BALANCING ACTS – OUTDOOR ACTIVITES

BALANCING ACTS - OUTDOOR ACTIVITES

FROM SEGWAYS to paddle boarding, there are a host of holiday based activities to offer guest appea

Emily Martin on serving up the best outdoor entertainment recipe…

Offering a holiday that suits the whole family can be a tricky game of swings and roundabouts. Excuse the pun. Making a holiday stay fun for the adults, the younger children and the teenagers too, is a delicate balance. Never have we been more grateful for the use of our outdoor space than coping with the challenges of the pandemic. Outdoor play, outdoor activities, outdoor entertainment – have all become part of the Al Fresco holiday menu.
Don’t take our word for it. We’ve spoken to some outstanding UK holiday parks that strive to make sure there’s really something for everyone, Covid- distanced, when guests book in. And they are constantly coming up are some great ideas on how to get that balance just right. Richard Silver is the owner of Ilfracombe Holiday Park on the beautiful western shores of England. “We get all ages visiting us and we’ve spotted a really big current trend where grandparents will pay to take whole family away. “In terms of entertainment that means putting on what is appropriate for the right age group at the right time. “There are a few options for family entertainment – something a spread of ages will enjoy are things like: a magician or mind reader, maybe a family quiz. “We have a movie area, a games hall with table tennis, snooker and badminton. Plus, we have lots of games and activities for younger people, sports competitions, quizzes and even a teens got talent night.

ADDED VALUE
Ilfracombe strategically aims to add value to entertainment areas by putting restaurants or cafes nearby so the adults have something to do, while younger children play. Richard explains: “We have a restaurant and bar near where entertainment is. And we also have a soft play area for younger children, but in the same area we’ve put a sports hall for older children and teenagers which has all kinds of things going on.” Richard thinks there are important things to remember when trying to entertain the whole family. “You certainly need the right type of accommodation and location but crucially you need staff with lots of energy and ideas. “Every day has to be different and you’ll know if the children are having fun, because then so are the adults.” Torie Wilkinson is Chief Marketing Officer at Lovat Parks.With parks across the UK in Cornwall, Kent, the New Forest, its Green Hill Farm Holiday Village in the New Forest does things particularly well when it comes to entertaining a range of age groups within a family group. Green Hill offer activities such as archery, target shooting, laser clay, Segways, bungee trampolines and mini golf. There’s also den building, fire building, woodland art, bug hunting, bird boxes, orienteering and nature trails. And that’s just some of what’s on offer for families who like to stay busy. Torie says: “We offer a range of activities aimed at guests aged four right through to adult and this summer we’re introducing new activities for the under-fives too.

GREEN ACTIVITIES like Forest  Schools have never been more popular. Pic. Haven

DEN BUILDING
“We try and balance the mix we offer with lots of the Ranger activities being suitable for ages 4-10. And the activities like using the Segways or practising archery are more appealing to age eight through to the grown-ups. “However, what’s great about many of our activities is that the whole family can take part and build memories together. Green Hill is set in the New Forest and so many of our activities use this as inspiration. For example, our den building is done using fallen wood. “We offer bike hire on site with traditional and e-bike options allowing guests to explore the local area including routes that take in local business, pubs and restaurants.We get fabulous feedback particularly for our Ranger scheme, with many families returning to the park and booking their favourite activities in advance.” “Children get the chance to try new things and learn skills with our Ranger team building their confidence and creating unforgettable memories.We aim to relate as much as we can to our natural setting and offer guests something they might never have done before or could not at home.

