autumn, the keys to the holiday home were officially handed over to its extremely proud new owner. The visually striking and lavishly equipped lodge is the result of a design collaboration with Prestige which was sparked by Park Holidays UK earlier this year. It arose when Sandhills had to opportunity to develop a new holiday home on the sea-facing front of the park, just a few paces from the sandy beach at Mudeford near Christchurch. According to Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish, it was agreed that the breathtaking position warranted the creation of a unique and very special holiday home: “Only very rarely do pitches become available on Sandhills’ front row, and we wanted the new owners to enjoy surroundings that were just as amazing as the views,” he said. “Together with Prestige, we developed a blueprint which included large areas of glazing to give the outlook star billing from the interior, but maintained a warm and homely feel. “Natural materials, including timber, are a big feature together with ocean-inspired colours and decoration to evoke the glorious seascape vista,” added Tony.

MODERN DAY
Substantial investment in Sandhills by Park Holidays UK has introduced many new modern-day facilities to the park including a country club, gymnasium, and a heated outdoor pool. The split-level 40ft x 20ft lodge has a large elevated lounge, two spacious bedrooms, modern kitchen and bathrooms, and a 3502 ft decking surrounded by infinity glass. Its new owner is haulage entrepreneur John Dean who, with his partner Carol can now spend leisure time away from their Salisbury home in surroundings he describes as “simply stunning”. John, aged 79, founded his distribution company almost 50 years ago with a single truck, and grew the business to serve both national and international customers. His love of the sea led him to acquire a 65ft motor cruiser and then, last year, a holiday home at Sandhills Holiday Park with a view of Christchurch Harbour. Having made new friends at the park and found a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere very much to his liking, John was quick to seize his chance when the sea-front lodge became available. For buyers on a more modest budget, holiday homes at the park start from around £150,000 – in an area where wooden beach huts are regularly reported as changing hands for up to £300,000. Meanwhile, the park has just released a second bespoke holiday home on its front row which features a roof-top garden – and a slightly more accessible price tag of £399,950.

Sandhills
Tel. 01425 200744
www.ParkHolidays.com

Wish You Were Here – Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park

Wish You Were Here - Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park

Wish You Were Here 1Located at the foot of the Penmaenmawr Mountain, overlooking the spectacular coastal views from Llandudno and across to Anglesey, Puffin Island and beyond, Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park is truly a holiday location that stands out from the crowd.Surrounded by natural beauty, this secluded luxury park is perfect for a peaceful get away, but at the same time is close to popular resorts and attractionsand has easy access to lovely mountain walks. On site,Craiglwyd Hall offers visitors a play area, on site bar, games room, gym and is a dog-friendly location.The flag ship of the Thornley Leisure group, the park’s many awards include a top five-star tourist board grading – but according to managing director David Thornley, the latest Go North Wales accolade has an extra significance “The award is especially important to us because it recognises not just the quality of the park’s facilities and surroundings, but also the levels of hospitality and service provided to guests. “It’s our staff team which deserves the lion’s share of the credit for this, and they do a great job in making everybody feel welcome and helping them enjoy their stay. “It’s been a superb year for Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Wish You Were Here 2Park and the group as a whole, and I hope the publicity from this award will help benefit all tourism businesses here in North Wales,” added David. Situated on the north coast of County Conwy between Anglesey and the Menai Straits, the park provides tranquil landscaped grounds in a picture-postcard setting. It has long proved popular with families wishing to own a caravan holiday home in one of North Wales’s most popular areas for lovers of natural scenic beauty.

Craiglwyd Hall Caravan Park
Tel. 01492 623355
www.thornleyleisure.co.uk

 

Holiday Snaps – Nick Lomas – The Caravan & Motorhome Club

Holiday Snaps - Nick Lomas - The Caravan & Motorhome Club

holiday snaps

Nick Lomas is Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, the UK’s largest club for owners of Leisure Vehicles, representing one million users. The Club operates over 200 UK campsites and provides 2300 exclusive CL locations for members. It also provides travel services to over 330 sites throughout Europe.

What was your career path into the industry?
My first job in hospitality was working behind the bar in a local pub. I graduated from University and worked in Financial Services for 17 years. I worked on the sales and marketing side promoting insurance, pensions and banking. My last job was at LV where I worked in their affi nity business providing discounted insurance and credit products to members of national motoring, travel and membership organisations and trade unions. That’s when I came across the Caravan Club, now the Caravan and Motorhome Club. The outdoors held much more appeal to me and I ended up becoming Marketing Director in 2005 and subsequently Director General in 2010.

How has market changed during your time in the industry?
The market grows ever more sophisticated. Consumers want higher quality accommodation and service delivered much faster through technology like booking apps. More people are buying motorhomes and spending short breaks glamping.

