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
SPANNING THE SCOPE OF OUTDOOR SPACE 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
YOUR NEXT STAR PERFORMER
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.
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.
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.
Tel. 01480 226800
BRITAIN’S BEST CHILD-FREE BREAKS
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
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
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.
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
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:
0344 274 0276
PROVING THE PERFECT APP SOLUTION
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.
On-line technology does the hefty lifting for hospitality sales...
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.
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.”
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%).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
LET US ENTERTAIN YOU!
The vibrant mix of holiday destination talent...
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.
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.
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!”
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.
Tel. 01472 236 465
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%.
Tel. 01271 378100
NEW CORDLESS CLEANER IS SMASH HIT
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.
Tel. 01993 707910
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.
Tel. 01980 664800
MAKING A SPLASH
Top tips and strategies for aquatic attractions...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tel. 01322 4244 45
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.
Tel. 01483 813834
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
AN INSTANT NEW ATTRACTION
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
THE FUN FACTOR
Play remains an integral part of the holiday offering...
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Tel. 0115 982 3980
Technical Outdoor Solutions
Tel. 01768 840 300
Tel. 01536 517028
Away Resort's raises the UK holiday park bar...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
STRATEGIES TO DRIVE GROWTH FOR HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
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
NEW £1M STAFFS HOLIDAY DEVELOPMENT
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
1st – 2nd November 2023
Events present a wealth of business ideas to help with your forward 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
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.
HOLE IN ONE FOR STONHAM BARNS
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
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
HUSH QUIET WORK MACHINES
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.
HOLIDAY MATCH OF THE DAY
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
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
REDUCING COSTS AND 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.
MAX OFFERS REVENUE BOOST
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.
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...
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.
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 email@example.com for more information.
MAXIMISING POOLSIDE RETAIL SALES WINDOWS
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.
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.
HAVING A BLAST!
Add a splash of waterplay to your on-site visitor appeal...
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.”
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE
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.
Even the humblest washroom facilities can make or break your brand, advises Becci Knowles...
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
Creating a themed holiday break can hike bookings, writes Judith Wojtowicz...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
FRESH CORDLESS CLEANING APPROACH
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!
Tel. 01993 707910
CAMPING IS MAJOR WELLBEING BOOST
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:
• 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
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
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Tel. 01422 358 525
Keep your insurance cover up to date...
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.
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.
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.
Tel. 0344 274 0276
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.
Tel. 01422 396 693
Pictures and reports from the unmissable Holiday Park & Resort event...
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.
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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
RELIABLE BROADBAND TOP PRIORITY
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.
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
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org https://thesplash.uk
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’.
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.
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.
PORTABLE SMART CHARGING SOLUTIONS
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.
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.“
POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER
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
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.
WORK ON LUXURY WELSH PARK UNDERWAY
Work has started on a £2.2m Oak View Lodge Park in Denbighshire, North Wales, a development which will see 89 luxury lodges in landscaped surroundings. With sweeping views across the tranquil Vale of Clwyd, the 18-acre park is being created in the grounds of a former hotel which closed in January 2009.
Twenty lodges are being released in the first phase of the development, with prices starting from £225,000. Purchasers will be offered a choice of two and three-bedroom architect- designed lodges, selected from leading UK lodge manufacturers and complete with central heating and high levels of insulation.
Facilities include private hot-tubs, luxury furnishings and fittings, high-speed fibre broadband, and many other pampering touches such as an on-site concierge service. Business owner Jamie Hughes, who has 25 years of experience in the holiday homes and lodge industry said: “Oak View provides a glorious rural setting with superb walking opportunities right on the doorstep and is within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park and the North Wales coast.
“Our high-speed fibre internet connection ensures that those who are able to work remotely can do so in a peaceful, picture-perfect environment and enjoy a wonderful work-life balance.” Owners will be able to have full use of their lodges throughout the four seasons as Oak View has a 12-month operating licence which allows stays throughout the year.
BEAMING SUCCESS FOR TORCHLIGHT FESTIVAL
More than 4,500 people attended The Camping and Caravanning Club’s first Torchlight Festival of Camping this summer at Walesby Forest in Nottinghamshire. The new-look festival built upon the Club’s long history of running family- friendly events and relaunched the previous National Feast of Lanterns (NFOL), which dated back to 1921.
The festival’s main stage, sponsored by Cotswold Outdoor, played host to big-name music acts including Squeeze, Gabrielle and The Wurzels. The Club’s President, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, also took to the decks for her own DJ set where she performed on stage alongside The Invisible Circus – a spectacular illuminated show of acrobats.
And there was also a wide range of activities in the Family Tipi and an on-site wellness sanctuary. Nicola Simpson, the Club’s Director of Marketing and Insight, said: “We were delighted to welcome campers to our very first Torchlight Festival of Camping. “Torchlight saw us launch a new festival and at the same time pass the traditions of a fantastic Club event that served us well for a century on to a new generation of campers and festival-goers.
“It was wonderful to see so many caravans, motorhomes and tents illuminated with lights across Walesby Forest while families and friends met up and had a great time enjoying outdoor activities and top music acts. The festival was ageless with Club members ranging from babies right up to campers in their 90s, which helped create a fantastic atmosphere. We’ve been overwhelmed by so much positive feedback.”
EYES TO STAR-STRUCK NORFOLK SKIES
Renowned as one of the best places in England to discover the dark skies, Norfolk’s Kelling Heath Holiday Park, welcomes astronomers for its Winterfest from Thursday to Monday, November 24th – 28th. Accredited as a ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’ in 2017, Kelling Heath boasts the highest ‘two star’ site accolade as seven stars of the Orion constellation and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye from the Park.
Kelling Heath is one of only five Dark Sky Discovery sites in Norfolk. For 2022, 10 premium pitches within the Yellow Dragonfly touring field have been designated as exclusively for astronomers*. These dedicated pitches are perfect for stargazers as they are hidden in a secluded and sheltered part of the Park.
Lucy Cook, Marketing Manager at Kelling Heath says: “We are pleased to welcome more astronomers throughout the year and look forward to building our offering to support stargazing in Norfolk. “We look forward to welcoming stargazers for many years to come.” The British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies commended Kelling Heath for its commitment to educating guests and its work in protecting the areas dark skies, leading them to receive a Good Lighting Award in 2019.
The Park provides stargazing information for guests and Holiday Homeowners including leaflets, a dedicated website section and new interpretation boards at its Dark Sky Discovery Site area on Park. Michael Timewell, Director of Blue Sky Leisure, who owns Kelling Heath Holiday Park, said: “Kelling Heath gives many guests their first true dark skies experience. The excitement and wonder you see on the faces of those experiencing the majesty of the night sky at our star parties is something that will never get old.”
“We pride ourselves conserving the natural environment at Kelling Heath, and part of that is achieved by helping our guests make the most of the natural landscape around them in a responsible way – this includes how they interact with the dark skies on Park. Our Countryside Team continue to provide guests with educational talks and dedicated events to help them immerse themselves in the Park’s stunning natural surroundings.”
EXTENDING VISITOR SEASONS
Neil Campbell reports on his recent autumnal holiday stay...
With modern motorhomes and caravans now built to withstand cold weather, equipped with proper insulation and efficient heating, more and more sites are extending their bookings to include autumn and winter stays. My wife and I recently decided to give out-of-season touring a go and hired a motorhome for a long weekend at the St Neots campsite run by the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC), situated next to the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire.
The Hardwick Road campsite is open until the end of October — long enough to embrace the autumn half- term holidays and Halloween. We had checked in online as the CCC encourages you to do, and this made arrival a seamless process. We were met at the gate as we arrived with a friendly welcome, which makes all the difference. We didn’t even have to get out of the motorhome and were led by one of the managers to our pitch – and in fact we were given a choice of three.
A speedy reception and check-in makes all the difference and makes for a more relaxed start to your holiday, with online check in a massive advantage. It is a real help if there is plentiful local information, with brochures for local cafes, takeaways and taxi firms, and several maps showing the local area. Hooking-up could not have been simpler, with the electricity point directly behind the pitch.
There was a waterpoint about 10 metres away if we needed it, although we had a full tank. There was also a well-equipped motorhome service point where you could drain grey water and fill up with fresh water, and two chemical toilet disposal points. We were on a hardstanding pitch of about 8 metres by 4 metres, with an electric hook-up.
There was just about room for our pop-up gazebo, although we didn’t put it up in the end as the weather was good. There would have been ample space for a motorhome awning, and as the CCC has a policy of six metres between pitches, the whole site felt well spread out. The grounds had very well-kept grass and mature trees across the site, so that it retained a feeling of being in the country even though it was on the edge of a town, about 10 minutes’ walk away.
We paid just under £100 for three nights for two adults. A grass tent pitch with electric would have been about £95, or a tent pitch without electric just under £80. We paid a 25% deposit, with the balance being collected on our day of arrival. It would also have been straightforward to change the dates of our booking online. There was also a lot of site information available on the CCC website, so we knew what would be there.
Check-in time was from 1pm, and contactless, which is a real advantage for arriving campers, particularly when the days are getting shorter, and checkout was mid-day, allowing for a leisurely start to the day without any need to rush. Facilities were excellent – spotlessly clean and spread across two blocks, so when one was shut for cleaning for 45 minutes, the other one was open. There were plenty of showers, although no shower curtains although there were locking doors of course.
The washing-up areas were under cover and there was plenty of hot water, and the laundry looked well-equipped with plenty of machines. Disabled access to the facilities looked to be excellent. There was a parent and baby room. I was also very impressed that there was a defibrillator machine, in my opinion every campsite should have one – it could save someone’s life. The bins were located at one location near the entrance, presumably so that the dustbin lorries only had one place to pick up from.
There were no separate recycling bins, so everything went in one rubbish bag. We were told that they were sorted out by the refuse collection teams. The campsite wifi was also very effective, and with an easily remembered password. There were lots of dogs and it seemed a very pet-friendly site. There was a code to get through the barrier onto the site, and an automatic barrier when you left. There was also a code for one of the loo blocks, as I think passing walkers had been using the facilities for free!
