Ambitious Planning

ambitious planningAmbitious Planning

Doncaster-based park homes operator Serenity Parks might be a relative newcomer to the industry but they have ambitious plans for the future.
The Company was established in 2016 by Directors Gary Burns and Andrew Wilson, who already co-own a successful and longestablished civil engineering business – the NMC Group. After many years of working on engineering projects that included residential and holiday park developments, Gary and Andrew decided to take the plunge and invest in their own parks. “Through our civil engineering contracts we have long been involved with infrastructure and development works for many residential park home estates throughout the country,” explains Gary. “Given the steady increase in this market and the changing perceptions of park home living, we identified a strong opportunity to diversify our business interests and this has proved successful.” Gary and Andrew launched Serenity Parks by taking the opportunity to acquire two existing residential parks in Cheshire that were ripe for re-development.

POPULAR CHOICE

Ambitious planning 2Chester’s Croft is situated in the leafy Stockport suburb of Cheadle Hulme, and was acquired by Serenity Parks in November 2016. Its highly desirable location, just over two miles from Stockport itselfand seven miles from Manchester, makes it a popular choice with residents. The park offers plenty of green outdoor space, as well as excellent travel links, including two nearby rail stations and the ease of Manchester Airport just a few minutes drive away. Since taking on Chester’s Croft, Gary and Andrew have completely redeveloped the park and its infrastructure, investing heavily in surfacing, drainage, curbing and landscaping. They have bought back a number of plots in order to upgrade with new homes for sale. Out of a current 47 plots at Chester’s Croft, just three remain available. Serenity Park’s second Cheshire-based development, Alvanley Park, has also undergone a major upgrade. Many new homes have been added to the site and just one remains for sale out of a total of 40. The park sits in a prestige location in pretty Cheshire countryside and next to National Trust woodland, but with easy access to amenities in the nearby market town of Frodsham.
Both Chester’s Croft and Alvanley Park offer high-end, one and two bedroom park homes from leading manufacturers including Prestige, Oakgrove, Stately Albion and Omar. Both parks cater exclusively for over-55s and offer residents a thriving social scene and a supportive environment in which to spend their later years.
Gary and Andrew did not found Serenity Parks with the intention of just ‘owning parks.’ For them, the business represents an opportunity to create and develop communities.
“We really believe that moving to a park home should not just be a decision of where to live, but also of how,” explains Gary. “We pride ourselves on the lifestyle we enable our residents to lead. By providing attractive, accessible and well-equipped homes, in an environment that actively facilitates positive interaction, we create the perfect park home environment with a real community feel.”

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Ambitious planning 3“Our homes offer an increased level of safety and security compared to city centre or suburban living, as well as encouraging residents to manage a more independent way of life in their later years. When you own a park and see new residents coming to make their home here, you can really see the positive difference in people after just a few months living amongst like-minded new friends.” Serenity Parks was born out of an absolute belief in the huge potential of park home living and its tremendous benefits, not only for park residents, but also for park owners, developers, and local authorities.Gary says: “There has been a seismic change in perceptions of park home living, especially among the over 50s who are placing more importance on leisure and the freedom that park home living can offer. The recent changes to housing policy also mean that residential park homes are now accepted as a dedicated form of housing, which gives us greater confidence in planning policy for more plots.” It’s clear that the tides are turning favourably for park home living but Serenity Parks believe much more needs to be done to educate the Government and local authority planners about the wider benefits of residential park home communities.
With this in mind, Gary and Andrew have created a detailed resource document that they are proactively sharing with local authority planning departments that explains the social, economic and environmental advantages of the park home trend.

HOUSING SUPPLY

Ambitious planning 4Gary says the potential saving to the public purse from park home developments is massive, not to mention the solution they can offer to aid the national housing supply crisis.
“Cheshire, where we already have two parks, is an area of really high demand for homes and there is simply not enough accommodation to go around,” says Gary. “Many areas of the country have the same situation and frustratingly, I believe that not enough is being done to pass off sites for development.”
Gary and Andrew see this challenge as a unique opportunity to change out-dated misconceptions about the park home lifestyle.
With two successful re-developments under their belt in the Northwest, Gary and Andrew are now turning their attentions to other opportunities.
“We are interested in developing more high-end parks in the North but our interest remains national,” says Gary.
“We are ready and able to invest in redevelopment opportunities where we can transform tired sites to offer prestige park home communities in desirable areas. We have plans to double the size of our portfolio year on year over the next three years and promote the Serenity Parks brand UK-wide.”

