Stitch In Time – Landscaping

Stitch In Time - Landscaping Focus

Stitch In TimeThey say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought-out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. A useful starting point is to focus on the ‘unique selling point’ of your park or for types of clientele.

If a significant proportion of your guests are young adults on a short stay, you will want to provide ‘robust’ spaces with plenty of secure seating. Clever use of security-style planting such as prickly or thorny plants, will deter access to other protected areas. On the other hand, if the bulk of your long-term residents are more mature, ensure that there are safe and attractive ornamental spaces immediately around the living areas and communal spaces, but keep them clear from debris and obstacles and use non-slip surfaces.

DUTY OF CARE

For younger guests, preparing suitable landscaping options can prove even more challenging, ensuring that play areas are safety compliant and you can demonstrate appropriate ‘duty of care’. “People often stay in a holiday park to feel more connected with the local outdoor environment, explains Martin Howe of Wykeham Mature Plants, “But it is the holiday park itself that will bring repeat custom.

“A holiday park business cannot rely solely on their location or the surrounding countryside and must provide attractive, functional spaces,” advises Martin. “Why would you stay on a site, even if there are amazing views of the surrounding countryside, if the site itself is untidy, unloved, looks unprofessional, and even potentially dangerous?” Martin encourages holiday parks to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and how it will benefit the business and customers alike.

“Prioritise key areas and the timescale in which you need to address them,” he advises, “Large planting schemes, as well as needing significant initial outlay, will also require maintenance, so plan for this from the start and don’t take on more than you can handle in one go,” he continues. Stitch In Time 2

“Balance this with the logistical benefits (lower transport costs, less disruption in the long term, etc) of larger jobs and decide whether to undertake a single, major project or whether to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks,” Martin adds.

Knowledge of site conditions are also essential before preparing large scale landscaping works, specifically the growing conditions in each location (drainage, soil type, exposure, etc) as well as any other limiting factors, such as access by children and proximity to grazing animals. “Select plants accordingly – planting the right plant in the right place will avoid problems later,” warns Martin.

PLANTING SEASON

There is often a wider, or cheaper, selection of suitable plants available during the traditional planting season, which is during dormancy (November to March); for many holiday parks this coincides with the off-season, so this is the ideal time to plant horticulturally, commercially, and logistically to minimise disturbance to your customers. Naturally, demand for planting services at this time of year is high so plan ahead.

To read more about prepping and planning for landscaping work please subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.

COMPANY CONTACTS

FORDINGBRIDGE Tel.01243 55 44 55 www.fordingbridge.co.uk

WOODLAND HORTICULTURE LTD Tel. 01458 441122 www.woodlandhp.co.uk

WYKEHAM MATURE PLANTS Tel. 01723 862406 www.wykehammatureplants.co.uk

Defibrillator Coverage

Defibrillator Coverage

DefibrillatorTingdene Parks have installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at their 80-home Bedwell Park residential site in Witchford, near Ely, Cambridgeshire. Defibrillators are simple to use and can restart someone’s heart if it stops. They will not work if there is a pulse.

Bedwell Park is one of the first residential parks within Tingdene’s 20 sites and 1500 homes, to see the installations of defibrillators. The unit is due to be officially unveiled by local MP Lucy Frazer in the near future, however, the potentially life-saving kit, easily accessible at the park office, is already available for use.

Founded in 1969 the Tingdene Group of companies first established itself as the leading Park Home manufacturer in the country and since then has expanded its range of operations into becoming one of the UK’s largest operators and owners of residential Park Homes Estates, Inland Marinas, Caravan Parks, Lodge Parks and Chalet Parks.

Acclaim For Former Dairy Farmers

Acclaim For Former Dairy Farmers

Acclaim For Former Dairy FarmersA family-run holiday business has claimed a double victory at this year’s Rural Business Awards (RBA’s).
Not only did Hoe Grange win the Best Rural Tourism Business category, it also pipped 12 other category winners to be crowned as the Champion of Champions. The Derbyshire farm, which specialises in high quality disabled access, was awarded the prize by Harper Adams University, ahead of runners-up Barleylands Farm Park and Craft Village in the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses.
David Brown from Hoe Grange Holidays said: “We started out as dairy farmers but spotted an opportunity to diversify our business and offer a positive experience for people to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside.
“To have our success acknowledged at the Rural Business Awards is testament to all our hard work and to the people who have supported us along the way. It’s obviously a great honour to be named as Champion of Champions at this year’s ceremony and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for our business.”
When David and Felicity Brown first investigated self-catering tourism to supplement their dairy farm income in 2005, market research showed there was a large supply of standard self-catering properties in the Peak District but a lack of accessible accommodation. Over the past decade Hoe Grange Holidays has become a specialist in accessible accommodation, winning many national awards.

