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BRACE FOR INCREASED STORM DAMAGE

CLAIMS FOR STORM damage is increasing due to climate change impacts on UK weather.

Static caravan and lodge owners should prepare for the likelihood of increased storm damage due to climate change, according to Compass, a specialist provider of caravan and leisure insurance.

The company saw a 16% increase in total claims caused by storm damage between 2021 and 2022. The insurer is warning owners to ensure their caravan is storm-ready and also to check they have comprehensive insurance.

During 2022, 32% of Compass’ static caravan claims were due to storm damage. In one such instance, an entire static caravan was destroyed during a storm, resulting in a £148,590 claim.

CLIMATE CHANGE
Due to the effects of climate change, claims for storm and flood damage have the potential to increase in the coming years, making it even more important that static caravan owners purchase insurance to protect their home-away-from-home as extreme weather events become more frequent.

According to the Met Office 2, July 2023 was one of the wettest on record, with many parks across the country also being impacted by unseasonably windy weather, with gusts of up to 55mph recorded in Devon, Gwynedd, and Northumberland.

Analysis of claims data highlights how unpredictable UK weather can be. As a result of Storms Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin 3, February 2022 saw a significant increase in the number of claims for storm damage, up more than 2,000% on the previous year.

BEYOND REPAIR
In the UK, it is not a legal requirement to insure a static caravan. However, it is a condition of many caravan parks that caravan owners have adequate insurance to cover damage to their property when it is on-site. This insurance will also ensure a safe and efficient removal of the unit, should it be destroyed beyond repair.

Even if not completely destroyed, storm and flood damage can make a static caravan completely uninhabitable. “Unlike bricks and mortar holiday homes, static caravans are particularly susceptible to damage from storms or floods,” points out Karen Stacey, Managing Director of Compass.

“Unpredictable weather events, especially flash floods caused by heavy rain on parched ground during the summer, can cause a significant amount of damage to static caravans. “We know caravan parks do everything they can to protect the units on their site all year round but freak storms and the damage they cause are somewhat out of their control.

“Caravan owners should make sure that they have adequate insurance for their unit and take the time to do regular maintenance to ensure any damage is kept to a minimum.” For more information on specialist caravan and leisure insurance, visit compass.co.uk

CELEBRITY RELAUNCH FOR HAVEN PARK

TV PERSONALITY, Joe Swash, launches the revamped and renamed Haven Kent Coast holiday destination.

Haven, the UK’s leading UK holiday park operator, has revealed its new-look, flagship park in Kent after undergoing an £18 million transformation, with the help of much-loved TV presenter, Joe Swash.

Haven revealed the holiday park’s new name, Haven Kent Coast, formerly Haven Allhallows Leisure Park, at an exclusive event in celebration of a new era for caravan holidays within easy reach of Greater London. This investment forms part of Haven’s £170 million development plan across its parks in 2023, which was announced earlier this year, and has seen major renovations at Haven Kent Coast.

These include an ‘Adventure Village’, an outdoor waterside spot where thrill seekers can try their hand at a wide range of high-adrenaline activities; new state-of-the-art 1,200-seater Marina Bar & Stage; and a 100-seater terrace. Visitors will also be able to enjoy recently developed food and beverage outlets such as the new Seaside Treats, Burger King, Papa John’s, and Cook’s Fish & Chips restaurants.

The most recent development is Haven Kent Coast’s new Yacht Club for holidaymakers to eat and drink by the waterside. Acquired by Blackstone in 2021, Haven has already invested almost £230 million in parks across 2021 and 2022, with a commitment to upgrading and modernising all holiday sites to offer guests an unforgettable holiday experience.

This investment will allow the company to offer a wider range of entertainment concepts and on-park experience improvement for its homeowners and holidaymakers, whilst also creating over 7,000 new seasonal and 500 permanent jobs across its parks this year.

SURGE IN LATE SUMMER BOOKINGS

LANDAL GREENPARKS UK is seeing a surge in late summer bookings at destinations such as Northumberland’s Kielder.

Managing Director of Landal GreenParks UK, says there are several factors as to why people are leaving it later and later to book their summer holiday, he says: “Summer 2023 is looking strong for domestic tourism, but there is no doubt that people have tighter budgets.

The cost-of-living crisis is still at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially when it comes to luxuries such as holidays, and we can see holidaymakers are searching for late availability and deals to help save money.

“I think it’s also fair to say that alongside the airline strike action, the latest heatwave affecting popular European package holiday destinations will leave consumers cautious of booking a holiday abroad. As a result, to avoid disruption to plans, many holidaymakers are opting to stay at home and explore what the UK has to offer.”

The south-west continues to be the best-performing region for Landal GreenParks UK, with new and additional accommodation offering at its resorts, helping contribute to a 30% increase in summer bookings compared to last year. There is also demand in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Scotland due to pet friendly staycations – with bookings up 25% compared to 2022.

SIXTY ACTS OF ANNIVERSARY KINDNESS

ROBERT AND RICHARD HARTLEY are celebrating Trevornick’s six decades in business with a grand giveaway.

The family behind Cornwall’s Trevornick Holiday Park will be marking six decades of hospitality with 60 Acts of Kindness to the local community and their loyal guests. So far, these Acts of Kindness have included gifting a free night’s stay at one of Trevornick’s popular self-catering cottages to an inspiring man walking the British coastline to raise money for charity.

The team have also carried out beach cleans, donated to local food banks, built extra bird boxes on site and perked up the much-loved Holywell Bay RNLI Lifeguards on a dreary day with doughnuts. The team has until the end of the year to complete the task of fulfilling all 60 acts.

The Hartley family and their Trevornick team have also been surprising guests with randomly placed ‘Diamond Tickets’. “To celebrate such a milestone for our park, we are giving back to our loyal guests, local community and beautiful natural environment here in Cornwall with 60 Acts of Kindness,” explains Robert Hartley who runs the business, founded by their parents, alongside his brother Richard.

“Diamond Tickets have been hidden throughout the park as a way to reward our wonderful visitors by offering them a fantastic mix of gifts and giveaways,” Richard continues. “So far this year, guests have enjoyed free drinks at on site bar The Farm Club to free holiday stays, and so much more.”

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque village of Holywell Bay on Cornwall’s north coast, Trevornick have been providing holiday experiences for families and travellers since 1963. With its enviable position perched high up on the hill of Holywell Bay with sweeping coastal views across to stunning Gull Rocks and out to sea, the park welcomes over 20,000 guests through its gates every season.

PRAISE HEAPED ON WATERSIDE RESORT

WATERSIDE’S BOWLEAZE COVE Holiday Park & Spa is seeing returns on significant investment.

Consumer champion, Which? has named Waterside one of the UK’s best value holiday park providers for the second year in a row. The company, which operates three holiday parks in Dorset and one in Cornwall, scored 87 per cent in a survey of more 1,355 participants – a close second next to the top spot at 88 per cent.

Waterside achieved a full house of five out of five stars in every category, including quality of accommodation, customer service, and value for money. The company was praised for its luxury offering, with acknowledgement for its ‘top end stays in beautiful coastal locations’.

Waterside has continued its significant investment into its parks over the past year. The brand recently unveiled two new, exclusive holiday home developments - The Stables, situated at Bowleaze Cove Holiday Park & Spa in Weymouth, and Samphire Cove at Tregoad Holiday Park near Looe.

Both feature a private collection of bespoke, luxury lodges with open plan living, deluxe bathrooms, king-sized bedrooms, hot tubs, and full wrapped decking. Dave Bennett, CEO of Waterside commented: “It’s fantastic to triumph in a renowned nationwide survey for two consecutive years, with a consistent score that reflects all our parks’ exceptional standards delivered by our dedicated team!

“As a family-owned business with knowledge that’s been passed down in generations for the past 60 years, we’re proud to offer a holiday experience that goes the extra mile for our guests. Each of our parks offers something different and we’re continually investing in each site to uphold our quality promise. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without our team, and our consistent recognition by Which? is testament to their fantastic work year after year.”

FIRST HAVEN OPENING FOR EIGHT YEARS

HAVEN SKEGNESS HAS OPENED following an £11m renovation project.

The wraps have come off Haven Skegness, the company’s first new holiday park to open in eight years. An £11 million pound renovation project follows Haven’s acquisition of the Richmond Holiday Park in 2022 and is the first new holiday park opening under Blackstone’s ownership of the business.

Now with Haven’s heritage firmly embedded in family ownership and following significant investment, the park will continue to deliver the holiday experience that guests and owners have enjoyed for decades, as well as enhance its offering to UK holidaymakers across its three parks in Lincolnshire.

One of the UK’s most famous seaside holiday destinations, Haven Skegness has benefitted from wide ranging renovations. These include a brand-new state of the art Marina Bar & Stage entertainment venue, a fun-filled arcade and new food and drink options, including a Cook’s Fish & Chips, Papa John’s and Burger King.

Meanwhile, the park’s outdoor piazza and stage provide an inviting escape for holiday makers to relax and be entertained. Additionally, the Richmond Arms, a stylish 80-seater restaurant, offers guests a gastro-pub style option. As the domestic tourism market continues to grow, Haven is welcoming more holidaymakers than ever, with projected guest numbers expected to reach 3.5 million across all Haven parks throughout 2023.

Bookings for this year’s summer school holiday period have exceeded pre-pandemic levels up 31% compared to 2019. Signalling a resounding vote of confidence in UK seaside resorts, Haven Skegness has increased its guest capacity by 33% and team numbers have more than doubled from 85 last summer to 191 in 2023.

CONTINUED INVESTMENT IN COASTAL PARK

MULTI-MILLION pound plans have been submitted for the development of a state-of-the- art leisure complex at a popular holiday park. SF Parks submitted proposals for a six-lane bowling alley, rooftop bar, extended amusement arcade and relocated reception and offices at its Golden Gate Holiday Centre in Towyn, Wales.

The revamped facilities will complement a new swimming pool and recently renovated clubhouse on-site and come as the business seeks to increase the current 7 ½ month season to 10 ½ months in a bid to further boost the local economy and create more full-time jobs.

Doing so would also mean these high-quality attractions could be used by caravan owners and the public throughout the year. It is another significant investment by directors Oliver and Jonathan Seldon, who want to build the seaside town’s reputation as a popular tourist destination.

“Bringing people to the area throughout the year, not just in the summer, is vital for Towyn and surrounding areas,” said Jonathan. “Which is why the application to extend the season at Golden Gate to 10 ½ months goes hand-in-hand with our plans to transform the leisure facilities and continue improving the experience for our loyal customers.”

GO-TO DESTINATION

Beth Connor enjoys a memorable escape to John Fowler's St. Ives Holiday Village...

COMMODATION BOASTS comfortable furnishings and well-equipped kitchenettes.

A charming resort, John Fowler’s St Ives Holiday Village is the go-to destination for travellers looking to experience the best that Cornwall has to offer. Nestled near to the charming coastal town of St Ives, the tranquil family retreat is ideal for those seeking an escape from the daily hustle and bustle.

As soon as guests arrive, guests are immediately captivated by its idyllic setting, camouflaged within lush greenery, surrounded by rolling hills with a hint of the nearby ocean breeze. The well-maintained grounds, adorned with colourful flowers and quaint pathways, create an inviting atmosphere that instantly sets the tone for a relaxing getaway.

Accommodation at St Ives Holiday Village cater to various needs and preferences. The charming holiday lodges exude a homely ambiance, featuring modern amenities, comfortable furnishings, and well-equipped kitchenettes. Each lodge offers privacy while maintaining proximity to the resort’s central facilities.

Additionally, the resort provides options for larger groups, with spacious cottages and villas designed to accommodate families or friends traveling together. The woodland walk is an exceptional feature of the village that draws in visitors.

It has a carefully designed and maintained pathway that meanders through a lush and enchanting forest, offering a unique and immersive experience with nature. In the centre you will find a Play Area HUB with plenty of informative nature boards as you walk through.

 

 

HEATED POOL
One of the highlights of the St. Ives Holiday Village is its range of leisure facilities. The heated swimming pool attracts visitors of all ages, providing a delightful way to unwind. For those seeking more active pursuits, the resort offers a fully equipped gym and sports courts for tennis, basketball, and football.

The children’s playground keeps the young ones entertained, ensuring that families can enjoy quality time. A standout feature of the village is its entertainment programme. The dedicated team hosts various activities and events throughout the day, catering to guests’ diverse interests.

From interactive games and arts and crafts sessions for the kids to evening performances, quizzes, and live music for adults, there is never a dull moment at St. Ives Holiday Village. Food enthusiasts will find a satisfying selection of dining options on-site. The village boasts a restaurant with a diverse menu featuring local delicacies and international dishes.

The talented chefs prioritise fresh, locally sourced ingredients, elevating the dining experience to a memorable one. Those looking for a more casual setting can head to the village’s pub, which offers a relaxed atmosphere and a great selection of beverages to complement hearty pub-style meals.

THE TALENTED CHEFS prioritise fresh, locally sourced ingredients on the restaurant menu.

SHUTTLE SERVICE
One of the resort’s undeniable advantages is its proximity to St Ives, one of Cornwall’s most enchanting towns. The village provides a convenient shuttle service to the town centre, allowing guests to explore its charming cobbled streets, art galleries, and beautiful beaches effortlessly.

Whether visitors want to savour fresh seafood at a local restaurant, immerse themselves in the town’s artistic heritage, or simply relax on the sandy shores, St. Ives has something for everyone. John Fowler’s St Ives Holiday Village proves to be a delightful destination for those seeking a memorable escape in the heart of Cornwall.

Its tranquil setting, well-appointed accommodations, excellent leisure facilities, and proximity to St Ives make it an ideal choice for families, couples, and friends alike.

John Fowler Holiday Park, St. Ives Holiday Village, Lelant, Saint Ives TR26 3HX
www.johnfowlerholidays.com/cornwall-holiday-park/st-ives-holiday-village

REAPING WHAT THEY SOW

Jane Herbert meets the personalities behind the thriving Beston Group...

YAXHAM WATERS HOLIDAY PARK in Norfolk offers a stunning setting for holidays

On a cold winter’s day in the mid to late nineties, Timm Hay and Steve Johnson stood on a hill overlooking a rather tired-looking Beeston Regis Holiday Park on the North Norfolk coast wondering how to buy it!

At that time, Beeston Regis comprised 60 acres with 120 static caravan plots and roughly 400 tent and tourer plots, with a handful of hook-ups and a very old-fashioned shower block that hadn’t much changed from the original 1950s. The owner had sadly passed away, and the bank had taken control of the site.

On face value, it didn’t look like much of an investment but to Timm and Steve, Beeston Regis offered the ideal opportunity to cement their burgeoning business partnership. “We were young and keen,” says Steve. “Having done some research, Timm had discovered that Beeston Regis benefited from Section 17 of the 1960 Caravan Site Act.

“This was at a time when park owners, usually landowners, were required to apply for planning for the use of their land when used for six months of holiday use and six months grazing rights for cattle,” Steve continues. “The permission was granted if the local council didn’t reply within six months, which became deemed as unconditional planning permission with no time constrictions.”

TIMM HAY AND STEVE JOHNSON, the founders of The Beeston Group.

INSIDE KNOWLEDGE
Timm’s inside knowledge from his first job as a planning consultant for a holiday park specialist in London came in very useful when he realised that this was the case at Beeston Regis. Says Steve: “Uncovering the Park’s unutilised planning permission was a pivotal moment for us. This was extremely valuable, and so we just had to find a way to buy the Park.”

Timm and Steve had found their first joint investment. Beeston Regis Holiday Park is now a thriving park with 300 holiday bases and 190 camping and touring plots. Moving forward, the duo soon expanded into another small park which they later sold at a profit, and also added Cliff House Holiday Park in Dunwich to their portfolio.

At the same time, they undertook a major project to build The Hollies, a 30-acre park in Kessingland, Suffolk, on former farmland and a derelict house. Timm invested in five further parks which he still owns: four in Norfolk - Gold Coast and Hazelbury Holiday Parks in East Runton, Yaxham Waters Holiday Park and Mundesley Holiday Village: as well as New Hall Lodge Park in Dovercourt, Essex.

Over time, the eight parks co-owned by Timm and Steve all came together under the one umbrella of The Beeston Group. Today, with just under 800 lodge and static caravan plots, 750 camping and touring plots, and around 150 self-catering units, The Beeston Group is wholly concerned with holiday home ownership and rental, camping and touring. “With large holiday park groups owning a big percentage of the holiday parks in the UK, we really try to set ourselves aside,” explains Steve.

GUESTS STAYING AT CLIFF HOUSE Holiday Park have access to the lovely beach below

“We pride ourselves on offering great holidays in superb locations, mostly on the beautiful East Anglian coastline, and many of our parks offer guests direct access to the beach. Most importantly, however, the majority of our customers know us as Steve and Timm. As business owners and operators, the personal touch is very important to us.” The Beeston Group employs around 160 staff who support Steve and Timm across the individual parks.

Cliff House Holiday Park is considered the flagship of The Beeston Group. The scenic lodge plots take full advantage of the Park’s enviable location on the idyllic Suffolk Heritage Coast and it is considered to be one of the top locations in East Anglia to own a holiday lodge. The 30-acre park is situated on the cliff top between the popular coastal towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh.

Visitors benefit from the stunning heath and woodland surroundings, as well as direct beach access below. Cliff House Holiday Park has won many accolades, including East of England Park of the Year in the National Tourism Awards, as well as numerous regional awards and The David Bellamy Gold Award for conservation many times. Since purchasing Cliff House Holiday Park in February 2000, The Beeston Group have invested heavily.

At the centre of the Park is the eponymous Cliff House, a large Victorian property built originally as a merchant’s house, and later owned by the family of the famous Aston Martin racing driver Jock Horsfall. Cliff House is currently being renovated to a high standard at a cost of £1.5 million. “We’ve very excited about the development of Cliff House,” explains Steve.

“It’s a lovely historic building and the careful renovation is taking around two years. When it’s finished, the nine-bedroom house will be rented out to single parties of up to 18 people for family gatherings and the like. “The rooms are to be named after James Bond films, and the house will feature a ‘secret room’ hidden by a bookcase containing a casino for the guests!” The Park’s existing popular bar and restaurant has also been extensively renovated since opening in 2010.

It’s named ‘The 12 Lost Churches’ in recognition of the tragic destruction of 12 local churches during three major storms over a period of 100 years during the 1100: 1200’s when Dunwich was actually the capital of East Anglia. With updates to their portfolio of parks an ongoing project, Timm and Steve are keen to ensure that any developments are as sustainable as possible.

“We use ground heat source pumps to heat our bar and restaurant,” says Steve. “We also have banks of solar panels dotted around all our parks and electric car charging points. Staff can choose to opt into a salary sacrifice scheme to buy or lease new electric vehicles. All our parks are also very active in conservation projects. For example, this year our teams have installed 50 bat boxes and 100 bird boxes across our developments.”

Mundesley Holiday Village has also received significant investment since it was acquired by Timm. Originally built in the 1930s, Mundesley was one of the first holiday camps on the North Norfolk coast. The holiday village now boasts luxury accommodation including lodges, bungalows, cottages and barns (some with hot tubs). The site occupies a prime clifftop spot with a beautiful beach just a short walk away.

THE PURPOSE-BUILT HOLLIES Camping & Leisure Resort in Kessingland, Suffolk

Guests staying at Mundesley are spoilt for choice with the outstanding beauty of the local countryside, as well as the excellent on-site facilities that include a games room, gym, sauna and spa. The Park works closely with Hoseasons and is pretty much full all-year-round. Despite the challenges of doing business over the last couple of years that have affected all industries, Steve is quietly confident that The Beeston Group’s ethos continues to stand them in good stead for the future.

“There’s no doubt that the conflict and cost of living rise have had a knock-on effect,” says Steve. “Customers are definitely being more cautious with their spending but that gives us even more incentive to renovate and refurbish our Parks so that our product is the absolute best that it can be. We already offer great quality and excellent value to our guests and holiday homeowners. Continuing on that path, we hope to share many more years of success together.”

MAIN STAGE SHOWCASE

SALTEX WILL HOST hundreds of brands showcasing products in halls 6, 7 and 8, over two days.

Now in its eighth decade, SALTEX, at Birmingham’s NEC on November 1 and 2, remains Europe’s largest free sports turf, amenities, and landscaping trade exhibition. With hundreds of brands showcasing products in halls 6, 7 and 8, across two days, SALTEX is a must-attend event for everybody operating in, or supplying to, the grounds care sector.

The 2023 gathering provides a great opportunity to meet industry colleagues and make new connections – building networks, knowledge and learning about new innovations. The event is organised by the Grounds Management Association, the leading not-for-profit membership organisation representing grounds managers, grounds personnel, grounds maintenance managers, greenkeepers and all others involved in the management of sports turf, pitches, landscape, and amenity facilities in the UK.

SALTEX is known for the quality, range and breadth of professional development opportunities it provides through its industry-leading, established Learning LIVE programme. This year, over 20 presenters will speak across three stages in two days. It is the largest free live learning event for the sector with many visitors citing it as a key reason to attend the show.

SALTEX PROVIDES A PLATFORM to build networks, knowledge and learning.

Sarah Cunningham, director of commercial and events at the GMA, says: “Learning LIVE is a well-respected, highly anticipated highlight at SALTEX, known to be a fantastic way to boost knowledge in a wide range of topics. Here we provide a snapshot of some of the headline speakers and sessions available. It’s exciting and there is so much more to come!”

This year, the main stage will continue as it always has done to highlight the latest hot topics and issues, bringing visitors into the big conversations of the moment. Day one of the show sees Lee Guerriero, pitch and technology specialist at UEFA, discuss UEFA’s 2024- 2027 pitch strategy and on day two Tony Hanson and his fellow panellists from the Environment Agency and Anglian Water will cover future water restrictions for golf greens and sports turf.

Lee Guerriero explains: “Attending events like SALTEX is important to maintain an understanding of the latest developments in a rapidly evolving industry. With challenges facing grounds keepers as a result of heavy fixture schedules, climate change and the need to work in a sustainable way, it is important that all stakeholders from grassroots sports to the elite game come to events such as SALTEX.

“The Learning LIVE sessions in particular allow for an exchange of best practice and an open dialogue across sports so that the quality of the pitches continues to improve as expectation levels and demands around pitch quality also continue to grow.” New for 2023 are themed stages and reflecting the need to place sustainability and environmental issues at the heart of the grounds maintenance sector’s thinking, the Eco Stage will do just that.

SALTEX is proud to introduce Dr Eric O’Donnell from SportsLabs to talk about recycling solutions for synthetic turf and a session from the Football Foundation on its pilot on the future of sustainable synthetic turf The Spotlight Stage brings to the fore the crowd-pullers into an ask the experts-style forum. Dr John Dempsey will bring his insights to the 2020- 2023 independent turfgrass research update and non-pesticidal disease management sessions, while Aled Lewis will highlight Welsh FA’s Pitch Improvement Funding Strategy.

Dr John Dempsey, independent turfgrass research, says: “The reason I like to present at events such as SALTEX is that I love sharing the results of not only my research but also the latest data available on relevant turfgrass subjects and it gives me the opportunity to meet many turfgrass professionals.

SALTEX TAKES PLACE at Brimingham’s NEC on November 1 and 2.

“Hopefully attendees will find the presentations of value and take away something that will be able to incorporate into their maintenance programs be it golf, football or playing fields.” Sarah continues: “We have curated what we believe to be a well-rounded, industry representative programme of CPD-accredited seminars, which we will be able to share in full with visitors in due course.”

Register now to boost your knowledge and guarantee entry to Europe’s largest and leading sports turf, amenities, and landscaping trade exhibition at www.saltex.org.uk

SALTEX IS KNOWN FOR THE QUALITY, range and breadth of professional development opportunities.

EV RANGE ANXIETY ROADBLOCKS

Funding support available for holiday park operators...

47% OF THE AVAILABLE public charging network, or 19,044 charge-points, can be found in destination locations.

Identified as the main concern for EV drivers in Zenith’s EVXperience report, range anxiety and the struggle of finding somewhere to charge-up on long journeys, stands as a major roadblock to enjoying an EV staycation. Having the option of charging at your destination, for many, will make the difference between a relaxing family vacation or a weekend trawling the countryside trying to get charged up.

Holiday park operators could be eligible for government grants of up to £14,000 towards the purchase and installation of new chargepoints through the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS). This grant covers up to 75% of the total cost of chargepoint purchase and installation, up to £350 per socket.

Charging tariffs can now be completely customised: you can segment pricing for different groups, like staff and public. Tariffs can be raised during peak hours, and you can even reserve chargepoints for certain visitors at certain times -- meaning you can guarantee your guests will have charging available to them.

Thanks to their recent partnership with Wattif EV, Rolec is in the unique position of being able to offer partial and fully-funded options to EV customers. If you did want to take part in the WCS, applications close at the end of March next year.

TURNKEY SOLUTIONS
Wattif’s 100% fully funded turnkey solution covers the cost of charge-point installation, purchase, maintenance, and software. Meaning you can install charging infrastructure without any risk of investment for the business. Alternatively, you can take advantage of a 50% partially funded option.

If you opt for this alternative, Wattif EV will take responsibility for the cost of installing, maintaining, and operating your charge-point but the initial upfront cost will be shared between the two. According to the International Energy Agency, the number of electric cars on the road globally surpassed 10 million in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

This trend is expected to continue as more manufacturers invest in electric vehicle technology. Almost half (47%) of the available public charging network, or 19,044 chargepoints, can be found in destination locations. By adding charging to your list of facilities, EV drivers will have the security of knowing that they won’t have to plan their trip around charging, which will encourage them to favour your park for their next short-break or summer holiday.

Rolec
Tel. 01205 724754
E. enquiries@rolecserv.co.uk
www.rolecserv.com

THIRD PARTY SAVVY WORKING

CHECK ALL ON-SITE contractors are insured.

For many parks bringing third parties and contractors on site to complete works is part of everyday life. Whether it’s for large developments, upgrades or just simple repairs and maintenance, having other businesses onsite is a regular occurrence.

As we head into the period when many parks undertake important maintenance and development work, specialist holiday park insurance providers, Compass, have put together some helpful tips to consider when it comes to insurance. Contractors come in all shapes and sizes, from large commercial businesses to bona fide contractors.

Regardless of the type of their business, the length of contract and the work they are undertaking, when coming onto your park requires them to have their own insurance cover. The only exception is if you’re employing a labour-only sub-contractor as they are automatically classed as your employee by most commercial policies and would therefore be covered on your own policy.

From an insurance perspective you want to check that:
• The contractor does have insurance in place
• That insurance is specific to the work they are going to undertake
• Their insurance doesn’t expose you and your policy to any claims

Remember, a contractor working on your park without the right level of insurance could expose you, the most obvious way is in your liability to the public. The limit of indemnity (LOI) on Public Liability needs to be the same as the limit you have on your Park business policy, referred to as being ‘back to back’.

If it isn’t then in the event of a liability incident, you could find yourself picking up the gap in an award to a claimant. Compass has produced a handy check list for you to use which you can find on www.compassparks.co.uk

THREE DECADES OF DEDICATED SERVICE

RKUBOTA HAS BEEN THE SUPPLIER of choice for Deighan’s Caravan Park for the past three decades.

2023 is a special year for Deighan’s Caravan Park, as the family-run business celebrate 30 years since the doors first opened on the five-star resort close to Benone, Northern Ireland. Their first mower – installed by local dealers D.A.Forgie - was a Kubota and three decades on, it remains Kubota at the heart of site maintenance, with a fleet of Kubota F-Series mowers ensuring a picture-postcard start to every holiday.

Deighan’s currently has four mowers, including an F3890 and F391 from Kubota’s F-Series. The F3890 sets the benchmark for the out-front mower market, featuring a 38hp 4-cylinder engine that delivers unbeatable productivity and impeccable cut quality. The F391 further enhances the F Series’ position as the professional’s choice for parks, open spaces and local authorities with a high output, maximum comfort philosophy.

The newer, stage-V compliant model also offers power steering and an adjustable out-front deck making the F391 highly manoeuvrable. Together with an RTV-X1110 used to transport the team around the site, the latest delivery was a Kubota M4063 tractor, fitted with turf tyres, installed in December 2021.

Kubota has been a leading manufacturer of agricultural equipment, construction equipment, lawn mowers and industrial engines since 1890. With its global headquarters in Osaka, Japan, offices in more than 120 countries and more than 41,000 employees in North America, Europe and Asia, Kubota had a turnover of $20 billion in 2021.

Kubota
Tel. 07866 810794
E. rob.edwards@kubota.com
www.kubota-global.net

STARS IN THEIR EYES

THE CAPELLA 2HCX Lifted offers great off-road capability and higher ground clearance.

When Three Cliffs Bay needed new utility vehicles to maintain the five-star standard at its holiday park in Gower, Wales, it chose STAR EV. As part of the move, the destination upgraded to lithium power from petrol and that is always a smart move.

From full charge to discharge, STAR smart lithium batteries deliver higher peak power for improved performance all round. It delivers full power for longer drive distance with no sacrifice in power. Maintenance-free STAR Smart Lithium batteries take a charge, hold a charge, and recharge over 2,000 times.

With an extremely low self-discharge rate, the batteries provide maintenance free peace of mind, while Android and iPhone Smart Lithium app monitors battery usage, voltage and temperature, so STAR smart batteries are ready to go when the day’s work starts. There need be no anxiety when it comes to range.

THE CAPELLA 2HCX comfortably delivers up to 80 miles with a 210AH battery

Three Cliffs opted for two Capella 2HCX vehicles, which comfortably deliver up to 80 miles with their 210AH battery and a Capella 2HCX Lifted which offers similar features but with great off road capability and higher ground clearance. Tom Beynon, owner of Three Cliffs Bay, confirms: “These machines have proved to us very quickly that they can take on all the tasks we need them to without any difference in productivity to their petrol counterparts and without disturbance.