How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
The shift to motorhomes and growth of shorter breaks over longer holidays is likely to continue. I think the changes to vehicles with electric cars replacing diesel and petrol vehicles will be important to cater for. Also wider ranges of experiences in terms outdoor activities in the day, matched with relaxing food and drink and pampering experiences in the evening will continue to grow.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your working life?
Supporting the Club staff of over 1000 people to give consistent, reliable quality service day in day out is the driving force of the club. Helping everyone to see how change is necessary and constant keeps me interested and excited. The future is bright but bringing it to life is hard work.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
Be true to yourself and do what you believe is the right thing based on sound research – advice from a well-respected colleague.

What do you most like to spend your time out of working hours?
I love walking and cycling in the Peak District. Spending time there with friends and family restores my soul. When it’s dark, you can’t beat a good fi lm at the cinema, or a rock concert - I really enjoy watching a live gig.

If we could give you three guests? Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
Winston Churchill - he’s a hero but also a hugely complex and controversial character, Meryl Streep an amazing actress well placed for the gossip of Hollywood, and Prince Harry - youth and passion for helping others makes me think he’d be an interesting dinner guest, given his mental health and military veteran charity interests.

Do you have any claims to fame?
The Club’s Patron for over 66 years has been The Duke of Edinburgh - it’s been a pleasure meeting him and dealing with the Royal Household from time to time. Especially for our Club Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
I go skiing in Austria - snowy mountains and blue skies are a tonic in the gloomy depths of winter. I’ve driven a caravan through Greece and a motorhome to Istanbul. I love the challenge and adventure of getting somewhere new.

Brexit Boom For UK Holiday Sector

Brexit Boom For UK Holiday Sector

Brexit Boom For UK Holiday Sector

The UK holiday sector looks set to be in line for a Staycation boom as families steer away from overseas holidays, part of the Brexit effect. Fears over the stability of the pound, medical cover in Europe and travel concerns have led to a fall in bookings. And, it was revealed by The Sunday Times recently, that families will be advised not to book holidays after next March, according to contingency plans being drawn up to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The proposed guidance, which will shock the travel industry, was expected to be discussed at our cabinet level, after civil servants were told to ramp up emergency planning. According to a leaked report, steps are being considered to protect holidaymakers who have yet to book trips, amid fears a no-deal Brexit will see fl ights grounded and spark chaos at airports and ports. The European Regions Airline Association, which represents 50 airlines, wrote to the European Commission warning a no-deal Brexit could have ‘disastrous consequences’, affecting routes, aviation safety and border security. The Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary, said in September that a hard Brexit could lead to fl ights being grounded and that its likelihood was underestimated. Its rival, easyJet, has registered more than 100 aircraft to a newly created airline based in Vienna and switched pilot licences to German and Austrian permits, according to the Times. Meanwhile, the hottest new trends, from menopause, divorce, and grief retreats to ‘mumcations’, are forecast to make wellness one of the most infl uential holiday trends in 2019. With mental health being such a hot topic, fi nding ways to combat issues such as anxiety, stress and depression has become more important than ever before. According to specialists, Health and Fitness Travel, the global wellness industry is now worth $4.2 trillion with wellness tourism experiencing a 6.5% annual growth; more than double the growth rate for overall tourism.

Make ‘Em Laugh

Make Em Laugh - Title Pic

Make 'Em Laugh

Entertain to gain, advises Karen Cotton…

With more Britons choosing to holiday in the UK, according to research from Travelodge, the pressure is on park operators to attract and retain this new business. Guests expect great facilities and food, but they also are hoping for great entertainment. For many, it’s the nightlife and shows which add value to their break – making it truly memorable. Nowhere is this truer than at Bunn Leisure in Dorset, where four parks on one combined site cater to different tastes and budgets. Head of Entertainment Adrian Douthwaite explains: “Our clients expect a consistent, high quality and diverse range of entertainment.” He adds: “As technology has drastically advanced in recent years, so have expectations as to the ‘look and feel’ of the entertainment, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising.”

Make Em Laugh 3STAR CAST

In recent months, the Dorset holiday park has hosted names including Pop Idol alum Gareth Gates and X-Factor star Sam Bailey. Names like these deliver real value, as Adrian explains. “Big named artists and shows that create a ‘buzz’ have more impact than ever before, as the use of social media amplifies the desired value of the entertainment.” Careful planning is essential to ensure you hit the right note with all your guests. Stephen Pearce, Marketing Manager at Beverley Holidays says: “Entertainment really is the most subjective thing in the world, as trends and people’s expectations and perceptions of entertainment change… “Whilst not everyone will absolutely love everything we do, by having an exciting range on offer we aim to ensure that whilst somebody may not like something, there will, within the product, be something they do like.”