On Your Marks For Trade Events

On Your Marks For Trade Events

A busy show season lies ahead packed with a wealth of business ideas to help with your winter planning...

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On Your Marks 1Landscape Show - 18th-19th September

Evolution Centre, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ www.landscapeshow.co.uk

The key trade show for the industry LANDSCAPE is back for another year, uniting Garden Designers, Landscape Architects and Contractors under one roof for two days, dedicated to sourcing the latest innovations and technologies in the landscaping industry. Come down to Battersea Park onTuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th September 2018 to select, sourceand network. LANDSCAPE 2018 promises to deliver a range of both new andreturning exhibitors showcasing everything from Outdoor Furniture,Living Plants and Trees, Planters, Stone and Decking to mention justa few. The event is the go-to for any professional designer looking tosource new product ranges to use within their projects. Andrew Fisher Tomlin from Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer says: “The thing that distinguishes the LANDSCAPE Show is that you always find new trade suppliers and new products that you would never find elsewhere.” Alongside the main exhibition is a free to attend Seminar Programme hosted across four seminar theatres. Each session is CPD accredited and addresses current topics integral to the industry

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Beaulieu Trade Show - 20th September

Hides Field, Beaulieu,Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7ZN www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com

On Your Marks 2The annual HERCMA Southern Trade Show at Beaulieu takes placethis year on Thursday 20th September, from 10am until 5pm. More than 150 of the latest caravan holiday homes, lodgesand park homes will be displayed in the splendid setting of theBeaulieu Estate in the New Forest in Hampshire. Leading brandson show include manufacturers such as ABI, Atlas, Carnaby, Delta,Pathfinder, Pemberton, Prestige-Homeseeker, Regal, Stately-Albion,Swift, Tingdene and Victory. Other exhibitors range from decking companies to software and furniture suppliers. Parking and entry are free for bona fide trade visitors who can register to attend on www. hercmatradeshows. com. Trade visitors are also welcome on Friday21st September, the opening day of the annual Caravan Holiday Home and Park Home Show. This continues over the weekend of 22nd and23rd September from 10am until 5pm each day. Details of the public event are on www.lawnsandbeaulieushows.com

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Be My Guest - 2nd & 10th October

Torquay, Carlisle & Skegness www.bemyguest.live

On Your Marks 3Following a successful launch earlier this year, the Be My Guest event series has announced its autumn dates. A UK roadshow for independent accommodation providers including holiday parks, camping sites, glamping experiences and holiday rentals. Theevents are supported by partners like The AA,Google, Expedia, local DMOs and media partnersincluding Holiday Park Scene. The one-day business development eventswill be visiting Torquay (2 Oct), Carlisle (10 Oct) and Skegness (13 Nov). The events are free to attend for providers and feature a fantastic speakerline up to help businesses improve their performance by mastering topicslike digital marketing, local networking, supplementary incomes throughinitiative like electrical vehicle charging ports. Visitors to the show will also be able to take advantage of theMarketplace exhibition which showcases the latest products and servicesfor providers and is packed with show-only offers. As an example, theBe My Guest team provide a 20% subsidy for any new accommodationproviders looking to undertake The AA Quality Assessment Scheme forthe first time. For more information and to register your FREE place at the show justvisit the website.

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Saltex 2018 - 31st October - 1st November

NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT www.iogsaltex.com

On Your Marks 4Those working within the holiday park and campsite management industry will have the opportunity to learn from leading opinion formers, further their career prospects and see new products and services fromprominent suppliers when SALTEX opens its doors at the NEC,Birmingham on October 31 and November 1. This year, the show floor will be bursting with everything avisitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations andwill contain a plethora of exhibitors representing the likes of playequipment and services, turf maintenance equipment, fencing andlandscaping, sports surface design, research and consultancy, seeds,turf, aggregates and treatments, and facilities services management. As well as a wide range of innovative products on display within the three large halls, visitors to SALTEX will have the chance to see many of these products in action. The outdoor demonstrations will take place on a grassed area directly outside the SALTEX halls 6, 7 and 8. There will also be a number of education opportunities through Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s all-encompassing, free-to-attend education programme. Learning LIVE will take place in four dedicatedseminar theatres situated on the show floor and willfeature a wide range of expert speakers discussingrelevant topics. SALTEX 2018 is free to attend. To register yourattendance and beat the queues visit www.iogsaltex.com