“We use them for rubbish collection and recycling. The big, strong cargo area at the back of the Lifted and the fact that we can add a trailer means it’s become part of our gardening arsenal too.” To find out how the STAR range of lithium-ion phosphate battery powered utility vehicles and golf buggies can bring a five-star performance to your holiday park contact distributor Reesink e-Vehicles today.

Reesink
Tel. 01480 226800
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GREEN TRAILBLAZERS

Investment in eco tourism continues to thrive...

EACH LODGE OFFERS PRIVACY while maintaining proximity to the resort’s central facilities.

The David Bellamy Blooming Marvellous Pledge for Nature works in partnership with over 500 holiday parks in the UK. Pioneered over 28 years ago by botanist and TV personality David Bellamy, the scheme is now administered by his son Rufus, who is himself an Environmental Adviser, working closely with parks of all sizes.

The organisation has singled out Parkdean Resorts for special praise thanks to their commitment to the environment and its responsible stewardship of over 3,500 acres of land at its 66 sites. Parkdean Resorts was described this month as ‘a green trailblazer’ for kickstarting work that will provide wildlife and the natural world with the same warm welcome as its holiday guests.

Scheme co-ordinator Rufus Bellamy said Parkdean Resorts deserved major recognition for mobilising a raft of exciting and imaginative environmental projects across its parks this year. Once they are completed, said Rufus, the work will not just benefit nature, but will also help provide an enjoyable and educative experience for guests, and for youngsters in particular.

Making new wildlife discoveries, he said, was just one of the ways in which Parkdean Resorts was helping to create magical memories for the 3.5 million guests it welcomes each year. The group’s parks have all taken the David Bellamy Pledge for Nature which commits them to managing their green spaces with wildlife in mind and undertaking at least one significant wildlife project over the next year.

These include setting up bird boxes and other artificial habitats, creating areas where bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects can get food, focusing on the conservation of a specific species, and working to enhance ponds and other wetland habitats.

INTERPRETED NATURE TRAILS encourage all family members to make wildlife discoveries in the park’s grounds.

CONSERVATION GOALS
Parks taking the Pledge receive visits from independent wildlife assessors who provide advice on new projects to be undertaken, and the steps needed to accomplish their nature conservation goals.

Responsible at Parkdean Resorts for steering the scheme is the group’s Regional Director of Scotland Colin Pearse, and he said park managers play an important part in delivering the results: “Our managers are given a great deal of autonomy in deciding what conservation projects will best suit their park, and then involving team members in making it a reality,” said Colin.

“This is crucial as our parks are located in different and very beautiful coastal and countryside locations throughout Britain, each with its own individual character and natural assets. “We ask each manager to propose a project and explain the ways in which it will enhance the guest experience, and then it’s up to them with help from members of their team.

“There’s never any shortage of volunteers coming forward, not least because it’s very satisfying to know that you are making a real difference to safeguarding wildlife and the natural world. “We receive tremendous support from the scheme’s advisers who are always willing to go the extra mile in providing both encouragement and expert guidance,” added Colin.

Rufus Bellamy said that Parkdean Resorts had become national cheerleaders for the scheme, and its parks were role models for how tourism businesses could work as a group to help nature.

 

CHEERS LEADERS
Just as importantly, he said, Parkdean Resorts was encouraging millions of holiday guests each year to discover more about the natural world, and the part they can play in its conservation. Mythtopia is an eco-glamping resort situated just outside of Edinburgh that is due to open in Spring 2024. The resort is designed to be 100% sustainable, carbon-negative, and powered entirely by natural energy sources, such as solar and wind energy.

To help in its rewilding efforts, Mythtopia is also leveraging its own cryptocurrency funded by carbon credits, as part of its mission to plant 120,000 trees on the site itself. Its founder, Oliver Pyle-Santini, was inspired to create a flourishing and environmentally-conscious business that would provide a wealth of jobs to the local community, and safeguard the natural surroundings of the estate.

The luxury glamping resort will feature many activities from yoga to silent discos but the most unique is ‘Legends’; an augmented reality game based on Celtic mythology and folklore aimed at families, couples and gamers alike. Situated among 200 acres of preserved green land and located just 20 minutes from the Scottish capital, Mythtopia is the ideal place for families to experience nature while embarking on an immersive AR adventure.

MYTHTOPIA OFFERS ITS GUESTS a unique immersive AR experience based on ancient Celtic mythology

Mythtopia will also be the UK’s first holiday destination exclusive to NFT token holders. Mythtopia will feature 150 low- carbon impact geometric domes and lodges, along with a restaurant, clubhouse, bar, and spa. Each guest will receive access to a wealth of activities including a geofenced augmented reality playground based on ancient Celtic mythology called ‘Mythtopia Legends’.

The game allows players to explore the natural woodland environment while following a spellbinding story of mythical creatures. Participants can build their own AR character, interact with talking trees and dwarves, and go on mystical missions alongside the characters of their friends and family.

Using Celtic legends, this unique AR experience will create a ‘digital theme park’ perfect for families, couples, gamers, and LARPers. Guests can also get involved in a wide variety of other activities to help them enjoy the natural world with opportunities for open water swimming in its own lake, stargazing, horse riding, yoga classes, and silent disco parties.

ECO-VISITORS will help plant over 120,000 trees by visiting Mythtopia, a carbon-negative retreat.

GREEN INVESTMENT
Tregoad Holiday Park in Looe, Cornwall, celebrated the completion of a raft new developments this summer by opening its doors to members of the local community. Representing an investment of £2.5 million, the initiatives were focused on sustainability, and the introduction of new ways to protect the natural world.

The family-owned park, part of the four-strong Waterside group, chose a Saturday in July to showcase its achievements to guests which included members of the public, senior local authority and VisitCornwall representatives, and Tregoad’s local suppliers. New features include the creation of Cornwall’s largest wildflower meadow bank covering more than 3,000 square metres, and seeded with high pollen-bearing plants.

Nectar produced by the blooms, says the park, will provide a valuable foraging resource for honey bees, butterflies, and other important pollinators. In addition, the park has invested £300,000 in planting hundreds of indigenous plants, trees and shrubs, and installed a range of new wildlife habitats.

The living quarters installed throughout the park’s grounds include three traditional beehives, duck houses, plus bird and bat boxes made from recycled materials This year, the park is also spending £36,000 on upgrading its popular wildlife walk. The move will add an additional 2km to its length, allowing guests to explore even more of the park’s rich and varied landscape, and to uncover its wildlife secrets.

Matt Way, General Manager at Tregoad Holiday Park, said: “An important part of our guests’ experience is enjoying our wildlife, beautiful lakes, and woodland walks. We believe we have a responsibility to nurture and enhance our natural surroundings, helping Cornwall’s natural environment to thrive and contribute to a greener future.

PARKDEAN RESORTS’ many accommodation options include lodges located in tranquil wooded surroundings.

“As well as focusing on wildlife and planting, we’ve been assessing everything that we do at Tregoad to ensure we’re operating as sustainably as possible. “For example, we’ve introduced a new waste-water treatment facility to allow the park to be self-sufficient, installed water refill taps, and reused construction materials across the site, such as our former toilet blocks which have been crushed and reused as road infill. We’re also continuing to work with Climate Vision to identify more ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint.”

Tregoad Holiday Park works with more than 50 local suppliers, including Flotsam Flo which creates fashion accessories from waste which is difficult to recycle. Items are taken in, including old wetsuits, which are then upcycled by Flotsam Flo to be sold in its shop. The park is the first holiday park in the UK to go ‘full cycle’ in recycling, upcycling, and redistributing in such a manner.

Through partnership with a specialist upcycler of wet suits, inflatables and plastics, the park is aiming to reduce its landfill by a further 10% this year – after diverting 80 tonnes of waste from going to landfill between 2022 and 2023 through switching to alternative waste companies. Matt continued: “Collaboration is key to helping us tackle climate change. We’re proud to be working with like-minded businesses which champion sustainability and consider their environmental impact when planning their future investment and areas of growth.

“Our sustainability efforts complement our wider enhancement works at Tregoad. Over the past two years, we’ve introduced 100 new high-quality holiday homes and invested more than £500,000 in improving our guest facilities. Matt adds: “Our holiday accommodation and facility improvements, alongside our sustainability initiatives, are helping us achieve our core objective of delivering an exceptional quality holiday experience.”

MAKING SEASIDE BEACHES SPARKLE

LAST YEAR’S BEACH CLEAN saw almost 5,500 volunteers collect over 140,000 pieces of litter.

Staff at parks belonging to Park Holidays UK volunteered to take part in the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean this autumn. Marking its 30th anniversary this year, the annual clean-up event aims to rid beaches of litter and to highlight the importance of disposing of waste properly.

Many of the 50-plus parks belonging to the group played their part, each based alongside some of the most attractive beaches in England, Scotland and Wales. Group director Tony Clish said that there was no lack of volunteers coming forward to help keep the sands spotless for holiday guests: “This summer, as ever, the glorious beaches adjoining many of our parks made the perfect day out for families – whether they were basking, playing, swimming or rock-pooling.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy a clean and safe environment when they go down to the sea and are proud supporters of the Marine Conservation Society’s initiative. “A beach free of litter doesn’t just benefit holiday guests, it also helps remove a serious threat to marine life when the waste is swept out by the waves.

“We hope that our efforts will send out a wider signal about the importance of taking items such as plastic drink bottles and food wrappings back from the beach for recycling,” he said. According to the Marine Conservation Society, last year’s Beach Clean saw almost 5,500 volunteers taking part and collecting over 140,000 pieces of litter.

BUZZ OF EXCITEMENT FOR LANCS PARK

AN INTERPRETED NATURE DISCOVERY trail on the park allows youngsters to make many wildlife discoveries

Honey bees and butterflies have helped a family Lancaster holiday park to wing its way into the finals of this year’s Lancashire Tourism Awards. Moss Wood Caravan Park in the village of Cockerham has been nominated in the “ethical, responsible and sustainable” category for its successful efforts to protect the natural world.

Now the final hurdles for the park will be a “mystery shop” from an industry professional, and a face-to-face interview with the awards’ judging panel. The winner will be revealed at next February’s glittering awards ceremony of the Lancashire Tourism Awards in Blackburn, attended by tourism professional from across the region.

Moss Wood, which is owned by the Wild family, has already had its environmental policies and green tourism credentials put under close scrutiny in the competition. Judges noted that the park recently became home to its second colony of 80,000 honey bees after installing two traditional timber hives in its grounds.

Their thriving future is assured thanks to the many high nectar-bearing blooms at Moss Wood, including a 3000 square-foot wildflower wilderness planted by the park. The bees share their food sources with a wide range of butterflies and other pollinators, and there are plans to harvest the honey for sale in the park’s shop.

The park also encourages holiday guests and members of the local community, especially children, to engage with nature and to protect wildlife. Available for them to explore is a 1.5km nature discovery trail, and two spring-fed lakes which act as a magnet for birdlife, dragonflies, water fowl and a host of other different aquatic species.

 

TOP NATIONAL ENERGY AWARDS

ADEVON’S MOLE RESORT has been recognised in two categories at the prestigious National Energy Efficiency Awards.

North Devon lodge resort and countryside ‘playground’, The Mole Resort, is celebrating after being recognised in two categories at the prestigious National Energy Efficiency Awards, which champion best practice across the UK energy efficiency industry.

The Mole Resort received special commendation for Multi-measure Project of the Year and achieved third place in the Project Management Company of the Year category, at the awards ceremony held at Hilton Birmingham Metropole. Comprising 58 lodges and a fully refurbished hotel set in the heart of the Devon countryside, The Mole Resort is an eco-conscious lodge and hotel destination.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the environment and target to be a Net Zero resort, owner L+R Hotels designed a ground-breaking Energy Positive Lodge for its newest development. The lodge is so-called because it produces more energy than it consumes – generating its energy through an array of solar PV panels and with a fabric-/first approach at the heart of its design.

GREEN HOLIDAY PARK CHAMPIONS

SCOTTISH TOURISM MINISTER Richard Lochhead MSP plants a commemorative hornbeam at the Findhorn park.

Eco-friendly tourism was on the agenda for Scotland’s Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead when he visited Findhorn Bay Holiday Park. The holiday park based near Forres is championing green getaways on the Moray Firth.

Mr Lochhead attended as a guest of the Scottish holiday park association (BH&HPA) in advance of his being the principal speaker at the body’s Edinburgh annual conference in November. The association said it was keen to show how many park businesses were helping to boost regional economies and create employment without damaging the environment.

The minister also made his contribution to a greener future by planting a commemorative hornbeam tree to mark what the park calls its “new series of eco-adventures”. The park, he heard, was based within the Findhorn Foundation Eco Village which, for over 50 years, has offered retreats, workshops and gatherings in its spectacular setting.

Electricity on the park is generated by wind turbines, supported by the grid using a green energy tariff, so reducing to a minimum Findhorn’s carbon footprint. Its holiday accommodation is fully powered by green energy and is connected to an ecological waste-water treatment plant which also serves the 500 people living in the Eco Village.

Mr Lochhead also discussed the park’s plans to convert holiday caravans from gas to electricity, to invest in more eco-friendly accommodation, and its flood alleviation projects.

JEWEL IN THE CROWN

A lesson in diversification for visitor destinations...

A VIBRANT SHOPPING VILLAGE is packed with a plethora of bespoke shops.

For those looking for a quick-fire lesson in destination diversification, a visit to Suffolk’s Stonham Barns Park will leave you overflowing with a bucket load of ideas and inspiration. Bought by the Starglade group, principally operating as a day visit location, in 2020, the 110 -acre site is being transformed into a bustling leisure destination.

Ticking all the boxes from retail to live entertainment and from short-break holidays to permanent holiday homes, Stonham is still a work in progress. Brimming with pride, passion and ambition, owner, Alan Forward took me on a guided tour of the bustling family complex that sits on a favourable tourist route.

“Everyone needs a break away to reset and it seems as though the pull to the countryside is strong,” he says. “Many are looking for a relaxing fishing holiday or break where they can recharge and refresh in a safe environment.” “For many people, post-pandemic, the temptation to stay local and in the country is still very strong.”

HOLIDAY HOME ACCOMMODATION has been sympathetically placed around Stonham’s 100-acre site.

FAMILY COMPLEX
Stonham Barns Park is a bustling family complex filled with an abundance of attractions and activities to suit all. A vibrant shopping village is packed with a plethora of bespoke shops, and provides a huge draw for day and longer-stay visitors. Coach parties are tempted onto site to view not just the shops but also to visit specialist teapot makers, Carters of Suffolk, and its charming Teapot Tearoom.

Supplying big names from Harrods to Walt Disney, visitors can see the production of handmade, collectable teapots and even decorate a few themselves. Just a short walk away, the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary is a also a major draw. Providing a home to over 80 stunning owls and birds of prey from around the world the Sanctuary team put on with outstanding flying displays and are more than keen to chat to the enthusiastic visitors.

The site is home to the Mid Suffolk Showground offering numerous events throughout the year, including classic vehicle events, history re-enactment performances and music festivals. Add in a splash of talent at the on-site Legends Bar and Aspal Theatre and the entertainments’ programme is simply spilling over. Impressive Stonham golf facilities include a pirate-themed adventure foot golf course, crazy golf, nine-hole golf course and a well-stocked shop boasting simulator bays.

Still enjoying the great outdoors, two stunning fishing lakes have attracted a great following, including the attention of, world renowned angler, Bob Nudd while another water area has been established to offer SUP boarding and kayaking. There is a wealth of entertainment to keep the youngsters amused from a giant bouncy pillow with a perimeter sand pit that is free to use. Seasonal fair rides, dodgems, small children’s rides, play areas, inflatables, stalls, and land train ride all add to the appeal.

ATTRACTION SCOPE
Stonham Barns Park is now gaining a reputation as a popular wedding venue with designated room space available for hire. Add in a few fireworks displays, cycle racing, darts competitions, hot air balloon festivals and a plethora of themed party events, and you are beginning to understand the full scope of the Stonham Barns Park picture.

On-site refreshments are largely dealt with by Cafe 24 that offers plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and uses locally-sourced produce for their breakfast and lunch, no-fuss menus. Accommodation varies from own tent camping to caravan or motorhome pitches including the chance to hire one of one of six luxury bell tents or a shepherd’s hut as well as fully furnished holiday homes and holiday home purchase.

The Starglade Group of Companies is a well-known and respected, family owned, group of companies established for over 50 years. Originally started by Rodney Forward who was a successful builder, in 1994 Rodney joined forces with Alan, his son, to start Starglade Properties, mainly working with land transactions for residential properties.

ON-SITE ACCOMMODATION includes lodges, bell tents and even a shepherd-style hut.

Alan and his family over the years have acquired many other companies, to be part of the Starglade Group of companies that include residential and commercial lettings and new house-build developments. Working with long-term, tried and trusted suppliers, Stonham is undoubtedly a jewel in the Starglade crown.

As well as the creation of on-site job and business opportunities, the company invests back into the local community with sponsorship of sports sides and emerging talent as varied as rugby to Formula 3 motor racing. “The exciting thing about Stonham is its potential for future development,” says Alan, who shares plans for more pop-up shop retail opportunities and even a new on-site boutique hotel.

“It is all about constantly re-investing in this type of business and I hope this is what is driving the on-going popularity of the resort for short as well as longer term visitors,” says Alan, who has the backing and support of his son, Keith, and daughter Terri, managing the Starglade portfolio that now includes several new holiday home sites. Alan adds: “This type of business is all about team effort and it is thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of every individual that Stonham looks forward to such a very bright future.”

Stonham Barns Park
Tel. 01449 711 111
E. events@stonhambarns.co.uk
www.stonhambarns.co.uk

SMOOTH AND INTEGRATED GAME CHANGER

Holiday destinations are being urged to switch Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to Maxxton Software. Maxxton Software has emerged as a true game-changer in the hospitality industry by changing traditional but out-dated ERP systems into an integrated, all-in-one software solution.

Through its superior technology, Maxxton software keeps empowering businesses with comprehensive software solutions that optimise operations, enhance guest experiences, and maximise revenue potential. With a strong focus on innovation, customer success, and data-driven insights, Maxxton continues to redefine the possibilities within the industry, shaping the future of hospitality one success story at a time.

Holiday destinations looking to make a significant difference to their business with one strategic decision are being invited to switch their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to Maxxton Software.

KEY STRENGTHS
One of the key strengths of the Maxxton system is its ability to integrate and seamlessly link various operational areas within the holiday business. Whether it’s reservation management, housekeeping, maintenance, guest communications, or financials, an integrated ERP system enables smooth coordination across departments.

Maxxton Software provides a joined- up solution that serves as the ultimate one-source solution for organisations and stands out for its customer-centric approach. By closely collaborating with holiday parks, such as Roompot, Landal UK, Vacansoleil, and Europarcs, Maxxton has gained deep insights into the industry’s challenges, pain points, and evolving trends.

This understanding has allowed Maxxton to develop an ERP system tailored specifically to the needs of holiday parks, ensuring optimal functionality and operational efficiency. Every part of your holiday destination business is included in a process that is simple, smart, and connective.

SIMPLIFIED SYSTEM
The centralised reservation management is an integrated system that simplifies the booking process for holiday parks. Park operators can efficiently handle reservations, availability, and pricing, ensuring accurate and real-time information. The Content Manager enables holiday park owners and managers to efficiently create, organise, publish, and update content across multiple channels.

You have the option to link media, descriptions, available channels, rentable conditions, add-ons etc. for editing or adding the content to dashboards. The Revenue Manager is an integrated and real-time data-driven solution. The Revenue Manager integrates powerful revenue optimisation tools that enable businesses to set dynamic pricing strategies, maximise occupancy, and increase revenue.

“The significant growth of the Roompot organisation in recent decades has partially been made possible by Maxxton,” shares Jurgen van Cutsem, CEO of Netherlands-based Roompot. “We have been working together for many years to set the standard within the hospitality industry and to remain at the forefront. As a result, our collaboration and progress with Maxxton is going very well.

“ Responding quickly to changing conditions, adequately implementing newly acquired parks, and always able to translate the latest developments in our industry into software solutions in agreement. The specialised Maxxton software consultants always ensure innovation and renewal. If you want to make a difference for your organisation then make your first move by logging on to www.maxxton.com

ALL-YEAR-ROUND APPEAL

KESWICK is one of a growing number of parks open to visitors all year round.

The seasons might be changing but The Camping and Caravanning Club has 18 sites open year-round and a total of 23 sites open until the end of the year. “Camping, caravanning and motorhoming doesn’t have to stop when the nights draw in,” says Simon McGrath, Head of Communications at the Club.

“We have 23 Club Sites open through to Christmas and into the New Year and 18 that welcome campers year-round,” he continues and adds: “Modern motorhomes and caravans are warm, comfy and well-equipped for year-round use – and even tent campers can still enjoy pitching up in colder weather with a little more preparation.”

The following Club Sites are open year-round:

THE BOROUGHBRIDGE CLUB Site in North Yorkshire provides an ideal base from which to explore York and the North York Moors National Park.

• Blackmore, Worcestershire
• Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire
• Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria
• Braithwaite Village, Cumbria
• Canterbury, Kent
• Chertsey, Surrey
• Conkers, Derbyshire
• Delamere Forest, Cheshire
• Derwentwater, Cumbria
• Devizes, Wiltshire
• Hertford, Hertfordshire
• Keswick, Cumbria
• Kingsbury Water Park, West Midlands
• Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway
• Oxford, Oxfordshire
• Salisbury, Wiltshire
• Tavistock, Devon
• Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire

To help people prepare for the autumn and winter, Iain Geddes, Senior Technical Advisor at the Club, has compiled five top tips for making the most of a winter camping break:
• Set up camp while it’s still light
• Insulate from the ground up
• Check the power
• Complete vehicle checks
Keep your eyes and ears on the weather

For more advice on autumn and winter camping check out the Club’s advice pages: www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/advice

FIRST IMPRESSIONS PAY OFF

ROB AND CHRISTINA Skeel’s perceptions of holiday park home ownership were transformed.

A Northamptonshire couple has described how a spur of the moment visit to a Leisure Resorts holiday park in Yorkshire led to them buying a holiday home there the same day – despite never having considered owning one. Leisure Resorts is an award-winning, five-star luxury holiday home and holiday park provider, with parks across the UK in The Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors.

Christina and Rob Skeel bought their luxury three bedroom, two bathroom lodge in Angrove Country Park in the North York Moors last summer and have since spent a third of their time in what they now refer to as their ‘happy place.’ Angrove is set in 70 acres of stunning countryside on the edge of the moors, yet just 20 minutes from the coastal resort of Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Christina, 57, said: “My impressions of holiday parks had come from seeing lots of static caravans, side by side in rows along the Norfolk coastline and when Rob suggested we take a look at a park on our way home from a cottage holiday in Yorkshire my first reaction was ‘Not a chance!’” “We had never even been to the North York Moors until the day we visited Angrove,” said Rob, 58.

“We fell in love with both the park and the location immediately – and then the lodge itself clinched it for us. It has a deck at both the front and the back, as well as a patio on one side, so as well as the sun throughout the day we have spectacular views in every direction.”

LOVE STORY
“You could say we’re quite impulsive, buying the lodge the first day we visited the park, but we’re strong believers in fate and prepared to take a risk. If we hadn’t visited Angrove that day we wouldn’t have found our happy place.”

BESSY THE DOG IS COMPLETELY comfortable in her holiday home environment.

INVESTMENT IN STAFF WELLBEING

PARKDEAN RESORTS has partnered with the British Foundation to offer free heart health checks for its staff.

Parkdean Resorts, the UK’s leading holiday park operator, has partnered with the British Heart Foundation to conduct free heart health checks for hundreds of team members.

To mark National Cholesterol Month, which ran throughout October, the free on-site health checks will be offered to any members of Parkdean Resorts’ Maintenance and Accommodation teams aged 40 or older. The checks will benefit up to 520 full-time and seasonal team members across the company’s 66 award-winning holiday parks.

The 15-minute sessions will check blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body mass index and waist circumference, and from this, the Practitioners will provide advice to individuals about what they can do to improve their physical health. Staff will also be shown how to access self-help through the company health and wellbeing platform.

HEALTH DATA
The British Heart Foundation will then provide Parkdean Resorts with a company wellbeing aggregated report showing the health data of its teams, allowing the company to create an action plan to put further measures in place in the future to help improve the health and wellbeing of its teams.

Lisa Charles-Jones, HR Director, Parkdean Resorts, said: “We know it can sometimes be difficult to get an appointment at the doctor’s surgery, and that life can get in the way of booking an appointment for health checks. We are dedicated to caring for our Parks, People and Planet and supporting team wellbeing is one of our key people commitments, so we’re delighted to be able to partner with the British Heart Foundation to deliver these vitally important heart health checks.”

Parkdean Resorts is dedicated to finding new ways to increase wellbeing for team members and their families in local communities. In 2022, the company introduced health checks and discounted gym memberships, 30-minute lunchtime walks on ‘walking Wednesdays’, free flu vaccinations, and support for National Cycle to Work Day.

As a further source of support, the team can access Parkdean Resorts’ Employee Assistance Programme 24/7 – a free and confidential telephone line offering practical solutions, information, and support from external trained professionals.

DARING DEVON HOLIDAY PARK DROP-IN

AN EAGLE-EYED VIEW of the Red Arrows parachute display team visit to Ladram Bay.

Eighty years of providing seaside holidays on the Devon coast were marked this summer by the family owners of Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Budleigh Salterton.

The celebrations climaxed in a special birthday event which saw holiday guests join the park team and members of the local community in a weekend of festivities. Dropping in on the fun were members of the Red Arrows parachute display team who made a spectacular appearance after a daring skydive from over 3000-feet above the park.

Ladram Bay is possibly the oldest holiday park in Britain to have remained under the same family’s ownership for such a length of time. It was in 1943 that farmer Bill Carter and his wife Margaret decided to allow Scouts to pitch up on their front field amid some of Devon’s loveliest countryside.

Eight decades on, Ladram Bay now welcomes customers from across the world, and provides one of the West Country’s best equipped parks for family holidays.

UNLOCKING YOUR BUSINESS POTENTIAL

Looking forward to an unmissable event...

HOLIDAY PARK & RESORT INNOVATION visitors can explore showcases offering an extensive range of products and services.

If you’re eager to stay ahead in the industry and unlock the latest trends, innovations and strategies to take your business to new heights, then mark your calendar for November 15th and 16th and set your SAT NAV to Birmingham’s NEC! The countdown is on to Holiday Park & Resort Innovation, the UK’s premier event for holiday park and resort professionals at the NEC Birmingham this November 15th and 16th.

The event will once again run concurrently with three other shows – Farm Business Innovation, Family Attraction Expo, and Leisure Food & Beverage Expo. Together, the four shows form the largest event for businesses in the fields of land, leisure, and tourism.

Whether you’re a seasoned industry player, or exploring the idea of starting your own business, join Holiday Park Innovation to discover cutting-edge products, strategies and insights to stay ahead in the leisure, hospitality and tourism industry.

The 2023 event promises to be the best yet, with visitors getting the opportunity to explore exhibition space spanning two halls that showcases an extensive range of products and services essential for building successful holiday businesses, as well as getting valuable updates and inspiration from the show’s insightful speaker programme.

TOURISM SECTOR
With new innovations reshaping the UK tourism sector by improving the planning and booking process, enhancing customer experience, promoting sustainability, and providing valuable insights to businesses, technology is a key theme through the exhibition halls and seminar programme.

Immerse yourself in a world of pioneering innovation, with 420 exhibitors across the four shows showcasing tailored products and services designed to meet your unique needs.

Confirmed exhibitors include Swift – the UK’s largest manufacturer of touring caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes, Hoseasons, TouchWood Play, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, Tiny House Pro, Creative Play, Dale Leisure Supplies, Cubicle Works, Clear Sky Safari Tents, Innovative Leisure, Volta Compliance and Go Low Carbon.

Every aspect of providing a first-class holiday experience will be covered – from planning consultancy and booking management software, to safari tents, outdoor play equipment and washroom solutions.

THE HOLIDAY PARK & RESORT Innovation event covers every aspect of providing a first-class holiday experience.

SEMINAR HIGHLIGHTS
The extensive seminar schedule across both days of the show features experts from a wide range of specialisms sharing top tips and advice for start-ups and existing businesses. Across both the Keynote Theatre programme – sponsored by Cottages.com and Hoseasons – and the Seminar Theatre - sponsored by Maxxton – you can hear from dozens of industry experts across 90 sessions.

Tom Clark is General Manager of Brit Stops, and will host a seminar at the show. “From a small family business and passion project, we have grown Brit Stops into an established and recognised brand within the motorhome industry. At the show we’ll share our focus on driving innovation and expansion at Brit Stops and supporting the next chapter of UK motorhome tourism.”

Gillian Hare and Brodie Farrow of Pitchup.com will reflect on post-pandemic trends. “Rather than representing a one-off peak, the pandemic kickstarted a legacy of outdoor holidaying that will continue to benefit the industry for years to come,” says Gillian. “We’ll talk about emerging trends and provide tips on how you can successfully ride the new wave of outdoor tourism, including case studies from those that have been there and done it.”

WITH LONGER OPENING TIMES this year, Holiday Park & Resort Innovation looks to be the best ever.

NEW ZONE
New for this year is ‘Great Taste of the Country’ a dedicated zone for independent food businesses which will feature live culinary demonstrations, providing an opportunity for businesses to showcase their products in action. The line-up includes popular food brands Hello Fresh, Devil’s Bridge Rum, and My Gyros.