 

Make Em Laugh 2MULTI-APPEAL

The aim for the park on the English Riviera, is to keep its entertainment fresh and current… but there is a space for oldies-but-goodies, too. Stephen continues: “There will be nostalgic moments, games and concepts, however these must be delivered appropriately to an audience in 2018. A knobbly knees contest doesn’t go down as well now as it may have done in the ‘80s.” At Beverley Holidays, near Torquay, guests have a wide range of daytime activities to choose from. Its ‘Be-Active’ umbrella houses high-energy sessions that are popular with guests of all ages, with soft archery, Water Walkerz and body Zorbing. The Kids Be-Active programme allows younger guests to find their inner princess, pirate or superhero. “These sessions aim to capture the creativity and imagination of our younger guests,” says Stephen. “For our older guests, we offer something a little bit more laid back – whether it be a poolside quiz, coffee morning, line dance or darts tournament, we have it all covered.” Bunn Leisure also sources a wide range of entertainment spanning all areas and tastes. For Head of Entertainment Adrian, this can be tricky. He says: “The teenage and young adult market consistently proves difficult, whereas the children and 50+ age group are much easier to cater for as there is much more product to choose from when buying in.”

Make Em Laugh 4BEST VALUE

Working with an annual budget of approximately £1.5 million, Bunn Leisure’s in-house product offering is generated and produced internally – with little to no outsourcing of services. “This, in turn, helps to control quality and costs,” adds Adrian. “Routing and increased frequency of appearances for outsourced artists and shows can also help a little with regards to value – but isn’t paramount when devising the product offering.” At Beverley Holidays, the secret to getting the most from your budget is simple. Stephen reveals: “The best way to get value for money is to invest in the people who are most passionate about the performance. It is the individuals that are responsible for the delivery of the product, and of course the delivery of the product, on the whole, that creates that experience guests remember forever. “By far, alongside great show concepts and animated daytime activities, bottom line is the ‘coat-style’ entertainer and their approach to the role – as the ‘face of the holiday’ – builds relationships with guests, making them feel welcome and appreciated.”

 

Make Em Laugh 5PLAN AHEAD

While planning at Bunn Leisure begins 18 months in advance, at Beverley Holidays the team plans for the following year each September. By reviewing and evaluating the uptake and successes of the previous year, the team can make the informed decisions necessary to develop their product moving forward. Where visiting acts are involved, timing is everything according to Stephen from Beverley Holidays. He says: “To ensure we are able to book what we want and not just what is available, [our] process is on-going.” This is especially important when operators are looking to secure big-name attractions. Sometimes bookings are required as far as 18 months in advance.
With 20 years’ experience booking acts for holiday parks, Live Music Management has worked with numerous operators across the UK and suggests that bookings be made at least nine months in advance and promoted as part of the offer Managing Director Rick Baines explains: “It’s increasingly difficult to get people into club houses as home drinking has become the norm. But people will come out if there is consistently good entertainment on.” Budgets will differ depending on the size of the venue. If you’re working with smaller budgets, he sagely advises: “It’s better to have a high-quality act once per weekend, then two ‘pub-quality’ acts!” It’s important to widen your scope, too.Make Em Laugh 7
Rick suggests: “Look at who the national companies are booking with and consider them, as well as local agents. You might find better quality at similar prices.” One of the most popular trends he’s spotted is Bandeoke, which is also known as live band karaoke. He says: “It’s still massive. It allows all the family to join in and brings Instagram moments that will stay with the guests.” He adds: “Pop-up entertainment, not necessarily fixed to a stage area, also brings an immersive experience which will thrill guests and lead to social media sharing.”

Which Trip Advisor Reviews Would You Prefer This one?

“Park lovely… entertainment awful” - Natasha L

“Great views, awful entertainment” - Superdave10uk

“Nice grounds, perfect caravan, poor entertainment” - Gwen L.

Or

“Best entertainment, great stay!!!” - Pixie G.

“Entertainment team were amazing!” - Andreacleaton60

“Night life was very good can’t wait to book again for next year” – Janetholmes2724

“Brilliant [80’s] weekend. Everyone dressed up. Looking forward to the next one…” - Biff0r

Company Contacts

BEVERLEY HOLIDAYS www.beverley-holidays.co.uk

BUNN LEISURE www.bunnleisure.co.uk

LIVE MUSIC MANAGEMENT www.lmmuk.co.uk

 