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Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show - 7th & 8th September

NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT www.holidayparkshow.co.uk

On Your Marks 5The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show is back at the NEC, Birmingham on the 7th and 8th November providing holiday and leisure entrepreneurs with an unparalleled opportunity to make the most of their resorts, holiday parks and attractions by delivering first-hand the very best in advice, products and services. Combining world class experts, face-to-face advice, 150 inspirational seminars, 350 leading suppliers, workshops, unrivalled networking and live features all under one roof - these two days are truly unmissable for anyone in this sector! Whether you’re relatively new in the holiday market and looking for inspiration and advice or an established business looking for new and exciting ways to improve your offering, the event covers everything you need to run your holiday business more efficiently. Discover all the latest technology and trends from within the sector and find out more about current marketing and business strategies. The industry’s most innovative and influential figures will pass on their peerless knowledge and advice and ultimately help you stand out from the competition and increase your occupancy rates. Tickets to attend are free and you can register via the website. We look forward to welcoming you to the event.

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

On-Site Charging

charging on siteOn-Site Charging

Holiday park group Bridge Leisure has completed a project to add electric car charging points at eight holiday parks across the UK. The company, which owns parks and provides professional management and consultancy for the industry, teamed up with Lincolnshire-based electrical distribution systems specialist Caravan Park Electrical to install the charging points in time for the summer season. Parks that benefited from the development are Trevella Park, Seaview Holiday Village and Hengar Manor in Cornwall; Hedley Wood in Devon; Ashbourne Heights in the Peak District; Sand le Mere on the Yorkshire coast; Turnberry Park in Ayrshire and Silver Sands in Moray. Simon Williams, Bridge Leisure commercial director says: “The future of driving is electric, so having our own charging points will help us provide a better holiday experience of our electric-car driving customers. “We are already seeing high use of the charging points, particularly at our Peak District and Cornwall parks, so there is clearly demand for this kind of facility.”

Wellness Support Act At Welsh Park

wellness act at welsh parkWellness Support Act At Welsh Park

Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park, in Prestatyn, is an award winning seaside holiday park with an on-site swimming pool and leisure facilities.
When upgrading their sauna and steam rooms, they turned to Preston’s Crystal Leisure. Crystal Leisure recommended Golden Coast’s sauna and steam room due to the high quality, good looks, and ease of installation. The initial stage of the project was done over two days, with taking down the current facilities, isolating the electrics, and retiling the floor. For the new setup to be installed took around a week, including fitting a new steam generator and sauna control.

Park Acquisition Trail

park aquisition trailPark Acquisition Trail

The famous Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole Caves has expanded its business with the purchase of its second caravan park. Wookey Hole Ltd has bought Homestead Caravan Park in Wells – a residential park with campsite and holiday lodges. The move comes just over a year after Wookey Hole bought Bucklegrove Holiday Park in the Cheddar Valley – a seven acre mixed holiday park. The site has been extensively upgraded and business has doubled since Wookey Hole bought the site. Wookey Hole is a popular tourist attraction with over 20 attractions, including the famous caves, a 4D cinema, circus shows and a mirror maze. The business also runs a 58 bed hotel and 10 lodges at its Wookey Hole site. Stephens Scown LLP advised Wookey Hole Ltd on the six figure deal and funding came from Handelsbanken

Wookey Hole Ltd
Tel.01749 672243 
www.wookeyhotel.co.uk

Holiday Habits Revealed

Holiday Habits Revealed

holiday habits revealed

New survey data reveals the truth behind the nation’s holiday habits, and exposes exactly just how and what we’re spending on those all-important holidays. When it comes to holidays, the people of the UK certainly aren’t holding back on their spending. Ocean Florida’s data reveals that 16% of people in the UK are splurging between £3,000 and £10,000 on their summer getaway. It’s not just money, but time that people are willing to give as just under a third of holiday makers (31%) are opting to go on holiday, not once, but twice a year. Those with children are actually far more likely to take multiple holidays a year, with 34% of families taking two holidays a year, as opposed to only 28% of households without children. Millennials were also taking less holidays each year compared to families with kids, as only 32% stated they take two holidays a year. So, although it may be thought that millennials have more disposable income and time, it’s not always being spent on holidays. When it comes to spending money on holiday accessories, such as clothes, it’s those without children who are spending more. A third (30%) of respondents without kids spent between £101 and £250, compared to only a quarter of those with children.