There was no shop on site although LPG gas was available from reception, as was the ability to freeze ice packs crucial if you are tent-camping. You could also get fishing licences for the nearby River Great Ouse. I think in an ideal world motorhome or caravan hardstanding areas would have individual water supplies and drainage points for grey water.
A small shop stocking essentials would be very useful – canned goods, bread, basics such as pasta, milk and perhaps eggs. If there is a shop, the essentials of camping gas, charcoal, firewood and batteries for torches should be freely available. Highly desirable food items would include marshmallows, hot chocolate, cake and anything that can be toasted on a fire — crumpets and teacakes chief among them.
Providing local information is also vital some sites offer the wonderful service of a visiting pizza or fish and chip van, but if not then leaflets for local takeaways, and directories for other services, can make a huge difference. Games, books or DVD’s to borrow or buy offer added value. The CCC lists 18 of its campsites as being open all year round, with the most northerly being Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland and the most southerly being Tavistock in Devon.
Touring sites will of course need to balance the potential to attract visitors during the off season against the cost of doing so. From the campers’ point of view, a full range of facilities need to be available if a campsite is open — hot showers and a laundry being probably top of the wish list. Our experience of holidaying in autumn has only served to make us want more — we are already planning a winter trip and wondering if we are hardy enough to try it in a tent!
CARRY ON GLAMPING
Eco-credentials and a unique experience are top of the list when it comes to maintaining that all-important occupancy rate, reports Judith Wojtowicz
Getting up close and personal with a llama might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday break. But at Glamping with Llamas on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, it is the ultimate in experiential glamping. The clue is in the name… a herd of ‘off duty’ grazing llamas are well used to visitors walking among them.
At 6pm each day, in the words of Tina Gambell, they are ‘on duty’ as she and husband Chris feed, groom and demonstrate how to handle them, sharing with visitors keen to learn more about these gentle creatures. The couple set up their business after realising their paddock pets had potential to offer a unique visitor experience.
“The difference here is that we encourage our guests to walk among the llamas and interact with them where similar sites seem to keep their animals behind a fence,” said Tina. One of their llamas acted as ring bearer for a summer wedding… a truly immersive and unique experience.
“The market is becoming saturated but for sites with a genuine usp, even those who are watching their pennies, will return if they enjoyed a memorable and unique experience,” added Tina, who is developing their wedding offering for the coming year. The word ‘experience’ is cropping up more and more as market growth slows, having seen an explosion of interest during the pandemic as people sought ‘outside’ holiday options.
While some pop-up sites and less-well managed businesses have since vanished, there is still much to choose from, be it a £60 per night cabin with shared shower block or high-end glamour from £200 upwards. In the absence of definitive data, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate glamour alone is no longer enough. Among the fast-growing millennial crowd, priorities include an eco-friendly offering combined with glorious setting and 5-star plus luxury… picture perfect for Instagram.
They want quirky en suite accommodation, think treehouse, geodome, gypsy caravan, stargazer tent, yurt, exotic tipi or converted vintage vehicles, with added value such as spa, wellness activities, nature trails and even the services of a top-class professional chef. Green tourism is a big trend with all ages, as people actively seek a glampsite that embraces sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint and getting close to nature.
One such is Brownscombe Luxury Glamping in Devon whose far-ranging sustainability policy has seen it win the Green Tourism Gold Award three years running. Its commitments include using third-party suppliers who follow similar principles such as the local laundry that has invested in biomass and solar technologies to minimise their impact on the environment, not to mention a water borehole.
A fine example of a circular economy designed to reduce waste and protect the environment. Sarah Riley, founder of The Glamping Academy helps would-be hosts around the world to design their dream eco-accommodation. She told us: “Only ten years ago a bell tent in a field was enough of an attraction because it was seen as new and different.
Today, as well as a wonderful location and amazing interiors a successful business needs to maximise the guest experience.” All those things can be found at The Little Shire in Somerset, whimsical hobbit houses built partly underground… fit for hobbits and humans, says Adelle Hobbs, who added glamping to an established commercial operation within a converted dairy farm.
A selection of independent shops and eateries, plus black-nosed valois sheep and friendly alpacas make for a memorable setting. There is even a hobbit playhouse for children.
COSY AND WARM
The houses are fully insulated with underfloor heating. While this makes them cosy and warm enabling year-round occupancy, they are energy hungry which is cause for concern amid rising costs. Fresh water comes from a borehole and the site has its own waste system.
Having welcomed her first visitors in May last year, after a four-year planning process interrupted by the pandemic, Adelle was fully booked very quickly and is anxious not to lose that momentum. Marketing is an ongoing challenge a role she has now passed on to a professional agency to relieve her of the ‘mind-boggling stress’ that kept her awake at night worrying about the online booking system and social media.
“I am great with people, and I love this lifestyle, but the key thing when starting out is to treat it as a journey of self-discovery, she said. “Learn what you can and can’t do and accept advice and help whether it be technical, practical physical tasks or the all-important planning stage.” In contrast, Meadowfield Luxury Glamping in Warwickshire is part of a working arable farm offering a ‘hands on’ experience to guests who stay in luxuriously appointed safari tents.
Their farm tour, by third generation farmer David Mold, is an education for all ages, especially children who have never seen a combine harvester or those who have no idea where food comes from. His wife, Jules, who was a panellist at The Glamping Show recently, has turned a four-acre meadow, seeded with wildflowers as part of an environmental project, into a thriving glampsite running between April and October.
“The site is set just off the yard, so guests are close to nature while also getting a close-up view of farm life,” said Jules. Her advice to newbies, as she explained at the show, is to do their homework and take the time to research and draw up a viable plan. And she adds a health warning: “Unless your heart is really set on it, my advice is to think twice,” she said.
“You will spend more, and work harder than you ever imagined although positive feedback is so rewarding and makes the effort worthwhile.” Diversification of this kind was one of the market drivers before Covid, farmers and landowners able to access grant funding from government and other sources to support and enhance rural life.
While this is still the case, there are signs landowners are now partnering with outside investors to monetise the opportunities. They recognise the potential for good return and see glamping as a short-to-medium term project, incorporating an exit strategy into a five-year business plan.
As the market evolves, this is one of the changing trends noted by The Rural Planning Co, former land agents who specialise in working with new operators. Sophie Blandford, business development and marketing manager, told us: “Ahead of Covid there was real buoyancy and excitement in the market and while that pace has slowed, 2021 was a fantastically successful year because of the ongoing uncertainty of overseas travel which boosted the ‘staycation’.
“The staycation market looks set to stay although popular coastal areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty are becoming saturated. When it comes to applying for planning permission, many local authorities will be keen to capitalise on the tourist pound. The consumer will vote with their feet in a crowded market so providing options in less obvious places is probably where the best opportunity lies at the current time.”
Hotels, holiday and caravan parks and even historic houses are getting in on the act, likely to generate even more competition in the future as they have their own traditional audience and are located away from the hustle and bustle of those saturated areas. “On the positive side, there is plenty of room for creativity and good return on investment, as long as the proposal is based on sound planning and in-depth research.” added Sophie.
The hot tub influence on increasing bookings...
For the holiday industry, 2022 has been another record year for staycations, delivering an estimated £15.5billion boost to the British economy. According to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ annual Staycation Index, 77 per cent of Brits holidayed in the UK this year, spending an average of £822 on their accommodation alone.
So how do you make your holiday destination stand out from the crowd and increase the odds of internet surfers pressing the book button? The simple answer – add a hot tub. “UK staycations with hot tubs consistently appears on a list of the most common staycation searches,” says Gareth Ward, Sales Director at Superior Wellness, one of the UK’s leading hot tub suppliers.
“A hot tub not only adds a touch of luxury but can also increase occupancy and revenue by up to 60%. “But much more than that, a hot tub allows families and loved ones to reconnect and spend quality time together,” Gareth adds. “People are also focusing on their wellness much more and a hot tub can help with this – soothing aches and pains, reducing anxiety and stress and relieving headaches. All reasons that may inspire a customer to book a holiday property with a hot tub.”
Jonathan Pritchard owns a holiday let based in Anglesey, he recently made the decision to add a Vacation Social hot tub, from the Superior Wellness stable, to his property. Jonathan purchased the hot tub from Superior Wellness’ partner at Concept Spa in Wales and he explains: “We wanted to increase bookings and people always say that it’s a bonus to have a hot tub, we were also recommended to get one by Sykes.
“I was recommended by Concept Spa to go for the Vacation social based on the value for money, the fact it’s simple and easy to use, less hassle/ maintenance, less things for people to break. “It has most definitely made a difference to my bookings; we are noticing that the winter months are also filling up much faster.”
If you are looking to purchase a hot tub for your holiday let, Superior Wellness recommend the Vacation Range or their Platinum Spas Holiday Let 5 hot tub. Both offerings are perfect for holiday homes, cottages, B&Bs and Airbnb as they designed specifically for the holiday let market these hot tubs offer a basic layout with no breakable or removeable components and are designed for heavy usage.
The robust but minimalistic design perfectly complements any garden, decking or outdoor environment. Gareth Ward again: “We do get a number of queries from potential buyers and this is a common question. But is the constant upkeep, care and maintenance is going to offer a decent return on your investment?
Gareth Ward again: “You need to look after your hot tub and ensure you provide the care and maintenance it needs and stick to the guidelines. However, the increase in revenue you will receive in terms of price per night and occupancy will outweigh any time and money spent on the upkeep.”
Waiting around for a hot tub to warm up isn’t a holiday guest’s idea of fun, so Golden Coast’s exceptionally fast hot tub heat pumps are ideal for ensuring the spa is ready to enjoy in no time. The inverter-driven Golden Coast air source pump heats water quickly and efficiently.
During a test conducted on a hot tub in an ambient air temperature of 12 degrees, Golden Coast found that it took three hours and 40 minutes to heat the hot tub water from 10 degrees to 38 degrees. This was much faster than the electric heater previously being used.