Verity Hyland, Events Director for Agriconnect, said “As the UK tourism industry continues to thrive, many business owners are looking to invest in their businesses with new innovations and diversification options,” she said. “Holiday Park & Resort Innovation provides a unique platform to learn from a diverse range of experts, connect with like-minded rural entrepreneurs, and acquire actionable takeaways to enhance the profitability and sustainability of your business.”

With longer opening times this year from 9am to 5pm on day one and 9am to 4pm on day two, entry to Holiday Park & Resort Innovation, and the other three events, is free of charge.

HOLIDAY PARK & RESORT INNOVATION provides a unique platform to learn from a diverse range of specialist suppliers.

REGISTER FOR TICKETS HERE

 

 

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Snapshots from The Quiet Site in The Lake District...

The Quiet Site has scooped gold at this year’s VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023, having been named the top Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year. The Cumbrian destination boasts a stunning location in the fells overlooking Ullswater, first opened its doors to campers and caravanners 60 years ago.

Over the past two decades sustainability has been the site’s focus, with both business and investment choices based on a desire to be fully sustainable which has resulted in the site becoming one of the greenest holiday parks in the UK.

The Quiet Site is a multi-award-winning carbon neutral holiday park, consisting of several accommodation options including a self-catering holiday cottage, luxury Glamping Cabins, timber Camping Pods, underground Glamping Burrows and carbon positive Gingerbread Houses.

In addition, it offers all-weather tent pitches and hard standing pitches for caravans and motorhomes. The site’s facilities include a historic pub, a zero-waste shop, pizzeria and creperie, games room and lots more. Daniel Holder, Managing Director of The Quiet Site said: “We are over the moon to have been awarded this most prestigious recognition by Visit Britain.

“Our team works tirelessly to provide guests with both the best and the most sustainable stay possible, reflected in the fact that 84% of our bookings come from repeat stays or recommendations. “We hope to welcome both returning and new guests for many years to come.”

The Quiet Site
Tel. 01768 486337
Email. info@thequietsite.co.uk
www.thequietsite.co.uk

SPANNING THE SCOPE OF OUTDOOR SPACE FROM PLANTS TO DECKING

LANDSCAPE 2023 promises an array of outdoor essentials from plants to decking.

LANDSCAPE 2023 is an industry trade show representing the landscaping industry with suppliers of everything from plants and furniture to decking and lighting. With the rapidly evolving demands of modern travellers, staying ahead of the curve is essential to maintaining the success and growth of your business.

LANDSCAPE 2023 aims to equip you with the knowledge, connections and inspiration you need to thrive in this dynamic landscape. At LANDSCAPE 2023, you will be immersed in an environment brimming with cutting- edge technologies, industry trends and game-changing ideas for your outdoor spaces.

LANDSCAPE 2023 also plays host to free CPD accredited seminars held by over 100 industry-leading professionals. Each seminar session has been carefully curated and the programme exists to educate, inspire, connect professionals and provide a setting to share ideas and knowledge that will aid future projects. Visit the website to register to attend for free.

LANDSCAPE – The Industry Trade Show.
27th - 28th September 2023.
Hall 3, The NEC, Birmingham
www.landscapeshow.co.uk

YOUR NEXT STAR PERFORMER

THE CAPELLA 2HCX in action at Three Cliffs Bay holiday park.

Every holiday park will appreciate the vital role a utility vehicle plays in the smooth running of the site. And the STAR EV range of utility vehicles not only performs effectively behind the scenes but also as the star of the show too.

For holiday parks that can extend over acres of land, utility vehicles aren’t just a nice-to-have; they’re essential for daily operations, maintenance and gardening work as well as transporting equipment, guests and luggage from one side of the resort to another. STAR EV’s award-winning range brings productivity, sustainability, efficiency and value to every holiday park’s fleet and we look at how they do that.

ENERGY DENSITY
The greater energy density of a 210Ah maintenance-free lithium-ion battery makes STAR utility vehicles productive members of the team. With an industry leading tow capacity and payload able to handle up to 670kg of material and an electric tipping bed ideal for off-loading, vehicles such as the Capella 2HCX and Capella Work Machine are ideal to ensure the smooth behind the scenes operation of your holiday park.

Whether it be transporting guests, linen, maintenance equipment, hospitality services or even medical equipment, the Capella can maintain steady productivity between charge cycles, and easily be topped up via an on-board Lester charger. With the Lifted model staff and guests can also be safe traversing any kind of off-road terrain.

The guest experience is a top priority for a holiday park, so a vehicle that can be seen but not heard is vital. With a lithium-ion battery, the STAR EV lineup is able to perform its maintenance tasks noiselessly so as not to disturb the peace and enjoyment of the park’s visitors – an essential around guests staying in tents and caravans.

Even so, these vehicles don’t always belong behind the scenes. The Sirius 2+2 is designed to hold up to four passengers and is an attractive addition to any holiday park, elevating the guest experience, allowing them to ride in style and comfort as they take in the views of their destination.

THE SIRIUS 2+2 IS DESIGNED to hold up to four passengers and is an attractive addition to any holiday park.

ELECTRIC FLEETS
Many guests go to holiday parks to escape the bustle of city life, including the traffic that comes with it. With a close connection to their natural surroundings, it’s important for many resorts to be kind to the countryside they call home. STAR EV electric fleets produce zero emissions or leaks when being charged.

Pair this with superior energy efficiency and they reduce their actual pollution percentage, eliminating any contribution to global warming. What’s more, beyond their zero emissions, machines such as the Capella and Sirius are lightweight with a light tread too, providing a gentle drive on grounds while the lithium battery also eliminates the risk of a hydrochloric spill.

Reesink
Tel. 01480 226800
www.reesinkagriculture.co.uk

BRITAIN’S BEST CHILD-FREE BREAKS

BACK OF BEYOND’S Victoria and Martin Bowrey proudly show off their award certificates.

Britain’s top camping park for adults-only holidays has been named as Back of Beyond near Ringwood in Dorset. The park took the title after a poll was taken among readers of two top-selling touring magazines, Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome. Asked for their favourite destination to escape the patter of tiny feet, couples put Back of Beyond in the top spot for blissful 18-plus breaks.

It was just ten years ago that Victoria and Martin Bowrey sold their London photography business and took a gamble on their future by buying a 30-acre campsite on the fringes of the New Forest. The aim, said Martin, was to run a sustainable holiday park for nature-loving guests in a part of the country where he and Victoria often went camping.

Since then, they have invested much time and energy into creating five-star surroundings which include not just camping and touring pitches, but also a host of glamping options. Among the line-up of luxury accommodation are yurts, pods, shepherds’ huts and timber lodges.

Martin says they decided to make Back of Beyond an exclusively grown-up experience after being told by friends that top quality adult-only parks were thin on the ground: “There are lots of couples whose idea of holiday heaven is to be in a tranquil environment where the only sound likely to wake them up in the morning is birdsong,” he said.

“A lot of our customers come from professions such as teaching and child care, and who would prefer not to be reminded of their jobs when they go away. “Then there are younger couples who haven’t yet started a family, and more mature guests who tend to prefer peace to playgrounds when making their holiday choice.

“It also means we can provide facilities more in-tune with adult thinking, such as a wild camping area, a continental-style outdoor bar, a boules court, and private firepits,” said Martin. In the same poll of magazine readers, Back of Beyond was also voted the Best Park in Dorset across all categories, beating hundreds of other eligible parks to the top spot.

KUBOTA INVESTS IN GROUNDCARE

THE KUBOTA UK TEAM showed off the company’s latest products at a recent special event.

Media spanning sports turf, landscaping, amenity and equine were recently given a rare insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ workings of one of the most recognisable brands in groundcare, as Kubota UK opened their doors for a special event. The overarching theme of the two days was Kubota’s ongoing investment into the industry with updates on recent acquisitions and new initiatives in the areas of warranty and recruitment.

Kubota has been a leading manufacturer of agricultural equipment, construction equipment, lawn mowers and industrial engines since 1890. With its global headquarters in Osaka, Japan, offices in more than 120 countries and more than 41,000 employees in North America, Europe and Asia, Kubota had a turnover of $20 billion in 2021.

Although agricultural, construction and turf equipment are its main product lines, Kubota also produces a wide range of products such as city water purification systems, irrigation systems, piping systems, roof and home construction, and large underground valves.

Commenting on the event, Kubota UK Marketing Manager Rob Edwards said: “We, like all manufacturers, are aware of the issues facing the industry and that doesn’t just stop at having the right products to fit today’s market. “It was brilliant to be able to demonstrate to the press the programmes we’re delivering to support our dealers and our customers and show how proud we are to be re-investing in the needs of the next generation.”

The presentations concluded with a ‘ride and drive’ experience where Press representatives had the opportunity to test-drive a number of machines from across the range, including the recently-launched FC3 and FC4 mowers, and the LXe – Kubota’s first electric compact tractor, in the UK currently for extensive testing.

PEDAL POWER FOR PARKS

WITH A 60-MILE RANGE, Oyster Bay’s e-bikes mean that riders are unlikely to need topping up on their trips

Stonham Barns Park has hosted its inaugural Suffolk CycleFest for bicycle lovers, enthusiasts and racers from across the region. Over 100 participants joined in 30, 60 and 100-mile Sportives, supported and run by Stowmarket and District Cycle Club. The event featured the Extreme Bike Battle Stunt Team, a Kids Balance Bike trail, bike specialists Maglio Rosso, Salice UK, Ipswich Cycle Speedway, Suffolk Police and Combat2Coffee.

Up-and-coming British Cycling star Abbey Thompson, who is sponsored by the leisure, retail and holiday venue Stonham Barns Park attended the special one-day event. Says Events Manager Joanna Daines: “We are delighted that this debut event has been such a huge success for cycle clubs and cyclists everywhere.

“As cycling has grown so much as a participation sport in recent years, we are looking forward to rolling out Suffolk CycleFest again next year for cyclists from the region.” Meanwhile, holiday home-owners at Oyster Bay Coastal & Country Retreat in North Cornwall are now enjoying another benefit of staying at one of the West Country’s most stunning leisure resorts.

The top-rated holiday destination is offering them free use of a Volt Pulse e-bike when they stay to explore the scenic trails around the village of Goonhavern where Oyster Bay is based. It means that couples and families can enjoy fun-filled coastal and country jaunts with the minimum of effort whilst covering the maximum miles from their luxury accommodation.

STONHAM BARNS PARK recently staged its inaugural CycleFest.

 

As a bonus for the park, staff also have use of the Pulse e-bikes to travel around Oyster Bay’s extensive grounds with zero noise and zero atmospheric pollution. Oyster Bay sales manager Ash Reeves says the e-bikes have been given a warm welcome by owners, all of whom are able to use their holiday homes throughout the year: “The e-bikes are a fantastic way to get the most out of a visit to Oyster Bay, whether it’s for a short break or a longer holiday,” he says.

“The on-site Pulses mean that owners don’t have to lug their own bikes down on every occasion, and they are extremely comfortable to use whether on or off road. “They look very stylish too, and the sixty-mile range means there’s plenty of juice to get families wherever they want to go without having to pause for re-charging.

“Oyster Bay is a premium location for holiday home ownership, so we are always looking for ways to add extra value to the customer’s experience here. “Volt has helped us to deliver on this in a marvellous and memorable way – and the e-bikes have also won a massive vote of support from our always-on-the-move team members!” said Ash.

Oyster Bay is one of the flagship locations of the Park Leisure brand, and is among the fifty-plus parks operated by Park Holidays UK in England, Wales and Scotland.

INSURANCE SUMS MUST ADD UP

A PROFESSIONAL SURVEYOR will undertake a review to determine what business insurance values should be.

If the worst happens, and you suffer a loss to one of the buildings or infrastructure on your Park then the amount you are insured for becomes an important number. With rising costs of materials and labour, knowing how much to insure for is difficult. There is a lot of focus at present on the rising costs in construction, and in particular in the leisure industry.

Whether it’s replacement caravans and lodges, the cost of timber or the cost of labour. In their latest report on Building Repair Costs, Sedgwick, one of the leading global Claims providers, forecast that the cost of insurance repairs in relation to buildings will rise 10.5% through the first part of this year.

Known as the Insurance Repair Specific Index (IRSI), it monitors the four main cost components typically found in insurance repairs: Labour, Plan, Materials and Waste disposal. If costs of rebuild and replacement go up by 10%, is a 10% increase in your sums insured sufficient?

Or would 15% be more appropriate for you? A reliable source of information, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, also measure the cost of construction materials and in late 2022, they recorded a 12.7% increase. The most robust way to determine sums insured would be to engage a professional surveyor to undertake a review for you and use their report to determine what those values should be.

You may wish to check with your insurer to see if they offer a valuation service. If you have a policy with Compass, we have an exclusive Valuation Service, which will help to give you peace of mind by providing a range of options for professional valuations of all the buildings on your park. It offers solutions from remote desktop surveys to on site physical valuations, all designed to give you the insight and information you need to insure your business.

The service includes:
• Choice of desktop review or on site survey(depending on the size of your business and specific needs).
• Full reports with declared value, rebuild and sum insured estimates.
• Discounted follow up reports at 3 and 5 years.
• Access to quarterly building cost indices and reports.

Prices start at £150 + VAT for a desktop review and £800 + VAT for an onsite survey and are linked to the size of your business and the sums you need to insure for. To find out more about the service you can speak to your Regional Account Manager,
contact us via:

COMPASS INSURANCE
0344 274 0276
enquiries@compass.co.uk
www.compassparks.co.uk

PROVING THE PERFECT APP SOLUTION

GEMAPARK AND HOLIDAYMAKER APP working together give Wooda Farm Holiday Park the edge in providing a great customer experience

Wooda Farm Holiday Park identified that a mobile app was the perfect solution to giving customers a central place to go for information and booking functionality, and also provided an easy way to communicate with customers in the run up to and during their stay. It was important that the app tied in closely with their GemaPark booking system to allow the customer to review their booking and plan their stay by adding extras and booking activities.

Charlotte Veale from Wooda explains: “It is so much easier for the customer to find all the information they require in one place. “It is really easy for them to book activities whilst they are here, book a table in the restaurant or order their takeaway online, and also to keep track of their booking details/ payments etc without having to search for their email confirmation before they arrive. They can easily see what’s on during their stay and what they can do whilst on holiday.”

GemaPark’s integration with Holidaymaker mobile app provides allows customers to view their booking details and see activity availability all from within the app. It integrates seamlessly to the GemapPark guest area for making payments, add extras and booking activities prior to arrival and during their stay. Combined with the use of push communications through the app this is also perfect for upselling whilst your customers are with you.

David Lakins, of Holiday Maker App, comments: “Adding in the new GemaPark events module takes the whole guest offering to another level. “Wooda guests can now download the app, sign in with their GemaPark booking ID and then see a live feed of events and activities on the park. “To make a booking, it is a seamless click through to GemaPark’s portal to make a payment. This is another first for GemaPark and Holidaymaker app” he adds. To learn more about GemaPark or the Holidaymaker App, please get in touch for an informal conversation.

GemaPark.co.uk
Holidaymakerapp.co.uk

BOOSTING BOOKINGS

On-line technology does the hefty lifting for hospitality sales...

THE CONVENIENCE of automated, easy- to-access, digital systems needs no explanation.

Artificial Intelligence is big news, dominating social media tweets and posts around the world. AI comes as no surprise for the holiday destination sector where automated technology has long been embedded in the hospitality experience. From booking a destination through promoting on-site spend to sealing timely confirmation of return accommodation, the convenience of automated, easy-to-access, digital systems needs no explanation.

Zonal is a UK-based, family-owned, connected technology provider offering innovative solutions to more than 16,000 businesses of all shapes and sizes across the hospitality sector. Zonal provided detailed figures to partners, CGA, enabling them to produce an exclusive GO Technology survey of 5,000 nationally representative British consumers earlier this year.

That report reveals consumers’ latest attitudes to using technology within hospitality, and how venues can strike the right balance between digital solutions and personal interaction. Having an online, direct booking system in place, that is easy to use, will help operators drive footfall and increase overall revenues this summer and beyond.

 

In food and beverage outlets, online booking systems can be set up to prompt guests to opt for up-selling options such as pre-dinner cocktails or a bottle of fizz on arrival. What’s more, enabling guests to reserve a table will reduce queues and improve the guest experience. Key to this, will be simple things such as ensuring WIFI is available.

The research shows that only 53% of people consider WIFI in holiday parks to be good or excellent whilst 64% say that these tech solutions will improve the quality of their stay. With this in mind, making sure WIFI works and connects well can reduce guest frustration and make it easier for them to make impulse bookings and purchases.

Booking technology can also alleviate pressure on staff particularly if it is integrated with other tech in outlets and across the park. For example, an integrated bookings and table management system will save staff time by relieving them of the task of manually re-inputting information and reduces the risk of error.

GUESTS WILL BE PROMPTED to opt for on-site options and less inclined to look for alternative options off-site.

ON-SITE SPEND
Personalisation is a key consumer trend and enabling guests to tailor their holiday to their preferences improves guests’ overall experience and drives revenues. Tech systems help here by giving control to guests. A fully integrated booking system can enable guests to prebook activities, preselect tables, pre-order food and even order food and drink to be delivered to their accommodation.

Over half of holiday park guests (56%) find the idea of having breakfast delivered to their accommodation appealing. By making it as easy as possible to browse and book holiday park experiences, guests will be prompted to opt for on-site options and less inclined to look for alternative options off-site.

“The role of technology in hospitality is clearly growing – in a post-pandemic market, not only are customers used to seeing technology in-venue, but a lot of customers expect it to be present,” points out Olivia FitzGerald, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Zonal. “However, we cannot afford to underestimate the importance of human connection, Olivia continues.

“Hospitality is a sector that is brilliant because of its people, and it is important that technology enhances that by working in the background, doing the heavy-lifting and alleviating staff pressure so they can focus on delivering exceptional service to their guests.”

THE ZONAL AND CGA DATA shows the enormous value of technology users in hospitality.

REPEAT VISITS
Digital booking systems also enable operators to capture important customer data. This can then be used to encourage repeat visits – boosting business by helping marketing teams reach more prospects in more channels with less budget. Whilst holiday parks can expect park members to return time and time again, operators cannot rest on their laurels.

Ensuring members are kept engaged, as well as ensuring there are guest visits increasing year on year will be vital. To help drive this, guests should be contacted post-stay with offers of promotions, discounts and other bounceback schemes. If a booking system is linked to all other tech and integrates with one central hub, such as an EPoS, operators can take this one step further, using customer spend data from across the holiday park to create bespoke and tailored on-site offers and promotions based on those likes and dislikes.

This not only encourages spend and repeat visits but gives guests a more personalised and bespoke experience. Figures in the report indicate that 81% of people are planning to stay in a UK destination - so there has never been a better time for park owners to ensure their booking systems are fit for purpose.

As operational costs continue to soar it is vital that holiday parks are able to drive spend per head across all parts of the business and booking technology can support this by opening up opportunities to encourage up-selling and add-on sales. Approaches to interactions via tech and human contact have become neatly split: between their tasks outside a restaurant or pub; and steps they take while inside (see box).

For example, nearly half (47%) would prefer to make table bookings via technology, while even more want to be able to cancel bookings (51%) or get reminders without having to contact someone (60%).

BOOKING TECHNOLOGY can also alleviate pressure on staff particularly if it is integrated with other tech in other park outlets.

 

IN PERSON
Once they are through the doors, it’s a different story, as nearly three in five consumers want to place food orders, settle bills and leave tips in person. In practice, the division of preferences isn’t quite so straightforward. Many people still want to complete pre-visit tasks offline, like general enquiries (33%) and booking tables (25%). Likewise, a minority prefer to use technology to place orders or pay bills.

“Wherever technology is deployed, choice and flexibility are key. It can be a superb enabler for hospitality for guests and operators alike, giving consumers the speed and convenience they want and freeing up teams to focus on what they do best,” notes Karl Chessell, CGA Director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA. “In such a competitive and challenging market, brands that make the smartest use of tech, without compromising human elements, have a crucial advantage.”

This highlights the importance of choice. Going too far in either direction—whether by withdrawing human interaction completely or failing to offer enough alternative options— risks alienating sizeable proportions of potential guests. Understanding the breakdowns of consumers who prefer technology and human interaction is the first step towards meeting their needs, and this GO Technology research pinpoints their key demographics.

The key takeaway is that technophiles tend to be heavy spenders. They spend an average of £24 a month more on eating and drinking out than those who prefer human interaction, and their household income is £10,100 higher. On top of that, more than half (53%) live in city or town centres, where hospitality venues are more heavily concentrated and people eat out more often.

Of course, consumers who typically choose human contact over digital interaction are just as valuable, and operators need to carefully retain their loyalty. But this data shows the enormous value of technology users in hospitality and makes a strong case for sustained investment in digital solutions that satisfy them. To download the full report, contact info@zonal.co.uk

LET US ENTERTAIN YOU!

The vibrant mix of holiday destination talent...

BUTLIN’S BIG WEEKENDERS, exclusively for adults, has a brand-new break for 2023, We Call It Dance.

Holiday entertainment has significantly evolved from the first Redcoats of the 1930 and the Hi de Hi era of the Sixties. Operators of parks, large and small, still agree that getting the entertainment mix right remains crucial to ensure happy, satisfied customers. While holiday parks continue to evolve and offer modern amenities, depending on the target market, the traditional camp host still has a place.

Their expertise, personal touch, and ability to create a sense of community contribute to the overall experience and can make a holiday park stay even more enjoyable. These days, holiday destinations are constantly raising the bar by offering a diverse range of entertainment options to cater to different age groups and interests.

A mix of live shows, musical performances, themed events, and interactive experiences all aim to engage visitors. Holiday parks typically manage their entertainment offerings through a combination of planning, coordination, and collaboration.

 

• Entertainment Programming: Design a varied programme that caters to different age groups and interests, including live performances, themed events, sports tournaments, and workshops.

• Talent Booking: While considering the preferences and demographics of guests, working with external performers or talent agencies can be a cost-efficient way of securing talent such as musicians, magicians, dancers, and comedians.

• Activity Scheduling: The entertainment team creates a schedule for activities, ensuring a good balance throughout the day. This helps guests plan their participation and prevents overlapping events.

• Facilities and Venues: Dedicated spaces for entertainment may include theatres, outdoor stages, sports courts, and activity rooms. These areas are equipped with appropriate sound systems, lighting, and seating arrangements to enhance the overall experience.

• Key Personnel: Trained staff members including entertainers, activity coordinators, and event managers, are employed to execute the entertainment programme. They oversee the smooth operation of events, interact with guests, and ensure everyone’s enjoyment and safety.

• Guest Feedback: Collecting client feedback through surveys, suggestion boxes, or online platforms.

This helps them understand preferences, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments to future programs. No better example of holiday destination entertainment than Butlins with its wide range of shows, live performances, and activities suitable for all ages. The resorts often feature popular acts, live music, and themed events, ensuring a vibrant atmosphere.

THE EVOLUTION OF UK HOLIDAY destination entertainment has resulted in a more inclusive and engaging experience for visitors. Pic. Fowlers

BIG WEEKENDERS
Ranging from genre specific breaks like the new We Call It Dance weekender to popular decade breaks, 2023 will see 16 different Big Weekenders – all for adults only. There are also some new, big-name artists performing at Butlin’s for the first time. Continuing with the dance theme, Tom Zanetti, Route 94 and Lovely Laura and Ben Santiago are all new acts playing the We Love Ibiza weekender.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor is other new headliner performing on Back To The 2000s and Replay Weekenders. Mike Godolphin, Entertainment Director at Butlin’s, said: “We’re thrilled to be introducing a new dance weekender featuring some of the biggest names in the industry. “We Call It Dance is a brilliant opportunity to get your mates together and enjoy an unforgettable three nights of house, disco, garage and much more.

We can’t wait to see everyone on the dancefloor in Skegness later this year.” With the tagline ‘the Home of Entertainment’, Butlin’s is continually redefining what entertainment is, could and should be. The holiday park chain is opening a brand-new indoor activity centre, PLAYXPERIENCE, at its Bognor Regis resort.

Described as “an immersive indoor hub”, this new £15million space will feature a variety of experiences all under one roof. Covering nearly 50,000 square feet, each room will be filled with adrenaline-pumping activities in the daytime and competitive, interactive bar games in the evening.

HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS like Park Holidays UK continue to invest in the quality on-site entertainment.

BIG SPENDERS
In 2022 Parkdean Resorts announced a £140 million spend nationwide at its parks as part of its biggest ever investment programme. The investment went towards new accommodation, new and upgraded activities and facilities, and installing park-wide Wi-Fi capability.

The investment also allowed Parkdean to continue to roll out its hugely popular brand partnerships, with Bear Grylls’ Survival Academy, Tots’ Breaks, and events and entertainment from Milkshake and Nickelodeon now available at more parks than ever.

Steve Richards, Chief Executive of Parkdean Resorts tells us: “By investing in our parks, we’re not only improving the guest experience, but we’re also ensuring that holidaymakers keep coming back year after year, spending money in local shops, attractions, pubs and restaurants, and supporting the communities that rely so heavily on tourism.”

The entertainment and activity offering at holiday operator Away Resorts is unique to each park. Across the portfolio there is everything from archery to line dancing, laser tag, axe throwing and zorbing, to alpaca walks and yoga, arts and crafts, bug hunts. fishing and cycle hire.

There are also traditional character shows, breakfasts and meet-and- greets with the likes of Bear, Scratch and Lucy. Sammi Storey, Entertainment Manager at Sandy Balls says “[Bear’s] so real, and it’s so rewarding seeing all the kid’s smiles!”

PROVIDING DIVERSE ENTERTAINMENT options will cater to different preferences and age groups.

 

CUSTARD PIE
Creative Director Max Barraclough is proud of what Away Resorts has achieved: “My team thrives on building unique experiences our customers will remember forever,” he says. “Our Custard Pie and Colour Festival events are now famous, with guests coming back time and time again for them.

“Our mini festivals get customers singing, dancing and really letting go. We Live Stream many events now, so no matter which park you’re staying at you can enjoy the full Away Resorts experience. We like to think the attention to detail in all our entertainment shines through.”

The entertainment offering is big – and growing - at all the parks. A good example of this family together festival, Famaland. New for 2023, it will take place at Tattershall Lakes between 21st July –2nd September and bring together epic headline shows, mini versions of its well-loved festivals including Dinoworld, Colour Throws and Custard Pie Fights, as well as some brilliant family favourite character appearances.

“All our most popular events together each week,” says the creative team behind it. Whether seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures, enchanting live performances, or a tranquil retreat surrounded by nature, the evolution of UK holiday destination entertainment has resulted in a more inclusive and engaging experience for visitors, with a focus on providing diverse entertainment options that cater to different preferences and age groups.

HAVEN OPTS FOR HAPPY NAPPY

Haven has invested in the reusable Happy Nappy swim nappy, for babies and toddlers under three years, in a bid to reduce disposable nappy use across its onsite swimming pools. This decision will save Haven an estimated 20 tonnes of waste annually across its 41 UK holiday destinations, compared with single-use disposable swim nappies

“Haven is committed to taking paper swim nappies out of its pools to end the cycle of waste from disposables, so much so that we are heavily subsidising the cost of the Happy Nappy in all our poolside retail outlets, to make it easier for holidaymakers to ditch the disposable swim nappy for good.” Said Simon Palmer, Head of Activities & Leisure at Haven.

“Not only will this have a positive effect on the environment with, we estimate, a reduction of 20 tonnes of waste to landfill, but it will also enable us to meet our strict environmental targets and ensure we have the cleanest water for all our swimmers.” Simon Palmer concluded. The Splash About Happy Nappy is the UK’s best-selling reusable swim nappy.

For the past 20 years it has been recommended by 95 percent of baby swim schools as the de facto reusable swim nappy due to its highly effective award-winning design. British Standards Guidelines for Baby Swimming also consider it best practice for children under 3 years to wear a Happy Nappy to keep pool water clean.

Splash About now supplies 85% of the UK holiday and leisure market with its range of family fun swim products and its innovative business model is transforming the face of leisure retail. By focusing on retail theatre, strategic merchandising, online ordering, and stock guarantees, retail sales are optimised, especially during peak trading periods.

Splash About
Tel. 01472 236 465
Email. info@splashabout.com
www.splashabout.com

ENERGY EFFICIENT SAVINGS

When it comes to heating swimming pools efficiently, park managers can look no further than the Fairland InverX heat pump. The patented biometric hexagon design maximises heat exchange efficiency, and a real-time power consumption display allows park owners to track usage.

The high coefficient of performance means that for every kilowatt consumed, InverX offers 16 kilowatts of heat in return. Even at 50% capacity, InverX still delivers high coefficient of performance of 11.6. For flexibility, InverX has three operational modes.

Turbo mode increases capacity to reduce initial heating time by 20%, Smart mode runs at 20-100% capacity according to water and ambient temperature for energy efficiency, and Silence mode is ideal for night use when capacity is reduced to 20-60%.

Golden Coast
Tel. 01271 378100
www.goldenc.com

NEW CORDLESS CLEANER IS SMASH HIT

SPLASH LANDINGS Resort is one of the first locations to snap up the new cordless Inver X Warrior pool cleaner, available now through Ocea UK.

New to the market, the Inver X Warrior is a cordless robotic cleaner, from Ocea UK. Operating without the nuisance of wires and able to operate unassisted overnight, even under a pool cover. Taking the pool cleaning strain, the Inver X Warrior out performs in all environments in both residential and commercial pool environments.