COMMUNITY MATTERS
And it is not just for holiday makers. The local community plays a part in Greenhill’s offering too. Torie explains: “We have a partnership with a local primary school where we offer days on the park taking part in the Ranger programme across the year. “The activities are open to those of all abilities and the team also offer private sessions which can be tailored to a child’s particular needs. “ When it comes to planning things to amuse young people, what’s Torie’s advises: “Be inspired by your local area and natural surroundings, include a mix of fun and learning and try and create something shared for all age groups.” Covid safety is a massive consideration when hosting families and Torie adds: “We currently have a maximum of six participants per session, we observe social distancing at 2m where possible and our staff always wear masks.We also have hand-sanitising at all activity stations and all equipment is cleaned after each use. “Furthermore, just for general safety we carry out frequent risk assessments and have fire extinguishers and practices. The team hold monthly refresher courses as a group so they can learn from one another and at Lovat Parks we support the team by sending them on specialist training, for example if wider guidance for an activity changes and we need to incorporate that into our ways of working.” Cofton Holidays is another destination which has put some strategic thought into getting the balance right for families. Director Helen Scott says: “Cofton is an excellent toddler-friendly destination. Our facilities include a splash pad area - part of the heated indoor pool, a soft play area, outdoor play spaces include a play area with new equipment aimed at toddlers, and a Kid’s Club where little ones can meet Cofton’s mascot, Digby the Dinosaur, and participate in a range of activities. “In addition to all of this, we’ve created a host of kids’ clubs that run outdoors such as survival skills and nature trail experiences.”

ZIP LINES
Cofton’s £50,000 Woodland Adventure Area features a 25m zip line, a climbing cage, rope ladders, a balance beam, balance lines and scramble nets. Young guests can enjoy fishing experiences on the five coarse fishing lakes and we offer pond dipping experiences too, which are always hugely popular. There are miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take visitors through woodland to the golden sands of Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve. There’s a gym, fitness studio and added entertainment opportunities, such as the bowling alley Helen continues: ‘We’re always looking for fun ways of engaging with our young visitors. In July 2020, guests were given complimentary duck-whistles to alert other guests to their presence whilst out and about on site maintaining social distancing. Children visiting really loved it and TV and national papers even picked-up on the story.’ With potentially only a week (or maybe two) breaks in the year, holiday parks don’t have long to impress their guests. To ensure everyone has a good time and, crucially, to secure a rebooking or a recommendation, parks need to think about layout, adding value, and providing activities that families can enjoy together in a safe and stress-free environment, in order to foster and help create those precious memories. You need the right staff team and to create those precious opportunities for families to make special memories together. If you can crack that, then you’re on to a winner.

(*All COVID guidance being observed by the parks featured was correct at the time of writing).

KOMPAN offer a huge scope of play offerings across multiple age range

HOBURNE NEW CEO CONFIRMED

HOBURNE NEW CEO CONFIRMED

JIM FORWARD has taken the reins of the Hoburne Group

The Hoburne Group has confirmed the appointment of Riviera Travel chief commercial officer Jim Forward as its new CEO. He will take over from Rod Tucker, who will be retiring from his position of managing director at the end of this year after seven years of leading the family- run business.

Forward has worked in the holiday sector for over 25 years and has held senior management positions at companies including HF Holidays,Warner Leisure Hotels and Butlins.Most recently, as chief commercial officer of Riviera Travel, Jim has taken his team and the business through the challenges of COVID while maintaining his strong commitment to doing the right thing for customers, an approach that Hoburne has also taken through the pandemic.

“Hoburne has a fantastic history and as a family-run company, it genuinely believes in respect and integrity,” said Jim. “From my experience of meeting with team members, I am already impressed by their enthusiasm and concerted efforts to offer an outstanding level of customer service.”

 

SAT NAVS SET FOR NORTHWALES

SAT NAVS SET FOR NORTHWALES

THE RWST holiday lodge park in North Wales opened to guests this summer.

