Long gone are the days when the end of the summer signalled a sharp decline in holiday park visitor bookings. Autumn now sees only a minor let-up in the volume of touring guests and holiday home owners, and even the winter months can generate a satisfying hum of activity at parks across the country. Having reaped the rewards of a bumper summer season, park owners are feeling optimistic about the winter months ahead and are gearing up for busy festive period. “Holiday homes and touring units are now much better equipped for four-season use, both in terms of insulation and heating. But what we’re also seeing, I think, is that people no longer regard holidays as something you have to plan for months in advance,” says Henry Wild, director of Skelwith Fold Caravan Park in Cumbria. “There’s a much greater spontaneity to decision-making, perhaps due in part to the way in which the internet and social media are making things happen in the here and now. “If you want to buy a product on-line or communicate via Twitter, for example, it happens almost instantly – so why wait if the idea of a short break suddenly appeals?” Henry continues: “Another motivator for out-of-season bookings, I believe, is that people no longer go away just to relax by slowing their lives down. Both younger families and older folk want to inject an element of activity into their stay, so there’s less reason to limit holidays to the times when the sun is most likely to shine.” Henry, who is also National Chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, says that many holiday home owners enjoy planning their autumn and winter visits to coincide with stays by others they have come to know on the park. “I think a lot of couples and families value greatly the friendships they have struck up with other owners, and perhaps feel there’s a greater community spirit here among people of a similar age and outlook than they experience back home,” he says.
Autumn and winter are strong times of the year for Potters Resort in Norfolk when the park has over 700 guests staying there at any one time. Its range of midweek, family, weekend and one night special breaks are all popular during the season and are enhanced by the park’s comprehensive entertainment and activity programme. “We’re open all year round and our prices are kept in line all year round, so a break in November, December and January is pretty much the same price as you’d pay in the spring or summer,” comments managing director John Potter. “We offer midweek breaks for more mature adults featuring tailored activities such as bowls, family breaks featuring family friendly activities and entertainment and weekend with friend and one night special breaks for adults wanting to enjoy their weekend and enjoy great nights out with fantastic entertainment.” A highlight of Potters’ entertainment offering this year is the annual Christmas Spectacular ‘The Great Christmas Songbook’, performed by Potters Theatre Company. The show will take guests on a Sleigh Ride of classic hits, showcasing decades of music from 50s classics such as Frosty The Snowman and Let it Snow, to eighties favourites Merry Christmas Everyone and Last Christmas. During the season, the resort will be decked with Christmas trees and lights and guests will be greeted on arrival with a mince pie and glass of mulled wine. There will also be reindeer visiting on Christmas Eve and fireworks and a traditional countdown to 2016 on the New Year break.
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