A Golden Coast heat pump operates on a lower current so uses much less energy than electric heaters without compromising on performance. For each kilowatt of energy consumed, the heat pump offers an output of up to 13 kilowatts of heat – that’s 13 times more efficient than a standard electric heater.
A Golden Coast pump can reach an extremely high coefficient of performance meaning that once the water reaches the desired temperature (up to 40°C) the heat pump turns off while maintaining the temperature. “It is quicker to heat a hot tub with warmer air temperature, but a Golden Coast heat pump performs even in cold weather, so hot tubs can be enjoyed all year round,” says Adam Clark, General Manager at Golden Coast.
“Our heat pump is extremely energy efficient, allowing park owners to make significant savings on their bills. The more hot tubs a holiday park has, the more savings that can be made. Golden Coast has supplied air source heat pumps to a number of holiday parks with great success and with extremely positive feedback from park managers.
Golden Coast’s General Manager, Adam Clark, advises: “Whereas some heat pumps can be loud, a Golden Coast heat pump uses a unique ventilation structure enabling it to maintain noise levels as low as 25dB — ensuring peace and quiet for guests and peace of mind for owners.” When it comes to holiday hot tub insurance, Compass Insurance advise, to make sure that your insurance covers you for loss or damage as well as any possible legal liability arising from them being used.
Most insurers will include hot tubs in their general definition of structures, hire fleet or caravans (at Compass they do) but it’s worth checking the definitions in your policy to make sure. From there it’s also really important to make sure that the replacement cost of the Hot Tub is factored into any sum insured you have for your hire fleet. As well as the Hot Tubs themselves being insured your legal liability to the public using them should also be checked.
Have clear and documented guidance as to who should and shouldn’t use Hot Tubs. Holidaymakers with health conditions, including those with serious illnesses, respiratory and cardiac conditions and diabetes, as well as pregnant women or those on certain medications, should seek advice from their doctor before using a hot tub. Similarly, infections and disease can be spread, so those with body infections and open sores/ wounds etc, should not use a hot tub.
Comprehensive signage and instructions on the use of the hot tub are also important. Most of the claims we see in relation to Hot Tubs, and wet areas in general, relate to slips and trips when getting in and out. Cleaning and maintenance are critical and any hot tub owned by the park should follow a documented and robust process. Where possible this should also be in line with the manufacturer guidance and regular evidence, checks and logs kept.
Regularly checking the water, systems and filters is also essential. Parks have responsibilities even where they do not own the hot tub in question. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 does not apply to privately-owned hot tubs where there is no financial gain and they are used exclusively by the private owner, family members and occasional guests.
Park owners should also consider the matter of Employers’ Liability. We have seen a case in the past where an employee was known by their employer to have a reaction to chemicals, but the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) was not enforced. It is almost impossible to defend a claim when a relaxed approach to employee safety is taken. This highlights the importance of training staff appropriately and having systems in place for them to follow when they are involved in the cleaning and maintenance of hot tubs.
BEST SITE IMPRESSIONS
Advice from leading suppliers on your holiday park landscaping purchases...
Not to be underestimated, the importance of that first impression of your holiday location is an opportunity only served once. Everything your guests can see when they arrive needs to be immaculately maintained especially keeping a keen-eyed view on open spaces, driveways and garden areas.
“First impressions count, and this is particularly relevant in the holiday parks sector, be it the customer’s first impression on arrival or the images portrayed on your website,” emphasises Rupert Price, the owner of Price Turfcare, the UK importer of the Ventrac range of turf maintenance equipment. “This visual presentation is so important and could be the difference between your prospective client choosing your site over one that is close by.” Rupert continues: “All parks have copious areas of grass that need to be maintained in good order; long grass looks unsightly and gives the impression of neglect, so the condition and presentation is vital.” There are many mowers on the market from walk-behinds and ride-ons, either rotary or cylinder, the occasional flail, and even remote-controlled mowers for sloping ground that can help you achieve the perfect picture.
Walk-behind mowers, be they cylinder or rotary, are ideal for confined spaces but for large areas they are unproductive and labour intensive. Ride-ons come in various sizes from the semi-commercial small out-front rotaries to the large commercial cylinder mowers with rollers that provide attractive striping.
If a sloping bank is greater than 15 degrees, it is unlawful to operate the machine as it may roll over. To overcome this, remote-controlled mowers have been introduced, which enables the operator to stand clear of the machine and work from a safe distance. Most of these machines have a limited cutting width, so again productivity is an issue.
They are normally tracked vehicles and, in wet conditions, can ruin a grass bank when turning. Vitally, Ventrac and Price Turfcare offer an alternative that can overcome all of these issues and do more than just cut grass and, more importantly, in a safe manner. “We can legitimately operate on slopes up to 30 degrees, twice their permitted angle and allowing areas that may have not been maintained regularly, to be tamed,” Rupert explains.
“With seven different mowing decks we’re obviously not a one-trick pony, but with numerous other attachments we can provide the versatility you should be demanding from your equipment.” It is worth noting, the Ventrac offers a Power Broom for removing debris from hard surfaces, ideal for car parks and paved areas. The Power Rake is a great tool for renovating compacted hardcore pitches or Type 1 aggregate road and pathways.
Compaction to pitches, caused by the continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes over the course of a season, can be relieved using the Aera-vator and attaching the Seeder unit it is possible to aerate and overseed in a single pass. There are a couple of debris blowers, the Turbine blower and Power blower, for removing autumnal leaves on parks close to or surrounded by woodland and finally, the Boom mower, for maintaining hedges and lake margins.
Trevalgan is an award-winning, luxury, five-star, family camping and touring park with stunning coastal and countryside views, just two miles from St Ives. The Park, which is owned and run by Neil and Annette Osborne, is surrounded by open farmland, with gorse and heather covered hills behind, and is within walking distance of the rugged and beautiful South West Coast Path. They recently invested in a Ventrac landscaping package. Neil explains: “The main reason I was interested in the Ventrac package was because of the ease of changing the implements safely and quickly on my own. The compact size and manoeuvrability of the machine is ideal for our busy campsite and enables me to get in to all the tight spaces. “The overall quality of the machine and implements are excellent. I have been very impressed by the Area-vator as this helps to relieve the compaction of the pitches caused by a five-month season of continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes. Neil adds: “At the end of the season, this versatile implement can also re-seed the pitch at the same time, which makes the Ventrac very time efficient and I have been more than pleased with the end result.”
FIT FOR PURPOSE
Of course, professionals using any power tool will naturally demand a product that can do the job with ease. Outdoor equipment and power tools that are powered by lithium-ion batteries and manufactured by trusted manufacturers can reliably offer users this reassurance, as lithium-ion batteries can hold high levels of energy and will work for long periods of time without needing to be charged.
“For professionals who rely on a machine for their livelihood, quality shouldn’t be compromised, and users should only source equipment from trusted manufacturers to make sure the tool is fit for the job,” says Mark Earles, Product Development Manager for Outdoor Products at Makita UK. “This is particularly important when using battery-powered products,’ he adds.
The temptation to use third party, uncertified, cheap batteries can lead to poor product performance, or even risk fire and injury. Using a third-party battery will also invalidate any tool warranties. Only use genuine batteries from the manufacturer that have been fully tested and guaranteed to work with the tool and Users are increasingly looking for more sustainable solutions, with a move toward battery powered tools that can replace petrol, or corded alternatives.
Cordless products offer freedom to move about on site, without spending time on the safe management of trailing cables in public areas, or handling petrol – and the associated fumes for those nearby.
DO NOT DISTURB
A further priority, particularly for those working on a public site, is noise. Cordless machines are typically quieter than petrol products, making them an ideal choice for working through the day whilst minimising disturbance for holiday park guests. In line with this, Makita stopped manufacturing its petrol-powered products in January this year to concentrate on developing its cordless range further to evolve with the needs of the market.
Mark advises: “When investing into a cordless system of outdoor equipment, choose a manufacturer that offers a range of tools powered by the same battery platform. “This not only makes switching between jobs easier, but also reduces costs if you buy the ‘body only’ models -- without battery and charger – simply use your existing batteries and chargers to power your entire collection, rather than purchasing new ones every time.” Users also want tools that offer productivity and efficiency gains. Makita is constantly refining its battery and charging technologies, to provide the performance and power that professionals need as well supporting greener and cleaner products for the industry.
Makita manufactures a wide range of outdoor equipment and construction power tools with a core focus on cordless technology. With over 100 years’ experience, the company has refined this expertise and today offers over 290 products in its LXT battery powered range alone.
The LXT collection includes products such as blowers, lawnmowers, linetrimmers and hedge trimmers, as well as drills, saws, drivers and wrenches, even radios, heated jackets and kettles and the company continues to add more to the range each year. This means outdoor professionals have a huge choice of kit that can all be powered by the same battery without the restriction of cords or petrol.
Simply switch the battery to a different tool to tackle every type of job, anywhere on site, with ease. At this time of year, leaf blowers such as the DUB186 18V LXT Bower are a hugely popular and essential product to clear paths and public areas from autumn leaves. The DUB186 is compact and lightweight solution that can be easily transported around site, offering a maximum air volume of 3.2m2/min and variable speed control. Linetrimmers are also an essential grounds maintenance solution that remain popular thanks to their versatility and effectiveness in making light work of neatening grassy areas.
A tool such as the DUR192L 18V LXT Line-trimmer can be used to tidy edges around borders, trim awkward areas around static caravans, decking, fences and walls, as well as heavier duty applications to clear weeds and long grass. Its quiet operation is ideal for use in public spaces.
Take advantage of manufacturers, like Makita, that offer free training on using equipment correctly and safely. When working with any outdoor equipment, always wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure staff wear and use the correct safety equipment.