Staff Recruitment In Overdrive

Staff Recruitment In OverdriveStaff Recruitment In Overdrive

Following a record year for visitors, Silverdale Holiday Park says it’s now putting staff recruitment plans into overdrive in readiness for an even more full-on 2019. In order to help woo applicants, the park is offering free membership of its exclusive leisure club which includes a 17m swimming pool, sauna, steam rooms and a spa pool. Staff will also be given use of the park’s gymnasium, re-fitted this year with the latest exercise technology to help everyone keep in tip-top condition. The family-owned park currently has 20 full-time positions to fill after end-season figures showed this summer to have been the busiest by far in its 60-year history. But business owner Michael Holgate says is keen to give priority to applicants from south Cumbria, and will only be announcing the posts locally and on his website. At present, he states, around 95% of the 160-strong workforce have been drawn from the immediate area – and that in his experience, recruiting locally works best for everyone. Silverdale is the flagship park of the Holgates group and was founded by Michael’s grandfather in 1956, and has since grown to six multi-award winning park businesses. The new job opportunities are available both across the parks, and at The Royal gastro-pub in the village of Silverdale which was bought by Holgates almost three years ago. Positions include roles in operations such as food and beverage, housekeeping, customer services, technical support and groundwork.

Park Mascot Meets Her Match

Park Mascot 2Park Mascot Meets Her Match

When three-year-old Amber Kibbey fell in love with a hedgehog at Park Holiday’s Riviera Bay resort in Devon earlier this year, her mum Claire knew that it was the real thing. So when they made a return visit to the park this autumn, the family had a big surprise in store for Amber – a matching mini-version of the pretty pink outfit worn by her heroine! It was presented to the star-struck toddler just before she set off for the Brixham park’s daily children’s show where mascot Penny Prickles was due to be on stage. In front of a cheering crowd, Amber went under the spotlights to receive the admiration – and a big hug – from the hedgehog which had won her heart.

£10 Million Investment

10 Million Investment£10 Million Investment

UK holiday park operator Away Resorts is investing £10 million into creating and landscaping a new development of 108 new accommodation units in its woodland retreat of Sandy Balls Holiday Village in the New Forest, continuing the evolution of this famous UK holiday destination. The new accommodation will be a combination of cottage-style lodges and new treehouse-inspired accommodation, many of which will have car-charging points, and will be able to sleep up to eight guests. The development will have landscaping that is native to the New Forest and will also feature new additions such as mini kitchen gardens that could be used for educational purposes. It is estimated that half of the new development will be ready by Easter next year with the remaining holiday homes welcoming guests by Whitsun. The new investment comes hot on the heels of a £1 million investment into The Zen, which is exclusive accommodation to Sandy Balls. It is an innovative type of holiday home designed to be calm, relaxing and simply a perfect space to chill out with friends and family in the woodland retreat of Sandy Balls Away Resorts has also made significant investment in facilities at Sandy Balls, spending £400,000 earlier this year on rebranding and re-launching Aubrey’s Forest Kitchen, giving it a new look inspired by its forest sitting with restyled seating in the restaurant, a new bar area and a new outdoor dining space and a Starbucks coffee offer. The restaurant’s name pays homage to one of the original founders of Sandy Balls, Aubrey Westlake.

Umbrella Campaign

Umbrella CampaignUmbrella Campaign

The Family Holiday Association has launched a new strategy and umbrella campaign called ‘Together’ with the goal of doubling the number of families offered a break annually by the end of 2020. The two year ‘Together’ campaign includes new initiatives such as Adopt a Caravan – inviting individuals and organisations to fund one of their owned caravans for a year – and building on existing successes such as their annual Shades Day awareness day in May. As part of the new approach, the charity is also looking to grow the number of donated accommodation, attraction and travel tickets they receive to UK destinations. Commenting on the campaign, Angie Watson, Head of Fundraising and Comms, said, “So many families are trapped in terrible situations, and they desperately need our help. They need a reason to smile. “That’s why we’ve set ourselves the goal of doubling the number of families offered a break annually by the end of 2020. “It’s ambitious, but by working together with colleagues in the travel and tourism industry we can reach our target and change even more lives. Together, we can help families find sunshine through the rain.”

Praise For Secret Wood

Praise For Secret WoodPraise For Secret Wood

A Somerset holiday park which has helped release hundreds of birds and animals into its woodlands has been praised by the charity behind the scheme. Holiday Resort Unity in Brean Sands has been working this year with Secret World Wildlife Rescue to give crisis-stricken creatures a fresh start in life. Each has been cared for by the charity following injury, sickness, or being abandoned by its parents – and then put back into their natural habitat on the park. Now Holiday Resort Unity has celebrated its successful partnership by naming its two acres of woodland after the volunteer-led charity. From now on, it will be known at the park and on local maps as Secret Wood. Holiday Resort Unity, which has been family-run for over 70 years, is one of the Somerset coast’s largest and most popular parks with holiday homes to let and buy.