It climbs walls, scrubs the water line and comes packed with advanced AI technology including APP control. “We knew we had a special product on our hands but the response to the Inver X Warrior has been phenomenal,” says Ocea UK’s Alan Thorne.

“The biggest selling point is that this is has eliminated the need for cords as it is completely rechargeable,” he continues. “To say the least, we are more than a bit excited about the potential for this revolutionary product that is not just outclassing its rivals on performance – but even more so on value.”

The product has been under development for four years. Ocea UK has spent the past six months carrying out vigorous final field tests including glowing reviews from the Alton Towers Splash Landings resort.

Ocea UK
Tel. 01993 707910
www.oceauk.com

WATER TREATMENT EFFICIENCY

Pool chemicals are expensive and one of the issues often seen is the habit of overdosing to make sure there is ‘enough’ treatment in the water. This practice can lead to using unnecessary additional chemicals which in turn can add substantial cost.

Using a good testing system, testing frequently and knowing the levels you have can give you better control of chemicals and will save you money. Testing the water correctly and frequently and carrying out a balanced water analysis can reduce the risk of damage to the pool plant – and also works for hot tub fittings.

The Lovibond MD110 6in1 Photometer enables the operator to test for all the common pool and spa water tests including free and total chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

The meter is easy to use and will give accurate, repeatable, and reliable readings and is supplied with everything you need to carry out testing immediately. When used in conjunction with a suitable TDS Pen (such as the Lovibond SD80) balanced water analysis can be carried out on a regular basis.

Lovibond Tintometer
Tel. 01980 664800
www.tintometer.com

MAKING A SPLASH

Top tips and strategies for aquatic attractions...

POOL AND SPLASH pads offer an irresistible combination for water-based fun.

Serving up popular visitor appeal is crucial for reaping the return on water leisure investment on holiday destination swimming pools. Sometimes a daunting commitment, traditional pools can pose challenges such as water treatment, heating, safety regulations and staffing. In comparison, the addition of a splash pad caters for more users yet appeals to the broadest audience of individuals, families and groups.

Equally, the pool and splash pad can work together; a complementary space for users to engage in water-based fun simultaneously. The result is a vibrant and energetic aquascape that elevates the overall pool experience and creates an environment where more guests can engage in aquatic fun. The Splash, a renowned UK-based company, specialising in bespoke splash pads, has set itself the ambitious goal of revolutionising the water leisure industry by providing game-changing solutions.

By integrating a custom-designed splash pad from The Splash, pool owners can experience a significant increase in the bather load, accommodating more users than ever before. With their commitment to manufacturing excellence and limitless design possibilities, The Splash is redefining the concept of interactive water play. Customisation is at the heart of their philosophy.

THE SPLASH ENSURES that each splash pad is crafted with meticulous attention to detail.

 

Each splash pad design is crafted with precision and tailored to the specific requirements and preferences of the customer. This commitment to bespoke designs ensures that every splash pad is unique, offering endless design opportunities that enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the facility. The Splash takes pride in its UK- based manufacturing process, guaranteeing the highest quality standards.

By keeping production local, The Splash ensures that each splash pad is crafted with meticulous attention to detail and adheres to stringent quality control measures. This commitment to manufacturing excellence guarantees durable and long-lasting splash pads that withstand the test of time while offering endless design possibilities.

Established in 1966, Ustigate Waterplay has specialised in the design, build and maintenance of aquatic facilities for 57 years and are renowned for providing high quality, efficient and sustainable solutions that are safe and full of fun for their user groups as well as lasting the test of time. This testimony is backed by their past projects, their membership of the Association of Play Industries and Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group and the long-term warranties provided on all their aquatic play products.

ALL OF USTIGATE’S SPLASHPAD® products are formed from tactile, interactive and user-friendly products.

STAFF TRAINING
Staff training is provided for clients that have a team to operate their aquatic facilities. Ustigate also provide ongoing customer care packages that consist of monthly and annual services, seasonal commissioning, decommissioning and facility and surfacing refurbishments. Ustigate has worked with many clients for many years.

In 2004, Ustigate designed and built Aqua-Tek at Magna Science Adventure Centre; no spare parts have been required on the Vortex products to date and Ustigate replaced the original EPDM wet-pour surfacing in 2022, following 19 years of consistent popularity and play. The correct calculations for aquatic play schemes are based upon the number of water features, their flow rates and the bather load, advise specialist Ustigate.

Tanks, pumps and filters are sized to meet specification, performance and demand. The majority of Ustigate’s aquatic play schemes are provided with a PWTAG compliant recirculation system with two separate tanks (one for clean water and one for returned water) to guarantee water quality, safety efficiency and to enable one body of water to be treated and recycled.

This is the most efficient and sustainable water management system in terms of water usage. Energy and water conservation for splashpads is achieved through the setting of the height of water effects, feature activation, sequencing and sleep mode in-between water cycles.

The brains of the system is a controller that sets the hours of operation and feature sequencing as well as providing live real-time data on critical plant room equipment, water treatment and water usage, all designed and manufactured by Ustigate Waterplay at its base in Dartford, Kent. The controller is user-friendly with a touch screen that can be operated manually whilst in the plant room or via an iPad, mobile phone or PC when provided with an Ethernet internet connection and remote access.

THE SPLASH PROVIDE game-changing solutions for aquatic attractions.

PEACE OF MIND
Public safety is paramount and it is imperative that the water quality and chemical balance is correct. The Ustigate controller provides peace of mind and guarantees public safety because if the water quality and chemical balance falls short, an alarm is triggered to action immediate attention and correction. The majority of Ustigate’s PWTAG compliant, two-tank recirculation systems, include chemical water treatment and ultraviolet disinfection.

Ustigate’s in-house manufactured controller ensures consistent operation, optimal performance and safety efficiency. The majority of Ustigate’s poolside Splashpad® play items are provided with a Safeswap™ anchor, enabling products to be removed for easy cleaning.

The Safeswap™ anchor system also provides a sustainable and low-cost solution to exchange products for alternatives in future; ensuring aquatic play facilities remain as modern as the first day of installation. All of Ustigate’s Splashpad® products are formed from tactile, interactive and user-friendly products that are tried and tested and certified to meet EN 1176 safety standards.

Ustigate’s flumes also meet the strictest of safety standards, having been tested by the TÜV (Technical Supervision Authorities) and certified EN 1069, the European standard for waterslides and EN 1090, the European standard for steel and welded constructions. If you are looking to splash out on water leisure, think outside of the swimming pool box. Get the basics right and remember to add a splash of interactive fun and you will have found a recipe for success.

The Splash
E. enquiries@thesplash.uk
www.thesplash.uk

Ustigate Waterplay
Tel. 01322 4244 45
www.ustigatewaterplay.co.uk

 

TEEN MACHINES

TOUGH TRAIL IS DESIGNED for children over the age of ten.

Inspired by the thrilling ninja warrior experience and created to engage teenagers, Tough Trail innovation is eibe’s newest brand range. Tough trail tempts teenagers off todays tech and gives them an interesting alternative to common exercises.

With elements of parkour, free running and calisthenics, play meets sporting challenge with full body commitment. The Tough Trail transforms a play area into an exciting, action-packed fitness/play experience for young people aged 10 and up playing independently or playing collaboratively / competitively in groups.

Tough Trail is tested and certified EN 1176 compliant. It has been designed with deliberately challenging access so younger children cannot climb onto the equipment and use features designed for children above the age of 10.

Tough Trail is just one of the segments within our extensive brand range which can be viewed via our main catalogue. Request one today or view today online via our website. Should you ever have a unique brief that requires a one-off piece we offer a bespoke design service and work with you to help make your play concepts a reality.

eibe Play
Tel. 01483 813834
www.eibe.co.uk

EYE-CATCHING THEMES

FROM CASTLES TO EXPLORERS TO PIRATES, a Ledon Playground from OLP can give your holiday park the edge you are looking for.

If you are looking for an eye-catching themed playground to keep your smaller visitors entertained, then look no further than Online Playgrounds who are the main UK partner for Ledon Play Equipment. Designed in Denmark with children for children, no ideas are scrimped on.

This is not just tested or photographed with children, but they are involved from developing the first ideas through storytelling, through to trialling the final prototypes. Children are the experts at play, so it makes sense to ask them what makes the most fun play equipment.

With a huge number of imaginative play values, the play equipment is not only amazing fun, but it also helps children’s creative, emotional, social, physical and cognitive development – an all-round winner! The Ledon theme worlds create exciting universes which can spark the imagination and encourage role play.

This encourages emotional understanding and social interaction. From castles to explorers to pirates, a Ledon Playground from OLP can give your holiday park the edge it needs to attract more visitors. These worlds can be as large or small as your space or budget dictates.

From large multiplay units and associated matching springers, swings and see-saws through to much smaller single item areas we can work within your guidelines to create an enticing and accessible play area.

Online Playgrounds (OLP)
Tel. 01354 638359
www.onlineplaygrounds.co.uk

AN INSTANT NEW ATTRACTION

BATTERY RIDES can be operating and taking money within a few hours of reaching a holiday park site.

Battery-operated rides are long-term generators of all-year-round income for holiday park destinations. Crucially, battery rides can be operating and taking money, on any hard and level surface, or pool in the case of bumper boats and family day boats, within a few hours of the rides and their long-life batteries being delivered, fully charged, to site.

Top of the 2023 popular attractions for holiday destinations are bumper cars, bumper boats, disco bikes, driving schools and ‘Big Car’ adventures, advise World Of Rides. These chart-topping choices all come with high-income credentials and with versions of customer-friendly ‘pay-to-play’ systems.

Offering zero emissions, ‘parent and child’ battery-operated rides can also be easily and safely operated either indoors or outdoors as the weather and seasonal demands dictate and can be easily transported between grounds. “Can I just say a very big thank you to all our early-bird and forward-thinking customers for their early confirmed orders as it saves any last-minute panics and the disappointment of a late delivery,” said World Of Rides’ Sales Manager Andrew Robinson.

Forward ordering is everything this year, due to supply chain problems world-wide, and the rides are also much cheaper to buy, as further price increases this year are almost certain. All World of Rides battery-operated rides are proudly supplied with full UK BACTA-HSE-ADIPS safety documentation that is now an essential requirement of BACTA membership.

World of Rides
Tel: 0191 49 20 999
www.worldofrides.com

THE FUN FACTOR

Play remains an integral part of the holiday offering...

POST PANDEMIC, there appears to be a strong demand for parents to allow children the freedom to play outdoors in the fresh air. Pic. Proludic

Independently commissioned research - by leading outdoor play and sport provider Proludic, has shown that the public is as keen as ever to see high-quality outdoor play areas at holiday destinations across the UK. The results showed a relationship between the availability of play facilities and time spent at leisure venues. There is a clear desire to see play as an integral part of the offering.

Over half (51%) of the respondents said play areas were an important consideration for them when visiting a holiday park, or visitor attraction. A significant 41% said they were more likely to book a UK holiday park vacation if they had made good provisions for children’s play. The majority (65%) said keeping children entertained in a good play space at all visitor and leisure attractions was important to them.

Post pandemic, there appears to be a strong demand for parents to allow children the freedom to play outdoors in the fresh air, particularly as they have recently spent many months indoors. Playing outdoors has many benefits but particularly improves mental health, fitness and boosts vitamin D levels.

Proludic’s history in play began in 1985 with a range of play equipment constructed from timber. Back then the focus was to capture the elements of nature incorporating tree houses to play in, logs to balance along and trunks to climb up.

PROLUDIC, has shown that the public is as keen as ever to see high-quality outdoor play areas.

DESIGN INFLUENCES
Nature is ever present in Proludic’s history influencing designs and creating wonderful play opportunities for children in the play areas that the company has built over the last three decades. Nature has an abundance of play resources for children and is an ideal setting for adventure and discovery. The unstructured activities provided by nature stimulate physical activity, imagination, creativity, motor skills and cognitive development.

The use of natural materials in the construction of playground equipment brings nature into the play space and can offer an ideal backdrop within holiday destination venues and at leisure attractions. With this in mind, Proludic’s Origin’ range, launched in 2013, was designed to provide children with a secure environment to learn and develop through exploring nature’s play activities.

Balance trails, swings, springers, roundabouts and role-play items offer individual play opportunities to support movement development. A range of multiplay units has limitless combinations. Triangular towers with different floors, heights, ladders, climbing, ramps, fixed, and mobile, bridges, tunnels, vertical nuts, climbing walls, slides and Fireman’s poles.

All of these elements, make for original tailor-made play combinations. Known for its durability and resistance in outdoor environments to insects, fungus and inclement weather, Robinia guarantees the longevity of playground facilities. Rotproof and stable over time, it can be installed in the ground without the need for chemical treatments.

The Robinia used for the Origin range is PEFC-certified, which means it comes from sustainably managed European forests. Due to the expertise and skill of Proludic team members who have worked within the forestry industry, the company has recently extended the standard Origin’ range to include larger structures based on three themes - Medieval Legends and Tales, Adventures in Nature and Sealife Scenes.

COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS
Wicksteed is the leading manufacturer of outdoor playground equipment in the UK. The company boasts a longstanding history and heritage within the playground sector, developing trusted relationships with schools, councils, holiday parks and housing developers for more than 100 years. Working in partnership is a key ingredient for Wicksteed projects.

For instance, Pensnett Coppice has undergone a remarkable transformation, thanks to the dedicated collaboration between Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Friends of the Coppice, and Wicksteed Leisure. This rejuvenation project not only brought life back to the once-empty site but also created a vibrant and engaging playground that seamlessly blends with the natural surroundings.

With Wicksteed Leisure’s unwavering commitment to safety, children can now explore and play with peace of mind. The newly installed play equipment, in vibrant yellows and greens, stands as a beacon of joy amidst the natural beauty of the surroundings. Wicksteed Leisure’s expertise in design and playability ensured that the equipment seamlessly integrated into the environment while capturing attention from afar.

Every element was carefully selected to provide a diverse range of engaging options, offering endless hours of entertainment for children of all ages and abilities. Harmony with the natural environment was a paramount consideration in the playground’s design.

To preserve the rural charm of Pensnett Coppice, the play area features Notts Sport synthetic carpet surfacing. This durable and robust surface not only enhances safety but also blends harmoniously with the picturesque surroundings. The transformed playground has been embraced wholeheartedly by the local community.

PLAYING OUTDOORS HAS MANY BENEFITS but particularly improves mental health, fitness and boosts vitamin D levels. Pic. HAGS

HIGH ROPES
Following significant investment, SF Parks has launched a much-anticipated high ropes course at its White House Leisure Park in Towyn, Wales. This latest addition to the park will be followed by an upgrade to Jakes family restaurant and pub, an amusement arcade, a cinema room, and soft play, complementing existing facilities including a crazy golf course and food and drinks outlets.

And it comes as the family-owned business awaits planning permission for another adrenaline-fuelled activity – The Jump – where customers can leap from a three or six-foot platform onto a giant airbag. SF Parks, which also owns Golden Gate in Towyn, Riverside and Sun Valley in Rhuddlan, and Sirior Bach in Moelfre, Abergele, has big plans for the future. Director Jonathan Seldon says these exciting developments are just the start.

“The response to the high ropes course and all of our plans has been really positive, so we thank everyone for their support,” he said. “Our loyal customers are always top priority and enhancing their experience is paramount, which is why we will continue to make improvements and introduce more exhilarating and engaging attractions across the SF Parks portfolio.”

Fellow director Oliver Seldon reinforced those comments and revealed their overall vision will lead to more developments in the months ahead. “This new attraction and The Jump – should we receive the green light next month – show how committed we are to our customers and also the local economy, supporting small businesses and creating full-time and seasonal jobs,” he said. “We will continue to improve standards, embrace innovation and keep investing in all of our parks as that will have a lasting impact not just on SF Parks but the region’s tourism sector.”

WICKSTEED FIRE THE IMAGINATION with outstanding holiday park installations.

ADVENTURE PLAY
If you are looking for more examples of holiday stay and play options, then look no further than Blenheim Palace that offers vacations in partnership with Darwin Escapes. A new £3.6 million outdoor play experience at Blenheim, has been carefully designed and created to ensure children of all abilities from the ages of 2-12 are able to explore and enjoy the extensive play areas.

Adventure Play is a series of immersive interconnecting zones with secret chambers, clamber nets, tunnels, slides, rope bridges - and giant carrots! Covering a site larger than a football pitch, it celebrates the rich heritage of the 18th century baroque Palace, inspired by real-life features including the lakeside Boat House and Hensington Gateway.

Unfortunately, the days when children played out on the street all day are long gone. For many children today – especially families without gardens – outdoor play only happens on holidays.

The onus is therefore on holiday park owners and operators to ensure the play facilities they offer are the best they can be. The key message is invest in outdoor play and you will be rewarded with happy families who are much more likely to return to your park – and tell their friends about it.

COMPANY CONTACTS

Blenheim Palace
www.blenheimpalace.com/adventure-play/

Proludic
Tel. 0115 982 3980
www.proludic.co.uk

SF Parks
01745 833048
www.sfparks.co.uk

Technical Outdoor Solutions
Tel. 01768 840 300
www. technicaloutdoorsolutions.co.uk

Wicksteed
Tel. 01536 517028
www.wicksteed.co.uk

HOLIDAY HEROES

Away Resort's raises the UK holiday park bar...

WATERSPORTS are a big attraction at Tattershall Lakes

International travel is back, but the Great British Holiday continues its rise. At the forefront of this increasingly sophisticated market are innovative operators like Away Resorts. A UK holiday park operator with a difference, Away Resorts started life in 2008 when Chief Executive Carl Castledine teamed up with industry stalwarts Neill Ryder and Greg Lashley.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather who ran one of Britain’s first holiday camps, it was written in the stars that Carl would enter the parks business. In fact, according to colleagues, if you cut Carl in half, he would have the words ‘holiday park’ and ‘Away Resorts’ running through him like a stick of rock! With the acquisition of their first holiday park – Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight – and a self-confessed ambition to ‘shake up the industry,’ Away Resorts was in business.

“We wanted to take the best bits of the great British holiday park, throw out the worst aspects, then add in some amazing contemporary touches, creating holiday parks for the next generation,” says Carl. And that’s exactly what they have done. Today, Away Resorts operates 27 holiday parks across the UK set in beautiful locations throughout Scotland, Lincolnshire, Isle of Wight, North Wales, Hampshire, Dorset, Cornwall, Hayling Island and Essex.

INNOVATION SUCH AS CONTEMPORARY themed accommodation fuels development. Pictured, the Rockstar.

Each park in the portfolio is unique and has its own individual appeal, whether it be festival inspired entertainment and Instagrammable themed accommodation, or retro-style talent shows and low-key camping under the stars. At the heart of every park is the same desire to inspire their guests to make memories.

“Whether customers want coastal or country locations, full-on fun or a relaxing time with loved ones, each resort is alive with character and atmosphere, and specifically crafted to suit customer needs,” explains Laura Miller, who joined Away Resorts as Head of Marketing in 2017.

“We want to ensure that our customers feel inspired and leave with ‘remember when we did that?’ moments that will last a lifetime. We want our guests to remember their holidays forever.” With an accommodation portfolio that includes over 500 Lodges (250 with Hot Tubs), 1,800 caravans, three hotels and over 200 chalets, that’s more than 120,000 holiday bookers in any one season.

Not forgetting the additional 4,000 holiday home owners across 20 parks. With investment in holiday homes growing across the UK, owners are an increasingly important part of the Away Resorts family. “Our owners tell us they enjoy their time with us again and again: unlimited holidays led by our teams on park - true Holiday Heroes,” says Laura.

THE WIDEST RANGE of accommodation appeals to all types of guest. Pictured, Camping Pod at St Ives Bay Beach Resort.

CORE VALUES
Away Resorts have 172 ‘Holiday Heroes’ supporting guests at the central office in Hemel Hempstead. During peak season, the total number of employees is just shy of 2,400. Employees share a common goal: to ‘deliver delight’ to customers. “Ultimately, our vision is to inspire everyone to holiday in the UK, driven by a mission to ‘strive for extraordinary’.

At the heart of all this are our people, led by three core values: Attentive, Amazing, Lovers,” explains Laura. Building a team that aims to be the ‘best in the industry’ has not been without issue in recent times. “The pandemic was obviously a huge challenge for all businesses, and some of these challenges have continued, most notably in hospitality and seeing a return of this skillset in particular destinations,” says Carl Castledine, CEO.

“During the pandemic, our fantastic team responded well to the crisis, continually putting each other and our customers first. For now, we look to attract talent with some of our fantastic benefits, training and coaching opportunities. We have such an amazing sector to work in and it’s about attracting new, young talent.” Latterly, the war in Ukraine has also put pressure on the business.

“The impact of both energy and non-energy commodities continues to be challenging,” says Carl. “We have had to work smarter through this difficult period, whilst not compromising our great offering for guests and owners.” There’s clearly no slowing down on delivering on expectations at Away Resorts. Excellence in service and a commitment to innovation are the hallmarks of their continued success, and there’s a constant flow of new and exciting ideas to fuel development.

With over £14.5 million invested in the last 5 years, Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire is now the biggest resort in Away Resorts’ portfolio. With a guest profile split equally between young families, families with teenagers, couples and groups, Tattershall Lakes really does offer something for everyone. Water-based activities are a major draw at this eight-lake site (three offering watersports) including water and jet skis, stand-up-paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking, as well as more laid back pedaloes.

NEW STARGAZER ACCOMMODATION at St Ives Bay Beach Resort.

There’s also an inflatable Aqua Park, outdoor lakeside Lido, outdoor splash pad, sandy man-made beach, as well as an indoor swimming pool complex with an aqua play splash zone. An extensive variety of accommodation offers the widest appeal from classic caravans to lakeside lodges, to the ultimate in ways to stay with Away Resorts new range: the Esme, the Rockstar and the TriBeCa.

With enormous flatscreen TVs, private hot-tubs and stylish, contemporary furnishings, as well as quirky individualised design touches (think foliage and Union Flag feature walls and neon light décor), these exclusive holiday homes are ideal for a new generation of UK holidaymakers. And when they want to head out after dark, how about a trip to the Giggling Goose, a stylish over 18s gin and cocktail bar with an expert mixologist and secret rooftop garden.

With a multi-million-pound private equity investment taking place in 2021, Away Resorts were primed for further expansion with the acquisition of St Ives Bay Beach Resort. This beautiful location with access to 3 miles of prime Cornish beach has seen £3.7m investment in new accommodation over the past two years. The new Thalassa and Stargazer holiday homes are the ultimate in indulgence with the latter offering roll top baths, hot tubs, and a glass window in the bedroom for exploring the evening stars.

More innovation is apparent at Sandy Balls Holiday Park, one of Away Resorts most popular destinations. This holiday village offers forest-themed accommodation, exceptional family leisure activities including walks with resident alpacas, and an annual Forest Festival, all with the outstanding natural beauty of the New Forest as its backdrop.

AWAY RESORTS INVEST heavily in new entertainment and activities. Pictured, Alpaca Walks at Sandy Balls Holiday Park.

FUTURE-PROOFING
With future-proofing a top priority, it’s no surprise that sustainability and ‘giving back’ are also high on the agenda. All new developments are built using the latest energy-saving technology and the team work closely with caravan and lodge manufacturers to keep pushing boundaries.

“In our recent new development at Mill Rythe Coastal Village in Hampshire, we’re installing a brand-new natural airflow system instead of electric-powered air handling units,” explains Carl. “This natural airflow system is PV (solar) powered.” Projects to end single plastic use and increase recycling including uniforms are well underway. Charitable giving is also significant.

Working with Creating Tomorrow’s Forest, Away Resorts plant a tree for every holiday home sold to a new owner. There’s also a partnership with Surfers Against Sewage with many locations doing regular beach cleans. A commitment to protect the Great British Holiday and our Planet… it seems Away Resorts are well on the way to their ambition ‘to make the future amazing for everyone!’

FIVE STAR BLISS

Beth Connor visits Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa...

THIS 80-ACRE holiday destination caters for both adventure seekers and those in search of tranquillity.

Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa, nestled in the heart of Devon’s picturesque landscapes, has marked its first successful year by garnering an impressive average 5-star review on TripAdvisor. Having recently introduced two new luxury escape packages, this 80-acre holiday destination offers an array of activities and amenities that cater for both adventure seekers and those in search of tranquillity.

For water sports enthusiasts, the resort has put together an activity package that includes fishing, kayaking, wild swimming and paddle boarding lessons on their leisure lake. The resort seamlessly coordinated the lessons, providing top-notch equipment and experienced instructors who patiently guide visitors through the activities.

The picturesque leisure lake setting added an extra touch of charm to this invigorating adventure, leaving unforgettable memories. If relaxation and pampering is on the wish list, Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa has created a package designed to immerse you in pure bliss. The resort’s spa, overlooking the serene lake, offers a range of indulgent treatments that aim to rejuvenate both body and mind.

EARLY BOOKING IS ADVISED at the popular Apple and Grape restaurant.

From luxurious massages to rejuvenating facials, every moment spent in the spa is sheer bliss. The attentive staff and serene ambiance further enhanced the experience, allowing me to truly unwind and escape from the stresses of everyday life. The resort itself is a picturesque haven, surrounded by lush greenery and sparkling lakes.

The well-appointed accommodation options provide a cozy and comfortable retreat, ensuring a restful night’s sleep. Visitors wake up to each morning to views of wildlife from their lodge, feeling refreshed and energised, ready to explore the resort’s extensive grounds.

Walking along the scenic trail, visitors can discover hidden gems, including charming picnic spots and many tranquil fishing lakes, where they can spend hours immersed in the serenity of nature. Guests can take in the sweeping views of the estate from the Apple & Grape, a new Al Fresco dining area, featuring a retractable roof and glass walls to provide the perfect indoor/outdoor dining experience.

CLAWFORD LAKES RESORT and Spa has marked its first successful year with an impressive average 5-star review on TripAdvisor.

LUXURY COCOONS
Since opening in April 2022, new accommodation has continually been added to meet demand, including seven further, exclusive to the UK, luxury cocoons, six floating lodges and many more luxury holiday lodges. Further accommodation will be added this year including lodges, holiday homes and exclusive Family Pods.

Lakeshore Leisure Group is a UK leisure brand offering high quality holiday accommodation including self-catering rental cottages and lodges, hotel accommodation and privately owned lodges across three Devon locations; Otter Falls, Lakeview Manor and Clawford Lakes.

Graham Plant, Operations Director at Lakeshore Leisure Group commented: “When we created Clawford Lakes, our vision was to offer guests a truly unique way of experiencing this remarkable and beautiful part of Devon. “We wanted to ensure whether you visit us as a family, in a couple or a group of friends that you would have a holiday to remember and we’re delighted that our first year has been so successful.

 

“As we head into our second holiday season, we wanted to improve our offering even further so, with extra accommodation available and the two new escape packages we have just announced, we feel that we’ve enhanced an already excellent holiday park into something truly outstanding.”

The staff at Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa deserve special commendation for their warm and attentive service. Expect to be greeted with genuine smiles and a willingness to cater for every need. Their dedication and professionalism lifts a stay, making it truly exceptional.

Clawford Lakes Resort and Spa lives up to its aim to provide an idyllic escape for those seeking both adventure and relaxation. With their newly introduced luxury escape packages, the resort has ensured that every guest can find their perfect getaway. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking to conquer water sports or simply seeking a serene retreat, this resort offers an unforgettable experience.

Clawford Lakes
01409 678018
www.clawfordlakes.co.uk

STRATEGIES TO DRIVE GROWTH FOR HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS

THE HOLIDAY PARK & RESORT INNOVATION event offers a wealth of insights and resources to help attendees stay at the forefront of industry trends.

The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation is a premier event dedicated to the holiday park and resort industry. Attendees have the chance to gain valuable insights, practical advice, and actionable strategies to enhance their operations and drive growth.

The event serves as a hub for professionals and businesses operating within this dynamic sector. With its comprehensive range of exhibitors, expert speakers, and networking opportunities, the show offers a wealth of insights and resources to help attendees stay at the forefront of industry trends and drive their businesses forward.

Explore a diverse array of exhibitors showcasing the latest products, services, and innovations in the holiday park and resort sector. From accommodation solutions and outdoor equipment to technology advancements and leisure facilities, the exhibition floor is a treasure trove of ideas and opportunities for both established operators and aspiring entrepreneurs.

One of the highlights of the event is the extensive seminar and keynote program, featuring industry experts, thought leaders, and successful practitioners. These sessions cover a wide range of topics, including business strategies, marketing and branding, customer experience, sustainability, technology integration, and much more. Don’t miss out and register for your FREE ticket today

Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show
15th – 16th November 2023
NEC, Birmingham
www.holidayparkshow.co.uk

NEW £1M STAFFS HOLIDAY DEVELOPMENT

ADAM BREAKSPEARE has decided to pitch the Oakland Holiday Park lodges at the top end of the market

Rising demand for holiday homes in rural Staffordshire has prompted a local family to create a new £1 million development on its long-established holiday park. Oakland Holiday Park, near the village of Brewood and close to the Shropshire border, says that sales enquiries have been booming since the end of pandemic.

Now the park is getting ready to open up a new phase of luxury lodges which are all located on the banks of the Shropshire Union Canal which runs through the grounds. Adam Breakspeare, whose family has owned the park for 35 years, says that although the investment is substantial, he is confident the demand will be there: “Many people took a holiday in Britain for the first time during the pandemic years, and clearly enjoyed the experience,” he says.

“Now many are looking to own a holiday home in tranquil countryside which they can enjoy throughout the year, both for short breaks and longer stays. “We have decided to pitch our new development at the top end of the market, and all of our new holiday lodges are fully equipped and furnished to the highest standard,” said Adam.