The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanrwst is welcoming the launch of ‘Rwst’, a luxurious new holiday lodge park. The £1.8m development opened its doors to its first guests in July, just as North Wales topped the charts as the UK’s most popular staycation destination, overtaking the coastal and rural charms of Devon and Cornwall for the first time, according to a survey by Sykes Holiday Cottages. Rwst occupies a prime location on the edge of the historic town, with scenic views across the River Conwy to the Gwydir Forest and Snowdonia mountains beyond. The park, which is a high-end redevelopment of the much-loved Trem Gwydir holiday village, includes 22, five-star holiday lodges, with one, two, and three-bedroom single-storey lodges available for holiday rentals

Wish You Were Here – Rimington Leisure Park

WYWHWish You Were Here - Rimington Leisure Park

The countryside haven that is Rimington Leisure Park, deep in the heart of the Ribble Valley, is the newest Park to join the award-winning family owned Holgates Holiday Parks.

Open 12 months of the year offering top quality holiday home ownership, the park is set for more than half a million pounds worth of investment before the end of 2020, which makes it an exciting time to be a new owner on Rimington.

With lush green panoramic views out to the beautiful Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill, Rimington is perfectly situated (on the edge of a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB – no less) for reaching the Yorkshire Dales, Morecambe Bay, and the Lake District.

It feels wonderfully remote and untouched by man, so its no surprise that the Forest of Bowland is home to some of the most unspoilt and picturesque rugged landscapes in the UK. Rimington really is the holiday park of choice for nature lovers and those who enjoy walking and spending time in the great outdoors.

Its tranquil location, in the shadow of the atmospheric Pendle Hill and surrounded only by fresh green countryside, provides peace and quiet in abundance – albeit mixed with the gentle tinkling of birdsong! Walks of varying effort can be enjoyed from the park – from short strolls to brisk climbs. Views from the 557-metre summit of Pendle Hill are certainly worth the effort as pretty much the whole of Lancashire opens up as a reward for reaching the top.

Two and three bedroomed pre-owned holiday homes priced from just £15,950 and brand new 2019 models available from £37,950.

Rimington Leisure Park
Tel. 01200 445355
www.rimingtonleisure.co.uk

Overwhelming Holiday Booking Process

Overwhelming Holiday Booking Process

Overwhelming Holiday Booking Process

Millions of Brits admit feeling ‘under pressure’ and even ‘stressed’ when planning holidays - due to the sheer volume of recommendations they are given by friends, family, TV and social media. Researchers, who carried out a detailed study, found a large percentage believe the deluge of information, tips and advice makes booking a break a daunting prospect. It also emerged around four in 10 said it can take away the enjoyment of searching for and find the perfect getaway. This huge amount of resources has resulted in one in five feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and many others ‘confused’ and ‘anxious’ about what they should and shouldn’t book, the poll of 2,000 holidaymakers found. A further 43 per cent said they have felt ‘worried’ about missing out on experiences during their holiday as they try to tick off everything on their lengthy to-do list.

FAKE REVIEWS
The study also found fake reviews have affected how trustworthy advice is, with 60 per cent being more aware of them today than they were five years ago, resulting in four in five trusting reviews less. The most reliable sources were revealed as friends, according to 49 per cent, followed by family. Social media has had a huge impact on holiday choices, from location to activities, with one quarter admitting they have felt the need to visit somewhere because they’d seen it on a social platform. Still on bookings processes, the Competition and Markets Authority recently warned that companies cannot automatically keep a large deposit if a customer cancels owing to unforeseen circumstances. Such a contract may be unfair, even if written into terms and conditions, the CMA has warned. For example, somebody may cancel a booking owing to illness or a family bereavement. If the company has plenty of time to re-sell the holiday, or if it becomes available at a peak time, then the company should refund the payment or a hefty deposit.

DEPOSIT REFUNDS
Any amount it charges should reflect its costs. If the company includes a blanket ‘non-refundable deposit’ demand or cancellation fee in its terms and conditions then this could be an unfair contract, not legally binding, and unenforceable - even if the customer has signed it. The watchdog has no plans to launch an investigation into specific operators, but is working with trade bodies to raise awareness of the rules through its ‘small print, big difference’ campaign.’ It is not the first time the CMA has raised the issue of unfair contracts. In 2016, it gave a general warning to firms, and specifically wrote to wedding venue owners to remind them of their legal obligations.