New Seaside Star For Park Holidays UK

PevenseyNew Seaside Star For Park Holidays UK

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

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

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

Web Wise

Web Wise - Online Bookings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPANY CONTACTS

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

Pick Of The Crop

OrchardsPick Of The Crop

Beginning life as farmland, the Orchards took its name from the array of apple trees on the land. It began its transition into a holiday park in 1952 when eight caravans were added to the site.

After 15 years in charge of Orchards Holiday Park, Tim and Julie Gray are continuing to improve the Isle of Wight based business, with the help of long serving staff and loyal employees. Situated in Newbridge, a small village on the west side of the island, the site covers roughly 13 acres on the edge of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that the Isle of Wight can offer. “You can’t fail to be impressed with our facilities centre,” says owner Julie Gray, “It houses all of your touring needs with amazing views.

“It has a very spacious washing up, ironing and laundry area, accessible facilities, all with the luxury of under floor heating, to make your holiday more comfortable.”

To read more about our Orchards Holiday Park, subscribe to Holiday Park Scene here.

Would-Be Owners Can Try Before They Buy

Would-Be Owners Can Try Before They Buy

A Shropshire Holiday Park site has started its expansion project following increased demand from staycationers and is offering a new ‘try before you buy’ scheme for potential customers. The scheme allows customer who decide to buy a holiday home or luxury lodge on the park following a two-night stay, to have the cost deducted from the purchase price.

Try Before25 pitches are being created a Bow House Country Park, near Bishops Castle, which already has 62 caravans and 15 luxury lodges. 14 new pitches are being created in the first phase of the expansion with the picturesque caravan holiday home park in the South Shropshire Hills already popular with guests who live within two hours travelling distance of Bishops Castle.

Three of the new pitches have already been reserved and 15 holiday homes and lodges had been sold in the past 12 months. Many of the sales were secured from buyers who had been tempted to stop at the park whilst driving past. “Bow House Country Park is a wonderful place to get away from the stresses and strains of modern living, an idyllic, secluded location for a holiday retreat.

“We appreciate that buying a holiday home is a big deal and we want to ensure that customers make the right decision,” said Edward Goddard, managing director of Morris Leisure. “That’s why we offer them the opportunity to experience holiday home ownership at Bow House Country Park before they invest their hard-earned money.”

Sub-Let Owner Pay Outs

SubLetsSub-Let Owner Pay Outs

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

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

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

Training Park Leaders Of The Future

Training Park Leaders Of The Future

ShorefieldShorefield Holiday Park has launched an innovative academy training scheme aiming to recognise outstanding staff and develop the tourism and leisure ‘leaders of the future’. The academy, which celebrates the company’s 60th anniversary in 2018, will be known as the Dr Pollock Academy in honour of the company’s founder, and is leading the way in the tourism industry by providing training and recognition to nominated staff. HR manager Sue Lilley said the academy had been set up to recognise and nurture outstanding employees, and emphasise the company’s dedication to its staff. The inaugural members of the academy were nominated by their park managers and peers. “We wanted to set up this new initiative to reward our talented staff members with an ongoing training programme that will enable them to progress as far as they can within the business,” Sue said.

Christmas Present Hopes For Debra

DebraChristmas Present Hopes For Debra

In the summer of 2014, Debra Drew was enjoying a holiday at Woolacombe Bay, Devon, with her family when disaster struck.

After spotting a nine-year-old boy struggling in the choppy waters she plunged into the sea in an attempt to save the youngster. The boy survived – but Debra suffered catastrophic brain injuries when sand was swept into her mouth by the seawater, stopping her breathing. The 48-year-old from Stourbridge, Worcestershire, was in a coma for six months and doctors believed she would be unlikely ever to move again without assistance.

Although still paralysed, Debra is putting up a brave fight – and is determined to be back home in time for Christmas this year. Park Holidays UK are now helping to raise funds to deliver Debra’s dream of returning home for Christmas. For this to happen, however, her friends and family need to raise £25,000 to buy a range of different medical equipment, including a specially built wheelchair.

Tony Clish, director of Park Holidays UK, said that Debra’s story is truly inspirational: “Debra has undergone many operations since the horrific incident and defied doctors’ expectations that there would be little chance of her surviving. She has shown remarkable spirit and now it’s time for us to do our bit by helping her return home full time to be among her treasured friends and family.”

Park Holidays UK operates 24 holiday parks in Southern England, including five in seaside Devon – and have offered Debra and her family a free stay whenever she feels able to take up the offer.