Failing to do so could cost an employee’s eyesight, hearing, a finger, the end of a career, or worse. As we head into winter, what better time to evaluate your outdoor areas and carry out the necessary modifications to make your guests’ first impressions count in time for the 2023 season. “The landscape and surroundings of your holiday park or caravan site provide the backdrop for a picture-postcard holiday,” urges Phil Catley, Kubota (UK)’s Ground Care Product Manager. “When it comes to grounds maintenance, mowing will likely be the operation conducted most frequently and by making simple changes to your cutting regime – such as considering cut and collect – it can have major benefits, not just to site presentation. Mowing of both communal spaces and those in and around chalets and statics is absolutely essential to maintaining the aesthetic quality of your site, and in peak growing season may be conducted on a daily basis. The finesse of a clean cut however, can sometimes be compromised by the clippings left behind following the pass of a ride-on mower.”
The Kubota G-Series has been designed for high performance and ease of operation, offering impressive cutting performance on grass of all lengths and in all conditions. For landscaped areas close to holiday lets, many Grounds Managers are now turning to ride-on units that offer cut and collect – delivering precision and accuracy of cut and removal of the clippings produced in a single pass. Says Phil: “Not only does this enhance presentation and reduce the risk and problems associated with the mown grass being trodden into accommodation, removal of clippings is also great for turf health. “Your grass surfaces are living organisms, that require both air and sunlight to create food and grow,” advises Phil.
“Allowing thick piles of clippings to accumulate can create dark, warm and damp micro-climates that can lead to issues with certain turf diseases which can ultimately impact on the health and overall appearance of your green spaces.”
They say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. SALTEX 2022 takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3, and promises a wealth of practical tips and product to add to your outdoor landscaping plans. SALTEX attracts the most exhibitors in the industry to one place at any one time.
With new exhibitors coming on board weekly, the 2022 event is already set to be the biggest and best show yet. SALTEX continues to attract the best in the business – with visitor registrations from over 30 countries already confirmed with a roll call of domestic and international exhibitors signed-up. Free to attend, the show includes the ever-popular Learning LIVE programme - a key element in the SALTEX offering, which has this year been extended to over 30 sessions with influential speakers addressing a range of key issues impacting the industry. High on the agenda are sustainability and environmental issues.
SALTEX is an event grounds people have always made the time to attend. Visitor and exhibitor feedback surveys confirm that the networking opportunities are a massive draw and never more so than in the post-pandemic landscape. 2021 survey data showed that almost half (46%) of visitors attend for networking opportunities; over two-thirds (68%) attend to source new products, services, and suppliers; topped by an extremely high satisfaction rating of 83% voting the show as Good, Very Good or Excellent.
Reesink UK will be represented at SALTEX 2022 with innovations and technologies, new launches and best sellers from all four of its divisions Reesink Turfcare, Reesink e-Vehicles, Reesink Agriculture and Reesink Hydro-Scapes for the first time. Bound to be a big draw will be two Toro product launches from Reesink Turfcare. The new Toro ProCore 648s and ToroWorkman UTX 4x4.
Building on the incredible legacy of the ProCore 648, the 648s brings more innovative features to the time-tested machine that changed the way you aerate. The s stands for superior – and superior it is. An updated version of a customer- favourite model, there are more than 10 new patents and some brand-new enhancements based off operator feedback and Toro’s own in-depth studies. Revised controls improve ergonomics and allow single handed operation, and hole spacing and true tine depth are now set and saved in the Info Centre. Reesink will also unveil the latest powerhouse from Toro to tackle all terrains thrown at it: the new Toro Workman UTX 4x4. The fourth utility vehicle in the series, it tackles all terrains and environments including ice and snow.
This robust four-wheel drive, full- sized utility vehicle has 25 percent more cargo capacity than others in its class and blasts through its tasks. Finishing the line up from Reesink Turfcare is Toro’s Groundsmaster 3300 mower, back with its innovative flail attachment, and one of two tractors – the TYM T395 is coupled with an AgriMetal blower attachment at the show.
The industry’s first all-electric compact tractor from Reesink Agriculture is the second on stand. Since Farmtrac’s FT25G launched, it’s won awards, been on multiple TV programmes and impressed the industry’s electric vehicles and technology enthusiasts, as well as winning the SALTEX Innovation Award in the Environmental and Sustainability category. So, if you’ve missed seeing it in person up until now, now’s your chance. With the theme of the show sustainability, Reesink e-Vehicles is ably represented by the electric CapellaWork Machine with cargo box from STAR EV and KAASPEED’s unique electric scooter. Both make transporting cargo and people around the site fun, clean and green.
Also on display, and the next big thing for sustainable cleaning of machinery, is Bio-Circle GT Maxi, the parts cleaner that requires no water and eliminates pollutant run-off into the water system. This VOC-free, pH neutral cleaning option is gentle on the environment but powerful enough to remove grease, oil, grass contamination, white-line paint and fertiliser.
From Reesink Hydro-Scapes, there’s a selection of irrigation and water aeration solutions, encapsulating the long established and industry-leading Toro irrigation systems, controllers, sprinklers and soil sensors, Otterbine pond and lake aerators; SRC wall-mounted controllers and quick-replace Franklin pump systems.
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 insurers, Compass, has put together some helpful tips to consider when it comes to their insurance. From an insurance perspective you want to check that:
1. The contractor does have insurance in place.
2. That insurance is specific to the work they are going to undertake
3. Their insurance doesn’t expose you and your policy to any claims Contractors come in all shapes and sizes, from large commercial businesses to bona fide contractors, Compass advises.
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.
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.
Kubota (U.K.) Limited
Tel: 01844 268205
Tel. 01908 211678
Tel. 01284 827540
Tel. 01480 226800
Tel. 07754 552405
FARMING SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Beth Connor reports from Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park...
We were delighted when the Holiday Park Scene team were invited to test out the facilities at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. Adam Henson is perhaps the best- known farmer in the UK, presenting his own section on BBC’s Countryfile to millions of viewers each Sunday evening.
Farming and conservation are Adam’s first passions and when the camera stops rolling, there is still plenty of work to be done. In 1971, Joe Henson founded Cotswold Farm Park to help protect some of our rare breeds of farm animal. Today, it’s Adam Henson, his business partner Duncan and of course the enthusiastic team, that are proud to be continuing in Joe’s wellington-booted footprints.
“We have passion for all we do here and are dedicated to delivering the best of British farming, through a sustainable and authentic approach,” says Adam.
The site has some outstanding qualities including:
• Very friendly staff
• Farm Park - free entrance
• Restaurant and Farm Park Shop
• Mapped on-site Wildlife Walk
• Dog Welcome Pack – Bed, Bowls, Long Leash & Peg, Blanket, Treats, Poo Bags
• Hot Tub
There’s regular excitement on the farm, whether it be lambing season, harvest time or the arrival of new calf; there’s always something new to see at the farm. Visitors have the opportunity to meet more than 50 rare breeds, have a go on pedal-tractors, fly along the zipline and hold little chicks.
Visitors can even book in for a day visit with their own horses to experience the 50-jump riding course in gorgeous woodlands, streams and valleys. The site offers a wide range of accommodation options including Sunset Lodges, Songbird Safari Tents, Camping Pods, Camping and Motorhome pitches and a seasonal Glamping Field.
The on-site facilities were outstanding including The Ox Shed Bar & Café, Farm Park Shop with home reared produce, beautiful, heated shower block, laundry facilities, picnic area, campers’ kitchen and of course the farm which provides a full day out for all the family.
Cotswold Farm Park
FIVE OUT OF FIVE FOR WATERSIDE
Waterside Holiday Group has come up trumps in a survey of the UK’s best value holiday parks by consumer champion Which? The company, which operates holiday parks in Dorset and Cornwall, scored 87 per cent in a survey of more than 2,200 stays.
Waterside Holiday Group scored five out of five stars in every category, including quality of accommodation, facilities, and value for money. Visitors highlighted their appreciation for the company’s choices of luxury caravans, as well as accommodation features including widescreen televisions and private hot tubs.
Dave Bennett, CEO of Waterside Holiday Group commented: “We are thrilled to have received such an incredible score as part of a renowned nationwide survey, which reflects genuine visitor reviews. “We have invested heavily in all our holiday parks to ensure we offer a five-star holiday experience to our guests, with exceptional quality accommodation, facilities, and customer service.
I would like to thank everyone at Waterside Holiday Group for their hard work in helping us continually achieve excellence across our parks.” Waterside Holiday Group has made multiple enhancements to its parks over the past two years, including introducing a range of luxury holiday homes with hot tubs and updated dining areas across sites.
The company has also continued committing to sustainability improvements across its parks, including the creation of natural habitat areas using native plants and species, introduction of beehives and installation of solar panels.
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS FOR WOOD LEISURE
Wood Leisure Holiday Parks are enjoying a double celebration after winning the Best Holiday Park, in the coveted Scottish Hospitality Awards, whilst celebrating their 40th anniversary in business. The award was won by Wood Leisure for Blairgowrie Holiday Park, which was the very first holiday park opened by the company 40 years ago.
The family owned and operated company was founded in 1981 by Colin and Margaret Wood, and has its head office in Blairgowrie, Perthshire. The business has almost 500 holiday homeowners, 130 self-catering lodges, caravan holiday homes, ensuite glamping and camping pods.
Colin Wood commented: “Family has always been at the heart of the business. I am delighted that our three daughters, Rachel, Kirsty, and Sarah, having grown up on the parks, have each returned to take their place within the family business. They continue to uphold our family values for the parks, whilst bringing fresh innovative ideas to take the company forward.”
Sarah Wood, Sales Director added: “We are delighted to be kicking off the summer season by winning Best Holiday Park in Scotland and to be able to bring the trophy back to Perthshire, to our team at Blairgowrie Holiday Park. We recognise that The Scottish Hospitality awards are voted for by the public, and we would also like to thanks all our guests and holiday home owners that took the time to vote for us.”