All Inclusive

All Inclusive

All inclusive main picWhen it comes to accommodation, the ‘one size fits all’ philosophy is long gone, as parks now strive to provide bespoke options to suit all tastes and clientele. Today’s holiday parks are more inclusive than ever before. With a vast selection of accommodation and activities now available to choose from, it’s no wonder that an increasingly broad clientele of people are opting to holiday close to home. Parks up and down the country are expanding their horizons when it comes to accommodation, with most offering a good range of options for families with small children, teenagers and young couples as well as the older generation. And what’s more, it’s a shift that’s paying off, with more and more parks reaping the financial rewards. Henry Wild, of Skelwith Fold caravan park in the Lake District, says that new ways for guests to stay on parks are helping to ensure bookings and drive down the average age of visitors: "About a decade ago, many park industry commentators became concerned at what they saw as an increasingly mature market of visitors and holiday home buyers. Their conclusion was that without new blood being drawn in, numbers in these sectors would be sent on a downward trajectory. "What they didn't foresee was a combination of factors, which has led many younger couples and families to become familiar with the park product, helping to underpin this industry's future.”

BANG ON TREND
Leading the way has been glamping in all its different forms. What began as a type of accommodation characterised by quite basic timber huts has now evolved into a sophisticated and often luxurious staying option for people seeking a new holiday experienceIn addition, park-based glamping holidays are being increasingly featured in the media where they are often described as ‘cool’, and highlighted as a much more exciting type of escape than a hotel or rented cottage. "Often these types of accommodation attract younger generations, and we see plenty of evidence of this with those booking our fully equipped safari tends and top-end glamping modules based on the Swift S-Pod,” says Henry. "Motorhomes are also very much on-trend with younger holiday guests, and last summer we saw a rise of eight percent in the number of motorhome bookings compared with the previous year, with the result that motorhomes now occupying almost half of our touring pitches.” Henry goes on to explain that the continuing confusion surrounding what Brexit will mean for travel in Europe next year also appears to be driving UK holiday makers to play it safe and holiday closer to home.

CLOSE TO HOME
All inclusive pic 5"Another factor which couldn't have been predicted a decade ago, and which has also broadened the appeal of parks to new markets, are concerns over Brexit and the accompanying fall in the value of the pound .which has driven up the cost of holidays overseas,” he comments. "Combine this with a series of spectacular summers in recent years, and many people are now questioning whether a UK holiday might offer more fun and a lot less stress than going abroad. The superbly high standards of modern holiday homes reinforces the argument, and makes a pretty persuasive case for owning a holiday home in this country.” According to holiday park owner and operator Bridge Leisure, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is already having a positive impact on UK staycations. Their advance bookings for 2019 have seen a 30 per cent increase across their nine parks, with Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire already up by 150 per cent on the same period last year. CEO Andrew Howe believes they are definitely benefitting from the Brexit effect, he said: “Staycations are becoming increasingly popular anyway but with the lack of clarity around what a deal or no deal Brexit means for travellers, people just want to avoid any nasty surprises and seem to be opting for a UK holiday instead.” To meet the demand, Bridge Leisure are continuing to invest in their accommodation options, to ensure that they are hitting the spot when it comes to their customer’s expectations. “Staycations are becoming more and more popular, so the various types of accommodation continue to evolve and develop to meet what the customer is looking for in all sorts of shapes, styles and sizes,” says Andrew.