Starting at around £145,000, the lodges are for a limited period being offered with a free hot tub in which owners can unwind. Each also has its own exterior decking for al-fresco dining. Owners will have full use of Oakland’s extensive guest facilities which include an indoor pool and sauna, fitness suite, fishing pool, and friendly park bar serving snacks and meals.

The park is a previous overall winner of the Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards in the parks category, thanks to its first-class standards and welcoming atmosphere. The wildlife-rich nine-acre grounds of Oakland, says Adam, are a haven for wildlife which the family encourages with a raft of conservation initiatives.

Rainfall is harvested for irrigating the many shrubs and flowers planted throughout the park, a lot of which have high nectar-bearing blooms which draw butterflies and honey bees. In addition, the family has installed many bird, bat and owl boxes, and provides heating for its pool with a highly efficient solar energy system.

£7 MILLON MAKEOVER FOR ABER BAY

ABER BAY’S NEW SWIMMING pool complex provides family fun in light, airy surroundings

Staff and the family owners of a Mid Wales holiday park are celebrating the opening of a massive £7 million makeover of the park’s facilities. Aber Bay Holiday Park near Aberystwyth now boasts one of Wales’s most environmentally-friendly entertainment and leisure complexes.

The project by owners Allens Caravans was undertaken in tandem with an extension of the park which has seen the addition of 55 new holiday homes, available to own from around £70,000. Aber Bay Holiday Park is just a short stroll from the beach at Clarach Bay and is especially popular with young families and others who enjoy the many nearby walking opportunities.

It is one of twelve top-end parks operated by Allens Caravans which was founded over 80 years ago by Bill Allen, and is today still run by his grandchildren and family members. The new development at Aber Bay is the biggest single investment ever made by the company and is intended to meet the ever-rising quality expectations of guests.

Its striking new clubhouse has a rooftop terrace providing dramatic and far-reaching views of the coast, and of the surrounding countryside with its mountain backdrop. The clubhouse also includes a bar, restaurant, lounge areas and professional lighting and sound systems for the staging of live family entertainment.

A new heated indoor swimming pool can be enjoyed throughout the 10.5 months when the park is open. Other facilities include a games room and outdoor children’s play areas. Allens Caravans’ longstanding commitment to sustainability is evident in the many features of the new centre designed to conserve energy and reduce the park’s carbon footprint.

BEVERLEY BAGS DOUBLE GOLD

A TEAM EFFORT HAS SECURED winning success for Devon-based Beverley Holidays.

The awards cabinet at Beverley Holidays is positively bursting after the family-run holiday park group scooped not just one but two top industry accolades. Based in Paignton, the family-run group overcame tough competition to take the coveted Tourism Business Of The Year title for a second year at the 2023 Torbay Weekly Inspiring Business Awards.

The award follows hot on the heels of further good news for Beverley Holidays which was also recently given AA Gold Pennants – a much-coveted accolade only reserved for the best camping parks in the UK. A recent AA inspection saw it total up a quality score of 90%, a reliable marker more that the standard of quality and variety of facilities offered at the holiday park group is top-class.

Director of Beverley Holidays, Nicola Furneaux, said: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be adding not just one but two new accolades to our awards total – a much-deserved win for our hard- working team who pride themselves on going above and beyond for our guests”.

ACCOLADE FOR RISING PARK STAR

CUMBRIA TOURISM PRESIDENT Jim Walker presents the unsung hero award to Ben Mcgregor.

Ben McGregor, from Lake District Estates, beat off tough competition to win The Sheila Hensman Unsung Hero Award at the recent Cumbria Tourism Awards 2023. Star employee Ben, 21, joined Lake District Estates as an apprentice two years ago and has progressed to the role of Digital Marketing Coordinator.

Not only does the 21-year-old show a maturity well beyond his years, but he is a true ambassador for Cumbria and has also helped the company innovate and embrace new technologies – even recently learning how to fly drones. Ben is passionate about improving mental health and wellbeing for young people and his colleagues.

He volunteered as a youth activist with the Young Minds charity and ran the 2023 London Marathon to raise funds. He has also recently taken up a new voluntary role as a Trustee of local mental health charity, Wave Forward, continuing to build on his experience in the topic of mental health.

NEW NORTHUMBERLAND DESTINATION UNVEILED

THE NEW PARK HOLIDAYS UK destination will have waterside holiday homes similar to those at other parks in the group, such as Chichester Lakeside in West Sussex

Intending to put the region firmly on the tourist map, Park Holidays UK is investing in a major new holiday park in North East England. Widdrington Lakes Holiday Park is still around 12 months away from welcoming its first guests, but Park Holidays UK is promising ‘our most ambitious and exciting new park to date’.

Located near the village of Widdrington in Northumberland, the 300-plus acre park is close to both Druridge Bay with its seven miles of sand dunes, and the Northumberland National Park. When it opens next spring, the development will provide in its first phase up to 475 pitches for luxury holiday lodges to own and rent, plus facilities for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

Outline consent has also been obtained for a second phase of development which will further increase the park’s capacity in the future. Many of the holiday homes will have spectacular views across the two lakes which sit at the heart of the park, and around which extensive landscaping and biodiversity work will be taking place.

Both lakes attract a myriad of wildlife, including many different migratory and native bird species which the park is working closely with Northumberland Wildlife Trust to help protect. There will also be many other conservation projects in the park’s grounds, including the creation of new wildlife habitats and the planting of native trees and shrubs.

Also planned is a wildlife meadow to provide foraging for honey bees and butterflies, plus wetland areas in which protected plants and animals can flourish. Leisure facilities on the multi-million-pound development will be provided for guests and holiday home owners, plus a bar and restaurant where locally sourced food will feature on the menu.

TREGOAD ACCELERATES SUSTAINABILITY

CORNWALL’S TREGOAD Holiday Park has stepped up its sustainability investment.

Tregoad Holiday Park, near Looe in Cornwall, has stepped up its sustainability efforts as part of a multi-million-pound investment programme, including introducing various new wildlife species and installing more than 3,000m2 of wildflower turf. The park has invested £300,000 in planting various indigenous plant species, and installed various new habitats including three natural beehives, duck houses, bird and bat boxes made from recycled electric cable colonies.

This year, the park is spending £36,000 on upgrading its wildlife walk, adding an additional 2km to allow guests access to more of the park’s rich landscape and range of wildlife. “Our wildlife assets are central to Tregoad, with our signature lakes and woodland walk a core part of our guest experience,” comments Matt Way, General Manager at Tregoad Holiday Park. “We believe we have a responsibility to nurture and enhance our natural surroundings, helping Cornwall’s local environment thrive and contribute to a greener future.

“As well as focusing on wildlife and planting, we’ve been assessing everything we’re doing at Tregoad to ensure we’re operating as sustainably as possible,” Matt continues. “For example, we’ve introduced a new foul waste treatment to allow the park to be self-sufficient, installed water refill taps, and reused construction materials across the site such as our toilet blocks, which have been crushed and reused as road infill.”

“We’re also continuing to work with Climate Vision to identify ways in which we can continue to reduce our carbon footprint.” Tregoad Holiday Park was acquired by family-run Waterside Holiday Group in 2020, representing the company’s fourth holiday park and its first in Cornwall. Located in the heart of the Cornish countryside, the park offers a range of high-quality facilities and self-catered accommodation, including static caravans complete with hot tubs, holiday cottages, and a Manor House.

BIGGER NOT ALWAYS BETTER

THE TWO CENTRE RESORT Potters tops the Which? holiday park survey

Butlins, Pontins and Center Parcs were all beaten by smaller independents in the Which? annual survey of holiday park destinations published this summer. The consumer group asked 1,355 Which? members and members of the general public to complete an online survey about their experience of recent stays at UK holiday parks and resorts.

Which? rated 18 holiday parks for cleanliness, accommodation, facilities, customer service, entertainment, food and drink, value for money and costs per night. It was the lesser known names that triumphed over their megabrand rivals in the results which were undertaken from April 2022. Only the top performing parks and resorts have been awarded Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status.

Respectable marks were attributed to Center Parcs at 72% and Butlins with 71% but Pontin’s could only manage 59% based on reviews of ‘grotty chalets’ and ‘lacklustre’ entertainment. First and second-placed Potters Resorts and Waterside Holiday Group, are both family-run brands that have been in the business for decades. They scored five stars in every category, including customer service and value for money.

Operating for over 100 years, Potters was opened by founder Herbert Potter after he won £500 in a competition. With all-inclusive resorts in Norfolk and Essex, Potters scored top marks with an impressive overall score of 88%. More a resort than a park, accommodation at Potters is in bungalows, hotel rooms and suites. Nudged into second spot with 87%, the small regional brand, Waterside Holiday Group has four luxurious parks, three in Dorset, one in Cornwall.

INDEPENDENTS like Fowlers scored highly in the Which? survey

Their caravans are as classy as they come – at least 3.6 metres wide, with central heating and double glazing, plus fully equipped kitchens and widescreen TVs. Or you can glamp in a safari lodge with a private hot tub. Unlike Potters, Waterside does not offer an all-inclusive rate, meaning visitors pay extra on top to dine at its beachfront bars or restaurants.

A close third, Bluestone Wales attracted a customer score of 81%. Founder William McNamara originally opened up his dairy farm to guests in the 1980s when milk quotas threatened his livelihood. Today this single five-star resort has expanded to a sprawling 500 acres, where rolling countryside meets rugged coastline within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Scoring 78% in fourth spot, John Fowler began in 1953 as one caravan in a field but has expanded to 11 coastal locations across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, with a wide range of accommodations and prices. Like many independents, John Fowler Holidays stood out for its customer service – rated five stars with the Which? verdict: “It’s cheaper than Pontins and about the same price as Butlin’s, but better than both.”

SALTEX SET FOR RECORD YEAR

THE SALTEX offering has increased by 20 per cent for 2023.

Now in its eighth decade, SALTEX remains Europe’s largest free sports turf, amenities, and landscaping trade exhibition. The event is a one- stop-shop with hundreds of brands showcasing products in three halls, across two days, at one location.

Whether visitors are looking for advice on the sustainable future of grass or the best way to progress a career, SALTEX has something for everyone. Held at the leading exhibition venue – Birmingham NEC – from 01 and 02 November it provides a great opportunity to meet industry colleagues and make new connections – building networks, knowledge and learning about new innovations.

The event is set to have one of its biggest years yet as exhibitor demand sees the floor plan for 2023 increase by 20 per cent to accommodate bookings. Show organisers at the Grounds Management Association have confirmed early bird bookings are up 10 percent from the 2022 show and there’s a 12 percent increase in exhibitor numbers with 6000 m2 of hall space already sold.

All the information on visiting SALTEX can be found on the website where visitors can register to attend the free event. Alongside the exhibition, is an extensive seminar programme – Learning Live – where visitors will be able to boost their knowledge of all things turf with the industry’s leading experts and ‘groundscare’ professionals covering the burning topics of the industry.

SALTEX is organised by the Grounds Management Association – the leading not-for-profit membership organisation representing grounds managers, grounds personnel, grounds maintenance managers, greenkeepers and all others involved in the management of sports turf, pitches, landscape and amenity facilities in the UK.

SALTEX
1st – 2nd November 2023
NEC, Birmingham
www.saltex.org.uk

SHOW BUSINESS

Events present a wealth of business ideas to help with your forward planning...

TAKE AN AWAY DAY to shows like SALTEX to boost your location business planning.

As hard as it is to tear yourself away from day-to-day operations, an away day to attend a focused trade event can help with vital forward planning. Taking a step back from those daily duties can clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on honing that vital business plan for short, medium, as well as long term investment and development.

A timely bit of trade show pre-planning should enable you to set some visit objectives while still remembering to keep open to new ideas. Check out the exhibitor floor plan, print off a copy and mark your target contacts before you set off while planning your best routes around the venue.

Don’t forget to check out the odd seminar or two to take the weight off your feet and absorb ideas and inspiration on your key topics. Pre-registration is a must for a smooth arrival while planning travel times to avoid the rush hour travel – sometimes worth taking time out for a break and staying on longer.

You can put yourself in the fast lane by pre-booking some meetings with exhibitors – but don’t forget to check out their competitors to ensure you are partnering with the best value suppliers. So pack up those business cards, chose your most comfortable shoes, as we recommend three shows to add to your diary in the coming months.

 

A DECADE OF DESTINATIONS

Celebrating Holiday Park SCENE's tenth anniversary...

Flip the rewind switch on the time machine to 2013 and we find British Prime Minister David Cameron publishing a draft European Union Bill aimed at holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by 2017. It was the year that former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher died, following a stroke, while Catherine, now Princess of Wales, gave birth to George Alexander Louis at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

On the sports scene, Andy Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936; defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in straight sets. Rising temperatures led to health warnings being issued, for Southern England and the Midlands, in the UK’s first prolonged heatwave since 2006. The weather continued to be challenging as, at the end of October, what became known as the St Judes’ Day storm, brought with it gusts of 99 mph at The Needles on the Isle of Wight.

2013 also saw the launch issue of Holiday Park SCENE, a new print and on-line magazine, packed with fresh ideas and a must-read for anyone who runs or works in a holiday park sector. The Holiday Park SCENE team set out its ambition to work as an extension of destination management teams. These core aims have stayed entrenched in the magazine’s mission statement to inform and inspire UK holiday destinations, boosting visitor experiences and reaping rich returns on investments.

For more than a decade now, Holiday Park SCENE has offered the inside track on the latest market news and reports covering all aspects of holiday park management. We have brought you behind the scenes news on destination businesses that are performing well as generously, they shared their experiences. But most importantly, we have talked to the people who matter – people who add the experience, energy and enthusiasm to keep raising standards across all areas of the UK and Eire holiday park sector.

With the help of our knowledgeable writing team over ten years, we have covered subjects as varied as holiday lodges, glamping, hot tubs, catering and entertainment. The Holiday Park SCENE team has looked at some of the latest options from camping to glamping and investigated the potential for health and wellness as an added value income for business, not just in the summer but all year through.

Over the course of its first decade, Holiday Park SCENE has held hands with some of the biggest names in UK holidays from Butlin’s to Parkdean and from Park Holidays to Hoseasons. Throughout ten busy years, that have simply flown by, the magazine has featured more than 250 destinations and well over 1,000 businesses within the magazine. Holiday Park SCENE has been granted a ten-year long front row seat as the boost in staycations and investment in family time saw the holiday sector enjoy a sustained boom period.

A fountain of inspiration, Holiday Park SCENE supported the networking opportunities at some of the industry’s leading trade shows and event to find out what they can offer businesses in the way of fresh ideas as well as new products and services. Holiday Park SCENE has frequently relied upon some of the UK’s leading parks to share their tips for an effective entertainment programme that will keep guests coming back for more through play and on-site attractions.

We have discussed the e-marketing revolution with the rise and rise of social media which we warned you would ignore at your peril. The New Year is often the traditional time to re-evaluate our business goals. An opportunity to take stock of the previous 12 months and resolve to make a difference for the year ahead. We examined the Winning Ways of maximising the potential of amusement and arcade game attractions.

The holiday park industry has always been ahead of the field when it comes to preserving the business development balance with Mother Nature. David Bellamy was a holiday park ambassador when it came to highlighting the eco-factor, building in green spaces and protecting nature. Holiday Park SCENE has reflected this with frequent looks at everything from eco-friendly accommodation and energy-efficient business choices like heat pumps and electric vehicles.

The first rule of marketing is that it is not good enough to be good. You have to be perceived to be good. So Holiday Park SCENE urged you to pick up your bucket and spade with a heap of tips and ideas that will enable your business to stand out from the crowd. We looked at the increasing use of automated control systems to dramatically reduce the risk of human error in the management of holiday park swimming pools. Holiday Park SCENE has regularly tackled the thorny issue of security with features like Lock Down.

We frequently carried advice on how holiday park destinations can maximise the potential of their water leisure offering, with the addition of splash pads, flumes and water play equipment. We urged you to put up the ‘do not disturb sign’ as we invited you to relish this packed edition with a wealth of inspiring initiatives and ideas to weave into your future business planning.

Probably our most popular and ‘stand-out’ cover of the first ten years, the September 2019 front cover featured one of the life-size wooden horse sculptures now on permanent display at two holiday destinations. More soaring temperatures had accommodation booked to full capacity and then some rain which had the happy visitors spending more on site activities, arcades and in the bars and restaurants. We regularly urged decision-makers to take time away and weigh-up the highs and lows for the season.

What worked well? What could have worked better and what short and long term improvements can be introduced. As well as our regular tips from fellow operators, we brought you timely features like Fashion Statements with the case for quality investment that some argue is crucial for the holiday park sector. We shared the catering thoughts of three holiday park businesses with their Recipe For Success. We also took a look at minimising hassle and maximising sales with our look at on-line management systems in, Click Here.

Like the rest of the sector, Holiday Park SCENE was eagerly anticipating the peak summer season ahead. There had been a general feeling of optimism and positivity in the air with early bird bookings up considerably, even on 2019’s high-flying figures. Then the small matter of COVID 19 hit. Not just the holiday sector but the entire plant. Official figures confirm the travel and tourism industries contributed 6.7% of all gross value added in the UK in 2018.

Since then, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted the sector heavily in 2020 and into 2021, with government restrictions both in the UK and worldwide preventing tourism for large periods of time. Within the UK, unnecessary travel was first discouraged on 16 March, before a nationwide lockdown was announced on 23 March. Travel was again impacted by the second and third English lockdowns in November 2020 and January 2021 and travel corridors were suspended on 18 January 2021.

Heavily into a stop-start-stop-go scenario, government measures helped in the retention of key staff with some timely business funding initiatives. Restrictions-permitted, the industry’s quick-thinkers took an opportunity to rethink and reinvest in facilities, while the customers were forced to stay away. Holiday Park SCENE reported on the top holiday accommodation trends and revealed the UK’s most popular holiday park destinations while raising the emerging issue of on-site e-charging.

Bonkers busy we knew, but we encouraged managers to locate a quiet cupboard or handy hidey-hole, to escape to, as they soaked up the packed ideas and inspiration throughout the latest edition of Holiday Park SCENE. With the pandemic truly behind us, we challenged business development planners to create an action list with at least five short and long term goals that will help you future-proof business.

The Holiday Park SCENE team pulled out all the stops to keep you abreast of industry trends; sharing good practice with a lodge-full of ideas on maximising the boom in the UK holiday sector. With nearly half of all businesses reporting cyber-crime security issues as well as crucial advice, you could not afford to miss in Lock It Or Lose Out. As we set out on the second decade of reporting on the vibrant UK holiday industry, we feel proud and privileged to work alongside some exceptional businesses and some outstanding people.

We will continue to recommend a pack of sticker notes to mark those pages that you would like to share with the team and to contact some of the advertisers that make Holiday Park SCENE possible. Three cheers to the first ten years as we toast the second decade yet to come!

ENHANCING YOUR EXISTING PLAY AREA

PLAY SPECIALISTS, EIBE, offer a free design consultation service.

With over 40 years of experience, eibe play can offer you professional advice on how to enhance your existing play area to increase guest dwell time. Theming allows children to get lost in their imagination, engaging them for much longer periods than in non-themed play areas.

Enhance your play area by adding themed panels, popular ideas include seaside, woodland, jungle, pirate and medieval. Organising play sessions with staff members can help parents take a break and relax while their children are engaged. Simply adding a storyteller’s chair to your play area will allow one staff member to entertain a large number of children and help enhance their parent’s experience of your park.

Are you aware of the five core play values that create a well-rounded play area? Swinging, sliding, spinning, rocking and climbing. Maybe you don’t need a whole new play area, maybe you just need to add one piece of new equipment that rounds off the play values you offer and engages children for longer. Contact the eibe play team to receive a brochure and to find out more about their free design consultation service.

eibe
01483 813834
eibe@eibe.co.uk
www.eibe.co.uk

HOLE IN ONE FOR STONHAM BARNS

STONHAM HAVE ADDED a pay and play adventure footgolf course to its sporting offering.

The Golf Park at Suffolk’s Stonham Barns Park is a family business – owned by Tony and Helen Dobson – which has been operating since 1996 and has evolved from a driving range and mini putt course to a full-blown golf activity centre including Adventure Golf, Indoor Simulator Golf, Scenic 9 Hole course with Footgolf and now a dedicated Adventure Footgolf course.

The centre employs eight members of staff plus it has three PGA coaching professionals, Tony Dobson, Rob Pritchard and Luke Green. The business peaks during the summer season but stays busy during the off season with its variety of golf facilities including its indoor golf simulators.

Stonham Barns Golf Park has been offering Footgolf – the hybrid sport combining football and golf – since 2014 and as a result of the Golf Park’s growing reputation, has developed its facilities to include a new nine-hole Smugglers Pass Adventure Footgolf course from this spring. Its name Smugglers Pass Adventure Footgolf works in synergy with Stonham Barns Golf Park’s ever-popular Pirate Themed Adventure Golf Course which is already a favourite with both holiday visitors and locals alike.

The Smuggler’s Pass Adventure Footgolf Course includes …
• Pirate Themed - 9 holes
• Par 36
• 632 yards long
• Suitable for all ages and abilities
• Still a challenge for the serious player
• Over 700 plants/trees on the course
• Over 50 barrels as obstacles

Footballs are provided by the club and once players have finished their game, they can head over the Legends Sports Bar for drinks and food. The bar has Wi-Fi access and BT Sport and Sky Sports to catch up on all the sporting action.

YOUR ONE STOP PARK HOME SHOP

MORE THAN 60 HOMES will be on display at June’s Stoneleigh event.

Don’t miss the UK’s largest free outdoor show for holiday and residential park homes as the World of Park and Leisure Homes returns in June to the NAEC Stoneleigh Showground in Warwickshire Open from June 9th to 11, park owners and trade are welcome on all days but especially encouraged to make full use of the ‘Trade Preview Day’ on Thursday June 8th where you can discuss your requirements and consider options in comfort and privacy with leading manufacturers.

There will be over 60 homes on display from at least 22 manufacturers including many familiar names and others new to the industry. The show provides a fantastic chance to meet manufacturers with homes to sell, find the best deals and get the best delivery dates in a relaxed yet professional atmosphere.

It is the perfect opportunity to see so many homes all on display together, compare models and see the latest designs and innovations! Open daily from 10am to 4pm, visitors are welcome to bring along family members and even well-behaved dogs are invited.

For those wishing to extend their stay, there are a wide range of hotel, B&B and other accommodation options in the area and motorhomes, caravans and camping facilities are available to book on the NAEC Stoneleigh showground itself. With free parking available, the NAEC Stoneleigh is situated between Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and Coventry and is very well signposted from the many major routes that run close by. Simply plug CV8 2TA into your Satnav.

World of Park & Leisure Homes Show
www.parkhomeandleisure.co.uk

HUSH QUIET WORK MACHINES

THE THREE CLIFFS BAY has invested in three battery-powered utility vehicles.

When machinery and guests co-exist, the best thing a utility vehicle can bring to a holiday park is to be seen but not heard. With many visitors residing under canvas, it’s essential that the operation of the site is quiet, clean and unobtrusive at the five-star Three Cliffs Bay, in Gower, Wales offers luxury glamping, camping and touring pitches. Previously the machines, tasked with site maintenance, were petrol.

When the time came to update the site’s maintenance fleet, owner Tom Beynon chose three battery-powered utility vehicles. He opted for the STAR EV offering of two Capella HCX; market-leading when it comes to towing capacity and the amount of payload they can handle. Tom also specified the Capella Lifted, which is ideal for off-road load carrying situations.

The Capellas were put to work transporting guests and their luggage around the site, as well as rubbish collecting and recycling, with the Lifted being used for gardening jobs. The machines quickly proved they could take on all the tasks required without any difference in productivity to their petrol counterparts and without disturbance. Tom’s been so impressed with the Capella Work Machines that he has plans to expand their job requirements by hiring them out to guests for the duration of their stay.

REESINK e-VEHICLES
www.reesink-evehicles.co.uk

HOLIDAY MATCH OF THE DAY

TREVOR AND TINA PALIN are presented with a signed Shrewsbury Town football shirt by Spring Lea’s Manager Alison Naughton after receiving the key to their new caravan holiday home.

The latest phase of a £2 million investment in a picturesque holiday park and fishery near Shrewsbury is now open and has welcomed its first owners. Set alongside breathtaking views of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Spring Lea Holiday Park and Fishery is owned by Salop Caravan Sites and is perfect as a peaceful, rural retreat.

The park has four, well stocked, mature coarse and carp fishing pools nestled within 25 acres of open countryside. There are also 20 seasonal, hardstanding pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes. “We are delighted with the new, exclusive development of holiday home pitches and it’s great to be welcoming our first owners,” said Ed Glover, associate director of Salop Caravan Sites.

“It really is a stunning location not only for fishing, but as a base to explore the local area and see what Shropshire has to offer you. The area is famous for its local walks and breath-taking scenery yet is still close to Shrewsbury.” The park’s first caravan holiday home owners are Trevor and Tina Palin who were presented with a signed Shrewsbury Town football shirt as they are both avid fans and were married at the Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium.

CUSTOMERS SPIN AND WIN COMPETITION

TREVOR AND HELGA REDVERS-HIGGINS were the first £5,000 winners in a Leisuredays marketing promotion.

Two lucky Hoburne Holiday lodge owners hit the jackpot when they won a £5000 cash prize from insurance specialists Leisuredays. The insurance provider runs a “Spin to Win” promotion for static caravan and lodge owners who obtain a quote via the holiday parks it works with. Spin to Win gives those customers two chances to win with a no obligation insurance quote.

Firstly, a spin of an online wheel of fortune to instantly win a £10 Amazon voucher and secondly, automatic entry into an annual £5000 draw. Trevor and Helga Redvers-Higgins were the first £5000 winners. They’d got a quote from Leisuredays having bought a Carnaby Chantry lodge from Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park in the New Forest, earlier this year.

Helga said: “We’re over the moon. We’d just got the keys for our new lodge the day before Leisuredays called us to let us know we’d won the £5000 so it felt unbelievable. When asked how they’d be spending the money, Helga added “We’ll be treating the family as well as buying outdoor furniture and a new television for our lodge.”

Gareth Walker from Leisuredays added: “The Spin to Win promotion gives park customers an extra incentive to try us for an insurance quote. Once we quote a park customer, more often than not they’ll become a policyholder, meaning extra insurance commission for our parks.” Leisuredays will be announcing another £5000 winner in March 2024. Parks that want to take advantage of the Spin to Win promotion and need extra point of sale materials can get in touch.

Leisuredays’ Development Team
Tel. 01422 396772
Email development@leisuredays.co.uk

REDUCING COSTS AND ENERGY BILLS

CARAVAN PARK ELECTRICAL Services offer a complete 360 degree solution for reducing energy bills.

As energy prices are at an all-time high, finding ways to reduce costs is more important than ever. Caravan Park Electrical Services offer a range of solutions to reduce energy consumption. A vast portfolio features multiple configurations of connection units and multi-service bollards.

During manufacturing these products can be fitted with a metering solution which suits your needs, from read-only to SMART metering technology, with something to suit everyone. A popular choice is an Alpha RFID pre-payment metering system, allowing operators to receive customer payment prior to consumption. Supported by Alpha software, the customer is issued with their reusable SMART card, which they’ll use to upload credit to their meter.

This simple system is a solution for many when it comes to installing new units or retro fitting a meter into their existing enclosures or touring bollards – even if supplied by another manufacturer. Another great option for reducing running costs is solar lighting. Caravan Park Electrical Services stock both high and low level solar options which are zero emission and have zero energy running costs due to being powered by the natural sunlight.

CPES do offer a complete 360 solution from sourcing components and accessories to manufacturing a vast range of products including: Connection Units, Multi-Service Bollards, EV Chargers, Lighting, Distribution Units & Mains Panels. Caravan Park Electrical Services’ highly experienced and dedicated team are available to handle your enquiry, design, quotation, production and installation of the most up to date electrical distribution systems.

Caravan Park Electrical Services
Tel: 01790 753153
sales@cpes.co.uk
www.cpes.co.uk

MAX OFFERS REVENUE BOOST

AWAZE HAS TEAMED UP with the Hospitality Professionals Association to launch a first-of-its-kind training programme.

Holiday park owners who signed up to Hoseasons’ new revenue maximisation service MAX have enjoyed a strong start to the year, despite the cost of living crisis. Average income is up 35% for those owners using the service compared to the same point in 2019 – a statistic the self-catering specialist says clearly demonstrates the value of its unique revenue management model in a price-sensitive market.

David Groves, Director of Trading Performance at Awaze – the parent company of Hoseasons, says: “We all know people are having to make tough decisions about where they spend their hard-earned cash at the moment. “The Great British public are prepared to cut back on other luxuries if it means protecting their annual break, but they must feel like they are getting value for money.

“That’s why an approach that carefully balances occupancy and price is so important for holiday park owners right now if they want to make the most of their asset.” News of MAX’s success comes as Awaze teams up with the Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) to launch a first-of-its-kind training programme to develop Revenue Management talent for the ever-growing short-term rental sector.

 

PRICE IS IMPORTANT FOR HOLIDAY PARK owners right now advises David Groves, Director of Trading Performance at Awaze.

The company has agreed a two-year sponsorship of the trailblazing programme, which it hopes will provide a strong pipeline of revenue managers with skills tailored specifically for the vacation rental market. Three qualifications are being offered as part of the programme, including the Foundation Certificate in Revenue Management, the Professional Certificate in Operational Revenue Management, and the Professional Diploma in Strategic Revenue Management.