“After an incredibly difficult period for all tourism business, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate this good news. Demand for staycations with Wood Leisure continues to be incredibly positive in 2022. “The company has also seen increased demand for holiday homes as people chose to invest in lodges and caravan holiday homes for their families to come together and enjoy. The business has also benefitted from the increasing popularity of motorhomes and touring, with the popularity of the Northcoast 500.”
HOLIDAY MAKERS GET ON THEIR BIKES
The dramatic rise in staycations is triggering increased interest in cycling as a new, family-friendly holiday activity. The experts at Quella Bicycle have researched 2022’s most popular cycling routes, analysing hashtag data to put together a guide of the UK’s 10 best urban cycling routes for to explore this summer.
A spokesperson for Quella, Chris Pengilley, said: “Cycling holidays are increasingly accessible - there are hundreds of bike rental shops across the UK - but many people are unsure of where to start. “It can be even harder to choose where to go when you have a family, as younger children may struggle with steep or prolonged elevations.”
“While based on hashtag data, Quella Bicycle tips contain a range of trails accessible to young children to seasoned professionals - all with incredible views and sights that will make any staycation the ultimate trip away from home.” Geographic hashtag guest posts were topped by The Isle of Wight with 1.2m hashtags, followed by the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway with 809,000 hashtags.
OXFORD TOPS UK STAYCATION SPOTS
A new study has revealed the UK’s top staycation spots for a weekend getaway. The research, conducted by travel insurance experts Forbes Advisor, scored UK locations based on factors such as the cost of eating out, the average price of a local stay, and transport costs in and around each town or city.
It also analysed the number of attractions per 10,000 people to discover where offers the best experience for a staycation this autumn. The research revealed that the historical city of Oxford offers the best experience, with a Staycation Score of 93.6 out of 100.
Visitors can enjoy a three-course meal for two that costs just £50 on average with local taxi fares priced at just £1.75 per mile. Second place goes to York with its Staycation Score of 92.8. At 32.73, the city, which dates back to ancient Rome, offers the highest number of attractions per 10,000 people.
With its Staycation Score of 91.4, Cambridge takes third place as a staycation hotspot. The city also offers 29.51 attractions per 10,000 people.
Commenting on the findings, Laura Howard, personal finance expert at Forbes Advisor, said: “The continued prospect of flight and airport disruptions, lingering Covid testing requirements in some popular overseas destinations, and rising living costs are just some of the many good reasons why a short break within the UK might appeal this autumn. “And the good news is, our very own shores have so much to offer in terms of history, architecture, nature and scenery.”
ADVICE ON ENERGY COST SAVINGS
In a bid to help hospitality with the energy costs crisis, the not-for-profit Zero Carbon Forum is offering free energy saving guidance from its Save While You Sleep initiative. The aim of the scheme is to help businesses, like holiday park operators, reduce their power usage overnight to cut costs and carbon.
UK Hospitality estimates that 10,000 business could shut permanently in the coming 18 months. While bosses of companies owning almost half of the UK’s 47,000 pubs said that thousands of pubs face closure without urgent government support to soften the blow from soaring energy bills.
Mark Chapman, founder of Zero Carbon Forum said: “We look forward to seeing what Government intervention is provided to support our sector, but we want to provide all our knowledge and insight to try to help every operator in the industry during this crisis.
“By sharing the data and analysis gleaned from our members’ overnight energy usage made into a range of accessible resources, including engagement training and checklists, operators can engage their teams quickly to reduce energy waste and save on costs and carbon.” The Save While You Sleep programme was officially launched following member trials, which have realised energy savings per outlet worth £6,000 per annum at 2021 market rates.
It works by combining energy and carbon analytics with operational training and ongoing coaching. Existing energy smart meter data is run through Zero Carbon Services’ proprietary intelligence platform, to identify energy wastage every day and night.
Advice and guidance is straightforward but impactful with processes to save on energy, via a two -stage ‘10-minute’ shutdown process supported by posters and energy checklists for General and Area Managers.
The Zero Carbon Forum is a non-profit organisation which builds on 10 years of carbon reduction collaboration in the UK’s hospitality and brewing sector. It enables members to reach their decarbonisation targets faster, more efficiently and more cost effectively than acting alone.
Four shows in one at Birmingham's NEC...
Combining industry-leading exhibitors with the latest products and services for the holiday park sector, with a healthy splash of networking and discussion opportunities from its inspiring speaker programme, Holiday Park & Resort Innovation returns to Birmingham’s NEC this November 2nd and 3rd Together with Farm Business Innovation, Leisure Food & Beverage and the Family Attraction Expo, Holiday Park & Resort Innovation creates an unmissable opportunity to be inspired and equipped to develop your business in 2022 and beyond.
More than 500 exhibitors will showcase their offerings across the two days of the event. Amongst them is Greenspan Projects, whose team is excited to be back at the event. “This is a show that pushes the boundaries of holiday park and resort innovation,” said Greenspan’s Michaela Rowland. “There are always fascinating exhibitors and special guest speakers which leave us feeling inspired and excited to see what we can deliver next for similar clients.
“This year, we will be talking about our most exciting projects involving zip coasters and high ropes currently underway in the USA, Canada and the Mediterranean, as well as a world first – adventure golf in an underground cavern, recently launched in partnership with ZipWorld.”
CampManager will also be returning to the event to showcase its cloud-based management and booking system. “We recognise the value and quality of Holiday Park Innovation and have made a dedicated effort across several years to attend the show,” said Thomas Drake. “We are itching to get out of the office and in front of potential and existing customers for a good chat.
With over 16 years’ experience in the industry, we are excited to share our top tips with the UK’s growing community of holiday park and campsite owners.” The keynote theatre programme – sponsored by Maxxton and CampManager – includes Luke Hansford from Hoseasons who will discuss the importance of consumer insights in creating valuable holiday experiences for guests and in helping operators maximise revenue.
Sustainability will be the main theme for Michael Holding of Visit Inverness Loch Ness as he explains how the area became the first carbon neutral business improvement district (BID) in the UK. Other confirmed speakers include Jonny Baird of Bluefield Houseboats and Richard Carroll of Landal Green Parks. Andrew Jones, winner of Diversification of the Year in the British Farming Awards, will be talking about his journey from farmer to glampsite owner and what he has learnt along the way.
David and Felicity Brown of Hoe Grange Holidays will discuss how winning awards helped raise their business’s profile. Sheena Corry of The Forge will explore the business opportunities of wild swimming and retreats. Look for full details of the speaker programme are available on the show website Holiday Park & Resort Innovation returns to the NEC Birmingham this November 2nd and 3rd. Tickets are free and available now at www.holidayparkshow.co.uk
YOUR A-Z OF MUST-SEE EXHIBITORS
PARK HOLIDAYS UK FLEX MUSCLE
Park Holidays UK has confirmed its acquisition of holiday parks group Park Leisure which owns 11 holiday parks in popular locations in England, Scotland and North Wales. It will bring to 54 the number of parks now operated by Park Holidays UK – and follows the company’s acquisition of nine parks from Bridge Leisure in 2021. The enlarged portfolio, says the group, will provide it with an even stronger national platform from which to serve Britain’s fast-growing domestic holiday market.
Park Holidays UK director Tony Clish said the coming together of the two well-established groups presented exciting new opportunities in one of tourism’s most dynamic sectors: “Both companies have invested substantially in their parks over recent years and created a range of high-quality holiday products which people clearly enjoy,” he said. “Park Leisure’s 11 parks have all gained top five-star tourist board awards and represent the high-quality standards we have been working towards in recent years.
“Whether customers are looking to rent or buy a holiday home, we can now offer a wide geographical spread of parks able to deliver a first-class experience at an affordable cost. “We will continue to invest in all of our parks to ensure that that their facilities and standards of service are maintained to the highest possible levels,” said Mr Clish. “The domestic holiday market continues to gain traction in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic market, and we are continuing to see an ever-increasing demand for UK holidays.
“Quality is the main driver of bookings and holiday home sales, and this union will consolidate some of the finest holiday parks in the UK into one single group,” said Mr Clish. Parks in both groups provide extensive leisure facilities and family entertainment, together with carefully managed landscaped grounds in which holiday lodges and caravans are located. Park Holidays UK was formed over 35 years ago, and its parks today span the length of Britain from Cornwall in the west to Moray in northern Scotland. Park Leisure has operated holidays parks for more than 20 years, and has a presence in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Yorkshire and North Wales.
BEVERLEY'S £2M STYLISH INVESTMENT
Beverley Holidays has upped the style stakes for staycationing with the installation of a state-of-the-art range of sea view luxury lodges and ultra-modern hot tub holiday caravans. The holiday park group in the heart of the English Riviera has invested a cool £2million in a fleet of fourteen super-stylish holiday homes tailored to guests seeking seaside stays with a sprinkling of glamour.
High quality furnishings and a super stylish decor in the newly launched holiday homes are teamed with a raft of pampering extras such as private sun-decks complete with bubbling hot tubs. With demand for staycations continuing to be high this year, the new state-of-the-art holiday homes are seeing a surge in bookings among guests seeking their very own slice of hot tub heaven.
Beverley Holidays’ Marketing Director Claire Jeavons said: “Long gone are the days when families were expected to be content with a one-size-fits-all type of holiday accommodation. “Today we are reaching out to guests wanting to enjoy a truly unique holiday experience, and our new Collection hot tub holiday lodges and Signature caravans are certainly raising the bar even higher at the luxury end of holiday home rentals.”
COASTAL LOCATIONS ARE UK FAVOURITE
With the British Isles boasting some of the most beautiful beaches and breath-taking sea views, there is a clamour to enjoy some of the UK’s 7,700 miles of coastline. Brits have named their favourite seaside towns in the UK, with Salcombe ranked the number one destination whilst holidaymakers remain wary of overseas travel. With many holiday-goers opting to stay in the UK, Google trends data found that searches for UK holidays had increased by 56% in April 2022, compared to a year earlier when restrictions were in place.