GROWING DEMAND
“You only have to look at the popularity of lodges with hot tubs to see that the demand is still there and growing.” He adds: “Above all people are looking for experiences, good quality and choice. They are also looking for something a bit different which you can’t get everywhere like our two storey safari lodges. They are very popular with families and provide a sense of adventure with the added touches of luxury.” The group recently invested in Safari Lodges at Trevella Park in Crantock, Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire and Hedley Wood near Bude, to offer guests the ultimate glamping experience. Set over two floors, each lodge features a spacious double bedroom and a second bedroom on the upper floor, as well as a fully equipped kitchenette with hob, microwave, fridge and sink, and WC with shower. The lodges also boast an outdoor hot tub with a large porch and parking. Andrew believes that today’s guests have ever increasing expectations but as ever cleanliness is king: “Generally our guests are looking for a home away from home experience with all the added comforts. We offer ready erected tents to minimise stress and packing and en-suite touring pitches for added comfort and convenience. It’s the extra touches which can make the difference.”

TOP FORM
Dorset’s Ultimate Beachside EscapeIn terms of maintaining a high standard of accommodation on their parks, Bridge Leisure have a dedicated on-site team who carry out regular checks and keep everything in tip-top condition. “There isn’t really a hard and fast rule for when accommodation should be replaced. Different types will have different life cycles,” says Andrew. “We have an annual refurbishment programme across all of our parks and this year we are investing over half a million in new units. We want to make sure customers have a choice of different accommodation to suit different requirements and budgets.” For park owners that are looking to invest in new accommodation, choosing the right supplier is a key decision. A good supplier is easy to deal with, consistent, reliable and provides quality products and suitable prices. In turn, this helps you to focus on your park and deliver a high-level of service to your guests. An average supplier can, at best, take up your valuable time and, at worst, can cause a knock-on effect that impacts your service, guests and profit. “When choosing an accommodation supplier I’m sure top of most people’s lists will be value for money, quality and innovation,” comments Andrew. “But in addition, we look for suppliers who understand the demands of our business and deliver within agreed timescales.”

LIABILITY RISK
From an insurance point of view, the potential for an insurance claim to arise is ever present, even on the best run holiday parks. Identifying and managing the risks associated with all types of park-owned accommodation units relies upon a park carrying out regular and thorough risk assessments. The demand for high-end accommodation and luxury facilities such as hot tubs continues. Apart from the extra operational demands of these facilities, they can increase risk and as such may have insurance implications. “It is all too common for a liability claim to arise in respect of park-owned units,” explains a spokesperson for Compass Insurance. “For example, steps, beds, showers, baths, hot tubs and wet surfaces are associated with slip, trip and fall claims. Park owners will also understand that carbon monoxide poisoning can pose a life-threatening risk to customers staying in various types of accommodation units and of the need to ensure that the necessary detectors are in-situ.”

NO SHORTCUTS
All inclusive pic 3There is no shortcut to risk assessing each and every park-owned unit onsite. The risks associated with a caravan holiday home or lodge will differ from those associated with a glamping pod, which will differ still to those associated with a tepee, safari tent or ready tent. Parks should ensure that all park-owned accommodation meets relevant regulatory safety requirements. This is also required by the Policy wording. Subsequently, units should be kept in good condition and it is crucial that records of all operating procedures, maintenance, checking and cleaning are meticulously documented and kept readily accessible. The Compass spokesperson warns: “If a park cannot prove, using up-to-date and documented evidence, that it has taken all reasonable steps to minimise health and safety risks, it may be impossible for an insurer to defend a liability claim. The park could also end up in trouble with the HSE!” According to Compass, the type of cover and the cost of insurance will vary according to the type of accommodation on a park. This is relevant to the risk presented. For example, it may be more expensive to insure a pod with a wood burner than one without, simply because there is more likelihood of a fire-related incident where a wood burner exists. Premium costs will also vary depending on the number, variety, age and value of the units requiring cover. “Insurance can be expensive so while it is very important not to underinsure, over-insuring won’t help either! In this regard, maintaining an accurate valuation of park-owned accommodation is vital,” advises the spokesperson. “The value of accommodation should be reviewed on an annual basis, but policies can and should be amended mid-term too if new units are purchased or sold. It is important to keep your insurer informed about investment and development throughout the year so that they can ensure your policy is fully up-to-date.” To keep things as simple as possible, park owners would be wise to choose a specialist provider that can cover all of their park-owned accommodation under a single policy avoiding issues, should a claim occur, over which provider is responsible.