The Foundation course is an entry-level introduction to revenue management principles and practices and is ideal for holiday park owners, on-site teams (such as reception or reservations managers) or operators’ corporate office staff. The Professional Certificate and Diploma - whilst open to everyone - will be mainly suited to those with some revenue management skills, including those with hotel sector experience and those seeking a career in revenue management.

Six Awaze staff have collaborated with the HOSPA Professional Development Team to shape the content for the three courses, which are already proving popular with finance staff from both individual and multiple park operators For more information about the Revenue Management Programme and to apply, visit https://www.hospa.org/professional-development.

DESTINATION HOT TUBS

Holiday locations now have a wealth of compliant spas to choose from...

HOLIDAY BOOKERS continue to look for hot tubs as part of their vacation wish list.

The holiday market continues to recognise hot tubs as essential for attracting the best level of bookings. Key words and phrases such as ‘staycation UK with hot tub’, ‘hot tub staycations UK’, and ‘UK staycations with hot tubs’ all appear on a list of the most common staycation Internet searches. So, there is great appeal for the appropriately named Vacation Range, from Superior Wellness, that is ideal for holiday homes, cottages, B&Bs and Airbnb.

Ready to order now, you can choose from the Vacation Lounge or the Vacation Social depending on your customers’ needs. Great for guests who want to relax on holiday, the Vacation Lounge hot tub is suitable for five to six people and offers the perfect combination of one lounger and five seats. This 13 amp hot tub has R10 insulation and 25 jets.

 

SOCIAL TIMES
Superior’s Vacation Social is an all-seater hot tub for up to seven people, ideal for larger holiday rentals that need a hot tub big enough to fit all guests in. This 13-amp hot tub has R10 insulation and 26 jets. Not to be out-shone, Sunbeach Spas remain the exclusive supplier of hot tubs and related products to a number of holiday parks around the UK, including multiple sites with both Coastfields Leisure and Country & Coastal Holidays along the east coast, and also Lady’s Mile Holiday Park in the south.

“We continue to bring new holiday park companies on board, and most recently have been awarded a new contract to supply over 100 of our 344S spas and 100 saunas to a brand new park over the next six months,” reveals Sunbeach’s Wayne Green. Sunbeach’s 344S plug-and-play spa is now in its third regeneration and remains by far the spa of choice for most of our holiday park clientele.

Wayne confirms: “They appreciate its simplicity of design, combined with a good feature set for its price point - enough features to make it great for customers to have fun and relax in, but also be easy to maintain by site staff. The 344S features award-winning R10 insulation system, making it cost-effective to run, too. “For the next level in lower-cost, eco-friendlier running, it is also heat source pump compatible and pairs wonderfully with the iNHEAT range of heat pumps exclusively available from Sunbeach Spas,” Wayne shares.

“Our iNHEAT heat pumps are available with outputs from 3kW to 21kW, with either on/off switching or inverter controls, and can be retrofitted onto a wide range of spas and swim spas.” Matthew Lowe, Sales Manager with Coastfields Leisure Ltd, endorses the Sunbeach offering: “We have been in partnership with Sunbeach Spas now for over five years, we chose to use them initially due to the energy efficiency and ease of installation of the 344 tub. We are currently using almost exclusively the 344 spa,” says Matthew.

“We picked this model due to it looking the part, excellent build quality, great energy efficiency, ease of installation and we have not been disappointed,” adds Matthew. Coastfields currently have around 100 tubs on our fleet units and Sunbeach look after all the warranty and aftercare needs including the care chemicals and filters. There is also a stock of chemicals and filters in Coastfields’ shops so retail customers, who also have the same tubs, can keep them in perfect condition.

 

Matthew enthuses: “We are also currently near completion of another lodge development at Grange Leisure Mablethorpe utilising the 344 tub. It’s been a pleasure to work with Sunbeach Spas and look forward to many more years of excellent service.“ Relative newcomers to the holiday hot tub sector, Certikin offers a range of four true-hydrotherapy hot tubs, specifically designed for the holiday-let market for both guests and operators.

The commercial spas don’t just comply but some exceed the all-important health and safety requirements enforced by HSE and Local Authorities. The premium, energy-efficient smart spas feature an ozone generator, 24- hour filtration duration; a spa frog in-line chemical dosing system and have no perishable items such as headrests, diverter, or air valves fitted.

In addition, and going above and beyond the HSE and BISHTA guidelines, the hot tubs also feature a fast drain valve, reducing drainage time to 9-10 minutes; a reduced heating time of 3-5 hours with an additional energy source; tamper proof 2-3 button control panel and a silent, energy-saving circulation pump to protect the high-speed pumps.

They can be operated via a Smartphone App and Wi-Fi control that allows the operation of up to 100 spas. The Sevilla Plug and Play model features one lounger and five seats and has 46 hydrotherapy jets and relaxing LED colour-therapy lighting. Due to its low power consumption, it is ideal for parks with limited electricity supply.

The Cordoba comes with 40 hydrotherapy jets, StarLightTM corners, Central LED colour therapy lighting and accommodates six people. The smallest hot tub in the range is the four-seater Porto whilst the largest is the very spacious seven-seater Valencia.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY
The main aim of the introduction of Health and Safety Guideline 282 (HSG282), that came into effect in early 2017, was to reduce the risk of Legionella outbreaks associated with spas and hot tubs. The guideline covers all spas and hot tubs in a commercial setting i.e. all those hired out and used by more than one party such as holiday destinations and lets.

The guidance aims to:
• Reduce the risk of Legionella and microbiological contamination
• Emphasise the operator’s responsibility
• Ensure testing is frequent and planned (at least three times a day)
• Highlights that results should be recorded
• Stresses there should be a written action plan if required

The Lovibond® Professional Pool and Spa Photometer Kit enables the operator to measure all the tests mentioned in HSG282 from one case. Contained within the kit is an MD 100 Professional Photometer for the measurement of chlorine, bromine and pH and an SD 80 Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Pen. All kits are supplied complete and ready to use. They use premeasured reagents which when added to the hot tub or pool water sample form a colour the intensity of which is proportional to the amount of substance being tested.

A typical test procedure would be
• Take a sample of the water to be tested in a sample cell, place it in a photometer and zero the unit
• Add tablet reagents and allow the colour to develop
• Return cell to photometer and read
• Record results and take appropriate action

Each HSG282 test kit purchased receives access to a FREE online Training Course. The training course covers:
• What is HSG282
• What to test for and why
• Correct Sampling
• Overview of pH, TDS, Chlorine & Bromine
• How to use photometers, comparators & TDS Pens
Importantly, the kit measures both chlorine and bromine so, if different disinfectants are used across your site, the same kit will cover both. Contact support@lovibond.uk for more information.

MAXIMISING POOLSIDE RETAIL SALES WINDOWS

SPLASH ABOUT SUPPLIES a range of family fun swim products, from inflatables, swim toys, arm bands, and goggles to reusable swim nappies.

Swimming pools in the leisure sector have historically operated at a loss, but now great strides are being made to reverse this situation and transform retail in this area. Parks are focusing on optimising the potential of poolside retail not just from a stock listing perspective, but crucially how retail is delivered. Children’s swim specialist Splash About is at the forefront of this change, having only entered the market three years ago when it acquired wholesaler SRS Leisure.

Despite the Covid pandemic, the brand now works with 85% of UK Holiday Parks including Haven, Park Dean, Center Parcs, Away Resorts and Butlins. Splash About supplies a range of family fun swim products, from inflatables, swim toys, arm bands, and goggles to reusable swim nappies, rash tops and costumes. However, its affordable products are not the main reason why poolside retail is enjoying a boom period, success is attributed to the integrated retail solution and innovative, fresh approach the company deploys onsite.

Splash About focuses on strategic merchandising, online ordering, and stock guarantees, all designed to optimise retail sales, especially during peak trading periods. Bespoke marketing and merchandising capitalise on space, creating a ‘retail theatre experience’ for its range of swim products. Attractive, clean, streamlined displays are all designed to withstand the sub-tropical temperatures of retail pool areas and product is strategically displayed to maximise sales.

SPLASH ABOUT FOCUSES on strategic merchandising, online ordering, and stock guarantees, all designed to optimise retail sales

Its unique retail solution incorporates a dedicated account person, bespoke branding to convey the individual ethos and customer demographic of each Holiday Park and deliver a range of products to truly reflect customer requirements. The integrated retail solution provides bespoke web portals, showing stock levels in real time, to not only accelerate the ordering process but to reduce the reliance on manual ordering. Analysis of sales data, automated re-order and pre-agreed product replenish can all be enabled with stock level guarantees and next day delivery to optimise sales during critical trading times.

It’s testament to Splash About’s distinctive approach that an initial three-month trial at Center Parc’s Elveden Forest site, to gauge whether its range of family fun swim products would appeal to its holiday makers, was such a success that the trial was extended to all its other parks after only six weeks. Forward thinking Holiday Parks are taking an all-encompassing approach to optimising poolside retail, which as a result could really help to keep their company’s head above water in these challenging economic times.

Splash About
info@splashabout.com
www.splashabout.com

HAVING A BLAST!

Add a splash of waterplay to your on-site visitor appeal...

THE SAILBOAT SPLASHPAD is top attraction at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes.

The height of the season is the ideal time to review your current water play offering – or even a new attraction. An objective survey, with your guests in situ, will help identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for enhancements through investment.

“We recommend holiday parks and visitor attractions contact us towards the end of the summer into early September to embark upon a design process if they would like new water play in location for their following season,” advises Michelle Minns-Sykes of leading water play provider, Ustigate Waterplay. “This provides ample time to play around with some great ideas and to apply attention to detail.”

 

TURNKEY APPROACH
The typical duration for a full turnkey solution in design and build, from order to completion, is 16 weeks. A smaller scale aquatic scheme can be created in as little as two weeks.

Certified products can be selected from a nautical theme a sailboat with a captain’s wheel, tipping bucket and cannon to a nature theme picking out a choice of trees and leafy features. All themes offer varied water effects, with several products that also have 360° rotation ability.

MANY PRODUCTS WITH ROTATIONAL abilities place the water directions and water effects in the water player’s hands.

AQUATIC PLAY
Modern day aquatic play has accelerated in terms of its product development in the last 30 years. No longer seen as a static above ground feature that sprays water from a variety of heights and differing directions, there are many products with rotational abilities that place the water directions and water effects in the water player’s hands.

Ustigate’s Splashpad® collections include Toons, Sea Silhouette, Watergarden, Nautical, Contemporary, Classic, Water Journey™, New Fine Mist, Spraylink™, Ground Sprays, Poolplay™, Lazy River and New Coreoplay Playable Fountains. All available in a rainbow of colour choices, many products are complemented with translucent Seeflow™ to reflect aesthetically pleasing and colourful shadows around the environment when sunshine and water are present.

Ustigate’s most popular water play theme is the award-winning Explora water play scheme, designed and developed to engage children to move, push, pull, spin and splash. Explora features Luna with Twistnozzle™ enabling children to push and pull to change the direction of the fine, water sprays and there are a variety of play items with different sized orbs and water effects that invite children to spin and spash.

The orbs in Bobble No.1 and Bobble No.2 are self spinning and invite children to a close-up, hands-on experience with water. “Our new build services include the design, installation, water testing, commissioning and staff training prior to handover,” says Michelle who adds: “Our 57 years of aquatic play fruition provides us with knowledge, experience and expertise and an enquiry begins with gathering information, a meeting, site survey and design brief.”

The award-winning team is celebrating 20 years of aquatic play partnership with Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc this year. With all projects unique, a typical budget for any water play scheme, location and installation needs to cover the play equipment value, plant room and connection to services.

Ustigate offers a portfolio of 150 individual Splashpad® products and 50 different ground spray options, all formed from collections to fit an abundance of themes and environments. Splashpads and water play projects come in all shapes and sizes starting with supply only of interactive water features to compliment and enhance a pool setting to full turnkey solutions in the design and installation of new facilities featuring inclusive splashpads, Elevations™ and waterslides.

USTIGATE’S MOST POPULAR WATER play theme is the award-winning Explora scheme.

FLOW RATE
Ustigate offers a complete design to installation services and we also collaborate with architects appointed by holiday park operators to design and install new water play facilities. Quite often a holiday park will be enhancing their facilities and the water play will sit within a larger development. The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) recommends a recirculation water system will consist of a two tank system; one tank for the clean water and another separate tank for the dirty water.

Following play, water will drain into the dirty water tank and it will only enter the clean water tank when it has passed through UV filtration and water treatment, making it clean and fit for play again. This system is the equivalent of the water management for a swimming pool and it guarantees one body of water to be of the highest quality and safe for public interaction. All water is chased to drain after play resulting in a water play area without any water depth that does not require lifeguards.

A splashpad is designed with age appropriate zones, making it the perfect playscape for young children to build their water confidence as well as providing an arena for older children that arrive with water confidence to enjoy being soaked by a tipping bucket or some cannon fun with their friends and family. There are many products that engage collaborative and cognitive play and the benefits of the Vortex product line available from Ustigate is their playability.

Aquatic play is no longer offered from static products that spray alone because there are products with exclusive technologies such as Twirltec™ and Turntec™ enabling children to take their aquatic play items on a full 360° spin - resulting in twirlling, spiralling water patterns as well as a change of water direction. The products engage children to interact together and the technologies engage children to interact with the products - the water play moves from a ‘beyond control’ tipping bucket to placing the water play and water direction into the excitable hands of the water player; promoting physical, mental and social development as well as maximising fun.

Spraylink™ and Ground Sprays are all round favourites that will appear in all designs because of the fact they are inclusive and popular with all ages and abilities. The most popular ground sprays are straight up Jet Streams, arched Water Tunnels, Team Sprays where children work together to cover up nozzles to create a bigger splash and Hop and Star because children love to bounce and splash.

Sustainability, environment and economy are key drivers for our future and remaining active outdoors is key to our good health and livelihood. The IPCC of the United Nations have advised heat waves are expected to become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting because of climate change. Trending worldwide is more planting, climate shelters, cooling stations and less carbon emissions to slow the rate of climate change.

DIPPY THE DINOSAUR helped boost visitor numbers to Roarr park by 18 per cent.

ECO CREDENTIALS
Ustigate has introduced their new Fine Mist collection featuring Refresh and Glomist with solar LED’s - products designed and developed by Vortex to keep us cool! Refresh is an attractive, arched product with two refreshing misty water effects; also provided with a UV stable toeguard. Glomist is offered at two different heights, provided with integrated activation, either three or five misty water jets and solar LEDs. The solar cell battery is rechargeable.

Both Refresh and Glomist are low consumption water misting products that are fed from potable water making them economic to run and environmentally friendly to local landscape. Also launched in March this year, Ustigate offer a choice of six pre-designed Coreplay Playable Fountains that include Sunset, Rainbow, Ocean, Volcano, Firework and Wave! A choice of animated dancing water jets with sequenced water movement and colourful lighting.

Ustigate offer the addition of solar PV to reduce the carbon footprint of the facility and electricity costs. Water is conserved via the manual setting of the height of the water features as well as grouping play items together for feature activation on at the same time. Controllers provide information on water usage, water treatment and critical plant room equipment. Remote access is available for facilities that have an internet connection in the plant room.

“This methodology conserves water as well as adding to the excitement and anticipation of not knowing which water feature will pop up next,” explains Michelle. “If for any reason children are being entertained elsewhere, the water play will be in sleep mode until children come along and press the button to start the flow. “ The majority of the Splashpad® Product Index is available with a Safeswap™ anchor providing the ability to exchange products in the future without the need to break the ground.

 

The Safeswap™ anchor system enables a water play area to be established in phases as well as guaranteeing a facility will remain modern and cost effective to modernise in the future. For group operators with several splashpads, products can be rotated between sites to keep water players intrigued and excited. Our ground sprays can also be exchanged for a variety of different and fun water effects. A water play facility is designed and built for life with water play products offered with a 25 year warranty.

Michelle advises: “The Ustigate team is proud of all of our projects in our 57 year history and the fact we are renowned for providing high quality aquatic play facilities. “Three of our projects have been awarded Water Leisure Venue of the Year at the UK Pool and Spa Awards for three consecutive years,” she points out.

Michelle adds: “Pick a company to work with that has been in operation for the same duration as the warranty because it proves they will still be trading and available to honour the warranty for its full life term.” She concludes: “Take the time to visit some sites where you can see the choice of water play products in operation; it is a big investment and quality and maximising interactive playability should be at the forefront of decisions.”

Ustigate Waterplay
01322 424445
sales@ustigate.co.uk
www.ustigatewaterplay.co.uk

REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

WATER PLAY ATTRACTIONS need to be kept in tip-top condition by specialist teams like The Splash.

As the warmer weather approaches, many leisure parks, holiday parks, and local authorities are preparing to open their splash pads for the season. The Splash offers recommissioning and maintenance services to help ensure a successful opening.

“Our services are essential for ensuring that splash pads are functioning properly and are safe for use. We can work with existing systems to assess the current state of facilities and perform any necessary repairs or upgrades to ensure a seamless opening,” says Clare Jayson. “Whether you are looking to reopen a splash pad that has been closed for the winter season or are looking to improve the overall experience for your visitors, our team of experts is here to help,” she adds.

The Splash prioritise safety and quality in all of our work and are dedicated to providing the best possible service to clients. Their splash pad products are all crafted in the UK, providing cost-effective pricing, exceptional quality, and distinctive solutions.

The Splash
enquiries@thesplash.uk
www.thesplash.uk

CHANGING PLACES

Even the humblest washroom facilities can make or break your brand, advises Becci Knowles...

ADD A TOUCH of character to your washroom facilities to keep the guests happy.

Leading market research firm Mintel says that in a competitive market, with relatively low brand differentiation outside of the leading holiday centre brands, catering for rising visitor expectations in terms of accommodation, facilities and experiences has become vital for success. Clean, modern, accessible, and eco-friendly washrooms have a key role to play in continuing this upward trend.

A quick look at holiday park reviews online at Tripadvisor is testimony to the fact that these facilities feature highly on the list of customer priorities across every demographic. Meeting the rising expectations of existing customers and changing the perception new ones, is vital for a destination’s growth. Park Holidays operates 43 caravan holiday parks across the UK from Cornwall in the West, Suffolk in the East and up to Yorkshire and Scotland in the North.

Commenting on the importance of its washroom facilities across the portfolio, a spokesperson told Holiday Park Scene: “On our parks which provide touring and camping pitches, the washrooms remain one of the single most important factors in shaping guests’ level of satisfaction with their stay.

“On review websites, our facilities will frequently be commended for their cleanliness, standards of maintenance, and overall impression of being a welcoming and hygienic environment for ablutions. “Positive comments on our washrooms also appear on Park Holidays’ Feefo review website and have helped the group achieve the platform’s excellence award for six years in succession.”

SUCCESS MARKERS
Washrooms are pivotal in the success of smaller parks too, particularly where there is a spa element Kevin Jones, resort director at Whalesborough Farm and cottages tells Holiday Park Scene. “Being a health spa and 5* cottages resort, cleanliness and the experience is vital to our business, we pride ourselves on giving the customer the best possible experience they can have while with us,” says Kevin.

He continues: “Businesses are judged by the cleanliness of the facilities and predominantly the washroom facilities, we want our customers to enjoy their time with and a clean, pleasurable place to be starts with the washrooms.” Shaun Matthews is the owner of Blue Hills Touring Park in Truro. He agrees that good quality, clean facilities help to present a professional image of your park.

“Many smaller caravan and camping sites such as our 50 pitches often don’t provide some of the other facilities that are found on larger parks so it essential that those we do provide are as good as they can be. They will be one of the main facilities that a park is judged upon. “The main requirement that guests are looking for, regardless of shape/ size washroom facility that’s provided is cleanliness, this seems to be the number one priority and is never going to change.

“Washroom facilities have been moving more and more “posh”, underfloor heating, heated and backlit mirrors, background music. In some case there has been a move to provide facilities that are more akin to a hotel, although this is still the preserve of the much higher end parks.”

AS DERBYSHIRE’S NEWHAVEN HOLIDAY PARK SHOWS, thoughtful design can make all the difference to washroom appeal Pic. Park Holidays UK

LOCATION, LOCATION
Emma Bateman is the site manager of Lincolnshire based holiday park, Westwood Lakes. Specialising in fishing holidays, it has seven lakes open to guests and the public. As fishing is an outdoor sport, and the lakes are sometimes a distance from the main buildings, the park has built its own toilet facilities around the lakes, which staff clean daily. The company also hires portaloos, via an external provider, for the lakes that cannot be reached by the water and drainage system.

Emma says: “Over the 16 years we have been operating, we have tried to update our facilities as we see fit. For example, the outdoor permanent toilet blocks are a recent addition to the site after fisherman complained the café and bar toilets were too far away from the lakes. “In addition, we have recently updated our hand driers to the Dyson air model, and we find they are much more efficient at drying hands and that means less paper is used too.”

Onsite facilities include both a café and bar with washroom facilities, including disabled toilets and baby changing units. Emma adds: “Having these extra facilities means we can accommodate all visitors; inclusion is important to us at Westwood Lakes, and this is reflected in our facilities having ramp access etc, to improve visitor experience.” Mayfield Park is a family-owned and run camping, caravan and residential park nestled in the hills on the outskirts of the famous market town of Cirencester.

Picking up on Emma’s point about access and inclusion, managing director Carl Upton agrees that the location of your washrooms, is key: “When planning on new toilet blocks it’s always good to keep them near the camp site and not miles away or in a muddy field and to have easy access for disabled users,” he says. Had the team at Westwood Lakes foreseen just how much how much the park would grow in the 16 years since its inception, Emma says they would have planned their washroom facilities differently: “For example, the outdoor permanent toilet blocks would have been built much earlier and we would have used part of the accommodation plumbing and drainage systems to be able to reach the further afield lakes instead of portaloos, which is an extra monthly expense.”

“Washroom location is everything,” says Blue Hills Touring Park’s Shaun Matthews. “So not too far from the furthest pitches but equally close enough to services to reduce installation costs.” He also points to ease of operation. “Are they user friendly, can some facilities remain open whilst others are closed for cleaning,” Sean asks. “Don’t underestimate the number of cubicles/ showers required, make sure that guests are well catered for and won’t have to queue for their morning shower. “Accessible and family bathroom facilities should also be provided. Can you integrate other facilities into the same building, for example, wash up areas.”

WITH THEIR HIGH VOLUME OF USERS, washrooms at Chichester Lakeside Holiday Park are scheduled for regular monitoring visits throughout the day. Pic. Park Holidays UK

ECO ESSENTIALS
Back at Whalesborough Farm and Cottages, resort director Kevin is keen to stress the importance of sustainability: “Parks should always consider sustainability, from thinking how we heat our washrooms to the water we use in them,” he says, adding: “We use water from our own bore hole and air source heating powered by our turbine on site.” Blue Hills Touring Park’s Shaun Matthews suggests using recycled and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

“If you can easily manage the cleaning maintenance through good design then you are part of the way to sustainability. “In addition, sustainability can be achieved through the installation of renewables such solar thermal, air source/ground source heat pumps and so on.” Achieving a more sustainable business model, especially in the current economic climate, remains a challenge for many parks.

Emma again: “We have to think of what is friendly and cost effective; we are becoming more aware of the environmental damage and we can make a difference with better quality hand driers, environmentally friendly toilet rolls and tissues. “Sadly, this doesn’t always equal cost effective, and that is something we are trying to balance here at Westwood Lakes,” she adds.

Looking to the future, Shaun says: “Washrooms will become more upmarket as guests demand a better experience. “Probably more eco-friendly, it’s quite likely that more operators will also move towards unisex facilities. This will help to reduce the number of cubicles required and reduce costs as utility bills continue to grow.” Picking up on this point, Whalesborough’s Kevin Jones says: “Washrooms of the future will be clean, vibrant, multi-generational, filled with cloud-based technologies, a zero emissions bathroom removes the feeling of guilt when using natural resources and energy.

“It will allow us to take a shower several times a day without placing a burden on the environment. “Designed as a small power station, the bathroom functions as a heat recuperator and water treatment facility, for example by converting waste materials into methane which is then used to generate heat.” While the development of washroom technologies continues to gather pace and the exact future of them remains to be seen, what is clear is that parks looking update their existing facilities or install new ones have an ever-widening range of products and services to choose from.

BUSINESS BOOSTERS

Creating a themed holiday break can hike bookings, writes Judith Wojtowicz...

THIS ENORMOUS BEECH TREE, affectionately known as Lando, is perfect for tree climbing at Camp Wildfire in Kent

Themed breaks are a great way for holidaymakers to explore new things; to experience something different be it stargazing in Norfolk, learning to surf in Scotland or fishing in the Fens. Whether aiming at a family looking for a week of water sports, such as Willowholt Caravan Park, or a solo traveller escaping for a few days to a writing retreat alongside like-minded people at somewhere like Lumb Bank.

Many centre operators are exploring new ideas while also adding value for today’s cost-conscious consumer. Skelwith Fold Caravan Park in Cumbria brings keen walkers all year round where guests are now raising money for the local air ambulance service through their purchase of walking guides. Routes range from easily navigated low-level footpaths to more demanding ascents of the surrounding fells. “All the walks have been submitted by our guests and used by Skelwith as part of our marketing strategy,” said Henry Wild whose family owns the park.

Henry explained: “Many guests come here specifically to enjoy walking in these spectacular surroundings and our guides are much appreciated. The fact they are compiled by like-minded visitors helps create something of a bond between guests who are delighted to see their own walk realised in print when they next return.” Each guide costs just £1.50 and last year raised £2,675 for the charity. Discounted green fees are on offer at the family-owned Riverside Caravan Park which neighbours Bentham Golf Club in the Yorkshire Dales.

Thomas Marshall rescued the failing club in 2009, ‘taking a gamble’ to invest in his personal vision. The risk paid off as today golfers flock to the site which has earned an enviable reputation as one of the best appointed and most spectacularly sited courses in the UK. The park has expanded still further with the creation of a luxury glamping option called Wenningdale Escapes making it a genuine destination of choice for golf enthusiasts.

HENRY WILD came up with the walking guides charity initiative at his family owned Skelwith Fold Caravan Park

Pods and lodges, the latter available both for rent and sale, are dotted around the fairways, a unique location for visiting players while also attracting non-golfers who value the space and beautiful scenery. The project has developed into a unique business model, bringing unexpected and very welcome benefits. The park is seeing a trend among returning visitors to ‘trade up’ initially from renting a spot for their touring caravan to buying a static ‘caravan’ on site, and from there to purchasing a luxury lodge on the fairway.

Said Thomas: “Since buying the golf club our business has gone from strength to strength, with cross-over between the two sites. It has been a hugely exciting ride over the past 15 years and the hard work has paid off, thanks in no small way to the combined efforts of our amazing team.” Taking advantage of what is already available on site is also proving a successful strategy at Acorn Holiday Park in the Cambridgeshire Fens where fishing is the main attraction.

Co-owner Paul Stanton purchased Acorn and the adjoining Pisces Country Park just before the COVID lockdown, recognising the potential to create one big park. “With four well-stocked fishing lakes and situated close to the famous Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Reserve, we definitely saw an opportunity as people are choosing to get back to Nature for short breaks,” said Paul. “We could see the market was changing as guests told us they want a UK holiday, somewhere to relax and with a variety of activities.

While fishing is a central part of our business plan, we are also exploring the potential of working closely with the Wetlands Trust to offer added value.” With Pisces already established as an award-winning fishing venue, Paul has seen a quick return on his investment having trebled the number of rental units at Acorn and upgraded site facilities. Specialist conservation work is ongoing to enhance the grounds and lakes and several families are now on their second or third visit.

SEE WHOOPER SWANS at Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Reserve while staying at Acorn Holiday Park. Photo: Keith Suffling

DARK SKIES
The dark skies over Norfolk also bring returning visitors to Kelling Heath Holiday Park, where a programme of themed breaks includes Star Parties attracting hundreds of amateur and professional astronomers to get an uninterrupted glimpse of the Milky Way and the constellation of Orion, visible to the naked eye. To meet demand, ten premium pitches in a sheltered spot, were added last year exclusively designated for astronomers.

These events have become even more popular since the park was recognised as a 2-star accredited Dark Sky Discovery Site in 2017, unaffected by light pollution. To protect this natural phenomenon, lighting is restricted across the site through sensitive pitch planning and asset design. Guests are advised to bring toothbrush and torch when they come to stay! Kelling Heath gives many people their first true dark skies experience.

The ‘excitement and wonder on the faces of those marvelling at the majesty of the night sky’ at our Star Parties is something to behold, said Michael Timewell, director of park owner Blue Sky Leisure. As well as star parties, the park’s dedicated countryside team runs a series of activity breaks during school holidays with the emphasis on conservation and education, reflecting its relationship with the Kelling Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which borders the park.

MAIN ARENA AT LAST YEAR’S INAUGURAL TORCHLIGHT Festival hosted by the Camping and Caravanning Club at Walesby Forest. Photo: Matthew Smith

Marketing manager Lucy Cook told us the importance of these events cannot be over-estimated. “Elevating the importance of Dark Skies, educating people on what to look for and supporting specialist groups in the pursuit of their interests is incredibly important to us as a business. All our activities align with our ethos of enjoying the outdoors, discovering Nature and spending time together.”

When it comes to choosing a themed holiday, trying something new outside your comfort zone or learning a new skill, Camp Wildfire probably comes close to having it all. Festival camping with a difference, this forest retreat in Kent is packed full of adventure, a unique experience offering an extraordinary 100 activities with music at night for those who want to party. Activities range from making cocktails and learning to fly the trapeze to hot air ballooning and tree climbing.