For more information please visit www.ocean-florida.co.uk

Brexit Bonus For UK Holiday Sector

Brexit Bonus For UK Holiday Sector

brexit bonus for uk holiday sector

A record number of Britons are choosing to take their holidays in this country, early reports on 2018 trends suggest. The Brexit decision fall-out, implicit in the the falling value of the pound, means holiday makers are being turned off the stress and strain associated with overseas trips. A survey published last month suggested that more than four out of five Britons would rather stay at home than suffer the stresses of traveling abroad. At the same time, they are being lured to stay closer to home by the extended spell of sizzling summer weather. Research, by Barclays, has found that more than a third of Britons will have taken holidays closer to home this year, with 21 per cent using this as their main holiday. Rural areas are expected to benefit most, with southwest England attracting 30 per cent of holidaymakers and Scotland drawing 22 per cent. This growing trend for staycations has led to a nine per cent rise in revenue at Britain’s biggest holiday parks, according to research by the lender Ortus Secured Finance. Turnover at the 100 largest operators reached £2.7 billion last year, up from £2.46 billion in 2012. “Caravan, camping and holiday parks are going from strength to strength,” Jon Salisbury, OSF’s managing director, told The Times.

TRAVEL STRESS

Parkdean Resorts, which was the UK’s largest holiday park operator, was sold to Onex, a Canadian private equity company, for £1.35 billion in December. Rivals, Park Leisure 2000, was sold for £103 million to a consortium led by Midlothian Capital Partners in February, and Intermediate Capital bought Park Holidays for £362 million last year. A rise in overseas visitors and the growing popularity of staycations have helped boost UK tourism. Inbound tourism to Britain is also booming, with foreign tourists attracted by the weak pound. According to Visit Britain, inbound flight bookings for April to September surged by 21 per cent compared with the same period last year. Patricia Yates, strategy and communications director of Visit Britain, said that there was “particularly strong demand from our long-haul, high-spending markets, China and the US”. However, foreign visitors prefer city breaks, with 67 per cent visiting only London while in the UK. About 30 million British citizens holiday in other EU countries every year, accounting for 76 per cent of the outbound travel market. However, John Lennon of Glasgow Caledonian University has forecast that the costs of flying, travel insurance and mobile data usage could soar after Britain leaves the EU. A legal framework for flights after Brexit has yet to be agreed and airlines warned that with more than 60 agreements to be renegotiated, planes could be grounded until a deal is reached.

Hassle Free Part Ex

Hassle Free Part Ex

Hassle Free Part ExCelebrating 20 years in 2018, Quickmove help people buy on parks with speed, convenience and certainty. They specialise in property part exchange so that buyers avoid all the uncertainty and up- front costs of selling an existing property on the open market. Quickmove services are delivered by a dedicated team of in-house property specialists, with significant experience in dealing with park operators, park home manufacturers, customers, estate agents and solicitors, making the process smooth and hassle-free for all. To request a site visit from one of our area sales managers please get in touch.

Quick Move Properties
Tel. 0800 328 2168
www.quickmoveproperties.co.uk

More For Less

More For Less

More For LessIncrease bookings, automate tasks and effortlessly manage your glampsite with GlampManager GlampManager is an easy to use management and booking system designed specifically for glampsites. The software lets you create and manage your own bookings, process payments and send out email confirmations. Take commission-free bookings through your website and automatically remind customers when to pay their holiday balances online. GlampManager’s Channel Management system helps you to increase exposure and bookings by integrating with 3rd parties such as Glampsites.com, PitchUp, Booking.com and AirBnB, reducing the risk of double bookings. Get a free 30 day trial by visiting our website!

GlampManager
Tel: 02081 331 005
www.glampmanager.com