The survey by McCarthy Stone, the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities, saw 2,700 surveyed to find which of the most popular seaside towns came out as the UK’s favourite. The south coast’s gems came out on top overall, with Salcombe, Weymouth and St. Ives scoring highly, there were also top 10 selection across the country, with Yorkshire’s Whitby and Northumberland’s Bamburgh featuring in the top 10. Salcombe, with its pastel-hued, picturesque harbour, came out on top, with almost a fifth of the vote (18.5%); it’s not hard to understand why when you witness the nautical beauty of South Devon.
Weymouth in Dorset came second with 16 per cent, boasting several enviable beaches, it was announced as the number one beach in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017, and has also previously been ranked ninth best beach in Europe. Third place was given to Whitby in north Yorkshire (12%), which boasts ties with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the imposing Abbey ruins which look over the highly-voted harbour below. St Ives on the Cornish coast came fourth with 11.7 per cent of the voting with Bamburgh (10.4%) in the North East of the country completing the top five.
PERFECT ANTEDOTE TO TRAVEL WOES
An award-winning Lake District holiday park says that growing numbers of guests are switching to a UK stay this year to escape the hassle of overseas travel. Skelwith Fold in Ambleside reports an uplift in bookings during the recently reported chaos at many British airports, cross-channel route and last-minute cancellations by holiday companies.
The park’s Henry Wild says people are deciding that enough is enough, and they want their holiday memories to bring back happiness rather than headaches. “Holiday parks are proving the perfect antidote to the hassle of travelling abroad,” said Henry whose family’s park sits in 130 acres of countryside near the shores of Windermere. “Many families made this discovery during the pandemic and are now re-booking stays because the experience is so much more relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.
“A lot of our guests live just two or three hours away and can pack their bags in the morning and be starting their Lake District holiday the same afternoon. “For those flying off abroad, that timescale often sees just the start of a journey which is pitted with uncertainty and frustration that can leave people feeling helpless. Skelwith Fold provides glamping accommodation such as fully equipped safari tents as well as cottages to rent, along with pitches for motorhome and touring caravan guests.
SAY GOODBYE TO HARD WATER PROBLEMS
The UK holiday park market has grown significantly as people turn to staycations for their family holidays. As more people search for the perfect holiday park for their break, parks in beautiful locations across the UK competing for customers are being adversely affected by hard water problems. The limescale in hard water is damaging pipes, plumbing and appliances, unnecessarily increasing park maintenance costs and leading to unwanted downtime. The damage scale does is not only the visible, physical damage to pipework and appliances, it can also damage your park’s reputation thanks to its unsightly appearance if it’s left to accumulate, harming your customer’s experience at your park.
Negative online reviews featuring dirty looking bathrooms or limescale laden tea can quickly influence people to choose a different holiday location or invest in another park when purchasing their dream holiday home. So how can you stop the scale-related business costs from mounting up and protect your holiday park from further scale damage? At Watts, we’ve developed the innovative KIWA-approved OneFlow® system to provide unrivalled protection from scale formation without the costs of traditional water filtration methods and it avoids introducing unnecessary chemicals or detergents into the environment.
It’s affordable to run as there are no associated electric or water costs. Plus, thanks to its simple system composition, it doesn’t need salt bags or other chemicals added to maintain it. All the vital minerals remain in the water, so it delivers great tasting water with its natural goodness plus, the lack of additives and chemicals mean it is suitable for any plumbing system, even septic tanks.
The compact, single cartridge system is easy to install and so efficient that, over time, it can help reverse existing scale problems on the plumbing system as well as extending its life without harsh chemicals. Juliana Paradello, OneFlow® Product Champion at Watts explains: “At Watts, we’ve been engineering innovative solutions through our expertise since 1874.We understand how proud you are of your holiday park and how hard your team works to ensure your customers to have the best experience, which is why we’re sharing the fantastic benefits that OneFlow® can bring to your park.”
“By efficiently removing the limescale deposits, OneFlow® can reduce maintenance costs on site as well as providing an additional revenue stream for park owners. It also helps to keep key areas easier to clean by removing unappealing limescale deposits from the water before it can build up on the plumbing or sink.” Paradello adds: “If you’d like to learn more about how OneFlow® can protect your business, visit our dedicated website at www.oneflow-watts.co.uk or contact me directly on Juliana.Paradello@wattswater.com I’ll be happy to demonstrate how we can protect your park from limescale damage.”
Watts Industries UK
Tel 01480 407074
MAKING IT MAGNIFICENT!
Windmill Retreat and Spa offer's the 'wow' factor to woo guests...
Outdoor baths, balconies and fire pits are just some of the features designed to attract luxury-loving guests to Glastonbury lodge resort Windmill Retreat and Spa this summer. All are included in four new state-of- the-art lodges owner Nick Ridgment is adding at his rural Somerset escape and selling exclusively through staycation specialist Hoseasons.
“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries when it comes to what we offer our guests,” Nick says, adding: “There are lodge parks everywhere these days, so it’s vitally important to stay one step ahead and give customers everything they need for an unforgettable holiday experience when they weigh up their options for a UK break.” Panoramic views of the Somerset Levels, roomy open-plan living, and hot tubs also come as standard with these large three-bedroom properties – the addition of which brings to nine the number of beautifully-designed bespoke lodges to choose from at the park, which Nick opened as a newcomer to the industry in 2015 and chose to partner with Hoseasons to bring to market.
Since then, the park’s high-end reputation has been cemented with the addition of its state-of-the-art Elements Boutique Spa, as well as an accompanying product range available in Holland and Barrett. The on-site Levels Country Kitchen also adds to the cool vibe with delicious breakfast and lunch options made with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers. Nick credits his long-established partnership with Hoseasons as being crucial to the success of the site over the last six years. “It’s one thing attracting customers and another staying ahead of the competition to keep them coming back for more,” says Nick.
“We always had the vision to develop our offering but working with the team at Hoseasons has really helped us realise the potential of the business. “They gave us the confidence to believe in our product in the early days and have offered invaluable insight and guidance over the last few years to ensure we get the best return on our investment in this new development.” Much of that guidance has come from Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development, at Hoseasons who says Windmill Retreat and Spa is the perfect example of a location that knows it has to develop its offer to stay relevant in the modern UK holiday market.
“The innovation and diversification we’ve seen in our industry over the last 18 months has been remarkable, with those used to holidaying abroad pre-pandemic now looking for the same level of aspirational quality in their UK staycation. “The data clearly shows people want more from their UK break and that’s exactly what we’re able to give them through Windmill Retreat and Spa and other high-end locations in our portfolio.”
The exceptional standard of lodge and cottage-style accommodation and facilities at Windmill Retreat and Spa recently led to it being one of only five wow-factor locations included in Hoseasons’ new Magnificent Collection - something the staycation specialist has launched to recognise new standards of quality and innovation across the self-catering holiday industry. Inclusion in the new collection means Windmill Retreat is being marketed to millions of Hoseasons customers looking for top quality accommodation design, premium on-park facilities, exceptional customer service and a genuine commitment to sustainability – something Nick hopes will help to mark it out as one of the country’s premier locations for an aspirational getaway.
“We’re delighted to have been recognised as magnificent enough for Hoseasons’ new collection and are really looking forward to sharing our fantastic location with even more guests over the weeks, months and years to come.” Magnificent has been launched at a time when demand for luxury UK getaways is at an all-time high, and the number of high-end accommodations joining the Hoseasons portfolio continues to grow. Bookings for luxury properties this year are up 27% compared to the same point in 2019, while the size and scale of parent group Awaze’s luxury portfolio through brands including Hoseasons and sister company cottages.com has grown 45% over the last three years.
For more information about Hoseasons’ Magnificent Collection go to www.hoseasons.co.uk/magnificent
A wealth of inspiration for outdoor holiday location play...
The last three years have posed some unique challenges to all sectors of the leisure industry, not least for the provision of play facilities in holiday parks and resorts. So ideal timing, for the presentation of some inspirational ideas, to reinvigorate play offerings at Europe’s premier international attractions conference and trade show at London’s Excel from September 12. Attendees at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe can expect to discover the industry’s latest products and services, including play equipment, water slides, play structures, and much more. IAAPA - it stands for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions – boasts a worldwide membership of nearly 5,000.
The trade show will feature IAAPA’s signature combination of exhibits from manufacturers and suppliers, food and beverage vendors, merchandising specialists, and innovation leaders that strive to develop the attractions and theme parks of tomorrow. When the education conference opens September 12, it will mark the first return of IAAPA Expo Europe to London since 2011. “We are bringing a jam-packed programme, full of inspiration, top-notch education, and ideas regarding the issues that the attractions industry is facing—such as energy costs, labour shortages, revenue streams, and more,” promises Peter van der Schans, Executive Director and Vice President of IAAPA.
“We will showcase the opportunities our members can gain from these challenges, as well as explore trends in technology, sustainability, and guest experience,” Peter continues. “Attendees will learn the latest industry trends from leaders across the world and discover insights to improve campground operations, address holiday resort needs and enhance caravan park offerings.” While targeted events like IAAPA Expo Europe help focus the mind, another vital source of learning is from our fellow holiday park operators.
With the current boom in British staycations following the pandemic and the ensuing travel chaos, many parks are choosing to add to their adventure activities which involve the whole family and attractions such as high ropes and climbing towers are perfect for keeping everyone active whilst having fun and creating perfect holiday memories. 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.
Standing out from the crowd for its eco-credentials, play specialists, Kompan can now deliver a full circular playground using sustainable materials, including ocean waste. Green panels on the company’s BLOQX range are made of 75% post- consumer ocean recycled waste. The dark teal panels on their green play units and freestanding items are made of 100% post-consumer recycled waste.
All decks for our largest product series are made of 75% post-consumer ocean recycled waste. “We don’t just claim we are green,” declares Kompan’s Gary Wallis. “We want to validate our claims with a third party to be as open and transparent as possible about our green initiatives. “Therefore, we have worked with Bureau Veritas, the organisation behind the global ISO certifications, to verify our calculations of recycling and carbon emission.”