New ones are added every year including Camp Kindling for those who wish to bring children. The brainchild of two university friends, it has grown from a one-off summer camp which attracted 350 adults in 2015, to a significant player in the leisure sector attracting 3,000 people to each weekend event held during August and September. More than 40 per cent of guests are returning visitors with social media and word of mouth recommendation ensuring full capacity.

ENJOY THE MAJESTY of the night sky at Kelling Heath’s Star Parties in Norfolk. Photo: Andy Green

MAKING MEMORIES
Marketing manager Chris Rice reckons themed breaks are popular because it gives people a reason to take time out and do something totally different. “They are not just buying a holiday, they are buying joy and making memories. They can come back year after year and try something different. Camp Wildfire offers a low-stake investment in trying something they would never normally have either the opportunity, or the nerve, to try.

They can explore all their curiosities in a safe environment, which works for them and for us as a business.” For those who have the nerve to ride the waves, a stay at Surf Tiree in Scotland might be a good place to start. Self-catering accommodation is available alongside lessons from a team of professional instructors led by husband-and-wife team Marti and Iona Larg. Long stretches of beach with safe sea conditions provide the perfect setting for beginners of all ages, while kitesurfing and kayaking are also available.

After a two-year planning battle to set up their surf school, Surf Tiree has developed an enviable reputation. So much so that it is being considered as next year’s host for the Scottish National Surfing Championships. “It was tough in the early days, but we didn’t have the luxury of giving up as we had invested too much emotion and energy into the project,” said Iona. Board, wetsuit and all necessary kit is provided, and each instructor has no more than six-eight people in a group.

While this type of holiday is seasonal (April to October) and weather dependant, the beautiful Isle of Tiree has much to offer and year-round visitors can enjoy the wildlife, whale watching, basking sharks and lots more besides. When it comes to themed holidays there really does seem to be something for everyone. Geocaching in the Lake District, yoga in Wales, ‘witchy weekends’ in the Highlands, indoor bowls at Potters Resort, chess tournaments at Butlins, netball weekends in Shropshire, medieval weekends at Warwick Castle, orienteering in Norfolk… the choice is endless, and the potential is being increasingly recognised by independent owner/operators.

PROFESSIONAL SURFER and instructor Ben Larg rides the waves at Balevullin Beach on the Isle of Tiree.

The PR value of such events has also been recognised by the Camping and Caravanning Club. While individual member sites tend not to provide themed breaks, relying instead on visitors choosing a site depending on leisure activities available in the vicinity, the club has created its own themed event. Following a successful launch last year, the club is once again hosting a Torchlight Festival of Camping in Walesby Forest, Nottinghamshire (August 18th -21st).

Exclusive to club members the programme includes an impressive line-up of musical entertainment headlined by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Will Young. At nightfall, an illuminated light trail will entice visitors into the forest to learn about the club’s 122-year history. A £20 day pass will enable guests to try their hand at outdoor activities such as archery and zip-lining while campers can keep up the club’s century-old tradition of ‘lighting up’ by decorating and illuminating their tents, caravans and motor homes.

It seems activity breaks such as this are especially appealing for those seeking two or three shorter holidays a year, perhaps combining a hobby with a few days away, or simply wishing to get away from stressful everyday life rather than the traditional dash to the sun for two weeks. From a business perspective they encourage repeat visitors for popular annual events and help maintain on and off-peak occupancy rates.

RELAX AND EXPLORE

A tour of Pembrokeshire's Noble Court Holiday Park...

NOT JUST MEETING but exceeding visitor expectations.

With over 50 acres of landscape to explore, Noble Court Holiday Park is the perfect example of Celtic Holiday Park’s relax and explore ethos. Noble Court is one of three parks, owned by the Pendleton family since 2002, within the Celtic Holidays Group.

Owner Huw Pendleton says; “Over the years, the desire has been to improve the visitor experience and deliver something special.” He was recently recognised as the recipient of Hoseasons’ Outstanding Contribution to UK Tourism award at its 16th annual Owners Conference.

Celtic Holiday Parks offer an array of accommodation and guest experiences at Noble Court, from the prestigious Hampton lodges to luxurious three-bedroomed Spinney lodges complete with four poster beds, contemporary pods, and the unique Stargazer panoramic tents.

STAND OUT
Noble Court boasts the quirky restaurant Charlie’s Celtic Tavern, which has quickly become a popular venue amongst guests and locals as one of the best dining experiences in Pembrokeshire. Quirky design features, including a life-size giraffe, an upside-down cow hanging from the ceiling, and eye-catching artwork, create the impression of hotel-style facilities within a Holiday Park environment.

An outdoor swimming pool provides another feature for guests to enjoy on sunnier days, and the park is just a short walk to the adjacent boutique shopping town of Narberth. As a family-owned park, Huw Pendleton consistently concentrates on, and responds to, UK holiday guests’ ever-changing demands, providing hot tubs as a key addition across the park’s entire rental fleet and extending the range of dog-friendly units.

It’s a move that makes perfect sense when you consider the rising popularity of pet-friendly accommodation and the fact that pet bookings account for a third of all searches on the Hoseasons website.

This commitment to innovation led to Noble Court being recognised as Best Small Relax and Explore destination in Wales at Hoseasons’ 16th annual Diamond Awards last November. The awards are a celebration of the holiday parks, lodge resorts and boating locations in the company’s UK portfolio that have achieved the highest scores in independent customer satisfaction surveys.

DARWIN LEISURE PROPERTY FUNDING

THE DARWIN LEISURE PROPERTY FUND continues to invest in destinations such as Keswick Reach in Cumbria.

Darwin Alternatives has secured a long-term revolving credit facility with Santander UK for the Darwin Leisure Property Fund (DLPF). Founded in 2008, DLPF owns 18 high quality holiday parks operated under the Darwin Escapes brand. DLPF is one of three separate open-ended funds for which Darwin Alternatives is the Investment Advisor.

The funds are focused on providing long term investors with alpha-driven investment solutions that aim to enhance capital and provide predictable levels of income. DLPF, which is dedicated to investing in premium holiday parks in England and Wales, will use the bank’s funding to support working capital requirements at an individual park level as well as providing a liquidity facility to enable the Fund to efficiently manage the cash flow of redemptions and acquisitions.

Over the last 10 years, DLPF has generated an average annual return of 8.88 per cent for its investors, predominantly pension funds of local authorities with a long-term investment horizon. Historically, the enhanced quality and service available at Darwin’s sites has meant that their annual revenue potential per pitch is significantly higher than the industry average.

VANLIFE FESTIVAL SET TO ATTRACT THOUSANDS

VANLIFE FESTIVAL director Damien Jones (right) with Salop Leisure’s marketing manager Ed Glover.

Organisers of this summer’s The VanLife Festival in Shrewsbury say 1,300 vans have booked for the event, which runs from June 2-4. The remaining 500 pitches for the event at the West Midlands Showground are expected to sell-out in advance for the Festival, sponsored by Salop Leisure.

The festival has transferred to Shrewsbury after outgrowing its site in Stratford on its sell out debut last year. The VLF team predict the event could attract up to 15,000 people over the three days.

Filling a gap in the market, the inclusive festival welcomes all makes and models, from the smallest micro campers to coaches, horseboxes, motorhomes, tents, adventure trucks, self-build campers, day vans, custom vans and everything in between, regardless of their budget or build.

The festival will have inspirational display vehicles, workshops, travel talks, YouTubers, live music, night market with quirky traders, tasty street food, bars, fire-pits, bespoke traders specialising in kit accessories and gear, children’s entertainment, a funfair, bushcraft, holistic wellbeing and outdoor activities.

There will also be a ‘Field of Dreams’ with 100 display vehicles including conversions and self builds as seen on George Clark’s Amazing Spaces TV programme, as well as vintage caravan dating back to the 1940’s through to the 1970’s… for the retro vibe.

CELEBRATIONS FOR DREAM DEVON DESTINATIONS

THE BEVERLEY TEAM is celebrating the park’s 65th anniversary.

Eighty years of providing happy holidays on the Devon coast are being marked this year by the family owners of Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Budleigh Salterton. The five-star park is possibly the oldest in Britain to have remained under the same family’s ownership for such a length of time – and a full year of celebrations is planned. The celebrations will come to a climax in June when an all-stops-out party is planned to mark the same month in 1943 when Ladram Bay first began welcoming visitors.

It was then that farmer Frank Carter and his wife Margaret decided to allow Scouts to pitch up on their front field amid some of Devon’s loveliest countryside. The spectacular views of the bay and access to the farm’s private beach soon won the site an enthusiastic following which quickly grew in numbers as news of it spread. Eight decades on, Ladram Bay now welcomes customers from across the world, and provides one of the West Country’s best equipped parks for family holidays.

Its high-quality standards have won a top five-star grade for excellence from Visit England, and past accolades in the Devon Tourism Awards and South West Tourism Awards. Attractions at the park include an indoor climbing wall, indoor swimming pool and outdoor splash zone, watersports equipment hire, and adventure golf course. In addition to the planned birthday celebration weekend in June, there will be other themed events throughout the year, and a competition to try and find the earliest memory of the park.

OWNED BY THE SAME FAMILY SINCE 1943, Ladram Bay Holiday Park is set to celebrate 80 years of service

Every guest aged 80-plus who pre-books their holiday in 2023 will be offered a cream tea. Meanwhile, more than six decades after the first families booked a seaside caravan stay at Beverley Holidays in Devon, the park is marking its 65th anniversary. Celebrating the milestone will be members of the Jeavons family, who originally opened up part of their farmland to visitors in 1958. A series of events is planned throughout spring and summer, including themed party nights, special get-togethers for children and grown-ups, plus live entertainment.

The year has also seen the opening of a new £800,000 holiday home development, and new facilities for camping, touring caravan and motorhome guests. The investment is on top of almost £2.5 million spent in recent years on a fleet of holiday lodges and caravans with private hot-tubs, and a nautical themed play park. Located in Paignton on the English Riviera coast, Beverley Holidays has won a raft of national and regional excellence awards over the years, plus accolades for its environmental work.

EV CONCERNS STALL STAYCATION GROWTH

BBC CAMERAS ZOOM in on Martin Cox at his Dorset holiday park, Highlands End

Fears that ‘range anxiety’ amongst electric vehicle owners could put the brakes on domestic tourism growth have been voiced by a major holiday parks operator. Martin Cox, whose family business owns five holiday parks in Dorset, is now calling on government to address the lack of charging points in many rural areas. Their absence, he said, could dissuade visitors from venturing too far into the countryside because of uncertainty about being able to top up their electric cars.

Martin’s concerns were featured in a recent BBC television report in which he warned that rural economies could suffer substantial losses of tourism revenue as a result. Martin was filmed at his company’s flagship holiday park of Highlands End in Bridport which has six EV chargers – the maximum that the local power supply can sustain. “We have up to 500 cars a night in summer, and it simply isn’t enough to meet demand,” he told BBC Politics South reporter Frankie Peck.

“Many will have driven upwards of two hundred miles to get here, and their vehicles will need re-charging before they go out the next day, but we simply haven’t the capacity. “There are only around 275 charging points throughout the whole of Dorset, so the available options are very limited. “Nobody wants to spend their holiday in a state of anxiety about their car coming to a halt, and just one bad experience could deter a family from making a repeat visit.

“In our five decades of operating holiday parks, we have never supplied petrol or diesel to our customers, but there is now an expectation that we will be able to charge their cars. “It changes the dynamics of our relationship with guests who, of course, we want to keep happy - but who we know are sometimes frustrated at not being able to plug in,” he said. As vice president of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, Martin says that many of the body’s 2,500-plus holiday park members report similar problems.

They would like to help EV owners, he says, but the limited electrical supply capacity in their regions is a major hurdle to them installing additional, or even any, EV charging points. “I am fully sympathetic with the government’s aim to drive up EV usage and have done all we can at present to provide charging facilities,” said Martin, himself an electric car owner.

“However, until the electrical supply infrastructure is improved in many rural areas, some EV owners may think twice about taking a holiday too far from home. “This will produce serious consequences for the visitor economy, and the victims will be the many small businesses who rely on tourism spending to survive and sustain jobs,” said Martin. Martin’s family has owned parks in Dorset for over 50 years, and in 2022 Highlands End Holiday Park won the top gold accolade in the holiday park category of the South West Tourism Awards.

MANY ELECTRIC CAR OWNERS are reluctant to travel far from home, says Martin Cox

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Snapsots from Islawrffordd Caravan Park, the best caravan park in Wales...

A luxury caravan park on the Southern Snowdonia coast was named the best in Wales in the AA Caravan and Camping Awards 2022-23. Islawrffordd Caravan Park at Talybont, near Barmouth, has been owned and run by the Evans family since 1957, and won the prestigious award for the second time, having previously triumphed in 2012.

The 25-acre park has 12 staff, 201 holiday homes, 75 fully services pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes, an indoor swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi, Nineteen.57 Bar and Restaurant, an entertainment complex, luxury shower and toilet block, children’s playground with a pirate ship, car hire and a private slipway onto a sandy beach.

Luxury Super Pitches at the destination include a courtesy light, electric hook up, fresh/waste water and elsan point, TV connection to a bespoke digital free-view network and gravelled hard standing for each individual tourer and awning. In a double celebration for the park, Nineteen.57 Bar and Restaurant was runner-up in the Best of North Wales category in the Welsh Restaurant of the Year Awards 2022.

The bar and 40-cover restaurant are leased by Chris and Emma Statham and Sion Wellings. In the assessment of Islawrffordd Caravan Park, the AA Inspector said: “Situated on the coast between Barmouth and Harlech and within the Snowdonia National Park, this site has clear views of Cardigan Bay, the Llŷn Peninsula and the Snowdonia and Cader Idris mountain ranges.

The park, which is an AA 5 Platinum Pennant Campsite, is open all year around and includes former British motor racing champion Nigel Mansell as one of its holiday home owners. The Mansell family has been enjoying holidays at Islawrfford for 65 years and the Evans family lays claim to setting Nigel on the road to stardom by starting him go-karting as a boy.

Islawrffordd Caravan Park
Tel. 01341 247269
www.islawrffordd.com

FRESH CORDLESS CLEANING APPROACH

NEW TO THE UK AUTOMATIC POOL cleaner market this season is an impressive, cordless robotic offering from Ocea UK.

New to the UK automatic pool cleaner market this season, and already being snapped up by some of the biggest holiday destinations in the country, is an impressive robotic offering from Ocea UK. Ocea’s cordless cleaner is powered by Freedrive Technology and navigates using i-MAPPING Technology for accurate and powerful cleaning.

The advanced Freedrive Technology makes the cleaner completely rechargeable and negates the need for an umbilical cable like traditional pool cleaners. Freedrive brings all the advantages of a fully rechargeable power unit giving you the freedom to simply drop the cleaner into the pool – no heavy cable to worry about, nothing to plug in an no caddy to put away.

Magnetic technology makes the battery more energy efficient and long-lasting. Wireless technology means it is safe to swim whilst the cleaner is in action. Being cordless doesn’t leave you with a lack of power. The cleaner can run unhindered for up to three hours, meaning it can easily clean a pool up to 20m long with a single charge. All that while having a pump rate of 18m3 an hour and pumping water through an 18-micron fine mesh filter basket with a 2ltr debris capacity.

The patented i-MAPPING Technology is a smart navigation system that uses the cleaner’s six built in sensors, combined with sophisticated intelligent software, which results in your cleaner having the ability to plot its way efficiently and precisely around any shape pool.

With thanks to the six built-in sensors, the Ocea cleaner detects the difference between the pool floor and pool walls, resulting in an option to do a quick floor sweep, perfect for a last minute clean. It can also detect the pool’s waterline, and will scrub along it, removing all the grime build up that is common for that area. Contact Ocea UK or your usual swimming pool maintenance team to book a try before you buy model – we promise you won’t want to part with it!

Ocea UK
Tel. 01993 707910
www.oceauk.com

CAMPING IS MAJOR WELLBEING BOOST

SPENDING TIME IN NATURE is an effective remedy for poor mental health

A major research study has confirmed how camping in the great outdoors improves people’s well-being and mental health. The Outjoyment Report was commissioned by The Camping and Caravanning Club and undertaken by a team of academics at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Sheffield Hallam University.

The study included a survey of nearly 11,000 campers and non-campers, assessing their attitudes towards the benefits of all types of camping such as pitching up in a tent, caravan or motorhome, or going glamping. Key findings from The Outjoyment Report discovered campers are:

 

CAMP FOR PURE OUTJOYMENT, Alton The Star Club Site. Photo courtesy of The Camping and Caravanning Club

• Happy: 97% of campers say happiness is their top motivator for going camping while 48% of campers reported feeling happy almost every day, compared with 35% of non campers
• More connected to nature: 93% go camping to enjoy being in nature – the second highest motivator after happiness, and they score highly on measures of nature connection
• Enjoying better well-being: 93% of campers value camping for the benefits it gives to their health and well-being – an increase on the 85% of our Real Richness Report in 2011
• Flourishing: 44% are flourishing (have optimal mental health) compared with 31% of non campers. This increases for those who camp more often
• Less stressed: 88% of campers are motivated to go camping to take time out of everyday life and have higher levels of psychological well-being than non campers
• Active outdoors: 98% of campers take part in outdoor activities. 91% go walking, 39% cycle and 26% enjoy bird-watching.

Dr Kaye Richards, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, said: “Camping connects people – to the outdoors, to nature, to each other, and most importantly to themselves. Positive emotions generated from outdoor enjoyment help to alleviate everyday stressors and promote feelings of life satisfaction. It is no surprise then, that the more people camp the more this can improve happiness and well-being.”

 

The Outjoyment Report also examined subjects such as the importance of children going camping as part of their formal education, and how survey respondents felt about healthcare professionals prescribing spending time in natural settings as a remedy for poor mental health.

83% of respondents felt positive about health professionals prescribing spending time in nature as an effective remedy for poor mental health, a significant rise from 58% in our previous study. And 94% believe children should learn outdoors while 93% think pupils should camp as part of their formal education – a big rise from the 59% of the 2011 report.

Sabina Voysey, The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Director General, said: “Camping in all its different forms puts us on the doorstep of the great outdoors and provides a clear pathway to a healthier and happier lifestyle – one in which people appreciate nature more and are active outdoors. Sabina added: “Our vision is for a society in which camping and memorable outdoor experiences can play a full part in building a happier, healthier nation.”

FAMILY PARK TAKES TOP HONOURS

GARETH ROWLAND and his daughter Kelly, centre, plus members of the park team receive their top park award

The family owners of Holivans, a holiday park near Mablethorpe, in Lincolnshire, are celebrating after being crowned as the county’s leading provider of park holidays happily coinciding with their 70th anniversary celebrations. The long-established business scooped the top gold accolade at the Destination Lincolnshire Tourism Awards in the Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year 2022 category.

Today it provides more than 172 pitches including luxury lodges with private gardens and hot tubs, holiday caravans to rent and own, glamping units, and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes. Facilities include indoor and outdoor activities for youngsters, plus the park’s popular Tow Bar where families can relax over drinks and enjoy evening entertainment.

“We are immensely proud to have achieved this gold award from Lincolnshire Tourism, not least because we were up against so many other superb parks in the region,” said managing director Gareth Rowland “It is especially important to us as judges were looking not just at the quality of what is provided, but also the standards of service and hospitality on offer to guests. “Delivering this is in the hands of our friendly and hard-working staff team who always go the extra mile for customers, so they must also take a big share of the credit.”

ALL ABOARD SEARLES NEW TRAIN

THE HOP-ON, HOP-OFF SEARLES LEISURE RESORT train is a visitor favourite in Hunstanton, Norfolk.

After an extensive search, Searles Leisure Resort, in Hunstanton, Norfolk, has managed to find a replacement train after its former loco was retired this summer following 30 years of service.

The hop-on, hop-off train is an easy and convenient way for guests to travel around the park, stopping at its many different leisure, entertainment and dining facilities.

It also heads out of the resort and into Hunstanton town centre, allowing passengers to disembark at attractions such as Old Hunstanton beach and the lighthouse.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

All aboard for the Brean Leisure development journey...

MAJOR INVESTMENTS include the on-site Brean Country Club.

Regularly attracting over 500,000 visitors annually, Brean Leisure is a 200-acre resort that is reaping. Over the last 10 years over £15 million has been invested to improve the holiday experience of guests at both Brean Leisure Park and its sister sites. The group has a cluster of four parks at its Somerset base, Holiday Resort Unity, Golden Sands, Brean Country Club and Brightholme.

The combined offering boasts 165 hire fleet caravans and lodges, 750 private holiday home owners and a small matter of 400 touring and camping pitches. Not surprisingly, 150 employees work across the year while the overall number swells to 250 in peak summer months. The team’s main focus since 2021 has been on sustainability, adopting the slogan ‘Sustainability at Heart’.

The move has seen the company achieve some outstanding outcomes through mixed recycling, food recycling and energy initiatives. Although the founders, the House Family, remain the driving force behind the business, they could not have manage it alone. They gratefully acknowledge the help and support from past and present management and team members and hope they have enjoyed being part of the family-run enterprise in Somerset. Alan House comments: “The family are committed to reinvesting heavily into the park and the facilities to make it even better.

Planning permission has been received for an expansion to Brean Splash Waterpark and a flagship new entrance and entertainment complex at Holiday Resort Unity. “There’s an annual investment into new hire fleet accommodation of around £1m which keeps standards high and generates good used stock to then sell onto the private owners areas. “We are always planning at least two years in advance and looking at how we can enhance the experience and satisfaction of our guests.

The Brean story started when Albert and Marie House bought Unity Farm in 1946 and for the next 30 years ran the farm primarily as a dairy farm with a herd of 140 cows. They then supplied the local area with milk that was bottled on the farm. The farm grew to include a number of pigs and sheep and a milk round. Bert also had a passion for horse racing and enjoyed success with a number of winners in both flat and national hunt races.

As far back as 1946, camping was a very popular past time and Fry’s Chocolate Factory, from Bristol, pitched large tents on three fields of the farm for a two-week period during the summer so that their employees could have a holiday by the sea. What we know today as Holiday Resort Unity, spread its early roots there, and it wasn’t long before many groups including Boy’s Brigade Troops from across the country were coming to Brean for holidays.

 

DRIVEN BY THE FOUNDING HOUSE FAMILY, Brean Park is very much a team effort.

 

PLANNING PERMISSION
In 1948, planning permission was granted to change the use of some of the farmland to caravans and camping and 20 acres were converted to this use. During the 50’s and 60’s caravan and camping became a bigger part of the business and slowly the number of cows, pigs and sheep decreased. In the late 60’s ‘Bert’s Bar’ was opened on the resort and became one of the parks first main facilities. During the 70’s and 80’s the beginnings of Brean Leisure Park was created and the Mid Somerset Golf Centre which included Target Golf, driving range, pitch and putt and also an eight-hole golf course opened.

Through the years additional recreation activities were added including greyhound racing, a swimming pool, donkey derbies and open-air markets to name just a few. The park was now attracting a lot of visitors from the Birmingham, South Wales and Bristol areas and in the late 1970’s the House family bought out the other directors so that they could concentrate on their passion of developing leisure and holiday facilities for local residents and holiday makers. The directors of the park from this point forward were Mr and Mrs House Senior and also Richard and Bridget House.

The original golf course was expanded to 18 holes and Brean Golf Club was created. The course hosted a number of pro and celebrity amateur tournaments as well as becoming a members club and a facility for holiday guests to use. In 1980, the complex known today as the ‘Tavern’ was opened and was then known as the ‘Farmers Tavern’ providing a venue for evening family entertainment, functions and weddings. The complex also included an Amusement Arcade and fast food outlets.

The greyhound track was closed in 1984 and to improve the look of the park a significant landscaping project was undertaken across both Brean Leisure Park and also Unity Farm. Further facilities were added during the 90’s including a river tyre ride at the swimming pool complex and also the addition of two, ten-pin bowling lanes at Unity Farm in 1994. One of the biggest projects the team has undertaken was the RJ’s Entertainment complex, a £1m investment with an American theme that replaced Bert’s Bar and Chicks Roost with a 700 people venue capacity in 2000.

Over the next 10 years the development of the facilities continued and included a new toilet block in green field and also an extension to RJ’s called ‘Berties’. Always looking for fresh opportunities, in 2003 the company acquired the neighbouring ‘Golden Sands Caravan Park’ with an additional 20 static caravans available for hire. 2005 saw the opening of the Costcutter supermarket as well as a refurbishment to the Yellow Field toilet block.

With Holiday Resort Unity now providing holidays for hundreds of people every year the old reception and office building became outgrown and a new facility was opened in 2006 to improve the check in procedure of our guests. The old reception building was then converted into the over 18’s arcade at Unity Bowl. In 2008, a new toilet block was constructed at Brown Field and also the Caravan Sales building was constructed and opened.

The Resort was also awarded a 4 star holiday village for the first time by the English Tourism Board. Work to improve Brean Golf Club was completed in 2009 including the creation of the longest hole in Somerset. A family nine-hole pitch and putt was opened. A Subway franchise and a family restaurant were opened during 2010 following the purchase of a former pub just 100 metres from the entrance to Brean Leisure Park which is now the home of the Bay of India.

 

THE £2M INVESTMENT in Brean Splash included an indoor children’s splash park.

 

WATER PLAY
In 2011, the first phase of a multi-million pound project to create Brean Splash; a new pool and entertainment complex, was completed. The £2m investment in Brean Splash saw the opening of a new indoor 25m swimming pool, indoor children’s splash park and a seaside themed outdoor children’s play structure with three waterslides. Three years later the team completed the final phase of Brean Splash to include a new indoor pool area with mini slides.

Meanwhile, Brean Play, our new indoor soft play attraction opened, offering an all year round play facility and cafe. The concession at Fun City changed hands and will now be called Brean Theme Park. There was no question of resting on any laurels as in 2016, a new gym, sauna and steam room opened at Brean Splash as well as Rainbow Rings Waterslide, rapidly followed by a new Baby Pool and Disco Slide at Brean Splash Waterpark.

In 2018, work was completed on a new £4m golf and lodge development, marketed as the Brean Country Club; a premium venue for dining, weddings, events and lodge development for sales. Coast, a new dog-friendly café, opened in the former Legends bar. A year later, saw the addition of new hire fleet and a refurbishment of Wimpy restaurant, into The Pavilion Food Court, plus a new central stock distribution centre.

The Covid-19 breakout caused major disruption at the resort. This delayed new projects and inhibited operating across the year. Nevertheless, a new Ninja Warrior course was installed on the mezzanine at Brean Play with a new sandwich shop replacing Subway and the launch of ‘The View’ restaurant at Brean Country Club.

Installation of a new outdoor play equipment at the outdoor play area in 2021. Still open to opportunities, Brightholme Holiday Park, 300m from Holiday Resort Unity, was purchased a couple of years ago, adding 70 privately owned static caravans and a bar and restaurant to the combined offering.

NOT A PENNY MORE

Balance your insurance policy sums...

THE GAP BETWEEN PROPERTY rebuild costs and the amount buildings are currently insured for in the UK is widening.

It’s unlikely that reviewing the sums-insured on your insurance policy was top of the list for new year’s resolutions, but perhaps it should be!

It is likely that if you haven’t reviewed your sums insured for a while, you may find that you are under insured, in fact data shows that up to 83% of properties are underinsured and on average they’re only insured for 66% of what they should be!

A greater proportion of properties are now underinsured and the gap between property rebuild costs and the amount buildings are currently insured for in the UK is widening.

INSURANCE GAP
Latest research shows 83% of properties were found to be underinsured, up from 80% in 2021. On average, these buildings were insured for just 66% of what they should have been. The percentage last year was 68%, which shows how the buildings under-insurance gap is widening in the UK. This gap is biggest among buildings insured for up to £500,000, which are on average only covered for 51% of their rebuild cost.

Buildings insured for more than £2 million are closer to what they should be, but still only covered on average for 70% of reliable rebuild cost. But what is the effect of underinsurance? Well in the unfortunate event where you have an incident on your park where you need to make a claim, if you are found to be underinsured then your claim settlement may be reduced proportionally in line with the level of underinsurance.

This can happen if the reinstatement cost of the property is not adequately valued at the time the insurance policy is taken out, or if the reinstatement cost of the property increases over time and the policy is not updated to reflect this change. Common increases can include refurbishment of premises, additional buildings and increasing cost of materials to reinstate buildings.

Insurance policies are often index-linked which means the insurer will increase sums insured at renewal by a set percentage to take into account inflationary pressures, however if the initial sum insured is incorrect then all this does is prevent an underinsurance issue from getting worse.

LATEST RESEARCH shows 83% of properties were found to be underinsured.

RE-INSTATEMENT SUMS
The other point to bear in mind is that your insurance policy will contain a ‘buildings definition’ and any reinstatement building sum insured needs to take into account that definition. A standard building definition will take into account roads and paths and underground infrastructure and if this isn’t reflected in your building sum insured or catered for separately, as it is under the Park Protect Insurance policy, then you may find that you are underinsured in the event of an insured loss.

The onus is on the policyholder to ensure that these sums are correct, so how can you avoid this potentially costly issue? A professional valuation can help ensure that your holiday park is adequately insured. It is important to have an accurate valuation of your property and assets in order to determine the appropriate amount of insurance cover. The value of your property and assets may change over time, so it is important to review your insurance cover regularly to ensure that it remains adequate. Conversely, research shows overinsurance can also be an issue.

Research shows that 13% of buildings assessed were covered for too much this year, on average by 132%. So having a professional valuation could actually save you money. A specialist insurance broker can help you assess your insurance needs and find a policy that meets your specific requirements. They can also help you understand the terms and conditions of your policy and ensure that you are adequately covered. Park Protect provides tailor-made insurance for the specific needs of your business. Get in touch to find out more.

pib Group
Tel. 01422 358 525
www.pib-insurance.com/parkprotect

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

Keep your insurance cover up to date...