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COMPANY CONTACTS

BRIDGE LEISURE
Tel. 01908 067 900
www.bridgeleisure.com

COMPASS
Tel. 0344 274 027
www.compassinsuranceservices.co.uk

FAIRVIEW LODGES
Tel. 01327 349297
www.fairview-lodges.com

SKELWITH FOLD CARAVAN PARK
Tel. 015394 32277
www.skelwith.com

 

 

Generating £9.3 Billion Spending

Generating £9.3 Billion Spending

Generating £9.3 Billion SpendingHoliday parks and campsites around the UK generate £9.3bn in visitor expenditure and support 171,448 full-time employees, a major report has revealed. The independent report, ‘Pitching the Value’, is the first time holiday parks and campsites across the UK have been analysed to show the value of the sector to the nation’s economy. ‘Pitching the Value’, which focusses on the economic impact of the sector together with the health and wellbeing benefits of such holidays, was carried out by Frontline Consultants on behalf of the UK Caravan and Camping Alliance (UKCCA). The alliance is an umbrella group comprising The National Caravan Council, The Camping and Caravanning Club, the Caravan and Motorhome Club, and the British Holiday & Home Parks Association. Bob Hill, who led the UKCCA joint working group, said: “This is a ground-breaking report that clearly demonstrates the important benefits to the economy brought by the UK’s many holiday parks and campsites. “Pitching the Value will help the industry attract more investment and ultimately improve opportunities for it to grow, develop and create new jobs. Our findings reinforce the importance of holiday parks and campsites to the country’s tourism economy. That will help us to improve holidaymakers’ on-site experiences and choice, which in turn will also attract more overseas visitors to these shores.”

HEALTHY LIFESTYLES

Holiday Park and Campsite operators also support local communities through capital and operating expenditure, and wages. Nearly half of those companies and organisations that took part in the report cumulatively spend nearly £303 million per year in this way. The research also found they engage with local communities through support for events such as fundraising activities, participate in recycling and environmental initiatives, and promote healthy active lifestyles in the great outdoors through pastimes such as walking and cycling. The four sponsoring organisations of the UKCCA own or are affiliated to 6,243 holiday parks and campsites across the UK with a combined total of 438,076 pitches. Those sites offer holidaymakers a diverse range of accommodation such as touring pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes, rented holiday homes, lodges, and chalets, plus glamping units like tipis and yurts, together with a wide selection of on-site facilities. Bob added: “We want to use this compelling evidence to ensure key influencers and decision-makers support the development and growth of our industry at a national, regional and individual business level for the benefit of our economy and for holidaymakers themselves.”

Visit www.ukcca.org.uk for further information or to download a copy of the Pitching the Value report.

 

 

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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£7.5m Winter Investment

£7.5m Winter Investment

£7.5m Winter InvestmentThe Camping and Caravanning Club will invest £7.5 million into its network of 106 UK Club Sites in the coming months, with large-scale capital works taking place at seven sites, including Wyeside near Rhyader in the Cambrian mountains of mid-Wales and West Runton on the north Norfolk coast. Money has been spent as part of the Club Sites investment programme which improves facilities for the future enjoyment of campers; both members of the Club and non-members. Proceeds raised by the Club through camping on Club Sites over the course of the year are invested into the site network annually as part of the programme. Bob Hill, Sites Director, said: “The site investment programme has been running in its current form since 2010 and in the last five years alone we’ve increased the number of hard-standings on our Club Sites by 7%, helping more members to enjoy camping year round – plenty to keep us busy.”