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!