NOW IS THE IDEAL TIME TO CHECK YOUR business is adequately insured.

 

The winter months are traditionally that time of year when many parks take the opportunity to undertake some maintenance and make changes, with projects ranging from small tidy ups and cleaning to major renovations and new ventures. Unless your policy is due to renew in January or February, you probably don’t have insurance on your list of maintenance or improvement.
However, it’s a good idea to add it, as reviewing your policy and checking everything is in order, is an essential job ahead of the 2023 season. You don’t have to check every last detail however here are a few things to have on the list.

ACCURATE VALUES
With the cost of materials, parts and labour increasing at record levels, and the cost of replacement caravans and lodges still high, you should make sure that the amounts you have for your Buildings, Hire Fleet and Sales Stock are all adequate. The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) shows that the cost of commercial buildings went up 9.5% in the 12 months to November 2022.

So that is an indication of just how important it is to regularly check them. If you have a Compass Insurance policy with us and want to find out about a professional valuation service, then speak to your Regional Account Manager or Compass contact, or alternatively check with your insurer who may offer their own valuation service.

The same applies to Contents in terms of inflationary increases, making sure you have everything adequately listed and covered is essential. If you’re planning to diversify in 2023, add new attractions and activities then it’s important to make sure your insurance policy reflects them.

 

THE COST OF REPLACEMENT caravans and lodges remain high so be sure your policy figures add up.

 

MAJOR WORKS
If you’re undertaking any major improvement or project works then it’s a good idea to let your insurance company know, and you definitely need to update your policy once the work is complete. One of the most important parts of your policy are the description of your business and the activities we have listed for you.

This needs to accurately reflect the type of business and park you are and the things you do. Don’t forget about your employees and wage roll, if they are likely to be higher in 2023, or if you’re taking on new people then that will need updating. Turnover is another crucial element of your sums insured, it relates to both the Public Liability and Business Interruption sections.

Compass Insurance
Tel. 0344 274 0276
www.compassparks.co.uk

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES of projects you should make your insurers aware of:

 

REVIEWING YOUR INSURANCE cover is an essential job ahead of the 2023 season.

HAND TO HAND SUPPORT

Leisure Days is the trading name of Caravan Guard, that helps holiday park owners by taking care of the insurance administration of customers’ holiday accommodation. Parks work with Leisure Days as Introducer Appointed Representatives. They effectively introduce the customer to Leisure Days a quote, then Leisure Days sets up and administrates insurance policies.

Common claims dealt with in the 2022 holiday season have been both internal and external accidental damage, escape of water and storm damage. The team has dealt with claims where trees have fallen onto static caravans, winds have caused roof damage as well as leaks from showers.

Leisure Days is able to service customers via an award-winning Adviser team, that are available seven days a week, or via their website, to make sure they remained covered. Parks are able to keep a track of customer insurance and are kept fully informed with which customers have taken cover via the Leisure days Live system.

Specialist insurance policies takes care of specific risks faced by residential or holiday park residents, such as accidental damage, fire, theft, storm and flood. Specialist insurance will also cover fixed items to outbuildings around a park or holiday home, so sheds, storage boxes, decking, or in the case of park homes, patios and garages as part a home’s structure.

Leisure Days
E. park-operator@leisuredays.co.uk
Tel. 01422 396 693

IRRESISTIBLE COMBINATION

Pictures and reports from the unmissable Holiday Park & Resort event...

THE HOLIDAY PARK SCENE team has gathered information and contact details for some specialist suppliers who stood out for the Holiday Park SCENE team.

 

The hotly-anticipated Holiday Park & Resort Show proved to be an irresistible combination as visitors from across the sector flocked to the NEC in Birmingham. November’s two-day business show received a positive response from visitors, speakers and exhibitors alike.

Complementary shows of Farm Business Innovation, Family Attraction Expo and Leisure Food & Beverage ran alongside Holiday Park & Resort, combining their pulling power for an irresistible draw.

Free to attend, more than 11,000 visitors were recorded across the show offerings, with many visitors opting to attend a choice of 140 seminars, 500 hand-picked exhibitors, industry-leading experts and unrivalled networking with a wealth of business development opportunities.

 

BROAD SPECTRUM
The Holiday Park & Resort Innovation Show provides you with the unique opportunity to network with 5,257 of the biggest names in the industry. Exhibitors maximise the opportunity to showcase products and services to an array of industry experts and buyers, directly from the holiday destination market.

Exhibitors responded to the current economic climate with an array of advice and information on new income sources, cost savings and ways to increase business efficiency. One of the key ingredients were ways for holiday park and resort owners to diversify and innovate their businesses and operations.

The combined event business awards are a celebration of ideas that are pushing the boundaries in design and service, recognising those that combine an unprecedented blend of innovation, creativity and uniqueness to its user. This year’s competition winners included a cocktail machines that serves up excellent quality cocktails at the touch of a button. Daisy Vending were awarded for their provision of milk and milkshakes featuring its premium milk vending machines.

Inch Perfect Trials saddled up to be first passed the innovation line as an on-line retailer for new and used trial bikes with the added offering of training and experience days The sustainability award celebrated NexGen Heating for its innovative heating solution for applications across multiple industry sectors. Plan your 2023 visit early for the event that returns to Birmingham’s NEC on November 15 and 16. Holiday Park Scene will once again work with the show organisers as a preferred media partner for the event. Autumn issues of the magazine will be distributed at the show.

 

 

TOP MARKS FOR UK CAMPSITE

AA caravan and camping award winners...

 

LEADING CAMPSITES AND CARAVAN PARKS in the UK have been confirmed and are featured in the AA Caravan and Camping Guide

 

The leading campsites and caravan parks in the UK have been confirmed and are featured in the AA Caravan and Camping Guide 2023, out now from AA Publishing. Amongst those celebrating is Silverdale Caravan Park in Lancashire, the AA Campsite of the Year for England and this year’s overall winner.

A rise in eco-friendly camping has shown holidaymakers are looking for environmentally friendly destinations. Camp Katur, winners of the AA Glamping Site of the Year, focuses on upcycling materials with fire pits created from washing machine drums and galvanised bucket washbasins.

Among the regional winners is Beaconsfield Holiday Park, winner of AA Campsite of the Year Heart of England, a purpose-built, family-run park on farmland in open countryside which offers quality in every area. Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Media says: “With people spending their holidays in the UK and exploring the great British countryside, we are thrilled to celebrate the UK’s best campsites for 2022.

“This year’s winners have demonstrated outstanding quality, high levels of customer care and fantastic facilities which meet customers’ growing expectations. “With UK staycations continuing to prove popular among holidaymakers, the AA Caravan and Camping Guide offers an invaluable guide to holidaymakers choosing to stay in a tent, caravan, motorhome, or glamping site.

We hope this new guide inspires people who are set to embark on new journeys.” AA Media connects the UK with travel ideas and rated places to stay and visit. It includes AA Hotel & Hospitality Services, which rates and publishes information about the hospitality industry, including hotels, guest accommodation and restaurants.

They introduced the renowned star rating scheme for quality in 1908 and have inspected restaurants for the Rosette award since 1956. Ratedtrips.com showcases all AA-rated places to stay and visit, and they publish a well-established range of lifestyle publications such as their camping and restaurant guides.

 

MORE HOLIDAYMAKERS are looking for environmentally- friendly locations to pitch their tents and caravans.

 

BEST SELLER
Britain’s best-selling caravan and camping guide provides the very best places for people to take their tent, caravan, or motorhome across the UK. This guide enables travellers to discover over 580 sites from five Pennant premier parks to more affordable options. Now in its 55th edition; being in the guide means the sites have been professionally inspected by the AA’s highly experienced inspection team, it also features AA award-winning parks and.

Top sites with gold and platinum pennants across as well as AA’s Campsite of the year. The guide consistently sells year on year, which demonstrates a loyal readership. Just one or two bookings via the guide covers the outlay of the assessment fee. Inspectors look for best in class in any given region, where the owners and team have created a top-class experience within their site’s grading level.

All winners will feature in the 55th Edition of the AA Caravan & Camping Guide. All the destinations featured in the guide have been inspected and rated by AA professional inspectors, grading sites from one to five Pennants, based on their facilities and hospitality.

Each entry within the guide includes location, ratings, contact details, directions, prices, opening times, facilities, and a description to help holidaymakers select the right site for their needs. Mirroring the increasing popularity of luxury camping, this year’s winners include glamping facilities, including yurts, shepherd’s huts, and vintage caravans. The winners include a focus on family friendliness, eco-friendliness, fishing, best views and sites for lake lovers.

 

BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

Reporting from the Hoseasons owners conference...

 

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT at the Hoseasons Owners Conference 2022 gala dinner and Diamond Award Ceremony

 

The Hoseasons Owners Conference is always one of the UK holiday industry’s most hotly-anticipated events of the year. Bringing together hundreds of holiday park, lodge, and boating hire operators and a further 50 handpicked industry suppliers, there’s always a buzz in the air as the first week of November rolls around and people start getting ready for ‘conference’.

But last year’s event – the company’s 16th - was even more special than usual as it marked a return to it’s regular in-person format following a two-year break due to Covid. Held at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, the Hoseasons Owners Conference saw more than 500 delegates treated to a mix of market insight from the team at Hoseasons and parent company Awaze, as well as a range of external speakers including Olympic Champion Hurdler Colin Jackson, markets commentator Justin Urquhart-Stewart and professional speaker Phil Hesketh.

TRADE SHOW
The two-day event also featured a trade show exhibition reception providing park, lodge, and boating operators the chance to network with key industry suppliers, including hot tub companies and holiday home manufacturers through to providers of IT business solutions, such as Elite Dynamics - the event’s headline sponsor.

Luke Hansford, Senior Vice-President of Business Development for Awaze UK, says: “The Hoseasons Owners Conference enables us to stay close to the networks of key suppliers within our industry and gives our owner partners the chance to speak directly to people who can help them achieve their growth ambitions. “Exhibitors are handpicked to reflect the best range of services our owners require to successfully operate and grow within the UK holiday accommodation market, and our 2022 exhibition was our biggest and best to date.”

The event culminated with the renowned Gala Dinner – a chance to recognise and celebrate the achievements and successes of the best-performing locations in the Hoseasons portfolio and reward then for the outstanding holiday experiences and service they have provided the company’s customers over the previous 12 months. Entertainment from comedian Michael McIntyre ensured 2022’s event will live long in the memory of those who attended.

 

DELEGATES ARRIVED to an exhibitor reception which kicked off the two day event

 

Paul Evans, Vice–President, Property & Portfolio for Hoseasons, says: “It really was a fantastic event and was great to see our industry back together again. Together we were able to reflect upon 2022 and celebrate some remarkable achievements, whilst also planning for success in 2023 and beyond.

“The year ahead will clearly come with its challenges, but the optimism in the room at Conference was palpable and it was great to hear owners sharing our positive outlook on the future for domestic tourism. “We always set ourselves the challenge of bettering the previous conference,” he says, adding: “Our team is already busy planning an even better one in 12 months’ time!” The 2023 Hoseasons Owners Conference is set to return to The Celtic Manor Resort on 7th – 8th November, 2023.

TOP TIPS FOR SPLASH PAD CARE

The experienced water play team from The Splash are available and ready to assist with any winter maintenance queries you may have offering full on-site solutions. With a cold snap firmly upon us, Technical Director, Greg Seale, shares some of his top tips to help with winter maintenance.

Greg urges on-going upkeep such as blowing leaves away and clearing the surface of the splash pad from any debris. Treat the surface with your recommended de-greener, this will help to protect the rubber and assist in preserving the surface of your splash pad. Make sure all pumps and pipes are drained and valves have been opened to allow for expansion with the fluctuations in temperature, in accordance with your winterisation manual.

With our systems, we recommend maintaining residual power to your system sequence controller to ensure that all system sequences are saved, so your splash pad is already programmed ready for opening next year. Ensure you have followed the full winterisation process recommended for your system and features. On-going support and training makes the shift between the seasons easy to navigate with the support of The Splash.

Whether it is technical advice or onsite assistance, the experienced team from The Splash can provide quick support for any splash pad service issues through it’s professional, nation-wide maintenance team. If you have a splash pad that needs winter maintenance, get in touch with the team for all your splash pad solutions.

The Splash
E. enquiries@thesplash.uk
www.thesplash.uk

WISH YOU WERE HERE - Treasure Chest

We pay a visit to Dorset's Wareham Forest Tourist Park...

Named as the South West’s Campsite of the Year 2022 by the AA in its annual celebration of Britain’s top park destinations, Wareham Tourist Park stood out for its high-quality standards, first-class hospitality and tranquil location. Not far from Poole, Dorchester and the Purbeck coast, Wareham Forest Tourist Park was acquired 20 years ago by husband-and-wife team Tony and Sarah Birch.

Since then, they have invested much time and energy into creating five-star facilities and surroundings for campers and owners of touring caravans and motorhomes. Today, the park draws guests from all over the UK and mainland Europe and says that 70% of its customers comprise people making repeat visits. As well as paths to explore around the park’s wooded grounds, there is a heated outdoor pool, children’s play area, park shop, and comfortable modern shower and toilet facilities.

 

 

Wareham Forest Tourist Park also has a reputation for its pet-friendly nature, and even provides a warm shower to pamper pooches following their countryside rambles. Highlights include an outdoor heated swimming pool, open from late May to early September, a popular play area and the Park organises regular visits, for the convenience of guests, of a wide range of street food stalls.

The park is managed today by Tony and Sarah, assisted by their daughter Chrissy and her husband Benn the park is open all year round, enabling touring guests to enjoy the countryside throughout the four seasons, and when nearby visitor attractions are less busy. Wareham Forest is also a member of the Best of British group of independently-owned parks in Britain and has won other awards for helping to sustain wildlife.

Wareham Forest Tourist Park
Tel. 01929 551393
www.warehamforest.co.uk

RELIABLE BROADBAND TOP PRIORITY

THE DESIRE TO WORK from a holiday home is helping to power the demand for holiday home ownership, according to My Holiday Caravan.

Access to reliable broadband is now the top consideration for holidaymakers when looking for a caravan or holiday park to stay in, according to new figures. Market research recently undertaken by rural broadband specialists Voneus Broadband found 59% of visitors look for sites with suitable internet as a top priority when selecting a caravan or holiday park for trips away.

The survey of 3,000 holiday-goers, who have visited a caravan or holiday park in the UK within the last five years, named reliable broadband as more of a priority than site location (57%) and cost (49%). Additionally, 42% of those surveyed have opted for a certain site over another when booking a holiday purely because of the availability and access to the internet. Despite being on holiday, the data from trip-makers reveals working remotely, streaming TV and films, and gaming, are some of the main reasons people look to jump on the Wi-fi.

INTERNET SPEEDS
As a result, access to connections with strong download and upload speeds has become more important, with 91% of those surveyed considering broadband connections when looking for places to stay more than they did 15 years ago. However, it is not just adults who are considering their connections when planning a place to stay, with 43% of parents stating they have had requests from their children to stay at a park with a reliable broadband connection.

For caravan and holiday park owners, the demand for sufficient internet access on holidays could also translate to a boost in income, with 83% of guests stating they would pay additional costs to stay in a site with a strong connection. Figures revealed 61% of people would pay up to £10 per night on top for access. Francesca Lee, chief commercial officer at Voneus, which delivers full fibre and wireless broadband to rural and hard-to-reach communities across more than 25 counties in the UK, said: “This market research paints a fascinating picture into the mindset of the modern caravan and holiday park guest and where current priorities lie.

“By not having sufficient broadband capabilities in place, park operators could be significantly missing out on bringing visitors through the gates during the busiest parts of the year by failing to invest properly in this vital utility.” Paul Craven of My Holiday Caravan, says that WFHH – or “work from holiday home” - is helping to power the demand for holiday home ownership. “Many people are now realising the benefits of buying a bolt-hole which can be used both for leisure and as a substitute for the kitchen table or bedroom when working,” he said.

“Different surroundings can fire new inspiration, not least if you’ve chosen a loved location in the countryside or by the sea that your holiday home overlooks. “But rural life can also mean rural broadband, and with it the frustrations of a far slower internet speed than you might be used to at home. “If you choose your holiday park carefully, however, there are some with superb broadband coverage which will mean you can surf and stream in the fast-lane all day long.

“In particular we recommend to buyers the forty-plus parks operated by Park Holidays UK which has invested literally millions of pounds in new fibre technology. “This is in contrast to the many parks which transmit WiFi across their sites, and which is rarely successful as holiday homes generally resist the penetration of the signals. But Park Holidays UK connects each holiday home directly to fibre broadband, meaning owners can work or relax on-line without the irritation of constant buffering,” said Paul.

THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

 

FOLLY FARM’S new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business.

 

Families who holiday in South Wales will typically include a trip to Pembrokeshire’s fabulous Folly Farm Adventure Park. Located just 15 minutes from the popular seaside resort of Tenby, this fun-filled destination, complete with vintage fairground and world-class zoo, is now the largest privately-run, paid for visitor attraction in Wales.

A working dairy farm until the late 1980s, Folly Farm has expanded so much over the last 30 years that it’s now a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear commercial vision and a diversification strategy to match.

 

 

TAKE THE PLUNGE
And it was this never-stand-still spirit that led Managing Director, Chris Ebsworth, to take the plunge and open a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown. This 43-pitch five-star touring park and campsite - complete with four cool and quirky Showman’s Wagons - has been so popular over the last two years that Chris has now decided to diversify further into the holiday let market with the addition of six fairground-themed luxury lodges with hot tubs.

Chris knew introducing lodge accommodation was something he wanted to do to capitalise on continuing strong demand for UK breaks, but he also knew it would be prudent to call on the advice, guidance and support of a trusted expert partner to help bring his vision to life, his product to market and crucially to ensure the best possible return on his investment.

That’s when he turned to Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development at Awaze – the parent company of staycation specialist Hoseasons – a decision Chris says has ensured the location’s new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business as part of an all-round ‘stay and play’ package perfect for families looking for experiential breaks.

 

FOLLY FARM is a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear diversification strategy.

 

“We’ve always been farmers, it’s in our blood, but diversification is what keeps us thriving as a privately owned, family run business,” says Chris, adding: “We could see the lodges were a good idea, but it quickly became apparent as a relatively new accommodation business, that we would need to draw on the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of a brand like Hoseasons that has successfully been delivering family holidays for years.”

“We had many meetings with Luke to run through the options, weighing up the pros and cons of different types of accommodation before making our decision. He also supported us to perfect the presentation of our new lodges – from reflecting the Folly Farm brand in the interiors to making sure the landscaping and planting were right.

“Luke was also instrumental in bringing to our attention the importance of an arrival experience for our guests – something which has resulted in a brand new customer reception, along with plans for an onsite shop selling local produce, which we are hoping to open next year.”

 

FOLLY FARM opened a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown.

 

PAYING DIVIDENDS
Luke believes the care and attention Folly Farm have put into their new development will pay dividends over the next few years as families see the value of staying somewhere aspirational with fantastic facilities, activities and entertainment on their doorstep.

He says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Chris to bring his vision to market. He really understands the importance of continuing to evolve the offer so that they stay relevant in an ever-changing market. “Pressures on family budgets mean people will be looking to get the most out of their UK breaks over the next few years – something that bodes well for locations like Folly Farm Adventure Park who know they need to invest and innovate to keep pace with guest expectations.

 

CHRIS EBSWORTH worked with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons.

 

“You only have to look at their high occupancy rates and average 9.6 out of 10 rating on our independent review system Revoo to see their approach is working.” Working with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons has given Chris the confidence to push on with the next phase of development, including rhino-themed lodges overlooking the black rhino enclosure, lion-themed lodges and giraffe-themed safari tents – all of which are expected to be up and running by Spring next year. All the new lodges and showman’s wagons at Folly Farm Adventure Park are exclusively available to book via Hoseasons.

www.hoseasons.co.uk

HOLIDAY SNAPS - PAUL EVANS

Paul Evans is the Vice President of Awaze UK, the UK’s leading managed vacation rentals business. Paul brings 24 years of travel industry experience to his role, which sees him take responsibility for the company’s entire property portfolio across its Hoseasons, cottages.com and regional brands.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Having worked in and around holiday parks all my working life, I love having the chance to visit parks and meet owners and operators on an almost daily basis. I see innovation, quality and a genuine desire to provide the best possible experience for our guests, and that’s an incredibly rewarding element of the role.

WHAT’S BEEN THE LANDMARK MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?
Taking over as a GM on a park that was struggling and turning it into the highest performing location in the group’s portfolio within 12 months without any extra resource was a real watershed moment for me. It not only gave me the confidence to trust my own instincts, it also showed what great results you get by trusting your team and giving them the freedom to get on and do their job to the best of their ability.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE HOLIDAY PARK INDUSTRY AT THE MOMENT?
I think it’s an exciting time. We’re continuing to see significant investment and innovation in accommodation and facilities across the sector and that’s starting to attract an audience who wouldn’t necessarily have considered holiday parks before. Those who deliver an excellent first-time experience are not only helping their own chances of repeat business, they’re also helping to promote staycations more widely. It’s up to all of us to do our bit to keep the sector strong.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING THE SECTOR?
The challenges faced by the sector are the same as those affecting the country as a whole – rising costs for operators and customers alike and an uncertain economic outlook. However, the past few years have shown us just how much people value a break and time away with those who matter most, so as long as operators continue to offer a fantastic guest experience aligned with pricing that reflects the market I have no reason to doubt that we can have a successful year ahead.

WHAT’S NEW FOR HOSEASONS HOLIDAY PARKS OVER THE COMING MONTHS?
Our specialist collections have really helped to drive both occupancy and the Average Weekly Rate over the last 12 months and our newly-launched Magnificent collection is going from strength to strength. Home to a range of different property styles, all put customer experience at the heart of their offer and are proving incredibly popular with guests looking for a wow-factor getaway.

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF BUSINESS ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN? AND BYWHOM?
My first boss once said to me: “The harder you work the luckier you seem to get” – It’s something I’ve always remembered and it certainly seems to work for me!

WHERE DO YOU GO ON HOLIDAY?
Well, obviously I love a staycation! My next break is a family lodge holiday in Dorset – something we’re all very much looking forward to.

MAKING A VIRTUAL SPLASH

 

Visualising a splash pad that hasn’t been constructed can be challenging so using Virtual Reality technology, The Splash has revolutionised the process of designing a splash pad that is perfect for your holiday space. Renowned for pioneering a more sustainable approach to water play with their Eco Splash range, the latest innovation from The Splash enables users to view their bespoke splash pad, within any proposed setting, from the comfort of your office.

Users now have the opportunity to get a feel for how space flows, perspective and visual assistance in decision making around layout and features, prior to any building work commencing. Due to the design and manufacturing capabilities at The Splash, all features are custom-designed and made to order which allows endless theme options to either compliment or coordinate with any location.

VR plays an important role in evaluating design concepts and can also be used as a sales or presentation tool with other team members. If you’re considering a new splash pad, or an update on an existing facility and would like to discuss Virtual Reality visualisation of your project, contact enquiries@thesplash.uk https://thesplash.uk

JAW-DROPPING ATTRACTIONS

 

THE COMBINATION of both Black Manta and Aquaman into a single, jaw-dropping water ride complex is a first for the European market.

Parque Warner Beach, an outdoor water park, is one of the main tourism and entertainment destinations in Madrid boasting 40,000m2 of dedicated attractions and entertainment themed around Warner Bros. favourite characters. The family destination recently celebrated the opening of two new rides: Europe’s first TornadoWAVE® 60/ FlyingSAUCER® 45 complex, from the Canadian water ride manufacturer ProSlide.

The combination of both Black Manta and Aquaman into a single, jaw-dropping water ride complex is a first for the European market. Parque Warner Beach uses this exclusivity to great effect by offering its guests an attraction unlike anything else in the region. The TornadoWAVE® 60 at Parque Warner Beach, named Black Manta, is a famous water ride feature for more than just a few reasons. In 2014 and 2017, it was part of installations that won first place at the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards, in the category of ‘Best New Water Ride’.

 

ATTENTION GRABBERS
The TornadoWAVE® at Parque Warner Beach immediately grabs the attention of anyone nearby. The first thing you notice is that it’s a striking spectacle of design and engineering, boasting what ProSlide calls “the only true arched wall in the industry”. The company custom designed the ride to give guests a thrilling experience that takes them through 120m of flumes and features.

Then there’s the ride experience, which uses five-person rafts to send the riders into “near-vertical, zero-G moments”. Riders begin as the rafts gather speed and then drops into the TornadoWAVE® 60 from above. Experiencing long hang times, the rafts are specifically designed to sweep across the width of the wall while keeping riders suspended in the air before descending into an out-run.

 

PARQUEWARNER BEACH, an outdoor water park, is one of the main tourism and entertainment destinations in Madrid.

Part of the same complex is Aquaman, Parque Warner Beach’s FlyingSAUCER® 45 – also from ProSlide. The ride shares similarities with the TornadoWAVE® 60 in that they both have instantly recognizable profiles and have an award-winning pedigree; the FlyingSAUCER® has been the recipient of Golden Ticket Awards, IAAPA Brass Ring Awards and the coveted IAAPA IMPACT Award.

Aquaman’s FlyingSAUCER® is a patented, high-speed, accelerating turn that makes riders feel like a World Cup ski racer. Riders are accelerated through the turn and experience what’s described as a “drop and dive sensation” while they race along the outer wall. In keeping with the park’s Warner Bros. theming, each ride is visually designed to complement a character from Warner Bros.-owned DC Comics. Parque Warner Beach made eye-catching attractions even more stunning with inspiration from Aquaman and his foe, Black Manta.

www.proslide.com

PORTABLE SMART CHARGING SOLUTIONS

 

THE CTEK CS FREE is the perfect solution for off-grid battery charging.

 

With 72 spacious touring and camping pitches, Cote Ghyll, in the idyllic countryside of the North York Moors National Park, is a picturesque and quiet retreat, and an ideal location for families or groups of friends who enjoy the great outdoors. Cote Ghyll is the perfect stop-off for hikers, walkers or cyclists exploring the 554 square miles of the North York Moors National Park, boasting 26 miles of coastline and an incredible 1,408 miles of footpaths.

Since lockdown, the camping and caravan market has seen a growing trend towards shorter and more frequent breaks with more and more people new to the world of camping and caravanning. Cote Ghyll experienced a massive 137% increase in bookings in the 12 months to March 2022 as holidaymakers rushed to secure pitches. This early booking trend meant that seasonal staff returned to work as early as January to cope with the demand.

This increase in demand, coupled with the inexperience of many new campers, means that there is more often a requirement for the park to provide charging solutions for both flat car batteries after a camping holiday, and for guests returning to the site after a long day of walking or cycling requiring a portable source of power to charge smartphones, cameras and other technology. The CTEK CS FREE is the perfect solution for all of these requirements, a multi-functional portable charger and smart maintainer with ‘Adaptive Boost’ technology.

 

CTEK PROVIDES a portable source of power to charge smartphones, cameras and other technology.

 

Along with the solar panel kit, it is easy to operate and easy to understand, and it will get users on the move from a flat battery within 15 minutes, meaning that visitors aren’t stranded on their pitch unable to start your vehicle at the end of a younger campers holiday. Jon Hill, Owner of Cote Ghyll said; “Since the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 we have seen an increase in younger and less experienced campers who have a new-found love for being out on the trail. We are right are on the doorstep of so many amazing walks and cycle rides, there is no better way to experience the North York Moors than under your own steam.

“When it comes to packing the right equipment, it is not always easy to think of everything, and now that we, as a fair and intelligent society, have realised that smartphone batteries last a day at most, it’s more essential than ever to pack a bit of extra power when camping or touring in the great outdoors.“

www.ctek.com

POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER

 

SPATEX, the pool, spa and wellness trade show takes place early next year at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

 

For those looking to inject new pulling-power to their pool, spa and wellness offering, then SPATEX, at the Coventry Building Society Arena, from Tuesday January 31st to Thursday February 2nd presents the obvious shop window.

Showcasing products and innovations from around the world, such as the newest hot tub models, super insulating covers, solar heating, air source heat pumps, variable speed pumps, provides an opportunity to see, touch and compare the most up-to-date selection of energy saving equipment all under one roof.

With free attendance to a double seminar and workshop programme on all three days of the show, you can pick up the latest energy saving guidance from experts and glean impartial advice for your own individual projects. With knowledge, the latest technological advances and careful management, there are effective ways to significantly reduce energy consumption and bills,” says the event organiser, Michele Bridle. “It’s this positive message that, with the help of our exhibitors and experts, we aim to convey to our visitors.”

Register FREE www.spatex.co.uk for SPATEX 2023 and receive monthly updates

FIVE PARK SALE COMPLETED

 

LYONS HOLIDAY PARKS has completed the purchase of Sunnysands Caravan Parks and the freehold interest in five holiday parks.

 

Sunnysands Caravan Parks has completed the sale of the business, which includes the freehold interest in five holiday parks located in North Wales, to Lyons Holiday Parks, the largest independent holiday park operator in Wales, for an undisclosed amount. Sunnysands Caravan Parks is a portfolio of five well-located holiday parks in North Wales.

These parks include: Parc Caerelwan, Moelfre View Caravan Park, Tyddyn Goronwy and Sunnysands Caravan Park which are all located in the popular coastal location of Talybont, and Snowdon View Caravan Park, the Group’s only inland holiday park, which provides stunning views of the Snowdonia mountains. Combined, the entire estate extends approximately 83.88 acres and offers over 1200 pitches.