The perfect business recipe for play success is to create ‘stay and play’ zones where all the secondary spend benefits such as a café and ice cream bar are close at hand and reaching their full potential. During May, June and into July of 2022 the Innovative Leisure team have been busy around the UK coastline installing a whole variety of adventure equipment at UK resorts. Many of these are now open and being enjoyed by customers. Back in 2020, Innovative Leisure were part way through installing their Sky Trail High Ropes and Sky Tykes Junior Ropes Courses at two Haven Holiday Parks when COVID-19 first struck.
Despite the pandemic, the new attractions were well received by guests when the parks were able to open. Simon Palmer, Head of Activities and Leisure at Bourne Leisure explains: “These new high ropes activities fit in with our strategy of improving the on-site offering to our owners and guests. They create an exciting focal point for family groups and allow us to do more hourly capacity than previous traditional versions. “The junior courses have already performed well at two other Haven sites. Innovative Leisure has supported us throughout the projects and helped overcome some unique pandemic challenges.” The high ropes courses each have a capacity of 25 participants, allowing for approximately 50 people per hour throughout the day, and are suitable for all but the very youngest of visitors. The Sky Tykes junior ropes courses are seven pole courses and feature the exciting Sky Rail Zip element.
With a capacity of 15 participants at any one time, the Sky Tykes low ropes courses offer a fun, safe experience for adventurers as young as two-years- old, as well as being an excellent introduction to the excitement and challenges of ropes course attractions. Park Holidays have introduced Innovative Leisure Climbing Towers into their range of attractions at two sites and John Flack, Head of Entertainment and Security comments: “Bringing climbing walls to our holiday parks, has brought new energy and excitement to what we can offer our guests at our parks.” John shares: “The value the walls have brought to our entertainment programme has been immense and it is wonderful to see three generations of families enjoying the climbing walls. Innovative Leisure have made the process so simple and helped us at each step of the way.”
Meanwhile, Devon-based Beverley Holidays has upped the fun factor with the opening on its brand new £300k Land Ahoy Adventure Island, complete with seaside-inspired play park and mini golf course. The all-new £300k attraction is a welcome addition to the family run holiday park group in Paignton, where guests can practice their putting skills surrounded by giant ice creams or slide down a life-size lighthouse.
Designed by Greenspan Projects Ltd, Land Ahoy Adventure Island allows little ones to let their hair down on a selection of slides, swings and climbing nets, or pose for a picture on the giant Beverley deckchairs. The accompanying mini golf course scores highly in the fun stakes, with putters put through their paces around a seaside-inspired course complete with a giant sandcastle and other beach- themed favourites. Beverley Holidays director Claire Flower tells us: “It’s great to see our guests making a beeline for our brilliant new Land Ahoy Adventure Island which opened just in time for Easter, with our very own Beverley Bear and Sandy Starfish mascots being the first to give it a whirl.
“It’s a great addition to our holiday parks, providing a safe and secure space where families can get out in the fresh sea air and create holiday memories they’ll treasure forever away from iPads and TV screens. The feedback has been fantastic and the mini golf really is the best by par.” Project consultant Matt Young of Greenspan Projects Ltd says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Beverley to design and build such and inspiring play space, not just for young ones, but for all ages to enjoy.”
The project concept was developed around the history of Beverley Holidays’ from when they started out in the late 1950s, by incorporating nostalgic seaside elements from that era, into both the golf and play areas. Matt adds; “We are extremely pleased that the launch has been a huge success and hope that the attraction will provide fun and enjoyment to all for many years to come.”
Claire, whose family has owned Beverley Holidays for almost 65 years, continues: “Holidays are all about creating memorable experiences that stay with you forever.” “There’s absolutely no doubt that letting your hair down and enjoying the company of other youngsters in a safe environment has a massive part to play. “That’s why we have always put a big emphasis on giving children a great time, be it joining our organised park activities or having fun in the pools. Claire adds: “Our new play zone was a big investment, but we’re delighted with the results – and happy that it also gives parents the chance to enjoy a well-earned breather!”
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 trips to the park or on holidays. From conventional playgrounds and rides to more nature-based facilities, the onus is on holiday park owners and operators to ensure the play facilities they offer are the best they can be.
Tel. 01803 843887
Cotswold Farm Park
Tel. 01451 850307
IAAPA Expo Europe
Education Conference: Sept. 12-15, 2022
Trade Show: Sept. 13-15, 2022
Tel: 0116 271 3095
Tel: 01908 201002
Sovereign Design Play Systems Ltd
Tel. 01702 804299
World Of Rides
Tel. 0191 492 0999
A ruff guide to welcoming those furry friends...
This autumn, Lola, my much-loved three-year-old spaniel, and I, will be undertaking an extended East then West coast tour of England and Scotland, plotting a map of dog- friendly stays to break the journey there and back. We will have plenty of canine company. Thousands of holiday makers will enjoy UK holidays with their furry friends this year. If we have booked carefully, we know we can expect a warm welcome of a comfy bed, fresh towels, and delicious homemade biscuits – and that is just for the dog!
Mapping out our journey, preparation has included basic checks such as rules and regulations per stop, access to dog-friendly areas including restaurants as well as a quick survey of outstanding nearby walks including beaches and coastal walks. Our on-line research offers up plenty of choice. There were more than 3,000 locations willing to accommodate one or two dogs with their human guests. Perhaps not surprisingly, only 172 would take a booking for three dogs and a mere eight locations willing to welcome four of more dogs.
A nation of dog lovers, dog accommodation is big business not overlooked by the industry’s biggest players. For instance, Haven offers mile upon mile of countryside and coastline for visitors to explore just a stone’s throw from their 33 dog-friendly parks. They can offer a list of dog-friendly beaches that will welcome dogs all year round while making its Saver, Bronze and Silver caravans are all accessible for humans and their four-legged friends. When it comes to the best locations for a dog-friendly caravan holiday, the Haven park that stands out is Lincolnshire’s Golden Sands. At Golden Sands, the pooch facilities are second to none.
Equipped with a Bark Yard obstacle course, your Fido doesn’t even need to leave the park to be entertained. Golden Sands is also surrounded by pooch-perfect places to visit, from the Lincolnshire Wolds with its Rolling hills, hidden valleys and gentle streams to Mablethorpe Beach, a nearby paradise with a Blue Flag Award to its name. Multi award-winning holiday park Cofton Holidays has invested £300,000 in four new dog-friendly lodges to cope with record demand for staycations from dog owners. Shortlisted in the iTravel Staycation Awards 2020/21 for Dog-friendly Accommodation of the year, the family-run holiday park, situated close to Dawlish Warren’s Blue Flag Beach, has added to its existing luxury hot-tub lodge collection with four dog-friendly Kingfisher lodges close to the coarse fishing lakes.
The launch follows research conducted by Cofton which showed that online searches for UK dog-friendly holiday destinations increased by 665% year on year between May 2020 compared with May 2021. Helen Scott, Director of Cofton Holidays, is looking forward to welcoming owners and their dogs to the new lodges, Cofton’s latest investment: “Lockdown has seen a huge rise in dog ownership, and that’s driving unprecedented demand for dog- friendly holidays. “As dog owners ourselves, we know just how important it is to be able to take your dog on holiday with you. That’s why we have gone the extra mile to ensure that Cofton is leading the way in dog-friendly breaks.
The introduction of our new lodges is our latest response and builds on our collection of pet- friendly cottages and holiday homes.” Offering all the creature comforts, the Kingfisher dog-friendly hot tub lodge collection offers two-bedroom lodges from £428 for a four-night mid-week break, £474 for a three-night weekend break, and £651 for a week break. The decking areas are safely enclosed with one gate at the entrance to the lodge and another separating the hot tub area from the outdoor al fresco dining area.
Dogs are welcomed with a pet mat, blanket, stainless steel water bowl and food bowl, whilst their owners can look forward to the complimentary hamper filled with local handmade treats. Guests also have access to a dedicated dog exercise field, miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take you through woodland to Dawlish Warren’s dog-friendly beach. Cofton benefits from the added advantage of the Dawlish Countryside Park right on its doorstep where dogs can run free around its circular walks.
With a minimum of research, you can reassure human guests of a warm welcome for them and their pets, by supplying some pre-arrival tips on making their stay as smooth as possible. Don’t bog visitors down with red tape rules but keep essential messages positive. Offer a check list of essentials such as basic equipment and why not establish a link with your local vets to provide guests with emergency contact advice Encourage guests to walk dogs on a lead, on site, and if walking in dim light, to wear an LED collar. Remind them to pick up poo with bags and use the special bins provided. Perhaps you have provided a few in their welcome packs to help out?
The UK is home to plenty of tail- wagging destinations. So you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. A pre-season safety check can ensure you are confident of a safe visit and plenty of return visits. Hidden hazards could include certain mushrooms, compost and over- zealous use of weed killers and other environmental control such as rat poison. Pet owners love spending on their pampered pooches. So, don’t forget to add a few dog toys, including balls, to the site shop.
Add a couple of lines of dog food and treats, even a few collars and leads -- not to mention poo bags. For many, having a holiday with their dog is non-negotiable. Not only is Tewkesbury Park a beautiful family owned resort, boasting an exquisite 28 hole golf course and destination spa, offering stylish, comfortable luxury in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, it’s also a pet-friendly retreat offering the paw-fect place for a summer staycation for you and your canine companion to enjoy.
And on top of its already very popular ‘Scrumbles Dog Retreat’ package, Tewkesbury Park is launching a ‘Bow Wow Breakaway’ package, which is suitable for all guests and their pooches. All of Tewkesbury Park’s dog-friendly rooms come complete with a private patio. Double doors open directly onto a grassy patch, which is self-contained so they can snuffle around. Dogs are also welcome in the piano lounge, which means they are able to accompany you while you enjoy a drink or bite to eat.
One small matter of paperwork though; dogs are asked to remain on leads when outside of bedrooms, if only to avoid them chasing after those pesky rogue golf balls. With the Bow Wow Breakaway package, guests can enjoy a luxuriating two-night stay with dinner and a bottle of wine on one night, along with a Cotswolds dog walking booklet from £339 per night, based on two sharing. The tour begins…woof!
OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
Get creative with original ideas to attract the UK's staycationers...
With a host of obstacles hindering the prospects of a trip abroad for many, for this summer holidays, they are turning to staycations as the next best thing. Luckily, they don’t have to look far to find there are plenty of incredible places to go in the UK with an abundance of beautiful destinations and picturesque locations right on our doorstep.
If we have our marketing right, UK holidays can be just as exciting as jetting off to another country. These days, as a business, you have to be creative to find the best type of offer to provide the best fit for prospective guests. From countryside getaways and beach retreats to town trips and city breaks, there’s lots of options to suit every taste. For those that are looking to offer something a little different, why not think outside of the box and try promoting a staycation with a twist?
We did not have to look far for some inspirational business ideas. Southwest Railways analysed the Google ratings and reviews for over 2,600 listings on HostUnusual.com and asked a panel of experts to give each one a ‘unique- ness’ score. Each of these factors was given a weighted score of 0-100, and these were combined to create the full rank. From treehouses and windmills to Romani caravans and authentic American airstream trailers, the ideas were not lacking in imagination.
The Windmill in Suffolk has been crowned the most unique place to stay in the UK. In this adult-only getaway, visitors get the whole building to themselves. With the original blades of the windmill removed, this historic building has been restored with a modern twist. While it is the third most expensive stay in the top 20 at £325 per night, its unique charm and viewing balcony with magnificent views of the Suffolk countryside means it’s one not to miss.
For a remote getaway, The Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottage on the Orkney Islands is the second quirkiest place to stay, according to the research. Set on a 115-foot cliff with nothing but the sea and scenery for miles, the active lighthouse offers a stunning landscape to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. While there is still wi-fi and TV for everyone’s home comforts, the site also boasts a hot tub and a sauna. What’s more - prices start from a reasonable £120 a night.
To reconnect with nature, the unusual stay that takes third place on the list is The Wolf Wood Treehouses in Devon. Surrounded by acres of woodland and nestled above the treetops, visitors can stay in their own secluded treehouse with a wood burner and an outdoor jacuzzi – perfect whatever the weather. The most expensive stay calculated per night is The Beach House Smugglers Cove in Cornwall. For £550 per night, this luxurious eight-sleeper holiday home sits right on the beach.
With the sand less than a stone’s throw away, this sunny retreat offers an outdoor fire pit and hot tub with sea views. On the other end of the scale, The Aylsham Windmill in Norfolk is the cheapest at just £78 per night. This countryside escape used to be a working flour mill but has now been converted into a scenic holiday home that can sleep up to six people. Far away from the Majorcan beaches of traditional summer holidays, this stay boasts local walking routes, cycling trails and historic sights to explore.
A complete park management and booking system...
Visitors to Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire’s award-winning tourist attraction of 30 years, often commented that you needed two days to do everything on offer. With 100 acres of land to the North of the attraction, the team listened to their visitors and set about creating their own Folly Farm Holiday Park. Offering a wide range of accommodation for the family market to suit all budgets, to date Folly Farm boasts a 43 pitch-touring park, a 20-pitch campsite, four Showman’s Wagons and six fairground themed luxury lodges with hot tubs. A further eight luxury lodges and six safari tents will open soon.
“We were confident there would be huge interest in our accommodation offering from our strong and loyal customer base but then the pandemic hit and we found ourselves launching our touring park after the first lockdown in July 2020 with just three weeks’ notice,” explains Zoe Wright, Head of Marketing “We achieved a 76 per cent occupancy rate that first August and followed that in August 2021 with 94 per cent.” Ease-of-use was top of the list when Folly Farm was selecting a booking system so the team partnered with the highly recommended GemaPark . GemaPark has exceeded our expectations in terms of a booking system for our touring park and campsite,” confirms Zoe.
“In fact, we also import into GemaPark partner bookings for accommodation we don’t sell directly, because it provides top line booking, arrivals and performance information in a much more user- friendly way than our booking partners’ systems,” she adds. GemaPark is used by many members of the team at Folly Farm. Holiday park wardens use it to generate arrivals reports and to check if customers are returners so they can welcome them back. Office staff confirm all the bookings and chase payments while the marketing team can easily upload or change tariffs and run property performance reports and push any availability. The finance team can easily reconcile payments, run spend-per-head reports and financial forecasts.
EASE OF USE
“Every member of staff finds it easy to use and it’s one of the few software systems we use that the staff don’t moan about,” says Zoe. “Reporting was a key consideration as we’d little to no experience of running accommodation so to be able to easily query occupancy rates, property performance for our different accommodation options and check financial performance has been pivotal to the future development of the holiday park,”
Zoe continues. “CRM was also important as we were building an accommodation audience from scratch. “We would happily recommend GemaPark to anyone looking for a booking solution for their touring site or campsite and the fact they can easily integrate with leading booking partners is a bonus.”
Go big, or go small but make the most of those aquatic attractions...
Arguably, the swimming pool is one of the main pulling factors for holiday locations; great for swimming and even better for guaranteed family fun. If you have ticked the swimming pool box with an unimaginative tank of water, you are missing some vital opportunities to stand out from the crowd. The pool should not feature as a stand-alone.
For instance, add a few well-being features and you can be offering your guests a top-notch spa experience. A perfect example is the Plas Coch leisure complex, one of the stand-out attractions at the five-star holiday home park, holders of the Holiday Park Pool Of the Year title in the UK Pool & Spa Awards. The swimming pool, super spa, treatment area and gymnasium are open all year round for customers to swim and relax. The leisure facility has recently undergone some aesthetic works to offer more privacy including a spectacular tint effect added to the glass building to give a beautiful mirror effect from the outside.
With top drawer aquatic access even more of a variety of water-based activities to the regular timetable such as snorkelling, pool kayaks, underwater explorers and private occasion pool parties. Guests can unwind by a tropical pool, take a soothing dip in a hydrotherapy bath, or indulge in a cleansing Dry Salt Chamber treatment, all specially created to provide pampering for mind and body. “During the 2020 lockdown, we all had our fair share of problems to overcome,” says the centre manager.
“We took the time and used it wisely, by working hard at making our Leisure complex the best it has ever been, and one of the best in the holiday park industry. “We had mechanical parts fixed and upgraded in our pool plant rooms, which made opening up to our customers that much easier prior to lockdown.” Wellbeing, beauty and fitness facilities are also among the new features waiting to welcome 2022 visitors at the multi award-winning Celtic Holiday Parks.
Celtic Parks’ picture-perfect Pembrokeshire locations are near the market town of Narberth (Noble Court and Croft Country Park) and overlooking Amroth Bay (Meadow House Park). “Parks are no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition, and we intend to deliver the type of experience which people have been telling us they want from a holiday,” says Celtic’s Huw Pendleton. “They still expect fun, but many would rather visit a cocktail bar than a clubhouse, enjoy gastro-pub style meals, and enjoy treatment rooms with first-class facilities and ethical, organic products.
“Many of our guests are repeat visitors, and relatively new to the concept of a park holiday, so we are constantly challenging ourselves to ensure they have something fresh to look forward to.” “Our record bookings for next year suggest this is no flash in the pan, and I’ve every confidence that we will be investing and raising the bar even higher over the next twelve months,” adds Huw. You don’t always have to think big. Cornish holiday park Trevornick, has unveiled a new £180,000 investment called The Splash Zone.
It provides a new space within the existing swimming pool complex at Trevornick, where young (and the young at heart!) guests can run, jump, play and splash. The Splash Zone contains two tipping buckets, fountains, water jets, and a raised trickle stream, making it perfect for babies, toddlers, non-swimmers and those unable to access the pool itself. General manager Adrian Tribe says: “We are so thrilled to have opened The Splash Zone after weeks of hard work by all involved to bring it to completion.
“We had a good year in 2021 and re-investing that success back into the park will be great for the guests and for us. It’s a brilliant new addition to the resort and we can’t wait to see the guests really making the most of it this summer.” If you are thinking swimming pools then think water play to give your guests the extra wow factor. Leading aquatic suppliers, Ustigate design and build their water management systems to accompany all of their aquatic schemes whether they are super charged water park attractions. Nowadays a pool experience doesn’t just sit with a pool, it sits with designing a space to maximise the fun to be had for everyone in that footprint.
Ustigate encourage you think big when it comes to aquatic play. For nearly 20 years, they have partnered with Vortex Aquatic Structures, offering a portfolio of 300 products, including a vast choice of waterslides, Elevations™ and individual play items to heighten aquatic experiences and to entertain a multitude of guests at every given time.
A waterslide is great as either an open or closed flume, running inside, outside, or both. And now with modern technology, experiences are enhanced with high-definition multimedia technology; enabling an experience to be unique and different at the touch of a button. There are also low-level products that add character and activities for young children such as frog, turtle and fish with their 360° rotation abilities, all suitable for installation in zero and shallow depth.
There are taller features that are designed to arch and spray over pools and lazy rivers and products of varying heights that resemble leaves, trees and flowers that offer a variety of different water movements and effects. Whether you are planning for big or small aquatic attractions, look for the surprise element. Let your imagination match and exceed the expectations of your customers.
Jaw-dropping aquatic attractions from ProSlide...
Parque Warner Beach is one of the main tourism and entertainment destinations in Madrid; the perfect place to enjoy a summer’s day, with 40,000m2 dedicated to attractions and entertainment themed around Warner Bros. favourite characters. Conceived as the perfect destination for a family getaway, Parque Warner Beach recently celebrated the opening of two new rides that include Europe’s first TornadoWAVE® 60/FlyingSAUCER® 45 complex, from the Canadian water ride manufacturer ProSlide.
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’. 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 120 meters 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. Part of the same complex is Aquaman, ParqueWarner 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. The combination of both Black Manta and Aquaman into a single, jaw-dropping water ride complex is a first for the European market.